Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 4

By A. A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 4

In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One

  • Eeyore is introduced standing alone at the edge of the forest,thinking about things.
  • Eeyore is contemplating how difficult and sad it is to be thinking about things—a rural Woody Allen, an American Nietzsche, a regular old Debbie Downer at the edge of the forest—when Pooh ambles along
  • Eeyore is happy for the distraction
  • While Eeyore complains that he hasn't felt "how" in a long time (it's a great play on words that will take longer to explain than to pick up the book and read, so go ahead. We'll wait...
  • ...Got it? Funny, right? We thought you'd like that. There's plenty more where that came from.
  • Anyway, Pooh notices that Eeyore is missing his tail.
  • Confirming the loss, Eeyore, as any good anxious self-defeating personality would, blames the missing tale for everything. The tail explains it all. What is "it all"? We're not sure either. But Eeyore has had plenty of it, believe you him.
  • Pooh suggests that Eeyore left it somewhere, but Eeyore thinks someone stole it.
  • In any case, Pooh grandly declares that he will find Eeyore's tail. Thus begins our hero's quest.
  • Pooh marches all the way through the forest to the middle of the Hundred Acre Wood to Owl's house.
  • The narrator interrupts the story for a moment to describe some signs outside of Owl's door: one tells visitors to knock if they require an answer, the other to pull the ringer if they don't. Both were written by CR (the character), and are misspelled.
  • Pooh, however, lauds the boy's literary acumen and admits that as wise as Owl is, he doesn't hold a candle to good old CR.
  • Back to the story. Pooh doesn't quite understand the instructions on the signs, so he does everything one can do to get Owl's attention.
  • Pooh asks Owl for advice on how to find Eeyore's tail, and, a few confusions, puns and general sillinesses later, they come up with plan. Rather, Owl comes up with a plan.
  • Pooh gets distracted by thoughts of honey and keeps Owl going with empty Yeses, Nos, uh-huhs and ohs—kind of like you do when your mother calls.
  • The plan: have CR (the character) write out a notice issuing a reward to whoever finds Eeyore's tail. A notice like the signs he had written for Owl's door.
  • Pooh looks closely at Owl's bell-rope. Now that we're in the 21st century, it's worth explaining. Doorbells used to be rung manually, by tugging on a rope or a chain to ring a real bell. These, however, have gone the way of rotary phones and, for that matter, ringing doorbells instead of just sending a quick "Im hr" text as you pull up.
  • Pooh eyes the bell-rope and it looks familiar. Here, the illustrations give the readers a clue as to what's so intriguing about the bell-rope. Spoiler: it looks remarkably like a donkey's tail.
  • Pooh unhooks the rope and fetches Christopher Robin to help pin it back on the donkey, thus saving the day and inventing a timeless party game (pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey instructions?) in one fell swoop.
  • Pooh is very proud of himself, and even makes up a song to commemorate his good deed. And he eats some honey. That is, lots of honey.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 4 Study Group

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