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Culture
Alice in Wonderland in 600 Words

Alice in Wonderland in 600 Words

A Dodo suggested that they should dry off with a Caucus Race, which has no rules except to run in circles, and everyone is a winner
Oxfordshire Artweeks

There a grinning Cheshire-Cat told her to go one way to find the Hatter and the other for the March Hare. Then he vanished, until nothing was left but his grin

One sunny afternoon Alice was dozing on the riverbank beside her sister when suddenly a white rabbit with a waistcoat and pocket watch ran by, muttering, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late.”

Then he popped down a large rabbit hole under a hedge. “How curious,” thought Alice. So she followed him, falling down, down, down, past many cupboards and bookshelves into a long low hall.

Unlocking a tiny little door with a golden key, Alice spied the loveliest garden you ever saw. But she was much too big to squeeze through.

On a table was a glass bottle with a label saying ‘DRINK ME’. So Alice did. And she shrank to only ten inches tall. Now she could fit through the door but, poor Alice, she had left the key on the table!

Alice in Wonderland in 600 Words

 

Under the table was a glass box and inside a cake on which it said ‘EAT ME’. So Alice did and started to open out like a telescope, growing taller than ever. She began to cry great salty tears, making a pool on the floor.

Just then the White Rabbit trotted past, all of a fluster, and dropped his fan and gloves.

Alice shrank again, splashing right into a pool of her own tears. There she met many strange birds and animals and they all swam to shore. A Dodo suggested that they should dry off with a Caucus Race, which has no rules except to run in circles, and everyone is a winner.

The Rabbit returned and angrily ordered Alice to fetch new gloves and a fan from his house. There she found another bottle and drank from that. This made her so big that she filled the house until her arm stuck out of the window and her leg up the chimney.

Luckily, a shower of pebbles rattled through the window and turned into little cakes. Alice swallowed one and shrank once more.

Alice wandered along until she met a large blue caterpillar sitting on a mushroom. “Who are you?” he asked. But after so many size changes Alice hardly knew.

Then Alice came to a house where a Duchess was nursing a baby and a Cook was stirring a cauldron of peppery soup. There a grinning Cheshire-Cat told her to go one way to find the Hatter and the other for the March Hare. Then he vanished, until nothing was left but his grin.

Alice decided to visit the Hare and found the Hatter there too, at a mad tea party with a sleepy dormouse. They were telling riddles and talking nonsense: “It’s always six o’clock now.”

Declaring it “the stupidest tea party I ever was at”, Alice walked away and came upon three playing-card gardeners painting white roses red for the Queen of Hearts. The Queen invited Alice to play croquet. But the mallets were flamingos and the balls hedgehogs and anyone who played badly was arrested.

The Queen summoned everyone to the court of justice for a trial. The Knave of Hearts was accused of stealing the Queen’s jam tarts. Alice, again starting to grow, was called to the witness box. But the trial was so topsy-turvy that she exclaimed, “This is stuff and nonsense.”
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“Off with her head,” screamed the Queen.

“You’re nothing but a pack of cards,” cried Alice, when suddenly the whole pack rose into the air and flew at her. She gave a little scream as she beat them off, then found herself back on the riverbank.

“Oh,” said Alice. “I’ve had such a curious dream.”

 

- Supplied by Esther Lafferty, Festival Director of Oxfordshire Artweeks

 

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