Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 9

By A. A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 9

In Which Piglet Is Entirely Surrounded by Water

  • Piglet has never seen so much rain. Not in all his 3, maybe 4 years on this Earth.
  • He longs to be in the company of his friends, Pooh and Christopher Robin.
  • He even imagines the small talk about weather that they'd make together. Talk about boredom.
  • It's raining so much, in fact, that ditches are becoming streams, streams are becoming rivers, and rivers rise over their banks and threaten to flood poor Piglet's house.
  • This makes Piglet very anxious. He imagines that he's worse off than any of his friends, for they could save in themselves in one way or another.
  • But he, Piglet, being very small, has no agency or strength of his own.
  • He starts to think. And realizes it may help him to think of what CR would do. And that makes him think of a story CR told him once of someone writing a message in a bottle.
  • So he writes a message. With real words and correct spelling and everything. Turns out Piglet may be the brightest animal in the bunch. Go figure.
  • He writes for help, stuffs it in a bottle, corks it up, and throws it as far into the flood waters as he can.
  • Now there's nothing to do but wait.
  • Meanwhile, back at Pooh's house, Pooh has slept through most of this torrential rainfall business.
  • You see, after the expotition to the North Pole, he had decided to go in search of the East Pole. We hear all this from the narrator, as explanation for Pooh's tiredness. It makes us think that there's a whole lot going on in the Hundred Acre Wood that we don't actually get to hear about.
  • He's in the middle of a strange dream about Woozles when he wakes up to find his feet submerged in water.
  • He finds refuge on a high branch of his tree, with his most valuable possessions: all ten of his pots of honey.
  • The days go on and his stash dwindles, until four days later he has no honey and he spies Piglet's bottle floating by.
  • Of course, he really hopes it's more honey (why wouldn't it be?), and is disappointed when all he finds is paper.
  • Still, he has the good sense to see that it is a message. He even recognizes the letter P and assumes that means that the message is for him.
  • You do know that P is for Pooh, don't you?
  • He decides to float atop his biggest jar over to Christopher Robin's (the character) house for help reading the rest of the message.
  • Unfortunately, buoyancy gets the best of Pooh, and he struggles for a while to get on top of his makeshift raft. Ever tried to duct-tape the lid onto a garbage can and bring it down to the river near your house as part of a plan to paddle down to your neighbor's and surprise them with a bunch of water balloons, only to immediately flip over and lose all your ammo to the murky depths? No?
  • We never did either. But it's probably hard to stay on top of something like that.
  • Eventually Pooh gets control and floats on.
  • Meanwhile, back at Christopher Robin's (the character) house, CR is safe from the floods because he lives on top of a big hill.
  • He decides it's best to play and experiment with the flood. He makes a routine of measuring the height of the water each morning, until the water surrounds the whole hill and he finds himself on an island of sorts.
  • It's on the fifth day (the same day that Pooh finds Piglet's bottle) that Owl flies by to say Hallo.
  • Owl tries to engage CR in some esoteric small talk, but the boy is more concerned with his friends Pooh and Piglet.
  • CR sends Owl off to find them.
  • Learning, upon the bird's return, that Pooh is not home, CR is worried, he's anxious, he's—
  • Pooh floats up on his jug, unexpectedly.
  • Pooh hands over the very important message, which of course leads them to the conclusion that they must rescue Piglet immediately.
  • Owl flies off again to tell Piglet help is on the way, and CR tries to think of a plan for rescuing his little friend.
  • Pooh's jug-boat won't do because it's precarious enough with just one creature on it.
  • Then Pooh, the bear of very little brain, comes up with a surprisingly clever idea: they should use CR's umbrella as a boat.
  • CR is so astonished at Pooh's solution that he can only respond in punctuation marks (read the story; it comes across to great effect).
  • Well, since this is fiction—fiction within fiction, in fact—the umbrella idea works. Liability check: Shmoop University does not support the use of umbrellas as emergency flotation devices. Any claim to the contrary may heretofore be discounted as unwarranted falsehood.
  • When the rescue boat reaches Piglet's home, he's overjoyed, not so much at being saved from the flood, but more at being saved from Owl's ironically brainless lectures on what-not and the-likes-of-which.
  • Milne (the narrator) recounts this last bit of the story in one long, long sentence upon which your English teachers would frown deeply. It exhausts him so much that he ends the story abruptly upon Piglet seeing the makeshift boat, since we know what happens after that anyway. 

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh: Chapter 9 Study Group

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