The Duchess: Teach Your Children Well
Wonderland's resident Duchess will probably never get a "World's Best Mom" coffee mug. When Alice meets her, she's shaking her baby, tossing him up and down, and singing, "I speak severely to my boy/I beat him when he sneezes/For he can thoroughly enjoy/The pepper when he pleases." Then the Duchess, realizing she must play croquet with the queen, flings the baby to Alice and exits, leaving Alice to care for the infant.
Which is all just as well for Alice, who takes the baby with her when she leaves—figuring if she doesn't, the poor thing might be dead in a couple of days. But she doesn't have the infant for long. The baby turns into a pig and runs off into the woods.
It's a harrowing reminder of how important it is to love, raise, and properly care for our children: If we take our most precious job too lightly, we run the risk of losing them to the wilds beyond.
Editor's Note: The Duchess from Carroll's book does not appear as a separate character in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." In the film, Burton combines aspects of this character and the Queen of Hearts with the Red Queen.