A. A. Milne? Piglet? Owl? Pooh? Benjamin Hoff? George Bernard Shaw? Apocryphal?
Question for Quote Investigator: The following dialog has been ascribed to the famous English author A. A. Milne:
Pooh: Lots of people talk to animals.
Owl: Maybe, but . . . Not very many listen, though.
Pooh: That’s the problem.
I am skeptical of this attribution because I have never seen a citation. Other characters such as Piglet sometimes receive credit for lines from this dialog. Would you please explore this topic.
Reply from Quote Investigator: QI has not found this dialog in any of the four canonical books containing material about Pooh by A. A. Milne: “When We Were Very Young” (1924), “Winnie-the-Pooh” (1926), “Now We Are Six” (1927), and “The House at Pooh Corner” (1928).
In 1982 U.S. author Benjamin Hoff published “The Tao of Pooh” with the goal of illuminating the Chinese philosophy of Taoism via the characters created by A. A. Milne. Hoff’s work contained the following dialog. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1982, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, Chapter: Spelling Tuesday, Quote Page 29, E. P. Dutton, New York. (Verified with scans)
It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around—walk through the grass, talk to the animals. That sort of thing.
“Lots of people talk to animals,” said Pooh.
“Maybe, but . . .”
“Not very many listen, though,” he said.
“That’s the problem,” he added.
In other words, you might say that there is more to Knowing than just being correct.
Based on current evidence QI believes that Benjamin Hoff constructed this dialog to reflect his viewpoint. It was not crafted by A. A. Milne.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||1982, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, Chapter: Spelling Tuesday, Quote Page 29, E. P. Dutton, New York. (Verified with scans)|