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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The king and queen make a progress to the frontiers. The author
attends them. The manner in which he leaves the country very
particularly related. He returns to England.]

I had always a strong impulse that I should some time recover my
liberty, though it was impossible to conjecture by what means, or
to form any project with the least hope of succeeding. The ship
in which I sailed, was the first ever known to be driven within
sight of that coast, and the king had given strict orders, that
if at any time another appeared, it should be taken ashore, and
with all its crew and passengers brought in a tumbril to
Lorbrulgrud. He was strongly bent to get me a woman of my own
size, by whom I might propagate the breed: but I think I should
rather have died than undergone the disgrace of leaving a
posterity to be kept in cages, like tame canary-birds, and
perhaps, in time, sold about the kingdom, to persons of quality,
for curiosities. I was indeed treated with much kindness: I was
the favourite of a great king and queen, and the delight of the
whole court; but it was upon such a foot as ill became the
dignity of humankind. I could never forget those domestic
pledges I had left behind me. I wanted to be among people, with
whom I could converse upon even terms, and walk about the streets
and fields without being afraid of being trod to death like a
frog or a young puppy. But my deliverance came sooner than I
expected, and in a manner not very common; the whole story and
circumstances of which I shall faithfully relate.

I had now been two years in this country; and about the beginning
of the third, Glumdalclitch and I attended the king and queen, in
a progress to the south coast of the kingdom. I was carried, as
usual, in my travelling-box, which as I have already described,
was a very convenient closet, of twelve feet wide. And I had
ordered a hammock to be fixed, by silken ropes from the four
corners at the top, to break the jolts, when a servant carried me
before him on horseback, as I sometimes desired; and would often
sleep in my hammock, while we were upon the road. On the roof of
my closet, not directly over the middle of the hammock, I ordered
the joiner to cut out a hole of a foot square, to give me air in
hot weather, as I slept; which hole I shut at pleasure with a
board that drew backward and forward through a groove.

When we came to our journey's end, the king thought proper to
pass a few days at a palace he has near Flanflasnic, a city
within eighteen English miles of the seaside. Glumdalclitch and
I were much fatigued: I had gotten a small cold, but the poor
girl was so ill as to be confined to her chamber. I longed to
see the ocean, which must be the only scene of my escape, if ever
it should happen. I pretended to be worse than I really was, and
desired leave to take the fresh air of the sea, with a page, whom
I was very fond of, and who had sometimes been trusted with me.
I shall never forget with what unwillingness Glumdalclitch
consented, nor the strict charge she gave the page to be careful
of me, bursting at the same time into a flood of tears, as if she
had some forboding of what was to happen. The boy took me out in
my box, about half an hours walk from the palace, towards the
rocks on the seashore. I ordered him to set me down, and lifting
up one of my sashes, cast many a wistful melancholy look towards
the sea. I found myself not very well, and told the page that I
had a mind to take a nap in my hammock, which I hoped would do me
good. I got in, and the boy shut the window close down, to keep
out the cold. I soon fell asleep, and all I can conjecture is,
while I slept, the page, thinking no danger could happen, went
among the rocks to look for birds' eggs, having before observed
him from my window searching about, and picking up one or two in
the clefts. Be that as it will, I found myself suddenly awaked
with a violent pull upon the ring, which was fastened at the top
of my box for the conveniency of carriage. I felt my box raised
very high in the air, and then borne forward with prodigious
speed. The first jolt had like to have shaken me out of my
hammock, but afterward the motion was easy enough. I called out
several times, as loud as I could raise my voice, but all to no
purpose. I looked towards my windows, and could see nothing but
the clouds and sky. I heard a noise just over my head, like the
clapping of wings, and then began to perceive the woful condition
I was in; that some eagle had got the ring of my box in his beak,
with an intent to let it fall on a rock, like a tortoise in a
shell, and then pick out my body, and devour it: for the
sagacity and smell of this bird enables him to discover his
quarry at a great distance, though better concealed than I could
be within a two-inch board.

In a little time, I observed the noise and flutter of wings to
increase very fast, and my box was tossed up and down, like a
sign in a windy day. I heard several bangs or buffets, as I
thought given to the eagle (for such I am certain it must have
been that held the ring of my box in his beak), and then, all on
a sudden, felt myself falling perpendicularly down, for above a
minute, but with such incredible swiftness, that I almost lost my
breath. My fall was stopped by a terrible squash, that sounded
louder to my ears than the cataract of Niagara; after which, I
was quite in the dark for another minute, and then my box began
to rise so high, that I could see light from the tops of the
windows. I now perceived I was fallen into the sea. My box, by
the weight of my body, the goods that were in, and the broad
plates of iron fixed for strength at the four corners of the top
and bottom, floated about five feet deep in water. I did then,
and do now suppose, that the eagle which flew away with my box
was pursued by two or three others, and forced to let me drop,
while he defended himself against the rest, who hoped to share in
the prey. The plates of iron fastened at the bottom of the box
(for those were the strongest) preserved the balance while it
fell, and hindered it from being broken on the surface of the
water. Every joint of it was well grooved; and the door did not
move on hinges, but up and down like a sash, which kept my closet
so tight that very little water came in. I got with much
difficulty out of my hammock, having first ventured to draw back
the slip-board on the roof already mentioned, contrived on
purpose to let in air, for want of which I found myself almost

How often did I then wish myself with my dear Glumdalclitch, from
whom one single hour had so far divided me! And I may say with
truth, that in the midst of my own misfortunes I could not
forbear lamenting my poor nurse, the grief she would suffer for
my loss, the displeasure of the queen, and the ruin of her
fortune. Perhaps many travellers have not been under greater
difficulties and distress than I was at this juncture, expecting
every moment to see my box dashed to pieces, or at least overset
by the first violent blast, or rising wave. A breach in one
single pane of glass would have been immediate death: nor could
any thing have preserved the windows, but the strong lattice
wires placed on the outside, against accidents in travelling. I
saw the water ooze in at several crannies, although the leaks
were not considerable, and I endeavoured to stop them as well as
I could. I was not able to lift up the roof of my closet, which
otherwise I certainly should have done, and sat on the top of it;
where I might at least preserve myself some hours longer, than by
being shut up (as I may call it) in the hold. Or if I escaped
these dangers for a day or two, what could I expect but a
miserable death of cold and hunger? I was four hours under these
circumstances, expecting, and indeed wishing, every moment to be
my last.

I have already told the reader that there were two strong staples
fixed upon that side of my box which had no window, and into
which the servant, who used to carry me on horseback, would put a
leathern belt, and buckle it about his waist. Being in this
disconsolate state, I heard, or at least thought I heard, some
kind of grating noise on that side of my box where the staples
were fixed; and soon after I began to fancy that the box was
pulled or towed along the sea; for I now and then felt a sort of
tugging, which made the waves rise near the tops of my windows,
leaving me almost in the dark. This gave me some faint hopes of
relief, although I was not able to imagine how it could be
brought about. I ventured to unscrew one of my chairs, which were
always fastened to the floor; and having made a hard shift to
screw it down again, directly under the slipping-board that I had
lately opened, I mounted on the chair, and putting my mouth as
near as I could to the hole, I called for help in a loud voice,
and in all the languages I understood. I then fastened my
handkerchief to a stick I usually carried, and thrusting it up
the hole, waved it several times in the air, that if any boat or
ship were near, the seamen might conjecture some unhappy mortal
to be shut up in the box.

I found no effect from all I could do, but plainly perceived my
closet to be moved along; and in the space of an hour, or better,
that side of the box where the staples were, and had no windows,
struck against something that was hard. I apprehended it to be a
rock, and found myself tossed more than ever. I plainly heard a
noise upon the cover of my closet, like that of a cable, and the
grating of it as it passed through the ring. I then found myself
hoisted up, by degrees, at least three feet higher than I was
before. Whereupon I again thrust up my stick and handkerchief,
calling for help till I was almost hoarse. In return to which, I
heard a great shout repeated three times, giving me such
transports of joy as are not to be conceived but by those who
feel them. I now heard a trampling over my head, and somebody
calling through the hole with a loud voice, in the English
tongue, "If there be any body below, let them speak." I
answered, "I was an Englishman, drawn by ill fortune into the
greatest calamity that ever any creature underwent, and begged,
by all that was moving, to be delivered out of the dungeon I was
in." The voice replied, "I was safe, for my box was fastened to
their ship; and the carpenter should immediately come and saw a
hole in the cover, large enough to pull me out." I answered,
"that was needless, and would take up too much time; for there
was no more to be done, but let one of the crew put his finger
into the ring, and take the box out of the sea into the ship, and
so into the captain's cabin." Some of them, upon hearing me talk
so wildly, thought I was mad: others laughed; for indeed it
never came into my head, that I was now got among people of my
own stature and strength. The carpenter came, and in a few
minutes sawed a passage about four feet square, then let down a
small ladder, upon which I mounted, and thence was taken into the
ship in a very weak condition.

The sailors were all in amazement, and asked me a thousand
questions, which I had no inclination to answer. I was equally
confounded at the sight of so many pigmies, for such I took them
to be, after having so long accustomed mine eyes to the monstrous
objects I had left. But the captain, Mr. Thomas Wilcocks, an
honest worthy Shropshire man, observing I was ready to faint,
took me into his cabin, gave me a cordial to comfort me, and made
me turn in upon his own bed, advising me to take a little rest,
of which I had great need. Before I went to sleep, I gave him to
understand that I had some valuable furniture in my box, too good
to be lost: a fine hammock, a handsome field-bed, two chairs, a
table, and a cabinet; that my closet was hung on all sides, or
rather quilted, with silk and cotton; that if he would let one of
the crew bring my closet into his cabin, I would open it there
before him, and show him my goods. The captain, hearing me utter
these absurdities, concluded I was raving; however (I suppose to
pacify me) he promised to give order as I desired, and going upon
deck, sent some of his men down into my closet, whence (as I
afterwards found) they drew up all my goods, and stripped off the
quilting; but the chairs, cabinet, and bedstead, being screwed to
the floor, were much damaged by the ignorance of the seamen, who
tore them up by force. Then they knocked off some of the boards
for the use of the ship, and when they had got all they had a
mind for, let the hull drop into the sea, which by reason of many
breaches made in the bottom and sides, sunk to rights. And,
indeed, I was glad not to have been a spectator of the havoc they
made, because I am confident it would have sensibly touched me,
by bringing former passages into my mind, which I would rather
have forgot.

I slept some hours, but perpetually disturbed with dreams of the
place I had left, and the dangers I had escaped. However, upon
waking, I found myself much recovered. It was now about eight
o'clock at night, and the captain ordered supper immediately,
thinking I had already fasted too long. He entertained me with
great kindness, observing me not to look wildly, or talk
inconsistently: and, when we were left alone, desired I would
give him a relation of my travels, and by what accident I came to
be set adrift, in that monstrous wooden chest. He said "that
about twelve o'clock at noon, as he was looking through his
glass, he spied it at a distance, and thought it was a sail,
which he had a mind to make, being not much out of his course, in
hopes of buying some biscuit, his own beginning to fall short.
That upon coming nearer, and finding his error, he sent out his
long-boat to discover what it was; that his men came back in a
fright, swearing they had seen a swimming house. That he laughed
at their folly, and went himself in the boat, ordering his men to
take a strong cable along with them. That the weather being
calm, he rowed round me several times, observed my windows and
wire lattices that defended them. That he discovered two staples
upon one side, which was all of boards, without any passage for
light. He then commanded his men to row up to that side, and
fastening a cable to one of the staples, ordered them to tow my
chest, as they called it, toward the ship. When it was there, he
gave directions to fasten another cable to the ring fixed in the
cover, and to raise up my chest with pulleys, which all the
sailors were not able to do above two or three feet." He said,
"they saw my stick and handkerchief thrust out of the hole, and
concluded that some unhappy man must be shut up in the cavity."
I asked, "whether he or the crew had seen any prodigious birds in
the air, about the time he first discovered me." To which he
answered, that discoursing this matter with the sailors while I
was asleep, one of them said, he had observed three eagles flying
towards the north, but remarked nothing of their being larger
than the usual size:" which I suppose must be imputed to the
great height they were at; and he could not guess the reason of
my question. I then asked the captain, "how far he reckoned we
might be from land?" He said, "by the best computation he could
make, we were at least a hundred leagues." I assured him, "that
he must be mistaken by almost half, for I had not left the
country whence I came above two hours before I dropped into the
sea." Whereupon he began again to think that my brain was
disturbed, of which he gave me a hint, and advised me to go to
bed in a cabin he had provided. I assured him, "I was well
refreshed with his good entertainment and company, and as much in
my senses as ever I was in my life." He then grew serious, and
desired to ask me freely, "whether I were not troubled in my mind
by the consciousness of some enormous crime, for which I was
punished, at the command of some prince, by exposing me in that
chest; as great criminals, in other countries, have been forced
to sea in a leaky vessel, without provisions: for although he
should be sorry to have taken so ill a man into his ship, yet he
would engage his word to set me safe ashore, in the first port
where we arrived." He added, "that his suspicions were much
increased by some very absurd speeches I had delivered at first
to his sailors, and afterwards to himself, in relation to my
closet or chest, as well as by my odd looks and behaviour while I
was at supper."

I begged his patience to hear me tell my story, which I
faithfully did, from the last time I left England, to the moment
he first discovered me. And, as truth always forces its way into
rational minds, so this honest worthy gentleman, who had some
tincture of learning, and very good sense, was immediately
convinced of my candour and veracity. But further to confirm all
I had said, I entreated him to give order that my cabinet should
be brought, of which I had the key in my pocket; for he had
already informed me how the seamen disposed of my closet. I
opened it in his own presence, and showed him the small
collection of rarities I made in the country from which I had
been so strangely delivered. There was the comb I had contrived
out of the stumps of the king's beard, and another of the same
materials, but fixed into a paring of her majesty's thumb-nail,
which served for the back. There was a collection of needles and
pins, from a foot to half a yard long; four wasp stings, like
joiner's tacks; some combings of the queen's hair; a gold ring,
which one day she made me a present of, in a most obliging
manner, taking it from her little finger, and throwing it over my
head like a collar. I desired the captain would please to accept
this ring in return for his civilities; which he absolutely
refused. I showed him a corn that I had cut off with my own
hand, from a maid of honour's toe; it was about the bigness of
Kentish pippin, and grown so hard, that when I returned England,
I got it hollowed into a cup, and set in silver. Lastly, I
desired him to see the breeches I had then on, which were made of
a mouse's skin.

I could force nothing on him but a footman's tooth, which I
observed him to examine with great curiosity, and found he had a
fancy for it. He received it with abundance of thanks, more than
such a trifle could deserve. It was drawn by an unskilful
surgeon, in a mistake, from one of Glumdalclitch's men, who was
afflicted with the tooth-ache, but it was as sound as any in his
head. I got it cleaned, and put it into my cabinet. It was
about a foot long, and four inches in diameter.

The captain was very well satisfied with this plain relation I
had given him, and said, "he hoped, when we returned to England,
I would oblige the world by putting it on paper, and making it
public." My answer was, "that we were overstocked with books of
travels: that nothing could now pass which was not
extraordinary; wherein I doubted some authors less consulted
truth, than their own vanity, or interest, or the diversion of
ignorant readers; that my story could contain little beside
common events, without those ornamental descriptions of strange
plants, trees, birds, and other animals; or of the barbarous
customs and idolatry of savage people, with which most writers
abound. However, I thanked him for his good opinion, and
promised to take the matter into my thoughts."

He said "he wondered at one thing very much, which was, to hear
me speak so loud;" asking me "whether the king or queen of that
country were thick of hearing?" I told him, "it was what I had
been used to for above two years past, and that I admired as much
at the voices of him and his men, who seemed to me only to
whisper, and yet I could hear them well enough. But, when I
spoke in that country, it was like a man talking in the streets,
to another looking out from the top of a steeple, unless when I
was placed on a table, or held in any person's hand." I told
him, "I had likewise observed another thing, that, when I first
got into the ship, and the sailors stood all about me, I thought
they were the most little contemptible creatures I had ever
beheld." For indeed, while I was in that prince's country, I
could never endure to look in a glass, after mine eyes had been
accustomed to such prodigious objects, because the comparison
gave me so despicable a conceit of myself. The captain said,
"that while we were at supper, he observed me to look at every
thing with a sort of wonder, and that I often seemed hardly able
to contain my laughter, which he knew not well how to take, but
imputed it to some disorder in my brain." I answered, "it was
very true; and I wondered how I could forbear, when I saw his
dishes of the size of a silver three-pence, a leg of pork hardly
a mouthful, a cup not so big as a nut-shell;" and so I went on,
describing the rest of his household-stuff and provisions, after
the same manner. For, although he queen had ordered a little
equipage of all things necessary for me, while I was in her
service, yet my ideas were wholly taken up with what I saw on
every side of me, and I winked at my own littleness, as people do
at their own faults. The captain understood my raillery very
well, and merrily replied with the old English proverb, "that he
doubted mine eyes were bigger than my belly, for he did not
observe my stomach so good, although I had fasted all day;" and,
continuing in his mirth, protested "he would have gladly given a
hundred pounds, to have seen my closet in the eagle's bill, and
afterwards in its fall from so great a height into the sea; which
would certainly have been a most astonishing object, worthy to
have the description of it transmitted to future ages:" and the
comparison of Phaeton was so obvious, that he could not forbear
applying it, although I did not much admire the conceit.

The captain having been at Tonquin, was, in his return to
England, driven north-eastward to the latitude of 44 degrees, and
longitude of 143. But meeting a trade-wind two days after I came
on board him, we sailed southward a long time, and coasting New
Holland, kept our course west-south-west, and then
south-south-west, till we doubled the Cape of Good Hope. Our
voyage was very prosperous, but I shall not trouble the reader
with a journal of it. The captain called in at one or two ports,
and sent in his long-boat for provisions and fresh water; but I
never went out of the ship till we came into the Downs, which was
on the third day of June, 1706, about nine months after my
escape. I offered to leave my goods in security for payment of
my freight: but the captain protested he would not receive one
farthing. We took a kind leave of each other, and I made him
promise he would come to see me at my house in Redriff. I hired
a horse and guide for five shillings, which I borrowed of the

As I was on the road, observing the littleness of the houses, the
trees, the cattle, and the people, I began to think myself in
Lilliput. I was afraid of trampling on every traveller I met,
and often called aloud to have them stand out of the way, so that
I had like to have gotten one or two broken heads for my

When I came to my own house, for which I was forced to inquire,
one of the servants opening the door, I bent down to go in, (like
a goose under a gate,) for fear of striking my head. My wife run
out to embrace me, but I stooped lower than her knees, thinking
she could otherwise never be able to reach my mouth. My daughter
kneeled to ask my blessing, but I could not see her till she
arose, having been so long used to stand with my head and eyes
erect to above sixty feet; and then I went to take her up with
one hand by the waist. I looked down upon the servants, and one
or two friends who were in the house, as if they had been pigmies
and I a giant. I told my wife, "she had been too thrifty, for I
found she had starved herself and her daughter to nothing." In
short, I behaved myself so unaccountably, that they were all of
the captain's opinion when he first saw me, and concluded I had
lost my wits. This I mention as an instance of the great power of
habit and prejudice.

In a little time, I and my family and friends came to a right
understanding: but my wife protested "I should never go to sea
any more;" although my evil destiny so ordered, that she had not
power to hinder me, as the reader may know hereafter. In the
mean time, I here conclude the second part of my unfortunate



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