WOULD you like to know what happened to Alice, after she had got away from the Puppy? It was far too large an animal, you know, for her to play with. (I don’t suppose you would much enjoy playing with a young Hippopotamus, would you? You would always be expecting to be crushed as flat as a pancake under its great heavy feet!) So Alice was very glad to run away, while it wasn’t looking.
Well, she wandered up and down, and didn’t know what in the world to do, to make herself grow up to her right size again. Of course she knew that she had to eat or drink something: that was the regular rule, you know: but she couldn’t guess what thing.
However, she soon came to a great mushroom, that was so tall that she couldn’t see over the top of it without standing on tip-toe. And what do you think she saw? Something that I’m sure you never talked to, in all your life!
It was a large Blue Caterpillar.
I’ll tell you, soon, what Alice and the Caterpillar talked about: but first let us have a good look at the picture.
That curious thing, standing in front of the Caterpillar, is called a “hookah”: and it’s used for smoking. The smoke comes through that long tube, that winds round and round like a serpent.
And do you see its long nose and chin? At least, they look exactly like a nose and chin, don’t they? But they really are two of its legs. You know a Caterpillar has got quantities of legs: you can see some more of them, further down.
What a bother it must be to a Caterpillar, counting over such a lot of legs, every night, to make sure it hasn’t lost any of them!
And another great bother must be, having to settle which leg it had better move first. I think, if you had forty or fifty legs, and if you wanted to go a walk, you’d be such a time in settling which leg to begin with, that you’d never go a walk at all!
And what did Alice and the Caterpillar talk about, I wonder?
Well, Alice told it how very confusing it was, being first one size and then another.
And the Caterpillar asked her if she liked the size she was, just then.
And Alice said she would like to be just a little bit larger-three inches was such a wretched height to be! (Just mark off three inches on the wall, about the length of your middle finger, and you’ll see what size she was.)
And the Caterpillar told her one side of the mushroom would make her grow taller, and the other side would maker her grow shorter.
So Alice took two little bits of it with her to nibble, and managed to make herself quite a nice comfortable height, before she went on to visit the Duchess.