TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

< BACK    NEXT >




[The author, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an invasion.
A high title of honour is conferred upon him. Ambassadors arrive
from the emperor of Blefuscu, and sue for peace. The empress's
apartment on fire by an accident; the author instrumental in
saving the rest of the palace.]

The empire of Blefuscu is an island situated to the north-east of
Lilliput, from which it is parted only by a channel of eight
hundred yards wide. I had not yet seen it, and upon this notice
of an intended invasion, I avoided appearing on that side of the
coast, for fear of being discovered, by some of the enemy's
ships, who had received no intelligence of me; all intercourse
between the two empires having been strictly forbidden during the
war, upon pain of death, and an embargo laid by our emperor upon
all vessels whatsoever. I communicated to his majesty a project
I had formed of seizing the enemy's whole fleet; which, as our
scouts assured us, lay at anchor in the harbour, ready to sail
with the first fair wind. I consulted the most experienced
seamen upon the depth of the channel, which they had often
plumbed; who told me, that in the middle, at high-water, it was
seventy GLUMGLUFFS deep, which is about six feet of European
measure; and the rest of it fifty GLUMGLUFFS at most. I walked
towards the north-east coast, over against Blefuscu, where, lying
down behind a hillock, I took out my small perspective glass, and
viewed the enemy's fleet at anchor, consisting of about fifty men
of war, and a great number of transports: I then came back to my
house, and gave orders (for which I had a warrant) for a great
quantity of the strongest cable and bars of iron. The cable was
about as thick as packthread and the bars of the length and size
of a knitting-needle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger,
and for the same reason I twisted three of the iron bars
together, bending the extremities into a hook. Having thus fixed
fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the north-east
coast, and putting off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into
the sea, in my leathern jerkin, about half an hour before high
water. I waded with what haste I could, and swam in the middle
about thirty yards, till I felt ground. I arrived at the fleet
in less than half an hour. The enemy was so frightened when they
saw me, that they leaped out of their ships, and swam to shore,
where there could not be fewer than thirty thousand souls. I
then took my tackling, and, fastening a hook to the hole at the
prow of each, I tied all the cords together at the end. While I
was thus employed, the enemy discharged several thousand arrows,
many of which stuck in my hands and face, and, beside the
excessive smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My greatest
apprehension was for mine eyes, which I should have infallibly
lost, if I had not suddenly thought of an expedient. I kept,
among other little necessaries, a pair of spectacles in a private
pocket, which, as I observed before, had escaped the emperor's
searchers. These I took out and fastened as strongly as I could
upon my nose, and thus armed, went on boldly with my work, in
spite of the enemy's arrows, many of which struck against the
glasses of my spectacles, but without any other effect, further
than a little to discompose them. I had now fastened all the
hooks, and, taking the knot in my hand, began to pull; but not a
ship would stir, for they were all too fast held by their
anchors, so that the boldest part of my enterprise remained. I
therefore let go the cord, and leaving the looks fixed to the
ships, I resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened
the anchors, receiving about two hundred shots in my face and
hands; then I took up the knotted end of the cables, to which my
hooks were tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy's
largest men of war after me.

The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination of what I
intended, were at first confounded with astonishment. They had
seen me cut the cables, and thought my design was only to let the
ships run adrift or fall foul on each other: but when they
perceived the whole fleet moving in order, and saw me pulling at
the end, they set up such a scream of grief and despair as it is
almost impossible to describe or conceive. When I had got out of
danger, I stopped awhile to pick out the arrows that stuck in my
hands and face; and rubbed on some of the same ointment that was
given me at my first arrival, as I have formerly mentioned. I
then took off my spectacles, and waiting about an hour, till the
tide was a little fallen, I waded through the middle with my
cargo, and arrived safe at the royal port of Lilliput.

The emperor and his whole court stood on the shore, expecting the
issue of this great adventure. They saw the ships move forward
in a large half-moon, but could not discern me, who was up to my
breast in water. When I advanced to the middle of the channel,
they were yet more in pain, because I was under water to my neck.
The emperor concluded me to be drowned, and that the enemy's
fleet was approaching in a hostile manner: but he was soon eased
of his fears; for the channel growing shallower every step I
made, I came in a short time within hearing, and holding up the
end of the cable, by which the fleet was fastened, I cried in a
loud voice, "Long live the most puissant king of Lilliput!" This
great prince received me at my landing with all possible
encomiums, and created me a NARDAC upon the spot, which is the
highest title of honour among them.

His majesty desired I would take some other opportunity of
bringing all the rest of his enemy's ships into his ports. And
so unmeasureable is the ambition of princes, that he seemed to
think of nothing less than reducing the whole empire of Blefuscu
into a province, and governing it, by a viceroy; of destroying
the Big-endian exiles, and compelling that people to break the
smaller end of their eggs, by which he would remain the sole
monarch of the whole world. But I endeavoured to divert him from
this design, by many arguments drawn from the topics of policy as
well as justice; and I plainly protested, "that I would never be
an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery."
And, when the matter was debated in council, the wisest part of
the ministry were of my opinion.

This open bold declaration of mine was so opposite to the schemes
and politics of his imperial majesty, that he could never forgive
me. He mentioned it in a very artful manner at council, where I
was told that some of the wisest appeared, at least by their
silence, to be of my opinion; but others, who were my secret
enemies, could not forbear some expressions which, by a
side-wind, reflected on me. And from this time began an intrigue
between his majesty and a junto of ministers, maliciously bent
against me, which broke out in less than two months, and had like
to have ended in my utter destruction. Of so little weight are
the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with
a refusal to gratify their passions.

About three weeks after this exploit, there arrived a solemn
embassy from Blefuscu, with humble offers of a peace, which was
soon concluded, upon conditions very advantageous to our emperor,
wherewith I shall not trouble the reader. There were six
ambassadors, with a train of about five hundred persons, and
their entry was very magnificent, suitable to the grandeur of
their master, and the importance of their business. When their
treaty was finished, wherein I did them several good offices by
the credit I now had, or at least appeared to have, at court,
their excellencies, who were privately told how much I had been
their friend, made me a visit in form. They began with many
compliments upon my valour and generosity, invited me to that
kingdom in the emperor their master's name, and desired me to
show them some proofs of my prodigious strength, of which they
had heard so many wonders; wherein I readily obliged them, but
shall not trouble the reader with the particulars.

When I had for some time entertained their excellencies, to their
infinite satisfaction and surprise, I desired they would do me
the honour to present my most humble respects to the emperor
their master, the renown of whose virtues had so justly filled
the whole world with admiration, and whose royal person I
resolved to attend, before I returned to my own country.
Accordingly, the next time I had the honour to see our emperor, I
desired his general license to wait on the Blefuscudian monarch,
which he was pleased to grant me, as I could perceive, in a very
cold manner; but could not guess the reason, till I had a whisper
from a certain person, "that Flimnap and Bolgolam had represented
my intercourse with those ambassadors as a mark of disaffection;"
from which I am sure my heart was wholly free. And this was the
first time I began to conceive some imperfect idea of courts and

It is to be observed, that these ambassadors spoke to me, by an
interpreter, the languages of both empires differing as much from
each other as any two in Europe, and each nation priding itself
upon the antiquity, beauty, and energy of their own tongue, with
an avowed contempt for that of their neighbour; yet our emperor,
standing upon the advantage he had got by the seizure of their
fleet, obliged them to deliver their credentials, and make their
speech, in the Lilliputian tongue. And it must be confessed,
that from the great intercourse of trade and commerce between
both realms, from the continual reception of exiles which is
mutual among them, and from the custom, in each empire, to send
their young nobility and richer gentry to the other, in order to
polish themselves by seeing the world, and understanding men and
manners; there are few persons of distinction, or merchants, or
seamen, who dwell in the maritime parts, but what can hold
conversation in both tongues; as I found some weeks after, when I
went to pay my respects to the emperor of Blefuscu, which, in the
midst of great misfortunes, through the malice of my enemies,
proved a very happy adventure to me, as I shall relate in its
proper place.

The reader may remember, that when I signed those articles upon
which I recovered my liberty, there were some which I disliked,
upon account of their being too servile; neither could anything
but an extreme necessity have forced me to submit. But being now
a NARDAC of the highest rank in that empire, such offices were
looked upon as below my dignity, and the emperor (to do him
justice), never once mentioned them to me. However, it was not
long before I had an opportunity of doing his majesty, at least
as I then thought, a most signal service. I was alarmed at
midnight with the cries of many hundred people at my door; by
which, being suddenly awaked, I was in some kind of terror. I
heard the word BURGLUM repeated incessantly: several of the
emperor's court, making their way through the crowd, entreated me
to come immediately to the palace, where her imperial majesty's
apartment was on fire, by the carelessness of a maid of honour,
who fell asleep while she was reading a romance. I got up in an
instant; and orders being given to clear the way before me, and
it being likewise a moonshine night, I made a shift to get to the
palace without trampling on any of the people. I found they had
already applied ladders to the walls of the apartment, and were
well provided with buckets, but the water was at some distance.
These buckets were about the size of large thimbles, and the poor
people supplied me with them as fast as they could: but the
flame was so violent that they did little good. I might easily
have stifled it with my coat, which I unfortunately left behind
me for haste, and came away only in my leathern jerkin. The case
seemed wholly desperate and deplorable; and this magnificent
palace would have infallibly been burnt down to the ground, if,
by a presence of mind unusual to me, I had not suddenly thought
of an expedient. I had, the evening before, drunk plentifully of
a most delicious wine called GLIMIGRIM, (the Blefuscudians call
it FLUNEC, but ours is esteemed the better sort,) which is very
diuretic. By the luckiest chance in the world, I had not
discharged myself of any part of it. The heat I had contracted
by coming very near the flames, and by labouring to quench them,
made the wine begin to operate by urine; which I voided in such a
quantity, and applied so well to the proper places, that in three
minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and the rest of that
noble pile, which had cost so many ages in erecting, preserved
from destruction.

It was now day-light, and I returned to my house without waiting
to congratulate with the emperor: because, although I had done a
very eminent piece of service, yet I could not tell how his
majesty might resent the manner by which I had performed it:
for, by the fundamental laws of the realm, it is capital in any
person, of what quality soever, to make water within the
precincts of the palace. But I was a little comforted by a
message from his majesty, "that he would give orders to the grand
justiciary for passing my pardon in form:" which, however, I
could not obtain; and I was privately assured, "that the empress,
conceiving the greatest abhorrence of what I had done, removed to
the most distant side of the court, firmly resolved that those
buildings should never be repaired for her use: and, in the
presence of her chief confidents could not forbear vowing



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room Gulliver's Travels




Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 





Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA