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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The author sent for to court. The queen buys him of his master
the farmer, and presents him to the king. He disputes with his
majesty's great scholars. An apartment at court provided for the
author. He is in high favour with the queen. He stands up for
the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the queen's

The frequent labours I underwent every day, made, in a few weeks,
a very considerable change in my health: the more my master got
by me, the more insatiable he grew. I had quite lost my stomach,
and was almost reduced to a skeleton. The farmer observed it,
and concluding I must soon die, resolved to make as good a hand
of me as he could. While he was thus reasoning and resolving
with himself, a SARDRAL, or gentleman-usher, came from court,
commanding my master to carry me immediately thither for the
diversion of the queen and her ladies. Some of the latter had
already been to see me, and reported strange things of my beauty,
behaviour, and good sense. Her majesty, and those who attended
her, were beyond measure delighted with my demeanour. I fell on
my knees, and begged the honour of kissing her imperial foot; but
this gracious princess held out her little finger towards me,
after I was set on the table, which I embraced in both my arms,
and put the tip of it with the utmost respect to my lip. She
made me some general questions about my country and my travels,
which I answered as distinctly, and in as few words as I could.
She asked, "whether I could be content to live at court?" I
bowed down to the board of the table, and humbly answered "that I
was my master's slave: but, if I were at my own disposal, I
should be proud to devote my life to her majesty's service." She
then asked my master, "whether he was willing to sell me at a
good price?" He, who apprehended I could not live a month, was
ready enough to part with me, and demanded a thousand pieces of
gold, which were ordered him on the spot, each piece being about
the bigness of eight hundred moidores; but allowing for the
proportion of all things between that country and Europe, and the
high price of gold among them, was hardly so great a sum as a
thousand guineas would be in England. I then said to the queen,
"since I was now her majesty's most humble creature and vassal, I
must beg the favour, that Glumdalclitch, who had always tended me
with so much care and kindness, and understood to do it so well,
might be admitted into her service, and continue to be my nurse
and instructor."

Her majesty agreed to my petition, and easily got the farmer's
consent, who was glad enough to have his daughter preferred at
court, and the poor girl herself was not able to hide her joy.
My late master withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying he had
left me in a good service; to which I replied not a word, only
making him a slight bow.

The queen observed my coldness; and, when the farmer was gone out
of the apartment, asked me the reason. I made bold to tell her
majesty, "that I owed no other obligation to my late master, than
his not dashing out the brains of a poor harmless creature, found
by chance in his fields: which obligation was amply recompensed,
by the gain he had made in showing me through half the kingdom,
and the price he had now sold me for. That the life I had since
led was laborious enough to kill an animal of ten times my
strength. That my health was much impaired, by the continual
drudgery of entertaining the rabble every hour of the day; and
that, if my master had not thought my life in danger, her majesty
would not have got so cheap a bargain. But as I was out of all
fear of being ill-treated under the protection of so great and
good an empress, the ornament of nature, the darling of the
world, the delight of her subjects, the phoenix of the creation,
so I hoped my late master's apprehensions would appear to be
groundless; for I already found my spirits revive, by the
influence of her most august presence."

This was the sum of my speech, delivered with great improprieties
and hesitation. The latter part was altogether framed in the
style peculiar to that people, whereof I learned some phrases
from Glumdalclitch, while she was carrying me to court.

The queen, giving great allowance for my defectiveness in
speaking, was, however, surprised at so much wit and good sense
in so diminutive an animal. She took me in her own hand, and
carried me to the king, who was then retired to his cabinet. His
majesty, a prince of much gravity and austere countenance, not
well observing my shape at first view, asked the queen after a
cold manner "how long it was since she grew fond of a SPLACNUCK?"
for such it seems he took me to be, as I lay upon my breast in
her majesty's right hand. But this princess, who has an infinite
deal of wit and humour, set me gently on my feet upon the
scrutoire, and commanded me to give his majesty an account of
myself, which I did in a very few words: and Glumdalclitch who
attended at the cabinet door, and could not endure I should be
out of her sight, being admitted, confirmed all that had passed
from my arrival at her father's house.

The king, although he be as learned a person as any in his
dominions, had been educated in the study of philosophy, and
particularly mathematics; yet when he observed my shape exactly,
and saw me walk erect, before I began to speak, conceived I might
be a piece of clock-work (which is in that country arrived to a
very great perfection) contrived by some ingenious artist. But
when he heard my voice, and found what I delivered to be regular
and rational, he could not conceal his astonishment. He was by
no means satisfied with the relation I gave him of the manner I
came into his kingdom, but thought it a story concerted between
Glumdalclitch and her father, who had taught me a set of words to
make me sell at a better price. Upon this imagination, he put
several other questions to me, and still received rational
answers: no otherwise defective than by a foreign accent, and an
imperfect knowledge in the language, with some rustic phrases
which I had learned at the farmer's house, and did not suit the
polite style of a court.

His majesty sent for three great scholars, who were then in their
weekly waiting, according to the custom in that country. These
gentlemen, after they had a while examined my shape with much
nicety, were of different opinions concerning me. They all
agreed that I could not be produced according to the regular laws
of nature, because I was not framed with a capacity of preserving
my life, either by swiftness, or climbing of trees, or digging
holes in the earth. They observed by my teeth, which they viewed
with great exactness, that I was a carnivorous animal; yet most
quadrupeds being an overmatch for me, and field mice, with some
others, too nimble, they could not imagine how I should be able
to support myself, unless I fed upon snails and other insects,
which they offered, by many learned arguments, to evince that I
could not possibly do. One of these virtuosi seemed to think
that I might be an embryo, or abortive birth. But this opinion
was rejected by the other two, who observed my limbs to be
perfect and finished; and that I had lived several years, as it
was manifest from my beard, the stumps whereof they plainly
discovered through a magnifying glass. They would not allow me
to be a dwarf, because my littleness was beyond all degrees of
comparison; for the queen's favourite dwarf, the smallest ever
known in that kingdom, was near thirty feet high. After much
debate, they concluded unanimously, that I was only RELPLUM
SCALCATH, which is interpreted literally LUSUS NATURAE; a
determination exactly agreeable to the modern philosophy of
Europe, whose professors, disdaining the old evasion of occult
causes, whereby the followers of Aristotle endeavoured in vain to
disguise their ignorance, have invented this wonderful solution
of all difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human

After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard a word or
two. I applied myself to the king, and assured his majesty,
"that I came from a country which abounded with several millions
of both sexes, and of my own stature; where the animals, trees,
and houses, were all in proportion, and where, by consequence, I
might be as able to defend myself, and to find sustenance, as any
of his majesty's subjects could do here; which I took for a full
answer to those gentlemen's arguments." To this they only
replied with a smile of contempt, saying, "that the farmer had
instructed me very well in my lesson." The king, who had a much
better understanding, dismissing his learned men, sent for the
farmer, who by good fortune was not yet gone out of town. Having
therefore first examined him privately, and then confronted him
with me and the young girl, his majesty began to think that what
we told him might possibly be true. He desired the queen to order
that a particular care should be taken of me; and was of opinion
that Glumdalclitch should still continue in her office of tending
me, because he observed we had a great affection for each other.
A convenient apartment was provided for her at court: she had a
sort of governess appointed to take care of her education, a maid
to dress her, and two other servants for menial offices; but the
care of me was wholly appropriated to herself. The queen
commanded her own cabinet-maker to contrive a box, that might
serve me for a bedchamber, after the model that Glumdalclitch and
I should agree upon. This man was a most ingenious artist, and
according to my direction, in three weeks finished for me a
wooden chamber of sixteen feet square, and twelve high, with
sash-windows, a door, and two closets, like a London bed-chamber.

The board, that made the ceiling, was to be lifted up and down by
two hinges, to put in a bed ready furnished by her majesty's
upholsterer, which Glumdalclitch took out every day to air, made
it with her own hands, and letting it down at night, locked up
the roof over me. A nice workman, who was famous for little
curiosities, undertook to make me two chairs, with backs and
frames, of a substance not unlike ivory, and two tables, with a
cabinet to put my things in. The room was quilted on all sides,
as well as the floor and the ceiling, to prevent any accident
from the carelessness of those who carried me, and to break the
force of a jolt, when I went in a coach. I desired a lock for my
door, to prevent rats and mice from coming in. The smith, after
several attempts, made the smallest that ever was seen among
them, for I have known a larger at the gate of a gentleman's
house in England. I made a shift to keep the key in a pocket of
my own, fearing Glumdalclitch might lose it. The queen likewise
ordered the thinnest silks that could be gotten, to make me
clothes, not much thicker than an English blanket, very
cumbersome till I was accustomed to them. They were after the
fashion of the kingdom, partly resembling the Persian, and partly
the Chinese, and are a very grave and decent habit.

The queen became so fond of my company, that she could not dine
without me. I had a table placed upon the same at which her
majesty ate, just at her left elbow, and a chair to sit on.
Glumdalclitch stood on a stool on the floor near my table, to
assist and take care of me. I had an entire set of silver dishes
and plates, and other necessaries, which, in proportion to those
of the queen, were not much bigger than what I have seen in a
London toy-shop for the furniture of a baby-house: these my
little nurse kept in her pocket in a silver box, and gave me at
meals as I wanted them, always cleaning them herself. No person
dined with the queen but the two princesses royal, the eldest
sixteen years old, and the younger at that time thirteen and a
month. Her majesty used to put a bit of meat upon one of my
dishes, out of which I carved for myself, and her diversion was
to see me eat in miniature: for the queen (who had indeed but a
weak stomach) took up, at one mouthful, as much as a dozen
English farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some
time a very nauseous sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark,
bones and all, between her teeth, although it were nine times as
large as that of a full-grown turkey; and put a bit of bread into
her mouth as big as two twelve-penny loaves. She drank out of a
golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. Her knives were twice
as long as a scythe, set straight upon the handle. The spoons,
forks, and other instruments, were all in the same proportion. I
remember when Glumdalclitch carried me, out of curiosity, to see
some of the tables at court, where ten or a dozen of those
enormous knives and forks were lifted up together, I thought I
had never till then beheld so terrible a sight.

It is the custom, that every Wednesday (which, as I have
observed, is their Sabbath) the king and queen, with the royal
issue of both sexes, dine together in the apartment of his
majesty, to whom I was now become a great favourite; and at these
times, my little chair and table were placed at his left hand,
before one of the salt-cellars. This prince took a pleasure in
conversing with me, inquiring into the manners, religion, laws,
government, and learning of Europe; wherein I gave him the best
account I was able. His apprehension was so clear, and his
judgment so exact, that he made very wise reflections and
observations upon all I said. But I confess, that, after I had
been a little too copious in talking of my own beloved country,
of our trade and wars by sea and land, of our schisms in
religion, and parties in the state; the prejudices of his
education prevailed so far, that he could not forbear taking me
up in his right hand, and stroking me gently with the other,
after a hearty fit of laughing, asked me, "whether I was a whig
or tory?" Then turning to his first minister, who waited behind
him with a white staff, near as tall as the mainmast of the Royal
Sovereign, he observed "how contemptible a thing was human
grandeur, which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects as
I: and yet," says he, "I dare engage these creatures have their
titles and distinctions of honour; they contrive little nests and
burrows, that they call houses and cities; they make a figure in
dress and equipage; they love, they fight, they dispute, they
cheat, they betray!" And thus he continued on, while my colour
came and went several times, with indignation, to hear our noble
country, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France,
the arbitress of Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honour, and
truth, the pride and envy of the world, so contemptuously

But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon
mature thoughts I began to doubt whether I was injured or no.
For, after having been accustomed several months to the sight and
converse of this people, and observed every object upon which I
cast mine eyes to be of proportionable magnitude, the horror I
had at first conceived from their bulk and aspect was so far worn
off, that if I had then beheld a company of English lords and
ladies in their finery and birth-day clothes, acting their
several parts in the most courtly manner of strutting, and
bowing, and prating, to say the truth, I should have been
strongly tempted to laugh as much at them as the king and his
grandees did at me. Neither, indeed, could I forbear smiling at
myself, when the queen used to place me upon her hand towards a
looking-glass, by which both our persons appeared before me in
full view together; and there could be nothing more ridiculous
than the comparison; so that I really began to imagine myself
dwindled many degrees below my usual size.

Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the queen's dwarf;
who being of the lowest stature that was ever in that country
(for I verily think he was not full thirty feet high), became so
insolent at seeing a creature so much beneath him, that he would
always affect to swagger and look big as he passed by me in the
queen's antechamber, while I was standing on some table talking
with the lords or ladies of the court, and he seldom failed of a
smart word or two upon my littleness; against which I could only
revenge myself by calling him brother, challenging him to
wrestle, and such repartees as are usually in the mouths of court
pages. One day, at dinner, this malicious little cub was so
nettled with something I had said to him, that, raising himself
upon the frame of her majesty's chair, he took me up by the
middle, as I was sitting down, not thinking any harm, and let me
drop into a large silver bowl of cream, and then ran away as fast
as he could. I fell over head and ears, and, if I had not been a
good swimmer, it might have gone very hard with me; for
Glumdalclitch in that instant happened to be at the other end of
the room, and the queen was in such a fright, that she wanted
presence of mind to assist me. But my little nurse ran to my
relief, and took me out, after I had swallowed above a quart of
cream. I was put to bed: however, I received no other damage
than the loss of a suit of clothes, which was utterly spoiled.
The dwarf was soundly whipt, and as a farther punishment, forced
to drink up the bowl of cream into which he had thrown me:
neither was he ever restored to favour; for soon after the queen
bestowed him on a lady of high quality, so that I saw him no
more, to my very great satisfaction; for I could not tell to what
extremities such a malicious urchin might have carried his

He had before served me a scurvy trick, which set the queen
a-laughing, although at the same time she was heartily vexed, and
would have immediately cashiered him, if I had not been so
generous as to intercede. Her majesty had taken a marrow-bone
upon her plate, and, after knocking out the marrow, placed the
bone again in the dish erect, as it stood before; the dwarf,
watching his opportunity, while Glumdalclitch was gone to the
side-board, mounted the stool that she stood on to take care of
me at meals, took me up in both hands, and squeezing my legs
together, wedged them into the marrow bone above my waist, where
I stuck for some time, and made a very ridiculous figure. I
believe it was near a minute before any one knew what was become
of me; for I thought it below me to cry out. But, as princes
seldom get their meat hot, my legs were not scalded, only my
stockings and breeches in a sad condition. The dwarf, at my
entreaty, had no other punishment than a sound whipping.

I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my
fearfulness; and she used to ask me whether the people of my
country were as great cowards as myself? The occasion was this:
the kingdom is much pestered with flies in summer; and these
odious insects, each of them as big as a Dunstable lark, hardly
gave me any rest while I sat at dinner, with their continual
humming and buzzing about mine ears. They would sometimes alight
upon my victuals, and leave their loathsome excrement, or spawn
behind, which to me was very visible, though not to the natives
of that country, whose large optics were not so acute as mine, in
viewing smaller objects. Sometimes they would fix upon my nose,
or forehead, where they stung me to the quick, smelling very
offensively; and I could easily trace that viscous matter, which,
our naturalists tell us, enables those creatures to walk with
their feet upwards upon a ceiling. I had much ado to defend
myself against these detestable animals, and could not forbear
starting when they came on my face. It was the common practice
of the dwarf, to catch a number of these insects in his hand, as
schoolboys do among us, and let them out suddenly under my nose,
on purpose to frighten me, and divert the queen. My remedy was
to cut them in pieces with my knife, as they flew in the air,
wherein my dexterity was much admired.

I remember, one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set me in a box
upon a window, as she usually did in fair days to give me air
(for I durst not venture to let the box be hung on a nail out of
the window, as we do with cages in England), after I had lifted
up one of my sashes, and sat down at my table to eat a piece of
sweet cake for my breakfast, above twenty wasps, allured by the
smell, came flying into the room, humming louder than the drones
of as many bagpipes. Some of them seized my cake, and carried it
piecemeal away; others flew about my head and face, confounding
me with the noise, and putting me in the utmost terror of their
stings. However, I had the courage to rise and draw my hanger,
and attack them in the air. I dispatched four of them, but the
rest got away, and I presently shut my window. These insects
were as large as partridges: I took out their stings, found them
an inch and a half long, and as sharp as needles. I carefully
preserved them all; and having since shown them, with some other
curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my return to
England I gave three of them to Gresham College, and kept the
fourth for myself.



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