After falling down the rabbit hole and entering the garden, Alice encounters The Mad Hatter, The Dormouse, and The March Hare. The Mad Hatter explains to Alice that he and the March Hare are always having tea because, when he tried to sing for the Queen of Hearts at a celebration of hers, she sentenced him to death for "murdering the time." He escaped decapitation, but, angry about the Hatter's attempted "murder", Time (referred to as a "Him") halts himself in respect to the Hatter, keeping him and the March Hare stuck at 6:00 forever. The tea party, when Alice arrives, involves switching places at the table periodically, making short, personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, all of which eventually drive Alice away.
The Mad Hatter's Riddle
During the Mad Tea Party, The Mad Hatter asks Alice the riddle: "why is a raven like a writing desk?" She puzzles over this for some time, only to be told by the Hatter that the riddle has no answer. Lewis Carroll later made up an answer to it, even though he never originally intended to. Author Jasper Fforde, in his novel "The Eyre Affair" gives the answer: 'Because Poe wrote on both'. Another answer, and one that Carroll would approve of, is 'because there is a B in Both'.
The Dormouse's Story
The sleepy Dormouse tells a story during The Mad Tea Party about three young girls who live in a treacle well, live on treacle, and draw pictures of things beginning with M, including mousetraps, memory and muchness.