The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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are engaged in a most obstinate war, which began in the follow­ing manner :—It is allowed on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs was upon the larger end ; but his present Majesty'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. "Whereupon the Emperor, his father, made a law command­ing all his subjects to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law that there have been six rebel­lions raised on that account, wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. It is calculated that eleven hundred per­sons have at different times suffered death rather than break their esrgs at the smaller end. But these rebels, the Bigendians, have found so much encouragement at the Emperor of Blefuscu's Court, to which they always fled for refuge, that a bloody war, as I said, has been carried on between the two empires for six-and-thirty moons; and now the Blefuscudians have equipped a large fleet, and are preparing to descend upon us. Therefore his Impe­rial Majesty, placing great confidence in your valour and strength, has commanded me to set the case before you.'
I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and to let him know that I was ready, at the risk of my life, to defend him against all invaders.
It was not long before I communicated to his Majesty the plan I formed for seizing the enemy's whole fleet. The Empire of Blefuscu is an island parted from Lilliput only by a channel eight hundred yards wide. I consulted the most experienced seamen on the depth of the channel, and they told me that in the middle, at high water, it was seventy glumgluffs (about six feet of European measure). I walked towards the coast, where, lying down behind a hillock, I took out my spy-glass, and viewed the enemy's fleet at anchor— about fifty men-of-war, and other vessels. I then came back to my house and gave orders for a great quantity of the strongest cables and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as packthread, and the bars of the length and size of a knitting-needle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same reason twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the ends into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the coast, and
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