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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Lewis Caroll > Fairy tale "The hunting of the Snark"

The hunting of the Snark

"The result we proceed to divide, as you see,

By Nine Hundred and Ninety Two:

Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be

Exactly and perfectly true.

"The method employed I would gladly explain,

While I have it so clear in my head,

If I had but the time and you had but the brain -

But much yet remains to be said.

"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been

Enveloped in absolute mystery,

And without extra charge I will give you at large

A Lesson in Natural History."

In his genial way he proceeded to say

(Forgetting all laws of propriety,

And that giving instruction, without introduction,

Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

"As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,

Since it lives in perpetual passion:

Its taste in costume is entirely absurd -

It is ages ahead of the fashion:

"But it knows any friend it has met once before:

It never will look at a bride:

And in charity-meetings it stands at the door,

And collects — though it does not subscribe.

" Its flavor when cooked is more exquisite far

Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs:

(Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar,

And some, in mahogany kegs:)

"You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue:

You condense it with locusts and tape:

Still keeping one principal object in view -

To preserve its symmetrical shape."

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,

But he felt that the lesson must end,

And he wept with delight in attempting to say

He considered the Beaver his friend.

While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks

More eloquent even than tears,

It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books

Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned

(For a moment) with noble emotion,

Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days

We have spent on the billowy ocean!"

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,

Have seldom if ever been known;

In winter or summer, 'twas always the same -

You could never meet either alone.

And when quarrels arose — as one frequently finds

Quarrels will, spite of every endeavor -

The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds,

And cemented their friendship for ever!

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