‘Qoheleth’ is the narrator of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. This Hebrew name is often translated ‘Teacher’ or ‘Preacher’, and originally referred to someone who gathered a congregation together in order to speak to them. His most famous catchphrase was ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!’
from 'Three Short Stories'
1 Corinthians chapter 13: In which Christopher Robin teaches Pooh the importance of love.
Christopher Robin was sitting outside Pooh’s house on a warm, comfortable, lazy summer’s afternoon. He and all his friends had just had a special party for Pooh, because it wasn’t his birthday, and only special bears have parties when it’s not their birthday. They had eaten all the crisps and cakes and ice-creams and jellies, and now Christopher Robin was leaning back against Pooh and gazing up at the sky, watching two clouds having a race to see who could reach the big oak tree first, and at first he thought the little cloud would win, but then he thought not, and then he wasn’t sure, and then he felt Pooh’s head tickling the back of his neck, and then… he suddenly had a thought; and having had the thought, he thought he ought to share it.
‘Pooh,’ he said, ‘I’ve had a thought.’
‘Oh,’ said Pooh, who had been thinking about how many pots of honey he had left in his kitchen cupboard, and whether it was the same now as when he had last counted, which was yesterday afternoon, and he wondered if he should go and get one, but that meant standing up, and he much preferred sitting down with his back against Christopher Robin, and he hoped that Christopher Robin had had the same thought and that he was going to go and get one—as long as he didn’t stand up too quickly so that Pooh fell over.
‘Yes,’ said Christopher Robin. ‘I think that I love you more than any other bear in the whole world!’
Pooh was very excited by this, but then he wondered what it really meant to be loved.
‘What is love, Christopher Robin?’ he said.
‘Well,’ said Christopher Robin, after a pause. ‘I think… it’s the most important thing of all.’
‘Even more important than honey?’ asked Pooh.
‘Oh yes, Pooh, much more important than honey. In fact, if you had all the honey from all the bees in all the world, but you didn’t love anyone, you wouldn’t be very happy, would you?’
Pooh wasn’t sure about this, as the idea of having all that honey was growing on him, but he said, ‘No, I suppose you’re right.’ And he leaned forward, put his head in his paws and began to think about this very hard (which isn’t easy when you’re a bear of very little brain).
‘Is love more important than… being able to spell your name?’ asked Piglet, who had tried ever so hard, but could never remember what came after ‘P’.
‘Oh yes, Piglet, much more important than being able to spell your name.’
‘Oh,’ said Piglet, who was very impressed by this.
‘In fact,’ said Christopher Robin, ‘if you could spell all the words that Owl knows, and all the words that Owl doesn’t know, and if you knew lots and lots of important things like the name of Henry the Navigator’s cat, or the capital of Borneo, but you didn’t have any love, you wouldn’t be very clever at all.’
‘Oh!’ said Piglet, who was so overcome by this that he fell over backwards.
‘Is love more important than… being able to climb trees?’ asked Roo.
‘Much more important than being able to climb trees,’ Christopher Robin said. ‘In fact, if you could climb trees as well as Tigger, but didn’t have love, it wouldn’t be any good to you at all.’
‘Really?’ said Roo, who had always rather enjoyed climbing trees, especially with Tigger.
‘In fact,’ said Christopher Robin, looking at Tigger, ‘it’s even more important than being able to climb down trees as well.’
Tigger opened his mouth to say something, forgot what he was going to say, and suddenly noticed everyone looking at him; so he bounced on Christopher Robin instead (which he could only do when Christopher Robin was sitting down); and Christopher Robin threw him up into the air and caught him again, while Pooh sat very still with his eyes tight shut hoping that noone was going to land on him.
‘It’s just pathetic—that’s what I call it, pathetic!’ said Eeyore. ‘All this talk about love, but who really loves silly old Eeyore down in his thistle patch? Let me see… oh yes, Rabbit pays a visit, for 2 minutes every other Tuesday afternoon. ‘Hello Eeyore,’ he says. ‘Hello Rabbit,’ I reply. ‘Nice day, isn’t it?’ And then he’s gone.’
‘Oh Eeyore, we do love you,’ they all said.
‘In fact, Eeyore,’ said Pooh, who had been thinking for a long time now, ‘I’ve written a hum, and you’re mentioned in it.’
‘Am I… am I mentioned in it as well, Pooh?’ said Piglet, jumping up and down with excitement.
‘Well, I suppose you could be,’ said Pooh, slowly, as he desperately tried to think of a word that rhymed with ‘Piglet’.
‘Let’s hear it then, Pooh,’ said Christopher Robin.
Pooh coughed, and then began.
‘If you’ve lots of love,
that’s quite enough
Cos you don’t need brains like Owl...’
‘Christopher Robin’s got brains as well,’ said Roo.
‘I know that, but ‘Christopher Robin’ doesn’t fit,’ said Pooh. ‘Bother, where was I?’ He looked at Roo and decided he ought to change the beginning in order to educate Roo, so that Roo wouldn’t do it again, whatever it was he had done. So he began again:
‘Love isn’t rude, like Roo,
But patient, like Pooh
—(which is me, by the way, but ‘me’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘Roo’)—
Oh bother. Now I’ve got an extra line that doesn’t belong.
Let me start again. With no interruptions.
He looked at Roo sternly.
‘But I didn’t interrupt him that time, Mummy,’ said Roo.
‘I know, dear,’ said Kanga, who understood these things. ‘But let’s sit quietly and listen.’
Pooh coughed, looked around him, to make sure everyone was listening, and especially Piglet, because Pooh now knew what rhymed with ‘Piglet’, and he wanted Piglet to know too, and then he began:
‘Love isn’t rude, like Roo,
But patient, like Pooh
And love cares for donkeys—like Eeyore;
It goes out of its way
To greet him each day,
And it doesn’t find him a bore.
Love is kind, like Kanga,
And never shows anger
When bounced on by Tigger and Roo;
It makes a habit
Of conversing with Rabbit
Though it can’t-fit-in-more than a word or two.’
‘Listen carefully now, little Piglet,’ said Pooh. ‘This one is your special verse.’
‘Love always trusts, like Piglet,
and always hopes, like Piglet,
And perseveres right to the end.
It’s humble, like Piglet,
and truthful, like Piglet,
And is helpful, like Piglet my friend.’
‘Oh, thank you Pooh,’ said Piglet, whose ears were bright red with embarrassment. ‘You have to be humble when you’re small, you know.’
‘I know,’ said Pooh. ‘That’s why I put it in. But there’s one more verse.’
‘If I had pots of honey
And lots of money,
If you asked me, I’d give them away;
Because we really need faith—
and we also need hope—
but love is what counts at the end of the day.’
‘That’s very theological, Pooh,’ said Christopher Robin.
‘That’s very what?’ said Pooh.
‘Oh Pooh,’ laughed Christopher Robin. ‘Never mind. Let’s go home.’
And off home they go, a boy and his bear, holding hands (well, a hand and a paw), with faith, hope and love dancing all around them; but the greatest of these is love.
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