when we go wrong, and we should never teach them anything? You can’t

mean to say that Fairies are never greedy, or selfish, or cross, or

deceitful, because that would be nonsense, you know. Well then, don’t

you think they might be all the better for a little lecturing and

punishing now and then?

I really don’t see why it shouldn’t be tried, and I’m almost sure that,

if you could only catch a Fairy, and put it in the corner, and give it

nothing but bread and water for a day or two, you’d find it quite an

improved character–it would take down its conceit a little, at all


The next question is, what is the best time for seeing Fairies?

I believe I can tell you all about that.

The first rule is, that it must be a very hot day–that we may consider

as settled: and you must be just a little sleepy–but not too sleepy to

keep your eyes open, mind. Well, and you ought to feel a little–what

one may call “fairyish “–the Scotch call it “eerie,” and perhaps

that’s a prettier word; if you don’t know what it means, I’m afraid I

can hardly explain it; you must wait till you meet a Fairy, and then

you’ll know.

And the last rule is, that the crickets should not be chirping.

I can’t stop to explain that: you must take it on trust for the present.

So, if all these things happen together, you have a good chance of

seeing a Fairy–or at least a much better chance than if they didn’t.

The first thing I noticed, as I went lazily along through an open place

in the wood, was a large Beetle lying struggling on its back,

and I went down upon one knee to help the poor thing to its feet again.

In some things, you know, you ca’n’t be quite sure what an insect would

like: for instance, I never could quite settle, supposing I were a

moth, whether I would rather be kept out of the candle, or be allowed

to fly straight in and get burnt–or again, supposing I were a spider,

I’m not sure if I should be quite pleased to have my web torn down,

and the fly let loose–but I feel quite certain that, if I were a beetle

and had rolled over on my back, I should always be glad to be helped up


So, as I was saying, I had gone down upon one knee, and was just

reaching out a little stick to turn the Beetle over, when I saw a sight

that made me draw back hastily and hold my breath, for fear of making

any noise and frightening the little creature a way.

Not that she looked as if she would be easily frightened: she seemed so

good and gentle that I’m sure she would never expect that any one could

wish to hurt her. She was only a few inches high, and was dressed in

green, so that you really would hardly have noticed her among the long

grass; and she was so delicate and graceful that she quite seemed to

belong to the place, almost as if she were one of the flowers. I may

tell you, besides, that she had no wings (I don’t believe in Fairies

with wings), and that she had quantities of long brown hair and large

earnest brown eyes, and then I shall have done all I can to give you an

idea of her.


Sylvie (I found out her name afterwards) had knelt down, just as I was

doing, to help the Beetle; but it needed more than a little stick for

her to get it on its legs again; it was as much as she could do,

with both arms, to roll the heavy thing over; and all the while she

was talking to it, half scolding and half comforting, as a nurse might

do with a child that had fallen down.

“There, there! You needn’t cry so much about it. You’re not killed

yet–though if you were, you couldn’t cry, you know, and so it’s a

general rule against crying, my dear! And how did you come to tumble

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis