Part Four: The customs of Lilliput
One day I will write a big book about the kingdom of Lilliput. I will describe how the people live, and their habits. I will not describe it all here, but I do want to say something about this interesting country. It is important to remember that the people of Lilliput are very small. They are about six inches tall, and all the animals and trees are in proportion. The tallest horse is about five inches high, and a sheep about one inch. Some of the animals are so small that I could not see them easily. Birds, for example, are about the same size as flies in England. The tallest trees in Lilliput are seven feet high.
The Lilliputians are very educated people, but their way of writing is strange. They do not write from left to right like the Europeans, or from right to left like the Arabs. They do not write from the top of the page downwards, like the Chinese, or from the bottom upwards. They write from one corner of the paper to the opposite corner!
The laws of Lilliput are also very different to English laws. They regard trade as very important, and they think that trade depends on honesty. So they always punish fraud with death. I remember once I asked the Emperor to save a prisoner who had been found guilty of fraud.
'Death is too serious a punishment,' I said. 'This man's crime is only that he told lies to his friend, and robbed him.'
The Emperor was very angry with me. He explained that this kind of robbery is the worst crime in the world. Another strange thing about Lilliput is this. They punish bad behaviour, as we do in England. But they also reward good behaviour, which we never do in England. A Lilliputian who has obeyed all the laws of the country for a long time, is given a special title and some money by the government.
Their ideas about children are very different to ours. They do not believe that parents should choose their children's education. All children are taken away from their parents when they are young, and are sent to nursery schools. When they are older, children go to different schools. The choice of school depends on the family the children come from.
The children from important families go to schools where they learn about religion, honour, justice, and courage. Their professors are always with them, and the children are not allowed to talk to the servants in the school. Their parents can visit them once or twice a year, but they cannot bring them presents.
Girls also go to schools, where they learn the same things as boys. They are also taught about family life. Girls are not allowed to talk to the servants in their schools. The result of this is that they do not hear the silly stories of ignorant women. In general, the women of Lilliput are sensible and intelligent. The children of ordinary people go to schools where they learn various trades and professions. The children of the poorest people do not go to school, because they do not have to learn anything to do their work. Poor people in Lilliput are given a government pension when they are old or ill, and there are no beggars in the country.
I lived in Lilliput for nearly a year, and this is what my daily life was like. I made myself a table and chair from one of the biggest trees I could find. Two hundred women worked to make clothes for me. They used different techniques for measuring me, and these techniques amused me. The first method was to determine the length of my clothes. I lay on the ground, and one woman stood near my head, and another stood near my leg. They had a long piece of rope which they used as a measure of my height. When they wanted to make a jacket for me, they asked me to kneel on the ground. Then they placed a ladder against my neck. A man climbed to the top of ladder, and threw a length of rope down to the ground. This showed them the correct length of the jacket they wanted to make.
Three hundred cooks worked to prepare my food every day. I lifted twenty waiters onto my table. They threw ropes over the side of the table to the ground below. The cooks attached the barrels of wine and dishes of food to the ropes, and the waiters pulled the food up to the table. One night a very important Lilliputian came to see me at the temple. His visit there was a secret, he said.
'You are in danger,' he told me. 'The Emperor does not like you, and he wants to punish you.'
'Punish me!' I said. I was very surprised. 'Why does the Emperor want to punish me? I helped him to defeat the Blefuscu navy! And I saved the palace from the fire.'
'That's true,' the man agreed. 'But then you made a mistake. The Emperor wanted to destroy Blefuscu completely, and you refused to help him.'
'War is a terrible thing,' I replied. 'I didn't want to kill lots of people.'
'You're right,' the man admitted. 'But now the Emperor thinks you are his enemy. And then he was offended at the way you saved the palace—he says it was an insult to Lilliput!'
Then the important man told me what the Emperor and his ministers were planning.
'Some of his government ministers want to kill you,' he explained. 'But the Emperor has decided not to kill you. He thinks it will be enough to remove your eyes. He wants to blind you, Gulliver!'
I was horrified. I had thought the Emperor was my friend. I had helped his country in the war against Blefuscu — and now he wanted to take away my eyes! I decided to leave Lilliput immediately.
I travelled to Blefuscu, where the Emperor was very kind to me. One day I went for a walk on the beach. I was feeling sad and unhappy, and I was thinking about England. Suddenly I saw a boat in the water. It was a real ship's boat, not one of the little boats of the Blefuscu people. This was a real boat, big enough for someone of my size! I was very excited, and I ran into the sea. I swam out to the boat, and climbed into it. Then I took the boat back to the shore, and tied it up carefully.
I told the Emperor of Blefllscu about the boat. I'm lonely here,' I told him. 'I want to go back to England. Maybe I can use that boat to go home, if you will help me. It'll be a long journey, but I'm sure I can do it.'
'Very well,' he said, 'I'll help you. I'll give you food and drink to put in the boat.' The Emperor ordered his men to prepare my boat. They gave me a large quantity of meat and wine. They also put some animals into the boat —six cows and two bulls, and six ewes and two rams. After a few days everything was ready.
I sailed away from Blefuscu. The sea was very big and lonely. After some days, I saw a large ship, and I followed it. It was an English ship, and one of the sailors saw me. They stopped, and took me on board. They were going to England, and they took me with them. The captain of the ship was a friendly man. I told him about my adventures in Lilliput and Blefuscu. He did not believe me.
'Little men!' he laughed. 'You tell a good story, sir,' he said, 'but it's an impossible story, all the same.' And he laughed again.
'Then where do you think this came from?' I asked him. I put my hand in my pocket, and took out one of the tiny sheep from Blefuscu. I showed it to the captain. Now he believed my story!