A.A. Milne introduced us to a silly old bear

Winnie-the-Pooh 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

English author A.A. Milne was born on this day — January 18, 1882 — the father of Christopher Robin and creator of Winnie the Pooh, that lovable, silly old bear filled with fluff who has worked his way into the hearts of children and adults for over a hundred years. My children were treated to Pooh as they grew up … but that’s because I was treated to Pooh when growing up.

Bumper BookIn second or third grade, we were to memorize a poem for class, and so I chose “Christopher Robin.” I believe Milne properly named it “Vespers,” but I always called it “Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers.”  It was in an over-sized children’s book of stories, poem, and quotes called “The Bumper Book” that our mom had gotten second-hand. It quickly became a favorite as she read out of it to my sister and me, stories we almost knew by heart, and poems that we could quote at a moment’s notice.

“Vespers” was my favorite. And so I chose it for my class assignment.

Do you know I can remember every word of that little poem to this very day? Loved it then, love it now … and shared it with my children as they grew up.

I thought of it today while thinking of its author on his birthday. Milne wrote it about his little boy, Christopher Robin. It will remain a favorite and, some day, I will recite it for a new generation of little ones.

Vespers

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that’s right.
Wasn’t it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold’s so cold, and the hot’s so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy – I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny’s dressing-gown on the door.
It’s a beautiful blue, but it hasn’t a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I’m there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said “Bless Daddy,” so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

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