A. A. Milne

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When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

Alan Alexander Milne (18 January 188231 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems.


  • They have almost brought it off, the War to End Peace, for which they have been striving for three years. What an incredible joke! A war 'to defend the freedom of the Straits and the sanctity of our graves in Gallipoli', says Punch magnificently. Of course you can think of it like that, and it sounds quite dignified and natural. But you may also think, as I do, of those five or ten or twenty men, our chosen statesmen, sitting round a table; the same old statesmen; each with his war memories thick upon him; each knowing his own utter incompetence to maintain a war or to end a war.
    • On the Chanak Crisis; 'Another Little War', The Daily News (4 October 1922), quoted in P. N. Furbank, E. M. Forster: A Life, Volume Two: Polycrates' Ring 1914–1970 (1978; 1979 ed.), p. 112
  • Tell the innocent visitor from another world that two people were killed at Serajevo, and that the best that Europe could do about it was to kill eleven million more.
    • Peace with Honour, 1934.
  • I wrote somewhere once that the third-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the majority, the second-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the minority, and the first-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking.
  • They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace —
    Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
    They've great big parties inside the grounds.
    "I wouldn't be king for a hundred pounds",
    Says Alice.
  • James James
    Morrison Morrison
    Weatherby George Dupree
    Took great care of his mother
    Though he was only three.
    James James said to his mother
    Mother he said, said he:
    You mustn't go down to the end of the town if you don't go down with me.
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Put on a golden gown.
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Went to the end of the town
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Said to herself, said she:
    I can go right down to the end of the town and be back in time for tea!
  • Halfway down the stairs
    Is a stair
    Where I sit.
    There isn't any
    Other stair
    Quite like
    I'm not at the bottom,
    I'm not at the top;
    So this is the stair
    I always

    Halfway up the stairs
    Isn't up,
    Isn't down.
    It isn't in the nursery,
    It isn't in the town.
    And all sorts of funny thoughts
    Run round my head:
    "It isn't really
    It's somewhere else
Time for something sweet...
  • Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think about it.
    • Chapter One, opening lines.
  • "If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee."
    Then he thought another long time, and said: "And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey."
    And then he got up, and said: "And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree.
    • Chapter One - Pooh.
  • Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" he was so excited that he said, "Both," and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, "But don't bother about the bread, please."
    • Chapter Two.
  • "What?" said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.
    • Chapter Three.
  • "I have been Foolish and Deluded," said he, "and I am a Bear of No Brain at All."
    • Chapter Three - Pooh.
  • These notices had been written by Christopher Robin, who was the only one in the forest who could spell; for Owl, wise though he was in many ways, able to read and write and spell his own name WOL, yet somehow went all to pieces over delicate words like MEASLES and BUTTEREDTOAST.
    • Chapter Four.
  • "I'm giving this to Eeyore," he explained, "as a present. What are you going to give?"
    "Couldn't I give it too?" said Piglet. "From both of us?"
    "No," said Pooh. "That would not be a good plan."
    • Chapter Six.
  • It was just as if somebody inside him were saying, "Now then, Pooh, time for a little something."
    • Chapter Six.
  • "Because my spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."
    • Chapter Six - Pooh.
  • "It is hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."
    • Chapter Seven.
  • Owl was telling Kanga an Interesting Anecdote full of long words like Encyclopædia and Rhododendron to which Kanga wasn't listening.
    • Chapter Eight.
  • "It's a little Anxious," he said to himself, "to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surrounded by Water."
    • Chapter Nine - Piglet.
  • Kanga said to Roo, "Drink up your milk first, dear, and talk afterwards." So Roo, who was drinking his milk, tried to say that he could do both at once . . . and had to be patted on the back and dried for quite a long time afterwards.
    • Chapter Ten.
  • "H–hup!" said Roo accidentally.
    "Roo, dear!" said Kanga reproachfully.
    "Was it me?" asked Roo, a little surprised.
    • Chapter Ten.
  • "And how are you?", said Winnie-the-Pooh. (...)
    "Not very how", he said. "I don't seem to have felt at all how for a long time."
  • Cottleston, cottleston, cottleston pie,
    A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
    Ask me a riddle and I reply,
    Cottleston, cottleston, cottleston pie.
  • "Good morning, Pooh Bear", said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning", he said. "Which I doubt", said he.
  • Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
  • How sweet to be a cloud
    Floating in the blue.
  • "Hello Rabbit, is that you?"
    "Let's pretend it isn't", said Rabbit, "and see what happens."
  • Isn't it funny
    How a bear likes honey?
    Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
    I wonder why he does?
  • There are some people who begin the Zoo at the beginning, called WAYIN, and walk as quickly as they can past every cage until they get to the one called WAYOUT, but the nicest people go straight to the animal they love the most, and stay there.
  • We can't all and some of us don't. That's all there is to it.
    • -Eeyore.
  • You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
    • -Pooh.
  • When I was One,
    I had just begun.
    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.
    When I was Three
    I was hardly me.
    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.
    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.
    But now I am Six,
    I'm as clever as clever,
    So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
    • The End.
  • I found a little beetle, so that beetle was his name,
    And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.
    I put him in a matchbox, and I kept him all the day...

    And Nanny let my beetle out
    Yes, Nanny let my beetle out
    She went and let my beetle out-
    And beetle ran away.

    She said she didn't mean it, and I never said she did,
    She said she wanted matches, and she just took off the lid
    She said that she was sorry, but it's difficult to catch
    An excited sort of beetle you've mistaken for a match.

    She said that she was sorry, and I really mustn't mind
    As there's lots and lots of beetles which she's certain we could find
    If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid-
    And we'd get another matchbox, and write BEETLE on the lid.

    We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,
    And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,
    And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout:
    "A beetle-house and Alexander Beetle coming out!"

    It was Alexander Beetle I'm as certain as can be
    And he had a sort of look as if he thought it might be ME,
    And he had a kind of look as if he thought he ought to say:
    "I'm very, very sorry that I tried to run away."

    And Nanny's very sorry too, for you know what she did,
    And she's writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid,
    So Nan and me are friends, because it's difficult to catch
    An excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.

    • Forgiven (affectionately also known as Alexander Beetle).
So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing.
  • When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said "The what of a what?" which didn't help us as much as we had hoped, but luckily Owl kept his head and told us that the Opposite of an Introduction, my dear Pooh, was a Contradiction; and, as he is very good at long words, I am sure that that's what it is.
    • Contradiction.
  • The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there.
    • Chapter One - Pooh.
  • "Nearly eleven o'clock," said Pooh happily. "You're just in time for a little smackerel of something."
    • Chapter One.
  • "Shall I look too?" said Pooh, who was beginning to feel a little eleven o'clockish. And he found a small tin of condensed milk, and something seemed to tell him that Tiggers didn't like this, so he took it into a corner by itself, and went with it to see that nobody interrupted it.
    • Chapter Two.
  • Pooh said good-bye affectionately to his fourteen pots of honey, and hoped they were fifteen; and he and Rabbit went out into the Forest.
    • Chapter Three.
  • Piglet looked up, and looked away again. And he felt so Foolish and Uncomfortable that he had almost decided to run away to Sea and be a Sailor, when suddenly he saw something.
    • Chapter Three.
  • One day when Pooh was thinking, he thought he would go and see Eeyore, because he hadn't seen him since yesterday.
    • Chapter Four.
  • Now it happened that Kanga had felt rather motherly that morning, and Wanting to Count Things — like Roo's vests, and how many pieces of soap there were left, and the two clean spots in Tigger's feeder.
    • Chapter Four.
  • "Yes," said Tigger, "they're very good flyers, Tiggers are. Strornry good flyers."
    • Chapter Four.
  • Piglet took Pooh's arm, in case Pooh was frightened.
    • Chapter Four.
  • "And he respects Owl, because you can't help respecting anyone who can spell Tuesday, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count."
    • Chapter Five - Rabbit, speaking of Christopher Robin.
  • Owl took Christopher Robin's notice from Rabbit and looked at it nervously. He could spell his own name WOL, and he could spell Tuesday so that you knew it wasn't Wednesday, and he could read quite comfortably when you weren't looking over his shoulder and saying "Well?" all the time, and he could—
    • Chapter Five.
  • By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
    • Chapter Six.
  • "I've got a sort of idea," said Pooh at last, "but I don't suppose it's a very good one."
    "I don't suppose it is either," said Eeyore.
    • Chapter Six.
  • "when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
    • Chapter Six - "In which Pooh invents a new game and Eeyore joins in".
  • Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was the right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.
    • Chapter Seven.
  • "Lucky we know the forest so well, or we might get lost," said Rabbit half an hour later, and he gave the careless laugh which you give when you know the Forest so well that you can't get lost.
    Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
    "Pooh!" he whispered.
    "Yes, Piglet?"
    "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
    • Chapter Seven.
  • ...and then he and Roo pushed each other about in a friendly way, and Tigger accidentally knocked over one or two chairs by accident, and Roo accidentally knocked over one on purpose, and Kanga said, "Now then, run along."
    • Chapter Seven.
  • "I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit.
    "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."
    • Chapter Seven.
  • "You only blinched inside," said Pooh, "and that's the bravest way for a Very Small Animal not to blinch that there is."
    • Chapter Ten.
  • "Well," said Pooh, "what I like best—" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
    • Chapter Ten.
  • "I'm not going to do just nothing anymore."
    "You mean never again?"
    "Well, not so much. They don't let you."
  • "I shouldn't be surprised if it hailed a good deal tomorrow", Eeyore was saying. "Blizzards and what-not. Being fine today doesn't mean anything. It has no sig - what's that word? Well, it has none of that. It's just a small piece of weather."
  • If I plant a honeycomb outside my house, then it will grow up into a beehive.
  • Then Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh walked hand in hand down the forest path and they said goodbye. So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them along the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing.
  • "That's what Jagular's always do", said Pooh, much interested. "They call 'Help! Help!' and then when you look up, they'll drop on you."
  • "They wanted to come in after the pounds", explained Pooh, "so I let them. It's the best way to write poetry, letting things come".

Quotes about Milne

  • My mother is English, and as she was the one who read to us, my early world was A. A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl. None of them thought it necessary to protect children from darkness. On the contrary, they guided their readers right toward it. This gives one an enormous sense of being respected as a child. Not just of being trusted to handle things as they are, but to be accepted as not entirely good. To be recognized as having darkness within oneself, too.
  • To A. A. Milne belongs the honour of enshrining with urban romance the civilized and comfortable child of to-day. When we were Very Young marks an epoch as positively as any children's book has ever marked one. It is not extravagant to surmise that a distant posterity may find in that volume of children's verse a key with which to unlock the present more easily than with any contemporary novel, or poem, or play.
  • And it is that word 'hummy,' my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up.