Gulliver’s Travels: Part 1, Chapter 4

After finally obtaining his freedom, the first thing Gulliver asked to do was visit the city of Mildendo. The emperor grants his wish and Gulliver walks through the town, eventually visiting the emperor’s palace. Gulliver explained, later, about a quarrel in Lilliput, that had to do with the ways the people wore their shoes. One side wore high-heeled shoes while the others wore lower-heeled shoes. He went on to explain that there was another issue; the Blefucians, who were almost as powerful as the kingdom the emperor ruled. He explained that the dispute that was between the Blefucians and the Lilliputians had been going on for three years. Yet another issue surfaced between the people of Lilliput when the emperor’s grandfather cut his hand on an eggshell when he was a kid. The terms, “Big-endians,” and, “Little-endians,” were derived from this incident because they preferred to break their eggs on their respective ends rather than submit to the law put in place by the emperor to break their eggs on the little end. There were many rebellions because of the law put in place that you should break the egg on the big end because of safety issues. The government of Blefuscu accused the Lilliputians of disobeying their religious doctrine, the Brundrecral, by breaking their eggs at the small end. The Lilliputians argued that the doctrine reads, “That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end,” which could be interpreted as the small end.

The exiles gained support in Blefuscu to launch a war against Lilliput and were aided by rebel forces inside Lilliput. A war has been raging between the two nations ever since, and Gulliver is asked to help defend Lilliput against its enemies. Gulliver does not feel that it is appropriate to intervene, but he nonetheless offers his services to the emperor.

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