Rudolf Erich Raspe: Gulliver revived, London 1786 (R5)

Zurück zum Text Bürgers:


This couple hat received no injury in their flight, except a small defect of fight, from their near approach to that luminary, which is the origin of light throughout the world. Even this turned to public advantage, for if their new chief had any disposition that militated against himself, it was too minute an observance of the levity and indiscretion of youth: his memory was also a little impaired, by which he was rendered incapable of harbouring resentment for trifling offences; those, however, of greater magnitude, which had the least tendency to corrupt the morals of his people, made a proper impression upon him, nor would he rest till he had taken such notice of them, as good sense and justice pointed out.

After we had repaired the damages we sustained in this remarkable storm, and taken leave of the new governor and his lady, (for such we should now call her, as she was joined in the government of this island) we sailed with a fair wind for the object of our voyage, but not before we saw the tree erected in its former situation, and in order issued by the new chief, at the unanimous request of the inhabitants, that none should partake of its produce hereafter without first returning thanks for the destruction of the Tyrant.

In about six weeks we arrived at Ceylon, where we were received with great marks of friendship and true politeness. The following singular adventures may not prove unentertaining to you: If in the relation any of my auditors should happen to be so very contracted in their ideas, as to entertain a doubt of my veracity, I desire he will say Bounce. I will stop immediately; but, as a man of honour, I shall expect satisfaction for so gross an insult.

After we had resided at Ceylon about a fortnight I accompanied one of the governorʼs brothers upon a shooting party. He was a strong athletic man, and, being used to that climate, (for he had resided there some years), he bore the violent heat of the sun much better than I could. In our excursion he had made a considerable progress through a thick wood, when I was only at the entrance.

Near the banks of a large piece of water, which had engaged my attention, I thought I heard a rustling noise behind; on turning about I was almost petrified, (as who would not) at the sight of a lion, which was evidently approaching with the intention of satisfying his appetite with my poor carcase, and that without asking my consent. – What was to be done in this horrible dilemma? I had not even a moment for reflection; my piece was only charged with swan-shot, and I had no other about me; however, though I could have no idea of killing such an animal with that weak kind of ammunition, yet I had hopes of frightening him by the report, and perhaps of wounding him also. I immediately let fly, without waiting till he was within reach, and the report did but enrage him, for he now quickened his pace, and seemed to approach me full speed. I attempted to escape, but that only added , if an addition could be made) to my distress; for the moment I turned about I found a large crocodile, with his mouth extended almost ready to receive me; on my right hand was the piece of water before mentioned, and on my left a deep precipice, said to be, as I have since learned, a receptacle at the bottom for venomous creatures; in short, I gave myself up as lost, for the lion was now upon his hind-legs, just in the act of seizing me! I fell involuntarily to the ground with fear, and, as it afterwards appeared, he sprang over me. I lay some time in a situation which no language can describe, expecting to feel his teeth or talons in some part of me every moment, but was agreeably disappointed; after waiting in this prostrate situation a few seconds, I heard a violent, but unusual noise, different from any sound that had ever before assailed my ears; nor is it at all to be wondered at, when I inform you from whence it proceeded: after listening for some time, I ventured to raise my head, and look round, when, to my unspeakable joy, I perceived the lion had, by the eagerness with which he sprung at me, jumped forward into the crocodileʼs mouth! which, as before observed, was wide open; the head of the one stuck in the throat of the other! and they were struggling to extricate themselves. I fortunately recollected my couteau de chasse, which was by my side; with this instrument I severed the lionʼs head at one blow, and the body fell at my feet! I then, with the butt-end of my fowling-piece, rammed the head farther into the throat of the crocodile, and destroyed him by suffocation, for he could neither gorge it, nor eject it.

Soon after I had thus gained a complete victory over my two powerful adversaries, my companion arrived, in search of me; for, finding I did not follow him into the wood, he returned, apprehending I had lost my way, or met with some accident.

After mutual congratulations, we measured the crocodile, which was just forty feet in length.

As soon as we had related this extraordinary adventure to the governor, he sent a waggon and servants, who brought home the two carcases. The lionʼs skin was properly preserved, with its hair on, after which it was made into tobacco-pouches, and presented by me upon our return to Holland to the burgomasters, who in return presented me with a thousand ducats.

R5, S. 6-14



Zurück zum Text Bürgers: