The True Story of Winnie the Pooh

Amanda C.

No one has ever really stopped to think about where the inspiration for the beloved childhood book series Winnie the Pooh came from. Well, if you want to know the story, continue reading.

It all started at a short train stop. A soldier named Harry Colebourn saw a bear cub for sale and couldn’t resist buying him. Harry was informed by the man selling the bear that he had accidentally killed his mother before he realized the cub was there. The man decided to sell the bear cub and Harry decided to buy the bear from the man. He took the cub back onto the train with him and began to tell the other soldiers on the train how he got the cub. They all thought that Harry was crazy for buying the bear, but they were all soon very fond of the cub. They all loved Harry’s name for the cub, Winnipeg, named after their company’s hometown. Winnipeg was quickly shortened to Winnie.

Winnie followed the soldiers everywhere they went. Soon the soldiers were needed in England. Harry couldn’t leave Winnie. The other soldiers didn’t want to leave her either, so they took Winnie with them to England.                              

One day the soldiers were instructed by their captain that they had to go to France and care for horses that get wounded on the battlefield. Harry and the other soldiers knew that Winnie could get hurt or even killed at war. None of them wanted that to happen. Harry thought about it for a while and eventually contacted London Zoo. He knew that zookeepers would know exactly how to care for a bear. Harry told Winnie that he would visit. He also assured Winnie that when the war ended he would come back for her and they would both return to Winnipeg together.

At the zoo, Winnie wasn’t enjoying herself at first. It wasn’t long before the zookeeper’s realized that Winnie was very calm and gentle. They even said that they had never seen a bear as calm and gentle as Winnie was. They trusted her so much she would even give children rides on her back. This helped Winnie adapt to the zoo and she was happy there. Harry tried to visit Winnie anytime he could. The war lasted four whole years and by then Winnie had made many friends and had grown to love the zoo and the people there. Harry decided to let Winnie stay in the London Zoo permanently. He wanted her to be in the place where she would be most happy. He knew that that place was the London Zoo.


One day a little boy visited Winnie. His name was Christopher Robin. The boy loved Winnie so much. He played with her, fed her milk, and hugged her. The boy’s father was a well-known author and he loved to watch his son have fun with Winnie. Christopher even renamed his teddy bear’s name from Edward bear to Winnie-the-Pooh. His father would tell her stories about Winnie-the-Pooh each night. Eventually, all the stories formed a book.

After the books were published, even more people began to visit Winnie at London Zoo. Now you know the story of the bear who inspired the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh.