ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Illustrated children's book by Lewis Carroll - online version

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"Speak English!" said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and, what's more, I don't believe you do either!"
"What I was going to say," said the Dodo in an offended tone, "is that the best thing to get us dry would be a Caucus-race."
"What is a Caucus-race?" said Alice.
"Why," said the Dodo, "the best way to explain it is to do it." First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no "One, two, three and away!" but they began running when they liked and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, "The race is over!" and they all crowded 'round it, panting and asking, "But who has won?"
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought. At last it said, "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes."
"But who is to give the prizes?" quite a chorus of voices asked.
"Why, she, of course," said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded 'round her, calling out, in a confused way, "Prizes! Prizes!"
Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand into her pocket and pulled out a box of comfits (luckily the salt-water had not got into it) and handed them 'round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece, all 'round.
The next thing was to eat the comfits; this caused some noise and confusion, as the large birds complained that they could not taste theirs, and the small ones choked and had to be patted on the back. However, it was over at last and they sat down again in a ring and begged the Mouse to tell them something more.
"You promised to tell me your history, you know," said Alice, "and why it is you hateŚC and D," she added in a whisper, half afraid that it would be offended again.
"Mine is a long and a sad tale!" said the Mouse, turning to Alice and sighing.