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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 1 Chapter 5

Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 1 Chapter 5

The narrator, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an invasion. A high title of honour is conferred upon him. Ambassadors arrive from the emperor of Blefuscu and sue for peace. The empress ’ apartment catches fire by accident and the narrator is instrumental in saving the rest of the palace.

The empire of Blefuscu was an island situated to the north-east of Lilliput, separated from it by a channel, eight hundred yards wide. Gulliver kept himself hidden from the Blefuscans, who had no information about him. He spied on the empire of Blefuscu and devised a plan for seizing the entire Blefiiscudian fleet. He asked for cables and bars of iron, out of which he made hooks with cables attached. He then waded across the channel to Blefuscu and reached their ships at port. The Blefuscudians were so frightened when they saw him that they leapt out of their ships and swam to the shore. Gulliver attached a hook to each ship and tied them together. The Blefiiscudian soldiers fired arrows at him, but he kept working, protecting his eyes by putting on the spectacles he kept in his coat pocket. He tried to pull the ships away, but they were anchored too tightly, so he cut them away with his pocket-knife and pulled the ships back to Lilliput.

In Lilliput, Gulliver was greeted as a hero and the emperor conferred upon him the highest title of honour, ‘Nardac’. Emboldened by this victory, the emperor asked him to go back to retrieve the other ships, intending to destroy Blefuscu’s military strength and make it a province of his empire, and forcing the people to break the smaller end of their eggs. Gulliver dissuaded him from this action, which he believed to be unjust and the equivalent to enslaving the Blefuscudians. Embittered and angry, the emperor and several of his ministers turned staunchly against Gulliver and called for his destruction. In the words of Gulliver: ‘And from this time began an intrigue between his majesty and a junta of ministers, maliciously bent against me, which broke out in less than two months, and had like to have ended in my utter destruction. Of so little weight are the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with a refusal to gratify their passions.’

Three weeks later, ambassadors arrived from Blefescu and offered a peace agreement, which the emperor agreed to with conditions favourable to himself. Gulliver used his influence at court to help the Blefescudians with regard to the treaty, and the war ended with Blefuscu’s surrender. The Blefuscu delegates were privately told of Gulliver’s kindness toward the Lilliputians, and they asked him to visit their kingdom. He wished to do so, and the emperor reluctantly allowed it. Gulliver learned that Flimnap, the Lord High Treasurer, and Bolgolam had represented to the emperor, Gulliver’s dealings with the Blefescudian ambassadors, as disloyalty. For the first time, Gulliver realized that the Lilliputian courts and ministers may not be perfect.

As a Nardac, or ‘person of high rank’, Gulliver no longer had to perform all the duties laid down in his contract. He did, however, have the opportunity to help the Lilliputians when the empress’ room caught fire. One night, Gulliver was awakened by people milling around his door. Courtiers arrived and begged Gulliver to come immediately to the palace, where a fire had broken out in the empress’s apartment due to negligence of one of her maids. He forgot his coat and, being unable to put the flames out with his clothing, he thought of a new plan: he urinated on the palace, putting out the fire entirely. He worried afterward that since the act of public urination was a crime in Lilliput he would be prosecuted. The emperor promised Gulliver a pardon, which, however, did not arrive. Also, Gulliver heard that the empress was so offended by his action that she moved into another part of the palace, ordering that the apartments on which Gulliver urinated must never be repaired.