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ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR.
THE Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in
silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and
addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice
replied, rather shyly, “I-I hardly know, Sir, just at present-at least
I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must
have been changed several times since then.” “What do you mean
by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!” “I ca’n’t
explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not
myself, you see.” “I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.
“I’m afraid I ca’n’t put it more clearly,” Alice replied, very politely,
“for I ca’n’t understand it myself, to begin with; and being so many
different sizes in a day is very confusing.” “It isn’t,” said the
“Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,” said Alice; “but when
you have to turn into a chrysalis-you will some day, you know-
and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a
little queer, won’t you?” “Not a bit,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice: “all I
know is, it would feel very queer to me.” “You!” said the
Caterpillar contemptuously. “Who are you?” Which brought them
back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little
irritated at the Caterpillar’s making such very short remarks, and
she drew herself up and said, very gravely, “I think you ought to
tell me who you are, first.” “Why?” said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and, as Alice could not think
of any good reason, and the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very
unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.
“Come back!” the Caterpillar called after her. “I’ve something
important to say!” This sounded promising, certainly. Alice turned
and came back again.
“Keep your temper,” said the Caterpillar.
“Is that all?” said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she
“No,” said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do,
and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For