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Summertime has a tendency to turn my mind toward Alice in Wonderland. I think of Charles Dodgson punting that July day in 1862 in the River Thames, telling little Alice Liddell the wonderland story that she and her sisters (and Charles as the Dodo) would feature in.

All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.*

It was the sheep and wolf cartoon today that reminded me of how Dodgson, known better by his pen name Lewis Carroll, related similarly silly stories of predators and prey:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!*

But, perhaps the greatest of all Carroll’s poetry is when the prey is hunted:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.*

Vote on the cartoon to be featured in next week's newsletter.

  • In sheep

    (23%, 33 Votes)

  • Blame game

    (39%, 55 Votes)

  • Ants marching a fine line

    (30%, 43 Votes)

  • None of the above (7%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 141

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*from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, untitled.
**from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, untitled.

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