ONCE upon a time, there was a little girl called Alice: and she had a very curious dream.
Would you like to hear what it was that she dreamed about?
Well, this was the first thing that happened. A White Rabbit came running by, in a great hurry; and, just as it passed Alice, it stopped, and took its watch out of its pocket.
Wasn’t that a funny thing? Did you ever see a Rabbit that had a watch, and a pocket to put it in? Of course, when a Rabbit has a watch, it must have a pocket to put it in: it would never do to carry it about in its mouth-and it wants its hands sometimes, to run about with.
Hasn’t it got pretty pink eyes (I think all White Rabbits have pink eyes); and pink ears; and a nice brown coat; and you can just see its red pocket-handkerchief peeping out of its coat pocket: and, what with its blue neck-tie and its yellow waistcoat, it really is very nicely dressed.
“Oh dear, oh dear!” said the Rabbit. “I shall be too late!” What would it be too latefor, I wonder? Well, you see, it had to go and visit the Duchess (you’ll see a picture of the Duchess, soon, sitting in her kitchen): and the Duchess was a very cross old lady: and the Rabbit knew she’d be very angry indeed if he kept her waiting. So the poor thing was as frightened as frightened could be (Don’t you see how he’s trembling? Just shake the book a little, from side to side, and you’ll soon see him tremble), because he thought the Duchess would have his head cut off, for a punishment. That was what the Queen of Hearts used to do, when she was angry with people (you’ll see a picture of her, soon): at least she used to order their heads to be cut off, and she always thought it was done, though they never reallydid it.
And so, when the White Rabbit ran away, Alice wanted to see what would happen to it; so she ran after it: and she ran, and she ran, till she tumbled right down the rabbit-hole.
And then she had a very long fall indeed. Down, and down, and down, till she began to wonder if she was going right through the World, so as to come out on the other side!
It was just like a very deep well: only there was no water in it. If anybody reallyhad such a fall as that, it would kill them, most likely: but you know it doesn’t hurt a bit to fall in a dream, because, all the time you think your’re falling, you reallyare lying somewhere, safe and sound, and fast asleep!
However, this terrible fall came to an end at last, and down came Alice on a heap of sticks and dry leaves. But she wasn’t a bit hurt, and up she jumped, and ran after the Rabbit again.
And so that was the beginning of Alice’s curious dream. And, next time you see a White Rabbit, try and fancy you’re going to have a curious dream, just like dear little Alice.