The Impostor Syndrome In Which: Pooh and Piglet Save the Bees

It was a bright sunny afternoon. Piglet was at the backyard, digging furrows for the flower seeds he had recently bought from town. He was expanding his garden, for there had been news about the mysterious disappearance of the bees from many lands. With forests and meadows getting cleared to make way for roads and buildings, he had to prepare. He couldn’t let his friends die of hunger.

He was digging the last furrow when he heard a familiar voice.

“My dear Piglet,” screamed Winnie the Pooh running towards him, waving a letter. “I came immediately here to share the good news!”

Piglet got up and faced Pooh; his eyes fell on the letter. “Oh dear! Pray do tell me what is it, my friend?”

“I have been invited by the Royal Society of Poets in Carlsburgh. They want me to recite my latest poem for the National Poets’ Day ceremony. I reckon it would be before an audience of about a few hundreds or more.” His face glowed in the afternoon sun.

“How wonderful! This is good news, indeed. When are you going?” Piglet dusted his hands with his apron.

“I will leave tomorrow.” Pooh handed the letter to Piglet to read.

“Shall I help you pack?” said Piglet, as he scanned the letter.

“My dear fellow, you seem more eager to go than me.”

“Well -” Piglet scratched the back of his head and laughed.

“Come. Let’s spend the rest of the day together.”

And so the friends spent the whole afternoon at a pond, beside which one of Winnie the Pooh’s favorite beehives was located. When they were leaving, Pooh stood gazing at the bees alone.

“Oh dear! You’re saying goodbye, aren’t you?” Piglet asked.

“Yes!”

“But why? You’ll be gone for just a few days.”

“My dear, it’s not polite to disappear for even a couple of days without letting your friends know about it.”

Piglet nodded in agreement. “Send me a postcard, will you?”

“Of course.”

At dawn the following day, Eeyore, Tigger, Christopher Robin, and Piglet sent off Winnie the Pooh. With a backpack loaded with bread and honey that the bees willingly shared with their friend, Pooh walked towards Carlsburgh. He was excited and ready to let the world hear his latest poem.

Whistling, Pooh lumbered his way through the narrow paths of the Hundred Acre Wood. Two days later, he reached the hotel allotted to the participants of the event. He was received cordially.

At night, he strolled around the city and came back with a picture-perfect postcard. At the front desk, he wrote-

Dear Piglet,

The city is buzzing, not with bees, but with too much noise and too many people. I’ll be home soon, but remember dear friend, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.

Winnie the Pooh

He handed the letter to the receptionist and asked her to mail it for him. He then went to his room to lie down, excited about the next day’s program. He was particularly keen to have his picture taken and published on the front page of The Times. He slept with a wide grin on his face.

At the lobby, the receptionist was so busy redoing her make-up she didn’t notice a yellow bear wearing a red shirt, strikingly resembling the poet guest resting upstairs. His company called him Whiny-the-Poo, for he always complained about every task assigned to him. This time, the subject was Winnie the Pooh and he had been following him since he arrived in town. As for the other matter, the subtitle of his name, it will make itself clear soon.

Whiny approached the desk. The receptionist looked up from her mirror all smiles.

“Oh, Mr Pooh. Did you forget something?”

“Do I look like demented to you?” Having realized that his voice was raised, he cleared his throat and gave her his sweetest smile. Then he continued, “I mean, no dear. But I’d like to send a different word to my good friend. Can I have the postcard back, please?”

The receptionist removed it from the letter box and passed it to Whiny the Poo. She watched him take another postcard and scribble a new message on it. With a snigger, Poo handed the new postcard to her.

“Make sure it’s sent, alright?”

“Y-yes, sir!”

Turning away, a mischievous grin formed on Poo’s face.

Next day, Winnie the Pooh wore his signature red shirt with khaki shorts. He then tied a floral scarf around his neck and set off towards the venue. He greeted everyone he met at the hallway, his face beaming with joy and pride.

On stage, Winnie the Pooh received a standing ovation. He stood straight as a rod, and poured forth his latest poem.

Piglet and Pooh
Round the world flew
But found no place
Lovely as each other’s face.

The audience sprang to their feet and roared. Their thundering applause filled Pooh’s ears with the sweet music of triumph. He had fulfilled his wish. His long cherished dream had come true. He was finally crowned the prince of poets.

At the crack of dawn the following day, Pooh was on his way back home. He could not wait to leave the city. Though he found it very diverting, it was too noisy and polluted for him. He didn’t wish to tarnish his pink heart with smoke and exhausts from countless vehicles and factories.

Giving the city one last glance, Pooh brought his collar up and sniffed the air. The street was empty, except for a few folks setting up their shops. He was about to step down the road when a van stopped right before him. Its door opened and he was dragged inside. A handkerchief covered his nose and he slumped on the floor unconscious.

Back at Hundred Acre Wood, Piglet opened Pooh’s letter. His brows knitted while reading the message.

Piglet, my dear. Carlsburg is very diverting. I shall stay here for a few weeks. But even if we’re far from each other, I’ll always be with yah. Love, Pooh

Even if we’re FAR from each other, I’ll always be with YAH? He forgot! He has gone mad!” he said; his arms akimbo. “The city must have corrupted his mind!”

Piglet couldn’t believe that Pooh didn’t remember their favorite words to say to each other. His eyes welled-up. But instantly, he shook his head to shoo away the tears and consoled himself with the idea that Pooh must have written it in haste. After all, he must have been busy meeting new people. He knew Pooh. They were best friends.

By and by, Piglet was back to his usual jolly self. Though he missed his good friend, he felt happy that Pooh finally got the recognition he deserved for his poems.

Later that day, Piglet got so busy he forgot how Pooh mistakenly messed up their favorite saying. He even thought of the wonderful things his friend might be doing at night, the city being always alive. He sighed.

In the middle of the night, Piglet was roused by a swarm of birds flying past his home followed by rustling of leaves and then a loud thud. He opened his window. It was drizzling and the air was cool. He blinked his eyes but couldn’t see a thing. He yawned and decided to check the matter first light in the morning.

Skipping coffee, Piglet put on his boots and donned his blazer and went out to check the cause of last night’s disturbance. He surveyed the woods starting from his backyard to Pooh’s house. All the way he noticed paw marks.

“There’s only one person who owns these marks. But it can’t be! He’s not supposed to be back yet,” he muttered. “Guest? But who?”

He darted towards Pooh’s house, but it was locked.

“Of course, it is locked. I have the key. Silly me.”

He continued his search. Finally, a few meters away he found what he was looking for. A young beech tree, the home of one of Pooh’s oldest beehives, was uprooted and the beehive lay squashed. Piglet was puzzled.

“The slight rain last night couldn’t ot have caused this much damage. Even the wind wasn’t too heavy.” Piglet scratched his ear, unable to understand how the tree had fallen.

Brooding, Piglet took the long way back home. He was astonished to find many plants crushed and trees broken . It looked as though a hurricane had passed through them. Also, the mysterious paw marks were everywhere.

“Is Pooh back? But he wouldn’t have done such horrible things!” Piglet said. Too many questions filled his head. Suddenly, as though the sun lit up his face, he grinned. “Ah, thieves had come and caused havoc and Pooh is in pursuit. I must find him right away!”

Piglet knew where his friend would be. So he ran towards the nearest beehive and found it crushed and some bees smashed to their deaths. He proceeded to the next hive. His heart raced, his head ached, his body shuddered.

“Oh dear! I hope nothing bad has happened to my dear Pooh,” Piglet mumbled between his steps.

The next hive had suffered the same fate as the first. He now felt dizzy. He had to lean on a tree to collect himself. When he felt better, he started to move again. Only to come face to face with Whiny the Poo, whom Piglet thought was his good friend, Winnie the Pooh. Both were surprised to see each other.

“Good Lord, Pooh! Your face is swollen. What have you done to anger the bees? And you said, you won’t be back for weeks!” Piglet examined Pooh’s face.

“I’m okay, Piglet. Just a few bites, that’s all,” Whiny the Poo said.

“Well, that’s good to hear! But what about the bees? The beehives are gone. The trees are down. Many plants are chopped to pieces!”

“I uh-. I’m not sure!” Poo said, avoiding eye contact with Piglet. “I came back late last night, heard a tree fell and so I uh, I checked first thing in the morning. And you know the rest.”

Piglet sensed something odd about Pooh. Whenever he journeyed out of Hundred Acre Wood, he would come to his house no matter what the time was. He also noticed his friend’s lack of concern about the fate of their buzzing friends. And the bees, they would never hurt Pooh. Something’s not right, thought Piglet.

An idea crossed his mind.

“But who would have done such, such a horrible thing?” continued Poo, picking a piece of hive. He began to sob.

“Hush, my dear! We’ll surely find the culprit soon. But you must be starving! Come, there must be a few more hives left untouched.”

Piglet had to execute his plan. And there was only one way.

Soon, they arrived at the pond. Upon seeing the intact beehive, Piglet jumped and clapped his hands.

“Look, Pooh! The rogue missed this place.”

Poo hesitated. He was about to turn his back when Piglet said, “What’s wrong, my friend? You’re not afraid of the bees, are you?”

Whiny could not let Piglet belittle him. His boss would not have sent him for this mission if he was scared.

“How dare this midget mock me. I’ll squash him if I so desire,” he said under his breath.

“Come along,” Piglet urged. “This is the first time I’ve seen you having two minds in approaching our bee friends.”

“It’s…it’s the city! The smell of the city is all over me and the bees…they don’t like it. Yes, that’s it!”

“That must be it. Then you must dip yourself in the waters,” Piglet suggested, grinning.

“Yes, I’ll do that at once.”

Moments later, Poo wiggled his body to dry himself.

“There, my smell’s back to normal.” Poo confidently walked towards the beehive. Before he could lift his hand to grab it, the bees swarmed him and like a flash of lightning, they surrounded Poo from head to toe. He squealed in agony, as he bolted back to the pond and leapt into the waters. He tried immersing himself, but the bees didn’t leave him.

“Help! Tell them to stop!” The more Poo dusted the bees off his body, the fiercer they became. “Help!”

Piglet laughed. “You know, not once did the bees lay their sting on Pooh. Not once. In his entire life. But their reception of you is, indeed, very hostile. What has changed, I wondered. Then, I remembered the postcard my friend, or rather, you sent me. The words were just all wrong. That and the destruction before my eyes today has only one reason -you didn’t do your homework! If you did, you wouln’t have dared touch the beehives because only the great and the real Winnie the Pooh, could do that without getting stung.”

“Please! I beg you! Ask the bees to stop!”

“Oh, I will…once you promise to tell me everything.”

“I promise. Please. I promise.”

Piglet fell silent for a while and thought, “If I don’t stop the bees from biting the impostor, his mouth might become so swollen he wouldn’t be able to tell me where Pooh is. But what if he runs away?” He paused. “Ah, I’ll threaten him with the bees building a hive on his back until he takes me to Pooh. That’s right. What a brilliant idea!” Smiling, he pursed his lips at the thought.

“Fine! I’ll request my buzzing friends to let you go. But if you dare escape I’ll ask them to follow you wherever you go and build a hive on your back. You get that?”

“Yes. Yes, please. Now!”

Piglet closed his eyes, squeaked two times and then blew the air while Poo whimpered before him. Seconds later, the bees detached themselves from him and went back to their hive. From being a bear, Whiny the Poo now had ballooned into a big ball from the bombarding bites of the bees.

“Now, speak! What did you do to my friend?”

Scratching all over his body, he mumbled, “I hid him.”

“Tell me everything!” Piglet screamed.

“Follow me!” Poo said. He started moving. A few bees followed him. When he noticed them, he said, “I promised, didn’t I? Why are they following me?”

“Well, obviously, they don’t trust a person of your reputation.” Piglet chortled.

Poo led Piglet outside Hundred Acre Wood towards the rocky side of High Mountains. While heading there, Poo revealed everything.

Whiny the Poo worked for B&B Pollinators. The company paid him to kill and destroy the bees and their hives in Hundred Acre Wood, the last remaining home of the bees in the world. Their purpose was simple -B&B Pollinators wanted to dominate the global market of pollination, for there is more money in seed formation than seed plantation. So he misled Piglet by sending a message that Pooh would be away for a few weeks so that he could execute the company’s plan undisturbed. What he missed, however, was that the bees were only friendly to Winnie the Pooh and his friends. He got his first warning when he felled the beech tree.

By the time Poo’s story was over they had reached High Mountains. At a distance, a gorge beckoned and a twin waterfalls raced down in a train of torrents. Poo pointed out to an opening next to the first waterfall, which was hidden behind a boulder.

“He’s in there!” Poo exclaimed.

“What do you mean he’s in there?”

“Behind the boulder is an entrance to a cave and Winnie the Pooh is imprisoned inside.”

Both stood in front of the cave. Poo pushed the boulder to the side. Piglet entered the cave and started calling Pooh’s name, but all he received were echoes.

After a while, he warned Poo to not escape or the bees will make him even rounder. Then he plunged into the depths of the cave.

Piglet found the passages filled with Pooh’s scent, but he was nowhere to be found. Soon, Piglet came across a tunnel as big as Pooh’s size and followed it. Suddenly, he heard someone humming. He doubled his steps. He trudged the rocky path, keeping an ear to where the sound was coming from, until his feet felt wet. For every step he took, the sound grew louder. Up ahead he could glimpse cracks of lights. He moved on only to freeze in wonderment. A golden pool in the middle of a forest greeted him. He whirled about, gaping at the canopy, watching the birds sing their hearts out. He was mesmerized by the trees and shrubs decorating the rocks with their overgrown roots, each of which was a home to a hive. The whole place was buzzing with bees. Piglet plodded towards the golden pool, taking in the coolness of the mist and the fragrance of damp earth.

He twirled about, one more time, to find Pooh, but nobody seemed to be around. Until he saw someone emerge from the pool. It was no other than Winnie the Pooh, but Piglet could not make out his friend because blobs of honey covered his entire body.

Pooh noticed Piglet. He wiped the honey off his face and yelped, “My dear, Piglet! I’ve found the oldest hives of the bees in the entire universe. Look!” Pooh tapped the pool of honey, rejoicing at his newly-found treasure as though nothing ill had happened to him.

“Pooh, you’ve been kidnapped. The abductor must be punished!”

“Ah, yes. That fellow. Ha! ha. He wouldn’t believe what fortune he has showered me with.” Pooh came out of the pool and tidied himself by licking the remaining drops of honey from his body. When he was done, he drew Piglet close and hugged him.

“How long has it been?” Pooh asked.

“Time to go home, Pooh!”

In the meantime, Whiny tried to smash the bees with a bunch of leafy twigs, but when one bee bit his neck he dropped the twigs right away. Pooh and Piglet found him on his knees before a swarm of bees. When he heard their footsteps, he got up and said, “Please, Winnie the Great, forgive me!”

Standing erect, and in a commanding voice, Pooh thundered, “You are warned! If you come to Hundred Acre Wood again, I cannot guarantee your fate. Go back to your master and tell him the same.”

“Yes, I will. But you are my master now.” Poo tried to bow, but his swollen shape didn’t allow him.

With raised palms together, Poo walked backwards and then ran as fast as he could. Pooh and Piglet burst out laughing and ambled back home hand in hand.

So ends the adventure of Pooh and Piglet when the bees were disappearing from the world, and Pooh had marched to recite his poem in Carlsburgh. Their encounter with Whiny the Poo, and the memorable discovery of the oldest hives of the universe is still talked with great gusto by the good friends of Hundred Acre Wood.

***

Read Rham Dhel’s other Pooh and Piglet stories here

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Rham Dhel

Rham Dhel is a vegan who dabbles in writing fiction. Her stories usually involve humans trying to find meaning in a world in disconnect with its animal inhabitants. She's an eco-child, a friend to all creatures, and a defender of the meek and mute beings of the wild.
Rham Dhel

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