The Thing that Made Gulliver Sneeze

Gulliver’s sneezing in Lilliput is certainly an intriguing aspect of Jonathan Swift’s famous novel, “Gulliver’s Travels.” In this fantastical tale, Gulliver encounters numerous peculiarities in the land of the Lilliputians, and his sneezing becomes one of the curious phenomena that captivate both him and the readers.

One might wonder, what exactly causes Gulliver to sneeze in Lilliput? Well, the answer lies in the tiny inhabitants themselves. The Lilliputians are, as the name suggests, miniature people, measuring only about six inches tall. Their petite size and unique customs lead to an unexpected reaction from Gulliver’s nose.

You see, the Lilliputians have a rather unconventional way of addressing certain bodily functions. Instead of using the ordinary words for sneezing, they utter the phrase “Hekinah Degul.” This peculiar expression, when spoken by the Lilliputians, triggers an uncontrollable sneezing fit in Gulliver.

The reason behind this curious phenomenon is not explicitly explained in the novel. However, one can speculate that the Lilliputian language itself possesses a certain quality or sound that stimulates Gulliver’s nasal passages, causing him to sneeze involuntarily. It is also plausible that the Lilliputians intentionally use this phrase as a form of amusement or to exert control over the giant Gulliver.

Moreover, it is worth noting that Gulliver’s sneezing serves as a source of entertainment for the Lilliputians. They find great amusement in observing the giant’s reaction, and it becomes a spectacle for the entire population. This fascination with Gulliver’s sneezing further emphasizes the stark contrast in size and power between him and the Lilliputians.

In addition to its entertainment value, Gulliver’s sneezing also holds symbolic significance. It serves as a reminder of the inherent differences between individuals and communities. Gulliver, as a giant in Lilliput, represents an outsider, a foreigner who is unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of this miniature world. His sneezing highlights the challenges that arise when two vastly different cultures interact, and the potential for misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Gulliver’s sneezing in Lilliput is a fascinating aspect of Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels.” It adds depth to the narrative, showcasing the peculiarities of the Lilliputian society and the challenges faced by Gulliver as he navigates this unfamiliar world. The sneezing serves as a reminder of the stark differences between individuals and cultures, and the potential for both amusement and misunderstanding when encountering the unknown.

Where Does Gulliver Stay While He Is In Lilliput?

Gulliver stays in an abandoned ancient temple while he is in Lilliput. The choice of lodging for Gulliver in Lilliput is an abandoned ancient temple. This temple, which has been left deserted and unoccupied, serves as Gulliver’s temporary residence during his time in Lilliput. The temple provides Gulliver with a sheltered and secure place to stay, offering him a sense of safety and protection from the outside world. The temple’s ancient architecture and historical significance add to the unique experience of Gulliver’s stay in Lilliput. Its abandoned state also ensures that Gulliver has ample privacy and seclusion, allowing him to observe and interact with the Lilliputians without intrusion or disturbance. the abandoned ancient temple serves as Gulliver’s lodging while he is in Lilliput, providing him with a suitable and interesting place to reside during his adventures in the land of the small people.

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What Are Gulliver’s First Lilliputian Words?

Gulliver’s first encounter with the Lilliputians in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” is marked by a peculiar linguistic exchange. Upon awakening and finding himself bound to the ground, Gulliver is confronted by a tiny Lilliputian who utters the phrase “Hekinah Degul.”

The meaning of these words is not explicitly stated in the text, leaving readers to interpret their significance. However, scholars have offered various explanations based on the context of the novel. It is important to note that “Hekinah Degul” is not a real language but a fictional phrase created by Swift.

One interpretation suggests that “Hekinah Degul” might be a form of greeting or a customary phrase used by the Lilliputians when encountering a giant like Gulliver. This notion is supported by the fact that the Lilliputian who speaks these words appears to be an official or a person of importance, indicating that the phrase holds some social significance.

Another explanation proposes that “Hekinah Degul” could be a magical or ritualistic incantation employed by the Lilliputians to subdue or control Gulliver. This idea is reinforced by the fact that Gulliver finds himself tethered to the ground upon hearing these words, suggesting that they may have a binding effect on him.

It is worth noting that Swift often employs satire and irony in his writing, and the use of “Hekinah Degul” may also be a satirical commentary on the arbitrary and nonsensical nature of human language. By inventing a meaningless phrase, Swift may be highlighting the absurdity of linguistic conventions and the potential for miscommunication between different cultures.

Gulliver’s first encounter with the Lilliputians is marked by the utterance of the phrase “Hekinah Degul.” While the exact meaning of these words remains open to interpretation, they are significant in setting the tone of the novel and introducing the reader to the linguistic and cultural differences between Gulliver and the Lilliputians.

What Do The Lilliputians Do To Gulliver?

The Lilliputians, in Jonathan Swift’s novel “Gulliver’s Travels,” take various actions against Gulliver, the protagonist. Here are the details:

1. Capturing Gulliver: The Lilliputians initially capture Gulliver, who is a giant compared to them. They manage to tie him down with numerous ropes and prevent his escape.

2. Imposing Restrictions: Due to his immense size, the Lilliputians place strict restrictions on Gulliver’s movements. They confine him to a specific area, ensuring he remains under their control.

3. Blinding Threat: The Lilliputian emperor, in an act of supposed mercy, plans to blind Gulliver. This plan is a parallel to how George, the British monarch, dealt with captured Jacobites during that time period. It signifies the emperor’s supposed leniency while actually intending harm.

4. Starvation: Additionally, the Lilliputians plan to starve Gulliver. This cruel act further emphasizes their desire to control and weaken him.

It is important to note that these actions by the Lilliputians reflect Swift’s satirical criticism of the British society and its treatment of political dissidents. The Lilliputians’ treatment of Gulliver parallels the harsh treatment of Jacobites by George, highlighting the hypocrisy of the British monarchy.

Where Is Gulliver First Allowed To Stay With The Lilliputians?

Gulliver is first allowed to stay with the Lilliputians in Mildendo, which is the capital city of their kingdom.


In Jonathan Swift’s novel “Gulliver’s Travels,” Gulliver encounters numerous fascinating and bizarre experiences during his journeys. One peculiar occurrence that stands out is when Gulliver sneezes in the land of Lilliput. This seemingly ordinary act has significant consequences in this miniature world.

Gulliver’s sneeze is not a mere sneeze; it becomes a moment of chaos and upheaval in Lilliput. The impact of Gulliver’s sneeze is magnified due to the extreme size difference between him and the Lilliputians. As Gulliver is a giant in their eyes, even the simplest actions can have far-reaching effects.

When Gulliver sneezes, it creates a gust of wind that causes destruction in the Lilliputian city. Buildings are toppled, and people are thrown into disarray. The Lilliputians, who are already in awe of Gulliver’s immense size, are further amazed and terrified by the power of his sneeze. This incident highlights the vulnerability and fragility of the Lilliputians in the face of Gulliver’s presence.

In addition to the physical consequences, Gulliver’s sneeze also carries symbolic significance. It represents the unintended consequences of actions and the unpredictable nature of power. Gulliver’s sneeze serves as a reminder of the potential harm that can be caused by those who possess greater strength or authority, even if it is unintentional.

Furthermore, Gulliver’s sneeze underscores the theme of misunderstanding and miscommunication between different cultures. The Lilliputians, with their limited perspective, interpret Gulliver’s sneeze as a deliberate act of aggression. This misinterpretation leads to tense relations between Gulliver and the Lilliputians, further exacerbating the conflicts within the story.

Gulliver’s sneeze in Lilliput is a significant event that showcases the power dynamics, unintended consequences, and cultural misunderstandings present in Swift’s satirical masterpiece. It serves as a reminder that actions, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, can have far-reaching effects, particularly when different cultures and perspectives collide.

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William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.