Lilliputian Handshakes

The Donkgop filed down the stairway followed by the men of State. Upon reaching the ground he showed me his right hand which I perceived to be bound thickly in bandages. He also turned around to show me a pillow strapped to that part of his anatomy with which nature has provided man primarily for sitting. Then he faced me again and requested me to lie prone upon the ground. To say the least, I was considerably at sea and undetermined whether to comply with his request. Finally, two cavalry officers dismounted and by their antics and explanations made me understand what was desired of me.

The Lilliputians have a queer custom which they follow upon being introduced to a stranger, or greeting a friend. When one wishes to greet a person or to bid him goodbye, the custom requires that one or more slaps should be delivered to the person, much in the manner we would use in spanking. In all truth, a sound spanking is the warmest, friendliest kind of gesture among the Lilliputians.

When at last I understood what was wanted of me, I lay down laughing heartily at this strange custom. Later the Donkgop had his turn at laughing when I told him we used the Lilliputian salutation as a means of chastising children, but my laughter caused some hesitancy and misgivings on his part at the moment. Had I known what was in store for me I would not have been in such a laughing mood.

The Donkgop, having a very sore right hand and even a more tender hinder portion from having greeted and received greetings from a large agrarian delegation which had called upon him the previous day, was unable to deliver my salutation in person. Besides, the officers of State who served as a Board of Etiquette, had decided that a strictly Lilliputian slap would be disrespectful to so large a person as I, therefore had arranged with one of their foundries for the casting of a handle about four feet long. With this contrivance forty or more people could greet me at once and with sufficient force to make the gesture a truly friendly one. The ceremony lasted long enough for one hundred twenty thousand persons to take an active part in it, consequently the Donkgop was not the only person who needed a pillow to sit upon when the business was finished. To escape the labor of returning the sign of esteem to the many who welcomed me so warmly I pleaded danger of injuring some should I attempt to thump them where custom demanded I must. This plea put at ease many a mind which had entertained the very apprehension which I expressed, and it proved highly pleasing to the Donkgop. However, I am far from being certain that my decision was a good one. I am not sure but what the relays of small people who delivered me “Lilliputian handshakes” did so with more thoroughness and gusto than they would have employed, had they known the affair was to have been reciprocal. The rites lasted for more than three hours, during which time I became very stiff from lying upon the ground as well as smarting and bruised in a southern locality. When the last comer, man, woman and child had fittingly given me their best regards, the Donkgop commanded me to rise and turn again to the platform where, during the ceremony, a large chair suitable for me had been carried on a huge army wagon.

About arthur.gulliver

Small circumstances can indeed, have prodigious effects upon the life of a man. When I look back over the events of my life and analyze the substance of those events, I am almost startled by the trivial things without which I should never have set out upon, nor experienced, some of the most interesting adventures that ever fell to the lot of man.
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