That’s what I like best about him! He’s normal! He accepts his fate with the full knowledge that he probably won’t like it. But he takes what he gets anyway, and is often happier than he thinks he’s going to be with the result.
He does not try to cheat bees out of honey, he doesn’t dither and fidget and worry like that little friend of his, he doesn’t bounce around annoying everyone with his unflappable good mood and bizarre logic, he doesn’t flutter around thinking he knows everything, and he’s not a grouch who hates everything everyone around him does.
He’s just Eeyore. Granted, I also wonder why he gets invited sometimes, but think how depressed he’d feel if everyone left him out of the latest silly idea that Pooh’s fuzzy headed silly idea factory has produced. Everyone knows he’s happier in the group, no matter what he says.
So imagine my annoyance to discover that Eeyore’s getting something of a personality adjustment a new Pooh story.
The Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the first authorised Winnie-the-Pooh sequel since AA Milne’s last Pooh story in 1928, sees the melancholic donkey return with a more “proactive” take on life.
David Benedictus, the author who has reunited the honey-loving bear with Tigger, Piglet and Kanga, said that he had tried to make Eeyore less pessimistic than Milne’s original portrayal to avoid him become a bore.
“The hardest characters to write are the ones you know the most about, particularly Eeyore,” he said. “You already have 20 stories where Eeyore always feels sorry for himself and I didn’t want him to become too boring, so in the new book, he has something of a more proactive role.
“There are a couple of stories where he takes more of a leading part of things, instead of always complaining about things happening to him, and he has moments of stepping out of his misery.”
Every one of Christopher Robin’s little friends has a purpose. A. A. Milne would not have added a down-in-the dumps realist to the mix if it wasn’t important to the Hundred Acre world in some way. His friends like him, for one thing. And they will try to cajole him out of his bad mood and even if they are unsuccessful, they still remain friends with him anyway. They still include him, they still show by hanging out with him that he must have enough fine qualities to offset his perceived pathetic existence.
And his complaints always lead to results, even though he’s something of a manipulator when he does it. Like the birthday party story where he’s depressingly sarcastic about not having a cake or gifts on his birthday and Pooh then goes out of his way to make Eeyore’s day better. The gift getting doesn’t go as nice as everyone plans it, though. Piglet breaks the red balloon but gives it to Eeyore anyway, who remarks that he likes red and he likes Piglet sized balloons. He’s disappointed that it’s broken, but then Pooh brings a Useful Pot and it turns out to be just the right size to put the piece of balloon into, so it all works out quite happily, even for Eeyore, who spends some time happily taking the balloon out of the pot and putting it back in again.
Moral #1: things might work out better if you tell people what’s wrong.
Moral #2: happiness can be found in the little things.
At any rate, I guess I’ll have to read the Return to the Hundred Acre Wood when I see it at work, and see what’s been done to my favourite lovable grumbler. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m ready to believe…