This is from The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne:

Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was Still looking at the world with his chin in his hands, called out


"Yes?" said Pooh.

"When I'm--when-- Pooh!"

"Yes, Christopher Robin?"

"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."

"Never again?"

"Well, not so much. They don't let you."

Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.

What is the meaning of "They don't let you"? I think that "They don't let me (do nothing)" would make sense. Who is "you"? Pooh? What is the word after "let you"?

2 Answers 2


What they don't let you means here is they don't let you [do nothing].

Here, they is the generic they, meaning people in general (including many of the adults that Christopher Robin interacts with).

And you is the generic you, which also means people in general, although in this case it means a different set of people (which includes Christopher Robin).


I believe that phrase is an implication that there are certain things you can do as a child that you are not allowed to do as an adult. In the transition from younger child to older child, there is a certain amount of imagination you aren't really allowed to practice anymore. You have to give up things like talking to stuffed animals to be accepted as being mature. In the same way you can't just idle your time away forever.

The whole last chapter of House of Pooh Corner is pretty much devoted to Christopher Robin leaving the last stage of being a baby and ultimately going to a place his stuffed animal friends will never understand.

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