A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh, wrote different sets of poems, most notably When We Were Very Young (1924) and Now We Are Six (1927). Within Now We Are Six, the second poem is silly poetry about Christmas and we’re all very fond of both. It’s titled “King John’s Christmas” and I have […]
Within Now We Are Six, the second poem is silly poetry about Christmas and we’re all very fond of both. It’s titled “King John’s Christmas” and I have it in a nice illustration by E.H. Shepard, the same guy who illustrated Winnie the Pooh and who also worked on Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. The full text is featured here.
The story is about a King John that’s awfully similar to the popular idea of John of England: he’s not a good man and people don’t like him much. No one ever wants to come to have tea with him and, around Christmas time, he’s forced to send cards to himself because no one would send any to him. This, of course, means no presents.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
Collecting tribute from the young
For all the songs they might have sung,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.
He hangs up a message for Father Christmas, wishing for crackers, and candy, and chocolate, and oranges, and nuts, and a pocket-knife. But most of all, he wishes for a big, red india-rubber ball.
Does he get that?
Well, you’ll have to read the poem to find that out.