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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The author, by a lucky accident, finds means to leave Blefuscu;
and, after some difficulties, returns safe to his native country.]

Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the
north-east coast of the island, I observed, about half a league
off in the sea, somewhat that looked like a boat overturned. I
pulled off my shoes and stockings, and, wailing two or three
hundred yards, I found the object to approach nearer by force of
the tide; and then plainly saw it to be a real boat, which I
supposed might by some tempest have been driven from a ship.
Whereupon, I returned immediately towards the city, and desired
his imperial majesty to lend me twenty of the tallest vessels he
had left, after the loss of his fleet, and three thousand seamen,
under the command of his vice-admiral. This fleet sailed round,
while I went back the shortest way to the coast, where I first
discovered the boat. I found the tide had driven it still
nearer. The seamen were all provided with cordage, which I had
beforehand twisted to a sufficient strength. When the ships came
up, I stripped myself, and waded till I came within a hundred
yards off the boat, after which I was forced to swim till I got
up to it. The seamen threw me the end of the cord, which I
fastened to a hole in the fore-part of the boat, and the other
end to a man of war; but I found all my labour to little purpose;
for, being out of my depth, I was not able to work. In this
necessity I was forced to swim behind, and push the boat forward,
as often as I could, with one of my hands; and the tide favouring
me, I advanced so far that I could just hold up my chin and feel
the ground. I rested two or three minutes, and then gave the
boat another shove, and so on, till the sea was no higher than my
arm-pits; and now, the most laborious part being over, I took out
my other cables, which were stowed in one of the ships, and
fastened them first to the boat, and then to nine of the vessels
which attended me; the wind being favourable, the seamen towed,
and I shoved, until we arrived within forty yards of the shore;
and, waiting till the tide was out, I got dry to the boat, and by
the assistance of two thousand men, with ropes and engines, I
made a shift to turn it on its bottom, and found it was but
little damaged.

I shall not trouble the reader with the difficulties I was under,
by the help of certain paddles, which cost me ten days making, to
get my boat to the royal port of Blefuscu, where a mighty
concourse of people appeared upon my arrival, full of wonder at
the sight of so prodigious a vessel. I told the emperor "that my
good fortune had thrown this boat in my way, to carry me to some
place whence I might return into my native country; and begged
his majesty's orders for getting materials to fit it up, together
with his license to depart;" which, after some kind
expostulations, he was pleased to grant.

I did very much wonder, in all this time, not to have heard of
any express relating to me from our emperor to the court of
Blefuscu. But I was afterward given privately to understand, that
his imperial majesty, never imagining I had the least notice of
his designs, believed I was only gone to Blefuscu in performance
of my promise, according to the license he had given me, which
was well known at our court, and would return in a few days, when
the ceremony was ended. But he was at last in pain at my long
absence; and after consulting with the treasurer and the rest of
that cabal, a person of quality was dispatched with the copy of
the articles against me. This envoy had instructions to
represent to the monarch of Blefuscu, "the great lenity of his
master, who was content to punish me no farther than with the
loss of mine eyes; that I had fled from justice; and if I did not
return in two hours, I should be deprived of my title of NARDAC,
and declared a traitor." The envoy further added, "that in order
to maintain the peace and amity between both empires, his master
expected that his brother of Blefuscu would give orders to have
me sent back to Lilliput, bound hand and foot, to be punished as
a traitor."

The emperor of Blefuscu, having taken three days to consult,
returned an answer consisting of many civilities and excuses. He
said, "that as for sending me bound, his brother knew it was
impossible; that, although I had deprived him of his fleet, yet
he owed great obligations to me for many good offices I had done
him in making the peace. That, however, both their majesties
would soon be made easy; for I had found a prodigious vessel on
the shore, able to carry me on the sea, which he had given orders
to fit up, with my own assistance and direction; and he hoped, in
a few weeks, both empires would be freed from so insupportable an

With this answer the envoy returned to Lilliput; and the monarch
of Blefuscu related to me all that had passed; offering me at the
same time (but under the strictest confidence) his gracious
protection, if I would continue in his service; wherein, although
I believed him sincere, yet I resolved never more to put any
confidence in princes or ministers, where I could possibly avoid
it; and therefore, with all due acknowledgments for his
favourable intentions, I humbly begged to be excused. I told
him, "that since fortune, whether good or evil, had thrown a
vessel in my way, I was resolved to venture myself on the ocean,
rather than be an occasion of difference between two such mighty
monarchs." Neither did I find the emperor at all displeased; and
I discovered, by a certain accident, that he was very glad of my
resolution, and so were most of his ministers.

These considerations moved me to hasten my departure somewhat
sooner than I intended; to which the court, impatient to have me
gone, very readily contributed. Five hundred workmen were
employed to make two sails to my boat, according to my
directions, by quilting thirteen folds of their strongest linen
together. I was at the pains of making ropes and cables, by
twisting ten, twenty, or thirty of the thickest and strongest of
theirs. A great stone that I happened to find, after a long
search, by the sea-shore, served me for an anchor. I had the
tallow of three hundred cows, for greasing my boat, and other
uses. I was at incredible pains in cutting down some of the
largest timber-trees, for oars and masts, wherein I was, however,
much assisted by his majesty's ship-carpenters, who helped me in
smoothing them, after I had done the rough work.

In about a month, when all was prepared, I sent to receive his
majesty's commands, and to take my leave. The emperor and royal
family came out of the palace; I lay down on my face to kiss his
hand, which he very graciously gave me: so did the empress and
young princes of the blood. His majesty presented me with fifty
purses of two hundred SPRUGS a-piece, together with his picture
at full length, which I put immediately into one of my gloves, to
keep it from being hurt. The ceremonies at my departure were too
many to trouble the reader with at this time.

I stored the boat with the carcases of a hundred oxen, and three
hundred sheep, with bread and drink proportionable, and as much
meat ready dressed as four hundred cooks could provide. I took
with me six cows and two bulls alive, with as many ewes and rams,
intending to carry them into my own country, and propagate the
breed. And to feed them on board, I had a good bundle of hay,
and a bag of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the
natives, but this was a thing the emperor would by no means
permit; and, besides a diligent search into my pockets, his
majesty engaged my honour "not to carry away any of his subjects,
although with their own consent and desire."

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail
on the twenty-fourth day of September 1701, at six in the
morning; and when I had gone about four-leagues to the northward,
the wind being at south-east, at six in the evening I descried a
small island, about half a league to the north-west. I advanced
forward, and cast anchor on the lee-side of the island, which
seemed to be uninhabited. I then took some refreshment, and went
to my rest. I slept well, and as I conjectured at least six
hours, for I found the day broke in two hours after I awaked. It
was a clear night. I ate my breakfast before the sun was up; and
heaving anchor, the wind being favourable, I steered the same
course that I had done the day before, wherein I was directed by
my pocket compass. My intention was to reach, if possible, one
of those islands. which I had reason to believe lay to the
north-east of Van Diemen's Land. I discovered nothing all that
day; but upon the next, about three in the afternoon, when I had
by my computation made twenty-four leagues from Blefuscu, I
descried a sail steering to the south-east; my course was due
east. I hailed her, but could get no answer; yet I found I
gained upon her, for the wind slackened. I made all the sail I
could, and in half an hour she spied me, then hung out her
ancient, and discharged a gun. It is not easy to express the joy
I was in, upon the unexpected hope of once more seeing my beloved
country, and the dear pledges I left in it. The ship slackened
her sails, and I came up with her between five and six in the
evening, September 26th; but my heart leaped within me to see her
English colours. I put my cows and sheep into my coat-pockets,
and got on board with all my little cargo of provisions. The
vessel was an English merchantman, returning from Japan by the
North and South seas; the captain, Mr. John Biddel, of Deptford,
a very civil man, and an excellent sailor.

We were now in the latitude of 30 degrees south; there were about
fifty men in the ship; and here I met an old comrade of mine, one
Peter Williams, who gave me a good character to the captain.
This gentleman treated me with kindness, and desired I would let
him know what place I came from last, and whither I was bound;
which I did in a few words, but he thought I was raving, and that
the dangers I underwent had disturbed my head; whereupon I took
my black cattle and sheep out of my pocket, which, after great
astonishment, clearly convinced him of my veracity. I then
showed him the gold given me by the emperor of Blefuscu, together
with his majesty's picture at full length, and some other
rarities of that country. I gave him two purses of two hundreds
SPRUGS each, and promised, when we arrived in England, to make
him a present of a cow and a sheep big with young.

I shall not trouble the reader with a particular account of this
voyage, which was very prosperous for the most part. We arrived
in the Downs on the 13th of April, 1702. I had only one
misfortune, that the rats on board carried away one of my sheep;
I found her bones in a hole, picked clean from the flesh. The
rest of my cattle I got safe ashore, and set them a-grazing in a
bowling-green at Greenwich, where the fineness of the grass made
them feed very heartily, though I had always feared the contrary:

neither could I possibly have preserved them in so long a voyage,
if the captain had not allowed me some of his best biscuit,
which, rubbed to powder, and mingled with water, was their
constant food. The short time I continued in England, I made a
considerable profit by showing my cattle to many persons of
quality and others: and before I began my second voyage, I sold
them for six hundred pounds. Since my last return I find the
breed is considerably increased, especially the sheep, which I
hope will prove much to the advantage of the woollen manufacture,
by the fineness of the fleeces.

I stayed but two months with my wife and family, for my
insatiable desire of seeing foreign countries, would suffer me to
continue no longer. I left fifteen hundred pounds with my wife,
and fixed her in a good house at Redriff. My remaining stock I
carried with me, part in money and part in goods, in hopes to
improve my fortunes. My eldest uncle John had left me an estate
in land, near Epping, of about thirty pounds a year; and I had a
long lease of the Black Bull in Fetter-Lane, which yielded me as
much more; so that I was not in any danger of leaving my family
upon the parish. My son Johnny, named so after his uncle, was at
the grammar-school, and a towardly child. My daughter Betty (who
is now well married, and has children) was then at her
needle-work. I took leave of my wife, and boy and girl, with
tears on both sides, and went on board the Adventure, a merchant
ship of three hundred tons, bound for Surat, captain John
Nicholas, of Liverpool, commander. But my account of this voyage
must be referred to the Second Part of my Travels.



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