Gulliver's Travels

In Gulliver's travels part 3, the tradition to lick the dust before the foot stool is to humiliate the human beings and also to take revenge,Explain.

in gullivers travels part 3

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This was a regular custom........ and adhered to be everyone wishing to seek admittance. The floor was actually made impeccably clean before Gulliver was made to;

"....... crawl upon my belly, and lick the floor as I advanced; but, on account of my being a stranger, care was taken to have it made so clean, that the dust was not offensive."

For someone the King is unhappy with, the floor might be dirtied on purpose;

".......sometimes the floor is strewed with dust on purpose, when the person to be admitted happens to have powerful enemies at court; and I have seen a great lord with his mouth so crammed, that when he had crept to the proper distance from the throne; he was not able to speak a word."

As far as revenge, another form of dirtying took place;

".....when the king has a mind to put any of his nobles to death in a gentle indulgent manner, he commands the floor to be strewed with a certain brown powder of a deadly composition, which being licked up, infallibly kills him in twenty-four hours."


Gulliver's Travels/ Part 3/ Chapter 9