Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 6

By A. A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 6

In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents

  • Scene: Eeyore meditates on his reflection in clear stream. "Pathetic"he thinks to himself. "Nobody Cares." Sad? Yes. Existential conundrum? Possibly. Funny? Could be
  • Pooh arrives and takes the role of concerned friend.
  • But Eeyore explains his blues vaguely. He doesn't really even know what he's sad about.
  • It seems to Pooh that this is a riddle. Instead of trying to figure it out, he sings a jolly song about riddles, called Cottleston Pie (see "Symbols" for more on this and the so-called Cottleston Pie Principle).
  • Finally, Pooh learns what's wrong.
  • Of course, Eeyore won't just say it directly. Instead he says sardonically that it's his birthday, "the happiest day of the year" (Winnie-the-Pooh.6.26).
  • Eeyore caustically points out that he has no presents and no cake. Everyone has forgotten his birthday.
  • Unfortunately, Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, doesn't get that Eeyore is being sarcastic. Instead, he's confused because he doesn't actually see any presents.
  • So Eeyore has to tell him so. And now Pooh understands the problem.
  • Are we all there with him? Good.
  • Eeyore continues to complain, so Pooh springs into action in search of a present—any present—and he can find a good one later on. After all, it's the thing that counts...
  • When Pooh returns home, he sees Piglet unsuccessfully reaching for the knocker on his door.
  • Being the good friend that he is, Pooh knocks on his own door to help Piglet out. Good ol' Pooh.
  • Explaining the whole birthday fiasco to Piglet, he suggests that Piglet get a gift, too.
  • Pooh decides to give away a half-full (half-empty for Eeyore) jar of honey.
  • Piglet chooses a leftover balloon from his own party (which we didn't get to attend—oh, bother.)
  • So Piglet goes to get his balloon and Pooh wanders back toward Eeyore with the honey.
  • Of course, he gets a little tickle in his tummy along the way and wants a snack. Forgetting all about Eeyore, he praises himself for coming prepared with a jar of honey and sits down to eat.
  • It's not until the jar is empty that he remembers Eeyore, and realizes he just ate his friend's birthday present! Oh! The humanity!
  • Ever a problem-solver, Pooh decides to just give Eeyore the pot, and he goes in search of Owl for help to write a personalized message.
  • Owl uses some invented spelling to write the message, which says "A very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh," spelled "HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY" (Winnie-the-Pooh.6.88).
  • Pooh, of course, is none the wiser.
  • Meanwhile, Piglet fetches his balloon.
  • But he's so excited to give it to Eeyore that he trips along the way and it pops.
  • Bummer.
  • Piglet picks up the remains of the balloon and heads to visit Eeyore anyway.
  • He finds the donkey still staring at his reflection in the water.
  • To Eeyore's surprise, Piglet wishes him a happy birthday. He doesn't believe it. He makes Piglet repeat it three times.
  • Eeyore, still in disbelief, accepts the limp sack that was once a balloon.
  • Piglet explains the popping incident, and even gets choked up thinking of his mistake.
  • Eeyore asks about what the balloon was like in its former glory.
  • Red, says his friend, and as big as Piglet himself.
  • Just then Pooh arrives with his pot.
  • Eeyore actually shows some joy. Turns out, the popped balloon is just the right size to put in the pot. Eeyore enjoys this fact so much that he puts the balloon in, takes it out, puts it in over and over again. Ah, the childhood joys of doing the same thing again and again and again and again...
  • Just when Eeyore is as happy as could be, Christopher Robin (the listener) chimes in.
  • Didn't he give Eeyore something?
  • The narrator says he did, it was a—a—
  • CR (the listener) provides this little detail: he gave Eeyore a box of paint.
  • The narrator also tells how CR had made a beautiful cake for Eeyore.
  • CR "remembers" that well. And it's the end.

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