Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Pooh Styx

With Disney giving people examples of how not to do a Winnie the Pooh story about the perils of middle age, I thought it was time to reach way back into the archives to one of my youthful compositions.

The Comedy of Pooh
( A tale of redemption )
by Don Grundy

Chapter I
In which Pooh finds himself in a gloomy wood,
is confronted by three strange animals,
and meets an old friend.

Halfway through life’s journey, Pooh found himself in the middle of a gloomy wood. Not a dark, mossy, oak wood, nor yet a dry, sandy, beach wood: It was a gloomy wood. A wood in which melancholy seemed to cover the ground like snow. The gloom increased with every hopeless-sounding gurgle of the stream and every mournful hoot of an owl.

Not the owl, Pooh reminded himself. Owl had died an ignominious death some years before, eventually becoming a decoration in a hunting club. Some of the animals had said it was Christopher Robin’s hunting club. Pooh didn’t care. It’d been years since he’d seen Christopher. He’d dumped them. Besides, Owl could be pretty trying at times.

There was a wind blowing through the trees. A cold, biting, wind. Pooh pulled his hat down over his ears and tightened the belt of his trench coat. “Hellish cold,” he muttered. “I need a smoke.” He shook a cigarette out of his pack and lit up. He stopped, leaning against a tree, and took a couple of long drags. Yes, that was better. Always good for calming the nerves. They said they’d kill you if you smoked them long enough, but who cared? Everyone else was dead. Roo had been shot up in a gang fight a couple years ago, and Kanga had been hit by a bus. Rabbit had ended up in the stew pot, and Eeyore had ended up as dog food. Piglet had got his when the Hundred Aker Wood was bombed during the Blitz. Tigger had disappeared. They said Christopher Robin had bought it during the war, but no one knew for sure.

He tossed the cigarette aside and stepped on it with his booted foot. Nothing worked out. You had to expect that when you were middle-aged.

“Which reminds me,” he said to himself. “Where’s the path?” Looking around him he could see no path, only trees. He searched all about him, tried to retrace his own footsteps, and repeated every curse he knew. No good.

At that moment the sun’s rays cut through the press of trees to the east. The sun was rising. He stood looking at it, shielding his eyes from the sun with one paw. It beat down on him, bright and warm. How long had it been since he had simply stood in the sunlight, enjoying the warmth, anyway? He pulled off his trench coat and draped it over a tree branch, then took off his hat and set it on top of the coat. Yes that was much better. The sunlight brought back memories of the days before he had held a job in middle management. (Had held a job in middle management. He’d been fired last week.) The days when he had simply lived in the wood. A bear of very little brain in a world that did not require brains. A world where hums and expotitions were the truly important things in life.

“Days that are gone,” he reminded himself. “No more pathless days; I’ve a road to follow now. I’ve a job to do.” He shrugged back into his coat and put on his hat.

But he could not turn away. The sun hovering above the peak of the mountain, almost as if it rested atop it, seemed like a beacon leading to some unimaginably better land. A land where a bear could live in peace. And despite his resolve to search for his path, he found himself climbing the mountain, ascending towards the sun.

After a time he realized that his coat was gone. His hat and boots were gone. He stood in fur alone as in the old days of the Hundred Aker Wood. He shivered. It had been too long since those days, he was used to the clothes.

Then he heard a sound like shouting and laughing rolled into one.

Before him, blocking his way, was a Backson. It ran rapidly in circles, chasing its tail. “Like a Woozle,” Pooh thought. It’s eyes were alight with excitement. Its whole being seemed to radiate fun and youthfulness. And yet it seemed to have no idea where it was or what it was doing. It constantly blundered into things, and the bruises and scratches in its hide showed that it had been blundering about for some time.

For a time Pooh waited, hoping it would stop and let him pass. It did not. Finally Pooh gave up and struck out towards the north so that he could circle round it before moving farther upward. Yet he had gone only a short way farther up the hill when he again found himself blocked. Before him paced a Jagular.

Its fur was ruffled and disorderly, and there was an angry light in its eyes. As it paced back and forth it growled constantly. Occasionally it would make swipes in Pooh’s direction. When he tried to approach it, it made as if to pounce on him. Pooh backed away, deciding to circle north again, and thus get around it.

But he had not ascended more than a hundred yards farther when he was confronted by the third and most terrible beast, a Heffalump.

It did not pace or run as the other two animals had done. At first Pooh was not frightened, despite its seedy appearance. But there was a cold light in its eyes, and when he tried to more forward, it struck him with its paw sending him tumbling down the mountain. As he rolled through the underbrush, he thought he could hear the beast snickering above him.

He came to rest in a gorse-bush near the bottom of the hill. He fur was tangled and dirty, and one of his eyes was swelling shut where the Heffalump had struck him. He struggled to his feet and looked up towards the sun. The slope seemed to stretch on to infinity and beyond, he had rolled all the way to the bottom.

He muttered a curse under his breath and turned to go. It was too hard; it wasn’t worth it. He was about to start off again in search of his road when he heard the voice, a voice he had not heard in a very long time.

“Hello, old friend,” it said. “It’s been a while.”

Sadly, the narrative breaks off at this point. However, notes on later chapters indicate that the voice is that of Christopher Robin. If I should find more of the manuscript, I shall certainly provide you with it.


Donna said...

There’s a mash-up I never imagined seeing! Bravo!

Bruce A. McMenomy said...

Well, that's surely Don's work. I can tell it almost anywhere. He never failed to surprise.