What Alice finds on top of the mushroom was a blue caterpillar who appears to be very comfortable with who he is and whose questions make Alice feel very uncertain as to who she is. His penetrating question, ‘Who are you?’ is one she can’t quite answer. She has changed sizes so many times since this morning and her memory isn’t working too well either. (Now in my imagination, it seems like Alice’s not knowing who she is, yet having a plan to become her true size again and get into that beautiful garden is allegorical. For don’t we all desire to be our authentic self in the Garden of the Lord? I think of Jeremiah 31:12: “And their life will be like a watered garden.”)

Though Alice finds her changing ‘confusing’ and ‘queer’ and assumes the caterpillar would feel the same about changing into a chrysalis or a butterfly, he says he would not! Alice becomes irritated and the caterpillar’s advice to her is ‘Keep your temper’. (We are reminded again in this story about the virtue of self-control related to anger.)
After more discussion and questioning about changing and Alice’s desire to be a different size, the caterpillar climbs off the mushroom and leaves her with some information about it. He tells her that one side will make her taller and the other side will make her grow shorter.
She breaks some off and the effects of sampling from both sides lead to quite an adventure with a pigeon who is convinced she is a serpent because of her long neck. (When we stick our necks out and give opinions or advice that someone may not like, do they view us as a serpent?)
The pigeon eventually departs and Alice nibbles on mushroom pieces until she is back to her right size. Now half her plan is complete and she has only to figure out how to get into that beautiful garden. She comes upon a little house and doesn’t want to meet the residents at her present size…so…you guessed it…. she eats again. Now whose house is it? And can she still get into that garden?

Mushroom

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