Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tea, Cravats, and "Humpty Dumpty Logic": Happy Birthday to Lewis Carroll!

"There are 364 days when you might get un-birthday presents
...and only one for birthday presents, you know.
There's glory for you!"
- Humpty Dumpty (from Through the Looking Glass)

Today I'm celebrating the birthday of Lewis Carroll.  Take a peek into my cupboard as I decide which tea to take!

Did you know: Alice had tea with the Mad Hatter in Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland book; but the concept of an "un-birthday" was introduced to her by Humpty Dumpty in Alice's second adventure, Through the Looking Glass - it did not involve the Mad Hatter at all!

I've made my tea choice, and it's got to be this one!  Seriously, this Wonderland Tea is an amazing blend of loose black tea leaves with apricot and ginger bits, and calendula petals. How to make it?

Mad Hatter Tea Blend

According to the Mad Hatter's directions on the tin:
(a.k.a. Uncold Tea)
by the Mad Hatter

Start at the beginning
(and when you come to the end...stop!)
Use a teaspoon per 8 oz of water and steep for 3-4 minutes.
(We recommend your clock be two days slow).
Move down the table to get a clean cup. 

Now, sit and have a cup with me as you read the following fun exchange from Chapter 6 of Through the Looking Glass.  It's a
conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty - as they dicuss cravats, unbirthdays, and birthdays (can you tell Lewis Carroll was a logician and mathmetician??)...

'It's a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It's a present from the White King and Queen. There now!'
'Is it really?' said Alice, quite pleased to find that she had chosen a good subject after all.
'They gave it me,' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully as he crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it, 'they gave it me — for an un-birthday present.'

'I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.
'I'm not offended,' said Humpty Dumpty.
'I mean, what is an un-birthday present?'
'A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course.'
Alice considered a little. 'I like birthday presents best,' she said at last.
'You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty Dumpty. 'How many days are there in a year?'
'Three hundred and sixty-five,' said Alice.
'And how many birthdays have you?'
'And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five what remains?'
'Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.'
Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. 'I'd rather see that done on paper,' he said.
Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum book, and worked the sum for him:
 -  1
Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. 'That seems to be done right —' he began.
'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.
'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'
'Certainly,' said Alice.
'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

{You can read the rest of Chapter VI here at Project Gutenberg.}
For my previous posts about Lewis Carroll, click HERE.