Candide Chapter 18
"What They Saw in the Land of Eldorado"
Candide and Cacambo discuss Eldorado's history and culture with a wise man who is one hundred and seventy-two years old. Eldorado is a remnant of the Incan Empire in Peru, the one Sir Walter Raleigh tried to find. The people of Eldorado vow never to leave. Their isolation protects them from the greedy European conquistadors. They have only one god, to whom they continuously offer thanks, and everyone is a priest.
"'What! Have you no monks to teach, to dispute, to govern, to intrigue and to burn people who do not agree with them?'" Chapter 18, pg. 75
Candide is amazed that such a civilization exists.
"'[I]f our friend Pangloss had seen Eldorado, he would not have said that the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh was the best of all that exists on earth; certainly a man should travel.'" Chapter 18, pg. 75-76
Candide and Cacambo meet the King of Eldorado. Cacambo asks how he is to greet the king. Should they perform such ridiculous rituals as falling on their faces or licking dust off the furniture? The King only requires a hug, and a kiss on the cheek.
They are shown the town, which is impressive and modern. There are no courts and no prisons. They see a large palace of sciences. They have supper with the king who is charming and witty. They stay for a month. Admitting that Eldorado is better than the best of all possible worlds in Westphalia, Candide declares that he still misses Cunégonde. Tempted by their vanity and greed, Candide and Cacambo muse that going back to Europe with just twelve sheep laden with gold and jewels would make them rich. They would fear no one, impress everyone, and get Cunégonde back as well.
The King thinks they are making a mistake, but he says that men are free, so he can't make them stay. Eldorado's expert scientists make an expensive machine to comically hoist Candide and Cacambo out of the isolated country. They take 102 red sheep laden with gold and jewels with them, and they head for Cayenne. There they will figure out how to get Cunégonde back.