In this next adventure Alice meets up with Duchess again who greets her fondly. Alice thinks perhaps the pepper was the cause of her hot temperment when they first met in the Duchess’ kitchen. As they stroll along together conversing, Alice discovers that the duchess finds a moral in everything that is said. The duchess thinks so highly of her words and morals that she leaves them all to Alice as a present. (Though many of her morals seem nonsensical, in theory I find a great deal of truth to this as shouldn’t our words should bring life to those we present them to?).
Suddenly the queen appears and gives the duchess an ultimatum to leave or have her head cut off. She chooses to leave and the Queen tells Alice they should get on with the game of croquet. However the Queen quarrels constantly and demands so many heads to be cut off that soon there’s no one left to play the game but the Queen, the King and Alice. That’s when the Queen tells Alice that she must find the Mock Turtle and listen to his history.

They meet a sleeping Gryphon along the way and the Queen commands it to wake up and take Alice to see the Mock Turtle while she goes back to tend to her executions.
After the queen leaves, the griffon chuckles and answers an inquiring Alice by telling her that the Queen never executes anybody…that it is all just her fancy (empty threats?).
The Gryphon and Alice travel on and soon find the mock turtle. The sobbing mock turtle appears very sad and lonely sitting on a rock ledge. When Alice, pitying him, inquires about his sorrow the Gryphon says, “ It’s all his fantasy…he hasn’t got no sorrow.” (Is this perhaps where he got his name ‘mock’?) But the teary-eyed turtle continues sighing deeply and proceeds to tell his story by beginning,
“Once I was a real turtle.” He tells Alice of his childhood in the sea, of his teachers and what lessons he learned, such as reeling and writhing, arithmetic, addition and distraction. When Alice asks a question of him, he is angered and calls her dull. And so the scenario continues with the turtle describing more about his schooling in rather strange terminology. When he mentions that he took a course in uglification Alice says she has never heard of such, to which both the turtle and the Gryphon are taken aback by her ignorance and call her a simpleton. (Well, if we think about it, I guess we have all met people who must have taken a course in uglification and know a great deal about uglifying).
As the Mock Turtle continues to describe his childhood lessons, Alice finds out from him and the Gryphon that each day the amount of time spent studying decreases, which is why they are called lessons…because they lessen from day to day. When Alice asks another question about this approach to learning, the Gryphon says ‘That’s enough!’ He now wants to hear about the games. Do you?
Turtle

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