They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. (If you don’t know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) `Up, lazy thing!’ said the Queen, `and take this young lady to see the Mock Turtle, and to hear his history. I must go back and see after some executions I have ordered’; and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon. Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that savage Queen: so she waited.
The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she was out of sight: then it chuckled. `What fun!’ said the Gryphon, half to itself, half to Alice.
`What is the fun?’ said Alice.
`Why, she,’ said the Gryphon. `It’s all her fancy, that: they never executes nobody, you know. Come on!’
`Everybody says “come on!” here,’ thought Alice, as she went slowly after it: `I never was so ordered about in all my life, never!’
They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Turtle in the distance, sitting sad and lonely on a little ledge of rock, and, as they came nearer, Alice could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. `What is his sorrow?’ she asked the Gryphon, and the Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same words as before, `It’s all his fancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know. Come on!’
So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at them with large eyes full of tears, but said nothing.
`This here young lady,’ said the Gryphon, `she wants for to know your history, she do.’
`I’ll tell it her,’ said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollow tone: `sit down, both of you, and don’t speak a word till I’ve finished.’
So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought to herself, `I don’t see how he can even finish, if he doesn’t begin.’ But she waited patiently.
`Once,’ said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, `I was a real Turtle.’
These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasional exclamation of `Hjckrrh!’ from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying, `Thank you, sir, for your interesting story,’ but she could not help thinking there must be more to come, so she sat still and said nothing.
`When we were little,’ the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, `we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle—we used to call him Tortoise—’
`Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?’ Alice asked.
`We called him Tortoise because he taught us,’ said the Mock Turtle angrily: `really you are very dull!’
`You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question,’ added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle, `Drive on, old fellow! Don’t be all day about it!’ and he went on in these words: