Language and History English two-minute tales, music and mental agility puzzles
The Caucus Race (1) : Alice experiences for herself the very definition of a pointless exercise.
The Caucus Race
Part one

Alice and an assortment of animals have got very wet. A mouse tries to dry them out by reciting a passage from a dry history book, but when this doesn’t work, the Dodo suggests a Caucus Race.

From ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, by Lewis Carroll

FIRST it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (‘the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there.

There was no ‘One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.

However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out ‘The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who has won?’

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence.

At last the Dodo said, 'Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'

From ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, by Lewis Carroll

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Picture: From the Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
Caucus puzzle... US Senator Roscoe Conkling (1829-1888), leader of the Stalwarts group of the Republican Party, plays a puzzle game with the heads of the potential Republican presidential candidates. From the USA’s Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain.
By Lewis Carroll
By Lewis Carroll

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