Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Erich Raspe

Part 2 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

to discharge it, and in consequence of that it fell into the middle of
the channel, where it now lies, without a prospect of ever recovering
it: and notwithstanding the high favour I was in with the Grand
Seignior, as before mentioned, this cruel Turk, as soon as he heard of
the loss of his famous piece of ordnance, issued an order to cut off
my head. I was immediately informed of it by one of the Sultanas, with
whom I was become a great favourite, and she secreted me in her
apartment while the officer charged with my execution was, with his
assistants, in search of me.

That very night I made my escape on board a vessel bound to Venice,
which was then weighing anchor to proceed on her voyage.

The last story, gentlemen, I am not fond of mentioning, as I
miscarried in the attempt, and was very near losing my life into the
bargain: however, as it contains no impeachment of my honour, I would
not withhold it from you.

Now, gentlemen, you all know me, and can have no doubt of my veracity.
I will entertain you with the origin of this same swaggering, bouncing

His reputed father was a native of Berne, in Switzerland; his
profession was that of a surveyor of the streets, lanes, and alleys,
vulgarly called a scavenger. His mother was a native of the mountains
of Savoy, and had a most beautiful large wen on her neck, common to
both sexes in that part of the world; she left her parents when young,
and sought her fortune in the same city which gave his father birth;
she maintained herself while single by acts of kindness to our sex,
for she never was known to refuse them any favour they asked, provided
they did but pay her some compliment beforehand. This lovely couple
met by accident in the street, in consequence of their being both
intoxicated, for by reeling to one centre they threw each other down;
this created mutual abuse, in which they were complete adepts; they
were both carried to the watch-house, and afterwards to the house of
correction; they soon saw the folly of quarrelling, made it up, became
fond of each other, and married; but madam returning to her old
tricks, his father, who had high notions of honour, soon separated
himself from her; she then joined a family who strolled about with a
puppet-show. In time she arrived at Rome, where she kept an oyster-
stand. You have all heard, no doubt of Pope Ganganelli, commonly
called Clement XIV.: he was remarkably fond of oysters. One Good
Friday, as he was passing through this famous city in state, to assist
at high mass at St. Peter's Church, he saw this woman's oysters (which
were remarkably fine and fresh); he could not proceed without tasting
them. There were about five thousand people in his train; he ordered
them all to stop, and sent word to the church he could not attend mass
till next day; then alighting from his horse (for the Pope always
rides on horseback upon these occasions) he went into her stall, and
ate every oyster she had there, and afterwards retired into the cellar
where she had a few more. This subterraneous apartment was her
kitchen, parlour, and bed-chamber. He liked his situation so much that
he discharged all his attendants, and to make short of the story, His
Holiness passed the whole night there! Before they parted he gave her
absolution, not only for every sin she had, but all she might
hereafter commit.

/Now, gentlemen, I have his mother's word for it (and her honour
cannot be doubted), that Baron Tott is the fruit of that amour. When
Tott was born, his mother applied to His Holiness, as the father of
her child; he immediately placed him under the proper people, and as
he grew up gave him a gentleman's education, had him taught the use of
arms, procured him promotion in France, and a title, and when he died
he left him a good estate./


/A further account of the journey from Harwich to Helvoetsluys--
Description of a number of marine objects never mentioned by any
traveller before--Rocks seen in this passage equal to the Alps in
magnitude; lobsters, crabs, &c., of an extraordinary magnitude--A
woman's life saved--The cause of her falling into the sea--Dr.
Hawes' directions followed with success./

I omitted several very material parts in my father's journey across
the English Channel to Holland, which, that they may not be totally
lost I will now faithfully give you in his own words, as I heard him
relate them to his friends several times.

"On my arrival," says my father, "at Helvoetsluys, I was observed to
breathe with some difficulty; upon the inhabitants inquiring into the
cause, I informed them that the animal upon whose back I rode from
Harwich across to their shore did not swim! Such is their peculiar
form and disposition, that they cannot float or move upon the surface
of the water; he ran with incredible swiftness upon the sands from the
shore, driving fish in millions before him, many of which were quite
different from any I had yet seen, carrying their heads at the
extremity of their tails. I crossed," continued he, "one prodigious
range of rocks, equal in height to the Alps (the tops or highest parts
of these marine mountains are said to be upwards of one hundred
fathoms below the surface of the sea), on the sides of which there was
a great variety of tall, noble trees, loaded with marine fruit, such
as lobsters, crabs, oysters, scollops, mussels, cockles, &c. &c.; some
of which were a cart-load singly! and none less than a porter's! All
those which are brought on shore and sold in our markets are of an
inferior dwarf kind, or, properly, waterfalls, /i.e./, fruit shook off
the branches of the tree it grows upon by the motion of the water, as
those in our gardens are by that of the wind! The lobster-trees
appeared the richest, but the crab and oysters were the tallest. The
periwinkle is a kind of shrub; it grows at the foot of the oyster-
tree, and twines round it as the ivy does the oak. I observed the
effect of several accidents by shipwreck, &c., particularly a ship
that had been wrecked by striking against a mountain or rock, the top
of which lay within three fathoms of the surface. As she sank she fell
upon her side, and forced a very large lobster-tree out of its place.
It was in the spring, when the lobsters were very young, and many of
them being separated by the violence of the shock, they fell upon a
crab-tree which was growing below them; they have, like the farina of
plants, united, and produced a fish resembling both. I endeavoured to
bring one with me, but it was too cumbersome, and my salt-water
Pegasus seemed much displeased at every attempt to stop his career
whilst I continued upon his back; besides, I was then, though
galloping over a mountain of rocks that lay about midway the passage,
at least five hundred fathom below the surface of the sea, and began
to find the want of air inconvenient, therefore I had no inclination
to prolong the time. Add to this, my situation was in other respects
very unpleasant; I met many large fish, who were, if I could judge by
their open mouths, not only able, but really wished to devour us; now,
as my Rosinante was blind, I had these hungry gentlemen's attempts to
guard against, in addition to my other difficulties.

"As we drew near the Dutch shore, and the body of water over our heads
did not exceed twenty fathoms, I thought I saw a human figure in a
female dress then lying on the sand before me with some signs of life;
when I came close I perceived her hand move: I took it into mine, and
brought her on shore as a corpse. An apothecary, who had just been
instructed by Dr. Hawes [the Baron's father must have lived very
lately if Dr. Hawes was his preceptor], of London, treated her
properly, and she recovered. She was the rib of a man who commanded a
vessel belonging to Helvoetsluys. He was just going out of port on a
voyage, when she, hearing he had got a mistress with him, followed him
in an open boat. As soon as she had got on the quarter-deck she flew
at her husband, and attempted to strike him with such impetuosity,
that he thought it most prudent to slip on one side, and let her make
the impression of her fingers upon the waves rather than his face: he
was not much out in his ideas of the consequence; for meeting no
opposition, she went directly overboard, and it was my unfortunate lot
to lay the foundation for bringing this happy pair together again.

"I can easily conceive what execrations the husband loaded me with
when, on his return, he found this gentle creature waiting his
arrival, and learned the means by which she came into the world again.
However, great as the injury is which I have done this poor devil, I
hope he will die in charity with me, as my motive was good, though the
consequences to him are, it must be confessed, horrible."


/This is a very short chapter, but contains a fact for which the
Baron's memory ought to be dear to every Englishman, especially
those who may hereafter have the misfortune of being made
prisoners of war./

On my return from Gibraltar I travelled by way of France to England.
Being a foreigner, this was not attended with any inconvenience to me.
I found, in the harbour of Calais, a ship just arrived with a number
of English sailors as prisoners of war. I immediately conceived an
idea of giving these brave fellows their liberty, which I accomplished
as follows:--After forming a pair of large wings, each of them forty
yards long, and fourteen wide, and annexing them to myself, I mounted
at break of day, when every creature, even the watch upon deck, was
fast asleep. As I hovered over the ship I fastened three grappling
irons to the tops of the three masts with my sling, and fairly lifted
her several yards out of the water, and then proceeded across to
Dover, where I arrived in half an hour! Having no further occasion for
these wings, I made them a present to the governor of Dover Castle,
where they are now exhibited to the curious.

As to the prisoners, and the Frenchmen who guarded them, they did not
awake till they had been near two hours on Dover Pier. The moment the
English understood their situation they changed places with their
guard, and took back what they had been plundered of, but no more, for
they were too generous to retaliate and plunder them in return.


/Voyage eastward--The Baron introduces a friend who never deceived
him: wins a hundred guineas by pinning his faith upon that
friend's nose--Game started at sea--Some other circumstances which
will, it is hoped, afford the reader no small degree of

In a voyage which I made to the East Indies with Captain Hamilton, I
took a favourite pointer with me; he was, to use a common phrase,
worth his weight in gold, for he never deceived me. One day when we
were, by the best observations we could make, at least three hundred
leagues from land, my dog pointed; I observed him for near an hour
with astonishment, and mentioned the circumstance to the captain and
every officer on board, asserting that we must be near land, for my
dog smelt game. This occasioned a general laugh; but that did not
alter in the least the good opinion I had of my dog. After much
conversation pro and con, I boldly told the captain I placed more
confidence in Tray's nose than I did in the eyes of every seaman on
board, and therefore proposed laying the sum I had agreed to pay for
my passage (viz., one hundred guineas) that we should find game within
half an hour. The captain (a good, hearty fellow) laughed again,
desired Mr. Crowford the surgeon, who was prepared, to feel my pulse;
he did so, and reported me in perfect health. The following dialogue
between them took place; I overheard it, though spoken low, and at
some distance.

His brain is turned; I cannot with honour accept his wager.

I am of a different opinion; he is quite sane, and depends more upon
the scent of his dog than he will upon the judgment of all the
officers on board; he will certainly lose, and he richly merits it.

Such a wager cannot be fair on my side; however, I'll take him up, if
I return his money afterwards.

During the above conversation Tray continued in the same situation,
and confirmed me still more in my former opinion. I proposed the wager
a second time, it was then accepted.

Done! and done! were scarcely said on both sides, when some sailors
who were fishing in the long-boat, which was made fast to the stern of
the ship, harpooned an exceeding large shark, which they brought on
board and began to cut up for the purpose of barrelling the oil, when,
behold, they found no less than /six brace of live partridges/ in this
animal's stomach!

They had been so long in that situation, that one of the hens was
sitting upon four eggs, and a fifth was hatching when the shark was
opened!!! This young bird we brought up by placing it with a litter of
kittens that came into the world a few minutes before! The old cat was
as fond of it as of any of her own four-legged progeny, and made
herself very unhappy, when it flew out of her reach, till it returned
again. As to the other partridges, there were four hens amongst them;
one or more were, during the voyage, constantly sitting, and
consequently we had plenty of game at the captain's table; and in
gratitude to poor Tray (for being a means of winning one hundred
guineas) I ordered him the bones daily, and sometimes a whole bird.



/A second visit (but an accidental one) to the moon--The ship
driven by a whirlwind a thousand leagues above the surface of the
water, where a new atmosphere meets them and carries them into a
capacious harbour in the moon--A description of the inhabitants,
and their manner of coming into the lunarian world--Animals,
customs, weapons of war, wine, vegetables, &c./

I have already informed you of one trip I made to the moon, in search
of my silver hatchet; I afterwards made another in a much pleasanter
manner, and stayed in it long enough to take notice of several things,
which I will endeavour to describe as accurately as my memory will

I went on a voyage of discovery at the request of a distant relation,
who had a strange notion that there were people to be found equal in
magnitude to those described by Gulliver in the empire of BROBDIGNAG.
For my part I always treated that account as fabulous: however, to
oblige him, for he had made me his heir, I undertook it, and sailed
for the South seas, where we arrived without meeting with anything
remarkable, except some flying men and women who were playing at leap-
frog, and dancing minuets in the air.

On the eighteenth day after we had passed the Island of Otaheite,
mentioned by Captain Cook as the place from whence they brought Omai,
a hurricane blew our ship at least one thousand leagues above the
surface of the water, and kept it at the height till a fresh gale
arising filled the sails in every part, and onwards we travelled at a
prodigious rate; thus we proceeded above the clouds for six weeks. At
last we discovered a great land in the sky, like a shining island,
round and bright, where, coming into a convenient harbour, we went on
shore, and soon found it was inhabited. Below us we saw another earth,
containing cities, trees, mountains, rivers, seas, &c., which we
conjectured was this world which we had left. Here we saw huge figures
riding upon vultures of a prodigious size, and each of them having
three heads. To form some idea of the magnitude of these birds, I must
inform you that each of their wings is as wide and six times the
length of the main sheet of our vessel, which was about six hundred
tons burthen. Thus, instead of riding upon horses, as we do in this
world, the inhabitants of the moon (for we now found we were in Madam
Luna) fly about on these birds. The king, we found, was engaged in a
war with the sun, and he offered me a commission, but I declined the
honour his majesty intended me. Everything in /this/ world is of
extraordinary magnitude! a common flea being much larger than one of
our sheep: in making war, their principal weapons are radishes, which
are used as darts: those who are wounded by them die immediately.
Their shields are made of mushrooms, and their darts (when radishes
are out of season) of the tops of asparagus. Some of the natives of
the dog-star are to be seen here; commerce tempts them to ramble;
their faces are like large mastiffs', with their eyes near the lower
end or tip of their noses: they have no eyelids, but cover their eyes
with the end of their tongues when they go to sleep; they are
generally twenty feet high. As to the natives of the moon, none of
them are less in stature than thirty-six feet: they are not called the
human species, but the cooking animals, for they all dress their food
by fire, as we do, but lose not time at their meals, as they open
their left side, and place the whole quantity at once in their
stomach, then shut it again till the same day in the next month; for
they never indulge themselves with food more than twelve times a year,
or once a month. All but gluttons and epicures must prefer this method
to ours.

There is but one sex either of the cooking or any other animals in the
moon; they are all produced from trees of various sizes and foliage;
that which produces the cooking animal, or human species, is much more
beautiful than any of the others; it has large straight boughs and
flesh-coloured leaves, and the fruit it produces are nuts or pods,
with hard shells at least two yards long; when they become ripe, which
is known from their changing colour, they are gathered with great
care, and laid by as long as they think proper: when they choose to
animate the seed of these nuts, they throw them into a large cauldron
of boiling water, which opens the shells in a few hours, and out jumps
the creature.

Nature forms their minds for different pursuits before they come into
the world; from one shell comes forth a warrior, from another a
philosopher, from a third a divine, from a fourth a lawyer, from a
fifth a farmer, from a sixth a clown, &c. &c., and each of them
immediately begins to perfect themselves, by practising what they
before knew only in theory.

When they grow old they do not die, but turn into air, and dissolve
like smoke! As for their drink, they need none; the only evacuations
they have are insensible, and by their breath. They have but one
finger upon each hand, with which they perform everything in as
perfect a manner as we do who have four besides the thumb. Their heads
are placed under their right arm, and when are going to travel, or
about any violent exercise, they generally leave them at home, for
they can consult them at any distance; this is a very common practice;
and when those of rank or quality among the Lunarians have an
inclination to see what's going forward among the common people, they
stay at home, /i.e./, the body stays at home, and sends the head only,
which is suffered to be present /incog./, and return at pleasure with
an account of what has passed.

The stones of their grapes are exactly like hail; and I am perfectly
satisfied that when a storm or high wind in the moon shakes their
vines, and breaks the grapes from the stalks, the stones fall down and
form our hail showers. I would advise those who are of my opinion to
save a quantity of these stones when it hails next, and make Lunarian
wine. It is a common beverage at St. Luke's. Some material
circumstances I had nearly omitted. They put their bellies to the same
use as we do a sack, and throw whatever they have occasion for into
it, for they can shut and open it again when they please, as they do
their stomachs; they are not troubled with bowels, liver, heart, or
any other intestines, neither are they encumbered with clothes, nor is
there any part of their bodies unseemly or indecent to exhibit.

Their eyes they can take in and out of their places when they please,
and can see as well with them in their hand as in their head! and if
by any accident they lose or damage one, they can borrow or purchase
another, and see as clearly with it as their own. Dealers in eyes are
on that account very numerous in most parts of the moon, and in this
article alone all the inhabitants are whimsical: sometimes green and
sometimes yellow eyes are the fashion. I know these things appear
strange; but if the shadow of a doubt can remain on any person's mind,
I say, let him take a voyage there himself, and then he will know I am
a traveller of veracity.


/The Baron crosses the Thames without the assistance of a bridge,
ship, boat, balloon, or even his own will: rouses himself after a
long nap, and destroys a monster who lived upon the destruction of

My first visit to England was about the beginning of the present
king's reign. I had occasion to go down to Wapping, to see some goods
shipped, which I was sending to some friends at Hamburgh; after that
business was over, I took the Tower Wharf in my way back. Here I found
the sun very powerful, and I was so much fatigued that I stepped into
one of the cannon to compose me, where I fell fast asleep. This was
about noon: it was the fourth of June; exactly at one o'clock these
cannon were all discharged in memory of the day. They had been all
charged that morning, and having no suspicion of my situation, I was
shot over the houses on the opposite side of the river, into a
farmer's yard, between Bermondsey and Deptford, where I fell upon a
large hay-stack, without waking, and continued there in a sound sleep
till hay became so extravagantly dear (which was about three months
after), that the farmer found it his interest to send his whole stock
to market: the stack I was reposing upon was the largest in the yard,
containing above five hundred load; they began to cut that first. I
woke with the voices of the people who had ascended the ladders to
begin at the top, and got up, totally ignorant of my situation: in
attempting to run away I fell upon the farmer to whom the hay
belonged, and broke his neck, yet received no injury myself. I
afterwards found, to my great consolation, that this fellow was a most
detestable character, always keeping the produce of his grounds for
extravagant markets.


/The Baron slips through the world: after paying a visit to Mount
Etna he finds himself in the South Sea; visits Vulcan in his
passage; gets on board a Dutchman; arrives at an island of cheese,
surrounded by a sea of milk; describes some very extraordinary
objects--Lose their compass; their ship slips between the teeth of
a fish unknown in this part of the world; their difficulty in
escaping from thence; arrive in the Caspian Sea--Starves a bear to
death--A few waistcoat anecdotes--In this chapter, which is the
longest, the Baron moralises upon the virtue of veracity./

Mr. Drybones' "Travels to Sicily," which I had read with great
pleasure, induced me to pay a visit to Mount Etna; my voyage to this
place was not attended with any circumstances worth relating. One
morning early, three or four days after my arrival, I set out from a
cottage where I had slept, within six miles of the foot of the
mountain, determined to explore the internal parts, if I perished in
the attempt. After three hours' hard labour I found myself at the top;
it was then, and had been for upwards of three weeks, raging: its
appearance in this state has been so frequently noticed by different
travellers, that I will not tire you with descriptions of objects you
are already acquainted with. I walked round the edge of the crater,
which appeared to be fifty times at least as capacious as the Devil's
Punch-Bowl near Petersfield, on the Portsmouth Road, but not so broad
at the bottom, as in that part it resembles the contracted part of a
funnel more than a punch-bowl. At last, having made up my mind, in I
sprang feet foremost; I soon found myself in a warm berth, and my body
bruised and burnt in various parts by the red-hot cinders, which, by
their violent ascent, opposed my descent: however, my weight soon
brought me to the bottom, where I found myself in the midst of noise
and clamour, mixed with the most horrid imprecations; after recovering
my senses, and feeling a reduction of my pain, I began to look about
me. Guess, gentlemen, my astonishment, when I found myself in the
company of Vulcan and his Cyclops, who had been quarrelling, for the
three weeks before mentioned, about the observation of good order and
due subordination, and which had occasioned such alarms for that space
of time in the world above. However, my arrival restored peace to the
whole society, and Vulcan himself did me the honour of applying
plasters to my wounds, which healed them immediately; he also placed
refreshments before me, particularly nectar, and other rich wines,
such as the gods and goddesses only aspire to. After this repast was
over Vulcan ordered Venus to show me every indulgence which my
situation required. To describe the apartment, and the couch on which
I reposed, is totally impossible, therefore I will not attempt it; let
it suffice to say, it exceeds the power of language to do it justice,
or speak of that kind-hearted goddess in any terms equal to her merit.

Vulcan gave me a very concise account of Mount Etna: he said it was
nothing more than an accumulation of ashes thrown from his forge; that
he was frequently obliged to chastise his people, at whom, in his
passion, he made it a practice to throw red-hot coals at home, which
they often parried with great dexterity, and then threw them up into
the world to place them out of his reach, for they never attempted to
assault him in return by throwing them back again. "Our quarrels,"
added he, "last sometimes three or four months, and these appearances
of coals or cinders in the world are what I find you mortals call
eruptions." Mount Vesuvius, he assured me, was another of his shops,
to which he had a passage three hundred and fifty leagues under the
bed of the sea, where similar quarrels produced similar eruptions. I
should have continued here as an humble attendant upon Madam Venus,
but some busy tattlers, who delight in mischief, whispered a tale in
Vulcan's ear, which roused in him a fit of jealousy not to be
appeased. Without the least previous notice he took me one morning
under his arm, as I was waiting upon Venus, agreeable to custom, and
carried me to an apartment I had never before seen, in which there
was, to all appearance, /a well/ with a wide mouth: over this he held
me at arm's length, and saying, "/Ungrateful mortal, return to the
world from whence you came/," without giving me the least opportunity
of reply, dropped me in the centre. I found myself descending with an
increasing rapidity, till the horror of my mind deprived me of all
reflection. I suppose I fell into a trance, from which I was suddenly
aroused by plunging into a large body of water illuminated by the rays
of the sun!!

I could, from my infancy, swim well, and play tricks in the water. I
now found myself in paradise, considering the horrors of mind I had
just been released from. After looking about me some time, I could
discover nothing but an expanse of sea, extending beyond the eye in
every direction; I also found it very cold, a different climate from
Master Vulcan's shop. At last I observed at some distance a body of
amazing magnitude, like a huge rock, approaching me; I soon discovered
it to be a piece of floating ice; I swam round it till I found a place
where I could ascend to the top, which I did, but not without some
difficulty. Still I was out of sight of land, and despair returned
with double force; however, before night came on I saw a sail, which
we approached very fast; when it was within a very small distance I
hailed them in German; they answered in Dutch. I then flung myself
into the sea, and they threw out a rope, by which I was taken on
board. I now inquired where we were, and was informed, in the great
Southern Ocean; this opened a discovery which removed all my doubts
and difficulties. It was now evident that I had passed from Mount Etna
through the centre of the earth to the South Seas: this, gentlemen,
was a much shorter cut than going round the world, and which no man
has accomplished, or ever attempted, but myself; however, the next
time I perform it I will be much more particular in my observations.

I took some refreshment, and went to rest. The Dutch are a very rude
sort of people; I related the Etna passage to the officers, exactly as
I have done to you, and some of them, particularly the Captain, seemed
by his grimace and half-sentence to doubt my veracity; however, as he
had kindly taken me on board his vessel, and was then in the very act
of administering to my necessities, I pocketed the affront.

I now in my turn began to inquire where they were bound? To which they
answered, they were in search of new discoveries; "/and if/," said
they, "/your story is true, a new passage is really discovered, and we
shall not return disappointed/." We were now exactly in Captain Cook's
first track, and arrived the next morning in Botany Bay. This place I
would by no means recommend to the English government as a receptacle
for felons, or place of punishment; it should rather be the reward of
merit, nature having most bountifully bestowed her best gifts upon it.

We stayed here but three days; the fourth after our departure a most
dreadful storm arose, which in a few hours destroyed all our sails,
splintered our bowsprit, and brought down our topmast; it fell
directly upon the box that enclosed our compass, which, with the
compass, was broken to pieces. Every one who has been at sea knows the
consequences of such a misfortune: we now were at a loss where to
steer. At length the storm abated, which was followed by a steady,
brisk gale, that carried us at least forty knots an hour for six
months! [we should suppose the Baron has made a little mistake, and
substituted /months/ for /days/] when we began to observe an amazing
change in everything about us: our spirits became light, our noses
were regaled with the most aromatic effluvia imaginable: the sea had
also changed its complexion, and from green became white!! Soon after
these wonderful alterations we saw land, and not at any great distance
an inlet, which we sailed up near sixty leagues, and found it wide and
deep, flowing with milk of the most delicious taste. Here we landed,
and soon found it was an island consisting of one large cheese: we
discovered this by one of the company fainting away as soon as we
landed: this man always had an aversion to cheese; when he recovered,
he desired the cheese to be taken from under his feet: upon
examination we found him perfectly right, for the whole island, as
before observed, was nothing but a cheese of immense magnitude! Upon
this the inhabitants, who are amazingly numerous, principally sustain
themselves, and it grows every night in proportion as it is consumed
in the day. Here seemed to be plenty of vines, with bunches of large
grapes, which, upon being pressed, yielded nothing but milk. We saw
the inhabitants running races upon the surface of the milk: they were
upright, comely figures, nine feet high, have three legs, and but one
arm; upon the whole, their form was graceful, and when they quarrel,
they exercise a straight horn, which grows in adults from the centre
of their foreheads, with great adroitness; they did not sink at all,
but ran and walked upon the surface of the milk, as we do upon a

Upon this island of cheese grows great plenty of corn, the ears of
which produce loaves of bread, ready made, of a round form like
mushrooms. We discovered, in our rambles over this cheese, seventeen
other rivers of milk, and ten of wine.

After thirty-eight days' journey we arrived on the opposite side to
that on which we landed: here we found some blue mould, as cheese-
eaters call it, from whence spring all kinds of rich fruit; instead of
breeding mites it produced peaches, nectarines, apricots, and a
thousand delicious fruits which we are not acquainted with. In these
trees, which are of an amazing size, were plenty of birds' nests;
amongst others was a king-fisher's of prodigious magnitude; it was at
least twice the circumference of the dome of St. Paul's Church in
London. Upon inspection, this nest was made of huge trees curiously
joined together; there were, let me see (/for I make it a rule always
to speak within compass/), there were upwards of five hundred eggs in
the nest, and each of them was as large as four common hogsheads, or
eight barrels, and we could not only see, but hear the young ones
chirping within. Having, with great fatigue, cut open one of these
eggs, we let out a young one unfeathered, considerably larger than
twenty full-grown vultures. Just as we had given this youngster his
liberty the old kingfisher lighted, and seizing our captain, who had
been active in breaking the egg, in one of her claws, flew with him
above a mile high, and then let him drop into the sea, but not till
she had beaten all his teeth out of his mouth with her wings.

Dutchmen generally swim well: he soon joined us, and we retreated to
our ship. On our return we took a different route, and observed many
strange objects. We shot two wild oxen, each with one horn, also like
the inhabitants, except that it sprouted from between the eyes of
these animals; we were afterwards concerned at having destroyed them,
as we found, by inquiry, they tamed these creatures, and used them as
we do horses, to ride upon and draw their carriages; their flesh, we
were informed, is excellent, but useless where people live upon cheese
and milk. When we had reached within two days' journey of the ship we
observed three men hanging to a tall tree by their heels; upon
inquiring the cause of their punishment, I found they had all been
travellers, and upon their return home had deceived their friends by
describing places they never saw, and relating things that never
happened: this gave me no concern, /as I have ever confined myself to

As soon as we arrived at the ship we unmoored, and set sail from this
extraordinary country, when, to our astonishment, all the trees upon
shore, of which there were a great number very tall and large, paid
their respects to us twice, bowing to exact time, and immediately
recovered their former posture, which was quite erect.

By what we could learn of this CHEESE, it was considerably larger than
the continent of all Europe!

After sailing three months we knew not where, being still without
compass, we arrived in a sea which appeared to be almost black: upon
tasting it we found it most excellent wine, and had great difficulty
to keep the sailors from getting drunk with it: however, in a few
hours we found ourselves surrounded by whales and other animals of an
immense magnitude, one of which appeared to be too large for the eye
to form a judgment of: we did not see him till we were close to him.
This monster drew our ship, with all her masts standing, and sails
bent, by suction into his mouth, between his teeth, which were much
larger and taller than the mast of a first-rate man-of-war. After we
had been in his mouth some time he opened it pretty wide, took in an
immense quantity of water, and floated our vessel, which was at least
500 tons burthen, into his stomach; here we lay as quiet as at anchor
in a dead calm. The air, to be sure, was rather warm, and very
offensive. We found anchors, cables, boats, and barges in abundance,
and a considerable number of ships, some laden and some not, which
this creature had swallowed. Everything was transacted by torch-light;
no sun, no moon, no planet, to make observations from. We were all
generally afloat and aground twice a-day; whenever he drank, it became
high water with us; and when he evacuated, we found ourselves aground;
upon a moderate computation, he took in more water at a single draught
than is generally to be found in the Lake of Geneva, though that is
above thirty miles in circumference. On the second day of our
confinement in these regions of darkness, I ventured at low water, as
we called it when the ship was aground, to ramble with the Captain,
and a few of the other officers, with lights in our hands; we met with
people of all nations, to the amount of upwards of ten thousand; they
were going to hold a council how to recover their liberty; some of
them having lived in this animal's stomach several years; there were
several children here who had never seen the world, their mothers
having lain in repeatedly in this warm situation. Just as the chairman
was going to inform us of the business upon which we were assembled,
this plaguy fish, becoming thirsty, drank in his usual manner; the
water poured in with such impetuosity, that we were all obliged to
retreat to our respective ships immediately, or run the risk of being
drowned; some were obliged to swim for it, and with difficulty saved
their lives. In a few hours after we were more fortunate, we met again
just after the monster had evacuated. I was chosen chairman, and the
first thing I did was to propose splicing two main-masts together, and
the next time he opened his mouth to be ready to wedge them in, so as
to prevent his shutting it. It was unanimously approved. One hundred
stout men were chosen upon this service. We had scarcely got our masts
properly prepared when an opportunity offered; the monster opened his
mouth, immediately the top of the mast was placed against the roof,
and the other end pierced his tongue, which effectually prevented him
from shutting his mouth. As soon as everything in his stomach was
afloat, we manned a few boats, who rowed themselves and us into the
world. The daylight, after, as near as we could judge, three months'
confinement in total darkness, cheered our spirits surprisingly. When
we had all taken our leave of this capacious animal, we mustered just
a fleet of ninety-five ships, of all nations, who had been in this
confined situation.

We left the two masts in his mouth, to prevent others being confined
in the same horrid gulf of darkness and filth. Our first object was to
learn what part of the world we were in; this we were for some time at
a loss to ascertain: at last I found, from former observations, that
we were in the Caspian Sea! which washes part of the country of the
Calmuck Tartars. How we came here is was impossible to conceive, as
this sea has no communication with any other. One of the inhabitants
of the Cheese Island, whom I had brought with me, accounted for it
thus:--that the monster in whose stomach we had been so long confined
had carried us here through some subterraneous passage; however, we
pushed to shore, and I was the first who landed. Just as I put my foot
upon the ground a large bear leaped upon me with its fore-paws; I
caught one in each hand, and squeezed him till he cried out most
lustily; however, in this position I held him till I starved him to
death. You may laugh, gentlemen, but this was soon accomplished, as I
prevented him licking his paws. From hence I travelled up to St.
Petersburg a second time: here an old friend gave me a most excellent
pointer, descended from the famous bitch before-mentioned, that
littered while she was hunting a hare. I had the misfortune to have
him shot soon after by a blundering sportsman, who fired at him
instead of a covey of partridges which he had just set. Of this
creature's skin I have had this waistcoat made (showing his
waistcoat), which always leads me involuntarily to game if I walk in
the fields in the proper season, and when I come within shot, /one of
the buttons constantly flies off, and lodges upon the spot where the
sport is/; and as the birds rise, being always primed and cocked, I
never miss them. Here are now but three buttons left. I shall have a
new set sewed on against the shooting season commences.

When a covey of partridges is disturbed in this manner, by the button
falling amongst them, they always rise from the ground in a direct
line before each other. I one day, by forgetting to take my ramrod out
of my gun, shot it straight through a leash, as regularly as if the
cook had spitted them. I had forgot to put in any shot, and the rod
had been made so hot with the powder, that the birds were completely
roasted by the time I reached home.

Since my arrival in England I have accomplished what I had very much
at heart, viz., providing for the inhabitant of the Cheese Island,
whom I had brought with me. My old friend, Sir William Chambers, who
is entirely indebted to me for all his ideas of Chinese gardening, by
a description of which he has gained such high reputation; I say,
gentlemen, in a discourse which I had with this gentlemen, he seemed
much distressed for a contrivance to light the lamps at the new
buildings, Somerset House; the common mode with ladders, he observed,
was both dirty and inconvenient. My native of the Cheese Island popped
into my head; he was only nine feet high when I first brought him from
his own country, but was now increased to ten and a half: I introduced
him to Sir William, and he is appointed to that honourable office. He
is also to carry, under a large cloak, a utensil in each coat pocket,
instead of those four which Sir William has /very properly/ fixed for
private purposes in so conspicuous a situation, the great quadrangle.

He has also obtained from Mr. PITT the situation of messenger to his
Majesty's lords of the bed-chamber, whose principal employment will
/now/ be, divulging the secrets of the Royal household to their
/worthy/ Patron.


/Extraordinary flight on the back of an eagle, over France to
Gibraltar, South and North America, the Polar Regions, and back to
England, within six-and-thirty hours./

About the beginning of his present Majesty's reign I had some business
with a distant relation who then lived on the Isle of Thanet; it was a
family dispute, and not likely to be finished soon. I made it a
practice during my residence there, the weather being fine, to walk
out every morning. After a few of these excursions I observed an
object upon a great eminence about three miles distant: I extended my
walk to it, and found the ruins of an ancient temple: I approached it
with admiration and astonishment; the traces of grandeur and
magnificence which yet remained were evident proofs of its former
splendour: here I could not help lamenting the ravages and
devastations of time, of which that once noble structure exhibited
such a melancholy proof. I walked round it several times, meditating
on the fleeting and transitory nature of all terrestrial things; on
the eastern end were the remains of a lofty tower, near forty feet
high, overgrown with ivy, the top apparently flat; I surveyed it on
every side very minutely, thinking that if I could gain its summit I
should enjoy the most delightful prospect of the circumjacent country.
Animated with this hope, I resolved, if possible, to gain the summit,
which I at length effected by means of the ivy, though not without
great difficulty and danger; the top I found covered with this
evergreen, except a large chasm in the middle. After I had surveyed
with pleasing wonder the beauties of art and nature that conspired to
enrich the scene, curiosity prompted me to sound the opening in the
middle, in order to ascertain its depth, as I entertained a suspicion
that it might probably communicate with some unexplored subterranean
cavern in the hill; but having no line I was at a loss how to proceed.
After revolving the matter in my thoughts for some time, I resolved to
drop a stone down and listen to the echo: having found one that
answered my purpose I placed myself over the hole, with one foot on
each side, and stooping down to listen, I dropped the stone, which I
had no sooner done than I heard a rustling below, and suddenly a
monstrous eagle put up its head right opposite my face, and rising up
with irresistible force, carried me away seated on its shoulders: I
instantly grasped it round the neck, which was large enough to fill my
arms, and its wings, when extended, were ten yards from one extremity
to the other. As it rose with a regular ascent, my seat was perfectly
easy, and I enjoyed the prospect below with inexpressible pleasure. It
hovered over Margate for some time, was seen by several people, and
many shots were fired at it; one ball hit the heel of my shoe, but did
me no injury. It then directed its course to Dover cliff, where it
alighted, and I thought of dismounting, but was prevented by a sudden
discharge of musketry from a party of marines that were exercising on
the beach; the balls flew about my head, and rattled on the feathers
of the eagle like hail-stones, yet I could not perceive it had
received any injury. It instantly reascended and flew over the sea
towards Calais, but so very high that the Channel seemed to be no
broader than the Thames at London Bridge. In a quarter of an hour I
found myself over a thick wood in France, where the eagle descended
very rapidly, which caused me to slip down to the back part of its
head; but alighting on a large tree, and raising its head, I recovered
my seat as before, but saw no possibility of disengaging myself
without the danger of being killed by the fall; so I determined to sit
fast, thinking it would carry me to the Alps, or some other high
mountain, where I could dismount without any danger. After resting a
few minutes it took wing, flew several times round the wood, and
screamed loud enough to be heard across the English Channel. In a few
minutes one of the same species arose out of the wood, and flew
directly towards us; it surveyed me with evident marks of displeasure,
and came very near me. After flying several times round, they both
directed their course to the south-west. I soon observed that the one
I rode upon could not keep pace with the other, but inclined towards
the earth, on account of my weight; its companion perceiving this,
turned round and placed itself in such a position that the other could
rest its head on its rump; in this manner they proceeded till noon,
when I saw the rock of Gibraltar very distinctly. The day being clear,
notwithstanding my degree of elevation, the earth's surface appeared
just like a map, where land, sea, lakes, rivers, mountains, and the
like were perfectly distinguishable; and having some knowledge of
geography, I was at no loss to determine what part of the globe I was

Whilst I was contemplating this wonderful prospect a dreadful howling
suddenly began all around me, and in a moment I was invested by
thousands of small, black, deformed, frightful looking creatures, who
pressed me on all sides in such a manner that I could neither move
hand or foot: but I had not been in their possession more than ten
minutes when I heard the most delightful music that can possibly be
imagined, which was suddenly changed into a noise the most awful and
tremendous, to which the report of cannon, or the loudest claps of
thunder could bear no more proportion than the gentle zephyrs of the
evening to the most dreadful hurricane; but the shortness of its
duration prevented all those fatal effects which a prolongation of it
would certainly have been attended with.

The music commenced, and I saw a great number of the most beautiful
little creatures seize the other party, and throw them with great
violence into something like a snuff-box, which they shut down, and
one threw it away with incredible velocity; then turning to me, he
said they whom he had secured were a party of devils, who had wandered
from their proper habitation; and that the vehicle in which they were
enclosed would fly with unabating rapidity for ten thousand years,
when it would burst of its own accord, and the devils would recover
their liberty and faculties, as at the present moment. He had no
sooner finished this relation than the music ceased, and they all
disappeared, leaving me in a state of mind bordering on the confines
of despair.

When I had recomposed myself a little, and looking before me with
inexpressible pleasure, I observed that the eagles were preparing to
light on the peak of Teneriffe: they descended on the top of the rock,
but seeing no possible means of escape if I dismounted determined me
to remain where I was. The eagles sat down seemingly fatigued, when
the heat of the sun soon caused them both to fall asleep, nor did I
long resist its fascinating power. In the cool of the evening, when
the sun had retired below the horizon, I was roused from sleep by the
eagle moving under me; and having stretched myself along its back, I
sat up, and reassumed my travelling position, when they both took
wing, and having placed themselves as before, directed their course to
South America. The moon shining bright during the whole night, I had a
fine view of all the islands in those seas.

About the break of day we reached the great continent of America, that
part called Terra Firma, and descended on the top of a very high
mountain. At this time the moon, far distant in the west, and obscured
by dark clouds, but just afforded light sufficient for me to discover
a kind of shrubbery all around, bearing fruit something like cabbages,
which the eagles began to feed on very eagerly. I endeavoured to
discover my situation, but fogs and passing clouds involved me in the
thickest darkness, and what rendered the scene still more shocking was
the tremendous howling of wild beasts, some of which appeared to be
very near: however, I determined to keep my seat, imagining that the
eagle would carry me away if any of them should make a hostile
attempt. When daylight began to appear, I thought of examining the
fruit which I had seen the eagles eat, and as some was hanging which I
could easily come at, I took out my knife and cut a slice; but how
great was my surprise to see that it had all the appearance of roast
beef regularly mixed, both fat and lean! I tasted it, and found it
well flavoured and delicious, then cut several large slices and put in
my pocket, where I found a crust of bread which I had brought from
Margate; took it out, and found three musket-balls that had been
lodged in it on Dover cliff. I extracted them, and cutting a few
slices more, made a hearty meal of bread and cold beef fruit. I then
cut down two of the largest that grew near me, and tying them together
with one of my garters, hung them over the eagle's neck for another
occasion, filling my pockets at the same time. While I was settling
these affairs I observed a large fruit like an inflated bladder, which
I wished to try an experiment upon: and striking my knife into one of
them, a fine pure liquor like Hollands gin rushed out, which the
eagles observing, eagerly drank up from the ground. I cut down the
bladder as fast as I could, and saved about half a pint in the bottom
of it, which I tasted, and could not distinguish it from the best
mountain wine. I drank it all, and found myself greatly refreshed. By
this time the eagles began to stagger against the shrubs. I
endeavoured to keep my seat, but was soon thrown to some distance
among the bushes. In attempting to rise I put my hand upon a large
hedgehog, which happened to lie among the grass upon its back: it
instantly closed round my hand, so that I found it impossible to shake
it off. I struck it several times against the ground without effect;
but while I was thus employed I heard a rustling among the shrubbery,
and looking up, I saw a huge animal within three yards of me; I could
make no defence, but held out both my hands, when it rushed upon me,
and seized that on which the hedgehog was fixed. My hand being soon
relieved, I ran to some distance, where I saw the creature suddenly
drop down and expire with the hedgehog in its throat. When the danger
was past I went to view the eagles, and found them lying on the grass
fast asleep, being intoxicated with the liquor they had drank. Indeed,
I found myself considerably elevated by it, and seeing everything
quiet, I began to search for some more, which I soon found; and having
cut down two large bladders, about a gallon each, I tied them
together, and hung them over the neck of the other eagle, and the two
smaller ones I tied with a cord round my own waist. Having secured a
good stock of provisions, and perceiving the eagles begin to recover,
I again took my seat. In half an hour they arose majestically from the
place, without taking the least notice of their incumbrance. Each
reassumed its former station; and directing their course to the
northward, they crossed the Gulf of Mexico, entered North America, and
steered directly for the Polar regions, which gave me the finest
opportunity of viewing this vast continent that can possibly be

Before we entered the frigid zone the cold began to affect me; but
piercing one of my bladders, I took a draught, and found that it could
make no impression on me afterwards. Passing over Hudson's Bay, I saw
several of the Company's ships lying at anchor, and many tribes of
Indians marching with their furs to market.

By this time I was so reconciled to my seat, and become such an expert
rider, that I could sit up and look around me; but in general I lay
along the eagle's neck, grasping it in my arms, with my hands immersed
in its feathers, in order to keep them warm.

In those cold climates I observed that the eagles flew with greater
rapidity, in order, I suppose, to keep their blood in circulation. In
passing Baffin's Bay I saw several large Greenlandmen to the eastward,
and many surprising mountains of ice in those seas.

While I was surveying these wonders of nature it occurred to me that
this was a good opportunity to discover the north-west passage, if any
such thing existed, and not only obtain the reward offered by
government, but the honour of a discovery pregnant with so many
advantages to every European nation. But while my thoughts were
absorbed in this pleasing reverie I was alarmed by the first eagle
striking its head against a solid transparent substance, and in a
moment that which I rode experienced the same fate, and both fell down
seemingly dead.

Here our lives must inevitably have terminated, had not a sense of
danger, and the singularity of my situation, inspired me with a degree
of skill and dexterity which enabled us to fall near two miles
perpendicular with as little inconveniency as if we had been let down
with a rope: for no sooner did I perceive the eagles strike against a
frozen cloud, which is very common near the poles, than (they being
close together) I laid myself along the back of the foremost, and took
hold of its wings to keep them extended, at the same time stretching
out my legs behind to support the wings of the other. This had the
desired effect, and we descended very safe on a mountain of ice, which
I supposed to be about three miles above the level of the sea.

I dismounted, unloaded the eagles, opened one of the bladders, and
administered some of the liquor to each of them, without once
considering that the horrors of destruction seemed to have conspired
against me. The roaring of waves, crashing of ice, and the howling of
bears, conspired to form a scene the most awful and tremendous: but
notwithstanding this, my concern for the recovery of the eagles was so
great, that I was insensible of the danger to which I was exposed.
Having rendered them every assistance in my power, I stood over them
in painful anxiety, fully sensible that it was only by means of them
that I could possibly be delivered from these abodes of despair.

But suddenly a monstrous bear began to roar behind me, with a voice
like thunder. I turned round, and seeing the creature just ready to
devour me, having the bladder of liquor in my hands, through fear I
squeezed it so hard, that it burst, and the liquor flying in the eyes
of the animal, totally deprived it of sight. It instantly turned from
me, ran away in a state of distraction, and soon fell over a precipice
of ice into the sea, where I saw it no more.

The danger being over, I again turned my attention to the eagles, whom
I found in a fair way of recovery, and suspecting that they were faint
for want of victuals, I took one of the beef fruit, cut it into small
slices, and presented them with it, which they devoured with avidity.

Having given them plenty to eat and drink, and disposed of the
remainder of my provision, I took possession of my seat as before.
After composing myself, and adjusting everything in the best manner, I
began to eat and drink very heartily; and through the effects of the
mountain wine, as I called it, was very cheerful, and began to sing a
few verses of a song which I had learned when I was a boy: but the
noise soon alarmed the eagles, who had been asleep, through the
quantity of liquor which they had drank, and they rose seemingly much
terrified. Happily for me, however, when I was feeding them I had
accidentally turned their heads towards the south-east, which course
they pursued with a rapid motion. In a few hours I saw the Western
Isles, and soon after had the inexpressible pleasure of seeing Old
England. I took no notice of the seas or islands over which I passed.

The eagles descended gradually as they drew near the shore, intending,
as I supposed, to alight on one of the Welsh mountains; but when they
came to the distance of about sixty yards two guns were fired at them,
loaded with balls, one of which took place in a bladder of liquor that
hung to my waist; the other entered the breast of the foremost eagle,
who fell to the ground, while that which I rode, having received no
injury, flew away with amazing swiftness.

This circumstance alarmed me exceedingly, and I began to think it was
impossible for me to escape with my life; but recovering a little, I
once more looked down upon the earth, when, to my inexpressible joy, I
saw Margate at a little distance, and the eagle descending on the old
tower whence it had carried me on the morning of the day before. It no
sooner came down than I threw myself off, happy to find that I was
once more restored to the world. The eagle flew away in a few minutes,
and I sat down to compose my fluttering spirits, which I did in a few

I soon paid a visit to my friends, and related these adventures.
Amazement stood in every countenance; their congratulations on my
returning in safety were repeated with an unaffected degree of
pleasure, and we passed the evening as we are doing now, every person
present paying the highest compliments to my COURAGE and VERACITY.




Baron Munchausen has certainly been productive of much benefit to the
literary world; the numbers of egregious travellers have been such,
that they demanded a very Gulliver to surpass them. If Baron de Tott
dauntlessly discharged an enormous piece of artillery, the Baron
Munchausen has done more; he has taken it and swam with it across the
sea. When travellers are solicitous to be the heroes of their own
story, surely they must admit to superiority, and blush at seeing
themselves out-done by the renowned Munchausen: I doubt whether any
one hitherto, Pantagruel, Gargantua, Captain Lemuel, or De Tott, has
been able to out-do our Baron in this species of excellence: and as at
present our curiosity seems much directed to the interior of Africa,
it must be edifying to have the real relation of Munchausen's
adventures there before any further intelligence arrives; for he seems
to adapt himself and his exploits to the spirit of the times, and
recounts what he thinks should be most interesting to his auditors.

I do not say that the Baron, in the following stories, means a satire
on any political matters whatever. No; but if the reader understands
them so, I cannot help it.

If the Baron meets with a parcel of negro ships carrying whites into
slavery to work upon their plantations in a cold climate, should we
therefore imagine that he intends a reflection on the present traffic
in human flesh? And that, if the negroes should do so, it would be
simple justice, as retaliation is the law of God! If we were to think
this a reflection on any present commercial or political matter, we
should be tempted to imagine, perhaps, some political ideas conveyed
in every page, in every sentence of the whole. Whether such things are
or are not the intentions of the Baron the reader must judge.

We have had not only wonderful travellers in this vile world, but
splenetic travellers, and of these not a few, and also conspicuous
enough. It is a pity, therefore, that the Baron has not endeavoured to
surpass them also in this species of story-telling. Who is it can read
the travels of Smellfungus, as Sterne calls him, without admiration?
To think that a person from the North of Scotland should travel
through some of the finest countries in Europe, and find fault with
everything he meets--nothing to please him! And therefore, methinks,
the Tour to the Hebrides is more excusable, and also perhaps Mr.
Twiss's Tour in Ireland. Dr. Johnson, bred in the luxuriance of
London, with more reason should become cross and splenetic in the
bleak and dreary regions of the Hebrides.

The Baron, in the following work, seems to be sometimes philosophical;
his account of the language of the interior of Africa, and its analogy
with that of the inhabitants of the moon, show him to be profoundly
versed in the etymological antiquities of nations, and throw new light
upon the abstruse history of the ancient Scythians, and the

His endeavour to abolish the custom of eating live flesh in the
interior of Africa, as described in Bruce's Travels, is truly humane.
But far be it from me to suppose, that by Gog and Magog and the Lord
Mayor's show he means a satire upon any person or body of persons
whatever: or, by a tedious litigated trial of blind judges and dumb
matrons following a wild goose chase all round the world, he should
glance at any trial whatever.

Nevertheless, I must allow that it was extremely presumptuous in
Munchausen to tell half the sovereigns of the world that they were
wrong, and advise them what they ought to do; and that instead of
ordering millions of their subjects to massacre one another, it would
be more to their interest to employ their forces in concert for the
general good; as if he knew better than the Empress of Russia, the
Grand Vizier, Prince Potemkin, or any other butcher in the world. But
that he should be a royal Aristocrat, and take the part of the injured
Queen of France in the present political drama, I am not at all
surprised; but I suppose his mind was fired by reading the pamphlet
written by Mr. Burke.


/The Baron insists on the veracity of his former Memoirs--Forms a
design of making discoveries in the interior parts of Africa--His
discourse with Hilaro Frosticos about it--His conversation with
Lady Fragrantia--The Baron goes, with other persons of
distinction, to Court; relates an anecdote of the Marquis de

All that I have related before, said the Baron, is gospel; and if
there be any one so hardy as to deny it, I am ready to fight him with
any weapon he pleases. Yes, cried he, in a more elevated tone, as he
started from his seat, I will condemn him to swallow this decanter,
glass and all perhaps, and filled with kerren-wasser [a kind of ardent
spirit distilled from cherries, and much used in some parts of
Germany]. Therefore, my dear friends and companions, have confidence
in what I say, and pay honour to the tales of Munchausen. A traveller
has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases, and
it is very unpolite to refuse that deference and applause they

Having passed some time in England since the completion of my former
memoirs, I at length began to revolve in my mind what a prodigious
field of discovery must be in the interior part of Africa. I could not
sleep with the thoughts of it; I therefore determined to gain every
proper assistance from Government to penetrate the celebrated source
of the Nile, and assume the viceroyship of the interior kingdoms of
Africa, or, at least, the great realm of Monomotapa. It was happy for
me that I had one most powerful friend at court, whom I shall call the
illustrious Hilaro Frosticos. You perchance know him not by that name;
but we had a language among ourselves, as well we may, for in the
course of my peregrinations I have acquired precisely nine hundred and
ninety-nine leash of languages. What! gentlemen, do you stare? Well, I
allow there are not so many languages spoken in this vile world; but
then, have I not been in the moon? and trust me, whenever I write a
treatise upon education, I shall delineate methods of inculcating
whole dozens of languages at once, French, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew,
Cherokee, &c., in such a style as will shame all the pedagogues

Having passed a whole night without being able to sleep for the vivid
imagination of African discoveries, I hastened to the levee of my
illustrious friend Hilaro Frosticos, and having mentioned my intention
with all the vigour of fancy, he gravely considered my words, and
after some awful meditations thus he spoke: /Olough, ma genesat, istum
fullanah, cum dera kargos belgarasah eseum balgo bartigos
triangulissimus!/ However, added he, it behoveth thee to consider and
ponder well upon the perils and the multitudinous dangers in the way
of that wight who thus advanceth in all the perambulation of
adventures: and verily, most valiant sire and Baron, I hope thou wilt
demean thyself with all that laudable gravity and precaution which, as
is related in the three hundred and forty-seventh chapter of the
Prophilactics, is of more consideration than all the merit in this
terraqueous globe. Yes, most truly do I advise thee unto thy good, and
speak unto thee, most valiant Munchausen, with the greatest esteem,
and wish thee to succeed in thy voyage; for it is said, that in the
interior realms of Africa there are tribes that can see but just three
inches and a half beyond the extremity of their noses; and verily thou
shouldest moderate thyself, even sure and slow; they stumble who walk
fast. But we shall bring you unto the Lady Fragrantia, and have her
opinion of the matter. He then took from his pocket a cap of dignity,
such as described in the most honourable and antique heraldry, and
placing it upon my head, addressed me thus:--"As thou seemest again to
revive the spirit of ancient adventure, permit me to place upon thy
head this favour, as a mark of the esteem in which I hold thy valorous

The Lady Fragrantia, my dear friends, was one of the most divine
creatures in all Great Britain, and was desperately in love with me.
She was drawing my portrait upon a piece of white satin, when the most
noble Hilaro Frosticos advanced. He pointed to the cap of dignity
which he had placed upon my head. "I do declare, Hilaro," said the
lovely Fragrantia, "'tis pretty, 'tis interesting; I love you, and I
like you, my dear Baron," said she, putting on another plume: "this
gives it an air more delicate and more fantastical. I do thus, my dear
Munchausen, as your friend, yet you can reject or accept my present
just as you please; but I like the fancy, 'tis a good one, and I mean
to improve it: and against whatever enemies you go, I shall have the
sweet satisfaction to remember you bear my favour on your head!"

I snatched it with trepidation, and gracefully dropping on my knees, I
three times kissed it with all the rapture of romantic love. "I
swear," cried I, "by thy bright eyes, and by the lovely whiteness of
thine arm, that no savage, tyrant, or enemy upon the face of the earth
shall despoil me of this favour, while one drop of the blood of the
Munchausens doth circulate in my veins! I will bear it triumphant
through the realms of Africa, whither I now intend my course, and make
it respected, even in the court of Prester John."

"I admire your spirit," replied she, "and shall use my utmost interest
at court to have you despatched with every pomp, and as soon as
possible; but here comes a most brilliant company indeed, Lady
Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs, Lord Spigot, and Lady Faucet, and
the Countess of Belleair."

After the ceremonies of introduction to this company were over, we
proceeded to consult upon the business; and as the cause met with
general applause, it was immediately determined that I should proceed
without delay, as soon as I obtained the sovereign approbation. "I am
convinced," said Lord Spigot, "that if there be any thing really
unknown and worthy of our most ardent curiosity, it must be in the
immense regions of Africa; that country, which seems to be the oldest
on the globe, and yet with the greater part of which we are almost
utterly unacquainted; what prodigious wealth of gold and diamonds must
not lie concealed in those torrid regions, when the very rivers on the
coast pour forth continual specimens of golden sand! 'Tis my opinion,
therefore, that the Baron deserves the applause of all Europe for his
spirit, and merits the most powerful assistance of the sovereign."

So flattering an approbation, you may be sure, was delightful to my
heart, and with every confidence and joy I suffered them to take me to
court that instant. After the usual ceremonies of introduction,
suffice it to say that I met with every honour and applause that my
most sanguine expectations could demand. I had always a taste for the
fashionable /je ne sais quoi/ of the most elegant society, and in the
presence of all the sovereigns of Europe I ever found myself quite at
home, and experienced from the whole court the most flattering esteem
and admiration. I remember, one particular day, the fate of the
unfortunate Marquis de Bellecourt. The Countess of Rassinda, who
accompanied him, looked most divinely. "Yes, I am confident," said the
Marquis de Bellecourt to me, "that I have acted according to the
strictest sentiments of justice and of loyalty to my sovereign. What
stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted? and though I did not
receive a word nor a look, yet I cannot think--no, it were impossible
to be misrepresented. Conscious of my own integrity, I will try again
--I will go boldly up." The Marquis de Bellecourt saw the opportunity;
he advanced three paces, put his hand upon his breast and bowed.
"Permit me," said he, "with the most profound respect, to----." His
tongue faltered--he could scarcely believe his sight, for at that
moment the whole company were moving out of the room. He found himself
almost alone, deserted by every one. "What!" said he, "and did he turn
upon his heel with the most marked contempt? Would he not speak to me?
Would he not even hear me utter a word in my defence?" His heart died
within him--not even a look, a smile from any one. "My friends! Do
they not know me? Do they not see me? Alas! they fear to catch the
contagion of my----. Then," said he, "adieu!--'tis more than I can
bear. I shall go to my country seat, and never, never will return.
Adieu, fond court, adieu!--"

The venerable Marquis de Bellecourt stopped for a moment ere he
entered his carriage. Thrice he looked back, and thrice he wiped the
starting tear from his eye. "Yes," said he, "for once, at least, truth
shall be found--in the bottom of a well!"

Peace to thy ghost, most noble marquis! a King of kings shall pity
thee; and thousands who are yet unborn shall owe their happiness to
thee, and have cause to bless the thousands, perhaps, that shall never
even know thy name; but Munchausen's self shall celebrate thy glory!


/Preparations for the Baron's expedition into Africa--Description
of his chariot; the beauties of its interior decorations; the
animals that drew it, and the mechanism of the wheels./

Everything being concluded, and having received my instructions for
the voyage, I was conducted by the illustrious Hilaro Frosticos, the
Lady Fragrantia, and a prodigious crowd of nobility, and placed
sitting upon the summit of the whale's bones at the palace; and having
remained in this situation for three days and three nights, as a trial
ordeal, and a specimen of my perseverance and resolution, the third
hour after midnight they seated me in the chariot of Queen Mab. It was
a prodigious dimension, large enough to contain more stowage than the
tun of Heidelberg, and globular like a hazel-nut: in fact, it seemed
to be really a hazel-nut grown to a most extravagant dimension, and
that a great worm of proportionable enormity had bored a hole in the
shell. Through this same entrance I was ushered. It was as large as a
coach-door, and I took my seat in the centre, a kind of chair self-
balanced without touching anything, like the fancied tomb of Mahomet.
The whole interior surface of the nutshell appeared a luminous
representation of all the stars of heaven, the fixed stars, the
planets, and a comet. The stars were as large as those worn by our
first nobility, and the comet, excessively brilliant, seemed as if you
had assembled all the eyes of the beautiful girls in the kingdom, and
combined them, like a peacock's plumage, into the form of a comet--
that is, a globe, and a bearded tail to it, diminishing gradually to a
point. This beautiful constellation seemed very sportive and
delightful. It was much in the form of a tadpole! and, without
ceasing, went, full of playful giddiness, up and down, all over the
heaven on the concave surface of the nutshell. One time it would be at
that part of the heavens under my feet, and in the next minute would
be over my head. It was never at rest, but for ever going east, west,
north, or south, and paid no more respect to the different worlds than
if they were so many lanterns without reflectors. Some of them he
would dash against and push out of their places; others he would burn
up and consume to ashes: and others again he would split into
fritters, and their fragments would instantly take a globular form,
like spilled quicksilver, and become satellites to whatever other
worlds they should happen to meet with in their career. In short, the
whole seemed an epitome of the creation, past, present, and future;
and all that passes among the stars during one thousand years was here
generally performed in as many seconds.

I surveyed all the beauties of the chariot with wonder and delight.
"Certainly," cried I, "this is heaven in miniature!" In short, I took
the reins in my hand. But before I proceed on my adventures, I shall
mention the rest of my attendant furniture. The chariot was drawn by a
team of nine bulls harnessed to it, three after three. In the first
rank was a most tremendous bull named John Mowmowsky; the rest were
called Jacks in general, but not dignified by any particular
denomination. They were all shod for the journey, not indeed like
horses, with iron, or as bullocks commonly are, to drag on a cart; but
were shod with men's skulls. Each of their feet was, hoof and all,
crammed into a man's head, cut off for the purpose, and fastened
therein with a kind of cement or paste, so that the skull seemed to be
a part of the foot and hoof of the animal. With these skull-shoes the
creatures could perform astonishing journeys, and slide upon the
water, or upon the ocean, with great velocity. The harnesses were
fastened with golden buckles, and decked with studs in a superb style,
and the creatures were ridden by nine postillions, crickets of a great
size, as large as monkeys, who sat squat upon the heads of the bulls,
and were continually chirping at a most infernal rate, loud in
proportion to their bodies.

The wheels of the chariot consisted of upwards of ten thousand
springs, formed so as to give the greater impetuosity to the vehicle,
and were more complex than a dozen clocks like that of Strasburgh. The
external of the chariot was adorned with banners, and a superb festoon
of laurel that formerly shaded me on horseback. And now, having given
you a very concise description of my machine for travelling into
Africa, which you must allow to be far superior to the apparatus of
Monsieur Vaillant, I shall proceed to relate the exploits of my


/The Baron proceeds on his voyage--Convoys a squadron to Gibraltar
--Declines the acceptance of the island of Candia--His chariot
damaged by Pompey's Pillar and Cleopatra's Needle--The Baron out-
does Alexander--Breaks his chariot, and splits a great rock at the
Cape of Good Hope./

Taking the reins in my hand, while the music gave a general salute, I
cracked my whip, away they went, and in three hours I found myself
just between the Isle of Wight and the main land of England. Here I
remained four days, until I had received part of my accompaniment,
which I was ordered to take under my convoy. 'Twas a squadron of men-
of-war that had been a long time prepared for the Baltic, but which
were now destined for the Mediterranean. By the assistance of large
hooks and eyes, exactly such as are worn in our hats, but of a greater
size, some hundredweight each, the men-of-war hooked themselves on to
the wheels of the vehicle: and, in fact, nothing could be more simple
or convenient, because they could be hooked or unhooked in an instant
with the utmost facility. In short, having given a general discharge
of their artillery, and three cheers, I cracked my whip, away we went,
helter skelter, and in six jiffies I found myself and all my retinue
safe and in good spirits just at the rock of Gibraltar. Here I
unhooked my squadron, and having taken an affectionate leave of the
officers, I suffered them to proceed in their ordinary manner to the
place of their destination. The whole garrison were highly delighted
with the novelty of my vehicle; and at the pressing solicitations of
the governor and officers I went ashore, and took a view of that
barren old rock, about which more powder has been fired away than
would purchase twice as much fertile ground in any part of the world!
Mounting my chariot, I took the reins, and again made forward, in mad
career, down the Mediterranean to the isle of Candia. Here I received
despatches from the Sublime Porte, entreating me to assist in the war
against Russia, with a reward of the whole island of Candia for my
alliance. At first I hesitated, thinking that the island of Candia
would be a most valuable acquisition to the sovereign who at that time
employed me, and that the most delicious wines, sugar, &c., in
abundance would flourish on the island; yet, when I considered the
trade of the East India Company, which would most probably suffer by
the intercourse with Persia through the Mediterranean, I at once
rejected the proposal, and had afterwards the thanks of the Honourable
the House of Commons for my propriety and political discernment.

Having been properly refreshed at Candia, I again proceeded, and in a
short time arrived in the land of Egypt. The land of this country, at
least that part of it near the sea, is very low, so that I came upon
it ere I was aware, and the Pillar of Pompey got entangled in the
various wheels of the machine, and damaged the whole considerably.
Still I drove on through thick and thin, till, passing over that great
obelisk, the Needle of Cleopatra, the work got entangled again, and
jolted at a miserable rate over the mud and swampy ground of all that
country; yet my poor bulls trotted on with astonishing labour across
the Isthmus of Suez into the Red Sea, and left a track, an obscure
channel, which has since been taken by De Tott for the remains of a
canal cut by some of the Ptolemies from the Red Sea to the
Mediterranean; but, as you perceive, was in reality no more than the
track of my chariot, the car of Queen Mab.

As the artists at present in that country are nothing wonderful,
though the ancient Egyptians, 'tis said, were most astonishing
fellows, I could not procure any new coach-springs, or have a
possibility of setting my machine to rights in the kingdom of Egypt;
and as I could not presume to attempt another journey overland, and
the great mountains of marble beyond the source of the Nile, I thought
it most eligible to make the best way I could, by sea, to the Cape of
Good Hope, where I supposed I should get some Dutch smiths and
carpenters, or perhaps some English artists; and my vehicle being
properly repaired, it was my intention thence to proceed, overland,
through the heart of Africa. The surface of the water, I well knew,
afforded less resistance to the wheels of the machine--it passed along
the waves like the chariot of Neptune; and in short, having gotten
upon the Red Sea, we scudded away to admiration through the pass of
Babelmandeb to the great Western coast of Africa, where Alexander had
not the courage to venture.

And really, my friends, if Alexander had ventured toward the Cape of
Good Hope he most probably would have never returned. It is difficult
to determine whether there were then any inhabitants in the more
southern parts of Africa or not; yet, at any rate, this conqueror of
the world would have made but a nonsensical adventure; his miserable
ships, not contrived for a long voyage, would have become leaky, and
foundered, before he could have doubled the Cape, and left his Majesty
fairly beyond the limits of the then known world. Yet it would have
been an august exit for an Alexander, after having subdued Persia and
India, to be wandering the Lord knows where, to Jup or Ammon, perhaps,
or on a voyage to the moon, as an Indian chief once said to Captain

But, for my part, I was far more successful than Alexander; I drove on
with the most amazing rapidity, and thinking to halt on shore at the
Cape, I unfortunately drove too close, and shattered the right side
wheels of my vehicle against the rock, now called the Table Mountain.
The machine went against it with such impetuosity as completely
shivered the rock in a horizontal direction; so that the summit of the
mountain, in the form of a semi-sphere, was knocked into the sea, and
the steep mountain becoming thereby flattened at the top, has since
received the name of the Table Mountain, from its similarity to that
piece of furniture.

Just as this part of the mountain was knocked off, the ghost of the
Cape, that tremendous sprite which cuts such a figure in the Lusiad,
was discovered sitting squat in an excavation formed for him in the
centre of the mountain. He seemed just like a young bee in his little
cell before he comes forth, or like a bean in a bean-pod; and when the
upper part of the mountain was split across and knocked off, the
superior half of his person was discovered. He appeared of a bottle-
blue colour, and started, dazzled with the unexpected glare of the
light: hearing the dreadful rattle of the wheels, and the loud
chirping of the crickets, he was thunder-struck, and instantly giving
a shriek, sunk down ten thousand fathoms into the earth, while the
mountain, vomiting out some smoke, silently closed up, and left not a
trace behind!


/The Baron secures his chariot, &c., at the Cape and takes his
passage for England in a homeward-bound Indiaman--Wrecked upon an
island of ice, near the coast of Guinea--Escapes from the wreck,
and rears a variety of vegetables upon the island--Meets some
vessels belonging to the negroes bringing white slaves from
Europe, in retaliation, to work upon their plantations in a cold
climate near the South Pole--Arrives in England, and lays an
account of his expedition before the Privy Council--Great
preparations for a new expedition--The Sphinx, Gog and Magog, and
a great company attend him--The ideas of Hilaro Frosticos
respecting the interior parts of Africa./

I perceived with grief and consternation the miscarriage of all my
apparatus; yet I was not absolutely dejected: a great mind is never
known but in adversity. With permission of the Dutch governor the
chariot was properly laid up in a great storehouse, erected at the
water's edge, and the bulls received every refreshment possible after
so terrible a voyage. Well, you may be sure they deserved it, and
therefore every attendance was engaged for them, until I should

As it was not possible to do anything more I took my passage in a
homeward-bound Indiaman, to return to London, and lay the matter
before the Privy Council.

We met with nothing particular until we arrived upon the coast of
Guinea, where, to our utter astonishment, we perceived a great hill,
seemingly of glass, advancing against us in the open sea; the rays of
the sun were reflected upon it with such splendour, that it was
extremely difficult to gaze at the phenomenon. I immediately knew it
to be an island of ice, and though in so very warm a latitude,
determined to make all possible sail from such horrible danger. We did
so, but all in vain, for about eleven o'clock at night, blowing a very
hard gale, and exceedingly dark, we struck upon the island. Nothing
could equal the distraction, the shrieks, and despair of the whole
crew, until I, knowing there was not a moment to be lost, cheered up
their spirits, and bade them not despond, but do as I should request
them. In a few minutes the vessel was half full of water, and the
enormous castle of ice that seemed to hem us in on every side, in some
places falling in hideous fragments upon the deck, killed one half of
the crew; upon which, getting upon the summit of the mast, I contrived
to make it fast to a great promontory of the ice, and calling to the
remainder of the crew to follow me, we all escaped from the wreck, and
got upon the summit of the island.

The rising sun soon gave us a dreadful prospect of our situation, and
the loss, or rather iceification, of the vessel; for being closed in
on every side with castles of ice during the night, she was absolutely
frozen over and buried in such a manner that we could behold her under
our feet, even in the central solidity of the island. Having debated
what was best to be done, we immediately cut down through the ice, and
got up some of the cables of the vessel, and the boats, which, making
fast to the island, we towed it with all our might, determined to
bring home island and all, or perish in the attempt. On the summit of
the island we placed what oakum and dregs of every kind of matter we
could get from the vessel, which, in the space of a very few hours, on
account of the liquefying of the ice, and the warmth of the sun, were
transformed into a very fine manure; and as I had some seeds of exotic
vegetables in my pocket, we shortly had a sufficiency of fruits and
roots growing upon the island to supply the whole crew, especially the
bread-fruit tree, a few plants of which had been in the vessel; and
another tree, which bore plum-puddings so very hot, and with such
exquisite proportion of sugar, fruit, &c., that we all acknowledged it
was not possible to taste anything of the kind more delicious in
England: in short, though the scurvy had made such dreadful progress
among the crew before our striking upon the ice, the supply of
vegetables, and especially the bread-fruit and pudding-fruit, put an
almost immediate stop to the distemper.

We had not proceeded thus many weeks, advancing with incredible
fatigue by continual towing, when we fell in with a fleet of Negro-
men, as they call them. These wretches, I must inform you, my dear
friends, had found means to make prizes of those vessels from some
Europeans upon the coast of Guinea, and tasting the sweets of luxury,
had formed colonies in several new discovered islands near the South
Pole, where they had a variety of plantations of such matters as would
only grow in the coldest climates. As the black inhabitants of Guinea
were unsuited to the climate and excessive cold of the country, they
formed the diabolical project of getting Christian slaves to work for
them. For this purpose they sent vessels every year to the coast of
Scotland, the northern parts of Ireland, and Wales, and were even
sometimes seen off the coast of Cornwall. And having purchased, or
entrapped by fraud or violence, a great number of men, women, and
children, they proceeded with their cargoes of human flesh to the
other end of the world, and sold them to their planters, where they
were flogged into obedience, and made to work like horses all the rest
of their lives.

My blood ran cold at the idea, while every one on the island also
expressed his horror that such an iniquitous traffic should be
suffered to exist. But, except by open violence, it was found
impossible to destroy the trade, on account of a barbarous prejudice,
entertained of late by the negroes, that the white people have no
souls! However, we were determined to attack them, and steering down
our island upon them, soon overwhelmed them: we saved as many of the
white people as possible, but pushed all the blacks into the water
again. The poor creatures we saved from slavery were so overjoyed,
that they wept aloud through gratitude, and we experienced every
delightful sensation to think what happiness we should shower upon
their parents, their brothers and sisters and children, by bringing
them home safe, redeemed from slavery, to the bosom of their native

Having happily arrived in England, I immediately laid a statement of
my voyage, &c., before the Privy Council, and entreated an immediate
assistance to travel into Africa, and, if possible, refit my former
machine, and take it along with the rest. Everything was instantly
granted to my satisfaction, and I received orders to get myself ready
for departure as soon as possible.

As the Emperor of China had sent a most curious animal as a present to
Europe, which was kept in the Tower, and it being of an enormous
stature, and capable of performing the voyage with /éclat/, she was
ordered to attend me. She was called Sphinx, and was one of the most
tremendous though magnificent figures I ever beheld. She was harnessed
with superb trappings to a large flat-bottomed boat, in which was
placed an edifice of wood, exactly resembling Westminster Hall. Two
balloons were placed over it, tackled by a number of ropes to the
boat, to keep up a proper equilibrium, and prevent it from
overturning, or filling, from the prodigious weight of the fabric.

The interior of the edifice was decorated with seats, in the form of
an amphitheatre, and crammed as full as it could hold with ladies and
lords, as a council and retinue for your humble servant. Nearly in the
centre was a seat elegantly decorated for myself, and on either side
of me were placed the famous Gog and Magog in all their pomp.

The Lord Viscount Gosamer being our postillion, we floated gallantly
down the river, the noble Sphinx gambolling like the huge leviathan,
and towing after her the boat and balloons.

Thus we advanced, sailing gently, into the open sea; being calm
weather, we could scarcely feel the motion of the vehicle, and passed
our time in grand debate upon the glorious intention of our voyage,
and the discoveries that would result.

"I am of opinion," said my noble friend, Hilaro Frosticos, "that
Africa was originally inhabited for the greater part, or, I may say,
subjugated by lions which, next to man, seem to be the most dreaded of
all mortal tyrants. The country in general--at least, what we have
been hitherto able to discover, seems rather inimical to human life;
the intolerable dryness of the place, the burning sands that overwhelm
whole armies and cities in general ruin, and the hideous life many
roving hordes are compelled to lead, incline me to think, that if ever
we form any great settlements therein, it will become the grave of our
countrymen. Yet it is nearer to us than the East Indies, and I cannot
but imagine, that in many places every production of China, and of the
East and West Indies, would flourish, if properly attended to. And as
the country is so prodigiously extensive and unknown, what a source of
discovery must not it contain! In fact, we know less about the
interior of Africa than we do of the moon; for in this latter we
measure the very prominences, and observe the varieties and
inequalities of the surface through our glasses--

"Forests and mountains on her spotted orb.

"But we see nothing in the interior of Africa, but what some compilers
of maps or geographers are fanciful enough to imagine. What a happy
event, therefore, should we not expect from a voyage of discovery and
colonisation undertaken in so magnificent a style as the present! what
a pride--what an acquisition to philosophy!"


/Count Gosamer thrown by Sphinx into the snow on the top of
Teneriffe--Gog and Magog conduct Sphinx for the rest of the voyage
--The Baron arrives at the Cape, and unites his former chariot,
&c., to his new retinue--Passes into Africa, proceeding from the
Cape northwards--Defeats a host of lions by a curious stratagem--
Travels through an immense desert--His whole company, chariot,
&c., overwhelmed by a whirlwind of sand--Extricates them, and
arrives in a fertile country./

The brave Count Gosamer, with a pair of hell-fire spurs on, riding
upon Sphinx, directed the whole retinue towards the Madeiras. But the
Count had no small share of an amiable vanity, and perceiving great
multitudes of people, Gascons, &c., assembled upon the French coast,
he could not refrain from showing some singular capers, such as they
had never seen before: but especially when he observed all the members
of the National Assembly extend themselves along the shore, as a piece
of French politeness, to honour this expedition, with Rousseau,
Voltaire, and Beelzebub at their head; he set spurs to Sphinx, and at
the same time cut and cracked away as hard as he could, holding in the
reins with all his might, striving to make the creature plunge and
show some uncommon diversion. But sulky and ill-tempered was Sphinx at
the time: she plunged indeed--such a devil of a plunge, that she
dashed him in one jerk over her head, and he fell precipitately into
the water before her. It was in the Bay of Biscay, all the world knows
a very boisterous sea, and Sphinx, fearing he would be drowned, never
turned to the left or the right out of her way, but advancing furious,
just stooped her head a little, and supped the poor count off the
water, into her mouth, together with the quantity of two or three tuns
of water, which she must have taken in along with him, but which were,
to such an enormous creature as Sphinx, nothing more than a spoonful
would be to any of you or me. She swallowed him, but when she had got
him in her stomach, his long spurs so scratched and tickled her, that
they produced the effect of an emetic. No sooner was he in, but out he
was squirted with the most horrible impetuosity, like a ball or a
shell from the calibre of a mortar. Sphinx was at this time quite sea-
sick, and the unfortunate count was driven forth like a sky-rocket,
and landed upon the peak of Teneriffe, plunged over head and ears in
the snow--/requiescat in pace!/

I perceived all this mischief from my seat in the ark, but was in such
a convulsion of laughter that I could not utter an intelligible word.
And now Sphinx, deprived of her postillion, went on in a zigzag
direction, and gambolled away after a most dreadful manner. And thus
had everything gone to wreck, had I not given instant orders to Gog
and Magog to sally forth. They plunged into the water, and swimming on
each side, got at length right before the animal, and then seized the
reins. Thus they continued swimming on each side, like tritons,
holding the muzzle of Sphinx, while I, sallying forth astride upon the
creature's back, steered forward on our voyage to the Cape of Good

Arriving at the Cape, I immediately gave orders to repair my former
chariot and machines, which were very expeditiously performed by the
excellent artists I had brought with me from Europe. And now
everything being refitted, we launched forth upon the water: perhaps
there never was anything seen more glorious or more august. 'Twas
magnificent to behold Sphinx make her obeisance on the water, and the
crickets chirp upon the bulls in return of the salute; while Gog and
Magog, advancing, took the reins of the great John Mowmowsky, and
leading towards us chariot and all, instantly disposed of them to the
forepart of the ark by hooks and eyes, and tackled Sphinx before all
the bulls. Thus the whole had a most tremendous and triumphal
appearance. In front floated forwards the mighty Sphinx, with Gog and
Magog on each side; next followed in order the bulls with crickets
upon their heads; and then advanced the chariot of Queen Mab,
containing the curious seat and orrery of heaven; after which appeared
the boat and ark of council, overtopped with two balloons, which gave
an air of greater lightness and elegance to the whole. I placed in the
galleries under the balloons, and on the backs of the bulls, a number
of excellent vocal performers, with martial music of clarionets and
trumpets. They sung the "Watery Dangers," and the "Pomp of Deep
Cerulean!" The sun shone glorious on the water while the procession
advanced toward the land, under five hundred arches of ice,
illuminated with coloured lights, and adorned in the most grotesque
and fanciful style with sea-weed, elegant festoons, and shells of
every kind; while a thousand water-spouts danced eternally before and
after us, attracting the water from the sea in a kind of cone, and
suddenly uniting with the most fantastical thunder and lightning.

Having landed our whole retinue, we immediately began to proceed
toward the heart of Africa, but first thought it expedient to place a
number of wheels under the ark for its greater facility of advancing.
We journeyed nearly due north for several days, and met with nothing
remarkable except the astonishment of the savage natives to behold our

The Dutch Government at the Cape, to do them justice, gave us every
possible assistance for the expedition. I presume they had received
instruction on that head from their High Mightinesses in Holland.
However, they presented us with a specimen of some of the most
excellent of their Cape wine, and showed us every politeness in their
power. As to the face of the country, as we advanced, it appeared in
many places capable of every cultivation, and of abundant fertility.
The natives and Hottentots of this part of Africa have been frequently
described by travellers, and therefore it is not necessary to say any
more about them. But in the more interior parts of Africa the
appearance, manners, and genius of the people are totally different.

We directed our course by the compass and the stars, getting every day
prodigious quantities of game in the woods, and at night encamping
within a proper enclosure for fear of the wild beasts. One whole day
in particular we heard on every side, among the hills, the horrible
roaring of lions, resounding from rock to rock like broken thunder. It
seemed as if there was a general rendezvous of all these savage
animals to fall upon our party. That whole day we advanced with
caution, our hunters scarcely venturing beyond pistol shot from the
caravan for fear of dissolution. At night we encamped as usual, and
threw up a circular entrenchment round our tents. We had scarce
retired to repose when we found ourselves serenaded by at least one
thousand lions, approaching equally on every side, and within a
hundred paces. Our cattle showed the most horrible symptoms of fear,
all trembling, and in cold perspiration. I directly ordered the whole
company to stand to their arms, and not to make any noise by firing
till I should command them. I then took a large quantity of tar, which
I had brought with our caravan for that purpose, and strewed it in a
continued stream round the encampment, within which circle of tar I
immediately placed another train or circle of gunpowder, and having
taken this precaution, I anxiously waited the lions' approach. These
dreadful animals, knowing, I presume, the force of our troop, advanced
very slowly, and with caution, approaching on every side of us with an
equal pace, and growling in hideous concert, so as to resemble an
earthquake, or some similar convulsion of the world. When they had at
length advanced and steeped all their paws in the tar, they put their
noses to it, smelling it as if it were blood, and daubed their great
bushy hair and whiskers with it equal to their paws. At that very
instant, when, in concert, they were to give the mortal dart upon us,
I discharged a pistol at the train of gunpowder, which instantly
exploded on every side, made all the lions recoil in general uproar,
and take to flight with the utmost precipitation. In an instant we
could behold them scattered through the woods at some distance,
roaring in agony, and moving about like so many Will-o'-the-Wisps,
their paws and faces all on fire from the tar and the gun-powder. I
then ordered a general pursuit: we followed them on every side through
the woods, their own light serving as our guide, until, before the
rising of the sun, we followed into their fastnesses and shot or
otherwise destroyed every one of them, and during the whole of our
journey after we never heard the roaring of a lion, nor did any wild
beast presume to make another attack upon our party, which shows the
excellence of immediate presence of mind, and the terror inspired into
the savage enemies by a proper and well-timed proceeding.

We at length arrived on the confines of an immeasurable desert--an
immense plain, extending on every side of us like an ocean. Not a
tree, nor a shrub, nor a blade of grass was to be seen, but all
appeared an extreme fine sand, mixed with gold-dust and little
sparkling pearls.

The gold-dust and pearls appeared to us of little value, because we
could have no expectation of returning to England for a considerable
time. We observed, at a great distance, something like a smoke arising
just over the verge of the horizon, and looking with our telescopes we
perceived it to be a whirlwind tearing up the sand and tossing it
about in the heavens with frightful impetuosity. I immediately ordered
my company to erect a mound around us of a great size, which we did
with astonishing labour and perseverance, and then roofed it over with
certain planks and timber, which we had with us for the purpose. Our
labour was scarcely finished when the sand came rolling in like the
waves of the sea; 'twas a storm and river of sand united. It continued
to advance in the same direction, without intermission, for three
days, and completely covered over the mound we had erected, and buried
us all within. The intense heat of the place was intolerable; but
guessing, by the cessation of the noise, that the storm was passed, we
set about digging a passage to the light of day again, which we
effected in a very short time, and ascending, perceived that the whole
had been so completely covered with the sand, that there appeared no
hills, but one continued plain, with inequalities or ridges on it like
the waves of the sea. We soon extricated our vehicle and retinue from
the burning sands, but not without great danger, as the heat was very
violent, and began to proceed on our voyage. Storms of sand of a
similar nature several times attacked us, but by using the same
precautions we preserved ourselves repeatedly from destruction. Having
travelled more than nine thousand miles over this inhospitable plain,
exposed to the perpendicular rays of a burning sun, without ever
meeting a rivulet, or a shower from heaven to refresh us, we at length
became almost desperate, when, to our inexpressible joy, we beheld
some mountains at a great distance, and on our nearer approach
observed them covered with a carpet of verdure and groves and woods.
Nothing could appear more romantic or beautiful than the rocks and
precipices intermingled with flowers and shrubs of every kind, and
palm-trees of such a prodigious size as to surpass anything ever seen
in Europe. Fruits of all kinds appeared growing wild in the utmost
abundance, and antelopes and sheep and buffaloes wandered about the
groves and valleys in profusion. The trees resounded with the melody
of birds, and everything displayed a general scene of rural happiness
and joy.


/A feast on live bulls and kava--The inhabitants admire the
European adventurers--The Emperor comes to meet the Baron, and
pays him great compliments--The inhabitants of the centre of
Africa descended from the people of the moon proved by an
inscription in Africa, and by the analogy of their language, which
is also the same with that of the ancient Scythians--The Baron is
declared sovereign of the interior of Africa on the decease of the
Emperor--He endeavours to abolish the custom of eating live bulls,
which excites much discontent--The advice of Hilaro Frosticos upon
the occasion--The Baron makes a speech to an Assembly of the
states, which only excites greater murmurs--He consults with
Hilaro Frosticos./

Having passed over the nearest mountains we entered a delightful vale,
where we perceived a multitude of persons at a feast of living bulls,
whose flesh they cut away with great knives, making a table of the
creature's carcase, serenaded by the bellowing of the unfortunate
animal. Nothing seemed requisite to add to the barbarity of this feast
but /kava/, made as described in Cook's voyages, and at the conclusion
of the feast we perceived them brewing this liquor, which they drank
with the utmost avidity. From that moment, inspired with an idea of
universal benevolence, I determined to abolish the custom of eating
live flesh and drinking of kava. But I knew that such a thing could
not be immediately effected, whatever in future time might be

Having rested ourselves during a few days, we determined to set out
towards the principal city of the empire. The singularity of our
appearance was spoken of all over the country as a phenomenon. The
multitude looked upon Sphinx, the bulls, the crickets, the balloons,
and the whole company, as something more than terrestrial, but
especially the thunder of our fire-arms, which struck horror and
amazement into the whole nation.

We at length arrived at the metropolis, situated on the banks of a
noble river, and the emperor, attended by all his court, came out in
grand procession to meet us. The emperor appeared mounted on a
dromedary, royally caparisoned, with all his attendants on foot
through respect for his Majesty. He was rather above the middle
stature of that country, four feet three inches in height, with a
countenance, like all his countrymen, as white as snow! He was
preceded by a band of most exquisite music, according to the fashion
of the country, and his whole retinue halted within about fifty paces
of our troop. We returned the salute by a discharge of musketry, and a
flourish of our trumpets and martial music. I commanded our caravan to
halt, and dismounting, advanced uncovered, with only two attendants,
towards his Majesty. The emperor was equally polite, and descending
from his dromedary, advanced to meet me. "I am happy," said he, "to
have the honour to receive so illustrious a traveller, and assure you
that everything in my empire shall be at your disposal."

I thanked his Majesty for his politeness, and expressed how happy I
was to meet so polished and refined a people in the centre of Africa,
and that I hoped to show myself and company grateful for his esteem,
by introducing the arts and sciences of Europe among the people.

I immediately perceived the true descent of this people, which does
not appear of terrestrial origin, but descended from some of the
inhabitants of the moon, because the principal language spoken there,
and in the centre of Africa, is very nearly the same. Their alphabet
and method of writing are pretty much the same, and show the extreme
antiquity of this people, and their exalted origin. I here give you a
specimen of their writing [/Vide Otrckocsus de Orig. Hung./ p. 46]:--
Stregnah, dna skoohtop.

These characters I have submitted to the inspection of a celebrated
antiquarian, and it will be proved to the satisfaction of every one,
in his next volume, what an immediate intercourse there must have been
between the inhabitants of the moon and the ancient Scythians, which
Scythians did not by any means inhabit a part of Russia, but the
central part of Africa, as I can abundantly prove to my very learned
and laborious friend. The above words, written in our characters, are
/Sregnah dna skoohtop/; that is, The Scythians are of heavenly origin.
The word /Sregnah/, which signifies /Scythians/, is compounded of
/sreg/ or /sre/, whence our present English word sire, or sir: and
/nah/, or /gnah/, knowledge, because the Scythians united the
essentials of nobility and learning together: /dna/ signifies heaven,
or belonging to the moon, from /duna/, who was anciently worshipped as
goddess of that luminary. And /skooh-top/ signifies the origin or
beginning of anything, from /skoo/, the name used in the moon for a
point in geometry, and /top/ or /htop/, vegetation. These words are
inscribed at this day upon a pyramid in the centre of Africa, nearly
at the source of the river Niger; and if any one refuses his assent,
he may go there to be convinced.

The emperor conducted me to his court amidst the admiration of his
courtiers, and paid us every possible politeness that African
magnificence could bestow. He never presumed to proceed on any
expedition without consulting us, and looking upon us as a species of
superior beings, paid the greatest respect to our opinions. He
frequently asked me about the states of Europe, and the kingdom of
Great Britain, and appeared lost in admiration at the account I gave
him of our shipping, and the immensity of the ocean. We taught him to
regulate the government nearly on the same plan with the British
constitution, and to institute a parliament and degrees of nobility.
His majesty was the last of his royal line, and on his decease, with
the unanimous consent of the people, made me heir to the whole empire.
The nobility and chiefs of the country immediately waited upon me with
petitions, entreating me to accept the government. I consulted with my
noble friends, Gog and Magog, &c., and after much consultation it was
agreed that I should accept the government, not as actual and
independent monarch of the place, but as viceroy to his Majesty of

I now thought it high time to do away the custom of eating of live
flesh and drinking of kava, and for that purpose used every persuasive
method to wean the majority of the people from it. This, to my
astonishment, was not taken in good part by the nation, and they
looked with jealousy at those strangers who wanted to make innovations
among them.

Nevertheless, I felt much concern to think that my fellow-creatures
could be capable of such barbarity. I did everything that a heart
fraught with universal benevolence and good will to all mankind could
be capable of desiring. I first tried every method of persuasion and
incitement. I did not harshly reprove them, but I invited frequently
whole thousands to dine, after the fashion of Europe, upon roasted
meat. Alas, 'twas all in vain! my goodness nearly excited a sedition.
They murmured among themselves, spoke of my intentions, my wild and
ambitious views, as if I, O heaven! could have had any personal
interested motive in making them live like men, rather than like
crocodiles and tigers. In fine, perceiving that gentleness could be of
no avail, well knowing that when complaisance can effect nothing from
some spirits, compulsion excites respect and veneration, I prohibited,
under the pain of the severest penalties, the drinking of kava, or
eating of live flesh, for the space of nine days, within the districts
of Angalinar and Paphagalna.

But this created such an universal abhorrence and detestation of my
government, that my ministers, and even myself, were universally
pasquinadoed; lampoons, satires, ridicule, and insult, were showered
upon the name of Munchausen wherever it was mentioned; and in fine,
there never was a government so much detested, or with such little

In this dilemma I had recourse to the advice of my noble friend Hilaro
Frosticos. In his good sense I now expected some resource, for the
rest of the council, who had advised me to the former method, had
given but a poor specimen of their abilities and discernment, or I
should have succeeded more happily. In short, he addressed himself to
me and to the council as follows:--

"It is in vain, most noble Munchausen, that your Excellency endeavours
to compel or force these people to a life to which they have never
been accustomed. In vain do you tell them that apple-pies, pudding,
roast beef, minced pies, or tarts, are delicious, that sugar is sweet,
that wine is exquisite. Alas! they cannot, they will not comprehend
what deliciousness is, what sweetness, or what the flavour of the
grape. And even if they were convinced of the superior excellence of
your way of life, never, never would they be persuaded; and that if
for no other reason, but because force or persuasion is employed to
induce them to it. Abandon that idea for the present, and let us try
another method. My opinion, therefore, is, that we should at once
cease all endeavours to compel or persuade them. But let us, if
possible, procure a quantity of /fudge/ from England, and carelessly
scatter it over all the country; and from this disposal of matters I
presume--nay, I have a moral certainty, that we shall reclaim this
people from horror and barbarity."

Had this been proposed at any other time, it would have been violently
opposed in the council; but now, when every other attempt had failed,
when there seemed no other resource, the majority willingly submitted
to they knew not what, for they absolutely had no idea of the manner,
the possibilities of success, or how they could bring matters to bear.
However, 'twas a scheme, and as such they submitted. For my part, I
listened with ecstasy to the words of Hilaro Frosticos, for I knew
that he had a most singular knowledge of human kind, and could humour
and persuade them on to their own happiness and universal good.
Therefore, according to the advice of Hilaro, I despatched a balloon
with four men over the desert to the Cape of Good Hope, with letters
to be forwarded to England, requiring, without delay, a few cargoes of

The people had all this time remained in a general state of ferment
and murmur. Everything that rancour, low wit, and deplorable ignorance
could conceive to asperse my government, was put in execution. The
most worthy, even the most beneficent actions, everything that was
amiable, were perverted into opposition.

The heart of Munchausen was not made of such impenetrable stuff as to
be insensible to the hatred of even the most worthless wretch in the
whole kingdom; and once, at a general assembly of the states, filled
with an idea of such continued ingratitude, I spoke as pathetic as
possible, not, methought, beneath my dignity, to make them feel for
me: that the universal good and happiness of the people were all I
wished or desired; that if my actions had been mistaken, or improper
surmises formed, still I had no wish, no desire, but the public
welfare, &c. &c. &c.

Hilaro Frosticos was all this time much disturbed; he looked sternly
at me--he frowned, but I was so engrossed with the warmth of my heart,
my intentions, that I understood him not: in a minute I saw nothing
but as if through a cloud (such is the force of amiable sensibility)--
lords, ladies, chiefs--the whole assembly seemed to swim before my
sight. The more I thought on my good intentions, the lampoons which so
much affected my delicacy, good nature, tenderness--I forgot myself--I
spoke rapid, violent--beneficence--fire--tenderness--alas! I melted
into tears!

"Pish! pish!" said Hilaro Frosticos.

Now, indeed, was my government lampooned, satirised, carribonadoed,
bepickled, and bedevilled. One day, with my arm full of lampoons, I
started up as Hilaro entered the room, the tears in my eyes: "Look,
look here, Hilaro!--how can I bear all this? It is impossible to
please them; I will leave the government--I cannot bear it! See what
pitiful anecdotes--what surmises: I will make my people feel for me--I
will leave the government!"

"Pshaw!" says Hilaro. At that simple mono-syllable I found myself
changed as if by magic! for I ever looked on Hilaro as a person so
experienced--such fortitude, such good sense. "There are three sails,
under the convoy of a frigate," added Hilaro, "just arrived at the
Cape, after a fortunate passage, laden with the fudge that we
demanded. No time is to be lost; let it be immediately conducted
hither, and distributed through the principal granaries of the


/A proclamation by the Baron--Excessive curiosity of the people to
know what fudge was--The people in a general ferment about it--
They break open all the granaries in the empire--The affections of
the people conciliated--An ode performed in honour of the Baron--
His discourse with Fragrantia on the excellence of the music./

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest