January 18, known as Winnie the Pooh Day, honors Pooh’s creator, Alan Alexander Milne, who was born on that date in 1882. You can’t think of A.A. Milne without associating him with his sweet, much-loved bear, Pooh—
and Milne hated that association . . .
but, I digress.
First the good.
The Winnie the Pooh stories happened because of Milne’s love for his son, Christopher Robin. Christopher became a character in his father’s children’s books as did Christopher’s stuffed animals: a bear, piglet, tiger, kangaroo and a downtrodden donkey. The setting, the Hundred Acre Wood, resembled a forest near where the Milnes lived.
The Pooh books, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), became wildly successful and brought fame to the otherwise unrecognized author.
That’s the good part.
Now the bad:
Milne hated being cast as a children’s book author. He had written three novels, four screenplays, and 18 plays for adults, all forgotten due to the success of Winnie the Pooh.
“A writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence.”
and for him, that meant a legacy as a great novelist or playwright.
And here the story becomes downright ugly.
As an adult, the real Christopher Robin Milne resented being a character in his father’s books. In his autobiography, Christopher wrote,
“(My father) had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.”
During A.A. Milne’s final years, Christopher rarely saw his father. The elder Milne suffered a stroke in 1952 and was confined to a wheelchair for four years until his death, just days after his 74th birthday.
The Winnie the Pooh books continue to bring joy to children throughout the world, but few know the sad story of their author and the real Christopher Robin.
If you want to learn more about the real Christopher Robin and how his story ends, click on this link: “Christopher Robin’s real-life happy ending”.
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