Below is a satire that I wrote last year after reading Gulliver's Travels for the first time. Inspired by the great book, I decided to mimic the style of writing used to produce my own satire. I won't tell what I'm satirising, I'd rather see what people make of it, if anything at all .
Treat of, my first day upon the land of my deliverance, my first encounter with a native soul and the curious practices to which they ply their time.
I first landed upon the land of Avarernia (a name which would later be revealed to me) through the means of being ship wrecked, a experience I am regrettably inured to. My first impressions of the land and indeed, my first tentative steps upon its shore are of little interest and I shall not trouble the reader with their description. What I can say is that Avarernia, being dry and solid and the sea being quite the opposite, I was as content with my haven as one might hope to be in such a situation. As to the curious souls that call this land home, that is a matter altogether removed.
Whilst getting the lay of the land that had become my saviour, I espied a rather ragged and, I must add, diminutive, man some distance along the sandy cove I stood upon. He made no sign that he had seen me and indeed, it was not until I came within several paces of his hunched form that he even seemed to pay me heed at all. This he did by quickly putting a question to me that, to my great surprise and utmost relief, I mostly understood. Yet, it must be said, he spoke with such an accent and such had a habit of making use of idiomatic vernaculars that I can not say that I was ever fully assured as to the meaning of his speech throughout the time in which I would come to know him.
As to the matter of this man's question, it struck me as being profoundly strange for it was an inquiry into my intentions towards his "treasure". I initially counted this as some manner of colloquialism for I found little in his demeanour that would cause me to think him a man of means yet I was soon to realise that he was actually referring to a satchel of grey, coarse lumps of stone that he carried upon his person as a mother might bear her child. I assured him earnestly that I had not the faintest ill intention towards that which he deemed a treasure and proceeded to relate to him, my predicament in the hopes that he might render me aid.
Once I had finished my tale, he was quick to question me in an evasive manner that was conducive to me forming the opinion that he was, as yet, not convinced of my intentions towards his bag of stone. However, after a thorough interrogation, punctuated by several questions on the nature of my own wealth of stone, he seemed assured of the honesty in my words. It was at that point that he offered me the shelter of his dwelling and the promise of a meal, he seemingly moved to think me a wretch for my own lack of stones and one deserved of pity at that.
I must confess that this fellow's questions and answers to my own enquiries, had led me to the belief that he was one quite removed from his senses. However, the sky was already darkening and as I saw little to convince me he was in any way dangerous, I reasoned that to accept his offer would be a sound decision.
I shall not describe our journey to the man's dwelling in great detail, save for the following event which is of interest. Intrigued by the penchant of my host-to-be, I ventured to ask just what it was he saw in the rocks in his bag that so enthralled him. From his reply, I learned that such an interest was not unique but rather, common amongst each and every one of his countrymen and those of closely neighbouring nations. Perplexed, I paused in our walk to pluck a small stone from the earth and this I proceeded to offer to my host. To my surprise, he rejected this gift with an amused smile, claiming that it was but a stone.
We arrived some time later at the foot of a large pile of rocks to which my host added, the contents of his bags. This he did in the most elated of spirits and he wasted little time in telling me the particulars of his collection of stone. Partially to humour him, I replied to that I scarcely had seen such a fine pile in all my years and this profession rendered him positively ebullient as we climbed atop to his dwelling at the top.
I was led to a rather crude tent which consisted of little more than a measure of ragged cloth stretched over a hastily erected frame of unfinished wood. Within this wretched abode, I met with the wife of my host, a woman of similar short comings as he, and a pair of children more scrawny and wasted than any impecunious soul I had ever laid my eyes upon.
I can not stress my discomfort when the good lady of the house, a term I use in a most figurative sense, invited me to sup with her family, my conscience taking umbrage at the thought of sharing and thus, depriving children of nourishment. Yet, hardly could I refuse for I was myself burdened with hunger. Thus, I sat upon the bare stones of the floor, an effort that taxed my poor back side much, and was served a bowl of stew that never shall I suffer to pass my lips again, it being so without flavour and the trappings of wholesome sustenance that I could well have believed to be little more than water.
My misgivings were all the more evinced by my discovery of a collection of tiny rocks in the bottom of my bowl. When asked to explain wherefore this was so, the wife of my host replied that the rocks imparted their goodness to the broth. Further, she informed me that such a practice was common throughout the realm. I did not point out my true feelings on the ingredient nor indeed, had I the time in which to do so for my host was eager to converse with me. Naturally, I was interested to know more of this land in which I found myself and the tale related to me, I will summarise hence.
The people of Avarernia are besot with a most vociferous lust for small rocks. These they hoard into large piles upon which they make their homes so that their peers might readily see their fortune. A great collection of rocks is a sign of a great and influential man and it came as no surprise that the rulers of the land were the men with some of the most extensive collections beneath their feet.
The class of rock most sought after, to my eyes, seemed no different to the one I had earlier offered my host but I was assured by the good man that they were as different as night and day. Indeed, he seemed positively aghast that I could even contemplate otherwise. When I asked why this was so, he embarked upon a description that served to inform me of the origins of such venerated iotas. This I will relate to the reader but I must offer some measure of warning that what is to follow may well cause profound consternation.
The rocks are given to the subjects of the realm by a select group of men with a very great collection to their names, greater even, than the said rulers of the land. These men would give a portion of their rocks to any soul willing to take them but in exchange, the recipient would be required to return a small amount of rocks to their benefactors at regular intervals. To prevent their precious piles diminishing however, the subjects of the land would continuously have to request more rocks from the aforementioned lenders.
It was at this point in my host's tale that I put to him a question that I am sure will have occurred to the reader, the enquiry being how the lenders maintain their supply of rocks if they are consistently embarked upon the course of releasing their holdings for a minor dividend. To this, my good host seemed to be unable to render an answer. Indeed, he seemed genuinely perplexed by my questioning of just where the lenders found their rocks for he assured me that such learned and magnanimous souls were pillars of the nations and surely, they had such means at their disposal that the effort of the ordinary man to fathom their actions was the greatest misuse of time.
Subsequent to this profession, I did desire to know just what the rulers of the land thought of this arrangement and from this, I learned of the most intriguing manner in which Avarernia was governed. I was quite moved to learn the manner in which the rulers of the realm make their decisions.
When presented with a particularly taxing issue, one of the rulers will climb to the lofty summit of his rock pile and thereon, toss a large metal disk to the ground far below where a coterie of lenders await. When it lands, the lenders will relate to the ruler far above, the face of the disk that is displayed with one side taken to to mean “yes”, the opposing side amounting to “no”. Depending upon which of these faces is is described to the ruler above, the question of whether or not to make good upon a decision is decided.
Of course, as my benefactor did reluctantly concede as an addendum, such a system was not without its faults. If it came to pass that the rulers might make a particularly foolish decision, there existed, as my host put it, a wondrous method to restore order. The said rulers would remove their shirts, normally some shade of green, and replace them with garments of blue. Then, when making their decisions, they would cease to regard the face of the disk taken in the positive as such and instead, regard the opposing side as an affirmation with the former “yes” side instead regarded as negative.
The remainder of the conversation consisted of my host's descriptions of the rock piles of his peers and how he found his own to be superior. To such trivialities, I listened with not a small amount of endurance. Certainly, I was grateful to the man for his altruism towards me but already had I decided that my time upon Avarernia would not be passed in the company of such people. It seemed, and perhaps the reader will agree, that my comfort and well-being might better be assured in the wilds.