I’ve mentioned in previous posts over the years the inaccuracies between quotes attributed to Milne and Winnie the Pooh. For some reason Milne has become the new Mark Twain where quotes become their’s whether or not they actually are. I probably helped spread some of these wrong quotes in past posts but I try to correct them when I realise.
I have a few theories on how these wrong quotes get spread around. Aside from Milne getting credit when a line is spoken in a Disney film, another theory is that people were placing quotes over Winnie the Pooh pictures and that started it, or maybe they think things sound like a Milne quote and they aren’t.
Websites like MyTownTutors that have ‘Great A. A. Milne Quotes‘ are great and all but the fact that barley any of those quotes are actually from Milne is only perpetuating these misquotes. Thankfully people on the internet have done some of the work for me so I don’t need to spend a week checking them all. Of the 59 listed on the MyTownTutors website only 14 were from ANY of the four Milne books. Another dozen or so were paraphrased or variations on the real quote. The rest weren’t Disney or Milne. One I know to be false is “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Not Milne or Disney but a 1975 movie..
This Buzzfeed quiz tests your knowledge of Pooh against other great quotes. The only problem is, none of those attributed to Pooh are actually from Milne. There is one that comes close, paraphrased incredibly but as close as the rest get. The popular quote “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day” is simplified a bit from the House at Pooh Corner quote “By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
There was even a Quotation Audit done to Winnie the Pooh’s Goodreads page that assessed what was correct attribution and what wasn’t. The result was that 14 quotes (just over one fifth of all those listed) that were not from any Milne publication nor Disney movie. Then the rest were from House at Pooh Corner, a different book entirely, but at least it was a Milne work.
There is a list of Essential and Authentic Milne Quotes that are just as beautiful and funny as the incorrect ones. I’m not sure if there is a way to stop the spread of misattribution, but it’s not for lack of trying. There are a few sites dedicated to clearing up this confusion. I’ve mentioned Pooh Misquoted in the past, and the DailyKos page is another good one that tries to weed out the true from the not. They are few and far between but a great source to make clear Milne didn’t write every single Pooh quote, nor as it turns out, has Disney.
As the wise Abraham Lincoln once said: