You likely know him as Piglet’s best friend, a lover of all things honey and generally speaking a “willy, nilly, silly old bear,” but you may not know about the heartwarming story behind Winnie the Pooh.
Perhaps you are aware that Christopher Robin was a real boy with a beloved teddy bear, although his bear originally had a different name. There was a real bear named Winnie, however, and there was also a Pooh—what is a Pooh, anyway?—but neither was Christopher Robin’s honey-loving stuffed animal.
If all of this leaves you feeling confused, let’s take a brief look at the true story behind the tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.
Christopher Robin Milne
On Aug. 21, 1920, Daphne and Alan Alexander Milne gave birth to their only child, a son, whom they named Christopher Robin. When the little boy was about a year old, he received a teddy bear as a gift. Soon, other stuffed animals began to fill the nursery.
The real little boy’s teddy bear was neither called Winnie nor Pooh. Christopher Robin called the stuffed animal Edward Bear. However, after visits to the London Zoo, the young boy became smitten with a trained black bear named Winnipeg (after her former owner’s hometown), prompting him to rename his own bear Winnie.
What About Pooh?
Christopher Robin enjoyed feeding a swan every morning and, for whatever reason, he nicknamed the fowl “Pooh.” His father commended him on the name.
“This is a very fine name for a swan,” he wrote in the introduction to “When We Were Very Young,” “because, if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him.”
Eventually, the young boy combined the names of his two favorite animals and his bear became Winnie the Pooh.
Christopher Robin’s playwright father, known to the world as A. A. Milne, began to create stories based on his son and the animals. In 1924, he published “When We Were Very Young.” Three more titles followed.
The real Christopher Robin passed away in 1996. Pooh Bear and several of his friends reside at the New York Public Library. However, in our hearts and minds the boy and his silly old bear are forever playing in the Hundred Acre Wood.
[h/t: Hello Giggles]