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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 542 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12).

It was also commanded that six hundred persons should act as his servants; that three hundred tailors were to make for him a suit of clothes; and that six professors from the University were to teach him the language of the country.

When Gulliver could speak the language, he learned a great deal about the land in which he now found himself.  It was called Lilliput, and the people, Lilliputians.  These Lilliputians believed that their kingdom and the neighboring country of Blefuscu were the whole world.  Blefuscu lay far over the sea, to these little people dim and blue on the horizon, though to Gulliver the distance did not seem to be more than a mile.  The Lilliputians knew of no land beyond Blefuscu.  And as for Gulliver himself, they believed that he had fallen from the moon, or from one of the stars; it was impossible, they said, that so big a race of men could live on the earth.  It was quite certain that there could not be food enough for them.  They did not believe Gulliver’s story.  He must have fallen from the moon!

Almost the first thing that Gulliver did when he knew the language fairly well, was to send a petition to the King, praying that his chains might be taken off and that he might be free to walk about.  But this he was told could not then be granted.  He must first, the King’s council said, “swear a peace” with the kingdom of Lilliput, and afterwards, if by continued good behavior he gained their confidence, he might be freed.

Meantime, by the King’s orders, two high officers of state were sent to search him, Gulliver lifted up these officers in his hand and put them into each of his pockets, one after the other, and they made for the King a careful list of everything found there.

Gulliver afterward saw this inventory.  His snuff-box they had described as a “huge silver chest, full of a sort of dust.”  Into that dust one of them stepped, and the snuff, flying up in his face, caused him nearly to sneeze his head off.  His pistols they called “hollow pillars of iron, fastened to strong pieces of timber,” and the use of his bullets, and of his powder (which he had been lucky enough to bring ashore dry, owing to his pouch being water-tight), they could not understand, while of his watch they could make nothing.  They called it “a wonderful kind of engine, which makes an incessant noise like a water-wheel.”  But some fancied that it was perhaps a kind of animal.  Certainly it was alive.

All these things, together with his sword, which he carried slung to a belt round his waist, Gulliver had to give up, first, as well as he could, explaining the use of them.  The Lilliputians could not understand the pistols, and to show his meaning, Gulliver was obliged to fire one of them.  At once hundreds of little people fell down as if they had been struck dead by the noise.  Even the King, though he stood his ground, was sorely frightened.  Most of Gulliver’s property was returned to him; but the pistols and powder and bullets, and his sword, were taken away and put, for safety, under strict guard.

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