Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)
CHAPTER V: 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 can’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 can’t put it more clearly,’ Alice replied very politely, `for I can’t understand it
myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’
`It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.
`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 as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a VERY unpleasant state of mind, she turned
`Come back!’ the Caterpillar called after her. `I’ve something important to say!’
This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.
Alice in Wonderland