From "The True History" by Lucian of Samosata
( AD 120 - after 180 )



The travelers are lifted above the
clouds clear to the moon. ( Sketch by Richard Lung. )


CTESIAS wrote an account of India, in which he records matters which he neither saw himself, nor heard from the mouth of any creature in the world. So likewise a certain Jambulus wrote many incredible wonders of the great sea, that are too palpably untrue for anyone to suppose they are not of his own invention, though they are very entertaining to read. Many others have in the same spirit written pretended voyages and occasional peregrinations in unknown regions, wherein they give us incredible accounts of prodigiously huge animals, wild men, and strange and uncouth manners and habits of life. Their great leader and master in this fantastical way of imposing upon people was the famous Homeric Ulysses, who tells a long tale to Alcinous and his silly Phaeacians about King Aeolus and the winds, who are his slaves, and about one-eyed men-eaters and other the like savages; talks of many-headed beasts, of the transformation of his companions into brutes, and a number of other fooleries of a like nature. For my part I was the less displeased at all the falsehoods, great and numerous as they were, of these honest folks, when I saw that even men who pretend that they only philosophize, act not a hair better; but this has always excited my wonder, how they could imagine their readers would fail of perceiving that there was not a word of truth in all their narratives.

Now, as I cannot resist the vanity of transmitting to posterity a little work of my own composing, and though I have nothing true to relate (for nothing memorable has happened to me in all my life), I see not why I have not as good a right to deal in fiction as another: I resolved, however, to adopt an honester mode of lying than the generality of my compeers: for I tell at least one truth, by saying that I lie; and the more confidently hope therefore to escape the general censure, since my own voluntary confession is a sufficient proof that I desire to impose upon no one. Accordingly I hereby declare, that I sit down to relate what never befell me; what I neither saw myself, nor heard by report from others; aye, what is more, about matters that not only are not, but never will be, because in one word they are absolutely impossible, and to which therefore I warn my readers (if by the by I should have any) not to give even the smallest degree of credit.


Once on a time, then, I set sail from Cadiz, and steered my course with a fair wind to the Hesperian ocean. The occasion and the object of my voyage were, to speak honestly, that I had nothing more convenient to think of or to do, and had a certain restless curiosity to see novelties of whatever kind, and a desire to ascertain where the western ocean terminates, and what sort of men dwell beyond it. In this view my first care was to get on board the necessary stock of provision for so long a voyage, and plenty of fresh water, taking along with me fifty companions of the same mind as myself; and, moreover, I provided myself with a good store of arms, and one of the most experienced pilots, whom I took into my service on an allowance of considerable wages. My vessel was a sort of yacht, but built as large and stout as was necessary for a long and dangerous voyage.

We sailed a day and a night with favorable gales, and while still within sight of land, were not violently carried on; on the following day at sunrise, however, the wind blew fresher, the sea ran high, the sky lowered, and it was impossible even to take in the sails. We were therefore forced to resign ourselves to the wind, and were nine and seventy days driven about by the storm. On the eightieth, however, at daybreak, we descried a high and woody island not far off, against which, the gale having greatly abated, the breakers were not uncommonly furious. We landed therefore, got out, and, happy after sustaining so many troubles to feel the solid earth under us, we stretched ourselves at ease upon the ground. At length, after having rested for some time, we arose, and selected thirty of our company to stay by the ship, while the remaining thirty accompanied me in penetrating farther inland, to examine into the quality of the island.

When we had proceeded about two thousand paces from the shore through the forest, we came up to a pillar of brass, on which in Greek letters, half effaced and consumed by rust, this inscription was legible: Thus far came Bacchus and Hercules. We also discovered, at no great distance from it, two footmarks in the rock, one of which measured a whole acre, but the other was apparently somewhat smaller. I conjectured the lesser one to be that of Bacchus, and the other that of Hercules. We bowed the knee, and went on, but had not proceeded far when we came to a river, that instead of water ran with wine, which both in color and flavor appeared to us like our Chian wine. The river was so broad and deep, that in many places it was even navigable. Such an evident sign that Bacchus had once been here served not a little to confirm our faith in the inscription on the pillar. But being curious to learn whence this stream derived its origin, we went up to its head; but found no spring and only a quantity of large vines hung full of clusters, and at the bottom of every stem the wine trickled down in bright transparent drops, from the confluence whereof the stream arose. We saw likewIse a vast quantIty of fishes therein the flesh of which had both the color and flavor of the wine in which they lived. We caught some, and so greedily swallowed them down, that as many as ate of them were completely drunk; and on cutting up the fishes we found them to be full of lees. It occurred to us afterwards to mix these wine fishes with water fishes, whereby they lost their strong vinous taste, and yielded an excellent dish.

We then crossed the river at a part where we found it fordable, and came among a wonderful species of vines: which toward the earth had firm stocks, green and knotty; but upwards they were ladies, having down to the waist their several proportions perfect and complete; as Daphne is depicted, when she was turned into a tree in Apollo's embrace. Their fingers terminated in shoots, full of bunches of grapes, and instead of hair their heads were grown over with tendrils, leaves, and clusters. These ladies came up to us, amicably gave us their hands, and greeted us, some in Lydian, others in Indian language, but most of them in Greek; they saluted us also on the lips; but those whom they kissed immediately became drunk, and reeled. Their fruit, however, they would not permit us to pluck, and screamed out with pain when we broke off a bunch. Some of them even showed an inclination to consort with us; but a couple of my companions, in consenting to it, paid dear for their complaisance. For they got so entangled in their embraces, that they could never after be loosed; but every limb coalesced and grew together with theirs, in such sort as to become one stock with roots in common. Their fingers changed into vine twigs, and began to bud, giving promise of fruit.

Leaving them to their fate, we made what haste we could to our ship, where we related all that we had seen to our comrades, whom we had left behind, particularly the adventure of the two whose embraces with the vine women had turned out so badly. Hereupon we filled our empty casks partly with common water, partly from the wine stream; and after having passed the night not far from the latter, weighed anchor in the morning with a moderate breeze. But about noon, when we had lost sight of the island, we were suddenly caught by a whirlwind, which turned our vessel several times round in a circle with tremendous velocity, and lifted it above three thousand stadia aloft in the air, not setting it down again on the sea, but kept it suspended above the water at that height, and carried us on, with swelled sails, above the clouds.

Having thus continued our course through the sky for the space of seven days and as many nights, on the eighth day we descried a sort of earth in the air, resembling a large, shining, circular island, spreading a remarkably brilliant light around it. We made up to it, anchored our ship, and went on shore, and on examination found it inhabited and cultivated. Indeed, by day we could distinguish nothing: but as soon as the night came on, we discerned other islands in the vicinity, some bigger, some less, and all of a fiery color. There was also, very deep below these, another earth, having on it cities and rivers and lakes and forests and mountains; whence we concluded that it might probably be ours.

Having resolved on prosecuting our journey, we came up with a number of horse vultures or hippogypes, as they are called in this country, who immediately seized our persons. These hippogypes are men who ride upon huge vultures, and are as well skilled in managing them as we are in the use of horses. But the vultures are of a prodigious bulk, and for the most part have three heads; and how large they must be, may be judged of by this, that each of the feathers in their wings is longer and thicker than the mast of a great corn ship. The hippogypes are commissioned to fly round the whole island, and whenever they meet a stranger, to carry him before the king; with which order we were therefore obliged to comply. The king no sooner spied us, than he understood, I suppose from our dress, what countrymen we were; for the first word he said to us was, "The gentlemen then are Greeks." On our not scrupling to own it, he continued, "How got you hither, through such a vast tract of air as that lying between your earth and this?" We then told him all that had happened to us. Upon this he was pleased to communicate to us some particulars of his history. He told us: he was likewise a man, and the same Endymion who was long since, while he lay asleep, rapt up from our earth and conveyed hither, where he was appointed king, and is the same that appears to us below as the moon. Moreover, he bade us be of good cheer and apprehend no danger; assuring us at the same that we should be provided with all necessaries: "and," added he, "when I shall have successfully put a period to the war in which I am at present engaged with the inhabitants of the sun, you shall pass with me the happiest lives you can possibly conceive." On our asking him what enemies he had, and how the misunderstanding began, he replied: --

" It is now a long tune, that Phaeton, the king of the solar inhabitants (for the sun is no less peopled than the moon), has been at war with us, for no other reason than this. I had taken the resolution to send out the poorest people of my dominions as a colony into the morning star, which at that time was waste and void of inhabitants. To this now, Phaeton, out of envy, would not consent, and opposed my colonists with a troop of horse pismires in midway. Being unprepared for the encounter, and therefore not provided with arms, we were for that time forced to retreat. I have now, however, resolved to have another contest with them, and to settle my colony there, cost what it will. If you therefore have a mind to take part in this enterprise, I will furnish you with vultures out of my own mews, and provide you with the necessary arms and accouterments; and to-morrow we will begin our march."

"With all my heart," I replied, "whenever you please."

The king that evening made us sit down to an entertainment; and on the following morning early we made the necessary preparations, and drew up in battle array, our scouts having apprised us that the enemy was approaching. Our army consisted, besides the light infantry, the foreign auxiliaries, the engineers and sutlers, of a hundred thousand men: that is to say, eighty thousand horse vultures, and twenty thousand who were mounted on cabbage fowl. These are an exceedingly numerous species of birds, that instead of feathers are thickly grown over with cabbages, and have a broad kind of lettuce leaves for wings. Our flanks were composed of bean shooters and garlic throwers. In addition to these, thirty thousand flea guards and fifty thousand wind coursers were sent to our aid from the bean star, The former are archers mounted on a kind of fleas which are twelve times as big as an elephant; but the wind coursers, though they fight on foot, yet run without wings in the air. This is performed in the following manner: they wear wide, long gowns, reaching down to the ankles; these they tuck up so as to hold the wind, like a sail, and thus they are wafted through the air after the manner of ships. In battle they are generally used like our peltasts. It was currently reported that seventy thousand sparrow acorns and five thousand horse cranes were to be sent us from the stars over Cappadocia; but I must own that I did not see them, and for this plain reason, that they never came. I therefore shall not take upon me to describe them; for all sorts of amazing and incredible things were propagated about them.

Such were the forces of Endymion. Their arms and accouterments were all alike. Their helmets were of bean shells, the beans with them being excessively large and thick-shelled. Their scaly coats of mail were made of the husks of their lupines sewed together, for in that country the shell of the lupine is as hard and impenetrable as horn. Their shields and swords differ not from those of the Greeks.

Everything now being ready, the troops disposed themselves in the following order of battle: the horse vultures composed the right wing, and were led on by the king in person, surrounded by a number of picked men, amongst whom we also were ranged; the left wing consisted of the cabbage fowl, and in the center were placed the auxiliaries, severally classed. The foot soldiery amounted to about sixty millions. There is a species of spiders in the moon, the smallest of which is bigger than one of the islands of the Cyclades. These received orders to fill up the whole tract of air between the moon and morning star with a web. This was done in a few instants, and served as a floor for the foot soldiers to form themselves in order of battle upon; these were commanded by Nightbird, Fairweather's son, and two other generals.

On the left wing of the enemy stood the horse pismires, headed by Phaeton. These animals are a species of winged ants, differing from ours only in bulk, the largest of them covering no less than two acres. They have besides one peculiarity, that they assist their riders in fighting principally with their horns. Their number was given in at about fifty thousand. On the right wing in the first engagement somewhere about fifty thousand gnat riders were posted, all archers, mounted on monstrous huge gnats. Behind these stood the radish darters, a sort of light infantry, but who greatly annoyed the enemy: being armed with slings from which they threw horrid large radishes to a very great distance; whoever was struck by them died on the spot, and the wound instantly gave out an intolerable stench, for it is said that they dipped the radishes in mallow poison. Behind them stood the stalky mushrooms heavy-armed infantry, ten thousand in number, having their name from their bearing a kind of fungus for their shield, and using stalks of large asparagus for spears. Not far from these were placed the dog acorns, who were sent to succor Phaeton from the inhabitants of Sirius, in number five thousand. They were men with dogs' heads, who fought on winged acorns, which served them as chariots. Besides, there went a report that several other reinforcements were to have come, on which Phaeton had reckoned, particularly the slingers that were expected from the Milky Way, together with the cloud centaurs. The latter, however, did not arrive till after the affair was decided, and it had been as well for us if they had stayed away; the slingers, however, came not at all, at which Phaeton was so enraged that he afterwards laid waste their country by fire. These then were all the forces that Phaeton brought into the field.

The signal for the onset was now given on both sides by asses, which in this country are employed instead of trumpeters: and the engagement had no sooner begun, than the left wing of the Heliotans, without waiting for the attack of the horse vultures, turned their backs immediately; and we pursued them with great slaughter. On the other hand, their right wing at first gained the advantage over our left, and the gnat riders overthrew our cabbage fowl with such force, and pursued them with so much fury, that they advanced even to our footmen; who, however, stood their ground so bravely that the enemy were in their turn thrown into disorder and obliged to fly, especially when they saw that their left wing was routed. Their defeat was now decisive; we made a great many prisoners, and the slain were so numerous that the clouds were tinged with the blood that was spilt, as they sometimes appear to us at the going down of the sun; aye, it even trickled down from them upon the earth. So that I was led to suppose that a similar event in former times, in the upper regions, might perhaps have caused those showers of blood which Homer makes his Jupiter rain for Sarpedon's death.

Returning from the pursuit of the enemy, we erected two trophies; one for the infantry on the cobweb, the other on the clouds for those who had fought in the air. While we were thus employed, intelligence was brought us from our fore posts that the cloud centaurs were now coming up, which ought to have joined Phaeton before the battle. I must own, that the march towards us of an army of cavalry that were half men and half winged horses, and of whom the human half was as big as the upper moiety of the colossus at Rhodes, and the equine half resembling a great ship of burden, formed a spectacle altogether extraordinary. Their number I rather decline to state, for it was so prodigious that I am fearful I should not be believed. They were led on by Sagittarius from the Zodiac. As soon as they learnt that their friends had been defeated; they sent immediately a dispatch to Phaeton, to call him back to the fight; whilst they marched up in good array to the terrified Selenites, who had fallen into great disorder in pursuing the enemy and dividing the spoil, put them all to flight, pursued the king himself to the very walls of his capital, killed the greater part of his birds, threw down the trophies, overran the whole field of cobweb, and together with the rest made me and my two companions prisoners of war. Phaeton at length came up; and after they had erected other trophies, that same day we were carried prisoners into the sun, our hands tied behind our backs with a cord of the cobweb.

The enemy did not think fit to besiege Endymion's capital, but contented himself with carrying up a double rampart of clouds between the moon and the sun, whereby all communication between the two was effectually cut off, and the moon deprived of all sunlight. The poor moon, therefore, from that instant suffered a total eclipse, and was shrouded in complete uninterrupted darkness. In this distress, Endymion had no other resource than to send a deputation to the sun, humbly to entreat him to demolish the wall, and that he would not be so unmerciful as to doom him to utter darkness; binding himself to pay a tribute to the sun, to assist him with auxiliaries whenever he should be at war, never more to act with hostility against him, and to give hostages as surety for the due performance of the contract. Phaeton held two councils to deliberate on these proposals: in the first, their minds were as yet too soured to admit of a favorable reception; but in the second, their anger had somewhat subsided, and the peace was concluded by a treaty which ran thus:--

The Heliotans with their allies on the one part, and the Selenites with their confederates on the other part, have entered into a league, in which it is stipulated as follows: The Heliotans engage to demolish the wall, never more to make hostile attacks upon the moon, and that the prisoners taken on both sides shall be set at liberty on the payment of an equitable ransom. The Selenites on their part promise not to infringe the rights and privileges of the other stars, nor ever again to make war upon the Heliotans; but on the contrary, the two powers shall mutually aid and assist one another with their forces, in case of any invasion. The king of the Selenites also binds himself to pay to the king of the Heliotans a yearly tribute of ten thousand casks of dew, and give ten thousand hostages by way of security. With reference to the colony in the morning star, both the contracting parties shall jointly assist in establishing it, and liberty is given to any that will to share in the peopling of it. This treaty shall be engraved on a pillar of amber, to be set up between the confines of the two kingdoms. To the due performance of this treaty are solemnly sworn, on the part of the
HELIOTES: Fireman. Summerheat. Flamington.
SELENITES: Nightlove. Moonius. Changelight.

This treaty of peace being signed, the wall was pulled down, and the prisoners were exchanged. On our return to the moon, our comrades and Endymion himself came forth to meet us, and embraced us with weeping eyes. The prince would fain have retained us with him; making us the proposal at the same time to form part of the new colony, as we liked best. He even offered me his own son for a mate (for they have no women there). This I could by no means be persuaded to, but earnestly begged that he would set us down upon the sea. Finding that I could not be prevailed on to stay, he consented to dismiss us, after he had feasted us most nobly during a whole week.



When a Selenite is grown old, he does not die as we do, but vanishes like smoke in the air.

The whole nation eats the same sort of food. They roast frogs (which with them fly about the air in vast numbers) on coals; then when they are done enough, seating themselves round the hearth, as we do at a table, snuff up the effluvia that rises from them, and in this consists their whole meal. When thirsty, they squeeze the air into a goblet, which is filled in this manner with a dewlike moisture. . .

Whoever would pass for a beauty among them must be bald and without hair; curly and bushy heads are an abomination to them. But in the comets it is just the reverse: for there only curly hair is esteemed beautiful, as some travelers, who were well received in those stars, informed us. Nevertheless they have somewhat of a beard a little above the knee. On their feet they have neither nails nor toes; for the whole foot is entirely one piece. Everyone of them at the point of the rump has a large cabbage growing, in lieu of a tail, always green and flourishing, and which never breaks off though a man falls on his back.

They sneeze a very sour kind of honey; and when they are at work or gymnastic exercises, or use any exertion, milk oozes from all the pores of the body in such quantities that they make cheese of it, only mixing with it a little of the said honey.

They have an art of extracting an oil from onions, which is very white, and of so fragrant an odor that they use it for perfuming. Moreover, their soil produces a great abundance of vines, which instead of wine yield water grapes, and the grape-stones are the size of our hail. I know not how better to explain the hail with us, than by saying that it hails on the earth whenever the vines in the moon are violently agitated by a high wind, so as to burst the water grapes.

The Selenites wear no pockets, but put all they would carry with them in their bellies, which they can open and shut at pleasure. For by nature they are quite empty, having no intestines; only they are rough and hairy within, so that even their new-born children, when they are cold, creep into them.

As to their clothing, the rich wear garments of glass, but those of the poorer sort are wove of brass; for these regions are very prolific in ores, and they work it as we do wool, by pouring water upon it.

But what sort of eyes they have, I doubt my veracity would be suspected were I to say; it is so incredible. Yet, having already related so much of the marvelous, this may as well go along with the rest. They have eyes, then, that they can take out whenever they choose: whoever therefore would save his eyes, takes them out, and lays them by; if anything that he would fain see presents itself, he puts his eyes in again and looks at it. Some who have carelessly lost their own borrow of others; for rich people are always provided with a good stock.

Their ears are made of plane-tree leaves, and only the Dendrites have wooden ones.

I saw also another strange object in the king s palace; which was a looking-glass of enormous dimensions, lying over a well not very deep. Whoever goes down into this well hears everything that is said upon our earth; and whoever looks in the mirror sees in it all the cities and nations of the world, exactly as if they were standing before him. I saw on this occasion my family and my whole country : whether, however, they likewise saw me, I cannot positively say. He who does not believe what I have mentioned touching the virtues of this looking-glass, if he ever goes thither, may convince himself by his own eyes that I have said nothing but what is true.

We now took our leaves of the king and his court, repaired on board our ship, and departed. Endymion at parting made me a present of two glass and five brazen robes, together with a complete suit of armor made of bean shells; all of which I was afterwards forced to leave behind in the whale's belly. He likewise sent with us a thousand hippogypes, to escort us five hundred stadia on our way.

After having in our course coasted along several countries, we landed on the morning star, which had lately been cultivated, to take in fresh water. Thence we steered into the Zodiac, sailing close by the sun on the left hand; but here we did not go ashore, though my companions were very desirous to do so, because the wind was against us. We got near enough, however, to see that the landscape was covered with the most beautiful verdure, well watered, and richly endowed with all sorts of natural productions. The nephelocentaurs, who are mercenaries in the service of Phaeton, on seeing us fled on board our pinnace; but on being informed that we were included in the treaty of peace, soon departed.

The hippogypes now likewise took leave of us, and all the next night and day, continuing our course, always bearing downwards, towards evening we arrived at a place called Lampton. This city is situated between the Pleiades and Hyades, and a little below the Zodiac. Here we landed, but saw no men; instead of them, however, we beheld a vast concourse of lamps, running to and fro along the streets, and busily employed in the market and the harbor. They were in general little, and had a poor appearance. Some few, we could perceive by their fine show and brightness, were the great and powerful among them. Every one had its own lantern to live in, with their proper names as men have. We likewise heard them articulate a sort of speech. They offered us no injury, but rather seemed to receive us hospitably after their manner; notwithstanding which, we could not get the better of our fears, and none of us would venture to eat or to sleep with them. In the middle of the city they have a kind of court-house, where their chief magistrate sits all the night long, and calls everyone by name to him; and whoever does not answer is treated as a deserter, and punished by death,-- that is, he is extinguished. We likewise heard, while standing by to see what passed, some of them make their several excuses, and the reasons they alleged for coming so late. On this occasion I recognized our own house lamp; upon which I inquired of it how affairs went on at home, and it told me all that it knew.

Having resolved to stay there but one night, we weighed anchor the next morning, and sailed off from Lychnopolis, passing near the clouds, where we, among others, saw to our great astonishment the famous city of Nephelococcygia, but by reason of adverse winds could not enter the port. We learnt, however, that Coronos, Cottyphion's son, was reigning there; and I for my own part was confirmed in the opinion that I have ever entertained of the wisdom and veracity of the poet Aristophanes, whose account of that city has been unjustly discredited. Three days afterwards we came again in sight of the great ocean; but the earth showed itself nowhere, that floating in the air excepted, which appeared exceedingly fiery and sparkling. On the fourth day about noon, the wind, gently subsiding, settled us fair and leisurely upon the sea.

It is impossible to describe the ravishment that seized us on feeling ourselves once more on the water. We gave the whole ship's crew a feast on the remainder of our provisions, and afterwards leaped into the water, and bathed to our heart's content; for it was now a perfect calm, and the sea as smooth as a looking-glass.

Soon, however, we experienced that a sudden change for the better is not seldom the beginning of greater misfortunes. For scarcely had we proceeded two days on the sea, when about sunrise a great many whales and other monsters of the deep appeared. Among the former, one was of a most enormous size, being not less than three hundred miles long. This came towards us, open-mouthed, raising the waves on all sides, and beating the sea before him into a foam, and showing teeth much larger than our colossal phalli, sharp-pointed as needles and white as ivory. We therefore took our last leave of one another and while we were thus in mutual embraces expecting him every moment, he came on and swallowed us up, ship and all, at one gulp; for he found it unnecessary to crush us first with his teeth, but the vessel at one squeeze slipped between the interstices, and went down into his maw.

When we were in, it was at first so dark that we could discern nothing; but when after some time he opened his chops, we saw ourselves in a cavity of such prodigious height and width that it seemed to have room enough for a city of ten thousand inhabitants. All about lay a vast quantity of small fishes, macerated animals, sails, anchors, men's bones, and. whole cargoes. Farther in, probably from the quantity of mud this whale had swallowed, was an earth with mountains and valleys upon it; the former being covered with all sorts of forest trees, and the valleys planted with different herbs and vegetables, so that one would have thought it had been cultivated. This island, if I may so term it, might perhaps be about forty-five miles in circumference. We saw likewise sundry species of sea fowl, gulls, halcyons, and others, that had made their nests upon the trees.

We now had leisure to contemplate our deplorable situation, and wept plentifully. At last when I had somewhat comforted the dejected spirits of my companions, our first business was to make the ship fast; we then struck fire, and of the fishes, which lay in great quantities and variety about us, we prepared a good meal; water we had on board, the remainder of what we took in at the morning star.

On getting up the next morning, we perceived that as often as the whale fetched breath, we one while saw mountains, at another nothing but the sky, sometimes likewise islands; whence we then concluded that he moved about with great velocity, and seemed to visit every part of the ocean.

When we were grown a little familiar with our new place of abode, taking with me seven of my companions, we went into the forest to make farther discoveries. We had not proceeded above a furlong before we came to a temple, which, as the inscription ran, was dedicated to Neptune; not far off we found a great number of tombs with pillars, and a little farther on, a spring of clear water. We also heard the barking of a dog and seeing smoke rise at some dIstance, we concluded that probably we might not be far from some dwellIng. We now doubled our speed, and had not advanced many paces, when we met an old man and a youth very busy in cultivating a kitchen garden, and just then employed in conducting water into it by a furrow from the spring. At this sight, surprised at once both by joy and fear, we stood mute, and it may easily be imagined that they were possessed by the same apprehensions. They paused from their work, and for some time surveyed us attentively, without uttering a sound. At last the old man, taking courage, spoke to us: "Who are you," said he, "demons of the ocean, or miserable men like us? For as to us, we are men, and from offspring of the earth, as we were, are become inmates of the sea, and are carried up and down with this monster in which we are inclosed, without rightly knowing what to think of ourselves; for we have every reason to suppose we are dead, though we believe that we are alive."

" We also, old father," I replied, "are men, who first found ourselves here a short time ago; for this is but the third day since we were swallowed up, together with our ship: and it is purely the desire of exploring this forest, which appeared so vast and thick, that has brought us hither. But without doubt it was by the guidance of some good genius that we found you, and now know that we are not alone inclosed in this whale. Tell us, then, if I may be so bold, who you are, and how you came hither."

Whereupon the good old man assured us that he would not satisfy our curiosity, till he had first entertained us as well as he was able; and saying this, he led us into his house, which he had fitted up conveniently. It was commodious enough for his situation, and provided with pallets and other necessaries. Here, after setting before us legumes, fruits, fish, and wine, and when we had satisfied our appetites, he began to inquire into the accidents that had occurred to us : and I recounted to him everything in order, -- the storm, and what befell us on the island, and our voyage in the air, and the war, and all the rest of it, to the moment of our submersion into the whale.

After having emphatically expressed to me his astonishment at such wonderful occurrences, he then told us his own story. "My friends," said he, "I am a merchant of Cyprus. Business called me from home; and with my son, whom you see here, and a great number of servants, I set out on a voyage to Italy, on board a ship freighted with various kinds of merchandise, the scattered fragments of which you may probably have observed in the whale's gullet. We came as far as Sicily with a prosperous gale; but there a contrary wind got up, which the third day drove us into the ocean, where we had the misfortune to fall in with this whale, and to be swallowed up, crew and ship and all. All my people lost their lives, and we two alone remained. Having deposited them in the earth, we built a temple to Neptune, and here we have lived ever since, cultivating our little garden, and raising herbs, which with fish and fruits are our constant nourishment. The forest, which is of great extent, as you see, produces likewise abundance of vines, which yield a delicious wine; and you may perhaps have seen that we have a spring of fresh and excellent water. We make our bed of leaves, have plenty of fuel, and catch birds in nets, and even live fish, when we get out upon the gills of the monster, where we bathe likewise whenever we have an inclination that way. Besides, not far from hence is a lake of salt water, twenty stadia in circumference, and abounding in fish of various kinds. In this lake we sometimes amuse ourselves with swimming, or in rowing about in a little boat of my own making. In this manner we have now spent seven and twenty years, since we were swallowed up by the whale. We should be contented and easy enough here if our neighbors, who are very unsociable and rude people, were not so troublesome to us."

"What, then," I exclaimed, "are there any other people beside us in this whale? "

"A great many," returned the old man; "but as I said, untractable creatures, and of very grotesque shapes. The western part of the forest, towards the tail of the whale, is inhabited by the Tarichanes, who have the eyes of an eel and the face of a crab, -- a warlike, bold, and rude, carnivorous people. On the other side, to the right, the Tritonomensetes dwell, down to the waist resembling men, and below formed like weasels; yet their disposition is not so mischievous and ferocious as that of the others. On the left hand reside the Carcinocheires and Thynnocephali, the former of whom instead of hands have crabs' claws, the latter have the head of a tunny fish; these two tribes have entered into alliance, and make common cause in the war. The middle region is occupied by the Pagurades and Psettapodes, a couple of warlike races, who are particularly swift-footed. The eastern parts, next the whale's jaws, being generally overwashed by the sea, are almost uninhabited; I am therefore fain to take up my quarters here, on condition of paying the Psettapodes an annual tribute of five hundred oysters. Such is the internal division of this country; and you may easily conceive that it is a matter of no small concern to us, how to defend ourselves against so many nations, and at least how to live among them."

"How many may you be in all?" I asked. -
"Above a thousand." --
" What arms do you wear? " --
" None but fish bones." --
" We had best then attack them," said I, "seeing we are armed and they are not. If we once for all subdue them, we may afterwards live without disturbance."

This proposal pleased our host. We therefore repaired to our ship, and made the necessary preparations. An occasion of war we could not be at a loss for. Our host had no more to do but refuse paying the tribute, the day appointed being near at hand; and this was accordingly agreed on. They sent to demand the tribute. He sent them packing without their errand. At this the Psettapodes and Pagurades were so incensed that with great clamor they fell furiously upon the plantation of Skintharus, -- for that was the name of our new friend. As this was no more than we had expected, they found us in a condition to receive them. I had sent out a detachment consisting of half my crew, five and twenty in number, with orders to lie in ambuscade, and when the enemy had passed, to attack him in the rear; which they did with complete success. I then with the rest of my men, also five and twenty strong (for Skintharus and his son fought with us), marched forward to oppose them; and when we had come to close quarters, we fought with such bravery and strength that after an obstinate struggle, not without danger on our part, they were at last beat out of the field, and pursued to their dens. Of the enemy were slain a hundred threescore and ten; on our side we lost only one, -- my pilot, who was run through the shoulder by the rib of a mullet.

That day, and the night after it, we lodged in our trenches, and erected the dry backbone of a dolphin as a trophy. But the rumor of this engagement having in the mean time gone abroad, we found the next morning a fresh enemy before us: the Tarichanes under the command of a certain Pelamus in the left wing, the Thynnocephali taking the right, and the Carkinocheires occupying the center. For the Tritonomendetes, not liking to have anything to do with either party, chose to remain neuter. We came up to the enemy close by the temple of Neptune, where, under so great a war cry that the whole whale rebellowed with it through its Immense caverns, the armies rushed to combat. Our enemies, however, being not much better than naked and unarmed, were soon put to flight and chased into the heart of the forest, whereby we became masters of the country.

They sent heralds a little while after, to fetch away their dead and propose terms of accommodation; which, so far from thinking proper to agree to, we marched in a body against them the very next day, and put them all to the sword, except the Tritonomendetes, who, seeing how it had fared with their fellows, ran away as fast as they could to the whale's gills, and cast themselves headlong into the sea.

We now scoured the country, and finding it cleared of all enemies, we have ever since lived agreeably together, passing our time in bodily exercises and hunting, tending our vines, gathering the fruits of the trees, and living, in one word, like people who make themselves very comfortable in a spacious prison which they cannot get out of. In this manner we spent a year and eight months.

On the fifteenth day of the ninth month, however, at the second opening of the whale's chops (for this he did once every hour, by which periodical gaping we computed the hours of the day), we heard a great cry, and a noise like that of sailors, and the dashing of oars. Not a little alarmed, we crept forward to the jaws of the monster, where, standing between the teeth, where everything might be seen, we beheld one of the most astonishing spectacles, far surpassing all that I had ever seen in my whole life; men who were five hundred feet in stature, and came sailing on islands, as if they had been on ship-board. I am aware that what I am saying will be thought incredible, yet I cannot help proceeding: it must out. These islands were indeed of considerable length, one with another about eighteen miles in circumference; but proportionally not very high. Upon each of them were some eight and twenty rowers, who, sitting in two rows on both sides, rowed with huge cypresses, having their branches and leaves on. In the after part of the ship (if I may so term it) stood the pilot on a high hill, managing a brazen rudder that might be perhaps six hundred feet long. On the forecastle about forty of them were standing, armed for war, and looking in all respects like men, excepting that instead of hair they had flames of fire on their heads, and therefore had no occasion for a helmet. The place of sails on each of these islands was supplied by a thick forest, on which the wind rushing, drove and turned the island, how and whither the pilot would. By the rowers stood one that had the command over them; and these islands moved by the help of the oar, like so many galleys, with the greatest velocity. At first we saw only two or three; by degrees, however, perhaps six hundred came in sight; and after forming themselves in two lines, they began to engage in a regular sea fight. Many ran foul of each other by the stern with such force that not a few were overset by the violence of the shock, and went to the bottom. Others got entangled together, and obstinately maintained the fight with equal bravery and ardor, and could not easily be parted. The combatants on the foredeck showed the most consummate valor, leaped into the enemy's ships, and cut down all before them, for no quarter was given. Instead of grappling irons, they hurled enormous polypi fast tied to thick ropes, which clung to the forest, with their numerous arms, and thus kept the island from moving. The shot they made use of, and with which they sadly wounded one another, were oysters one of which would have completely filled a wagon, and sponges each big enough to cover an acre of ground.

By what we could gather from their mutual shouts, the commander of one fleet was called Aeolocentaurus, and that of the other Thalassopotes; and the occasion of the war, as it appeared, was given by Thalassopotes, who accused Aeolocentaurus of having stolen several shoals of dolphins from him. Certain it is, that the Aeolocentaurian party came off victorious, having sunk nearly a hundred and fifty of their enemy's islands, and captured three others, with all the men upon them; the rest sheered off, and made their escape. The conquerors, after pursuing them for some time, returned towards evening to the wrecks, made prizes of most of them, and got up their own islands; for in the engagement no fewer than eighty had gone down. This done, they nailed one of the islands to the head of the whale as a monument of the victory, and passed the night in the wake of the monster, after fastening the ship to him with hawsers, having previously hooked their anchors into his sides; for they had with them anchors immensely large and strong, all made of glass. On the following day they got out upon the back of the whale, sacrificed to their deities, buried their dead in it, and then set sail with great jubilation.






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