'Now We Are Six' Editor's note: These poems, by the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, reflect the experiences of a little English boy growing up in the early 20th century.



Christopher Robin had wheezles

And sneezles,

They bundled him


His bed.

They gave him what goes

With a cold in the nose,

And some more for a cold

In the head.

They wondered

If wheezles

Could turn

Into measles,

If sneezles

Would turn

Into mumps;

They examined his chest

For a rash,

And the rest

Of his body for swellings and lumps.

They sent for some doctors

In sneezles

And wheezles

To tell them what ought

To be done.

All sorts and conditions

Of famous physicians

Came hurrying round

At a run.

They all made a note

Of the state of his throat,

They asked if he suffered from thirst;

They asked if the sneezles

Came after the wheezles,

Or if the first sneezle

Came first.

They said, "If you teazle

A sneezle

Or wheezle,

A measle

May easily grow.

But humour or pleazle

The wheezle

Or sneezle,

The measle

Will certainly go."

They expounded the reazles

For sneezles

And wheezles,

The manner of measles

When new.

They said, "If he freezles

In draughts and in breezles,


May even ensue."

Christopher Robin

Got up in the morning,

The sneezles had vanished away.

And the look in his eye

Seemed to say to the sky,

"Now, how to amuse them today?"

'The Emporer's Rhyme'

The King of Peru

(Who was Emperor too)

Had a sort of rhyme

Which was useful to know,

If he felt very shy

When a stranger came by,

Or they asked him the time

When his watch didn't go;

Or supposing he fell

(By mistake) down a well,

Or he tumbled when skating

And sat on his hat,

Or perhaps wasn't told,

Till his porridge was cold,

That his breakfast was waiting-

Or something like that;

Oh, whenever the Emperor

Got into a temper, or

Felt himself sulky or sad,

He would murmur and murmur,

Until he felt firmer,

This curious rhyme which he had:

Eight eights are sixty-four;

Multiply by seven.

When it's done,

Carry one,

And take away eleven.

Nine nines are eighty-one;

Multiply by three.

If it's more,

Carry four,

And then it's time for tea.

So whenever the Queen

Took his armour to clean,

And she didn't remember

To use any starch;

Or his birthday (in May)

Was a horrible day,

Being wet as November

And windy as March;

Or, if sitting in state

With the Wise and the Great,

He just happened to hiccup

While signing his name,

Or the Queen gave a cough,

When his crown tumbled off

As he bent down to pick up

A pen for the same;

Oh, whenever the Emperor

Got into a temper, or

Felt himself awkward and shy,

He would whisper and whisper,

Until he felt crisper,

This odd little rhyme to the sky:

Eight eights are eighty-one;

Multiply by seven.

If it's more,

Carry four,

And take away eleven.

Nine nines are sixty-four;

Multiply by three.

When it's done,

Carry one,

And then it's time for tea.

From NOW WE ARE SIX by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. Copyright E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1927. Copyright renewed A.A. Milne, 1955. Reprinted by arrangement with Dutton Children's Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

Pub Date: 6/14/98

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