Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat —
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more —
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
’But wait a bit,’ the Oysters cried,
’Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!’
“No hurry!’ said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
’A loaf of bread,’ the Walrus said,
’Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed —
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.’
’But not on us.!’ the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
’After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do.!’
’The night is fine,’ the Walrus said.
’Do you admire the view?
’It was so kind of you to come.!
And you are very nice.!’
The Carpenter said nothing but
’Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf —
I’ve had to ask you twice.!’
’It seems a shame,’ the Walrus said,
’To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!’
The Carpenter said nothing but
’The butter’s spread too thick!’
’I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
’I deeply sympathize.’
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
’O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
’You’ve had a pleasant run.!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.”
“I like the Walrus best,” said Alice: “because you see he was a little story for the poor oysters.” “He ate more than the Carpenter, though” said Tweedledee. “You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.”
“That was mean!” Alice said indignantly. “Then I like the Carpenter best — if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.”
“But he ate as many as he could get,” said Tweedledum.
This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, “Well! They were both very unpleasant characters — -” Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her like the puffng of a large steam-engine in the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast.
“Are there any lions or tigers about here?” she asked timidly.
“lt’s only the Red King snoring,” said Tweedledee.
“Come and look at him!” the brothers cried, and they each took one of Alice’s hands, and led her up to where the King was sleeping.
“Isn’t he a lovely sight?” said Tweedledum. Alice couldn’t say honestly that he was. He had a tall red night-cap on, with a tassel, and he was lying crumpled up into a sort of untidy heap, and snoring loud — “fit to snore his head off!” as Tweedledum remarked.
“I’m afraid he’ll catch cold with lying on the damp grass,” said Alice, who was a very thoughtful little girl.
“He’s dreaming now,” said Tweedledee: “and what do you think he’s dreaming about?”
Alice said, “Nobody can guess that.”
“Why, about you!” Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. “And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?”
“Where I am now, of course,” said Alice.
“Not you!” Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. “You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!”
“If that there King was to wake,” added Tweedledum, “you’d go out — bang! — just llke a candle!”