The Land of the Giants


My second journey started on 20 June 1702. I sailed in a ship called the Adventure, which was travelling to Surat in India. At first we had a very good wind behind us, but then we sailed into bad weather around the Cape Of Good Hope. We stopped to get water, planning to leave after a few days. Then our captain told us some bad news.


"There's a hole in the ship," he said. "We must wait here until it is repaired."


It took a long time to repair the ship. We stayed in the Cape of Good Hope and did not sail again until March. Our misfortune continued as we soon sailed into a very bad storm. The wind was so strong that we were blown 200 miles in the wrong direction. Even our oldest sailor did not know which part of the world we were in. We had lots of food and our crew were all in good health, but we had almost no water.


On 16 June 1703, we at last saw land. Our captain sent a dozen of his men in a small boat in search of water. I went with them to try and find out more about this country which was not on any map.


While the others stayed near the sea looking for water, I walked away from the beach for about a mile. The land was rocky and there were few plants. I soon decided to turn back. As I returned towards the beach, I saw something which astonished me. The other sailors had gone back in the small boat and were rowing as fast as they could back to the Adventure. I was about to shout after them when I saw a huge creature chasing the boat out to sea.


I was told afterwards that they had just managed to escape back to the Adventure, but I did not dare stay to see for myself. I turned and ran as fast as I could up a steep hill. When I reached the top, I found I could see a lot of the country. What first surprised me was that the grass seemed to be over fifteen feet high.


Jonathan Swift lived in Ireland and England about three hundred years ago. He became famous for his political writing. 'Gulliver's Travels' began as an entertaining political story, but it became very popular as a tale for young people.


Jonathan Swift: Gulliver's Travels - Further Voyages. Oxford Progressive English Readers; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995

Grade 3 (3,100 headwords)