The Walrus and the lobster mart

Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

As I had mentioned once before, just as I had learned from my rancher and cattle friends in Oklahoma not to mess with people’s livestock, I learned when coming to the Cape, no one should mess with an oyster man ‘s farm.

For my first year here I worked at a retail store where many of the customers came in a few times a week, and, because the place was pretty laid back and lacked the business mayhem of other stores, I got to meet many of the locals, among them one or two oyster farmers and a shellfish constable.

As those in Oklahoma educated me about ranches and livestock, these guys gave me an education in oysters, clams, and things shellfish related, and how they were farmed.

I learned more when, at a town meeting, we voted to use a few thousand dollars to purchase seed clams to bring back the soft shell clams Dennis was once noted for, and a neighbor filled me in on that subject.

And when I heard about the theft of oysters, the investigation into the theft, spoke with people in that field, and read about the solving of the case, my interest was piqued enough to pay attention.

Neighbors were quite surprised to learn that a person who received the purloined oysters was someone who had owned a seafood market on the canal that was very well known, and someone who should know the rules about buying stolen seafood.

They wondered what would have driven him to sacrifice his business and reputation after years of doing an honest business, honest as far as they knew.

I didn’t know all the rules or the subtleties of them, but I did know that someone was out a lot of time and money as there would be no return on the efforts at raising the oysters, and restitution and loss of license should be a logical part of any sentence.

But money has its influence even when someone has been caught red-handed and others have lost out.

After pleading guilty to receiving the stolen goods and misleading police during the investigation, the person who received and sold the oysters faced loss of license.

However, the very man charged with his prosecution, the District Attorney, wrote a letter to the Department of Public Health on his behalf.

As the Cape Cod Times quoted him, "We outlined the fact that he had no other violations with our office. He received a punishment we felt was sufficient for his offenses. We outlined what the offenses were and what the punishment was. His attorney asked for it, and I had no problem doing this."

Interestingly, a number of Republicans have received campaign donations from the oyster man, as has the Sandwich Republican Town Committee and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.

The D.A. is a Republican.

Meanwhile, in spite of the D.A.’s letter and others who claim he has suffered enough by paying a $6,250 fine and dealing with public embarrassment, there has been no attempt to make reparations to those from whom he stole.

They, apparently, need to just suck up the loss, while the person who basically stole the fruits of their labor gets a slap on the wrist..

I am interested to see how the politicians play this one out, and if one of them finds an excuse to, if not let the whole thing slide, find a way to make it just end easily and quietly.

My rancher friends have their way of handling someone who rustles their livestock and is left off by the politics of the court, especially if it is someone they know.

I often tell friends I left behind that I have found in politics and in some attitudes Cape Cod appears to me to be Oklahoma with water on three sides.

Well, boy howdy, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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