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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The author conducted by a Houyhnhnm to his house.
The house described. The author's reception. The food
of the Houyhnhnms. The author in distress for want of meat.
Is at last relieved. His manner of feeding in this country.]

Having travelled about three miles, we came to a long kind of
building, made of timber stuck in the ground, and wattled across;
the roof was low and covered with straw. I now began to be a
little comforted; and took out some toys, which travellers
usually carry for presents to the savage Indians of America, and
other parts, in hopes the people of the house would be thereby
encouraged to receive me kindly. The horse made me a sign to go
in first; it was a large room with a smooth clay floor, and a
rack and manger, extending the whole length on one side. There
were three nags and two mares, not eating, but some of them
sitting down upon their hams, which I very much wondered at; but
wondered more to see the rest employed in domestic business;
these seemed but ordinary cattle. However, this confirmed my
first opinion, that a people who could so far civilise brute
animals, must needs excel in wisdom all the nations of the world.

The gray came in just after, and thereby prevented any ill
treatment which the others might have given me. He neighed to
them several times in a style of authority, and received answers.

Beyond this room there were three others, reaching the length of
the house, to which you passed through three doors, opposite to
each other, in the manner of a vista. We went through the second
room towards the third. Here the gray walked in first, beckoning
me to attend: I waited in the second room, and got ready my
presents for the master and mistress of the house; they were two
knives, three bracelets of false pearls, a small looking-glass,
and a bead necklace. The horse neighed three or four times, and
I waited to hear some answers in a human voice, but I heard no
other returns than in the same dialect, only one or two a little
shriller than his. I began to think that this house must belong
to some person of great note among them, because there appeared
so much ceremony before I could gain admittance. But, that a man
of quality should be served all by horses, was beyond my
comprehension. I feared my brain was disturbed by my sufferings
and misfortunes. I roused myself, and looked about me in the
room where I was left alone: this was furnished like the first,
only after a more elegant manner. I rubbed my eyes often, but
the same objects still occurred. I pinched my arms and sides to
awake myself, hoping I might be in a dream. I then absolutely
concluded, that all these appearances could be nothing else but
necromancy and magic. But I had no time to pursue these
reflections; for the gray horse came to the door, and made me a
sign to follow him into the third room where I saw a very comely
mare, together with a colt and foal, sitting on their haunches
upon mats of straw, not unartfully made, and perfectly neat and

The mare soon after my entrance rose from her mat, and coming up
close, after having nicely observed my hands and face, gave me a
most contemptuous look; and turning to the horse, I heard the
word YAHOO often repeated betwixt them; the meaning of which word
I could not then comprehend, although it was the first I had
learned to pronounce. But I was soon better informed, to my
everlasting mortification; for the horse, beckoning to me with
his head, and repeating the HHUUN, HHUUN, as he did upon the
road, which I understood was to attend him, led me out into a
kind of court, where was another building, at some distance from
the house. Here we entered, and I saw three of those detestable
creatures, which I first met after my landing, feeding upon
roots, and the flesh of some animals, which I afterwards found to
be that of asses and dogs, and now and then a cow, dead by
accident or disease. They were all tied by the neck with strong
withes fastened to a beam; they held their food between the claws
of their fore feet, and tore it with their teeth.

The master horse ordered a sorrel nag, one of his servants, to
untie the largest of these animals, and take him into the yard.
The beast and I were brought close together, and by our
countenances diligently compared both by master and servant, who
thereupon repeated several times the word YAHOO. My horror and
astonishment are not to be described, when I observed in this
abominable animal, a perfect human figure: the face of it indeed
was flat and broad, the nose depressed, the lips large, and the
mouth wide; but these differences are common to all savage
nations, where the lineaments of the countenance are distorted,
by the natives suffering their infants to lie grovelling on the
earth, or by carrying them on their backs, nuzzling with their
face against the mothers' shoulders. The fore-feet of the YAHOO
differed from my hands in nothing else but the length of the
nails, the coarseness and brownness of the palms, and the
hairiness on the backs. There was the same resemblance between
our feet, with the same differences; which I knew very well,
though the horses did not, because of my shoes and stockings; the
same in every part of our bodies except as to hairiness and
colour, which I have already described.

The great difficulty that seemed to stick with the two horses,
was to see the rest of my body so very different from that of a
YAHOO, for which I was obliged to my clothes, whereof they had no
conception. The sorrel nag offered me a root, which he held
(after their manner, as we shall describe in its proper place)
between his hoof and pastern; I took it in my hand, and, having
smelt it, returned it to him again as civilly as I could. He
brought out of the YAHOOS' kennel a piece of ass's flesh; but it
smelt so offensively that I turned from it with loathing: he
then threw it to the YAHOO, by whom it was greedily devoured. He
afterwards showed me a wisp of hay, and a fetlock full of oats;
but I shook my head, to signify that neither of these were food
for me. And indeed I now apprehended that I must absolutely
starve, if I did not get to some of my own species; for as to
those filthy YAHOOS, although there were few greater lovers of
mankind at that time than myself, yet I confess I never saw any
sensitive being so detestable on all accounts; and the more I
came near them the more hateful they grew, while I stayed in that
country. This the master horse observed by my behaviour, and
therefore sent the YAHOO back to his kennel. He then put his
fore-hoof to his mouth, at which I was much surprised, although
he did it with ease, and with a motion that appeared perfectly
natural, and made other signs, to know what I would eat; but I
could not return him such an answer as he was able to apprehend;
and if he had understood me, I did not see how it was possible to
contrive any way for finding myself nourishment. While we were
thus engaged, I observed a cow passing by, whereupon I pointed to
her, and expressed a desire to go and milk her. This had its
effect; for he led me back into the house, and ordered a
mare-servant to open a room, where a good store of milk lay in
earthen and wooden vessels, after a very orderly and cleanly
manner. She gave me a large bowlful, of which I drank very
heartily, and found myself well refreshed.

About noon, I saw coming towards the house a kind of vehicle
drawn like a sledge by four YAHOOS. There was in it an old
steed, who seemed to be of quality; he alighted with his
hind-feet forward, having by accident got a hurt in his left
fore-foot. He came to dine with our horse, who received him with
great civility. They dined in the best room, and had oats boiled
in milk for the second course, which the old horse ate warm, but
the rest cold. Their mangers were placed circular in the middle
of the room, and divided into several partitions, round which
they sat on their haunches, upon bosses of straw. In the middle
was a large rack, with angles answering to every partition of the
manger; so that each horse and mare ate their own hay, and their
own mash of oats and milk, with much decency and regularity. The
behaviour of the young colt and foal appeared very modest, and
that of the master and mistress extremely cheerful and
complaisant to their guest. The gray ordered me to stand by him;
and much discourse passed between him and his friend concerning
me, as I found by the stranger's often looking on me, and the
frequent repetition of the word YAHOO.

I happened to wear my gloves, which the master gray observing,
seemed perplexed, discovering signs of wonder what I had done to
my fore-feet. He put his hoof three or four times to them, as if
he would signify, that I should reduce them to their former
shape, which I presently did, pulling off both my gloves, and
putting them into my pocket. This occasioned farther talk; and I
saw the company was pleased with my behaviour, whereof I soon
found the good effects. I was ordered to speak the few words I
understood; and while they were at dinner, the master taught me
the names for oats, milk, fire, water, and some others, which I
could readily pronounce after him, having from my youth a great
facility in learning languages.

When dinner was done, the master horse took me aside, and by
signs and words made me understand the concern he was in that I
had nothing to eat. Oats in their tongue are called HLUNNH.
This word I pronounced two or three times; for although I had
refused them at first, yet, upon second thoughts, I considered
that I could contrive to make of them a kind of bread, which
might be sufficient, with milk, to keep me alive, till I could
make my escape to some other country, and to creatures of my own
species. The horse immediately ordered a white mare servant of
his family to bring me a good quantity of oats in a sort of
wooden tray. These I heated before the fire, as well as I could,
and rubbed them till the husks came off, which I made a shift to
winnow from the grain. I ground and beat them between two stones;
then took water, and made them into a paste or cake, which I
toasted at the fire and eat warm with milk. It was at first a
very insipid diet, though common enough in many parts of Europe,
but grew tolerable by time; and having been often reduced to hard
fare in my life, this was not the first experiment I had made how
easily nature is satisfied. And I cannot but observe, that I
never had one hours sickness while I stayed in this island. It
is true, I sometimes made a shift to catch a rabbit, or bird, by
springs made of YAHOO'S hairs; and I often gathered wholesome
herbs, which I boiled, and ate as salads with my bread; and now
and then, for a rarity, I made a little butter, and drank the
whey. I was at first at a great loss for salt, but custom soon
reconciled me to the want of it; and I am confident that the
frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was
first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it
is necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places
remote from great markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of
it but man, and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a
great while before I could endure the taste of it in anything
that I ate.

This is enough to say upon the subject of my diet, wherewith
other travellers fill their books, as if the readers were
personally concerned whether we fare well or ill. However, it
was necessary to mention this matter, lest the world should think
it impossible that I could find sustenance for three years in
such a country, and among such inhabitants.

When it grew towards evening, the master horse ordered a place
for me to lodge in; it was but six yards from the house and
separated from the stable of the YAHOOS. Here I got some straw,
and covering myself with my own clothes, slept very sound. But I
was in a short time better accommodated, as the reader shall know
hereafter, when I come to treat more particularly about my way of



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