`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 in 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.
`But she must have a prize herself, you know,’ said the Mouse.
`Of course,’ the Dodo replied very gravely. `What else have you got in your pocket?’ he went on, turning to Alice.
`Only a thimble,’ said Alice sadly.
`Hand it over here,’ said the Dodo.
Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying `We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble’; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.
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 hate—C 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.
`It is a long tail, certainly,’ said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse’s tail; `but why do you call it sad?’ And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of the tale was something like this:—
`Fury said to a
mouse, That he
met in the
both go to
law: I will
I’ll take no
must have a
mouse to the
`You are not attending!’ said the Mouse to Alice severely. `What are you thinking of?’
`I beg your pardon,’ said Alice very humbly: `you had got to the fifth bend, I think?’
`I had not!’ cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily.