My son celebrated his 4th Birthday recently and his aunty gave him the collected stories of Winnie The Pooh by A. A. Milne. What a delight those stories are: whimsical, humorous, tender, with a keen eye of love for the emotions, thoughts and imaginitive life of Christopher Robin, A. A. Milne’s amaneusis and 5 year old son.
A. A. Milne And Me
As I read the adventures of Winnie The Pooh I immediately recognised them as Milne’s equivalents of the stories I tell my own son. In the same way my boy says, “Daddy, tell me a story about how Cheetah went to play at his friend’s house” and I say “Ah..yeah..sure…Lessee…One day Cheetah woke up and [spies stuffed Parrot] rang Parrot on his Mobile Phone and said [spies Lego action figure] Hawk-Man needs our help to find a big chocolate crocodile…[etc]“, I recognised Milne’s characters and plot as the spontaneous creation of a Father’s bed-time stories.
And I was delighted to find that, like the literary legend Milne, I injected my son as a character into my stories the same way he did.
All Dads Do It
Recognising the fraternity of Dads and Christopher Robins worldwide I don’t think Milne would be insulted to have my own family’s bedtime stories recounted next to his. So here goes:
Bob The Bandicoot’s Messing Up Machine
Bob The Bandicoot (this character’s species plagiarised from ‘The Magic Pudding’) lived in the sandhills not far from the Bunnies carrot patch. (The Bunnies in the sandhills are long-time bedtime story characters from a camping trip we did to Bulli Caravan Park where rabbits live in profusion).
Bob is an inventor and loves to make machines. One day, looking around at the mess in his shed he said “I know, I’ll build a tidying-up machine”. So he got a whole lot of metal, old engines, fish hooks, blades from an old fan and lots of string and built a tidying up machine. Then he put the batteries in and turned in on. ‘Hoot-Hoot!’ went the machine. (This Noise plagiarised from Professor Branestawm’s Automatic Bowling Machine)
‘Hello, tidying up machine’ said Bob. ‘Could you please tidy up all my nails ?”
“NO!” said the tidying up machine and he stomped his legs and took his remote control off Bob Bandicoot and put it in his pocket. Then he tipped out all the nails, pushed over the cupboars full of metal, took the milk out of the fridge and poured it on the ground and got the string and tied it all up into knots. Then he went stomping out of the shed and ran off into the sandhills.
‘Oh no’ said Bob Bandicoot, ‘The Messing Up Machine is headed for the bunnies burrow. I better tell Mr. Crocodile.’ So he rang up Mr. Crocodile straight away.
RING-RING went the phone in Mr. Crocodile’s house. ‘Who is it ?’ said Mr. Crocodile.
‘It’s me, Bob Bandicoot’, said Bob Bandicoot. My tidying up machine is all cranky and he messed up my shed and now he’s going over to the Bunnies’ carrot patch. Can you please help ?
‘Sure thing’ said Mr. Crocodile ‘I’ll be right over’ And he got straight in his bus and but some strong rope in it and went driving off to the Bunnies Burrow.
Just then the Bunnies were having breakfast.
“White Bunny, ” said Mummy Bunny, “can you please go up to our patch and bring back two nice carrots for our breakfast ?”
“Sure thing” said White Bunny and he went up the burrow to the surface but as he got near the top of his burrow he heard a terrible big noise outside. White Bunny carefully stuck up his whiskers and nose and had a peek. Oh No! The Messing-Up Machine was getting his hooks and pulling up all the Bunnies’ carrots and throwing them around and making a huge mess! White Bunny went straight back down his burrow. “Mummy, a big machine is hooking up all our carrots and throwing them around and making a big mess!” “Hmmm. I know ” said Mummy Bunny, “I will call Mr. Crocodile”
RING-RING went Mr. Crocodile’s phone again.
“Who is it ?”, said Mr. Crocodile.
“Its Mummy Bunny”, said Mummy Bunny “A nasty big Messing Up Machine is wrecking all our carrots and throwing them everywhere. Can you please come over and help ?”
“I’m already on my way” said Mr. Crocodile, “I’ll just be a few minutes”
“Brmmm-whz-bang-toot-toot-POP! (This noise plagiarized from Madness, 80’s Two-tone Ska band “I Go Driving In My Car”) went Mr. Crocodile’s bus as it came to a stop outside the Bunnies Burrow. “Hello there, Bunnies, I’m here. Can I come in ? Where’s the Messing Up Machine ?”
“Over there in our carrot patch” said White Bunny
Mr. Crocodile got out his binoculars and had a look. The Messing Up Machine was still throwing carrots everywhere and making a huge mess.
“Hmmm.” said Mr. Crocodile. “I Know what to do. Let’s build a big hole and make Messing Up Machine fall in.”
So the Bunnies began to did with their paws because they have big paws and are very good at digging burows and holes. And Mr. Crocodile began to dig too because he can dig holes in the muddy river bank, so he swished his big tail and helped the bunnies dig a big hole.
“Now let’s cover it with sticks and branches” said Mr. Crocodile “so the Messing Up Machine can’t see it”. So the bunnies and Mr. Crocodile got stcks and branches from the trees in the sandhills and covered up the hole.
When the hole was ready, Mr.Crocodile whistled to the Messing Up Machine. “Hey machine! Come over here. Here’s some crunchy carrots you missed”
The Messing Up Machine stopped throwing carrots and went stomping towards Mr. Crocodile. “Give me those crunchy carrots!” he said.
“No, said Mr. Crocodile, “you come and get them”
So the Messing Up Machine came stomping over but when he stepped on the sticks, what happened ? Yes, he fell in the big hole with a big CRASH!!
“Now” said Mr. Crocodile, “give me back your remote control”.
“NO!” said the Messing Up Machine. And he stomped and went HOOT-HOOT and smoke came out his ears.
“OK” said Mr. Crocodile “you stay in the hole then”
Messing Up Machien stayed in the hole a long time and then it began to rain and all the sand at the bottom of the hole turned into sticky mud.
“Aww.” said the Messing Up Machine “I don’t like this mud. I’ve been a naughty machine” and he called out for Mr. Crocodile “HOOT-HOOT. Mr Crocodile!”
“Yes ?” said Mr.Crocodile/
“I’ve been a naughty machine ” said the Tidying Up Machine “I want to be good now and be helpful. Can I come out the hole now ?” And he gave Mr. Crocodile back his remote control with one of his big hooks.
“Yes you can said Mr. Crocodile” and he got the strong rope and tied one end to his bus and the other end to the tidying-up machine. Then get started his bus “Brrm-BRRM-Whiz-Bang-Toot-Toot-POP!” went the big engine and then the bus pulled the Tidying-Up Machine out of the hole”.
“Sorry” said the Tidying-Up Machine and he went back to Bob Bandicoot’s shed and put all the nails back in their tray, wiped up all the Milk with with a superwipe, picked up the cupboards and used his hooks to get all the knots out of the string.
Then he sat down and had a nice drink of oil and petrol and two bananas and four pieces of toast and a chocolate biscuit for tea.
======== The End ============
Symbols And Their Meanings
The story is about obedience and discipline
Messing Up Machine: A toddler or small child.
Mr. Crocodile: Daddy
Others In The Series
How White Bunny Turned Green And Then Turned White Again.
Cheetah Goes On Holiday