Poohsticks Game

Picture of Pooh and Rabbit playing Poohsticks

Pooh had just come to the bridge; and not looking where he was going, he tripped over something, and the fir-cone jerked out of his paw into the river. 'Bother,' said Pooh, as it floated slowly under the bridge, and he went back to get another fir-cone which had a rhyme to it. But then he thought that he would just look at the river instead, because it was a peaceful sort of day, so he lay down and looked at it, and it slipped slowly away beneath him, and suddenly, there was his fir-cone slipping away too.

'That's funny,' said Pooh. 'I dropped it on the other side,' said Pooh, 'and it came out on this side! I wonder if it would do it again?' And he went back for some more fir-cones. It did. It kept on doing it. Then he dropped two in at once, and leant over the bridge to see which of them would come out first; and one of them did; but as they were both the same size, he didn't know if it was the one which he wanted to win, or the other one. So the next time he dropped one big one and one little one, and the big one came out first, which was what he had said it would do, and the little one came out last, which was what he had said it would do, so he had won twice ... and when he went home for tea, he had won thirty-six and lost twenty-eight, which meant that he was - that he had - well, you take twenty-eight from thirty-six, and that's what he was. Instead of the other way round.

And that was the beginning of the game called Poohsticks, which Pooh invented, and which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the Forest. But they played with sticks instead of fir-cones, because they were easier to mark.'

Mike Ridley, owner of 'Pooh Corner' in Hartfield, wrote a very nice booklet about this game, including these rules below. This booklet 'The official Pooh Corner Rules for Playing Poohsticks' was written in 1996 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publication of 'Winnie-the-Pooh.'

'The official Pooh Corner Rules for Playing Poohsticks'

Eeyore bathing in a puddle
  1. First, you each select a stick and show it to your fellow competitors. You must agree which stick is which - or whose, as it were.
  2. Check which way the stream is flowing. Competitors need to face the stream on the side where it runs in, under the bridge (upstream). Note: If the stream runs out, from under the bridge you are standing on the wrong side! (downstream).
  3. Choose someone to be a Starter. This can be either the oldest or the youngest competitor.
  4. All the competitors stand side by side facing upstream.
  5. Each competitor holds their stick at arms length over the stream. The tall competitors should lower their arms to bring all the sticks to the same height over the stream as the shortest competitor's stick.
  6. The starter calls, 'Ready - Steady - Go!" and all the competitors drop their sticks. Note: the stick must not be thrown into the water.
  7. At this point in the game all the players must cross to the downstream side of the bridge. Please take care - young players like to race across. Remember, other people use bridges and some of them have vehicles or horses.
  8. Look over the edge of the bridge for the sticks to emerge. The owner of the first Stick to float from under the bridge, is the winner.

Remember: Falling into the water is SAD (Silly And Daft)!