This time the Cheshire Cat vanished quite slowly. First its body went, then its legs. Then all of it vanished, and there was only its smile.
'There are a lot of cats without a smile, but a smile without a cat! Sow that's very strange! 'Alice said.
One hot summer day, Alice and her sister are sitting under a tree. Alice sees a white rabbit and runs after it. The rabbit goes down a rabbit-hole and Alice follows it.
Down the rabbit-hole, everything is different. Alice is in 'Wonderland'. Her size changes all the time. Caterpillars can talk and rabbits have watches. The Queen wants to cut off everybody's head. When the Queen sees the Cheshire Cat, she wants to cut off the Cat's head too. But there's a problem. The Cheshire Cat hasn't got a body ... What strange things happen to Alice, in Wonderland ? And how will she get back home again ?
Charles Dodgson was born in 1838. He went to Oxford University and then he was a teacher there. He was a quiet man and did not talk to people easily.
He wrote Alice in Wonderland in 1865. For him, Alice in Wonderland was not an important book, so he did not use his name for the book. He used the name Lewis Carroll. But the book sold very well and it was quickly very famous. At that time, children's books always tried to teach something. Lewis Carroll did not try to teach anything. He only wanted to tell a wonderful story.
Carroll wrote a second story about Alice in 1871. He died in 1898. Today, Alice in Wonderland is one of the most famous children's stories in the world.
Chapter 1 Down the Rabbit-hole
Alice and her big sister sat under a tree one sunny day. Alice's sister had a book, but Alice had nothing with her. She looked at her sister's book. There were no pictures or conversations in it.
'Why is she reading a book without pictures or conversations?' she thought. 'I'm bored. I know! I'll look for some flowers.' Then she thought,' No, it's too hot for that and I feel sleepy'
Suddenly, a white rabbit ran past her. It took a watch from its jacket and looked at it.' Oh! Oh ! I'm going to be late!' it said.
' That's strange! A rabbit with a watch!' said Alice.
She jumped up and ran after the animal. It ran down a large rabbit-hole, so Alice went down the hole too. She didn't stop and ask,' How am I going to get out again ?'
Alice fell down and down. But she fell very slowly and didn't feel afraid. 'What's going to happen next?' she wondered.
She looked round. There were cupboards in the walls of the rabbit-hole. Some of the cupboards were open, and there were books in them. Sometimes she saw pictures. She looked down, but she couldn't see any light.
Down, down, down. 'When will the hole end?' she wondered. Perhaps I'm going to come out in Australia! I'll have to ask the name of the country. " Please, madam, is this Australia or New Zealand?" No, I can't do that. They'll think I'm stupid.'
She thought about her cat, Dinah. 'What's Dinah doing? Will they remember her milk tonight? Oh, Dinah! Why aren't you here with me ? Perhaps there's a mouse here and you can eat it!'
Suddenly, Alice was at the bottom of the hole. ' That didn't hurt' she said and sat up quickly. She could see the White Rabbit and she ran after him again. They were in a different rabbit-hole now.
' Oh, my ears and nose!' the White Rabbit cried.' It's getting
He ran faster and vanished through another hole. Alice followed him through the hole. Now she was in a very long room. She looked round for the White Rabbit, but she couldn't see him anywhere.
There were four doors in the room, but Alice couldn't open them. Also, she couldn't see the hole anywhere.' How am I going to get out ?' she wondered.
Then she saw a little table. It had a very small key on it.
'Perhaps it will open one of the doors,' she thought. She took the key and tried to open each door with it. But it was no good. The key was too small.
' This key has to open something,' she thought.
Then she saw a very small door about 40 centimeters high. The little key opened it. She put her head down and looked through the door into a beautiful garden. She tried to walk through it, but she was too big. Sadly, she shut the door again and put the key back on the table.
'Why can't I get smaller?' thought Alice.' This is a very strange place - so perhaps I can.'
She looked at the table. There was a little bottle on it.
' That bottle was not on the table before,' thought Alice.
The bottle had ' DRINK ME' on it in large letters. Alice looked at it carefully.
' Is it all right to drink ?' she wondered.
' I'll drink a little,' she thought. She had some and it was very nice. So she had some more.' This feels strange,' said Alice.' I'm getting smaller and smaller!' - After a short time, she was only 25 centimetres high.
' Now I can go through that door,' she thought. She went to the door, but could not open it. The key was on the table. She went back to the table. But Alice was too short and she couldn't get the key. She tried to climb the table legs, but it was too difficult. The little girl sat down and cried.
'Alice! Alice!' she said after some minutes. 'Don't cry. It isn't going to help you. Stop now!'
Then she saw a little box under the table. She opened it. There was a cake inside. On it, she saw the words,' EAT ME'.
'Yes, I will eat it,'Alice said. 'Perhaps I'll get bigger and then I can get the key. Or perhaps I'll get smaller. Then I can get under the door into the garden.'
She ate some cake.
'Will I go up or down?' she wondered. She felt the top of her head with her hand. But nothing happened — she stayed the same size. So she finished the cake.
Chapter 2 Alice's Tears
'Oh! What's happening?' cried Alice. 'I'm getting taller and taller!' She looked down. 'Goodbye, feet! Who will put your shoes on for you now? I can't do it! I'll give you some new shoes for Christmas. I'll have to send them to you!'
In a short time, Alice was more than three metres high.
' I want to go into that garden!' she thought. She took the little key from the table. Then she went to the door and opened it. But she was too big and couldn't go through it.
' Alice, stop it this minute! Don't cry!' she said.
But she couldn't stop the big tears and after a time there was water everywhere.
She heard the sound of small feet. She looked down and there was the White Rabbit again. He had his best clothes on, and in one hand he had a white hat.
' Oh, the Duchess, the Duchess!' he said.' She'll be angry with me because I'm late!'
Alice wanted to ask him for help.' Please, sir — ' she said very politely.
The White Rabbit jumped. He ran out of the room and his hat fell from his hands. Alice took the hat.
'Am I different?' she wondered. 'I was Alice yesterday, but everything is different today. Perhaps I'm not me now. So who am I? That's the question.'
She began to think about her friends. 'Perhaps I'm one of them,' she thought.' I'm not Ada because her hair is different to mine. I don't want to be my friend Mabel, because she doesn't know very much. I know more than she does.' Then she thought, ' Do I know more ? Let me see. What's four and four ? Eight. Eight and eight is sixteen. Sixteen and sixteen is .. . Oh! I can't remember!' And she started to cry again.
But this time her tears were small tears — she was small again! ' Why ?' she wondered. Then she understood. She had the White Rabbit's hat in her hand.
' I'm smaller because I've got the hat in my hand!' she thought.
She put the hat on. It was the right size for her head.
Am I smaller than the table now ?' she wondered. She went to the table and stood next to it. She was smaller than the table.' I'm getting smaller all the time!' she cried.' I'm going to vanish!' She quickly took the hat off.
' Now I can go into the garden!' thought Alice, and she started to run to the little door. But before she got there, she fell into some water. She tried to put her feet on the ground but she couldn't. She had to swim.
'I'm in the sea!' she thought. But it wasn't the sea.The water was her tears.
Something was in the water — Alice could hear it.' Perhaps it's a big fish or sea animal,' she thought. She looked round. There, very near her, was a mouse.
'I'll speak to it,' thought Alice. 'Everything is strange here. Perhaps it can speak and understand me.'
' Oh Mouse,' she said. ' Do you know the way out of this room?' The Mouse didn't answer.
'Perhaps it doesn't understand English. Perhaps it's a French mouse,' Alice thought. She remembered some words from her schoolbook, so she spoke to the mouse in French.
' Where is my cat ?' she asked.
The Mouse moved quickly away from her.
'Oh, I'm sorry,' said Alice. 'I forgot. You're a mouse, so you don't like cats.'
'Don't like cats!' cried the mouse. 'I'm a mouse. Of course I don't like cats!'
'No,'Alice said. 'No. But I think you will like Dinah. She is a nice, dear thing. She's very quiet and good. She catches a mouse every day - Oh! You're angry again! We won't talk about Dinah any more - '
' We!' cried the Mouse.' I never speak about cats! Our family hates cats! I don't want to hear any more about them.'
' No, no,' said Alice quickly.' Perhaps — perhaps you like dogs ? There's a very nice little dog near our house. It likes playing with children but it works too. It kills all the m — Oh! I'm sorry!'
The Mouse looked angrily at her and swam quickly away. ' Dear Mouse!' said Alice softly. ' Come back again and we won't talk about cats or dogs.'
When the Mouse heard this, it turned round. It swam slowly back. 'All right,' it said. 'I'll talk to you, but let's get out of the
They climbed out and Alice looked round. There were a lot of animals and birds in the water. When they saw her, they got out of the water too.
Chapter 3 A Race
Alice and the birds and animals felt cold and wet. The largest bird spoke to Alice.
'What is a Dodo?' thought Alice, but she smiled politely. ' Hello, Dodo. I'm Alice,' she said.
' I have an idea,' said the Dodo.' We all want to get warm. So let's have a race — a Caucus race.'
'What is a Caucus race?'Alice asked.
' I can tell you,' said the Dodo,'but I won't. I'll show you! That will be easier.'
He put the animals and birds in different places in the room. In a race, somebody usually says,' One, two, three, go!' But the Dodo didn't do that. Everybody started to run at different times and stopped at different times too. After half an hour, the Dodo cried,' Everybody stop!' All the birds and animals stopped. Then they all came to the Dodo and stood round it. 'Who was first? Who was first?' they shouted.
The Dodo had to think about it. He sat for a long time with his finger in his mouth. Then he said, 'Everybody was first. So everybody can have a chocolate.'
' But who will give us the chocolates ?' the Mouse asked.
' She will,' the Dodo said and looked at Alice. The birds and animals came and stood round Alice.
' This is very stupid,' thought Alice and she wanted to laugh. But she didn't. She took the box and smiled politely.
The animals and birds ate their chocolates noisily. Some of them cried. The big animals and birds wanted more. But the chocolates were too big for the small birds, and they had to eat them very slowly. When they finished their chocolates, they sat and looked at Alice.
' Oh, where is Dinah ?' said Alice.' I want her with me.'
'And who is Dinah?' the Dodo asked.
Alice loved to talk about her cat.' Dinah's our cat. She's very nice. And very clever and fast. She can catch a mouse in the morning for her breakfast and a little bird in the evening for her dinner - Oh! I'm sorry!'
It was too late. The birds and animals started leaving.
One old bird said, 'I really have to go home. It gets so cold at night!'
Another bird called to her children,' Come away, my dears! It's time for bed!'
They all spoke politely to Alice and left the room. ' Oh, why did I talk about Dinah ?' cried Alice.' Nobody likes Dinah down here, but she's the best cat in the world. Perhaps I'll never see her again!'