“There isn’t such a dog as that,” Sylvie thoughtfully remarked.
“But there would be,” cried Bruno, “if the Professor shortened it up
“Shortened it up?” I said. “That’s something new. How does he do it?”
“He’s got a curious machine “Sylvie was beginning to explain.
“A welly curious machine,” Bruno broke in, not at all willing to have
the story thus taken out of his mouth, “and if oo puts
in–some-finoruvver–at one end, oo know and he turns the handle–and
it comes out at the uvver end, oh, ever so short!”
“As short as short! “Sylvie echoed.
“And one day when we was in Outland, oo know–before we came to
Fairyland me and Sylvie took him a big Crocodile. And he shortened it
up for us. And it did look so funny! And it kept looking round, and
saying ‘wherever is the rest of me got to?’ And then its eyes looked
“Not both its eyes,” Sylvie interrupted.
“Course not!” said the little fellow. “Only the eye that couldn’t see
wherever the rest of it had got to. But the eye that could see
“How short was the crocodile?” I asked, as the story was getting a
“Half as short again as when we caught it –so long,” said Bruno,
spreading out his arms to their full stretch.
I tried to calculate what this would come to, but it was too hard for me.
Please make it out for me, dear Child who reads this!
“But you didn’t leave the poor thing so short as that, did you?”
“Well, no. Sylvie and me took it back again and we got it stretched
to–to–how much was it, Sylvie?”
“Two times and a half, and a little bit more,” said Sylvie.
“It wouldn’t like that better than the other way, I’m afraid?”
“Oh, but it did though!” Bruno put in eagerly. “It were proud of its
new tail! Oo never saw a Crocodile so proud! Why, it could go round
and walk on the top of its tail, and along its back, all the way to its
[Image…A changed crocodile]
Not quite all the way,” said Sylvie. “It couldn’t, you know.”
“Ah, but it did, once!” Bruno cried triumphantly. “Oo weren’t
looking–but I watched it. And it walked on tippiety-toe, so as it
wouldn’t wake itself, ’cause it thought it were asleep. And it got
both its paws on its tail. And it walked and it walked all the way
along its back. And it walked and it walked on its forehead.
And it walked a tiny little way down its nose! There now!”
This was a good deal worse than the last puzzle. Please, dear Child,
“I don’t believe no Crocodile never walked along its own forehead!”
Sylvie cried, too much excited by the controversy to limit the number
of her negatives.
“Oo don’t know the reason why it did it!’, Bruno scornfully retorted.
“It had a welly good reason. I heerd it say ‘Why shouldn’t I walk on
my own forehead?’ So a course it did, oo know!”
“If that’s a good reason, Bruno,” I said, “why shouldn’t you get up
“Shall, in a minute,” said Bruno: “soon as we’ve done talking.
Only two peoples ca’n’t talk comfably togevver, when one’s getting up
a tree, and the other isn’t!”
It appeared to me that a conversation would scarcely be ‘comfable’
while trees were being climbed, even if both the ‘peoples’ were doing it:
but it was evidently dangerous to oppose any theory of Bruno’s;
so I thought it best to let the question drop, and to ask for an account
of the machine that made things longer.
This time Bruno was at a loss, and left it to Sylvie.
“It’s like a mangle,” she said: “if things are put in, they get squoze–”
“Squeezeled!” Bruno interrupted.
“Yes.” Sylvie accepted the correction, but did not attempt to pronounce
the word, which was evidently new to her. “They get–like that–and
they come out, oh, ever so long!”
“Once,” Bruno began again, “Sylvie and me writed–”
“Wrote!” Sylvie whispered.
“Well, we wroted a Nursery-Song, and the Professor mangled it longer
for us. It were ‘There was a little Man, And he had a little gun,