Jon Gearhart

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The third-longest anagram ever created (18,870 letters).

The Hunting of the Snark: an Agony in Eight Fits
by Lewis Carroll

"Fit the First: THE LANDING"

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

The crew was complete: it included a Boots --
A maker of Bonnets and Hoods --
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes --
And a Broker, to value their goods.

A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
Might perhaps have won more than his share --
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,
Though none of the sailors knew how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pairs of boots -- but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

"His form is ungainly -- his intellect small -- "
(So the Bellman would often remark)
"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare
With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
"Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late --
And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad --
He could only bake Bridecake -- for which, I may state,
No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea -- but, that one being "Snark,"
The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only kill Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
There was only one Beaver on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
Undertaking another as well.

The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure
A second-hand dagger-proof coat --
So the Baker advised it -- and next, to insure
Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
(On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
Whenever the Butcher was by,
The Beaver kept looking the opposite way,
And appeared unaccountably shy.

"Fit the Second: THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH"

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies --
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:"
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best --
A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave -- but the orders he gave
Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past -- they had landed at last,
With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
Which consisted to chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe --
But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
As he stood and delivered his speech.

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
(They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
While he served out additional rations).

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
Which is meager and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavor of Will-o-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
Which it constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes --
A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
And those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums -- " The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.

"Fit the Third: THE BAKER'S TALE"

They roused him with muffins -- they roused him with ice --
They roused him with mustard and cress --
They roused him with jam and judicious advice --
They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe
In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor -- "
"Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark --
We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
"And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
Remarked, when I bade him farewell -- "
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
"'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means -- you may serve it with greens,
And it's handy for striking a light.

"'You may seek it with thimbles -- and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap -- '"

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

"'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!'

"It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
Brimming over with quivering curds!

"It is this, it is this -- " "We have had that before!"
The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark -- every night after dark --
In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away --
And the notion I cannot endure!"

"Fit the Fourth: THE HUNTING"

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
"If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
If you never were met with again --
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now --
As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
"I informed you the day we embarked.

"You may charge me with murder -- or want of sense --
(We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretense
Was never among my crimes!

"I said it in Hebrew -- I said it in Dutch --
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!"

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
"You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!

"For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

"For England expects -- I forbear to proceed:
'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need
To rig yourselves out for the fight."

Then the Banker endorsed a blank check (which he crossed),
And changed his loose silver for notes.
The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair,
And shook the dust out of his coats.

The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade --
Each working the grindstone in turn:
But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed
No interest in the concern:

Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,
And vainly proceeded to cite
A number of cases, in which making laces
Had been proved an infringement of right.

The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned
A novel arrangement of bows:
While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand
Was chalking the tip of his nose.

But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
With yellow kid gloves and a ruff --
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
Which the Bellman declared was all "stuff."

"Introduce me, now there's a good fellow," he said,
"If we happen to meet it together!"
And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head,
Said "That must depend on the weather."

The Beaver went simply galumphing about,
At seeing the Butcher so shy:
And even the Baker, though stupid and stout,
Made an effort to wink with one eye.

"Be a man!" said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard
The Butcher beginning to sob.
"Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,
We shall need all our strength for the job!"

"Fit the Fifth: THE BEAVER'S LESSON"

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan
For making a separate sally;
And fixed on a spot unfrequented by man,
A dismal and desolate valley.

But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred:
It had chosen the very same place:
Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word,
The disgust that appeared in his face.

Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark"
And the glorious work of the day;
And each tried to pretend that he did not remark
That the other was going that way.

But the valley grew narrow and narrower still,
And the evening got darker and colder,
Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill)
They marched along shoulder to shoulder.

Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky,
And they knew that some danger was near:
The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail,
And even the Butcher felt queer.

He thought of his childhood, left far far behind --
That blissful and innocent state --
The sound so exactly recalled to his mind
A pencil that squeaks on a slate!

"'Tis the voice of the Jubjub!" he suddenly cried.
(This man, that they used to call "Dunce.")
"As the Bellman would tell you," he added with pride,
"I have uttered that sentiment once.

"'Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
You will find I have told it you twice.
'Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
If only I've stated it thrice."

The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care,
Attending to every word:
But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair,
When the third repetition occurred.

It felt that, in spite of all possible pains,
It had somehow contrived to lose count,
And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains
By reckoning up the amount.

"Two added to one -- if that could but be done,"
It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!"
Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years,
It had taken no pains with its sums.

"The thing can be done," said the Butcher, "I think.
The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink,
The best there is time to procure."

The Beaver brought paper, portfolio, pens,
And ink in unfailing supplies:
While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens,
And watched them with wondering eyes.

So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not,
As he wrote with a pen in each hand,
And explained all the while in a popular style
Which the Beaver could well understand.

"Taking Three as the subject to reason about --
A convenient number to state --
We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out
By One Thousand diminished by Eight.

"The result we proceed to divide, as you see,
By Nine Hundred and Ninety Two:
Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be
Exactly and perfectly true.

"The method employed I would gladly explain,
While I have it so clear in my head,
If I had but the time and you had but the brain --
But much yet remains to be said.

"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been
Enveloped in absolute mystery,
And without extra charge I will give you at large
A Lesson in Natural History."

In his genial way he proceeded to say
(Forgetting all laws of propriety,
And that giving instruction, without introduction,
Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

"As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,
Since it lives in perpetual passion:
Its taste in costume is entirely absurd --
It is ages ahead of the fashion:

"But it knows any friend it has met once before:
It never will look at a bribe:
And in charity-meetings it stands at the door,
And collects -- though it does not subscribe.

" Its flavor when cooked is more exquisite far
Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs:
(Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar,
And some, in mahogany kegs:)

"You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue:
You condense it with locusts and tape:
Still keeping one principal object in view --
To preserve its symmetrical shape."

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,
But he felt that the lesson must end,
And he wept with delight in attempting to say
He considered the Beaver his friend.

While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks
More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
(For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days
We have spent on the billowy ocean!"

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,
Have seldom if ever been known;
In winter or summer, 'twas always the same --
You could never meet either alone.

And when quarrels arose -- as one frequently finds
Quarrels will, spite of every endeavor --
The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds,
And cemented their friendship for ever!


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong,
Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
That the sty was deserted when found:
And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
(Long before the indictment was read),
And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
One word that the others had said.

"You must know -- -" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed "Fudge!"
That statute is obsolete quite!
Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
On an ancient manorial right.

"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'

"The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as related to the costs of this suit)
By the Alibi which has been proved.

"My poor client's fate now depends on your votes."
Here the speaker sat down in his place,
And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
And briefly to sum up the case.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
Than the Witnesses ever had said!

When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
As the word was so puzzling to spell;
But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind
Undertaking that duty as well.

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
It was spent with the toils of the day:
When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned,
And some of them fainted away.

Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
Too nervous to utter a word:
When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
And the fall of a pin might be heard.

"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
"And then to be fined forty pound."
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
As the pig had been dead for some years.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defense was entrusted,
Went bellowing on to the last.

Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed
To grow every moment more clear:
Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell,
Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.

"Fit the Seventh: THE BANKER'S FATE"

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
In his zeal to discover the Snark

But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he knew it was useless to fly.

He offered large discount -- he offered a check
(Drawn "to bearer") for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
And grabbed at the Banker again.

Without rest or pause -- while those frumious jaws
Went savagely snapping around --
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
Till fainting he fell to the ground.

The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked "It is just as I feared!"
And solemnly tolled on his bell.

He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white --
A wonderful thing to be seen!

To the horror of all who were present that day.
He uprose in full evening dress,
And with senseless grimaces endeavored to say
What his tongue could no longer express.

Down he sank in a chair -- ran his hands through his hair --
And chanted in mimsiest tones
Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
While he rattled a couple of bones.

"Leave him here to his fate -- it is getting so late!"
The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
"We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
And we shan't catch a Snark before night!"

"Fit the Eighth: THE VANISHING"

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

They shuddered to think that the chase might fail,
And the Beaver, excited at last,
Went bounding along on the tip of its tail,
For the daylight was nearly past.

"There is Thingumbob shouting!" the Bellman said,
"He is shouting like mad, only hark!
He is waving his hands, he is wagging his head,
He has certainly found a Snark!"

They gazed in delight, while the Butcher exclaimed
"He was always a desperate wag!"
They beheld him -- their Baker -- their hero unnamed --
On the top of a neighboring crag.

Erect and sublime, for one moment of time.
In the next, that wild figure they saw
(As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm,
While they waited and listened in awe.

"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
Then sounded like "-jum!" but the others declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away --
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.


Return to the top to read the anagram

What is a Snark? An Anagram in Eight Shiny Parts
by Jonathan Gearhart


I uh, I'd like to dedicate this to a buddy, known by us, everyone in this venue, the busy, elite alt.anagrams family. He's, uh, been honored by us, the group, with several nominations and awards, including being named 'Thee Anagrammatist of the Year' for 1998. He is an inspiration at it, I guess, with his very consistent high-quality anagrams [I lie! :-)]. I, uh, I bet you know that man I am referring to is that fine U.S. gentleman, Richard Brodie. Without the use of his software, Anagram Wizard, I, even I'd, probably not have completed this project yet. I first began this project in late December and I, even I, had only finished about one-seventh of the work when I received my Anagram Wizard in the mail. I uh, I almost gave up, but this program eased my job by keeping track of the letters for me, allowing me to be more creative. Without further ado, I now dedicate this to Richard Brodie, creator of Anagram Wizard.


"Just what is a Snark?" the llama cried,
Having not ever seen one before
"A Snark is a Snark, you silly old fart!"
Said the camel, surprisingly sure.

Surprisingly, I say, for we all know
Camels' memories aren't very sharp, bub,
But this camel knew of that which it spoke
For he'd once been friends with a Snark, bub.

"It has a long tail, three eyes in its head
And legs that number an even score,
With two knees in each, ten arms that are red
And fingers and toes galore!

"It breathes through a blowhole at the end of its snout
That hangs nearly down to the floor
And it eats through the maw in the back of its head
Until it can't even eat anymore."

"But how do I even know what you say is so?"
Said the llama, exasperated.
"Because," said the camel. "Why would I lie?"
(Outwardly agitated.)

"My friend the giraffe will end our dispute --
He's seen them both far and near --
And if you will wait, my dear llama friend,
I will go and bring him right here."

With that he turned and went off at once
In search of his friend the giraffe
To fetch him back where the llama awaited
To put an end unto this gaffe.

He searched far and wide, he searched high and low
But the giraffe just couldn't be found
He searched over hill, he searched over dale
But his dear friend just wasn't around

He looked here and he looked there
He looked up and down
He looked north, south, east, and west
He looked in both the country and town

He checked up in the caves and hunted in dark caverns
He even looked up the trees
He checked everywhere, but right behind him
Which in turning to return, he then sees

The giraffe had been following a good while
But how long he didn't even know
He asked his friend if he would help him
"Come with me; I'll explain as we go."

"Our friend the llama -- HE doubts my words
I've spoken to him of a Snark, bub!
He wants to know what a Snark is,
So I told the silly old fart, bub.

"It has a long tail, three eyes in its head
And legs that number an even score,
With two knees in each, ten arms that are red
And fingers and toes galore!

"It breathes through a blowhole at the end of its snout
That hangs nearly down to the floor
And it eats through the maw in the back of its head
Until it can't even eat anymore.

"After I told the llama these things, see,
He called me a liar -- very near.
I've told him that you could end our dispute
And I've told him to wait near the pier.

"Then off I went searching for you,
Searching both near and far,
Just as I was about to give up the search
I turned and here you are.

"Now up here, up 'round the bend
Over some hills and down
The llama expectantly awaits our return,
Most likely wearing a frown.

"I say this because much time has passed
Since I left searching today.
He is probably thinking of leaving right now
Not knowing if I'm on the way."

The giraffe followed him hearing each word
But choosing to not now reply.
He followed the camel thinking what he would say
To the llama when that time arrived.

He planned to let the llama know
That what the camel said was true
And to even tell of other details (tisk, tisk)
The camel had failed to include.

They went 'round the bend, over hills and down,
And went on toward the next pier,
And when they arrived the llama was there,
Mad as if they had taken a year.


"Just what is a Snark?" the llama cried,
Having not ever seen one before
"A Snark is a Snark, you silly old fart!"
Said the giraffe, like the camel before.

"It has a long tail, three eyes in its head
And legs that number an even score,
With two knees in each, ten arms that are red
And fingers and toes galore!

"It breathes through a blowhole at the end of its snout
That hangs nearly down to the floor
And it eats through the maw in the back of its head
Until it can't even eat anymore.

"It moves very fast, it hops like a 'roo
It smells like an elephant's dung
And has on its knees pouches of skin
In which it carries its young.

"The Snark is clever, it can outsmart a fox
And it is always ahead of the game
And the Snark can be vicious if cornered or caught
It is known for its big claws that maim.

"Its claws are long, pointed, and sharp
They can cut through six-inch wood
And if you're not careful, they'll cut off your head
Just because they feel that they should."

The llama looked scared, he gulped at a big lump
That had risen up in his throat, bub,
But he played it so cool for the others' sakes,
He wouldn't let them get his goat, bub.

He was sure he was joking, making it up
Even then as he went along
And though he was choking on that bumpity-lump
He said, "What you're saying is wrong!

"A Snark can not be as awful as this
You're trying to scare me, I say.
Go off you two and leave me alone,
Your games I'm not going to play!"

And with that being said, the llama turned,
Preparing to head on his way
But the camel said, "Wait! You can't leave yet,
Not until we prove what we say.

"I propose we take a trip by boat
Across to the Isle of Quark, bub,
Where you can't swing a dead cat overhead
Without its hitting a Snark, bub.

"Then you will see, my llama friend,
That we don't tell lies.
Give us a chance to prove what we say.
Come see with your own two eyes."

The llama stopped right in his tracks
Swallowing hard on the bumpity-lump
That had risen up in the back of his neck
To quite a sizable bumpity-bump.

He didn't want to appear to be scared
In front of his lifelong friends, bub,
But deep in his heart the fear was there
So he chose his words carefully just then, bub.

"When would we go? What do we need?
How long would this trip take?
Where would we stay when we got there?
How much would it cost, for Pete's sake?

"I am not made of money, and it is not grown on trees
So I don't think I can make this trip.
I'm sure that the cost would be far too high, see,
For me to afford all of it."

The camel, being rich from his oil fields, said,
"I will take care of the costs.
You must be shown what a Snark is, my friend,
So at our tales you won't scoff.

It bothers me that you can't take our word
That a Snark is just as we say.
I'll prepare a boat and a seaworthy crew
And we'll head out next Saturday."

The giraffe concurred that this trip would be good,
The best way to settle their dispute.
He praised the camel for this top-notch ideas
And was willing to help him recruit.

The llama was in shock and in this state
He agreed far too fast to this trip, bub.
He wished he could stop this whole blessed mess
But his "Okay" had already slipped, bub.

The giraffe ran off to place a business ad
To help in recruiting a crew
And the llama resigned himself to his trip --
There seemed nothing he could now do.


"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"
The newsboy screamed in the streets.
"A crew is needed to sail to Quark.
They leave at the end of this week!"

From near and far, the best shiphands came,
Hopin' they'd not be late.
Traveling to such an exotic land
Would most certainly be great.

See, the Isle of Quark is well renowned
For all its hubb-bubby excentricities
That one can find there and nowhere else
Sailin' in all the busy seven seas.

It has spices and treasures, the like is unmatched
Anywhere else in the business world
And trinkets and baubles in the corner shoppes
And sweets for the young boys and girls.

The islanders live in homes built in the trees
While the restaurants keep to the ground.
They couldn't have their fires in the trees
Or this whole place would likely burn down!

It has trees all sizes, shapes, and types
And each fall it is a sight to behold.
When the autumn approaches and the leaves change
To usual hues: orange, red, yellow, and gold.

In the springtime the birds even sing out so merrily
Bringing delightful harmonies to all around.
They chirp a melody, sweet to the ears --
It is such a delightful sound!

This wonderful place amidst a terrible world
Separated by nature's usual boundaries
Lies waiting for those who travel there
Across the treacherous Indian Sea.

Though danger lurks in the waters between,
Quark's beauty cries out to the hearts
Of the travelers who'd take risks just to see
This place in a world that is so dark.

Those who showed up to the interview
Were anxious to be chosen it seems
Most of the shiphands had only seen Quark
In their wildest dreams.

They dressed to the nines in shipping-business attire
In tunics of all shades and hue
Hoping that they would be chosen to be
A part of the camel's new crew.

They came with great hopes of seeing this land
That most will never see
Across the waters where few have yet sailed
And begged them on bended knee.

"Oh, please let me be one of your number!"
Many were heard to say
"I'd be forever indebted to you
For a lifetime and a day."

The camel and giraffe interviewed the riff-raff
And kept only the cream of the crop.
They separated the wheat from the chaff;
They only wanted the best, the tip-top.

It was nice they could pick and choose
From such a large group of shiphands
And they could be honest to those that they kept
Knowing they'd follow their commands.

If they did not, they'd be replaced, see,
When they landed at Beckerman Bay
And the camel could see from the look in their eyes
They knew that things were this usual way.

Those that were picked were simply ecstatic
To be part of this humble crew, bub.
They vowed to work hard and be at their best --
That was all that they'd be asked to do, bub.

Once the crew was in place and the ship was prepared
And the time was drawing near,
The llama was fetched from his home and they left
For the island of the Snark from the pier.


Saturday came and the sea was all calm
And all boded well from the start.
The winds were favourable in direction and speed
When the time came to depart.

They lofted the main sail and captured the winds
And headed off to the sea
While on the shores kin waved and they wailed
Some sad, some happy as could be.

The ship traveled through The Cape of Kinkymancow
And headed for the great sea's depth.
It cut through the waves at incredible speeds
For a craft of its size and its heft.

Through this first day, all was great onboard,
Everything was running quite smooth.
This first day came and went with the sun
To the satisfaction of both the Captain and crew.

The first week, in fact, went quite well.
It went off with narry a hitch, bub,
And the weather was nice and the winds were fair.
Of nothing the crew could yet bitch, bub.

The second week passed much like the first
But the winds were growing quite strong
And the ominous clouds that loomed overhead
Threatened to rain before long

The force of the waves increased daily it seemed
And crashed the starboard, the port, and the bow.
When week three came the crew was prepared --
The big storms lay just ahead now.

From the crow's nest the lookout was using his glass
Spying in what now lay ahead
And what he saw made his heart leap to his throat --
"Quite a strong maelstrom!" he said.

The ship was tossed wildly about
As they tried to sail in 'round the storm's edge
The crew was put on a total alert,
As the Captain screamed out "Code Red!"

Although it seemed wicked, the winds rapidly died
And the storms seemed to just disappear, bub.
The Captain and crew were as perplexed as you --
This whole thing was really quite queer, bub.

They sailed on not sure what had just occurred
But knowing that it had been strange.
It seemed that their ship and crew were charmed
And that this trip were preordained.

No troubles did they have for these next two weeks
On their trip into Beckerman Bay,
And nearing the end of the first leg of their trip
Quark still seemed an extreme world away.


When the ship reached Beckerman Bay
The crew disembarked for their leave.
A short layover here, two days of cheer,
Would suffice for all the men's needs.

They'd get a good rest at a flathouse in town
Fine foods and fine ales at the pub
And some who were lucky while out seeking nooky
Might just have themselves a new love.

The Captain remained on the ship to make plans
For this next leg of their trip.
He stocked up supplies for all these guys
For when they returned into the ship.

The llama was brooding, he wanted to leave
And go back away from Quark, bub
He was still scared of what he would see
When he first encountered a Snark, bub.

The haunting description the giraffe had given
Gave him nightmarish nights
And even invaded his thoughts and daydreams --
It filled him up full of such frights.

He couldn't let on he was bothered at all
By reminders that he heard each day
Both the Captain and crew on board the ship knew
And they all spoke of these monsters this way.

He knew he had gotten in way over his head
And that nothing could now save his hide.
His fate that awaited him across this sea
In the island on the sea's other side.

In the pub in this town, his sorrows he drowned
Within many a tankard of ale, bub,
And when the day came to return to the ship
He was in no condition to sail, bub.

He passed out on the deck at the Captain's feet
Who just ordered him carried in below
And though cruel it seemed to some at the scene
They made the ship ready to go.

The llama was tossed from his bunk way below,
Bashed onto the cabin's floor,
And when he awoke from his ale-induced sleep
His bum head wasn't all that was sore.

His body was bruised from his head to his hooves
And his stomach was feeling untied
And he burst on the deck like a bat outta heck,
And relieved himself over the side.

Green as a bean the llama did seem
As he gave that ocean what for
And just when he thought it was over, 'twas not,
He returned to this retching once more.

All this while the crew did smile
As they took in these humorous sights
And the llama at last gave one last gasp
And then turned in below for the night.

Two days later he emerged and again himself purged
Over the rails and into the seas
It was not his wishes to feed all these fishes
But he seemed just terribly diseased

"I think I have caught a case of the gut rot
Such this world has never seen,
And perhaps all the ale drunk before we set sail
Is the culprit of my being green.

"Has anyone else been feeling less well
Since we left Beckerman Bay?
Surely there is not only ME feeling shot
After grub at the pub that last day."

But his mates on the ship all felt just fit
Since that day they pulled out and set sail.
The culprit it seemed, of his being green
Was this penchant for drinking vast ale.

He just simply indulged until he bulged
And poisoned his system so
Until it rebelled and his stomach swelled
And emptied into the seas below.

In the next many days his food didn't stay
In place at all very well.
As the boat sailed he moaned and he wailed
In his own little hell.

In his sickened state he'd forgotten the date
But realised it once more.
A fortnight away, now just twenty days
They'd arrive in upon the seashore.


When the 19th day passed they all knew at last
They'd soon be arriving in Quark, bub
And the llama would see if then truth this could be
Their descriptions of this infamous Snark, bub.

The port then in sight by the next morning's light
To delight of both the Captain and crew
But the llama, 'twas clear, didn't wanna be here
He just didn't know what to do.

He now quickly thought, "I have been such a snot!
I should have believed in the first tale.
Then I wouldn't be in this mix-up, you see,
I'd be home." he thought, growing pale.

"My lack of amity caused this calamity,
I caught myself by not trusting a friend
And I've only one hope that my being a dope
Won't lead us into a bitter end."

When they came ashore, great rejoicings galore
Burst out from all the crew
Except the frightened llama who wanted his mama,
He felt sure that his life was through.

Their arrival into this land had long been planned
But the local businesses didn't seem pleased
That such a large ship was used for this trip.
They feared this crew might be diseased.

They traveled in through the town simply looking around
In awe of the treasures in the business stores.
Each crewman bought, not a little but a lot,
As much as could be carried and more.

When they loaded the ship it started to tip
Until they balanced their bounty onboard.
They kept all they could of their new-boughten goods
It was such a collosal, vast hoard.

With this being done, the journey was begun
By a hearty one-third of the crew
Through the jungles that called they marched, creeped, and crawled
In search of a Snark to view.

The llama stayed back behind most of this pack
Hoping only to catch a slight sight
And return into the boat from these places remote
And get over his inevitable fright.


Many days they did travel through grass, mud and gravel
On this trip on which they'd embarked
And just when it seemed none were here someone screamed
"Dead ahead! There it is! A SNARK!"

It had a long tail, three eyes in its head
And legs that numbered an even score,
With two knees in each, ten arms that were red
With fingers and toes galore!

It had a blowhole at the end of its snout
That hung to the jungle floor
When they saw the maw in the back of its head
They did not want to see anymore.

It chased them real fast, it hopped like a 'roo
It smelled like an elephant's dung
And on its knees in pouches of skin
It was carrying its young.

Its claws were long and undoubtedly strong
They dug right into the kinky ground
That very sight gave these men such a fright
In their haste they did not turn back 'round

Their teeth, razor sharp, could rip them apart
If they ever caught up to these men,
They were gaining ground and chasing them down
But you won't guess what happened just then.

What happened next had them all perplexed
I can tell you what happened that day,
But the Captain and crew into their deaths never knew
How it was that they got away.

They just barely escaped a most gruesome fate
As out of the jungle they burst, bub,
The Snark didn't leave their coverage of trees
They could not give them their worst, bub.

The Snark could have torn them apart stem to sternum
Had they caught them in their jungle lair
But the mates did not stop 'til their feet hit the docks
And they'd boarded the ship unaware

That these Snark all turned back and could not attack
The ship or its now frightened crew.
They pulled up anchor and left in one moment's breath
Intent this was the right thing to do.

The men left onboard to guard their great hoard
Were lucky they were not in ashore.
They'd have been left on shore in that breath
And missed their trip home for sure.

They wanted to know what scared them all so
To bring them up storming the decks.
They could not conceive what these problems could be
It had them bothered, bewildered, perplexed.

Exactly what spooked them could not be determined
As no danger was within exact sight.
Just what treachery or act of lechery
Gave these men such a fright?

While out on exscursion what had they observed then
That turned them to children of five
All clearly shaken it could not be mistaken
They felt lucky to still be alive.

Several days after their flirt with disaster
These sojourners relayed in detail
Just what occurred to prompt this return.
And turned even the strongest men frail.

"Part Eight: THEE TRIP HOME"

Back out in the seas with much water between
The Snark and themselves
They settled down, rid themselves of any frowns
And forgot all these former hells

That haunted them nightly with sights unsightly
But all these finally did cease, bub,
As the miles away with each passing day
Continued to greatly increase, bub.

The experience I believe made them thicker than thieves
And they all seemed just overjoyed
To have lived through this, an experience, not of bliss
But one that made them paranoid.

They, at first, felt hollow and feared being followed
But even this did pass at last
And by the time they next neared the Beckerman pier
The tales they told grew real fast.

"Why those things must've been fifty feet tall!
You don't believe me? Just ask
And I'll tell you, son, how I made them run
As I took their leader to task."

Others even joined in and said it was true
They had seen it with their own eyes.
"The others wouldn't know if it were so --
They were fleeing for their very lives."

At Beckerman Bay they didn't stay,
Just enough to get their business supplies,
They hardly could wait to get home and relate
Their tales to friends, kinfolk, and wives.

The llama stayed silent the whole trip home
He couldn't face his ex-friends.
He was sure they'd be mad since his doubting them had
Almost brought about their lives' end.

They even understood how it was that he could
Have conceived their tales as untrue.
They didn't blame him for what nearly maimed them,
They were just glad their claims they could prove.

On they sailed back along their trail
To all their homes so dear, bub,
And met just one maelstrom, a small lightning hailstorm
That soon did disappear, bub.

On this excursion not a single diversion
Would keep them from reaching the sands
And no complications made for occasions
To halt their return to bone-dry lands.

These explorers were wishing for hugging and kissing
From many mates awaiting them there.
After no hesitations they'd make explanations
That for them they'd evermore care.

They'd make resolutions to bring into conclusion
Their formerly vagabond ways
And become landlubbers and make their gals mothers
And peacefully live out their days.

A huge celebration most likely awaited them
Upon their return into the shores
Shouting and drinking, polluting their thinking
Would help to relieve any sores.

When they arrived the pier was alive
With kind kinfolk, friends and sexy mates
All wanting to hear of their fun and their fear
The sea stories they had to relate.

The shipmates and Captain explained what happened --
That need revised the time of return.
They expounded on myths to kin [adults and kids]
And said for their homes they all yearned.

They even led them to believe this return was conceived
To bring up their bummy morale
Because they'd grown bored of all the fine stores
And seen all they wanted for now.

This return, it now seemed, had simply been
A totally concious business decision
And they'd never guess their story of the west
Was one of total revision.

They didn't even tell of the horrible hell of
Seeing the infamous Snark, bub
Or even explain that for them to remain
Would've meant their deaths in Quark, bub.

To end my tale I'd like to unveil
My bad identity to you now.
I'm a Snark from the Isle of Quark
And I'd like to take a bow.



Some time back, see, I, uh, I anagramed Lewis Carroll's "The Jabberwocky", and Johnnie Burning Elk suggested I, even I, make an attempt at a few keen, fun ones like this. In his reply, a passage about the Snark was mentioned by him, and the rest (as usual) is history. The text I've been usin' in mine is at an online U.S. library, but I, even I, can't yet remember from which. This was even such a riot, an insane, fun, busy project that I, even I've, been hopin' to maybe risk many wild keen book-wit ones like it. [I TELL A LIE. I, EVEN I,'D LIE!]

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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