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... do feel like a little fairy, being blown here and there without being able to control my flight!’ she said sadly, as she reached into her pinafore pocket for a handkerchief.  ‘How I do hope that Kitty gets back soon as it is so lonely here without her by my side.’

 

After a few minutes of self-indulgence, Alice came to her senses and thought, ‘Self-pity will get me nowhere.  I must think positive thoughts and come up with a plan of action if I am to get anywhere at all.  Now, what would Kitty do if she was still here?

 

‘Why, she would wash herself, of course!’ said Alice, answering her own question, and she immediately set about licking her hand and drawing it over her face just as Kitty had shown her.

 

Alice had to admit that washing herself in this manner was very comforting and, after a while, she began to forget about her predicament.

 

Instead, a new feeling of contentment started to come over her and she began singing again, this time in a more confident and satisfied manner …

‘My first is in mice and also in claw;

My second is in rat and also in paw;

My third is in soft and also in tail;

My all is a love that cannot fail.

‘I am sure that Kitty will be back very soon,’ she said to herself, ‘and my job is to wait here quietly for her to return.

‘That can’t be too difficult for me to do,’ she added, ‘and all that I need is the patience and resolve of a cat in order to do it.  Why, I have seen cats sit for hours, just waiting for something, anything, to happen.  Maybe I should imagine that I am sitting on the hearth in front of a warm fire in mid-winter with a full tummy of fish and a saucer of milk.

 

‘That is it!’ cried Alice, and she set her mind to imagining what it would feel like to be a cat under such circumstances.

 

‘Why, I could imagine that I have a little girl all of my own who can hug me and cuddle me whenever I want,’ she said.  ‘And she could bring me choice treats from her plate and feed me cream from the pantry when no one was looking.  And I would call her Meow so that she knew her name whenever I called out to her and she would come running right away.  How grand that would all be!’

 

All this felt incredibly comforting to Alice, and she resolved to stay where she was until the kitten returned.

 

Before too long, Alice started to get very sleepy again, so she yawned and stretched and made herself comfortable by padding the floor with both of her hands.

 

After a few minutes of this she curled up on the ground and closed her eyes.

In no time at all she was asleep once more.              

 

 

Chapter III

Rabbit in a Stew

In which Alice befriends the Welsh Rabbit

When she awoke, Alice found herself lying on a bed of leaves, underneath a tall tree.

 

It was now fully daylight and Alice had to blink several times before her eyes focused properly.

 

‘How strange!’ she thought.  ‘For I can’t remember bumping into any trees last night and there are certainly a lot of them around me now.

 

‘Maybe they grew around me while I slept?’ she ventured.  ‘But in that case, I would have been sleeping for such a long time!  And, you know, some of these trees are very big, indeed.  Why, that one is an oak and I would not be at all surprised if it is hundreds of years old!  So maybe I have been sleeping all that time without knowing it?

 

‘But if I have really slept all that time then that would mean that all of my friends are long gone,’ she added, sadly, ‘and, if that was the case, then that would mean that I will never see Dinah and Kitty and Snowdrop again.  How strange that would be because it only seems like a few hours ago that I was talking with Kitty.  Why, she might well be a great grandmother several times over by now!’ and Alice went on like this for some time before she finally came to her senses.

 

‘Now Alice,’ she said to herself, ‘you must think this through carefully.  Everyone says that you are far too quick at jumping to conclusions and this is the perfect opportunity to prove them wrong,’ so she set herself to carefully examining the facts of the matter.

 

‘You know,’ she said, after a few minutes consideration, ‘my hair and my nails are still the same length as before so I don’t think that I have been sleeping all that long.  So maybe I just dreamed about my adventures with Kitty?  I must say, that would make more sense as it does seem rather strange that a cat could talk with me, now that I actually stop and think about it.  But if I did dream it all then it still doesn’t explain how I come to be here … wherever here may be.’

 

She looked around again hoping to see a familiar landmark to confirm her location.

 

‘I have heard about people who walk in their sleep,’ she said, with just a tiny bit of unease creeping into her voice.  ‘Maybe I am one of those people who sleepwalk and maybe I walked here last night instead of lying quietly in my bed?  That would explain why I am here,’ she added, ‘and when they go to look for me at breakfast time they will surely realise that I am nowhere to be found.  And then they will send out the search parties and before long I will be rescued.’

Alice was so pleased with this thought that she gave herself a big hug.

‘But what should I do in the meantime?’ she continued.  ‘I know, I will find the highest piece of ground that I can ...

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‘Kindness, my lucky rabbit’s foot!’ spluttered the Rabbit, as he suppressed a cough.