The Pig’s Tale

by Lewis Carroll

Little Birds are dining
Warily and well
Hid in mossy cell: Hid, I say, by waiters
Gorgeous in their gaiters
I’ve a Tale to tell

Little Birds are feeding
Justices with jam
Rich in frizzled ham
Rich, I say, in oysters
Haunting shady cloisters
That is what I am

Little Birds are teaching
Tigresses to smile
Innocent of guile
Smile, I say, not smirkle
Mouth a semicircle
That’s the proper style

Little Birds are sleeping
All among the pins
Where the loser wins
Where, I say, he sneezes
When and how he pleases
So the Tale begins

There was a Pig that sat alone
Beside a ruined Pump
By day and night he made his moan
It would have stirred a heart of stone
To see him wring his hoofs and groan
Because he could not jump

A certain Camel heard him shout
A Camel with a hump
“Oh, is it Grief, or is it Gout?
What is this bellowing about?”
That Pig replied, with quivering snout
“Because I cannot jump!”

That Camel scanned him, dreamy-eyed
“Methinks you are too plump
I never knew a Pig so wide
That wobbled so from side to side
Who could, however much he tried
Do such a thing as jump!

“Yet mark those trees, two miles away
All clustered in a clump
If you could trot there twice a day
Nor ever pause for rest or play
In the far future-Who can say
You may be fit to jump.”

That Camel passed, and left him there
Beside the ruined Pump
Oh, horrid was that Pig’s despair!
His shrieks of anguish filled the air
He wrung his hoofs, he rent his hair
Because he could not jump

There was a Frog that wandered by
A sleek and shining lump
Inspected him with fishy eye
And said “O Pig, what makes you cry?”
And bitter was that Pig’s reply
“Because I cannot jump!”

That Frog he grinned a grin of glee
And hit his chest a thump
“O Pig,” he said, “be ruled by me
And you shall see what you shall see
This minute, for a trifling fee
I’ll teach you how to jump!

“You may be faint from many a fall
And bruised by many a bump
But, if you persevere through all
And practice first on something small
Concluding with a ten-foot wall
You’ll find that you can jump!”

That Pig looked up with joyful start
“Oh Frog, you are a trump!
Your words have healed my inward smart
Come, name your fee and do your part
Bring comfort to a broken heart
By teaching me to jump!”

“My fee shall be a mutton-chop
My goal this wined Pump
Observe with what an airy flop
I plant myself upon the top!
Now bend your knees and take a hop
For that’s the way to jump!”

Uprose that Pig, and rushed, full whack
Against the ruined Pump:
Rolled over like an empty sack
And settled down upon his back
While all his bones at once went “Crack!”
It was a fatal jump

Little Birds are writing
Interesting books
To be read by cooks
Read, I say, not roasted
Letterpress, when toasted
Loses its good looks

Little Birds are playing
Bagpipes on the shore
Where the tourists snore
“Thanks!” they cry. “‘Tis thrilling!
Take, oh take this shilling!
Let us have no more!”

Little Birds are bathing
Crocodiles in cream
Like a happy dream
Like, but not so lasting
Crocodiles, when fasting
Are not all they seem!

That Camel passed, as Day grew dim
Around the ruined Pump
“O broken heart! O broken limb!
It needs”, that Camel said to him
“Something more fairy-like and slim
To execute a jump!”

That Pig lay still as any stone
And could not stir a stump
Nor ever, if the truth were known
Was he again observed to moan
Nor ever wring his hoofs and groan
Because he could not jump

That Frog made no remark, for he
Was dismal as a dump
He knew the consequence must be
That he would never get his fee
And still he sits, in miserie
Upon that ruined Pump!

Little Birds are choking
Baronets with bun
Taught to fire a gun
Taught, I say, to splinter
Salmon in the winter
Merely for the fun

Little Birds are hiding
Crimes in carpet-bags
Blessed by happy stags
Blessed, I say, though beaten
Since our friends are eaten
When the memory flags

Little Birds are tasting
Gratitude and gold
Pale with sudden cold
Pale, I say, and wrinkled
When the bells have tinkled
And the Tale is Told

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