فصل 08

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فصل 08

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  • زمان مطالعه 14 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHT

The White Knight

After a while the noise of the drums slowly died away and everything became silent. Alice lifted her head and saw that she was alone, but there, lying at her feet, was the plate on which she had tried to cut the plum-cake.

‘So I didn’t dream the Lion and the Unicorn, then,’ she said to herself. ‘But - oh dear! Perhaps we’re all part of the same dream. I do hope it’s my dream, and not the Red King’s! I don’t like belonging to another person’s dream.’

At this moment there was a loud shout, and a Knight in red armour came riding through the forest towards her. Just as here ached her, the horse stopped suddenly.

‘You’re my prisoner!’ the Red Knight cried, as he fell off his horse.

Alice was more worried for the Knight than for herself, but he got up and slowly climbed back on to his horse. He began again to say, ‘You’re my-‘, but then another shout rang through the forest. Alice looked round in surprise.

This time it was a White Knight. He rode up to Alice and when his horse stopped, he too fell off at once. He got on again, and then the two Knights sat and looked at each other silently. Alice watched them both, feeling very puzzled.

‘She’s my prisoner, you know!’ the Red Knight said at last.

‘Yes, but then I came and saved her!’ the White Knight replied.

‘Well, we must fight for her, then,’ said the Red Knight, and he began to put on his helmet, which was in the shape of a horse’s head.

When the White Knight had got into his helmet as well, the two began fighting each other very noisily. Several times one knocked the other off his horse, but then always fell off him-self. Alice got behind a tree, where she could watch more safely.

‘What a noise their armour makes when they fall off!’ she said to herself.’ And how calm the horses are! They just stand there like tables while the Knights get on and off!’

The battle ended when they both fell off at the same time. Then they shook hands and the Red Knight got on his horse and rode away. The White Knight came up to Alice.

‘I won that battle easily, didn’t I?’ he said.

‘I don’t know,’ said Alice, uncertainly. ‘I don’t want to be anybody’s prisoner. I want to be a Queen.’

‘So you will, when you’ve crossed the next brook,’ said the White Knight. ‘I’ll see you safe to the end of the wood - and then I must go back, you know. That’s the end of my move.’

‘Thank you very much,’ said Alice. ‘May I help you take off your helmet?’

It was difficult to do, but at last the helmet came off.

‘Ah, that’s better,’ said the Knight. He pushed back his long wild hair with both hands, and turned his gentle face and large sad eyes to Alice.

He was a very strange-looking soldier, Alice thought. His armour fitted him very badly, and he had a great many things fastened to himself, and to the horse. There was also a small wooden box on his back, which was upside-down.

‘I see you’re looking at my little box’ the Knight said in a friendly voice. ‘It’s my own invention - to keep clothes and sandwiches in You see I carry it upside - down and then the rain can’t get in.’

‘But the things can get out,’ Alice said gently ‘Did you know that the top was open?’

‘No, I didn’t,’ the Knight said. ‘If all the things have fallen out,’ he went on unhappily ‘there’s no use keeping the box.’ He unfastened it as he spoke, and put it carefully on the branch of a tree ‘Perhaps some birds will make a home in it. Now, if you’re ready… What’s that plate for?’

‘It was used for plum-cake’ said Alice

‘I think we should take it with us ‘the Knight said ‘It’ll be useful if we find any plum-cake Help me to get it into this bag.’

This took a long time to do because the bag was not really big enough and already had a lot of carrots in it. But at last it was done and they started walking through the forest. It was a slow journey because the Knight was not a good rider. Every time the horse stopped (which it did very often, he fell off in front. When the horse went on again, he fell off behind. Sometimes he fell off sideways as well, and Alice learnt not to walk too close to the horse.

‘Perhaps you should have a wooden horse, on wheels,’ Alice said with a little laugh, as she helped him get back on his horse for the seventh time.

‘Do you think so?’ the Knight said seriously. ‘Yes, I’ll get one. One or two - several.’

As they went the Knight told her about his many inventions Alice listened with great interest but found most of them hard to understand she was thinking about his invention for turning fish eyes into buttons when she saw, to her surprise, that they had reached the end of the forest.

‘You are sad,’ the Knight said in a worried voice. ‘Let me sing you a song to cheer you up.’

‘Is it very long?’ Alice asked she felt that she had heard a great many poems and songs that day.

‘It’s long’ said the Knight ‘but it’s very, very beautiful. Everybody that hears me sing it-either they cry, or-‘ He stopped suddenly ‘Or what?’ said Alice

‘Or they don’t you know The song is called I’ll tell you everything I can It’s about an old, old man that I met one summer evening long ago while sitting on the grass.’

Years after wads Alice could still remember very clearly those strange moments - the Knight’s gentle smile as he sang the sunlight shining on his armour, the horse quietly moving around, and the black shadows of the forest behind.

She stood and listened very carefully but she did not cry. It was a sad song certainly and as the Knight came towards the end, he seemed lost in his own sad dreams.

And now, if accidentally I put

My fingers into glue,

Or try to push a right-hand foot

Into a left-hand shoe,

Or if I drop upon my toe

A very heavy glass,

I cry, as it reminds me so

Of that old man I used to know-

Whose face was kind, whose voice was slow,

Whose hair was whiter than the snow,

Who shook his body to and fro,

And whispered words both sad and low-

That summer evening long ago,

While sitting on the grass.

As the Knight sang the last words, he began to turn his horse round to go back into the forest.

‘You’ve only a little way to go,’ he said, ‘down the hill and over the brook, and then you’ll be a Queen.’

‘Thank you very much for coming so far,’ said Alice, ‘and for the song-I liked it very much.’

‘I hope so,’ the Knight said worriedly, ‘but you didn’t cry very much.’

They shook hands, and then the Knight rode slowly away into the forest Alice stood and watched him for a while.

‘It won’t be long before he falls off again,’ she said to herself. ‘Yes - there he goes! Right on his head as usual! But he doesn’t seem to mind a bit.’

When he had gone, Alice turned and ran down the hill. ‘Now for the last brook, and to be a Queen! How grand it sounds!’ A few steps brought her to the edge of the brook.

‘The Eighth Square at last!’ she cried, as she jumped over and sat down to rest on the soft green grass. At once she felt something very heavy on her head. ‘What is this on my head?’ she said. ‘And how did it get there?’ She lifted it off, to see what it was.

It was a golden crown.

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