2. The Bulgarians
From Candide by Voltaire

What became of Candide among the Bulgarians

CANDIDE being expelled the terrestrial paradise, rambled a long while without knowing where, weeping, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, and sometimes turning them towards the finest of castles, which contained the handsomest of baronesses. He laid himself down, without his supper, in the open fields, between two furrows, while the snow fell in great flakes. Candide, almost frozen to death, crawled next morning to the neighboring village, which was called Walber-ghoff-trarbk-dikdorff. Having no money, and almost dying with hunger and fatigue, he stopped in a directed posture before the gate of an inn. Two men, dressed in blue, observing him in such a situation, "Brother," says one of them to the other, "there is a young fellow well built, and of a proper height." They accosted Candide, and invited him very civilly to dinner.

"Gentlemen," replied Candide, with an agreeable modesty, "you do me much honor, but I have no money to pay my shot."
"O sir," said one of the blues, "persons of your appearance and merit never pay anything; are you not five feet five inches high?"
"Yes, gentlemen, that is my height," returned he, making a bow.
"Come, sir, sit down at table; we will not only treat you, but we will never let such a man as you want money; men are made to assist one another."
"You are in the right," said Candide, "that is what Pangloss always told me, and I see plainly that everything is for the best."

They entreated him to take a few crowns, which he accepted, and would have given them his note; but they refused it, and sat down to table.

"Do not you tenderly love —?"
"O yes," replied he, "I tenderly love Miss Cunegonde."
"No," said one of the gentlemen, "we ask you if you do tenderly love the King of the Bulgarians?"
"Not at all," said he, "for I never saw him."
"How! he is the most charming of kings, and you must drink his health."
"O, with all my heart, gentlemen," and drinks.
"That is enough," said they to him, "you are now the bulwark, the support, the defender, the hero of the Bulgarians; your fortune is made, and you are certain of glory."

Instantly they put him in irons, and carried him to the regiment. They made him turn to the right, to the left, draw the rammer, return the rammer, present, fire, step double; and they gave him thirty blows with a cudgel. The next day, he performed his exercises not quite so badly, and received but twenty blows; the third day the blows were restricted to ten, and he was looked upon by his fellow-soldiers as a kind of prodigy.

Candide, quite stupefied, could not well conceive how he had become a hero. One fine Spring day he took it into his head to walk out, going straight forward, imagining that the human, as well as the animal species, were entitled to make whatever use they pleased of their limbs. He had not travelled two leagues, when four other heroes, six feet high, came up to him, bound him, and put him into a dungeon. He is asked by a Court-martial, whether he chooses to be whipped six and thirty times through the whole regiment, or receive at once twelve bullets through the forehead? He in vain argued that the will is free, and that he chose neither the one nor the other; he was obliged to make a choice; he therefore resolved, in virtue of God's gift called free-will, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times. He underwent this discipline twice. The regiment being composed of two thousand men, he received four thousand lashes, which laid open all his muscles and nerves, from the nape of the neck to the back. As they were proceeding to a third course, Candide, being quite spent, begged as a favor that they would be so kind as to shoot him; he obtained his request; they hoodwinked him, and made him kneel; the King of the Bulgarians, passing by, inquired into the crime of the delinquent; and as this prince was a person of great penetration, he discovered from what he heard of Candide, that he was a young metaphysician, entirely ignorant of the things of this world; and he granted him his pardon, with a clemency which will be extolled in all histories, and throughout all ages. An experienced surgeon cured Candide in three weeks, with emollients prescribed by no less master than Dioscorides. His skin had already, begun to grow again, and he was able to walk, when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abares.

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