Part Two: Life in Lilliput
The next day the Emperor of Lilliput came to see me again. I tried to speak
to him in English, but he did not understand me. I tried all the languages I
knew, but he still did not understand me. He stayed about two hours, and
then he went away. He left some soldiers in charge of me.
Some of the people from the city began to come near me. They, too,
wanted to see the giant man. Not all of them were friendly, however. A
small group of them began to shoot arrows at me. The colonel in charge of
the soldiers was very angry, and he captured six of the ringleaders. He told
the soldiers to tie them with ropes. Then he gave them to me to punish. I
picked up all six men in my hand, and put five of them into my pocket. I
lifted the sixth man very close to my face. I pretended that I wanted to eat
him, and took out my penknife. The colonel and the soldiers looked
unhappy when they saw me doing this— and the prisoner was terrified! I
put the knife near the man's body, and gently cut the ropes around him. Then
I placed him on the ground. I did the same thing with the other five men.
The soldiers and the people were very happy when they saw that I was kind
to the men who had tried to hurt me with their arrows.
The Emperor asked his government ministers what to do with me. They
suggested that someone should teach me their language. I studied very hard,
and in about a month I could speak it. Then I told the Emperor that I was
tired of being a prisoner. I asked him to let me go. He said that he would
consider my request. He asked me to be patient, and he told me they would
treat me well. Then the Emperor told me that he wanted his soldiers to
search me for weapons. I replied that I would show his men everything I had
in my pockets. The Emperor thanked me, but he explained that the law was
very clear: the search had to be carried out by the Emperor's men
themselves. He asked me to help the men carry out the search. I agreed to do
this. I picked up the two men very carefully, and put them into my coat
pockets. The two men later wrote a report for the Emperor. This is what they
said in the report:
We found a very large piece of cloth in the giant's right pocket. In his
left pocket we found a very large metal box. We asked the giant man to
open this box for us. It contained a kind of powder that made us sneeze
a lot. Then we looked in the giant's right waistcoat-pocket. We found some
pieces of white material, and these were tied with ropes. We think these are
papers, because there seems to be writing on them. The letters are very
large - each letter is as big as a man's hand!
We found a huge machine in the giant's left waistcoat-pocket. This
machine has about twenty pieces of metal on it. We think it is the giant's
comb. In both of his trouser pockets we found a very long tube of metal
attached to a piece of wood. We do not know what this is. Then we saw a
very large chain that went into another pocket. We asked the giant to show
us the whole chain. He pulled it out of his pocket, and we saw a large
machine on the end of it. This machine is round, and it has writing on it.
This machine makes a huge noise. We do not know if the machine is an
animal, or a kind of god. We believe it may be the giant's god, because of
something he told us. He said,
'I never do anything without looking at this first.'
The giant has a belt around his body, and there are some objects
hanging from this. We saw a huge sword, the length of five men. We also
saw a large bag on the belt. This contains some metal balls and some black
powder— we do not know what these are.
I did not show the two men the pocket where I kept my glasses.
The Emperor was very curious to see all the objects described in the report.
First he asked to see my sword. Then he wanted to see the 'very long tube of
metal attached to a piece of wood.' I explained that this was my pistol, and I
offered to fire it for him. I took some of the 'black powder', and put it into
the pistol. Then I fired - the noise frightened the Emperor's soldiers very
much! Next the Emperor wanted to see my watch. He did not know what it
was, but he was very interested in the noise it made.
Everybody in Lilliput was very happy with my behaviour, and the people
began to trust me. Sometimes they came to dance on my hand. The children
played hide and seek in my hair.
The Emperor was very pleased with me as well, and he invited me to see
some special dances. These dances are performed in the Emperor's court,
by his ministers and other important people. They are very strange dances.
For the first dance, they place a rope above the ground, and the ministers
dance on this rope. The government minister who does the best dance is
given a government job. These dances are very dangerous, and there are
many accidents. Most of the Emperor's ministers fall off the rope sooner or
later, and are injured.
There is another kind of dance that is performed in the Emperor's court.
This dance is performed for the Emperor, the Empress, and the first minister.
The Emperor puts some coloured threads on a table. The threads are blue,
red, and green. Then the dancers enter the room, and the performance begins.
The Emperor holds a long piece of wood in front of himself. The dancers
jump over the wood, or go under it. The Emperor raises and lowers the wood
all the time, and it is difficult for the dancers to know whether they have to
jump or to go under the wood. The best dancer is given the blue thread, the
second best dancer is given the red one, and the third best is given the green
one. Everyone in the court wants to win a blue thread. It is a great honour to
have a piece of blue thread.
I thought it was a good idea to make a friend of the Emperor, and I tried to
please him. He was very proud of his soldiers, and this gave me an idea. One
day I organised a special military parade for him. I placed some sticks on
the ground. Then I tied my handkerchief to the sticks, and lifted some of the
Emperor's horsemen onto the handkerchief. They had a parade in the air, and
this amused the Emperor greatly! Another time, the Emperor's army had a
parade near the city. The Emperor asked me to stand very still with my feet
apart—and the whole army marched between my legs!
I asked the Emperor again to give me my freedom. The Emperor asked his
ministers if this was a good idea. They said I had to agree to certain
conditions before I could have my freedom. The two most important
conditions were these: I must not leave Lilliput without permission, and I
must help the Emperor's army if there was a war. I agreed to these
conditions, and the Emperor gave me my freedom.