In which Tigger is Unbounced
Tigger was getting so Bouncy that I decided it was time we taught him a lesson. Piglet and Pooh agreed with me that however much you liked him, you couldn't deny it, he did bounce. There was altogether too much of him. I had noticed that about Tigger. Wherever he was, he always seemed to take up so much space. I think it was because he had so much energy; he just jumped about the place recklessly. I wouldn't have minded so much if he hadn't Bounced me every time we saw each other, or ruined my beautiful garden. Ever since Tigger had arrived here, I had been wary of him and now I knew my instinct was correct. Tigger was bad news.
The idea came to me suddenly. We would take Tigger for a long explore, somewhere where he's never been, and lose him there, and next morning we'd find him again, and he'd be a different Tigger altogether. He'd be a Humble Tigger. He'd be a Sad Tigger, a Melancholy Tigger, a Small and Sorry Tigger, an Oh-Rabbit-I-am-glad-to-see-you Tigger. It was perfect. It was flawless. It was bound to work.
I really wanted to see Tigger feel Small. He was the sort whose ego needed it, every once in a while. It was decided between Pooh, Piglet and me that we would take him to the North Pole, because it would take a long time for Tigger to un-find it.
The day we set off was cold and misty. It was just the day for us, and I told Piglet and Pooh when they got to my house. Tigger always bounced on ahead of everybody, and as soon as he got out of sight, we would hurry away in the other direction, and he would never see us again.
"Not never?" said Piglet. I realised I may have gotten carried away and amended myself.
"Well, not until we find him again, Piglet. To-morrow, or whenever it is. Come on. He's waiting for us."
When we got to Kanga's house, we found that Roo was waiting too, being a great friend of Tigger's, which made it Awkward; but we were able to leave without him.
So we went. At first Pooh, Piglet and I walked together, and Tigger ran round us in circles, and then, when the path got narrower, Piglet, Pooh and I walked one after another, and Tigger ran round us in oblongs, and when the gorse got very prickly on each side of the path, Tigger ran up and down in front of us, and sometimes he bounced into me. Every time he did, my fur would stand on end and I became that much more certain about my Plan. Tigger deserved it. If only he wasn't so careless with his Bounces, we might not have to do this to him.
As we got higher, the mist got thicker so that Tigger kept disappearing, and then when I thought he wasn't there, there he was again, saying "I say, come on," and before I could say anything, there he wasn't.
I turned round and nudged Piglet. "The next time," I said, sure of it. "Tell Pooh."
"The next time," said Piglet to Pooh.
"The next what?" said Pooh to Piglet. There was little hope for that bear, really.
Tigger appeared suddenly, bounced into me, and disappeared again. "Now!" I said, annoyed more than ever. What was Tigger's problem?
I jumped into a hollow by the side of the path, and Pooh and Piglet jumped after me. We crouched in the bracken, listening. The Forest was very silent when you stopped and listened to it. We could see nothing and hear nothing.
"H'sh!" I said, nerves getting the better of me. What if Tigger found us? What if Tigger found his way home? What if Tigger got hurt?
"I am," said Pooh.
There was a pattering noise... then silence again.
"Hallo!" said Tigger, and he sounded so close. "Where are you?" called Tigger.
I almost called back to him. I didn't know why I felt the urge to tell him where we were, but it would have ruined everything so I willed myself to keep silent. To release some of my pent up emotions, I elbowed Pooh.
"That's funny," said Tigger. I wondered if we had upset him and a surge of guilt swept over me.
There was a moment's silence, and then we heard him pattering off again. For a little longer we waited, until the Forest had become so still that it almost frightened us, and then I got up and stretched myself.
"Well?" I whispered proudly, feeling like a horrible friend. "There we are Just as I said."
"I've been thinking," said Pooh, "and I think–"
"No," I said. "Don't. Run. Come on." And we all hurried off, me leading the way. I couldn't listen to what Pooh had been thinking. If he had been thinking that we should find Tigger and pretend it had all been a big Accident, I might have agreed and then where would we be? Tigger needed to learn his lesson: you can't go around Bouncing your friends without apologising. Or maybe it was that you should have less enthusiasm. Or... Well, whatever the lesson was, Tigger was going to learn it.
"Why are we going along here?"
"Because it's the way home."
"Oh!" said Pooh.
"I think it's more to the right," said Piglet nervously. "What do you think, Pooh?"
Pooh looked at his two paws. "Well," he said slowly.
"Come on," I said. "I know it's this way."
We went on. Ten minutes later we stopped again. I wasn't quite sure I knew it was that way after all.
"It's very silly," I said, "but just for the moment I– Ah, of course. Come on."
"Here we are," I said ten minutes later. "No, we're not."
"Now," I said ten minutes later as I began to panic, "I think we ought to be getting– or are we a little bit more to the right than I thought?"
"It's a funny thing," I said ten minutes later, "how everything looks the same in a mist. Have you noticed it, Pooh?" I ignored that my tone of voice had risen to almost hysterical levels.
Pooh said that he had.
"Lucky we know the Forest so well, or we might get lost," I said half an hour later, thinking about how lost Tigger would be about now. I gave a careless laugh to show I knew the Forest so well that we couldn't get lost.
"The fact is," I said, admitting to it at last, "we've missed our way somehow." We were having a rest in a small sand-pit on the top of the Forest. I had noticed that whichever direction we started in, we always ended up at the sand-pit, and each time, as it came through the mist at us, I said triumphantly, "now I know where we are!" because I did and Pooh said sadly, "So do I," as if he knew we were hopelessly lost and Piglet said nothing. I suspected that he was beginning to grow afraid.
"Well," I said, after a long silence in which nobody thanked me for the nice walk we were having, "we'd better get on, I suppose. Which way shall we try?"
"How would it be," said Pooh slowly, "if, as soon as we're out of sight of this Pit, we try to find it again?"
"What's the good of that?" I said.
"Well," said Pooh, "we keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we'd be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren't looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really."
"I don't see much sense in that," I said, because it was perfectly logical and I hadn't come up with it.
"No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it on the way."
"If I walked away from this Pit, and then walked back to it, of course I should find it." I hoped I would.
"Well, I thought perhaps you wouldn't," said Pooh. "I just thought."
"Try," said Piglet suddenly. I had almost forgotten he was with us. "We'll wait here for you."
I gave a laugh to show how silly Piglet was, and walked into the mist. After I had gone a hundred yards, I turned and walked back again and twenty minutes later, I still hadn't returned. Darn that Pooh!
Something was tearing around the Forest making loud yapping noises. It was frightening, and I worried that a great big Something was lurking in the Forest just waiting for me to fall into its large jaws so it could eat me and then I'd never see Tigger again and know if he had learned his lesson in unbouncing and oh, would he ever forgive me for getting him lost in the Forest?
After a while, I realised the yapping noise was someone calling my name. I was a very Small and Sorry Rabbit when I recognized that that someone was Tigger. It was him tearing around the Forest, looking for me. He wasn't lost after all! I, now a Small and Sorry Rabbit, rushed through the mist at the noise, and it suddenly turned into Tigger; a friendly Tigger, a Grand Tigger, a Large and Helpful Tigger, a Tigger who bounced, if he bounced at all, in just the beautiful way a Tigger ought to bounce.
"Oh, Tigger, I am glad to see you," I cried, rushing into his arms. He clutched my shivering body to his chest and I buried my head in his fur. I was so glad to have been found by Tigger. I didn't care if he Bounced me a million times after this, I was just so relieved to see him and that he wasn't angry with me. He felt so warm and safe with his largeness. Tigger stroked my back soothingly, and I only stopped shaking when he kissed my forehead.
"Let's get you home, Bunny Boy."