‘Wake up, Alice dear!’ said her sister; ‘Why, what a long sleep you’ve had!’
‘Oh, I’ve had such a fantastic dream!’ said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember, with excitement in her voice as if it had all been real, all these strange adventures of hers that you have just been reading about. When she had finished talking, her sister kissed her gently on her lightly sunburned cheek, and said, ‘It was a curious dream, dear, certainly: but now run in to drink your tea and eat your little cakes; it’s getting late.’ So Alice got up and skipped happily away, thinking while she went, what a wonderful dream it had been and how delightful it made her feel.
But her sister sat still thinking about the incredible story. She remained just as Alice left her, leaning her head on her hand, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderful adventures, till she too began dreaming about what she had just heard, and this was her dream:—
First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again Alice’s tiny hands were clasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up into hers—she could hear the delighted tones of her voice, and see that cute little toss of her head to keep back the wandering blonde hair that would always get into her eyes—and still as she listened, the whole place around her became alive with the strange, fantastic creatures of her little sister’s dream.
A peaceful feeling enveloped her as she sat amazed at what she had just heard. As she sat dreaming about it, the long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by—the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighboring pool—she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal at the fun party, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution—the thick smoke from the hookah smoking caterpillar—once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard’s slate-pencil as he wrote, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.
So she continued to sit and daydream, with closed eyes, and half believed herself to be in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open her dreamy eyes again, and all would change to dull reality—the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds—the rattling teacups would change to tinkling sheep-bells, and the Queen’s shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy—and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all the other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamor of the busy farm-yard—while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, after one year melted into the next, be a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her older years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own life during childhood, and the long, happy summer days.
As the warm summer breeze came across the pond she sat mystified, marveling that imagination could turn a dull and ordinary life into an amazing adventure in wonderland, and how happy it made her. She was sure her life would forever be changed by this incredible story that her beautiful, precious sister had told her. Suddenly she felt like she was the luckiest girl in the world.