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Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets (Edward Lear)

Published onJan 10, 2011
Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets (Edward Lear)

Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets

By Edward Lear


Nonsense Songs





Nonsense Songs

 “The Owl and The Pussy-cat”



The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat:

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"




Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,

How charmingly sweet you sing!

Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the bong-tree grows;

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.




"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.


They dined on mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.


“The Duck and the Kangaroo”




Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,

"Good gracious! how you hop

Over the fields, and the water too,

As if you never would stop!

My life is a bore in this nasty pond;

And I long to go out in the world beyond:

I wish I could hop like you,"

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.




"Please give me a ride on your back,"

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo:

"I would sit quite still, and say nothing but 'Quack'

The whole of the long day through;

And we 'd go the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,

Over the land, and over the sea:

Please take me a ride! oh, do!"

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.




Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,

"This requires some little reflection.

Perhaps, on the whole, it might bring me luck;

And there seems but one objection;

Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,

Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,

And would probably give me the roo-

Matiz," said the Kangaroo.




Said the Duck, "As I sate on the rocks,

I have thought over that completely;

And I bought four pairs of worsted socks,

Which fit my web-feet neatly;

And, to keep out the cold, I've bought a cloak;

And every day a cigar I'll smoke;

All to follow my own dear true

Love of a Kangaroo."




Said the Kangaroo, "I'm ready,

All in the moonlight pale;

But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady,

And quite at the end of my tail."


The Duck and the Kangaroo

So away they went with a hop and a bound;

And they hopped the whole world three times round.

And who so happy, oh! who,

As the Duck and the Kangaroo?


“The Daddy Long-legs and the Fly”




Once Mr. Daddy Long-legs,

Dressed in brown and gray,

Walked about upon the sands

Upon a summer's day:

And there among the pebbles,

When the wind was rather cold,

He met with Mr. Floppy Fly,

All dressed in blue and gold;

And, as it was too soon to dine,

They drank some periwinkle-wine,

And played an hour or two, or more,

At battlecock and shuttledore.




Said Mr. Daddy Long-legs

To Mr. Floppy Fly,

"Why do you never come to court?

I wish you 'd tell me why.

All gold and shine, in dress so fine,

You'd quite delight the court.

Why do you never go at all?

I really think you ought.

And, if you went, you'd see such sights!

Such rugs and jugs and candle-lights!

And, more than all, the king and queen,—

One in red, and one in green."




"O Mr. Daddy Long-legs!"

Said Mr. Floppy Fly,

"It's true I never go to court;

And I will tell you why.

If I had six long legs like yours,

At once I'd go to court;

But, oh! I can't, because my legs

Are so extremely short.

And I'm afraid the king and queen

(One in red, and one in green)

Would say aloud, 'You are not fit,

You Fly, to come to court a bit!'"




"Oh, Mr. Daddy Long-legs!"

Said Mr. Floppy Fly,

"I wish you 'd sing one little song,

One mumbian melody.

You used to sing so awful well

In former days gone by;

But now you never sing at all:

I wish you'd tell me why:

For, if you would, the silvery sound

Would please the shrimps and cockles round,

And all the crabs would gladly come

To hear you sing, 'Ah, Hum di Hum!'"




Said Mr. Daddy Long-legs,

"I can never sing again;

And, if you wish, I'll tell you why,

Although it gives me pain.

For years I cannot hum a bit,

Or sing the smallest song;

And this the dreadful reason is,—

My legs are grown too long!

My six long legs, all here and there,

Oppress my bosom with despair;

And, if I stand or lie or sit,

I cannot sing one single bit!"




So Mr. Daddy Long-legs

And Mr. Floppy Fly

Sat down in silence by the sea,

And gazed upon the sky.

They said, "This is a dreadful thing!

The world has all gone wrong,

Since one has legs too short by half,

The other much too long.

One never more can go to court,

Because his legs have grown too short;

The other cannot sing a song,

Because his legs have grown too long!"




Then Mr. Daddy Long-legs

And Mr. Floppy Fly

Rushed downward to the foamy sea

With one sponge-taneous cry:

And there they found a little boat,

Whose sails were pink and gray;

And off they sailed among the waves,

Far and far away:

They sailed across the silent main,

And reached the great Gromboolian Plain;

And there they play forevermore

At battlecock and shuttledore.


 “The Jumblies”




They went to sea in a sieve, they did;

In a sieve they went to sea:

In spite of all their friends could say,

On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,

In a sieve they went to sea.

And when the sieve turned round and round,

And every one cried, "You'll all be drowned!"

They called aloud, "Our sieve ain't big;

But we don't care a button, we don't care a fig:

In a sieve we'll go to sea!"

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue

And they went to sea in a sieve.




They sailed away in a sieve, they did,

In a sieve they sailed so fast,

With only a beautiful pea-green veil

Tied with a ribbon, by way of a sail,

To a small tobacco-pipe mast.

And every one said who saw them go,

"Oh! won't they be soon upset, you know?

For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long;

And, happen what may, it's extremely wrong

In a sieve to sail so fast."

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;

And they went to sea in a sieve.




The water it soon came in, it did;

The water it soon came in:

So, to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet

In a pinky paper all folded neat;

And they fastened it down with a pin.

And they passed the night in a crockery-jar;

And each of them said, "How wise we are!

Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,

Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,

While round in our sieve we spin."

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;

And they went to sea in a sieve.




And all night long they sailed away;

And when the sun went down,

They whistled and warbled a moony song

To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,

In the shade of the mountains brown.

"O Timballoo! How happy we are

When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar!

And all night long, in the moonlight pale,

We sail away with a pea-green sail

In the shade of the mountains brown."

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;

And they went to sea in a sieve.




They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,—

To a land all covered with trees:

And they bought an owl, and a useful cart,

And a pound of rice, and a cranberry-tart,

And a hive of silvery bees;

And they bought a pig, and some green jackdaws,

And a lovely monkey with lollipop paws,

And forty bottles of ring-bo-ree,

And no end of Stilton cheese.

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;

And they went to sea in a sieve.




And in twenty years they all came back,—

In twenty years or more;

And every one said, "How tall they've grown!

For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,

And the hills of the Chankly Bore."

And they drank their health, and gave them a feast

Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;

And every one said, "If we only live,

We, too, will go to sea in a sieve,

To the hills of the Chankly Bore."

Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live:

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;

And they went to sea in a sieve.


 “The Nutcrackers and the Sugar-tongs”




The Nutcrackers sate by a plate on the table;

The Sugar-tongs sate by a plate at his side;

And the Nutcrackers said, "Don't you wish we were able

Along the blue hills and green meadows to ride?

Must we drag on this stupid existence forever,

So idle and weary, so full of remorse,

While every one else takes his pleasure, and never

Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?




"Don't you think we could ride without being instructed,

Without any saddle or bridle or spur?

Our legs are so long, and so aptly constructed,

I'm sure that an accident could not occur.

Let us all of a sudden hop down from the table,

And hustle downstairs, and each jump on a horse!

Shall we try? Shall we go? Do you think we are able?"

The Sugar-tongs answered distinctly, "Of course!"




So down the long staircase they hopped in a minute;

The Sugar-tongs snapped, and the Crackers said "Crack!"

The stable was open; the horses were in it:

Each took out a pony, and jumped on his back.

The Cat in a fright scrambled out of the doorway;

The Mice tumbled out of a bundle of hay;

The brown and white Rats, and the black ones from Norway,

Screamed out, "They are taking the horses away!"




The whole of the household was filled with amazement:

The Cups and the Saucers danced madly about;

The Plates and the Dishes looked out of the casement;

The Salt-cellar stood on his head with a shout;

The Spoons, with a clatter, looked out of the lattice;

The Mustard-pot climbed up the gooseberry-pies;

The Soup-ladle peeped through a heap of veal-patties,

And squeaked with a ladle-like scream of surprise.




The Frying-pan said, "It's an awful delusion!"

The Tea-kettle hissed, and grew black in the face;

And they all rushed downstairs in the wildest confusion

To see the great Nutcracker-Sugar-tong race.

And out of the stable, with screamings and laughter

(Their ponies were cream-colored, speckled with brown),

The Nutcrackers first, and the Sugar-tongs after;

Rode all round the yard, and then all round the town.




They rode through the street, and they rode by the station;

They galloped away to the beautiful shore;

In silence they rode, and "made no observation,"

Save this: "We will never go back any more!"

And still you might hear, till they rode out of hearing,

The Sugar-tongs snap, and the Crackers say "Crack!"

Till, far in the distance their forms disappearing,

They faded away; and they never came back!



“Calico Pie”



Calico pie,

The little birds fly

Down to the calico-tree:

Their wings were blue,

And they sang "Tilly-loo!"

Till away they flew;

And they never came back to me!

They never came back,

They never came back,

They never came back to me!




Calico jam,

The little Fish swam

Over the Syllabub Sea.

He took off his hat

To the Sole and the Sprat,

And the Willeby-wat:


But he never came back to me;

He never came back,

He never came back,

He never came back to me.




Calico ban,

The little Mice ran

To be ready in time for tea;

Flippity flup,

They drank it all up,

And danced in the cup:

But they never came back to me;

They never came back,

They never came back,

They never came back to me



Calico drum,

The Grasshoppers come,

The Butterfly, Beetle, and Bee,

Over the ground,

Around and round,

With a hop and a bound;


But they never came back,

They never came back,

They never came back.

They never came back to me.


“Mr. and Mrs. Spikky Sparrow”



On a little piece of wood

Mr. Spikky Sparrow stood:

Mrs. Sparrow sate close by,

A-making of an insect-pie

For her little children five,

In the nest and all alive;

Singing with a cheerful smile,

To amuse them all the while,

"Twikky wikky wikky wee,

Wikky bikky twikky tee,

Spikky bikky bee!"




Mrs. Spikky Sparrow said,

"Spikky, darling! in my head

Many thoughts of trouble come,

Like to flies upon a plum.

All last night, among the trees,

I heard you cough, I heard you sneeze;

And thought I, 'It's come to that

Because he does not wear a hat!'

Chippy wippy sikky tee,

Bikky wikky tikky mee,

Spikky chippy wee!




"Not that you are growing old;

But the nights are growing cold.

No one stays out all night long

Without a hat: I'm sure it's wrong!"

Mr. Spikky said, "How kind,

Dear, you are, to speak your mind!

All your life I wish you luck!

You are, you are, a lovely duck!

Witchy witchy witchy wee,

Twitchy witchy witchy bee,

Tikky tikky tee!




"I was also sad, and thinking,

When one day I saw you winking,

And I heard you sniffle-snuffle,

And I saw your feathers ruffle:

To myself I sadly said,

'She's neuralgia in her head!

That dear head has nothing on it!

Ought she not to wear a bonnet?'

Witchy kitchy kitchy wee,

Spikky wikky mikky bee,

Chippy wippy chee!




"Let us both fly up to town:

There I'll buy you such a gown!

Which, completely in the fashion,

You shall tie a sky-blue sash on;

And a pair of slippers neat

To fit your darling little feet,

So that you will look and feel

Quite galloobious and genteel.

Jikky wikky bikky see,

Chicky bikky wikky bee,

Twicky witchy wee!"




So they both to London went,

Alighting on the Monument;

Whence they flew down swiftly—pop!

Into Moses' wholesale shop:

There they bought a hat and bonnet,

And a gown with spots upon it,

A satin sash of Cloxam blue,

And a pair of slippers too.

Zikky wikky mikky bee,

Witchy witchy mitchy kee,

Sikky tikky wee!




Then, when so completely dressed,

Back they flew, and reached their nest.

Their children cried, "O ma and pa!

How truly beautiful you are!"

Said they, "We trust that cold or pain

We shall never feel again;

While, perched on tree or house or steeple,

We now shall look like other people.

Witchy witchy witchy wee,

Twikky mikky bikky bee,

Zikky sikky tee!"


 “The Broom, the Shovel, the Poker, and the Tongs”




The Broom and the Shovel, the Poker and Tongs,

They all took a drive in the Park;

And they each sang a song, ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!

Before they went back in the dark.

Mr. Poker he sate quite upright in the coach;

Mr. Tongs made a clatter and clash;

Miss Shovel was dressed all in black (with a brooch);

Mrs. Broom was in blue (with a sash).

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!

And they all sang a song.




"O Shovely so lovely!" the Poker he sang,

"You have perfectly conquered my heart.

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong! If you're pleased with my song,

I will feed you with cold apple-tart.

When you scrape up the coals with a delicate sound,

You enrapture my life with delight,

Your nose is so shiny, your head is so round,

And your shape is so slender and bright!

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!

Ain't you pleased with my song?"




"Alas! Mrs. Broom," sighed the Tongs in his song,

"Oh! is it because I'm so thin,

And my legs are so long,—ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!—

That you don't care about me a pin?

Ah! fairest of creatures, when sweeping the room,

Ah! why don't you heed my complaint?

Must you needs be so cruel, you beautiful Broom,

Because you are covered with paint?

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!

You are certainly wrong."




Mrs. Broom and Miss Shovel together they sang,

"What nonsense you're singing to-day!"

Said the Shovel, "I'll certainly hit you a bang!"

Said the Broom, "And I'll sweep you away!"

So the coachman drove homeward as fast as he could,

Perceiving their anger with pain;

But they put on the kettle, and little by little

They all became happy again.

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong!

There's an end of my song.


 “The Table and the Chair”




Said the Table to the Chair,

"You can hardly be aware

How I suffer from the heat

And from chilblains on my feet.

If we took a little walk,

We might have a little talk;

Pray let us take the air,"

Said the Table to the Chair.




Said the Chair unto the Table,

"Now, you know we are not able:

How foolishly you talk,

When you know we cannot walk!"

Said the Table with a sigh,

"It can do no harm to try.

I've as many legs as you:

Why can't we walk on two?"




So they both went slowly down,

And walked about the town

With a cheerful bumpy sound

As they toddled round and round;

And everybody cried,

As they hastened to their side,

"See! the Table and the Chair

Have come out to take the air!"




But in going down an alley,

To a castle in a valley,

They completely lost their way,

And wandered all the day;

Till, to see them safely back,

They paid a Ducky-quack,

And a Beetle, and a Mouse,

Who took them to their house.




Then they whispered to each other,

"O delightful little brother,

What a lovely walk we've taken!

Let us dine on beans and bacon."

So the Ducky and the leetle

Browny-Mousy and the Beetle

Dined, and danced upon their heads

Till they toddled to their beds.



“The Story of the Four Little Children who Went Round the World The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple”




Once upon a time, a long while ago, there were four little people whose names were

and they all thought they should like to see the world. So they bought a large boat to sail quite round the world by sea, and then they were to come back on the other side by land. The boat was painted blue with green spots, and the sail was yellow with red stripes: and, when they set off, they only took a small Cat to steer and look after the boat, besides an elderly Quangle-Wangle, who had to cook the dinner and make the tea; for which purposes they took a large kettle.

For the first ten days they sailed on beautifully, and found plenty to eat, as there were lots of fish; and they had only to take them out of the sea with a long spoon, when the Quangle-Wangle instantly cooked them; and the Pussy-Cat was fed with the bones, with which she expressed herself pleased, on the whole: so that all the party were very happy.

During the daytime, Violet chiefly occupied herself in putting salt water into a churn; while her three brothers churned it violently, in the hope that it would turn into butter, which it seldom if ever did; and in the evening they all retired into the tea-kettle, where they all managed to sleep very comfortably, while Pussy and the Quangle-Wangle managed the boat.

 After a time, they saw some land at a distance; and, when they came to it, they found it was an island made of water quite surrounded by earth. Besides that, it was bordered by evanescent isthmuses, with a great gulf-stream running about all over it; so that it was perfectly beautiful, and contained only a single tree, 503 feet high.

When they had landed, they walked about, but found, to their great surprise, that the island was quite full of veal-cutlets and chocolate-drops, and nothing else. So they all climbed up the single high tree to discover, if possible, if there were any people; but having remained on the top of the tree for a week, and not seeing anybody, they naturally concluded that there were no inhabitants; and accordingly, when they came down, they loaded the boat with two thousand veal-cutlets and a million of chocolate-drops; and these afforded them sustenance for more than a month, during which time they pursued their voyage with the utmost delight and apathy.

After this they came to a shore where there were no less than sixty-five great red parrots with blue tails, sitting on a rail all of a row, and all fast asleep. And I am sorry to say that the Pussy-Cat and the Quangle-Wangle crept softly, and bit off the tail-feathers of all the sixty-five parrots; for which Violet reproved them both severely.


Notwithstanding which, she proceeded to insert all the feathers—two hundred and sixty in number—in her bonnet; thereby causing it to have a lovely and glittering appearance, highly prepossessing and efficacious.


The next thing that happened to them was in a narrow part of the sea, which was so entirely full of fishes that the boat could go on no farther: so they remained there about six weeks, till they had eaten nearly all the fishes, which were soles, and all ready-cooked, and covered with shrimp-sauce, so that there was no trouble whatever.


And as the few fishes who remained uneaten complained of the cold, as well as of the difficulty they had in getting any sleep on account of the extreme noise made by the arctic bears and the tropical turnspits, which frequented the neighborhood in great numbers, Violet most amiably knitted a small woollen frock for

several of the fishes, and Slingsby administered some opium-drops to them; through which kindness they became quite warm, and slept soundly.

Then they came to a country which was wholly covered with immense orange-trees of a vast size, and quite full of fruit. So they all landed, taking with them the tea-kettle, intending to gather some of the oranges, and place them in it. But, while they were busy about this, a most dreadfully high wind rose, and blew out most of the parrot-tail feathers from Violet's bonnet. That, however, was nothing compared with the calamity of the oranges falling down on their heads by millions and millions, which thumped and bumped and bumped and thumped them all so seriously, that they were obliged to run as hard as they could for their lives; besides that the sound of the oranges rattling on the tea-kettle was of the most fearful and amazing nature.

Nevertheless, they got safely to the boat, although considerably vexed and hurt; and the Quangle-Wangle's right foot was so knocked about, that he had to sit with his head in his slipper for at least a week.


The Story of the Four Little Children who Went Round the World.

This event made them all for a time rather melancholy: and perhaps they might never have become less so, had not Lionel, with a most praiseworthy devotion and perseverance, continued to stand on one leg, and whistle to them in a loud

and lively manner; which diverted the whole party so extremely that they gradually recovered their spirits, and agreed that whenever they should reach home, they would subscribe towards a testimonial to Lionel, entirely made of gingerbread and raspberries, as an earnest token of their sincere and grateful infection.

After sailing on calmly for several more days, they came to another country, where they were much pleased and surprised to see a countless multitude of white Mice with red eyes, all sitting in a great circle, slowly eating custard-pudding with the most satisfactory and polite demeanor.

And as the four travellers were rather hungry, being tired of eating nothing but soles and oranges for so long a period, they held a council as to the propriety of asking the Mice for some of their pudding in a humble and affecting manner, by which they could hardly be otherwise than gratified. It was agreed, therefore, that Guy should go and ask the Mice, which he immediately did; and the result was, that they gave a walnut-shell only half full of custard diluted with water. Now, this displeased Guy, who said, "Out of such a lot of pudding as you have got, I must say, you might have spared a somewhat larger quantity." But no sooner had he finished speaking than the Mice turned round at once, and sneezed at him in

an appalling and vindictive manner (and it is impossible to imagine a more scroobious and unpleasant sound than that caused by the simultaneous sneezing of many millions of angry Mice); so that Guy rushed back to the boat, having first shied his cap into the middle of the custard-pudding, by which means he completely spoiled the Mice's dinner.

By and by the four children came to a country where there were no houses, but only an incredibly innumerable number of large bottles without corks, and of a dazzling and sweetly susceptible blue color. Each of these blue bottles contained a Blue-Bottle-Fly; and all these interesting animals live continually together in the most copious and rural harmony: nor perhaps in many parts of the world is such perfect and abject happiness to be found. Violet and Slingsby and Guy and Lionel were greatly struck with this singular and instructive settlement; and, having previously asked permission of the Blue-Bottle-Flies (which was most courteously granted), the boat was drawn up to the shore, and they proceeded to make

tea in front of the bottles: but as they had no tea-leaves, they merely placed some pebbles in the hot water; and the Quangle-Wangle played some tunes over it on an accordion, by which, of course, tea was made directly, and of the very best quality.

The four children then entered into conversation with the Blue-Bottle-Flies, who discoursed in a placid and genteel manner, though with a slightly buzzing accent, chiefly owing to the fact that they each held a small clothes-brush between their teeth, which naturally occasioned a fizzy, extraneous utterance.

"Why," said Violet, "would you kindly inform us, do you reside in bottles; and, if in bottles at all, why not, rather, in green or purple, or, indeed, in yellow bottles?"

To which questions a very aged Blue-Bottle-Fly answered, "We found the bottles here all ready to live in; that is to say, our great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers did: so we occupied them at once. And, when the winter comes on, we turn the bottles upside down, and consequently rarely feel the cold at all; and you know very well that this could not be the case with bottles of any other color than blue."

"Of course it could not," said Slingsby. "But, if we may take the liberty of inquiring, on what do you chiefly subsist?"

"Mainly on oyster-patties," said the Blue-Bottle-Fly; "and, when these are scarce, on raspberry vinegar and Russian leather boiled down to a jelly."

"How delicious!" said Guy.

To which Lionel added, "Huzz!" And all the Blue-Bottle-Flies said, "Buzz!"

At this time, an elderly Fly said it was the hour for the evening-song to be sung; and, on a signal being given, all the Blue-Bottle-Flies began to buzz at once in a sumptuous and sonorous manner, the melodious and mucilaginous sounds echoing all over the waters, and resounding across the tumultuous tops of the transitory titmice upon the intervening and verdant mountains with a serene and sickly suavity only known to the truly virtuous. The Moon was shining slobaciously from the star-bespangled sky, while her light irrigated the smooth and shiny sides and wings and backs of the Blue-Bottle-Flies with a peculiar and trivial splendor, while all Nature cheerfully responded to the cerulean and conspicuous circumstances.

 In many long-after years, the four little travellers looked back to that evening as one of the happiest in all their lives; and it was already past midnight when—the sail of the boat having been set up by the Quangle-Wangle, the tea-kettle and churn placed in their respective positions, and the Pussy-Cat stationed at the helm—the children each took a last and affectionate farewell of the Blue-Bottle-Flies, who walked down in a body to the water's edge to see the travellers embark.

As a token of parting respect and esteem, Violet made a courtesy quite down to the ground, and stuck one of her few

remaining parrot-tail feathers into the back hair of the most pleasing of the Blue-Bottle-Flies; while Slingsby, Guy, and Lionel offered them three small boxes, containing, respectively, black pins, dried figs, and Epsom salts; and thus they left that happy shore forever.

 Overcome by their feelings, the four little travellers instantly jumped into the tea-kettle, and fell fast asleep. But all along the shore, for many hours, there was distinctly heard a sound of severely-suppressed sobs, and of a vague multitude of living creatures using their pocket-handkerchiefs in a subdued simultaneous snuffle, lingering sadly along the walloping waves as the boat sailed farther and farther away from the Land of the Happy Blue-Bottle-Flies.

Nothing particular occurred for some days after these events, except that, as the travellers were passing a low tract of sand, they perceived an unusual and gratifying spectacle; namely, a large number of Crabs and Crawfish—perhaps six or seven hundred—sitting by the water-side, and endeavoring to disentangle a vast heap of pale pink worsted, which they moistened at intervals with a fluid composed of lavender-water and white-wine negus.

 "Can we be of any service to you, O crusty Crabbies?" said the four children.

"Thank you kindly," said the Crabs consecutively. "We are trying to make some worsted mittens, but do not know how."

On which Violet, who was perfectly acquainted with the art of mitten-making, said to the Crabs, "Do your claws unscrew, or are they fixtures?"

"They are all made to unscrew," said the Crabs; and forthwith they deposited a great pile of claws close to the boat, with which Violet uncombed all the pale pink worsted, and then made the loveliest mittens with it you can imagine. These the Crabs, having resumed and screwed on their claws, placed cheerfully upon their wrists, and walked away rapidly on their hind-legs, warbling songs with a silvery voice and in a minor key.

After this, the four little people sailed on again till they came to a vast and wide plain of astonishing dimensions, on which nothing whatever could be discovered at first; but, as the travellers walked onward, there appeared in the extreme and dim distance a single object, which on a nearer approach, and on an accurately cutaneous inspection, seemed to be somebody in a large white wig, sitting on an arm-chair made of sponge-cakes and oyster-shells. "It does not quite look like a human being," said Violet doubtfully; nor could they make out what it really was, till the Quangle-Wangle (who had previously been round the world) exclaimed softly in a loud voice, "It is the co-operative Cauliflower!"


And so, in truth, it was: and they soon found that what they had taken for an immense wig was in reality the top of the Cauliflower; and that he had no feet at all, being able to walk tolerably well with a fluctuating and graceful movement on a single cabbage-stalk,—an accomplishment which naturally saved him the expense of stockings and shoes.

Presently, while the whole party from the boat was gazing at him with mingled affection and disgust, he suddenly arose, and, in a somewhat plumdomphious manner, hurried off towards the setting sun,—his steps supported by two superincumbent

confidential Cucumbers, and a large number of Waterwagtails proceeding in advance of him by three and three in a row,—till he finally disappeared on the brink of the western sky in a crystal cloud of sudorific sand.

So remarkable a sight, of course, impressed the four children very deeply; and they returned immediately to their boat with a strong sense of undeveloped asthma and a great appetite. 

Shortly after this, the travellers were obliged to sail directly below some high overhanging rocks, from the top of one of which a particularly odious little boy, dressed in rose-colored knickerbockers, and with a pewter plate upon his head, threw an enormous pumpkin at the boat, by which it was instantly upset.


But this upsetting was of no consequence, because all the party knew how to swim very well: and, in fact, they preferred swimming about till after the moon rose; when, the water growing chilly, they sponge-taneously entered the boat. Meanwhile the Quangle-Wangle threw back the pumpkin with immense force, so that it hit the rocks where the malicious little boy in rose-colored knickerbockers was sitting; when, being quite full of lucifer-matches, the pumpkin exploded surreptitiously into a thousand bits; whereon the rocks instantly took fire, and the odious little boy became unpleasantly hotter and hotter and hotter, till his knickerbockers were turned quite green, and his nose was burnt off.

Two or three days after this had happened, they came to another place, where they found nothing at all except some wide and deep pits full of mulberry-jam. This is the property of the tiny, yellow-nosed Apes who abound in these districts, and who store up the mulberry-jam for their food in winter, when they mix it with pellucid pale periwinkle-soup, and serve it out in wedgewood china-bowls, which grow freely all over that part of the country. Only one of the yellow-nosed Apes was on the spot, and he was fast asleep; yet the four travellers and the Quangle-Wangle and Pussy were so terrified by the violence and sanguinary sound of his snoring, that they merely took a small cupful of the jam, and returned to re-embark in their boat without delay.

 What was their horror on seeing the boat (including the churn and the tea-kettle) in the mouth of an enormous Seeze Pyder, an aquatic and ferocious creature truly dreadful to behold, and, happily, only met with in those excessive longitudes! In a moment, the beautiful boat was bitten into fifty-five

thousand million hundred billion bits; and it instantly became quite clear that Violet, Slingsby, Guy, and Lionel could no longer preliminate their voyage by sea.

The four travellers were therefore obliged to resolve on pursuing their wanderings by land: and, very fortunately, there happened to pass by at that moment an elderly Rhinoceros, on which they seized; and, all four mounting on his back,—the

Quangle-Wangle sitting on his horn, and holding on by his ears, and the Pussy-Cat swinging at the end of his tail,—they set off, having only four small beans and three pounds of mashed potatoes to last through their whole journey.

They were, however, able to catch numbers of the chickens and turkeys and other birds who incessantly alighted on the head of the Rhinoceros for the purpose of gathering the seeds of the rhododendron-plants which grew there; and these creatures they cooked in the most translucent and satisfactory manner by means of a fire lighted on the end of the Rhinoceros's back. A crowd of Kangaroos and gigantic Cranes accompanied them, from feelings of curiosity and complacency; so that they were never at a loss for company, and went onward, as it were, in a sort of profuse and triumphant procession. 

Thus in less than eighteen weeks they all arrived safely at home, where they were received by their admiring relatives with joy tempered with contempt, and where they finally resolved to carry out the rest of their travelling-plans at some more favorable opportunity.

As for the Rhinoceros, in token of their grateful adherence, they had him killed and stuffed directly, and then set him up outside the door of their father's house as a diaphanous doorscraper.





In former days,—that is to say, once upon a time,—there lived in the Land of Gramble-Blamble seven families. They lived by the side of the great Lake Pipple-Popple (one of the seven families, indeed, lived in the lake), and on the outskirts of the city of Tosh, which, excepting when it was quite dark, they could see plainly. The names of all these places you have probably heard of; and you have only not to look in your geography-books to find out all about them.

Now, the seven families who lived on the borders of the great Lake Pipple-Popple were as follows in the next chapter.




There was a family of two old Parrots and seven young Parrots.

There was a family of two old Storks and seven young Storks.


There was a family of two old Geese and seven young Geese.


There was a family of two old Owls and seven young Owls.


There was a family of two old Guinea Pigs and seven young Guinea Pigs.

There was a family of two old Cats and seven young Cats.


And there was a family of two old Fishes and seven young Fishes.



 The Parrots lived upon the Soffsky-Poffsky trees, which were beautiful to behold, and covered with blue leaves; and they fed upon fruit, artichokes, and striped beetles.

The Storks walked in and out of the Lake Pipple-Popple, and ate frogs for breakfast, and buttered toast for tea; but on account of the extreme length of their legs they could not sit down, and so they walked about continually.

The Geese, having webs to their feet, caught quantities of flies, which they ate for dinner.

The Owls anxiously looked after mice, which they caught, and made into sago-puddings.

The Guinea Pigs toddled about the gardens, and ate lettuces and Cheshire cheese.

The Cats sate still in the sunshine, and fed upon sponge biscuits.

The Fishes lived in the lake, and fed chiefly on boiled periwinkles.

And all these seven families lived together in the utmost fun and felicity.



 One day all the seven fathers and the seven mothers of the seven families agreed that they would send their children out to see the world.

So they called them all together, and gave them each eight shillings and some good advice, some chocolate-drops, and a small green morocco pocket-book to set down their expenses in.

They then particularly entreated them not to quarrel; and all the parents sent off their children with a parting injunction.

"If," said the old Parrots, "you find a cherry, do not fight about who should have it."

"And," said the old Storks, "if you find a frog, divide it carefully into seven bits, but on no account quarrel about it."

And the old Geese said to the seven young Geese, "Whatever you do, be sure you do not touch a plum-pudding flea." 

And the old Owls said, "If you find a mouse, tear him up into seven slices, and eat him cheerfully, but without quarrelling."

And the old Guinea Pigs said, "Have a care that you eat your lettuces, should you find any, not greedily, but calmly."

And the old Cats said, "Be particularly careful not to meddle with a clangle-wangle if you should see one."

And the old Fishes said, "Above all things, avoid eating a blue boss-woss; for they do not agree with fishes, and give them a pain in their toes."

So all the children of each family thanked their parents; and, making in all forty-nine polite bows, they went into the wide world.



The seven young Parrots had not gone far, when they saw a tree with a single cherry on it, which the oldest Parrot picked instantly; but the other six, being extremely hungry, tried to get it also. On which all the seven began to fight; and they scuffled,

and huffled,

and ruffled,

and shuffled,

and puffled,

and muffled,

and buffled,

and duffled,

and fluffled,

and guffled,

and bruffled, and

screamed, and shrieked, and squealed, and squeaked, and clawed, and snapped, and bit, and bumped, and thumped, and dumped, and flumped each other, till they were all torn into little bits; and at last there was nothing left to record this painful incident except the cherry and seven small green feathers.

 And that was the vicious and voluble end of the seven young Parrots.



 When the seven young Storks set out, they walked or flew for fourteen weeks in a straight line, and for six weeks more in a crooked one; and after that they ran as hard as they could for one hundred and eight miles; and after that they stood still, and made a himmeltanious chatter-clatter-blattery noise with their bills.

About the same time they perceived a large frog, spotted with green, and with a sky-blue stripe under each ear.

So, being hungry, they immediately flew at him, and were going to divide him into seven pieces, when they began to quarrel as to which of his legs should be taken off first. One said this, and another said that; and while they were all quarrelling, the frog hopped away. And when they saw that he was gone, they began to chatter-clatter,




flatter-quatter, more violently

than ever; and after they had fought for a week, they pecked each other all to little pieces, so that at last nothing was left of any of them except their bills.

And that was the end of the seven young Storks.



 When the seven young Geese began to travel, they went over a large plain, on which there was but one tree, and that was, a very bad one.

So four of them went up to the top of it, and looked about them; while the other three waddled up and down, and repeated poetry, and their last six lessons in arithmetic, geography, and cookery.

Presently they perceived, a long way off, an object of the most interesting and obese appearance, having a perfectly round body exactly resembling a boiled plum-pudding, with two little wings, and a beak, and three feathers growing out of his head, and only one leg.

So, after a time, all the seven young Geese said to each other, "Beyond all doubt this beast must be a Plum-pudding Flea!"

On which they incautiously began to sing aloud,

  "Plum-pudding Flea,

Plum-pudding Flea,

Wherever you be,

Oh! come to our tree,

And listen, oh! listen, oh! listen to me!"

And no sooner had they sung this verse than the Plum-pudding Flea began to hop and skip on his one leg with the most dreadful velocity, and came straight to the tree, where he stopped, and looked about him in a vacant and voluminous manner.

On which the seven young Geese were greatly alarmed, and all of a tremble-bemble: so one of them put out his long neck, and just touched him with the tip of his bill; but no sooner had he done this than the Plum-pudding Flea skipped and hopped about more and more, and higher and higher; after which he opened his mouth, and, to the great surprise and indignation of the seven Geese, began to bark so loudly and furiously and terribly, that they were totally unable to bear the noise; and by degrees every one of them suddenly tumbled down quite dead.

So that was the end of the seven young Geese.



When the seven young Owls set out, they sate every now and then on the branches of old trees, and never went far at one time.

And one night, when it was quite dark, they thought they heard a mouse; but, as the gas-lamps were not lighted, they could not see him.

So they called out, "Is that a mouse?"

On which a mouse answered, "Squeaky-peeky-weeky! yes, it is!"

And immediately all the young Owls threw themselves off the tree, meaning to alight on the ground; but they did not perceive that there was a large well below them, into which they all fell superficially, and were every one of them drowned in less than half a minute.

So that was the end of the seven young Owls.



The seven young Guinea Pigs went into a garden full of goose-berry-bushes and tiggory-trees, under one of which they fell asleep. When they awoke, they saw a large lettuce, which had grown out of the ground while they had been sleeping, and which had an immense number of green leaves. At which they all exclaimed,—

  "Lettuce! O lettuce

Let us, O let us,

O lettuce-leaves,

O let us leave this tree, and eat

Lettuce, O let us, lettuce-leaves!"

And instantly the seven young Guinea Pigs rushed with such extreme force against the lettuce-plant, and hit their heads so vividly against its stalk, that the concussion brought on directly an incipient transitional inflammation of their noses, which grew worse and worse and worse and worse, till it incidentally killed them all seven.

And that was the end of the seven young Guinea Pigs.



The seven young Cats set off on their travels with great delight and rapacity. But, on coming to the top of a high hill, they perceived at a long distance off a Clangle-Wangle (or, as it is more properly written, Clangel-Wangel); and, in spite of the warning they had had, they ran straight up to it.

 (Now, the Clangle-Wangle is a most dangerous and delusive beast, and by no means commonly to be met with. They live in the water as well as on land, using their long tail as a sail when in the former element. Their speed is extreme; but their habits of life are domestic and superfluous, and their general demeanor pensive and pellucid. On summer evenings, they may sometimes be observed near the Lake Pipple-Popple, standing on their heads, and humming their national melodies. They subsist entirely on vegetables, excepting when they eat veal or mutton or pork or beef or fish or saltpetre.)

The moment the Clangle-Wangle saw the seven young Cats approach, he ran away; and as he ran straight on for four months, and the Cats, though they continued to run, could never overtake him, they all gradually died of fatigue and exhaustion, and never afterwards recovered.

And this was the end of the seven young Cats.



 The seven young Fishes swam across the Lake Pipple-Popple, and into the river, and into the ocean; where, most unhappily for them, they saw, on the fifteenth day of their travels, a bright-blue Boss-Woss, and instantly swam after him. But the Blue Boss-Woss plunged into a perpendicular,




circular depth of soft mud;

where, in fact, his house was.

And the seven young Fishes, swimming with great and uncomfortable velocity, plunged also into the mud quite against their will, and, not being accustomed to it, were all suffocated in a very short period.

 And that was the end of the seven young Fishes.



After it was known that the

  seven young Parrots,

and the seven young Storks,

and the seven young Geese,

and the seven young Owls,

and the seven young Guinea Pigs,

and the seven young Cats,

and the seven young Fishes,

 were all dead, then the Frog, and the Plum-pudding Flea, and the Mouse, and the Clangle-Wangle, and the Blue Boss-Woss,

all met together to rejoice over their good fortune. And they collected the seven feathers of the seven young Parrots, and the seven bills of the seven young Storks, and the lettuce, and the cherry; and having placed the latter on the lettuce, and the other objects in a circular arrangement at their base, they danced a hornpipe round all these memorials until they were quite tired; after which they gave a tea-party, and a garden-party, and a ball, and a concert, and then returned to their respective homes full of joy and respect, sympathy, satisfaction, and disgust.



BUT when the two old Parrots,

and the two old Storks,

and the two old Geese,

and the two old Owls,

and the two old Guinea Pigs,

and the two old Cats,

and the two old Fishes,

became aware, by reading in the newspapers, of the calamitous extinction of the whole of their families, they refused all further sustenance; and, sending out to various shops, they purchased great quantities of Cayenne pepper and brandy and vinegar and blue sealing-wax, besides seven immense glass bottles with air-tight stoppers. And, having done this, they ate a light supper of brown-bread and Jerusalem artichokes, and took an affecting and formal leave of the whole of their acquaintance, which was very numerous and distinguished and select and responsible and ridiculous.



 And after this they filled the bottles with the ingredients for pickling, and each couple jumped into a separate bottle; by which effort, of course, they all died immediately, and became thoroughly pickled in a few minutes; having previously made their wills (by the assistance of the most eminent lawyers of the district), in which they left strict orders that the stoppers of the seven bottles should be carefully sealed up with the blue sealing-wax they had purchased; and that they themselves, in the bottles, should be presented to the principal museum of the city of Tosh, to be labelled with parchment or any other anti-congenial succedaneum, and to be placed on a marble table with silver-gilt legs, for the daily inspection and contemplation, and for the perpetual benefit, of the pusillanimous public.

And if you ever happen to go to Gramble-Blamble, and visit that museum in the city of Tosh, look for them on the ninety-eighth table in the four hundred and twenty-seventh room of the right-hand corridor of the left wing of the central quadrangle of that magnificent building; for, if you do not, you certainly will not see them.



Extract from the Nonsense Gazette, for August, 1870.

"Our readers will be interested in the following communications from our valued and learned contributor, Prof. Bosh, whose labors in the fields of culinary and botanical science are so well known to all the world. The first three articles richly merit to be added to the domestic cookery of every family: those which follow claim the attention of all botanists; and we are happy to be able, through Dr. Bosh's kindness, to present our readers with illustrations of his discoveries. All the new flowers are found in the Valley of Verrikwier, near the Lake of Oddgrow, and on the summit of the Hill Orfeltugg."



 Take 4 pounds (say 4½ pounds) of fresh Amblongusses, and put them in a small pipkin.

Cover them with water, and boil them for 8 hours incessantly; after which add 2 pints of new milk, and proceed to boil for 4 hours more.

When you have ascertained that the Amblongusses are quite soft, take them out, and place them in a wide pan, taking care to shake them well previously.

Grate some nutmeg over the surface, and cover them carefully with powdered gingerbread, curry-powder, and a sufficient quantity of Cayenne pepper.

Remove the pan into the next room, and place it on the floor. Bring it back again, and let it simmer for three-quarters of an hour. Shake the pan violently till all the Amblongusses have become of a pale purple color.

Then, having prepared the paste, insert the whole carefully; adding at the same time a small pigeon, 2 slices of beef, 4 cauliflowers, and any number of oysters.

Watch patiently till the crust begins to rise, and add a pinch of salt from time to time.

Serve up in a clean dish, and throw the whole out of window as fast as possible.



Procure some strips of beef, and, having cut them into the smallest possible slices, proceed to cut them still smaller,— eight, or perhaps nine times.

When the whole is thus minced, brush it up hastily with a new clothes-brush, and stir round rapidly and capriciously with a salt-spoon or a soup-ladle.

Place the whole in a saucepan, and remove it to a sunny place, —say the roof of the house, if free from sparrows or other birds,— and leave it there for about a week.

At the end of that time add a little lavender, some oil of almonds, and a few herring-bones; and then cover the whole with 4 gallons of clarified Crumbobblious sauce, when it will be ready for use.

Cut it into the shape of ordinary cutlets, and serve up in a clean table-cloth or dinner-napkin.


Take a pig three or four years of age, and tie him by the off hind-leg to a post. Place 5 pounds of currants, 3 of sugar, 2 pecks of peas, 18 roast chestnuts, a candle, and 6 bushels of turnips, within his reach: if he eats these, constantly provide him with more.

Then procure some cream, some slices of Cheshire cheese, 4 quires of foolscap paper, and a packet of black pins. Work the whole into a paste, and spread it out to dry on a sheet of clean brown waterproof linen.

When the paste is perfectly dry, but not before, proceed to beat the pig violently with the handle of a large broom. If he squeals, beat him again.

Visit the paste and beat the pig alternately for some days, and ascertain if, at the end of that period, the whole is about to turn into Gosky Patties.

If it does not then, it never will; and in that case the pig may be let loose, and the whole process may be considered as finished.




 Baccopipia Gracilis.

Bottlephorkia Spoonifolia.    

 Cockatooca Superba.

Fishia Marina.          

Guittara Pensilis.

Manypeeplia Upsidownia.     

 Phattfacia Stupenda.

Piggiwiggia Pyramidalis.          

 Plumbunnia Nutritiosa.

Pollybirdia Singularis.



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