The wisdom of Wonderland.
At 150 years old, topsy-turvy Wonderland has clocked up some 54,600 unbirthdays, so it really ought to know what it’s talking about. Annunciata Walton picks six of the best lessons to be learned down the rabbit hole, where the best people are mad, there’s always time for tea and ravens are much like writing desks. ‘What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice. ‘That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: ‘because they lessen from day to day.’
For when you’re faced with a daunting task:
The white rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.
‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said very gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’
For when you’re eager to get things done:
‘If everybody minded their own business,’ the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, ‘the world would go round a deal faster than it does.’
For when you’re feeling pessimistic:
‘I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day’ [said the Queen].
‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’
For when you’re being silly:
If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’ it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.
For when the bigger picture is nowhere in sight:
‘How long is forever?’ asked Alice.
‘Sometimes, just one second,’ replied the White Rabbit.
For when you’re not in the mood for advice:
‘No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.’
Mum’s the word: Here’s our pick of six of the best—and worst—mothers in literature.