Fans of the A A Milne books will already know that today is Winnie the Pooh Day, where we celebrate all his cuteness and wisdom.
The day marks author A A Milne’s birthday, January 18, 1882 every year.
The author’s books followed Christopher Robin and friends including Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore.
His adventures were based on a black bear at London Zoo during WW1 named Winnie, who Christopher would go to visit.
What’s the real story of Winnie?
Winnipeg lived at London Zoo from 1915-1934. The black bear was rescued by cavalry veterinarian Harry Colebourn, and is best remembered for inspiring the Winnie the Pooh in A A Milne’s stories.
As WW1 began in 1914, Lt. Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse, a Canadian cavalry regiment, volunteered.
On August 24, while en route to Valcartier, he purchased a young bear cub for $20 at a train stop in White River, Ontario.
The bear’s mother was thought to have been killed in the spring of 1914 when the cub was very young.
Colebourn named the bear Winnipeg, and called it Winnie for short, after his home city.
Winnie followed him to Valcartier and all the way to England. She went on to become the mascot of the CAVC and a pet to the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters. Colebourn left Winnie at London Zoo before he headed to France.
She was supposed to be sent to Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, but at the end of the War, Colebourn decided to allow Winnie to remain at the London Zoo, where she was much loved for her playfulness and gentleness.
A. A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin was a big fan and changed the name of his own teddy bear from Edward Bear to Winnie the Pooh, providing the inspiration for his father’s stories.
Disney classic remakes
Best A A Milne quotes
To mark Winnie the Pooh day we’ve dug out our favourite quotes from the much-loved books and it turns out there’s a quote for every situation.
Piglet: ‘How do you spell love?’
Pooh: ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’
On perspective (and for food lovers)
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, "what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It’s the same thing,” he said.
‘I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.’
On people always being with you
‘I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.’
On slowing down
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
On rewarding yourself
“Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ he was so excited that he said, ‘Both,’ and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, ‘But don’t bother about the bread, please.’”
On being grateful
‘Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.’
On the importance of not judging a book by its cover
‘Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.’
‘The things that make me different are the things that make me.’
On the simple things
‘It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?”
‘If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.’
On anticipation being as good as the pay off
“Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.’
‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’
On learning to let go
‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’
On devotion to another
‘If you live to be a 100, I want to live to be 100 minus one day so I never have to live without you.’
On taking your time
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
On comfort zones
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”
‘Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.’
On appearances being deceptive
‘Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.’
On trying to be more thoughtful
‘A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.’
What’s your favourite Winnie the Pooh quote? Share it in the comments below.