Murder in the Hundred Acre Wood Part 1: The Discovery

The Hundred Acre Wood has always been a pleasant, peaceful place.  But this morning, the Hundred Acre Wood was too calm.  An eerie silence permeated the forest, and when Piglet went out to sweep his front yard he noticed something different about the TRESPASSERS WILL sign in front of the large oak tree that was his home.

“What are those dark red drippy spots doing on my sign?  Oh, dear!” he exclaimed, as more droplets fell, covering both of the Ls so that the sign now read TRESPASSERS WI.

“This is highly unusual,” Piglet remarked, clutching his broom.  “I’d better go ask one of my friends for help.”

Piglet shivered as he placed his broom beside the large hollow that served as the front door to his oak tree home.  Tying his scarf tight, he scampered off to his friend Pooh’s house.

 

“Oh, bother.  Who could be knocking on my door so early in the morning?” Pooh wondered as he scratched his sleepy head.  “I haven’t even had my breakfast!”

“Pooh Bear!” Piglet shouted, knocking furiously on his friend’s front door, “Come out quick!  There’s something you must see!”

With a yawn and a stretch so wide that it popped the stitches on his round tummy, Pooh got out of bed, smacking his lips in anticipation of breakfast.

“Oh, Piglet!  What are you doing here?  Care for some bread and honey?” Pooh asked, tying up the loose stitches on his belly.

“Breakfast?  There’s no time to eat!  Please, Pooh, you must come quick!”

“Oh, Piglet.  There’s always time for breakfast!  Sit down and tell me what’s the matter,” Pooh said soothingly as he stepped onto his footstool and reached for a jar of honey atop the high shelf.

“Well, I was just out sweeping my front yard, when I looked up at the TRESPASSERS WILL sign, you know, the one my great grandfather Trespassers William put up so long ago.  There were big red drippy marks all over the sign!”

“Big red drippy marks?” Pooh asked through a mouth full of honey.  “I wonder what those could be.”

Piglet wringed his hands with worry.  “What should we do?”

“We shall think!” announced Pooh, hopping down from his chair.  Pooh licked the honey from his paw and set out to his thinking place, followed by an anxious Piglet.

“Think, think, think,” muttered Pooh.

“Oh golly, Pooh, I just don’t know what to do!” cried Piglet.

“Think, think—I’ve got it!”  For a Bear of Very Little Brain, Pooh had stumbled upon what he suspected was a very clever idea indeed.

“What shall we do, Pooh?”

“Who always has an answer?”

“Who?” asked Piglet.

“Who indeed!”

Piglet was perplexed.  “Who, Pooh?”

“Yes, ‘who!’”

“Pooh, who always has an answer?” pleaded Piglet.

“Why,” smiled Pooh, “the one who always says ‘WHOOO,’ of course.  Our dear friend Owl.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Owl’s tree house was still this morning, as there was no wind to sway the branches.  Still, a dozing Owl rocked gently in his old wooden rocking chair, a book resting on his downy chest.

“Owl!  Oh, Owl!” called Piglet.

At this, Owl awoke with a start.  Brushing off some of his molting, he swooped to the door and opened it to find two frantic friends.

“Piglet, Pooh!  Good morning to you both.  What brings you here so early?”

“Well, you see Owl, Piglet saw something…something funny this morning, and—”

“Something funny, you say?  Well, I’m always up for a humorous distraction from the tedious regimen of daily life.  Say, what sort of jest have you to share?  A farce?  A limerick?  A witticism?”

“A what-i-cism?” asked Pooh.

“Er, no Owl.  It isn’t joke-funny,” clarified Piglet.  “It’s just…odd funny.  I saw something unusual and wondered if you could help.”

“Ah, I see.  Well, why don’t you take me to the location of this mystifying spectacle, and I’ll do my utmost to assist you two in deciphering the conundrum.”
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Looking up at the TRESPASSERS WILL sign, Owl scratched his chin with his wing and frowned.

“Tell me, Piglet, does this oak tree ever sprout vermilion vegetation?”

“Verily, er, what now?”

“Owl,” Pooh interrupted, “would you explain what you mean in smaller words?”

“Ah, but of course.  Piglet, what I mean to ask is whether or not this tree of yours ever grows red berries or fruits or some such thing. If so, that could be your answer!”

“Not that I’m aware of,” muttered Piglet, kicking the dirt.

“Perhaps I should make closer inspection—er, that is, I can fly up and take a look,” offered Owl.

“That would be a great help, Owl.  Thank you ever so much.”

“Anything for my two best chums.  Perhaps, Piglet, you could prepare me a cup of tea and a sandwich for when I return.”

“Of course, Owl, gladly,” beamed Piglet, dashing into the safety of his home.

“Now then, Pooh, stay there and I’ll let you know what I discover from above,” Owl instructed.

With a running start, Owl flew up and navigated the thick branches with expert precision.  However, he saw nothing amiss.

“See anything up there?” Pooh called.

“Nothing of note, I’m afraid.  Ah!” cried Owl.  “Hush down there.  It seems there is in fact a dripping coming from above.”

Owl followed the sound, hopping from one branch to the next, until he reached the tippy top of the tall oak tree.  All at once his grey feathers began to molt and he dropped through the foliage, heavy as a rock.

THUMP!

“Oh, my.  Owl, are you alright?” asked Pooh, rushing to his fallen friend as quickly as his tubby frame would allow.

Owl blinked.  “Pooh, my chap.  I cannot—I should not—I dare not recount the horror to which I have been witness.”

“Owl!  Oh, Owl!  Your tea is ready.  I hope you like honey sandwiches.”

“Honey sandwiches!  My dear Piglet, what a thoughtful surprise,” exclaimed Pooh.

“What’s the matter, Owl?” inquired Piglet.

Owl shook off the leaves from his downy coat and staggered to a stand.

“There’s no tea can erase the image of what I’ve seen this morning.  Perhaps something stronger…” Owl muttered to himself, eyes wide with dismay.

“Er, well, I may have some brandy leftover from Christmas.  Why don’t you come inside?” Piglet offered.

“Brandy, yes.  That will do.”  Owl followed Pooh and Piglet into the house with the ungainliness of a rusty tractor.

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