CBSE class 9 English Gulliver’s Travels Novel – Chapter-wise Summary
A Voyage to Lilliput
Lemuel Gulliver was the third of the five sons. His father was a small land-owner in Nottingham shire. He was educated at Emanuel College in Cambridge. Then he served as an apprentice to a well known surgeon in London. After three years, he was sent to Leyden to study medicine. He decided to settle down in London and married Edmond Burton who brought him a good dowry.
Gulliver took up a surgeon’s job on a ship as he was not very successful in his medical practice. The ship Antelope sailed from Bristol on 4th May, 1699 for the South Sea. The ship was overtaken by a violent storm and got wrecked. Most of the sailors died in the sea. Luck favored Gulliver. He was able to swim ashore. Being tired and totally exhausted, soon he fell asleep on the sea-shore.
Gulliver Woke up after several hours. He was amazed to find himself bound with chains. He was Surrounded by a crowd of human creatures. They were exceptionally small-only six inches in height.
The strange human creatures were pigmies. They were shooting arrows from their bows and they caused Gulliver a lot of pain. He was not released but offered food and drink. Arrangements were made to take him to their King. To transport a man of giant size was solved. He was carried to the metropolis on a huge carriage. The King himself came out to look at Gulliver. His huge size caused him a lot of surprise and wonder.
Gulliver was lodged in a deserted ancient temple. The Emperor came on a horseback to have a good look and talk to Gulliver if possible. He looked at Gulliver with wonder and admiration. His huge size impressed him. The Empress and the young princess sat at a safe distance to view the giant that had come in the land of Lilliputians. The Emperor and Gulliver made several efforts to talk to each other but neither of them understood the language of the other. A large crowd had assembled there to see that giant of a man. Many of them shot arrows and one arrow nearly missed one of his eyes. Gulliver caught 5 or 6 Lilliputians. He refrained from crushing them and didn’t punish them. Gulliver’s kindness and leniency was appreciated by everyone. The news of Gulliver’s arrival spread throughout the kingdom. All kinds of people from different villages and towns arrived to see him.
The Emperor had a long consultation with his courtiers. He decided not to put Gulliver to death. Elaborate arrangements were made for his boarding and lodging. Arrangements were made to teach Gulliver the language of the Lilliputians. Within three months, Gulliver learnt the basics of their language. Now he could communicate with Emperor and others. Gulliver was thoroughly searched according to the law of the land. An inventory (list) was made of all the articles. Gulliver’s watch caused a lot of surprise and wonder to all who saw it. Gulliver’s pair of spectacles escaped their notice as they were in a private pocket of his coat. Gulliver was given the name ‘Quinbus Flestrin’. It meant “Man-Mountain’.
Gulliver’s gentleness and good behavior won the heart and favor of the Emperor and his courtiers. He began to think that very soon he would be released from chains and become free. He had made quite a satisfactory progress in understanding and speaking their language. The Lilliputians had some very funny habits and practices. It was quite funny and even strange that the merit or ability of candidates aspiring for high posts were judged by their feat of rope-dancing. All candidates were asked to dance on a rope. Only those who jumped very high without falling qualified for high posts at the Imperial Court. Even Flimnap, the Treasurer and Reldressal, the Principal Secretary for Private Affairs had to show their superiority by dancing on a tight rope. Sometimes such feats caused fatal accidents. Another activity which was practiced to judge the merit of the candidates for high offices, was leaping over sticks which the Emperor held in his hands. The winner was recorded with a blue silken thread. The next man was rewarded with a red thread and the third with a green one.
Gulliver’s repeated petitions for freedom at last got a favorable response from the Emperor. He was to be given freedom on certain conditions. These conditions were framed by a member of the Imperial Cabinet, Bolgolam. He was very hostile to Gulliver. Gulliver was to take an oath that he would abide by those conditions. After his release, Gulliver was allowed a quantity of meat and drink that was sufficient for 1728 Lilliputians. The Emperor’s mathematicians calculated the amount required for the maintenance of Gulliver’s body also.
Now Gulliver was a free man. He sought the Emperor’s permission to go around the metropolis, Mildendo. The permission was granted. A proclamation was made. The people were asked to keep away from Gulliver’s route. They were asked to avoid being crushed by the “man mountain”. The windows and roofs were crowded with spectators to watch Gulliver walking through the main street. The town was capable of holding five hundred thousand people. The people lived in three to five storied houses. The shops and markets were well stocked. The Emperor’s palace was situated just in the center of the city. Gulliver could have a glimpse of the Empress and the young Princes and Princess. The Empress smiled graciously. She offered her hand through the window and Gulliver kissed it.
One day, the Principal Secretary of Private Affairs, Reldressel visited Gulliver and told him about the state of affairs prevailing in the land of Lilliputians. The country was faced with two dangers. Reldressel disclosed that the country was divided into two parties-the Emperor’s party and the Opposition party. The Emperor and his party believed in boiled eggs being broken at the smaller end. The opposite party insisted on breaking the eggs at the big end. The two parties were known as Big-Endians and Little-Endians. Similarly, there was a conflict between those who wore high-heeled shoes and those who wore low-heeled shoes.
The only other great empire in the ‘universe’ was the empire of Blefuscu island. It was a rival of Lilliput and was as large as powerful. The opposition party in Lilliput was in league with the Emperor of Blefuscu. The Emperor of Blefuscu had now assembled a huge fleet of ships to invade Lilliput. Gulliver promised his full support.
Blefuscu and Lilliput were separated by a channel which was 800 yards wide and six feet deep. Gulliver told the Emperor that he would seize the whole fleet of ships of his enemy. He took a few cables to which he tied some hooks. He waded through the channel and succeeded in pulling 50 of the enemy’s largest ships towards Lilliput. It was a great blow to Blefuscu. The Emperor of Lilliput was highly delighted. As a token of gratitude, he conferred on Gulliver the highest title of honour which existed in Lilliput.
The empire of Blefuscu was humbled. The Emperor of Lilliput now expected Gulliver to demolish and damage the armed forces of Blefuscu completely. He wanted Blefuscu weakened for ever. He wanted to rule over Blefuscu through a viceroy. Gulliver didn’t believe in causing unnecessary bloodshed and damage to the enemy. He belied the expectations of the Emperor. So the Emperor became cool towards Gulliver.
A peace treaty was signed between Lilliput and Blefuscu. Now Gulliver expressed a desire to go and meet the Emperor of Blefuscu. The Emperor only gave the oral permission. Soon Flimnap and Bolgolam were able to prejudice the Emperor against Gulliver. They convinced that his friendliness with Blefuscu would mean Gulliver’s withdrawal of support from Lilliput. However, Gulliver was able to neutralise the conspiracy by rendering a great service. He was able to extinguish a fire in the apartment of the Empress. Sufficient water was not available. Gulliver had to make water to extinguish it. The Emperor was happy but the Empress was annoyed. Gulliver had committed an act which was illegal and could invite the capital punishment.
Animals and trees were exact in proportion to the height of people in Lilliput. Tallest horses and oxen were between four and five inches in height. They buried their dead with their heads downward. They believed that they would rise from their graves after eleven thousand moons. All the crimes against the state in Lilliput were punished with utmost severity. Fraud was considered to be a bigger crime than theft and was punishable with death. Those who proved by obeying the laws of the country for 73 moons, could claim special rights and cash awards.
High morals were preferred to abilities in the appointments for high offices. Those who didn’t believe in the Divine Providence were denied government posts. But certain corruptions had taken root in Lilliputian social life. Persons displaying skills in rope-dancing or leaping over, and creeping under sticks earned favors and high posts. Ingratitude was regarded as a capital crime. A child was not expected to feel obliged to his father for giving birth to him. Education of children was not the responsibility of parents. Children of both the sexes were brought up and educated in public nurseries. Virtues like courage, justice, modesty, religion and patriotism were encouraged.
The Emperor invited Gulliver to dinner one day. He also brought Filmnap with him. The Emperor knew that Filmnap and Gulliver were secret enemies. Filmnap poisoned the ears of the Emperor against Gulliver. The man-mountain, Gulliver was very difficult to afford and maintain. The cost of his food, drink and articles was a great burden on the economy of Lilliput. He wanted Gulliver to be turned out of Lilliput.
One day Gulliver received a lord of the Imperial Court in great secrecy. He disclosed that a conspiracy was being hatched against him by Fliminap and Bolgolam and some other officials. They had prepared articles of impeachment against him for treason and other capital crimes. The visitor produced a copy of those articles of impeachment to Gulliver. The charges included
- pulling the Empress by the arms and lifting her high in the air in both his hands while extinguishing the fire
- having refused to seize the remaining ships of Blefuscu
- having secret discussions with the ambassadors of the enemy state
- deciding to visit the court of Blefuscu after receiving only a verbal licence from the Emperor.
The men who wrote the articles demanded that Gulliver should be sentenced to death for high treason.
Reldressel, one of the Gulliver’s well-wishers suggested the Emperor that Gulliver should only be blinded in both eyes instead of being put to death. In this way, he could be useful to the state and the Emperor. The Empress had also instigated the Emperor against Gulliver.
Gulliver thought over the coming danger that threatened him. He decided that the best course for him would be slipping away from Lilliput and taking shelter with the Emperor of Blefuscu. Of course, the mountain-man Gulliver could have caused a lot of destruction in Lilliput but he didn’t want to be disloyal to the Emperor. He waded through the intervening channel one day and reached Blefuscu where he was cordially received by the Emperor.
Three days after his arrival in Blefuscu Gulliver observed a boat lying overturned at the beach. It was a boat of normal size which could carry Gulliver away in the sea. The Emperor of Blefuscu allowed fitting the boat for a voyage. In the meanwhile, an urgent message came from Lilliput to Blefuscu sending Gulliver back to Lilliput to be tried for treason there. The Emperor of Blefuscu ignored the message. But Gulliver didn’t want to become a bone of contention between the two kingdoms. So he decided to leave Blefuscu for home.
The Emperor and the royal family came out of their palace to bid farewell to Gulliver. The Emperor gifted him with a large number of gold coins and his own picture at full length. Gulliver had stuffed his boat with a large number of oxen, sheep, cows, bulls, etc. to serve as food for him during the voyage. He wanted to take some of the animals to England to breed such pigmies there. The Emperor didn’t allow him to take some natives with him. On 24th September 1701, Gulliver set sail in the morning. He caught sight of an English ship. The captain of the ship, Mr. John Biddle, was a kind man. Gulliver put cows and ships in his coat-pockets and got on board.
The English ship touched port on 13th April, 1702. Gulliver was happy and excited to meet his wife and children. He made satisfactory financial arrangements for the family. Gulliver was a sea-bird. Bidding farewell to his wife and children, he went on board a merchant ship Adventure’ bound for Surat.
PART II A
Voyage to Brobdingnag
The merchant ship Adventure’ commenced its voyage on 20th June, 1702 for Surat. The ship arrived at the Cape of Good Hope where it stopped to have its supply of fresh water. The captain fell ill and the ship couldn’t leave the Cape till the end of March 1703. On 19th April, the ship encountered a furious storm. However, the ship survived the storm successfully. The Captain sent a few members of the crew by a boat towards the coast in order to look for freshwater. Gulliver was very anxious to look at the island. So when the ship approached the island, he too went with the party of sailors. Gulliver’s curiosity had the better of him. He left the sailors and ventured into the interior of the island. When he returned to the shore, he found the boat hurrying away. It was pursued by a man of huge size and stature. He looked like a huge monster. The boat was able to escape from the monster. Gulliver hid himself in a field.
After some time, Gulliversaw seven other persons of the same huge size. The man who pursued the boat was the master of the fields. The other seven were his servants. They had reaping hooks in their hands and had come to reap the forest. A few minutes later, the master detected Gulliver lying on the ground. In comparison to those huge men, Gulliver appeared to be a Lilliputian.
The master picked up Gulliver and lifted him to the level of his eyes. Gulliver was in a state of shock and panic. He felt that the giant might dash him against the ground any moment. But the master treated him kindly. The giants were watching his activities with interest. Gulliver tried to show them respect and even took his purse full of gold coins from his pocket and presented to the master. Gulliver spoke in many languages but failed to have any communication with them.
The owner of the fields took Gulliver to his own house. His wife screamed after seeing him and ran away. However, after sometime she became normal and quite fond of him. At meal-time, a servant brought a big dish about 24 feet in diameter. The farmer’s wife minced a meat and offered to Gulliver. The youngest boy of the farmer was very mischievous. He lifted Gulliver by his leg and held him high in the air. Gulliver trembled in fear. However, the farmer rescued Gulliver. Just at that time the pet cat of the family leaped into the lap of the farmer’s wife. The cat looked three times bigger than an ox.
After the meals, the nurse brought a one-year child in her arms. On seeing Gulliver, the child began to scream loudly. The mother picked up Gulliver and offered him to the child. The child tried and put Gulliver’s head into his mouth. Really, he taught the people of Brobdingnag were not deformed but looked ugly because of their gigantic dimensions when compared to the ordinary people of other lands.
Gulliver slept for a few hours in a room which was 200 to 300 feet wide and more than 200 feet high. He was attacked by a couple of rats of the size of bulldogs. Gulliver defended himself against them with his swords and was able to kill one of them, while the other fled away. Gulliver was directed to the garden outside where he could answer the call of nature.
The farmer had a daughter who was about nine-year old. The girl was very fond of Gulliver. She looked after him and his needs in every possible way. She would dress and undress him. She would teach him their language. She sewed garments for him. She was a good natured girl. She was about 40 feet tall and was thought to be rather undersized for her age. She called him “manikin” or pigmy. And he called her glumdalotitch’ which meant “little nurse’ in English.
One day, a visitor to the family, gave a suggestion to the farmer. Gulliver should be taken on a market-day of the next town and displayed to the people as an object of curiosity. He could charge a small fee against the display. The farmer carried Gulliver in a box to the neighboring town on a market day. He took along with him his little daughter who was Gulliver’s nurse. Gulliver was badly shaken in his box due to the movement of the horse. People were then admitted in a room where Gulliver answered their questions as instructed by his nurse. A young schoolboy threw a hazelnut towards Gulliver’s head but luckily he missed his aim. Gulliver was shown to many spectators in various towns. The farmer was finding such exhibitions very profitable. He wanted to take Gulliver to all the important cities of the kingdom for holding similar shows. He set out for the metropolis, taking Gulliver and his nurse with him. The metropolis was situated almost in the middle of the kingdom and was 3000 miles away from the farmer’s house. The journey took ten weeks on horseback. Gulliver was shown to public in 18 large towns on the way. In the metropolis, the farmer took a lodging in the principal street of the city. It was not far from the royal palace. He started exhibiting Gulliver for a fee. Gulliver could now speak the language of the people of Brobdingnag and understood every word that was spoken to him.
Gulliver was subjected to a lot of stress and strain during these public exhibitions. He was almost reduced to a skeleton. The report of such exhibitions reached the royal palace. The Queen was eager to witness such a novelty in the person of Gulliver. She saw him and developed fascination for such a little creature. The Queen paid a thousand pieces of gold and bought Gulliver from the farmer. Gulliver was very happy to pass into the possession of the Queen. The Queen showed Gulliver to the King. He was not very impressed with Gulliver. He was a learned man and was educated in the study of mathematics and philosophy. He couldn’t understand how such a small man could exist on the earth. Nor could he believe Gulliver’s account of how he happened to come to Brobdingnag.
The King sent for three great scholars to give their opinions about Gulliver. They agreed only on one thing. Gulliver could not have been produced according to the regular laws of nature. Gulliver didn’t possess the capacity to preserve his life. He didn’t have swiftness of movement. He couldn’t climb up trees. Nor could he dig holes in the earth. The three scholars came to the conclusion that Gulliver was a freak of nature.
The King directed the Queen to take particular care of Gulliver. At Gulliver’s request, his nurse, the nine-year old daughter of the farmer, was allowed to look after him in the royal palace. The Queen liked him so much that she could not dine without his presence by her side. She was particularly amused to watch Gulliver eating very tiny bits of food. The Queen would chew a whole bird of huge size, bones and all, between her teeth. The King also started taking interest in Gulliver’s talks. He enquired Gulliver about the people, religion, laws, government and learning of European countries.
The King was not impressed by his talks. He could not believe that small insects like Gulliver could attain any human grandeur.
The Queen kept in her royal palace a dwarf who was like a pet to her. He began to feel jealous of Gulliver because the queen had become more fond of the newcomer. One day the dwarf played a trick. Gulliver fell into a large bowl of cream. On another occasion, the dwarf thrust Gulliver’s body into a bone from which the morrow had been taken out. The flies and wasps were also a cause of annoyance for Gulliver. They were in large numbers in Brobdingnag. On one occasion the dwarf caught many flies and released them suddenly under Gulliver’s nose in order to frighten him. The wasps were of the size of partridges in England.
The country of Brobdingnag was a peninsula with mountain thirty miles high on the north-east and the sea on all the sides. The whale fish was thought to be an excellent food. It contained 51 cities and about a hundred walled towns and a large number of villages. The metropolis, Lobrulgrud, equal almost in two equal parts on either side of a river which passed through it. The city had more than 80000 houses. The palace of the King was spread over an area of seven miles.
One day Gulliver visited shops. He saw a crowd of beggars standing there. There stood a woman with cancer in her breast, swollen into a monstrous size. It had huge holes in which Gulliver could easily enter. There was a man with a huge tumor in his neck. Another beggar stood with a couple of wooden legs, each about 20 feet high. But to Gulliver, the most hateful sight was the lice crawling on their clothes. Gulliver wanted to see the chief temple and particulars the tower belonging to it. The nurse carried him there in a box. Gulliver was rather disappointed to see the tower. It was just 3000 feet. It was rather small considering the huge dimensions of everything in Brobdingnag.
One day Gulliver was in the garden. The dwarf mischievously shook the branches of an apple tree under which Gulliver stood. A dozen apples, each as large as a barrel came tumbling down Gulliver’s ears.
One of the apples hit him on his back and knocked him down flat on his face. One day there was a shower of hailstones. Gulliver was badly injured by these huge hailstones. On another occasion a dog seized Gulliver within its mouth and ran away straight to his master. Luckily, Gulliver was not hurt as the trained dog kept Gulliver gently between the teeth. On another occasion a kite Swooped upon him. He drew his sword in time and saved himself. The royal maids were very inquisitive about Gulliver and often wanted to play with him. Sometimes they stripped him naked and made him sit on their breasts. Gulliver was often disgusted with their foul smell. The maids felt no shame while undressing themselves in Gulliver’s presence as they regarded him an insignificant creature. One day Gulliver got an opportunity to watch the execution of a criminal. His head was cut off with one blow with a sword about 40 feet long.
The Queen made every possible effort to please Gulliver. She devised a method by which he could take regular exercise. She made him a provision of a pool and a boat which Gulliver could row on the water. The Queen and her maids were entertained by Gulliver’s skill in rowing. Once a monkey carried Gulliver off and set him on the top of a building. He began to play with him. It was after a good deal of efforts that King’s men could save him.
One day the King asked Gulliver what he would have done with a monkey in his own country. Gulliver told the King that there were no monkeys in Europe. In his own country he could have dealt with a dozen monkeys as their size was not the size of an elephant. The King laughed at Gulliver’s words. He thought that he was boasting of his prowess. One day while out for a walk Gulliver fell upon some cow-dung and found himself in the middle up to his knees. He waded through it with difficulty.
Gulliver had become a favourite of the Queen and also of the King. On one occasion he made a chair using the Queen’s hair and made a present to her. On another, he made a little purse (5 feet long) with the Queen’s name written on it in gold letters. The King was a learned man. One day he asked many questions related to the people and government of Gulliver’s native country. Gulliver told the King about the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The members were selected on the basis of moral and mental ability. He also told the King about the English judicial system and courts of justice.
Many doubts and objections had arisen in the King’s mind regarding the information which Gulliver had given to him. The King remained unconvinced. To him, the history of Gulliver’s country was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders and massacres. Hypocrisy, cruelty, hatred and lust were some of its essential features. The King had a low opinion about Gulliver’s country and his countrymen. “…….. the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Gulliver knew that the King had formed unfavorable opinions about English life. The King was isolated from the rest of the world. His narrow outlook couldn’t comprehend about the situations in European countries. Gulliver suggested the King to learn how to make gunpowder. It would make him more powerful. The King rejected Gulliver’s suggestion summarily. The King didn’t want such instruments of mass destruction. It was shocking that “an important and grovelling insect” like Gulliver should entertain such inhuman ideas. The King was ready to lose half of his kingdom than learn the secret of the manufacture of gunpowder. He told the King that a number of books had been written in England on the art of government. The King didn’t believe that the art of government needed any books. In his opinion, only common sense, reason and justice and such noble virtues are required to run a government. Whoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass upon a piece of land did more service to humanity than all politicians put together. The learning of the people of Brobdingnag was very defective. It was limited only to morality, history, poetry and mathematics. They didn’t know of things that promoted agriculture and mechanical arts. The King’s library was small and it didn’t have more than a thousand volumes. Their style of writing was clear, masculine and smooth. It was not florid. Superfluity in expression was unknown to them. The King’s army consisted of one hundred and seventy six thousand soldiers and thirty-two thousand horses. The army consisted of tradesmen in cities and farmers in the countryside.
The King wanted Gulliver to find a suitable woman for himself to propagate his breed. Gulliver was averse to this proposal. In fact, he wanted to leave Brobdingnag and go back home. In the third year of Gulliver’s stay in Brobdingnag, a strange incident took place. The King and the Queen were making a journey and had halted close to the sea-side for rest. Gulliver was being carried in a travelling box to give them a company. One day an eagle of a huge size caught the ring of the box in his beak and flew away. He was attacked by a couple of other eagles and the box fell down into the sea. Luckily, Gulliver was not hurt as he was picked up by a passing ship. The Captain, Mr. Thomas Wilcocks was a noble man of Shropshire. Gulliver told him the whole story but he was not prepared to believe Gulliver’s story till he produced a large number of articles from the box as an evidence. That proved that he had lived in the country of giants-Brobdingnag. He agreed to take Gulliver with to England whither the ship was bound.
The ship called in at two ports to get provisions and fresh water. Ultimately, it arrived at an English port on 3rd June, 1706, nine months after Gulliver’s escape from Brobdingnag. When Gulliver was riding homewards, he was struck by the smallness of the houses, the trees, the cattle and the people in his country. They looked as if he was in Lilliput again. It took him quite some time to adjust himself to the normal size and dimensions of objects and persons in England.
A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan
Gulliver could stay with his family only for ten days. Captain William Robinson, the commander of “Hope Well’ offered him the post of a surgeon on his ship. The ship was to set out on a voyage to the East Indies. Gulliver’s thirst for seeing the world had not diminished. So he accepted the offer. The ship sailed away on 5th August, 1706 and arrived at Fort. St. George on 11th April, 1707. Then it sailed to Tonquin and the Captain decided to stay there for some time. There he bought a sloop. He loaded the sloop (ship) with several sorts of goods which the Tonquinese used to trade with the neighboring islands. He made Gulliver Master of the Sloop. Upon the 10th day, they were chased by pirates. They searched the sloop. Gulliver was set adrift in a small canoe with paddles and a sail. It had provisions only for four days. About an hour he saw several islands to the South East. He wanted to reach the nearest islands. On the 5th day, he arrived at the last island. It was a rocky island with only a little Sweet smelling grass.
Gulliver was in low spirits. He wondered how miserable his end could be. After a few days, he saw a huge opaque body between himself and the sun, moving forward over the island. It was two miles about the island and it was still moving. He was highly surprised to see human beings moving about on that body. They let down a chain from there. A seat had been fastened to the other end of the chain. Gulliver caught hold of the chain and got into the seat. The seat was drawn up by pullies. Gulliver now found himself on an island in the air. It was inhabited by a large number of people. So he could see two islands. One below and another in the air above the first.
On the Flying Island, Gulliver was surrounded by many people. They looked at him with great surprise and wonder. These people had very strange shapes and sizes. Their hands were all reclined either to the right or the left. One of their eyes turned inward. The other eye was turned up towards the sky. Many of these people were followed by servants called the “flappers’. The flappers were servants who carried in their hands a blown bladder. The bladder was fastened to a stick. The function of the flapper was to serve the need of their masters. They had to draw the attention of their masters who were always lost in intense speculations.
They were so much lost that they could neither speak nor listen to others. They had been roused by some external action. A servant had to strike his master on his mouth or on the ear by the bladder. It was the only way to draw the attention of the master.
Gulliver was presented to the King. The King was busy in solving a problem. Gulliver waited for an hour before the King paid any attention to him. The King asked many questions but they couldn’t communicate as both were unknown to each other’s language. Different dishes were served at the dinner. Gulliver noticed a strange thing. The food items were given geometrical shapes. The mutton had been cut in an equilateral triangle. The beef had been cut into a rhomboid. The pudding had been shaped into a cycloid. The other dishes were given the shapes of musical instruments like a harp, a
fiddle or a flute. The bread had been cut into geometrical figures like cones, cylinders and parallelograms.
Gullivergradually picked up the language of the people there. He learnt that the name of the island was Laputa. It meant the “flying-island in English. The officials ordered a tailor to prepare clothes for Gulliver. The tailors used all different kinds of instruments to take Gulliver’s measurements. The tailor made clothes which were badly made and out of shape as he had made a mistake in his calculations.
Music and mathematics were two principal interests of the people and they paid no attention to any other matter. Their ideas found expressions through lines and figures. Even to describe the beauty of a woman, they used circles and parallelograms or the musical terms. The houses were badly built without any right angle in their shapes. People looked ugly and clumsy. They were good at mathematics and music only. They had very poor reasoning and imagination. Inventions were alien to them.
The people of Laputa were constantly in a state of “disquietude. They never enjoyed peace of mind even for a moment. Their main fears came from heavenly bodies. They also feared that the earth would be swallowed by the sun or the face of the sun would grow dark. Such fears made them restless. They couldn’t sleep and had no peace of mind.
Women of their islands were different from their men. Their minds were not obsessed with fears. Their husbands were always occupied with their own thoughts and calculations. They had no time for their wives. Their wives turned to strangers for entertainment. These strangers were to be found in a large number at the royal court. They came from different continents on the earth below. The women made love to the strangers. Their husbands had no time and paid no attention to them.
The Flying Island was circular with a diameter of about four miles and a half. The bottom contained a regular and even plate. There was a hollow from where the astronomers descended into a large dome. Twenty lamps were continually burning in the cave. The greatest curiosity of the island was a loadstone or magnet of a huge size, 6 yards in length and three in thickness. The entire fate of the island depended on this loadstone or magnet. The loadstone was held in that position by a very strong axle of adamant passing through its middle. The island was made to rise and fall and move from one place to the other by means of this loadstone. The loadstone had its limitations. It could not move beyond the extent of the King’s dominions below on the earth. It couldn’t rise up for more than 4 miles.
Some astronomers managed the loadstone. They gave it such positions as the King desired. They had extraordinary telescopes. They spent most of their times in observing heavenly bodies. They had made wonderful discoveries beyond those made by European astronomers. They had made ten thousand fixed stars. They discovered two satellites revolving round Mars and 39 different comets. The King could destroy towns and cities below on the earth in case the people revolted against him. Three years before Gulliver’s arrival here, the people of a city below on the earth had revolted against the King. The King yielded to those people as he could not take the extreme step of destroying his own people.
Gulliver was well treated in the island of Laputa. But he felt neglected. He wanted to leave the island. During his two month’s stay, he could have discussions mainly with women, tradesmen, flappers and court-pages. Through the influence of a friendly lord at the court, Gulliver was able to get the King’s permission to leave the island. The King gave two hundred pounds as a present to Gulliver and the great lord also gave as much money to him. The lord gave a letter of recommendation to a friend of his in Lagado, the metropolis of Balnibarbi.
Gulliver rather felt happy to be on the firm ground again after having stayed on the Flying Island. He contacted the great man, Munodi, for whom the letter of recommendation was given. He had been the governor of Lagado and had been replaced due to his inefficiency. But he still had the love and affection of the King.
Munodi told Gulliver that 40 years ago some persons had gone to Laputa either for business or for diversion. After a few months, they came back to Balnibarbi from Laputa. They expressed their dislike and dissatisfaction for the management of things in Balnibarbi. They tried to introduce some new schemes with regard to arts, sciences and mechanics in Balnibarbi. They devised new rules and methods of agriculture and new buildings. Munodialso pointed out that none of the projects of those people succeeded or achieved any good results. The whole country now lay in a state of neglect.
Munodi himself continued to follow the old methods. He had made many enemies in the kingdom. But Munodi had been able to preserve his estate in its original form.
Gulliver paid a visit to the Academy of Projectors in Lagado. He was warmly received by the warden. The bearded man had been engaged for the last 8 years upon a project for extracting Sunbeams out of cucumbers. Another man at the Academy had been employed for a long time in experimenting aimed at restoring human excrement to its original food by separating several parts. One of the Projectors was trying to calcine ice into gun powder. A most ingenious architect had invented new methods for building houses by beginning at the roof and working downwards to the foundation. A blind man was engaged in mixing colours for painters who claimed to distinguish colours by his sense of touch or smell. One Projector had found a device for ploughing the ground with hogs. However, the experiment didn’t give good results in agriculture. In one of the rooms of the Academy, Gulliver found all walls and the ceiling covered with cobwebs to obtain silk from the webs. A great physician claimed that he could cure colic by performing operations with a large pairs of bellows. He demonstrated his experiment on a dog who made a violent discharge of wind and then died on the spot. One of the Projectors was regarded as the universal artist. He was trying to breed sheep which would have no wool upon their bodies. Some Projectors had developed a method by which even an ignorant person could produce books on philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology. At the mathematical school, proposition and demonstration were taught to be written on a thin wafer with an ink made of a cephalic tincture.
Gulliver also visited the school of political projects at the Academy of Lagado. The professors at the school were busy in various schemes. They had a scheme for persuading Kings to choose favorites on the basis of their wisdom, capacity and virtue. There was a project to keep legislators in a fit mental condition. They must be administered medicines so that they should not talk any nonsense during the rest of the session. Similarly, one professor made medicines that could stimulate the memories of the favorite of kings. Another novel scheme was regarding reconciliation between the views of the two opposing parties. Methods have been devised for raising funds through taxation. One method was to impose a tax upon vices and follies. Another tax was calculated on the basis of the opinion that a citizen had about his own merit or ability. The higher the opinion, the higher would be the tax.
Gulliver left Lagado to go to Japan on his way back home. But the ship bound for Luggnagg was not ready to leave Maldonado not before a month. So Gulliver was asked to visit the nearby island of Glubbdubdrib. A gentleman offered to accompany Gulliver with a friend on this short trip. The word “Glubbdubdrib’ meant the island of magicians. All the members of the tribe were magicians. The tribe married only among themselves and the eldest in succession became the governor. The Governor must know the magic of summoning anyone from the king of the dead and command their services for 24 hours. Gulliver was granted an interview by the governor. Gulliver told him about his various voyages and adventures. At the dinner a number of ghosts served the meals and waited at the table. The governor asked Gulliver if he had a desire to talk to any dead person. Gulliver wanted to see Alexander the Great. At the movement of the governor’s hand, the ghost of Alexander appeared in a large field outside. Alexander was summoned in the room. In answer to a question, Alexander disclosed that he was not poisoned to death as books of history said. He died of a fever caused by excessive drinking. Then Gulliver was able to talk to the ghosts of Hannibal, Caesar, Pompey, Brutus and several other ancient personalities.
At Gulliver’s request, the governor summoned Homer and Aristotle. The governor also summoned Descartes and Gassendi. Aristotle admitted his own mistakes in natural philosophy. He also saw many of the ancient Roman emperors. Then Gulliver requested the governor to summon a dozen or
so of the modern kings of Europe, along with his ancestors. Gulliver was much disappointed to know that some of the kings had a barber and other low ranking persons as their ancestors. He also found how some of the royal families indulged in cruelty, falsehood and cowardice. By this interrogation of the dead persons, Gulliver discovered how the world had been misled by writers. They attributed the greatest victories in war to cowards. He also learnt how a whore had been able to govern a country through her influence over her powerful lover in the senate. An army general confessed Gulliver how he won a victory purely by his cowardice and ill conduct. Gulliver also found that perjury, oppression, fraud and false praise had played a great part in moulding the course of history.
Gulliver took leave of the governor of Glubbdubdrib and returned to Maldonada. Then after a fortnight’s waiting, he boarded a ship for Luggnagg. On the arrival, Gulliver had to lick the dust before the foot-stool of the King because that was the custom there. Anyone who wanted to meet the King had to crawl upon his belly and lick the floor. Gulliver carried out the ritual. He had to utter certain words in the praise of the King in their language. The King was greatly pleased with Gulliver’s visit. He asked his officials to look after Gulliver properly and to show him every courtesy. Gulliver stayed three months in the country. He was very warmly treated there.
Gulliver found the people of Luggnagg very polite and generous. One day Gulliver was asked if he had seen or met any of the immortals of this land. He was told that Luggnagg had many immortals. They were called Struldbruggs. Gulliver naturally thought them to be very fortunate persons. Gulliver was asked what he would do if he had been immortal. Gulliver replied that first of all he would make himself extremely rich. He would then give himself to the study of arts and sciences in order to become most learned. And finally he would record the behaviour and actions of all the important rulers and statesmen. He would become a living treasury of knowledge and wisdom.
Gulliver was shocked and surprised to know that the immortals of Luggnagg were not so fortunate as he had imagined them to be. The immortals were the most miserable persons in the land. They longed for death which didn’t come to them. They were peevish, morose and vain. They were incapable of friendship and dead to all affection and love. Whenever they saw a funeral, they lamented that they couldn’t die and get peace. Gulliver was shown a group of immortals. They presented the most horrible sight he had ever seen. On seeing their terrible and miserable condition, Gulliver no longer wished for immortality.
Gulliver obtained the permission of the King of Luggnagg to leave the country. He wanted to go to Japan and from there to proceed to his native country. The King honoured him with a letter of recommendation to the Emperor of Japan and presented him with a large quantity of gold. Gulliver landed in Japan after three weeks. The letter of recommendation proved very useful in Japan. The Emperor exempted him from the ceremony of trampling upon the crucifix. Gulliver posed to be a Dutch man as only the Dutch were permitted to enter Japan from Europe.
The King helped Gulliver to reach Nagasac (Nagasaki) on 9th June, 1709. There he boarded a Dutch ship “Amboyna’ bound for Amsterdam. From Amsterdam he soon afterward sailed to England where he arrived after an absence of five and a half years. From the port he went straight to Redriff. He was happy to meet his wife and children who were in good health.
A VOYAGE TO THE COUNTRY OF HOUYHNHNMS
Gulliver stayed with his wife and children for about 5 months. Then he accepted an offer made to him by the captain of ship named “Adventure’. The ship sailed from Portsmouth on the 7th September, 1710. In the course of his new voyage, Gulliver was attacked by the members of the crew. Most of the crew had previously been pirates. They took charge of the ship. They threw Gulliver down on the sea-coast and sailed away. So Gulliver found himself all alone in a new and strange country. Then he walked into the interior of the country. He expected to find hostile savages. He could see tracks of human feet, cows and horses. The shape of the animals were very strange and deformed. Gulliver hid himself and wanted to observe things still better. He was surprised to note that animals could climb up trees effortlessly like squirrels. They could jump and leap with great agility. The female animals were shorter and their breasts touched the ground between their forefeet. Gulliver soon developed aversion to these animals.
Gulliver was spotted by one of the strange creatures. He drew his sword. The next moment he was surrounded by a large number of them. Gulliver’s life was in danger. But soon a horse appeared. The crowd of those creatures ran away in great confusion on seeing the horse. The horse stood gazing at Gulliver. Then another horse appeared and the two greeted each other by striking each other’s right hoof.
The behaviour of the two horses was quite rational and orderly. Gulliver spoke to them in his own language and appealed for help. They heard Gulliver and communicated in their language by neighing several times. Gulliver could catch only one word “Yahoo’. He also uttered it in a loud voice. The horses seemed pleased. Then they pronounced another word which Gulliver learnt after several efforts. It was “Houyhnhnm’. One of the horses signalled Gulliver to accompany him. The horse escorted him to his abode. He seemed to be the boss. Gulliver also saw a few of those creatures which he saw for the first time. The horses called those creatures “Yahoos’. The “Yahoos’ ate the flesh of animals. The Yahoos looked like human beings but looked quite ugly and detestable. They were subservient or servants to the horses. The horses were now trying to teach Gulliver their own language and he picked up slowly. The problem of food was solved. Gulliver could drink cow’s milk. Gulliver could catch a rabbit or a bird sometimes and feed himself. He could make butter from milk. The horses also made suitable arrangements for Gulliver’s stay.
Houyhnhnms treated Gulliver like a brute animal better than most of the brutes. They found in Gulliver some marks of a rational being not found in the Yahoos. Gulliver’s capacity for learning, his politeness and cleanliness astonished the chief. Such qualities were absent in the Yahoos. In about ten weeks, Gulliver was able to understand much of the language of the Houyhnhnms. He gave a full and detailed account of himself to the master. Gulliver found that among the Houhnhnms language there was no word for “lying’ or “falsehood’. This proved that they had never lied. Actually, they had no notion of lies and falsehood. The word “Houyhnhnm’ meant a horse. It also conveyed the idea of “the perfection of nature’. In other words the Houyhnhnms were supposed to represent perfection among animals.
The Houyhnhnms were surprised to see Gulliver wearing clothes. Neither the Yahoos nor they Houyhnhnms wore any clothes. The master was surprised to know that the people of Gulliver’s country considered nakedness a matter of shame to them. The master questioned Gulliver on many points. Gulliver told him about his people and the government. Gulliver could not uhderstand the cause for the degenerated and the brutal nature of the Yahoos. They resembled human beings living in his country.
The master couldn’t believe Gulliver’s account of his people and country. But doubting and disbelieving were little known among the Houyhnhnms. The master asked if they had any Houyhnhnms in their country. Gulliver told that the Houyhnhnms (horses) of his country were very strong, swift and industrious. But when they became old and useless, they were discarded or sold. Gulliver also told that their hoofs were shod with iron so that they could walk on the stony ways easily. The master felt insulted that houyhnhnms (horses) in Gulliver’s country were used to carry people on their backs. He felt more insulted to know that most of the Houyhnhnms (horses) were castrated to make them more gentle and tame.
The master of the Houyhnhnms regarded reason or rationality as the supreme virtue. The master found many faults with parts of Gulliver’s body. He criticised the flatness of his face, the prominence of Gulliver’s nose. He also found that Gulliver’s eyes were situated directly in front and couldn’t look on either side without turning like a Houyhnhnm. The master was very inquisitive about Gulliver and his origin. Gulliver told him that he was form of honest parents in an island called England. He was trained as a surgeon and his trade was to cure diseases and wounds in the body. His country was governed by a female who was known as the Queen. The people lose their money on litigation, drinking, gambling and debanchery. Many were guilty of murder, theft, robbery, forgery, rape, sodomy and so on. The master was shocked and surprised to know that the people of England had so many vices and evils in them. Gulliver explained that the root cause of these vices was their desire for wealth and power. That created lust, envy and malice. The master failed to understand such matters fully.
Gulliver gave an elaborate account of wars in Europe. About a million of Yahoos (human beings) were killed in long wars between England and France. The ambition of kings and the corruption of ministers caused wars. Sometimes kings hired out their soldiers to other nations to earn money. Gulliver couldn’t claim that his countrymen possessed the faculty of reason. The master expressed his shock that so many people died in European wars. Gulliver told him about the destructive weapons of war the nations of Europe possessed. Then he told the master how lawsuits were fought in English courts. Each lawyer claimed the just cause of his client. Even the judges who presided over the courts were not often guided by the principles of justice. There were long delays in the settlements of law suits.
Gulliver continued his accounts of England. He described him the power of money. He also explained the value of metals in his country. AYahoo or a human being could buy finest clothes, houses, land, most costly food and drinks if he had money or costly metals. The rich exploited the labour of the poor. The number of poor people was vastly larger than the number of the rich people. Drinking wine was common in England. The people drank to forget their troubles and fears. The people ate when they were not hungry and drank when they were not thirsty. The prostitute female Yahoos in Gulliver’s country suffered from various venereal diseases and then transmitted them to others. The physicians were interested in earning money rather than curing the patients. Gulliver told the master that the prime minister in England was wholly free from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger. He had a violent desire for wealth, power and titles. A man rose to the post of chief minister by using shady means like using his wife, daughter or sister to promote his interest. The monarch always appointed a chief minister who was submissive and subservient. English noblemen married for money and dowry.
Gulliver was greatly impressed by many noble qualities he found in the Houyhnhnms. He was totally impressed by love for truth. They had no notion of lying or falsehdod. Actually, the noble qualities and virtues of the Houyhnhnms left such a deep impression on him that he decided to stay in their country for ever. He didn’t want to go to his native country again. The master had developed a mixed attitude towards Gulliver. He considered him a superior kind of Yahoo who had rational thinking but was too weak to run fast or to climb trees. He also found fault with the laws and the government of Gulliver’s country.
The master described Gulliver the way of life of the Yahoos in his country. They were very fond of certain shining stones. Their love for shining stones proceeded from the same avarice and greed from which the people of Gulliver’s country suffered. The Yahoos had odious habits of eating. They could eat everything that came on their way. They drank the juice of a certain root. It produced the same effect as wine had on the people in England. The master told Gulliver that the Yahoos were the only animals in their country subject to diseases. They cured their diseases through mixtures of dung and urine. A leader of a Yahoo group was a creature more deformed in body and mischievous in nature than any of the others. The leader had a favourite. The job of the favourite was to lick his master’s feet and supply him women Yahoos. The favourite was greatly hated by the group. When the leader discarded the favourite, all male and female Yahoos discharged their excrements upon him from head to foot.
The master also described the behaviour of female Yahoos. A female Yahoo would often stand behind a bush and lure a male. She would take him to a sheltered place. On such occasions the female Yahoo gave the most offensive smell. From the master’s account Gulliver understood that the female Yahoos in this country were no different from the women in his own country. Lewdness and coquetry were common to all womankind.
Gulliver watched the behavior and actions of the Yahoos from a distance. They had already attacked him. There was always a danger of further attacks. He never went to a place where Yahoos lived without a guard, a horse. Gulliver found that Yahoos were of a perverse disposition. They were cunning, mischievous, revengeful and cowardly. The Houyhnhnms used Yahoos for various labors in their fields. One day Gulliver was bathing in a river. A female suddenly rushed towards him and caught him in a close embrace. Gulliver raised an alarm and was rescued by his escort, a horse.
The Houyhnhnms possessed many virtues. They were totally governed by reason. Decency and politeness were their virtues. These were no controversies and disputes among them. Friendship and benevolence were their favored principles. They brought up their colts or foals in accordance with the dictates of reason. After giving birth to a male and a female Houyhnhnm, a female Houyhnhnm stopped having sexual intercourse with her consort. The caution was necessary to contain the population. Among the Houyhnhnms, strength was valued in males and attractiveness in females. They had no notion of courtship, love or dowry. They wanted to save their race from degeneration by proper mating. They never violated the laws of marriage and were never guilty of disloyalty. The young Houyhnhnms showed their proficiency in running, leaping and other feats of strength four times a year. Every fourth year, a representative assembly of the whole nation was held for five or six days. They discussed whether there was excess or shortage of hay or oats or cows or Yahoos.
A grand assembly of the Houyhnhnms was held during Gulliver’s stay in their country. The issue of the Yahoos’ extermination came up for discussion. The Yahoos were most filthy, noisy and deformed animals which nature had produced. However, Gulliver’s master said that he was not in favour of the extermination of the Yahoos from the face of the earth.
The master had heard from Gulliver how horses were castrated to make them tame and incapable of reproduction of their species. The master suggested adopting the method of castration to the Yahoos. In the course of time the whole Yahoo-race would come to an end. He urged the Houyhnhnms to cultivate the breed of asses who would prove more valuable than the Yahoos in all respects.
The Houyhnhnms suffered from no diseases and never needed any physicians. They calculated the length of the year by the revolutions of the sun and the moon but didn’t divide it into weeks. Their poetry was excellent. Friendship, benevolence and the praise of the winners in race were their favourite subjects for poetry. They had no word in their language to express anything that was evil.
Gulliver found himself happy and contented among the Houyhnhnms. Their society was totally free from treachery, of enmity or evil. They only thought and discussed honesty, friendship, benevolence, poetry, order, economy and reason among themselves. Gulliver was highly impressed by the wisdom and virtues of the Houyhnhnms. Actually, he started imitating their manners and style himself.
One day the master shocked and surprised Gulliver. In the last assembly of the Houyhnhnms, it was decided that Gulliver could not live in their country. He was a member of the Yahoo race. Gulliver was grief-stricken to hear it. On coming back to senses, Gulliver said that he preferred death to expulsion. The master showed his helplessness and gave just two month’s time to make arrangements to leave. Gulliver built for himself a special kind of canoe. And after bidding farewell to his master and others, he sailed away from the shore.
Gulliver left the land of the Houyhnhnms on 15th February, 1715. He sailed away without knowing where he was going. He touched the land after several weeks. He was afraid to go far and stayed on the sea-coast for 3 days. On the fourth day he was attacked by a group of naked men and women with arrows. He was wounded but succeeded in escaping from them. He sailed away in his canoe and soon saw a ship which picked him up from his canoe. The sailors were Europeans and spoke to him in Portuguese. Gulliver replied to their questions in the tones and accents of the Houyhnhnms. They began to laugh at his way of speaking resembled the neighing of a horse.
Gulliver remained resentful and sullen. He was not all happy to come back among the race of men whom he had started hating. In fact, he didn’t want to return to his own country. But the Captain was bent upon taking him there. The ship arrived at Lisbon. For a few weeks the Captain kept Gulliver in his own house. Then Gulliver boarded an English ship and sailed for England. It was on the 5th December, 1715 that Gulliver landed at an English port. He went to his house at Redriff on the same day.
Gulliver was received with great surprise and joy by his wife and family. But he was not happy to see them again. He was filled only with hatred, disgust and contempt on seeing them. After staying with the Houyhnhnms, he had developed hatred for the human race. He couldn’t stand the sight of even the members of his own family. When his wife kissed him, he was so horrified that he fainted. Gulliver started writing an account of his travels. During the first year he could not endure his wife or children in his presence. With the money that he was able to save, he bought two young horses. He treated the horses very kindly and regarded them as his true companions. He used to converse with these horses at least four hours a day.
Gulliver gave his readers a faithful history of his travels extending over a period of sixteen and a half years. His aim was to make his readers wiser and improve their minds by giving the accounts of his travels. Whoever read the virtues of the Houyhnhnms, couldn’t fail to feel ashamed of the vices of the human race. Gulliver claimed that he had written his account without any monetary gain or seeking any praise from anybody. It was suggested to Gulliver that he should report his discoveries of new lands to his government. Those lands could be conquered. Gulliver wanted England and its people to learn the virtues of justice, truth, courage, chastity, friendship, benevolence and loyalty from the Houyhnhnms. Gulliverpromised to contemplate upon those excellent virtues which he had found among the Houyhnhnms. He would also try to instruct the Yahoos of his own family. Their smell still continued to offend him. Pride, in Gulliver’s opinion was the most hateful quality in a man.