The origins of Winnie can be traced back to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In August 1914, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a Veterinary Officer with the 34th Fort Garry Horse of Manitoba, was travelling by train from his home in Winnipeg to enroll in the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps in Valcartier, Quebec.

Travelling by Canadian Pacific Railway, he had to change trains at White River Bend in Ontario, where he noticed a man further along the station platform with an American black bear cub tied to the arm of the bench on which he was seated.

He struck up a conversation and, learning that the man was a trapper who had shot and killed the cub's mother, Colebourn offered him $20 for the young bear -- the trapper eagerly accepted the offer and the cub was taken to Quebec, where she became the mascot of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade.

In December 1914,the 2nd Brigade was preparing to move to France in great secrecy. Colebourn decided it was unsafe to take her into battle; so, while passing through London on the way to France on December 9th, 1914, he visited London Zoo and asked them to care for the cub until his return, which he optimistically anticipated would be no longer than two weeks.

Of course, that war to end all wars was not to end so quickly. It was not until 1918 that Colebourn returned safely to London. Realizing that the bear, now known affectionately by her keepers and visitors as Winnie, was happy and content in her new home, he decided to leave her there.

Source: Fort Garry Horse, RCAC
The story of Winnie the Pooh (I don't remember him owning any hyphens), caused Christopher Robin's real-life prototype, A.A. Milne's son, much distress in later life, since he was forever thereafter associated with the mewling sissy of the books. Later ages may have found grounds for a lawsuit.

This story was also one of the first popular books translated into Latin, by Alexander Lenard in 1960. I believe Mr. Lenard was intentionally trying to be difficult; the translation is not for children, and contains some of the most obscure and pedantic linguistic jokes I have ever read. (The phrase 'de apibus disputandum est' comes to mind).

The beginning is rather hilarious: just the mere thought of anyone torturing their child with 'Ecce Eduardus ursus scalis nunc tump-tump-tump occipite gradus pulsante post Christophorum Robinum descendens.'.

Winnie-The-Pooh is a British children's book, written by A.A. Milne for his son Christopher Robin Milne and illustrated in the original version by E.H. Shepard.

The Pooh books (Winnie-the-Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner) are based around the adventures of a small boy and his collection of stuffed animals. In much the same way as the Peanuts cartoon strip, they are philosophical, with each of the animal characters portraying an archetype:

  • Pooh: A kind of everyman, discovering the world, and overcome with wonder. He isn't a great thinker (he's a bear of very little brain), but he is a deep thinker.
  • Piglet: Small and timid, but capable of great things, especially in the cause of friendship.
  • Eeyore: The classic pessimist, looking on the dark side of everything.
  • Tigger: Eeyore's antithesis, an enthusiast and cock-eyed optimist, perpetually being disappointed, but always bouncing back.
  • Kanga: The nurturing mother figure.
  • Roo: The curious child always getting into trouble but learning from it.
  • Owl: The pompous know-it-all, very sure of his facts, however wrong they might be.
  • Rabbit: The busybody, always frazzled, organising everyone, whether or not they want to be organised.

The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet are treatises examining the philosopy set out in the books and Pooh has also been used as the basis for a book on management styles.

But most of all they are just lovely books for kids to read.

"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."

-- A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Winnie-the-Pooh might well the be patron saint of writers, whether their media are electronic or physical.

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