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Gulliver’s Travels Gulliver is a doctor on a ship. He travels from England to many places. He meets little people and giants, he meets people from the past and horses who can talk. He also encounters pirates and terrible storms. Will he ever return home? Will he be happy in England? Jonathan Swift’s classic story is retold for beginners.

In this reader you will find: - information about Jonathan Swift’s life - a section focusing on Problems at Sea - CLIL History: European Exploration - glossary of difficult words - comprehension activities - exit test


Jonathan Swift


Eli Readers is a beautifully-illustrated series of timeless classics and specially-written stories for learners of English.


Tag Classic literature, satire


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Vocabulary 1

Match these words to the parts of Gulliver’s body. 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■ 6 ■ 7 ■ 8 ■ 9 ■ 10 ■

arm leg hand mouth finger eye nose hair foot face


a f


g h

i j





Match the adjectives in box A with their opposites from box B. Use your dictionary to help you. A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

beautiful rich hard-working lucky happy noisy polite

B a b c d e f g

lazy sad quiet rude poor ugly unlucky

2b Work in pairs. Use the adjectives from 2a. Describe: • people from your family • a person you like • a person you don’t like


Match the jobs to the dictionary definitions. Use your translation dictionary to help you. 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■ 6 ■ a b c d e f

doctor /dɒktə/ noun [C] engineer /endənə(r)/ noun [C] servant /s(r)v(ə)nt/ noun [C] soldier /səυldə(r)/ noun [C] sailor /selə(r)/ noun [C] farmer /fɑ(r)mə(r)/ noun [C]

someone who fights for a country a person who looks after ill people someone who works on a boat someone who designs buildings a person who grows things or keeps animals someone who works in someone else’s home


Chapter One

I Arrive in Lilliput Myself and my family. I decide to travel. Disaster at sea. Lilliput.

2 My name is Lemuel Gulliver and this is my story.

My father came from the north of England and I was his middle son: I had two older brothers and two younger brothers. We didn’t have much money, but my father sent me to Cambridge University. I was fourteen years old. I was very lucky. I studied hard, but after three years it was time for me to start work. I went to London to work for a famous doctor. In my free time, I studied more. I studied navigation*, mathematics and medicine. Why? Because I wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to travel. I finished my studies and I found a job as a doctor on a ship called the Swallow. I travelled for three and a half years with the Swallow. After these three and a half years, I was tired, so I decided to stay in London. I found a small house and I found some patients*. I found a wife. Her name was Mary and she had £400. But life was difficult on dry land*. I was a good doctor, but I was too honest. The rich doctors in London were not very honest. They made a lot of money from their patients – they sold a lot of medicines to them. I didn’t want to be like them. I had no choice; I had to go back to sea. For the next six years, navigation how to use boats at sea patient (here) a doctor’s customer


on dry land on land, not on the sea


Reading Comprehension 1

Choose the best answer – A, B or C. 1

What do the pirates do? A ■ They try to kill Gulliver. B ■ They leave Gulliver in a canoe. C ■ They leave Gulliver on an island.


What do the animals look like? A ■ They’re ugly and hairy. B ■ They’re ugly and grey. C ■ They’re hairy and fast.


Why do the animals run away? A ■ Because they’re afraid of Gulliver. B ■ Because their leader calls them. C ■ Because they’re afraid of the grey horse.


What is a Yahoo? A ■ An animal with a long tail. B ■ An animal which catches fish. C ■ An animal which is similar to a human.


Houyhnhmn means horse. It also means A ■ beautiful. B ■ hard-working. C ■ perfect.

6 Why does Gulliver have to leave the Land of the Houyhnhmns? A ■ The other Houyhnhmns are afraid of him. B ■ He attacks a Houyhnhmn. C ■ The Yahoos don’t like him. 7


How does Gulliver feel in London? A ■ He is happy to be home. B ■ He prefers the company of horses. C ■ He wants to travel again.

Writing 2 Complete

this travel guide using words from the box. Use the illustrations in the book to help you remember. unusual • kind • happy • small (x2) distracted • peaceful • poor • famous Lilliput is an island in the South Seas. The people are (1) _________. Brobdingnag is an island near Lilliput. There is a channel between the two islands. The people on Brobdingnag are also very (2) _________. Another interesting place to visit is Laputa. This is a very (3) _________ island, it’s not in the sea, it’s in the sky. It flies over the island of Balnibarbi. The people on Laputa are very (4) _________ and the people on Balnibarbi are very (5) _________. It’s a good idea to visit the academy on Balnibarbi, but take some money because the professors don’t have any. They need it for their studies. If you are travelling from Luggnagg to Japan, it’s a good idea to visit the small Magical Island. If the king likes you, he will call ghosts of (6) _________ people from the past. A very interesting experience. You could also meet Immortals in Luggnagg itself, but they aren’t very (7) _________ people. Finally, all travellers to the South Seas must visit the Land of the Houyhnhmns. The Houyhnhmns are very (8) _________, (9) _________ people. If you visit them, you won’t want to leave.

Speaking 3 Work in pairs. Discuss the questions. • Did you enjoy Gulliver’s Travels? Why/Why not? • Which characters from the book did you like? Why? • Which characters from the book didn’t you like? Why?



Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745)

Jonathan Swift is one of Ireland’s most important writers. His most famous work is Gulliver’s Travels, but he also wrote political satire, letters and poetry.

Early Life Swift was born on 30th November 1667, in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. He had one sister. His father died before he was born. His mother wasn’t rich, but his uncle helped the family. His uncle, Godwin Swift, knew a lot of important people. Young Jonathan lived in England for a while, then he went to Dublin. He studied at Kilkenny School and then at Trinity College. Uncle Godwin paid for Jonathan's education. He finished his degree and started to study for a Masters degree. In 1688, he left Dublin and went to England. Jonathan's mother helped him find a job as a secretary.

Early Career Swift was secretary to Sir William Temple, a diplomat. He met a lot of famous and important people, including the king. He became interested in politics. He also met a young girl called Esther Johnson. She was the daughter of a servant in Sir William’s house. Swift called her ‘Stella’ and helped her with her education. They were very close friends until she died. Swift became a priest in 1694 and went back to Ireland. He returned to England a few years later. He helped Sir William Temple write his autobiography. He then returned to Ireland and later became Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Stella moved to Ireland to be near him. Swift then started to write. He spent a lot of time travelling between Dublin and London. 72

Writing Swift began to write and publish political satire. In 1704, he published The Battle of the Books. He was friends with some of the other famous writers of the time, including Alexander Pope and John Gay. They had a club for writers, the Scriblerus. Swift published Gulliver’s Travels in 1726. It was a great success. It was a very popular book with both children and adults. Swift included some maps with the book.

Some people thought that Lilliput and Brobdingnag were real places. Later, Swift wrote about the state of Ireland. There was a lot of poverty in the countryside in Ireland at the time, so, in 1728, Swift wrote A Modest Proposal. This is a satire and suggests that the poor people could sell their children and rich people could eat them. This, and his other work about Ireland made him a hero there.

Later Life Some people think that Swift married Stella in 1716, but nobody is really sure. He published Journal to Stella, a collection of his letters to her about politics, so she was very important to him. In 1727, when Stella was ill, Swift visited her often. When she died in January 1728, he was too sad to go to the funeral. Stella was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Swift had another important woman friend: Esther Van Lomriyh. He called her ‘Vanessa’. Vanessa followed Swift

to Dublin, but she loved him more than he loved her. She died a few years later after an unhappy love affair. Swift continued to write political satire, letters and poetry. In the last three years of his life, he became very ill. He died in 1745 in Dublin. He left all his money to start a psychiatric hospital in Dublin. He believed in a connection between physical and mental illness. The hospital still exists today. Jonathan Swift is buried next to Stella in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Task Complete the form with the information about the author. Name: ________________________ Date of birth: ________________________ Place of birth: ________________________ Two important women in his life: ________________________ Some publications: ________________________ Place of death: ________________________ Date of death: ________________________




Exploring Australasia Europeans travelled all over the world during the Age of European Exploration. They made very good maps of many other continents. One of the last areas they explored was Australasia. The main explorers in these areas came from Holland, France, Spain, Portugal and England.

Terra Australis Nondum Cognita At Swift’s time, Europeans knew about most of the world’s continents. One area they didn’t really know about was Australasia. Explorers knew about the Philippines and Indonesia. Sailors also knew there was a large country in the South Pacific. On old maps, there is a place called Terra Australis Nondum Cognita (unknown land of the south). It was quite easy for people to believe that there was a new continent to explore.

Abel Tasman


Dutch travellers and explorers were probably the first Europeans to arrive in Australia. They wanted to find the new continent. They travelled a lot. They bought things from people on other islands in the South Seas. They sold things to them, too. Abel Tasman was the most famous Dutch explorer of the area. He discovered a small island very near to another large country. He called the island Van Diemen’s Land. Today, this island is called Tasmania. Then Tasman sailed around the larger country. He called it New Holland (modern day Australia). Many other Dutch explorers visited New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. They still believed that there was a larger continent in the south.

William Dampier New Voyage Round the World was the most popular book of 1697. Jonathan Swift read it and talked about it in Gulliver’s Travels. The author was William Dampier, an English pirate, explorer and naturalist. The book was about his journeys, including his time in the South Seas. He especially wrote about New Guinea and New Holland. He wrote notes about the plants and animals of New Holland. He also wrote about the indigenous people he met there. When he returned to England, people were very interested. He became captain of a ship called the Roebuck. He had one mission; to travel back to New Holland and explore it. The king paid for the ship. When he arrived in New Holland, Dampier wrote more notes about plants and animals. His secretary drew pictures. They also made maps of the areas they visited. Dampier wrote another book in 1703, A Voyage to New Holland.

Captain Cook In 1768, Captain James Cook began to travel to the area. People still thought that there was an unexplored continent in the area around New Holland. He travelled a lot around New Holland and made very detailed maps. He gave names to many places, including Botany Bay (he had a botanist on his ship). He also made very good maps of New Zealand. Many people think he discovered Australia – they’re wrong!

Antarctica, Terra Australis? People gradually stopped thinking about a large unexplored continent south of Australia. They didn’t start thinking about it again until 1820. In this year, a Russian, an American and a Briton all saw a land further south. Everyone disagrees about who was the first to see it. That land is now known as Antarctica.

Task - Internet research Do some more research about one of the explorers on this page. Complete the form. My explorer is ______________ He was born in ______________ He was born on ______________ His first journey started in ______________ His ship was called ______________ He visited ______________ and ______________ He is famous for ______________ He died in ______________

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