The Caterpillar was the first to speak.
“What size do you want to be?” it asked.
“Oh, I’m not particular as to size,” Alice hastily replied; “only one doesn’t like changing so often, you know.”
“I don’t know,” said the Caterpillar.
Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.
“Are you content now?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,” said Alice: “three inches is such a wretched height to be.”
“It is a very good height indeed!” said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
“But I’m not used to it!” pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought to herself, “I wish the creatures wouldn’t be so easily offended!”
“You’ll get used to it in time,” said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, “One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.”
“One side of what? The other side of what?” thought Alice to herself.
“Of the mushroom,” said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
In theory, three inches is the perfect height for a Drinker caterpillar too, but I’m going to claim that this one was bigger – that’s the top of a waymark pole that it’s sitting on. When I poked the macro lens in its face, it reared up with just the same offended attitude as Alice’s caterpillar – so possibly that one was a Drinker, as well as a smoker.
This is another moth that spends most of its life as a larva, overwintering when it’s quite small; being now what I believe moth people describe as humongous, it will be preparing to pupate – which it does in a silk cocoon that it spins amid grasses. The adult moth – which looks like this – will emerge in July and fly for just a few weeks.
It gets its name, by the way, from the fact that the caterpillar is said to drink dew.