"How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a poem by Lewis Carroll which appears in his novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's recited by Alice in Chapter 2. It describes a crafty crocodile which lures fish into its mouth with a welcoming smile.
This poem is performed by Richard Haydn in Alice in Wonderland (1951) and by Fiona Fullerton in the film Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972).
- 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!
"Against Idleness and Mischief"
"How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a parody of the moralistic poem "Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts,which is what Alice was originally trying to recite. Watts' poem begins "How doth the little busy bee ..." and uses the 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.