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GULLIVER in LILLIPUT ; from Gulliver’s Travels by Johathan Swift ; Put into Basic English by the Basic English Institute ; Author’s Note
Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels for grown-up readers. He gave a detailed account of the experiences of an Englishman, Lemuel Gulliver, who sailed to strange lands that no other had ever seen. From strange lands sailors take back souvenirs and strange stories which they love to give an account to boys and girls as well as to grown-ups. This story, Gulliver in Lilliput, Part I of Gulliver’s Travels, is said as Gulliver might have said of the first of his experiences to boys and girls.
A Long Sea Journey and a Great Blow
I grew up in the quiet English countryside and might never have left my country, but for that my father had five sons and not much money to educate them. So, as quickly as I got to be a man, I went to work with a well-experienced expert in medical operations in London, designing to be a medical man myself. At the same time I learned all the fields useful for long sea journeys, because I had always desired to make journeys.
For three years I did sea journey to another countries and made enough money to marry, but as a young medical man I had a small number of persons to care for and came to a decision to go to sea again in order to support my woman and a boy and a girl. On May 4, 1699, I set sail from Bristol with Captain William Prichard, chief of the Antelope.
Our sea journey went very well till we got to the South Seas, by which time our sailors were ill with overwork, and bad food. Then a violent weather drove us onto a great stone which separated the ship in two. Six of us managed to lower a boat into the sea and moved the boat forward with what little power we had till a sudden blow of wind overturned us, and all the others went to their death in the sea.
I swam, pushed forward by time and current, and when I was almost put to an end, I saw land, and discovered myself in water that was not deep. At about eight o’clock in the nightfall, I got to the edge of the sea and walked for nearly half a mile without seeing any houses. Too tired to go father, I got down on my back in the grass, which was very short and soft. There I slept soundly till morning.
When I awakened, it was right after daylight. I made an attempt to get up, but was not able to move because my arms and legs were strongly fixed to the earth. So was my hair, which was long and thick. I also felt quite a number of thin cords across by body, from my arms to my legs. Unable to move my head, I was able to only look up. In time, the sun began to grow very warm, and the light gave pain to my eyes. I heard an unorderly noise about me, but was able to see only the sky.
In a little while I felt something living move on my left leg, then over my chest and almost up to my chin. Looking down as much as I was able to, I saw a little man not six inches high with an instrument of war in his hands and a archer’s bag at his back. Then I felt at least forty more little men coming after the first. I cried so loud that they all ran back, and after I was said that some of them had damage with the falls they got by jumping from my sides to the earth. However, they quickly came back, and one of them, staring at my face in respect, cried out in a loud, clear voice, “Hekinab degul.” The others said again these words, but I was not certain of the sense of their words.
At last, working to get loose, I broke the stings and pulled out the sticks that kept my left arm to the earth. At the same time, with much pain, I pulled loose the cords that gripped my hair on the left side, so that I was able to turn my head about two inches. But again the little men ran off before I was able to get them.
Then I heard one of them cry, “Tolgo phonac,” and a hundred pointed sticks came against my left hand, feeling like needles. I used my free hand to cover my face on which more pointed sticks were falling. Some of the little men made an attempt to force pointed sticks into my side, but my coat was thick enough to stop them. I came to a decision to keep still till night, when it would be not as hard to free myself.
After a short time I heard a sound of hammering and saw the little men building a structure about a foot-and-a half high, with enough room for four of them. One, who looked important, got up on the structure and made a long statement. Even though I was conscious that he was not able to have knowledge about my words, I answered, “Are you suggesting violent behavior on me? Or are you giving your word to behave kindly to me?” Then I said in a quiet voice, “Whatever you order me to do, I will do, but I have not had food for a great number of hours. Please give food to me,” I put my finger to my mouth to make clear that I was needing food.
The leader heard me clearly. He ordered long steps to be placed against my sides, after which about a hundred of the little men got up and walked to my month, taking baskets of food. There were two or three kinds of meat, as well as three things of bread, each not the size of a small ball.
When I made a sign that I desired to drink, the men came up with a vessel of their wine and pushed it to my hand. It made less than half a pint, not strong, but tasted very good. When I made a request for more, they danced on my chest and cried in pleasure to see such a surprising thing. They rubbed my face and hands with a sweet-smelling paste that quickly took away the sting of their sharp sticks. I gave thought to take forty or fifty of them as they walked over me, but I took in mind that I had given my word to do as they desired, and I was happy for their kind attentions. In addition, I had respect for the way these little beings controlled their fear as they walked on my body while I had one hand free.
Another leader now came forward and said me by sign language that the king had desire that I be taken as a prisoner to the chief town. That night, while I slept, they came with a wood frame, seven feet long and four feet wide, fixed on twenty-two wheels, with nine hundred of their strongest men to lift me onto it. Fifteen hundred of the king’s greatest horses, each about hour and a half inches high, then pulled me to the town, half a mile away.
My New My Country
They stopped in front of a very old public building, the greatest in all the king’s land. There I was to live, and a hundred thousand little men and women came out of the town to watch me being moved into my new my country. The weather himself looked on while his iron worker put long chains to my left leg and joined them to the metal doorway. The chains were about six feet long so that once the cords were cut that still kept me under control, I was able to get on my feet and walk back and forward and in a small circle. When I did so, no words are able to give account the noise and pleasure of the men and women.
Looking round me, I saw a little country like a garden with woods among the flower beds. As I was upright there, the royal family got to the place and was seated at a safe distance, while the king came by himself on his horse to me and began to make words I answered in all the languages that I had knowledge of, but not one or the other of us was able to be clear about any word.
His Majesty left watchmen to keep me out of danger, and when some of the great number of men put pointed sticks in the air at me, the watchmen handed over six of the ring-leaders for me to punish them. I put five of them into my coat pocket. Then, taking the sixth man in my hand, I took out my penknife as if I were going to make live food of him. But in place of that I put him not roughly on the earth and took the others, one by one out of my pocket. Away they all ran, and I was able see that the army men and the other men and women were pleased with my kind act.
I slept on the earth in my house for about two weeks till the king ordered a bed for me, made of six hundred little bed cushions, stitched together and given with bed liners and covers.
At the same time,, the king’s friends feared that I might come loose and take food enough to cause the public to go without food. They thought of keeping food from me to death or firing at me with poisoned sticks. But some army officers made statements of my kind behavior to the six who had done crime, and as an outcome, an order was given that the towns have to give my daily food and drink, taking six cows, forty sheep, and bread and wine, for which the king would make payment from his own money. Six hundred persons put up in canvas rooms by my door to be my servants, three hundred clothes makers went to work on a new clothes for me, and six of His Majesty’s greatest men of letters began to teach me their language. I then learned that this land was given the name Lilliput ; the men and women were named Lilliputians. They gave me the name ”Quinbus Flestrin,” which has the sense of Great Man Mountain.
The king came frequently to see me, and each time I got down on my knees, saying, “Your Majesty, I beg you to make me free.
But he answered. “That is impossible without the agreement of my government body.” At last one day, he said, “Quinbus Flestrin, I hope that before you are made free you will give agreement to two of my army to look over you for fighting instruments.
I put the army men into all of my pockets and they later made a list of what they had discovered. They wrote : “In the right coat pocket of the Man Mountain was a great bit of rough cloth, great enough to cover a floor in the royal house. [This was my handkerchief.]
“In the left pocket was a great silver chest. We made a request of the Man Mountain to open it, and when one of us stepped into it, he discovered himself up to his knees in some sort of dust that made us sneeze. [This was my tobacco box.]
“In one coat pocket was a parcel of paper, [my record book], with a knot of cable and covered with black marks. In another we discovered a kind of machine with twenty long sticks joined to it. We take a probably that the Man Mountain uses it to comb his hair.
“In the right side of his trousers we saw a hollow pillar of iron as tall as a man, joined to a strong part of wood. In the left side of is trousers was another of the same kind. We do not certain what the are [They were my guns.]
“In the lowest part of another pocket was a more than common discovery, an engine [my watch] joined to a great weight of silver chain. It made a great amount of noise, and we have thoughts that it may be a god that the Man Mountain make a religion of, because he said that he never does anything without getting its opinion, because it points out the time for every act of his existence.
“At his side hangs a long knife as long as five men. He has a bag full of some metal balls of great weight [for my guns] and another full of black powder [gunpowder].”
The king ordered me to hand over all of these things that were in my pockets, which I did, but I had one pocket that the army men did not discover. There I put my reading glasses and a pocket spyglass. Before handing over all that was in the other pockets, at the king’s order, I waved my long knife in the air and fired off my guns to let them see how they worked. The guns had only with gunpowder in them, but hundreds of Lilliputians fell down at the nose, as if they had gone dead, and even the king looked in fear.
I was able to now be clear about and use their language. I would sometimes put myself down and let five or six of them dance on my hand. Boys and girls would play at hide-and-seek in my hair. The horses were not longer feared of me and their masters would make them jump over my hand as I put it on the round. Before long, my quiet and good behavior pleased all the Lilliputians so much that I was let free.
Lilliput Goes to War
Not long after one of the king’s officers came to use to me. I kept him in my hand all through our talk. “The reason you got your freed condition so simply,” said he, “in that Lilliput has two great troubles First, we have two political groups in this empire, the Trmecksan, who put on high shoes, and the Slamecksan, who put on low shoes. The two political groups will not even talk to each other. His Majesty has a better opinion of low shoes, and he desires your help.
“Second, we are in danger of an attack from Blefuscu. Now, Blefuscu is the other great empire of the earth. Our history books do not say anything any empires but for Lilliput and Blefuscu. These two great powers have been at war for the past thirty-six moons. The reason is that, as we all have knowledge of, the old way of opening a boiled egg before eating was to open only the wide end. But when our king’s father’s father was a boy, he cut one of his fingers while opening an egg at the wide end. The men and women were then ordered to open only the smaller end of their eggs – the Wide Endians – went running to Blefuscu, which sided with them and went to war with Lilliput. The two empires have lost their greatest ships and a great number of smaller ones as well as thousands of army men and seamen. Our king has made a request of me to give an account to you that Blefuscu now has a new vessels ready to attack us.”.
I answered, “Please give an account His Majesty that it would not be right for me to get between with political groups, but that I am ready to chance my existence if Lilliput would be attacked by Blefuscu.”
The empire of Blefuscu is an island on the northeast side of Lilliput,1 separated by a narrow waterway that is eight hundred yards wide. When I heard of the coming attack from Blefuscu, I kept away from that side of the land edging the sea, so that the other side’s ships was able to not see me, while I was able to see them with my pocket spyglass – a glass that makes far things seem near. Then I went to the royal house and said to the king. “Your Majesty, I have a design to take their complete sea force, which makes ready in a harbor at Blefuscu, ready to said.”
The king was in agreement to my design, so I talked to the Lilliputian seamen. From them I learned that the middle of the narrow waterway was seventy glumgluffs deep, which is about six feet. With the king’s authority, I ordered a great number of Lilliput’s strongest cord and bars of iron. The cord was no thicker than a wool thread, and the iron bars the size of wool working needles, so I twisted them together, three by three, to make them stronger, and did the same with the iron bars, making their ends into hooks.
I Attack Blefuscu
Having fixed fifty hooks to the number of cords, I went to the northeast water’s edge about half an hour before high current. Taking off my coat, shoes, and stockings, I then walked into the sea. I went into the water as quickly as I was able to, and as I got to the deepest water, swam till I felt earth under my feet. Within half an hour, I had got to the other’s ships in the harbor at Blefuscu.
The other side was so full of fear when they saw me coming that they jumped out of their ships, and swam to land, where at least thirty thousand little men and women were watching. I then connected a hook to a hole in the front of each vessel. While I was making an attempt to get all the cords together into a knot at the end, the other’s army fired thousands of pointed sticks at me, giving sharp pain to my hands and face and making my work more hard to do. I would certainly have lost use of my eyes if I had not put on the glasses that were still in the private pocket the king’s men going through my pockets had not discovered.
But when I got all the hooks to the ships and had begun to pull, not a ship would move because they were all kept still by their ship’s hooks in the water. I had to cut the anchor cords, while more than two hundred pointed sticks came upon my face and hand. Then I again took up the knot end of the cords to which my hooks were got together, and simply made a pull to fifty of the their greatest warships after me.
The men of Blefuscu were in shock. They had thought at first that I only designed to let the ships go about and crush into each other. But when they saw me pulling the number of vessels out into the waterway, they gave a great cry of deep sad feelings and without hope. Once out of danger, I stopped for a time to get the pointed sticks out of my hands and face and rub on some of the paste for getting well given to me earlier by the Lilliputians. Then, when the current had fallen a little, I made way through the water with my ships, and got to the place safely at the royal harbor of Lilliput.
Long live the King of Lilliput !” I cried. His Majesty gave me the greatest words of respect. “Man Mountain,” he said, “I make you a ’nardac’, which is the highest position of respect in Lilliput. Now go back to Blefuscu and take all the rest of the other’s ships. Defeat Blefuscu so completely that I are able to become its king, and because of that be the king of all the earth with power to make the Wide Endian out of the country to open the smaller end of their eggs.
“But Your Majesty,” I protested, “I was able to never take part in making waste of free and good men and women.”
The king made a face at this, but said no more for the time being.
The king of Blefuscu heard of our argument and about three weeks later sent representatives humbly making a request for a peace statement and saying I had been kind in my help.
They then gave me an note to come : “The king of Blefuscu desires you to come see his country so that he may have the pleasure of seeing you make use of your great powers of which he has heard so much.
I made a request of the king of Lilliput, and he gave agreement to let me come see Blefuscu, but did not look pleased.
I Am Said to Do Crime Against the King
I was getting ready to go from Lilliput when an important person came to my house secretly and said me that a number of the Lilliputian government had made a statement against me, the Man Mountain, of crime, because I had would not make waste of the empire of Blefuscu and put an end to all the Wide Endians. And, I had talked in a friendly way to the representatives from Blefuscu and was probably making a design to help its king in a war against Lilliput. Besides, I was becoming very high in price to keep because I took so much food.
I learned that I had three days in which to make a decision how to keep myself from punishment. For that reason I wrote to the Lilliputian government, saying that I had His Majesty’s authority to go see Blefuscu and was going from Lilliput that morning. Without waiting for an answer, I went to the harbor of Lilliput, took a great size war ship, and got a cord to the front. I then lifted up the sea hooks, ; put my clothes and a bed cover into the ship, and made way and swam across the waterway, pulling the ship after me.
At the royal harbor of Blefuscu I was given a look at the way to the chief town, where His Majesty with the royal family and a group of the government came out to meet me. They were as small as the men of Lilliput, but they did not seem at all in fear, so I went down on the earth to kiss His Majesty's and the queen's hands. I said to him, “I am pleased to meet so great a king, and I will give any help to Blefuscu that I are able to offer as a person true to the king of Lilliput.”
The king of Blefuscu was pleased and made things happy for me in a royal way, but that I had to sleep on the earth, covered up in my bed cover.
Three days later, walking on the northeast edge of the sea of Blefuscu, I saw, not far off, something that looked like a boat overturned in the sea. I pulled off my shoes and stockings and walked out, while the current made the thing come nearer. I then saw that it was in fact a boat, probably blown away from a ship by a great wind.
When I got back to the town with this news, the king of Blefuscu was in agreement to let me have twenty of the tallest ships left after the loss of his sea force. These ships, manned by three thousand seamen, sailed round to meet me where I had discovered the boat. I swam out to it and joined it by a long cord to one of the ships from Blefuscu, which pulled it to the land. Two thousand men with cords and wheels helped me turn it upright. It was not much damaged.
About that time, the king of Lilliput had written an angry letter ordering that I come back or have a public statement made of a crime against the king as one who had gone over to the other side. The king of Blefuscu wrote an answer, saying that I had discovered a vessel great in size on the edge of the sea and was fixing it up to take me away, so that each empire would be of end of me.
Memories of the Sea Journey
In about a month, my boat was ready, stored with cooked meat and bread and drink, made by the royal cooks of Blefuscu. I made my going away talk with the king and the royal family, going down flat on the earth to kiss their hands. His Majesty gave me fifty bags of gold money and a very little picture of himself which I put into one of my gloves to keep it safe. I took with me six cows, two male cows, six female sheep, and two males to start new groups of cows and sheep in my own country, but the king would not let me to take any of the men or women.
I put up sail on September 24, 1701, at six in the morning. Three days later I saw a sail. As I came up with the ship, my heart leapt within in me to see her English colors. I put my cows and sheep into my coat pockets and with the chief’s authority got all my other provisions on board.
The vessel was coming from Japan to England and among the men, I discovered an old friend who had a question of where I had been. When I said him, he thought I had gone off my head, till I took the cows and sheep out of my pockets, give him a look at the king’s picture, and gave him a money bag of gold from Blefuscu. I gave my word to for him to have a cow and a sheep when we got to England.
We got to the place on April 13, 1702, safe and sound, but for that one of my sheep had become food by some of the rats on board ship. The rest of my cows and sheep were put to getting grass for food in a public green where the grass was very thin and good, and I made a good profit by giving tickets to persons with money and other who desired to see them. At last I gave them in trade for six hundred pounds. From then, the number of the cows has increased, and I hope that the sheep will give the best sheep skins to make better the quality of English wools.
Within two months my family were seated with comfort in a new house, and I was able to no longer able to not make journeys again to other countries. With wet eyes on each side, I took myself away of my woman and my boy and girl, and went on board the Adventure, a ship well named to please me. But I made a decision that I would never again have anything to do with kings and governments, great or small.1. A fuller version of Gulliver’s war is given in A Basic Phonetic Reader. It is slightly different, which shows that Basic English is not limited in its range of expression. Back to: books or readings