How doth the little crocodile... (1998)
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
Alice in Wonderland
Leonora Carrington sculpture, Mexico City
How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!
How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
Against Idleness and Mischief
"How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a parody of the moralistic poem "Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts (Alice was originally trying to recite that). Watts' poem begins "How doth the little busy bee," and uses a bee as a model of hard work. In Carroll's parody, the crocodile's corresponding "virtues" are deception and predation, themes which recur throughout Alice's adventures in both books, and especially in the poems."