Chapter Fifteen

The Author contemplates her miserable existence, and the course of her book; Bolgolam hammers Lilliputian history into Gulliver, sparing him no details and no threats, trying to recruit him to the Slamecksans, Bolgolam’s Party.

Redriff, Wednesday the 6th of  November, 1748
A futuristic rendition of Mary Burton-Gulliver, putting together her manuscript in 1748.
Artist: Gerard ter Borch (1617–1681)
A rather complimenting image of this rather vicious Lilliputian.
Artist: Herbert Cole (1867-1930)
The moment that changed the Course of History.
Artist: Herbert Cole (1867-1930)
A portrait of the Monarch of Blefusu.
Artist: Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville (pseudonym of J. J. Grandville), 1835
An artistic impression of the infamous capture of the BE tyrant.
Artist: Anonymous 
Lemuel makes an effort to grasp Bolgolam's words. 
Artist: Thomas Morten, 1865
This is a rare map, indicating the whereabouts of Lilliput and Blefuscu, in relation to Sumatra and other sea creatures.
Artist: Unknown
Another portrait of Admiral Skyresh Bolgolam. Judging by the belly, this one was not commissioned by the Admiral.
Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Some unhappy eggs. Nobody bothered to think about the traumas that eggs must be facing on a daily basis!
Artist: Unknown

I must confess: I find this work, collecting my notes about my husband’s secret tales and making a real book out of them, to be very rewarding.

 

      As I read what my younger self wrote, forty-six years ago, I feel young again. I remember how I was sitting at this same table-of-secrets: night fell, my children were sound asleep and I – I was reminiscing Lemuel’s stories, I was smiling as I was writing, and I retired to bed, caressing myself to sleep, being so inspired by my Lemuel’s wild stories and my own delicious memories.

      And now, well, at my seventy-sixth’ year, my ageing, aching body no longer gives me the pleasures it once did. I do not miss them as much as I had thought, when I was full of vigour, falling asleep well satisfied, almost every night.

 

      No, these days my pleasures are in food and in thought.

 

      I spend much time contemplating my supper, then preparing it, and while I eat it, I keep myself company by conjuring in my imagination all that which has happened in the fantastic lands me and my husband visited so many years ago.

      As I read again and again the pages I secretly wrote in my youth, I see that they contain almost only the tales of Lemuel’s intimate escapades, while the events that linked them are missing. If I want all this to be fit for print, I should add the missing links, the details of intrigues at Court and other bizarre events that my husband encountered in his voyages.

      I now find new pleasures in conjuring up nearly-forgotten memories and weaving out this wondrous story, all my own. It is funny how I can now get just as excited from telling a good story, as I did, forty years ago, from Lemuel’s nestling down in my Garden.

      I think I should also write about our first years together, and how we became best of friends and lovers. It would fit nicely after Chapter Two, I think. I still see it as a miracle, that people who are total strangers, somehow, suddenly, gradually, eventually, become one with each other. I will make a note of it now, and will get back to it later, maybe tomorrow.

 

      For now, back to Lilliput:

*

“I know everything” were the ominous opening words of Admiral Skyresh Bolgolam, standing inside the Prison-Temple on the upper circle, eye to eye with Lemuel.

 

      His green costume was shining in a manner that was very unpleasing. Lemuel could not help thinking of this jade Bolgolam as a tiny, yet dangerous Dragon, about to breath fire onto Lemuel’s face.

      He was sitting on his 600 Lilliputian beds, very much aware of the fact that, even though he was bigger than Skyresh Bolgolam, he was still chained to his Prison-Temple, still at the mercy of this little man, whose single word could set thousands of poisoned arrows shooting right at Lemuel.

 

      Dismally, Lemuel assumed that his night of passionate lovemaking with the Lovers might not have pleased the local authorities as much as it pleased those directly involved.

      “It was not my fault” he mumbled.

      “Be quiet when you listen to me, and listen to me very carefully!” roared Bolgolam. For a tiny Lilliputian, he had a very deep, resonant voice.

      “I know everything, and I will tell it all to you.” Breathing heavily he seemed to try to overcome some aversion. “I would never choose to do it, myself, but I have direct orders from the Emperor. For some reason, He seems to like you. Be grateful. Be very grateful.”

      “Oh, I am, of course I am” Lemuel was quick to say, and quicker to regret speaking.

      “Hush! I personally cannot stand you, and it is only for the glory of our Emperor and his Empire that I am here to tell you all you need to know about us. The Emperor, in His Eternal Wisdom, seems to think that you can be useful. Call me stupid, for I think He is wrong. If you repeat these words, you are dead.”

      “What words?” Lemuel was indeed baffled.

      “Well said.” Said Bolgolam “There might be hope for you yet.”

      “Oh” was all Lemuel could utter.

      “Man-Mountain, we are at war!”

      “Why? What did I do? Did they complain about me…?”

      “Stop blabbering and hear me out, Man-Mountain” Barked Bolgolam “My time is short and precious. And my patience is even shorter.”

      Lemuel was about to say ‘sorry’ but he was wise enough to sit still.

      “You should know that we are mortified by two evils: within – the constant haggling, ogling and squabbling of the Tramecksans for the favour of our Emperor, and without – The constant threats of our malicious neighbours, the Blefuscudians, to invade our Peace-Loving Island and to conquer us all. Our enemies are plenty. Our time is pressing.”

      And to Lemuel’s amazement, Bolgolam went on to unfold this incredible story:

It began upon the following occasion: apparently, it was allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before the Lilliputians would eat them, was upon the larger end; but His Present Emperor’s grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers.

 

      The sight of his own blood was so offensive to the little boy, that he started stammering, and from that day on could not pronounce the sound ‘S’ as it used to be pronounce (a soft ‘Th’) and was only able to pronounce it as a harsh ‘S.’

 

      Whereupon the Emperor, his father, published an edict, commanding all his subjects, be they Tramecksans (from the T-Party, those wearing high-heels) or Slamecksans (from the S-Party, wearing flat shoes[80]), upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs, and to pronounce the letter ‘S’ no longer softly, but harshly.

 

      Special undercover agents were dispatched to the streets, towns and villages all over Lilliput, and whoever would go on saying: “Thuch a pleathant day” for example, instead of “Such a pleasant day” would be srashed on the thpot.

      Some Lilliputians, most of them from the T-Party, highly resented this law - as Lilliputian histories document - since they could not figure out the new spelling and pronunciations, and certainly did not like being srashed.

 

      They formed a splinter Party, named The Big-Endians and in the course of history raised six rebellions. Their battle cry was “To BE!” (Big Endians) and if it was not for the monarch of the neighbouring island, Blefuscu, who fermented the silly and dangerous notions of breaking the egg on the wrong side and of confusing the Lilliputian alphabet, the BE’s would no longer be.

      As it was, the monarch of Blefuscu supported the BE usurper and helped him kill His Present Emperor’s great grandfather (the father of the boy who cut his finger on that fateful breakfast.)

      “My forefather, Skyresh Cholgolam, I am ever so proud to say, was a true member of the S-Party. When the BE usurper, aided by the Blefuscudian Monarch, took the throne, my father kept loyal to our True Emperor. Though he failed to save His Present Emperor’s great grandfather’s life, he did manage to save His Son from the clutches of the BE’s!”

      Bolgolam laughed, and Lemuel shuddered. This sinister mirth was not boding any good.

      What followed was a dark tale of dreadful BE rulers, conspiracies of the Blefuscudian Monarch and dormant terror cells all over Lilliput.

 

      At some point, the Blefuscudian monarch no longer liked the BE usurper, and under the pretext of helping the Lilliputian rebels, the Blefuscudians invaded Lilliput!

 

      The BE tyrant, unsuccessfully hiding in a hole, was betrayed and captured, his teeth knocked out, he was humiliated and finally hanged. All because those BE’s could not appreciate the wisdom of breaking an egg in the proper manner, at the smaller end!

      “That was the moment for which my forefather Cholgolam was scheming. Now that the BE’s were gone, he raised the flag of Freedom to Lilliput and mobilised both the S-party and the T-party against the Blefuscudians.

 

      "My forefather Cholgolam triumphantly presented to the overjoyed Lilliputians the lad who was in hiding (the one whose breakfast started it all). Both the T-party followers and the S-Party followers were so happy to have a true descendant of the Lilliputian throne, that they forgot – for a moment – their egg dithputes and united behind His Present Emperor’s father."

      Lemuel was hard pressed to understand it all, and was dazed by all the strange names that were thrown at him. Silently he reminded himself that the BE’s are those who no longer exist, the Red T-Party wear high heels, and the Green S-Party wear low heels. He still did not remember who breaks the egg on which side, but he was hoping that by and by he would manage to decipher what Bolgolam was really aiming at.

      “In one sweeping battle we rose to the occasion and threw the Blefuscudians’ army into the sea. Unfortunately, they stole our battle-ships when they were thrown into the sea, and set sail to Blefuscu. This chapter in our otherwise glorious history gave us all a lesson: do not expect your enemies to drown peacefully! They will try to survive, at all costs!”

      Bolgolam was catching his breath. He seemed to be reaching a painful moment in his narrative. Lemuel kept silent, fearing the worst.

      “But this was not the end of our troubles” Bolgolam went on “Unfortunately, there were, and still are, Lilliputians who – for some unexplained reason - tend to side with the Blefuscudians.

 

      "They are all from the T-Party, of course, and are trying to revive the BE. (My spies tell me that they call themselves now EST: Envy Se T-party!) They stick to the wrong, wide side of the egg. They have secret meetings, where they hopelessly confuse the ‘S’ with the ‘Th’. Our Emperor has zero tolerance for those criminals. When they are caught, they are severely punished. Therefore many prefer to go into exile. They flee for refuge to that loathsome empire, Blefuscu.”

      Bolgolam was clutching his fists and clenching his tiny teeth.

 

      Lemuel could clearly feel the pain, as Bolgolam concluded his narrative with the computation that almost six thousand ESTians from the T-Party have, at several times, preferred to suffer death, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end, or speak proper Lilliputian. The ESTians even went as far as declaring that their language is the true Lilliputians, while the real true Lilliputian, which Bolgolam was so proud to speak, is but a dialect. 

      One hundred-and-ninety-two people were killed, trying to cross the channel, and about two-hundred were injured. Many hundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy, while the books of the Big-Endianth have long been forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable, by law, of holding employments.

 

      “That is so tragic” Lemuel could not refrain from uttering.

      “Yes, it is. We should all be standing united as one, behind our beloved Emperor! His Royal Highness is secretly an S-Party supporter, I am sure of it. But still, many a Lilliputian seek for the Truth elsewhere, though they will never find it, of course, over there. It is not there! I will make sure they see the Light where the Light shines truly! In the meanwhile, we are torn within, whilst our enemy plots to invade us. Again!!!”

      Heaving and gasping, he added menacingly: “And that is where you step in, Man-Mountain!”

      “Me?” said Gulliver, bewildered “I have nothing to do with all of this. I do not belong here, I am just an innocent by-stander, a castaway, hoping to find here Asylum!”

      “Are you crazy? Innocent or not, castaway you will be, if you stand by and not obey!” Roared Bolgolam, rising to the top of his tiny toes, while aiming to look down into Lemuel’s eyes.

      This sounded so frightening, and Bolgolam continued in this manner on and on, so that Lemuel had no time to ponder, how precisely the Lilliputians would ever manage to cast him away.

      “You are at the mercy of our good Emperor, and He is not too happy, having to carry your burden on His Royal Shoulders.

 

      "Do you know how many new Taxes He must levy, to maintain your sick appetite?

 

      "Do you think He is happy, when His citizens complain?

 

      "I am the only one here who can make sure the Emperor will grant you freedom. But only when I know for certain that you are as good a Lilliputian as any of us, good Lilliputians.

 

      "At least we must be assured that you break your egg correctly. I can overlook your poor pronunciation of our Lilliputian language. That is the only concession I am willing to make in your case. And it would help if you declared yourself to be an S, and join the S-Party.”

 

      And Bolgolam added portentously. “You can expect my next visit when you least expect it, and think very carefully where you stand!”

      At that Bolgolam left Lemuel sitting there, dejected and perplexed, wracking his mind how he would ever be able to see the difference between the small and the large end of those minuscule Lilliputian eggs[81].