“Piglet,” said Winnie the Pooh, after a very long pause, “what exactly is a Study Circle?”
To Piglet this was a sort of Hum! question. A Hum! question was one where you said “Hum!” in a very loud voice, in a manner that suggested you weren’t just saying “Hum!”, you were saying, “Hum! Well, that is a very involved and complex question, to which there is no easy answer, and I will have to gather my thoughts properly before I give you my considered response.” It was very important not to say “Hum!” in such a manner as to suggest you really meant, “Hum! I’ve no idea.”
“Hum!” said Piglet, to the best of his ability.
“Hum,” agreed Winnie the Pooh.
This was not an altogether agreeable response to Piglet, who would have preferred something more along the lines of, “I see”, or, “Well, maybe that would be best saved for another time,” or even, “Goodness is that the time? I must go and attend to a Very Important Thing which is Somewhere Else.”
Pooh sighed. “It’s only, Rabbit invited me to one, and he said you were coming too, and so I thought to ask you what it was. I did ask Rabbit, and I think what he said would have made sense to Rabbit if I’d said it, but because it was Rabbit saying it to me, somehow it didn’t quite stay in my head. Bother.”
“Hum,” said Piglet – not at all like he’d said “Hum!” last time, because this time it was a “Hum,” that clearly meant “Hum! I know exactly what you mean.”
“I think,” said Pooh, “that it’s a sort of Expedition. Because Rabbit said we would be walking a path of sorts, and I asked him where the path went, and he said that it was up to us to find out. I will have to ask Christopher Robin,” Pooh decided.
At that point, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo came along.
“Hello Pooh! Hello Piglet! Hello Pooh and Piglet! Do you know what me and Eeyore are doing?” said Roo excitedly.
“Eeyore and I, dear,” said Kanga patiently.
“Do you know what me and Eeyore and mummy are doing?” said Roo, bouncing up and down on the spot. “We’re doing a Roo-hee! Do you want to do a Roo-hee too-hee?” squeaked Roo and bounced faster.
Pooh thought that if a Roo-hee involved that much bouncing then perhaps he wouldn’t, but didn’t want to be impolite, so instead he said, “Hum!”
“Everyone who does a Roo-hee,” said Roo proudly, “goes round in circles.”
“To some amongst us,” noted Eeyore, “this is not a new experience. In fact, I am sad to say that some of us have been making a habit of this over many years.”
It was then that Piglet had one of those special Moments. He imagined it was the same sort of moment that a great detective had when he was solving a very difficult case, or a scientist had when he was working out the answer to a very difficult sum. “You’re doing a Ruhi study circle, just like me and Pooh!” he said excitedly.
“This is going to be a very productive group, I can tell,” said Eeyore. “They catch on very quickly.”
“Are you doing a Roo-hee too, Eeyore?” asked Pooh. “I thought you didn’t like expotitions very much.”
“It’s not an expotition, Pooh,” explained Kanga. “It’s a form of training. You go along to acquire knowledge, skills and insights. Rabbit is going to be tutoring us.”
Piglet was not altogether sure that he liked the sound of being ‘tutored’ by someone, because it sounded like the sort of thing that could be unpleasant for a Very Small Animal. But he thought that if Pooh thought it was All Right, then that would be a very different situation. He hoped very much that Pooh wouldn’t say “Hum!” again because it would be very challenging to know exactly what “Hum!” meant at this particular time. Piglet noticed that Roo was going in circles round and round Eeyore and Kanga, and he felt a little bit like he wouldn’t mind if Rabbit tutored Roo. Then he felt ashamed of himself and thought he wouldn’t wish for anyone to be tutored if they didn’t want to be.
“Rabbit says he’s done ALL the Ruhi Books in an intensive campaign,” Kanga went on. “He’s done all six books from Book 1 right through to Book 7.”
“Evidently, the knowledge, skills and insights he’s acquired so far do not include mathematics,” lamented Eeyore.
“Are you coming? Are you coming? Oh do say yes! Do say yes! It’ll be such fun!” squeaked Roo, bouncing up and down in front of Pooh.
“Roo, calm down dear,” said Kanga. “You’re not ready for Book 1 yet. You’ll be doing an art class instead.” Kanga said quietly to Eeyore, “Rabbit said that Roo could do drawing on the power of the word, and I thought that was a wonderful idea, because he’s always had a very good eye for detail and colour.”
“I’m very glad you’re going to be joining in too,” said Pooh to Eeyore.
“I don’t see that’s anything to be especially glad about,” said Eeyore. “Rabbit said it would help me to find my purpose in life. I asked him what made him think I’d lost it and couldn’t find it without being tutored. And he said it would cheer me up, because Unit 3 would teach me to sorrow not if things didn’t happen the way I wished them.”
“What’s Unit 3 about?” asked Piglet, who was beginning to feel he had a Piglet-sized grasp of the situation.
“Life and death,” replied Eeyore. “I feel cheery already. Ho ho, ha ha. Let’s all bounce up and down. That’s the thing about life. You’re busy enjoying it for all its worth, and then someone comes along and tells you that you haven’t got a purpose and you have to go round in circles.”
“I’m sure you’ll love it once we start,” Kanga said.
“It sounds exciting to me,” said Piglet, and looked at Pooh, who did not look like he was excited or not-excited about the idea of doing a Roo-hee. “A bit exciting,” he added, feeling that there was still a chance he might not want to be excited about it at all.
“Well if you’re not coming, Pooh,” Kanga remarked, getting ready to be on her way, “then Tigger’s starting his devotional meeting in a few minutes’ time.”
“Hum!” said Piglet and Pooh, both at the same time.
“I think Rabbit’s study circle sounds like a fine thing to do this morning,” said Pooh, with the feeling of one who has deliberated long and hard over a Very Important Decision. “Me too,” added Piglet, who hoped everyone would realise that he had been thinking long and hard about the study circle and would have said exactly what Pooh had said without Pooh having said it if Pooh hadn’t said it first. “And Roo! Me too! And me! Roo-hee!” squeaked Roo and bounced off in the direction of Rabbit’s place. “But we can go and see Tigger afterwards,” added Pooh, because he did not want his friend to be left out. “We could get there just in time for elevenses.”
“If we have to,” said Eeyore. “I might be too busy trying to sorrow not because things have gone contrary to my wishes. They always do. Ho ho, ha ha.” But he trudged after Kanga and Roo, followed by a curious Pooh and Piglet.
And Harry Potter, who had been listening nearby, decided that if there were only six Books of Ruhi from one to seven then one was missing, and it was probably an evil wizard who was to blame. And although we haven’t time to go into details now, you can find the story in “Harry Potter and the Fifth Book of Ruhi” including details of all the excellent and spiritually enriching training he received at the intensive campaign that took place by the House of Ruhi-never-ending.
– Barry Thorne.
It is, of course, well known that Winnie the Pooh is a devout muslim.