Two months after returning to England, Gulliver is restless again. He sets sail on a ship called the Adventure, traveling to the Cape of Good Hope and Madagascar before encountering a monsoon that draws the ship off course. The ship eventually arrives at an unknown land mass. There are no inhabitants about, and the landscape is barren and rocky. Gulliver is walking back to the boat when he sees that it has already left without him. He tries to chase after it, but then he sees that a giant is following the boat. Gulliver runs away, and when he stops, he is on a steep hill from which he can see the countryside. He is shocked to see that the grass is about twenty feet high.
He walks down what looks like a high road but turns out to be a footpath through a field of barley. He walks for a long time but cannot see anything beyond the stalks of corn, which are forty feet high. He tries to climb a set of steps into the next field, but he cannot mount them because they are too high. As he is trying to climb up the stairs, he sees another one of the island’s giant inhabitants. He hides from the giant, but it calls for more people to come, and they begin to harvest the crop with scythes. Gulliver lies down and bemoans his state, thinking about how insignificant he must be to these giant creatures.
One of the servants comes close to Gulliver with both his foot and his scythe, so Gulliver screams as loudly as he can. The giant finally notices him, and picks him up between his fingers to get a closer look. Gulliver tries to speak to him in plaintive tones, bringing his hands together, and the giant seems pleased. Gulliver makes it clear that the giant’s fingers are hurting him, and the giant places him in his pocket and begins to walk toward his master.
The giant’s master, the farmer of these fields, takes Gulliver from his servant and observes him more closely. He asks the other servants if they have ever seen anything like Gulliver, then places him onto the ground. They sit around him in a circle. Gulliver kneels down and begins to speak as loudly as he can, taking off his hat and bowing to the farmer. He presents a purse full of gold to the farmer, which the farmer takes into his palm. He cannot figure out what it is, even after Gulliver empties the coins into his hand.
The farmer takes Gulliver back to his wife, who is frightened of him. The servant brings in dinner, and they all sit down to eat, Gulliver sitting on the table not far from the farmer’s plate. They give him tiny bits of their food, and he pulls out his knife and fork to eat, which delights the giants. The farmer’s son picks Gulliver up and scares him, but the farmer takes Gulliver from the boy’s hands and strikes his son. Gulliver makes a sign that the boy should be forgiven, and kisses his hand. After dinner, the farmer’s wife lets Gulliver nap in her own bed. When he wakes up he finds two rats attacking him, and he defends himself with his “hanger,” or sword.
The farmer’s nine-year-old daughter, whom Gulliver calls Glumdalclitch, or “nursemaid,” has a doll’s cradle that becomes Gulliver’s permanent bed. Glumdalclitch places the cradle inside a drawer to keep Gulliver safe from the rats. She becomes Gulliver’s caretaker and guardian, sewing clothes for him and teaching him the giants’ language.