The Mock Turtle introduces himself as a member of the rare species of Great Turtle from which is made the famous Mock Turtle Soup, the Soup of Kings.
"Sit down and don't say a word until I've finished. Once," said the Mock Turtle with a deep sigh, "I was a real Turtle."
The Mock Turtle relates a tragic and lengthy tale about going to school in the sea, and about his studies in the obscure disciplines of the Quadriva Arithmetia - Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision -- and the courses of instruction in Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography, Drawling, Stretching, Fainting in Coils, Laughing, and Grief.
At last, when it becomes clear that his story has no point, you become restless.
"Oh, dear," said the Mock Turtle. "I'm afraid I've bored you. You've been so kind to listen to the maunderings of an ancient reptile... please say my name backwards where it will do the most good, accept as a token of my gratitude a product of my researches in the field of Speculative Ontology."