Winnie the Pooh’s adventures began long before he settled into the Hundred Acre Woods.
A century after Captain Harry Colebourn said goodbye to his beloved bear, his great-granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, is retracing their journey through an old journal.
“There’s a magic to it, where one of the world’s most famous and beloved fictional stories had a real and true story behind it,” she told BBC News.
In 1914, during World War I, then only a cub, the real-life bear accompanied his Canadian owner, Captain Colebourn, across the Atlantic.
But when Captain Colebourn was called to fight in France, he donated Winnipeg, whom he had adoringly nicknamed Winnie, to the London Zoo.
The rest of the story is history – Winnie would go on to meet his best friend, Christopher Robin, whose father, Alan Alexander Milne, turned their beautiful bond into a collection of children’s stories.
Mattick recently visited the zoo to pick up the story she had been following in her great-grandfather’s writing.
Although Christopher Robin died in 1996, Mattick was introduced to his cousin, Derek de Selincourt, with whom she spent time looking through the family’s original stories and marveling at the fact that the adventures of her great-grandfather and Winnie had finally come full circle.
“I can’t imagine that in his wildest dreams that his great-granddaughter would be sitting here with A.A. Milne’s nephew having a conversation about how a real bear and a fictional bear affected the narratives of our lives,” she said.