`Well, I've tried to say "How doth the little busy bee", but it all came different!' Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.

`Repeat "You are old, Father William",' said the Caterpillar.

Alice folded her hands, and began:

`You are old, Father William,' the young man said,
   `And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
   Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

`In my youth,' Father William replied to his son,
   `I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
   Why, I do it again and again.'

`You are old,' said the youth, `as I mentioned before.
   And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
   Pray, what is the reason of that?'

`In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
   `I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment--one shilling the box--
   Allow me to sell you a couple?'

`You are old,' said the youth, `and your jaws are too weak
   For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
   Pray, how did you manage to do it?'

`In my youth,' said his father, `I took to the law,
   And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
   Has lasted the rest of my life.'

`You are old,' said the youth, `one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
   What made you so awfully clever?'

`I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
   Said his father, `Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
   Be off, or I'll kick you down-stairs!'

`That is not said right,' said the Caterpillar.

`Not quite right, I'm afraid,' said Alice, timidly: `some of the words have got altered.'

`It is wrong from beginning to end,' said the Caterpillar, decidedly; and there was silence for some minutes.

The Caterpillar was the first to speak.

`What size do you want to be?' it asked.

`Oh, I'm not particular as to size,' Alice hastily replied; `only one doesn't like changing so often, you know.'

`I don't know,' said the Caterpillar.

Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in all her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.

`Are you content now!' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, I should like to be a little larger, Sir, if you wouldn't mind,' said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height to be.'

`It is a very good height indeed!' said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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