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Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ

Your Frequently Asked Questions
And Other Things You Should Know

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Note: This website is based upon the books by A. A. Milne. There are differences
between the original books and the subsequent movies, shows, and books.
I defer to the original books for the definitive answers.

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Question #1: The "Sanders" Question...
Hello. I have a dilemma. I was discussing Winnie the Pooh with a friend the other day. (Don't ask me why, we're both grown adults). And he INSISTS that because it says "Sanders" above the door, that it is Winnie the Pooh's last name. As in Winnie the Pooh Sanders. I told him this is not true, and showed him your web page where it states "It means he had the name (Sanders) over the door in gold letters and pooh lived under it".

He still INSISTS that this means that is his last name. Would you PLEASE clear this up for us. We need to know which one is correct because we now have a bet riding on this. (We are very immature). Also, if it isn't his last name, why does it say Mr. Sanders over his door? That's just out of curiosity. Thank you.

Michelle Girardin

Winnie the Pooh Answer #1:
This has confused many people. Your friend is not alone. The answer of course is that his real name is "Winnie the Pooh" or "Winnie ther Pooh". But definitely not "Winnie the Pooh Sanders". The Sanders sign was there when he moved in. The real "Mr. Sanders" was the prior resident of the house where Pooh now lives.

Therefore, when A. A. Milne writes in his book that Pooh lived under the name of Sanders, the book clarifies this witty statement by stating: "It means he had the name (Sanders) over the door in gold letters and Pooh lived under it." If Pooh's name really is Sanders, by virtue of living under a sign by the same name, then by the same reasoning, your friend's last name may actually be "Mercy Hospital", or if he moved into a house and the prior owner's name was still over the door, maybe his last name is "Sanders".

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Question #2a: Mr. Sanders - Who Is He?
Who exactly was "Mr. Sanders"?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #2a:
While there is no definitive answer to this question in the Winnie-the-Pooh lore by A. A. Milne, we have decided, in a Pooh sort of way, that Mr. Sanders must have been a bear.

And he must have been a bear because he lived in the sort of house that is suitable for bears. And the location of this house was close enough to the buzzing sort of bees as to be able to get hunny, without being too close to be bothered by the buzzing when he wasn't hungry.

And since Mr. Sanders is a bear then he must have been a relative of Winnie-the-Pooh. But he must be a distant relative because Mr. Sanders is nowhere around.

Winnie the Pooh Answer #2b:
Another answer comes from author Ann Thwaite in her biography, A.A. Milne: The Man Behind Winnie-the-Pooh (Random House, 1990). In her Notes (page 522, referring to page 262) we read: "under the name of Sanders The Sanders referred to was Frank Sanders, who had a printing works in the Snow Hill area of London." This firm apparently printed some of A.A. Milne's work, although all four children's books are printed by Jarrold of Norwich. Information comes from Douglas Sanders, Frank's nephew, 1989. Frank Sanders was certainly a friend of illustrator E.H. Shepard, but there is no reference to him by A.A. Milne that would confirm this private joke.
(Courtesy of John Wheeler).

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Question #3: Okay, Then Who is "Henry Pootel?"

Piglet Answer #3:
Henry Pootel was thought to be one of Winnie-the-Pooh's relatives. Actually, Henry is a very clean Piglet. Once, Kanga gave Piglet a bath and he became so clean, that he was unrecognizable. Christopher Robin figured he must be a relative of Pooh's, and named him "Henry Pootel".

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Question #4a: What Does "ther" Mean, As In "Winnie-ther-Pooh"?
Milne makes reference to Winnie ther Pooh and suggests that we should be able to deduce what "ther" means. Perhaps I am overlooking the obvious but I am stumped! Please any help would allow me a full nights sleep!
Nanaimo BC Canada

Winnie the Pooh Answer #4a:
Although it appears to imply that "ther" means Winnie is a boy (or of a male gender), Author A. A. Milne never really answers that question in his book Winnie-the-Pooh. Here is what he writes in Chapter One...

When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say,
"But I thought he was a boy?"
"So did I," said Christopher Robin.
"Then you can't call him Winnie?"
"I don't."
"But you said--"
"He's Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don't you know what 'ther' means?"
"Ah, yes, now I do," I said quickly;
and I hope you [referring now to readers of this book] do too,
because it is all the explanation you are going to get.

Question #4b: Can We Explore This Further?
I've often appreciate your Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ and used it as a reference to clear up common questions on the subject -- there are surprisingly many. As it's becoming a de facto central repository for such questions, when I was browsing and happened to come across someone explaining one of the questions that wasn't really answered, I thought I would send you the link in case you can include it.

"Milne makes reference to Winnie ther Pooh and suggests that we should be able to deduce what "ther" means."

A post previously found on listserv.linguistlist.org explains this for rhotic speakers. In a nutshell, it said that "ther" represents stressed "the", (and, in the opinion of the analyst, couldn't be written in italic, as that would look like "the" as in "one and only"), and is saying the question is showing the name isn't "Winnie" but the whole thing "Winnie-the-Pooh", which has no traditional gender.

That doesn't completely explain it, but it satisfied me, who had never really thought of it before. Maybe that's obvious, but it would seem worth spelling out, I'm not sure the questioner got it, and I didn't really see it before. Thank you.
Pembroke College Winnie-the-Pooh Society

Winnie the Pooh Answer #4b:
Thank your for this. It was a fun read. I found the (or ther) discussion quite interesting. My only comment on the responses presented is that the one Latin argument presented is baseless since the works were indeed written in the Queens English.

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Question #5: How Do You Spell "Acre"?
You spelled Acre wrong. It's ACRE not aker.

C Robin Answer #5:
True. Acre is normally spelled a-c-r-e, and the book even spells it "acre", as in "Hundred Acre Wood". You'll notice that lots of words in Pooh's world have unconventional spellings, like Haycorns (Acorns) and Hunny (Honey) to name two others. I use a-k-e-r because that is how Christopher Robin himself spells it on the map he drew of his friends in the 100 Aker Woods. (It's very interesting to see some other Pooh sites borrowing the "Aker" addresses from this site). See Christopher Robin's hand-drawn map.

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Question #6: How Pooh Got His Name...
How did Winnie get the "Pooh" in his name?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #6:
A. A. Milne named "Winnie" after a bear at the London Zoo. (See Question and Answer #18).

"The Pooh" came from one of two sources, both referenced in the book "Winnie-the-Pooh". Source #1: Christopher Robin once had a swan that he called "Pooh". However, "that was a long time ago, and when we said good-bye, we took the name with us, as we didn't think the swan would want it any more." Source #2: "The Pooh" come from the noise Winnie makes when he uses his mouth to blow flies off his nose. This became a necessity when Winnie's arms got stuck for a week in a raised position (sticking straight up in the air) after hanging on to a blue balloon, high in the air for a long period of time, in an unsuccessful attempt to get some hunny from a bee hive located up in a tree.

Over the years, Pooh has had, or earned, a number of names including: Edward Bear, Pooh Bear, Winnie-ther-Pooh, F.O.P. (Friend of Piglets), R.C. (Rabbit's Companion), P.D. (Pole Discoverer), E.C. and T.F. (Eeyore's Comforter and Tail Finder), Bear of Very Little Brain, Sir Pooh de Bear, and 1st Mate.

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Question #7: Did Winnie-the-Pooh Have a Boat?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #7:
Yes, Pooh skippered "The Floating Bear", a large empty hunny jar, during the big rain.
He was also 1st Mate on Christopher Robin's boat "The Brain of Pooh",
an open upside-down umbrella, which they successfully used to rescue Piglet.

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Question #8: Exactly How Long Did the Terrible Flood Last?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #8:
It rained, and it rained, and it rained, and it rained...
The rains lasted for 5 days.

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Question #9: What Presents Did Eeyore Get on His Birthday?

Eeyore Answer #9:
In Chapter VI of "Winnie-the-Pooh" entitled "In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents", Eeyore received a small piece of damp rag from Piglet (which used to be a big red balloon that burst); a Useful Pot to Keep Things In from Pooh (which was originally a small pot full of hunny); and a third present --- a paint set, from Christopher Robin (which was really an afterthought).

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Question #10: What's the Best Way to Win at Poohsticks?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #10:
Poohsticks is a game involving the dropping of marked sticks off one side of a bridge into the water, and waiting to see who's stick first emerges out from under the other side of the bridge. According to Poohstick champion Eeyore, it is won "by letting your stick drop in a twitchy sort of way."

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Question #11: What's a "Backson" Like?

C Robin Answer #11:
Spotted or Herbaceous?
(Book Joke)
The Backson was thought to be a fierce animal living in the Woods.
In reality, it is Christopher Robin's shorthand for "Back Soon".

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Question #12: If Poohs Can Build Heffalump Traps,
Can Heffalumps Build Pooh Traps?

Winnie the Pooh Answer #12:
Yes, and they can be quite good at it, although Heffalumps aren't as cunning. When they notice you in one of their traps, they say "Hi-ho!", but they can be outwitted by your humming, which causes them to think they may not be in control of the situation and will eventually walk away and leave you alone.

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Question #13: Where Exactly is the 100 Aker Woods?
I visited Hill Top in Sawrey near Lake Windmere (in England) this summer.
I was told that I could visit the "Woods" and that it was also a National Trust.
True? Where? Going back in 1999.

Winnie the Pooh Answer #13: Part 1
Thank you for your enquiry. The Hundred Acre Wood is in East Sussex, probably part of Ashdown Forest. It is near a village called Hartfield. Take the train to East Grinstead, catch a bus to Hartfield. Go through the church where Isaac Newton is buried, walk past the pub, the pump, turn left, go past Pooh Corner shop and follow the signs to Poohsticks Bridge. A lot of the wood is still there but not all. A colleague went on a London Walks guided walk in Spring.
Sue Broughton, Information Manager, Resources

Winnie the Pooh Answer #13: Part 2
The 100 Acre Wood is part of Ashdown Forest which is in East Sussex, as is the Pooh Bridge. Neither are part of National Trust property and are privately owned.
Yours sincerely,
Chris Chandler, Public Services - Archaeology, NMR

Winnie the Pooh Answer #13: Part 3
"The most valuable piece of information in your FAQ#13 for any prospective visitor is that Poohsticks Bridge is near Hartfield, and how to get there. From then on, unfortunately, it gets too tricky. Hartfield is a very small village indeed, and there is barely enough parking for visitors to the few shops. They discourage parking in the village for visiting Poohsticks Bridge as it would clog the street solid! There is no signpost that I could find for the bridge after Pooh Corner Shop. Thankfully two of the shops in the village (including Pooh Corner Shop) keep a FREE leaflet telling you how to get there."

"Walking from the village will take a good half-hour as it's about 2.5 miles, and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the map for the walk from Hook Farmhouse as we didn't try that. I can however recommend the walk from Poohsticks Bridge Car Park. You *can* go through the woods in the direction given by the car park's signpost, but it's extremely muddy after wet weather, and I reckon it's better to walk along the road towards Marsh Green and take the path marked "Public Bridleway" (or "Public Footpath") to the bridge. You can always walk through the woods on the way back if it's dry - it's quite a pleasant walk even in Winter. The entrance to the woods is only a few yards away from the path to Pooh Bridge."
Dr. Tony Heath, West Sussex

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Question #14: What Do You Know About Pooh's Clothes?
My question is that since Pooh always wears an old red shirt, how many of these shirts does he own? I would be grateful if you could answer my question.

Winnie the Pooh Answer #14:
As best as we can tell, Pooh owns 1 red shirt which he only wears on dressy occasions, like Disney videos. He also has a sweater, night cap, and a hunny-eating-bib. In the books, Pooh is usually only wearing his own fur, whereas Disney prefers to keep him semi-clothed. All of the animals are very good at keeping clean and well-groomed, with the exception of Piglet who has only had a bath once in his life, and much prefers a layer of dirt.

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Question #15: When is Pooh's Birthday?
When is Winnie-the-Pooh's birthday? How old is he? Thank you.
The Secor's

Winnie the Pooh Answer #15:
The book indicates that Pooh is one year younger than Christopher Robin. We estimate that Pooh is 4 years old through the first two books and grows no older than 5 years old in a later book. (See Pooh FAQ item #16 and #57 as well). Although it is not relevant to the story, we would suggest Winnie-the-Pooh's actual date of birth is August 21, 1921, since this was the date that the stuffed bear was given to Christopher Robin Milne.

On to Page Three of our "Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ"

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I would appreciate any comments you may have.
© 1997 Topher
Updated 2018

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The information in this Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ And Other Things You Should Know page has been carefully researched and, as presented, is the sole property of Topher's Castle. Information from this page cannot be used on any other website or in other printed material without the written permission of Topher. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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