Candide Chapter 2
"What Happened to Candide Among the Bulgarians"
Candide wanders away from the best of all castles, sleeps in a field, and stops at an inn where he meets two soldiers. He is unaware of their designs to enlist him in their army. They say he is the proper height and stature for a soldier, which happens to be five feet tall, although most of the other Bulgarian soldiers are six feet tall. They ask Candide if he loves the King of the Bulgarians. Candide replies that he doesn't love the King of Bulgaria because he has not met him. Candide drinks to his health anyway.
The soldiers then shackle him and take him back to their regiment. Training includes regular beatings with a stick. Candide decides to walk away from the regiment, reasoning that walking is a natural right for people. The Bulgarian soldiers who catch him are all six feet tall. As punishment for desertion, Candide can choose between twelve shots to his head or thirty-six beatings from every soldier in a regiment of two thousand. Candide doesn't want either because he reasons he has free will. But he is forced select one.
After two rounds of beating, his nerves and muscles are exposed. He asks to be shot instead. The King of the Bulgarians happens by. The narrator calls the King a genius because he pardons Candide on the grounds that Candide is an inexperienced philosopher. Candide recovers. The King of the Bulgarians then goes to war with the King of the Abares.