THE STORY RE-WRITTEN

The story of The Man in the Moone by Francis Godwin, Bishop of Hereford, re-written by Liz Kershaw with an additional imagined narrative.

Published in the Parish Magazine in 12 monthly parts.


An elderly man sits by an open window looking out at the moon. It is summer, and the evening air is sweet with hay and blossom. Across the meadow, he can hear the Teme’s gentle progress and far off, the warning call of a goose. The man is Francis Godwin, Bishop of Hereford, and he has left the heat and dirt of the city for Whitbourne; for his summer palace with its cool rooms and clean, rush-strewn floors. He would like to take a walk by the river in the moonlight, but his joints are stiff and his feet swollen with the dropsy. His body is rooted in this place, at this time, the year of our Lord 1632*, but as he stares up at the moon, he wonders whether there might be other ways to roam: he has a fine, sharp mind, an imagination he has chained for too long. He allows that mind to wander away from Herefordshire and all the tethers of duty; to rise above England with its quarrelsome King and his Catholic wife; above the Earth and onwards, light as a swan feather, towards the high bright moon.

Dear Reader, allow me to introduce myself: Domingo Gonsales, nobleman and adventurer, a proud Spaniard of the true Catholic faith. I am a short man but I have proved myself the equal of anyone for bravery and resourcefulness so please read on, and you will discover my extraordinary story. 

I was born in Seville in 1552 and was studying for the Church until I heard news of the Duke of Alva’s expedition to the Low Countries to quell the heretical Protestant rebels. I sold my books and belongings, borrowed twenty ducats which bought me a little nag, and travelled thriftily (at least for a nobleman of my status) until – you will be appalled to hear – I was attacked near Antwerp by a pack of cursed Calvinist Sea Beggars! They took my horse and money and, thus prevented from joining the Duke, I had no choice but to enter the service of a Frenchman. My detractors gave out that I was his horse-keeper’s boy, but my place was honourable and my Frenchman was very glad to have a Spaniard of my quality about him. He furnished me with a fine horse, and armour, and put me to service writing his letters (after I had mastered the French tongue, a task I accomplished swiftly as I have a talent for languages as you will see). If I did indeed dress my own horse now and then – what of it!  I will stand up to anyone who mocks me for it.

As I told you, I am a resourceful fellow and was soon out of service and off to the Duke of Alva again. It happened like this, dear Reader: I encountered an enemy horseman, a lusty tall fellow, and contrived to shoot his horse so that it fell on his leg. Although he called for mercy, I viewed it as my duty to my King and country to ensure my own safety and dispatched him there and then as he lay pinned on the ground, most courageously. He carried a fat purse of crowns and when I reached the Duke’s court and showed this round as my own, the nobles were ready enough to know me. The Duke took me into his service, and favoured me, although he enjoyed jesting about the smallness of my person more than I found palatable. After all, my size is the work of God and should not be dishonoured, and I am living proof that great and wonderful things may be performed by the most unlikely bodies, if the mind is good and the person has the blessing of our Lord.

Well, I framed myself as best I could to stomach the Duke’s merriments and journeyed with him back to Spain.  By the time I was reunited with my parents my funds had increased to some three thousand crowns and in seeing this, my mother and father suddenly lost their displeasure that I had abandoned my studies to go to war and greeted me with great joy. They found me a wife in the daughter of a wealthy Lisbon merchant to swell my fortune further and I lived then in Spain, well and most contented for many years.

Dear Reader, fate intervened in my fortunes again. I fell out with a kinsman and this disagreement grew until we went alone to fight it out to the death with our rapiers. The likelihood of victory was against me, as he was a man of great strength and tall stature, but what I lacked in height and power I supplied with courage, and my nimbleness outranked his size. I killed him and found myself forced to flee to Lisbon as an outlaw, lurking in hiding until I might seek an acquittal.

In this year of 1596, a certain Spanish Count returned from the West Indies and became the accidental cause of my later adventures and the means of eternalising the name of Domingo Gonsales for ever! Read on, dear Reader, and you will learn of my discoveries.  You will see men fly from place to place in the air; you will be able (without the movement or work of any creature) to see messages sent in an instant many miles off and receive answer again immediately; you will be able to tell your thoughts to your friend even when you are remote from them. Reader, you will be told of so many wonders, but far, far above these, you will learn of a New World more incredible than all the ancient and modern philosophers could ever have dreamed of.

I have burned to tell my tales for so long, but one should always, in these dangerous times, be circumspect. I have waited until the statesmen pronounced how the knowledge and use of such matters might stand with the policy of our country. I have waited until the Fathers of the Church assessed whether the publication of my discoveries might prove prejudicial to the true Catholic faith. Of course, my only motivation in telling my story is to further the common good and I have no expectation of glory or of any temporal, less honourable, reward, but I know I might be misjudged and felt it wise to be discreet.  

But, dear Reader, to go forward now with my narration. You will remember that I had killed a man in a duel? Well, the Spanish Count, late of the Indies, made much of this man’s death, insisting he was beloved kin to him, although he made it clear that if I were to give him a thousand ducats, his grief might be lessened enough to stop seeking vengeance. I disliked the thought of beggaring my wife and two sons and decided on a different course. I found a carrack bound for the East Indies and, taking two thousand ducats with me, escaped him and voyaged off to trade.

            I prospered very well in the Indies and spent my stock of coins on jewels which I sent home and heard that they had yielded ten times the purchase price. I followed after them but fell grievously ill and would, I think, have died on the ship had we not reached the paradise of St Helena.

It is a miracle of nature that such a little piece of land as St Helena should arise in the middle of a huge and tempestuous ocean. It has a very good harbour on the south side, and many Portuguese buildings, including a pretty chapel with a tower and a bell. There is a fresh brook nearby, and walks lined with oranges trees, and lemons, vines: all the fruit one might imagine, except apples. There are garden herbs and vegetables and crops – and so many animals: domesticated cattle, fowls, goats, swine, sheep and horses, and game birds beyond imagining. I was most interested in a certain type of wild swan – which become essential to my tale, as you will see – that are numerous in the months of February and March, but which then vanish in the manner of our own cuckoos and nightingales and are no more to be seen.

I was set ashore on this island with a blackamoor servant, Diego, to attend me, and I rested for a year recovering my health. Diego lived at the west end of the island in a cave so that we could have separate hunting areas. If one had a lean patch, the other would invite him to dine, and we soon needed a system of communication. I tamed a team of partridges and a fox, using them as messengers to Diego with notes tied round their necks. Eventually, I made Diego move to a promontory on the north west part of the island, within sight of my house and the chapel and we signalled to each other using a system of my invention and this, dear Reader, was the first of my intelligent devices, as you will see.

And, at this, Bishop Godwin puts down his pen and rubs his eyes. It is late. He has voyaged far with Gonsales on this moonlit night and his mind is filled with the roar of the sea against the bows of a carrack, the lush scents of fruit trees on an island in an ocean. He wonders where his little Spanish Catholic has come from: is there some part of himself that cleaves to the old religion? When he was a student and the Armada breasted the Channel, had he secretly yearned for the enemy to win? He has no answers and thinks perhaps that he should destroy the pages he has written – but then, he thinks of the proud little Spaniard in his puffed doublet and hose and is not ready to bid farewell. But old age has made him wary. He thinks of the burnings and denouncements of the last decades, still so alive in old memories. He thinks of the change stirring now in England’s fragile calm. He thinks how his imaginings must be hidden. He blots the paper and conceals it within the pages of an ancient ledger and brushes it gently with dust. Gonsales is wise. One should always, in dangerous times, be circumspect.

We have no way of knowing exactly when Godwin wrote his book, but it is believed it was towards the end of his life.


Sleep can be an elusive companion for an old man. Godwin wakes, as he often wakes now, too early, when the mist is low upon the Teme and birdsong is swelling into chorus. His mind is unquiet: for the first time in his long life he is beginning to question the path he has chosen. In 1596, when Gonsales was deserting his studies to go to war with the Duke of Alva, what had he, Francis Godwin, been doing? He remembers his life then, secreted with his books in a room in Exeter, milky light coming cold through a high window to mottle the soft vellum under his fingers. His course had been marked early: the son of a Bishop, the husband of a Bishop’s daughter. It had been the safest life he could make, solid in the established church, scratching away at his staid Catalogue of the Bishops of England to make his reputation with the Queen.  He wonders if there might have been another way if he’d had the courage to look for it. But now at long last he is taking a risk so contrary to the tenor of his life; his heart flutters when he thinks of the dangers of his enterprise. He picks up his pen, lowers it, raises it again and writes. Little Gonsales struts and preens and catches at his imagination and he will not let him go.

Dear Reader, you left me puzzling over how I might communicate with my servant Diego. Well, at night, I set up a light in the bell tower: a large room, white-washed inside and well glassed so that even a small lamp reflected over a great distance. Diego also had a lamp and I devised a code of covering and uncovering the lights to signal our thoughts and intentions. In daylight, we used smoke or dust, and I decided that this system might prove very profitable for mankind if used rightly, as a message might dispatch in an hour where a messenger would have taken days. In truth, I am an extraordinarily intelligent and resourceful man.

            The wild swans I mentioned before fed on fish and birds and were odd creatures with one foot bearing talons, and the other built webbed, as a normal water fowl. I took some thirty or forty young of these birds, and reared them by hand, partly for my own recreation and partly because I already had the germ of an idea how to use them. I taught them to come to me on the signal of a white cloth, and by the time they were three months old I began to train them to fly with cargos, and if Diego called them by raising a white sheet, they would carry bread or meat to him, and would return to me similarly loaded.

            I began to wonder whether these birds might be joined together to bear a greater burden, even, to enable a man to be carried in the air safely. I experimented but found that unless they could be prevailed upon to rise all at once, the first to rise would be discouraged at the great weight and give up. I used my ingenuity and soon devised a machine of pulleys and corks trying it out with a live lamb, and how I envied it as the first living creature to make such a flight!

            I yearned to be carried into the air myself and to have the honour of being the first man to fly. I told Diego that the Gansas – as I was now calling my swans – would not be strong enough to carry him as he was at least twice my weight. So instead, I placed myself and all my valuable goods on the top of a rock at the mouth of the river, asked Diego to signal them with the sheet, and my birds – some twenty-five in number – rose as one and carried me over to him, around a quarter of a league distance.

            How my heart swelled with joy and admiration at my own invention! How often did I wish myself back in Spain then so that I might fill the world with the fame of my glory and renown! Every hour I longed for the Spanish fleet to arrive and take me home with them, but they were delayed, and then as their carracks were weather-beaten and their crew sick and weak, they stayed to refresh themselves on our island for one whole month, and I had to subdue my impatience, and wait.

            I confided the details of my flying engine device and Gansas to the Admiral of the fleet, being the only way to persuade him to allow so many large and greedy birds on board his ship. There was a risk that he might murder me and claim to our noble King that the invention was his own but if I had left my birds behind, I am sure I would never have found their like in all Christendom again. In the event, I was never to know how he might have used me before we arrived in Spain as we were intercepted, with disastrous results.

            On Thursday 21st June 1599, we embarked on our journey, but after two months at sea, we encountered an English fleet some ten leagues from the island of Tenerife. Our Spanish fleet carried five times the number of men and was well provided with munitions, yet we thought it wiser to flee – not to save our own lives (which a man of courage like Domino Gonsales cares nothing of) but the estates of many poor merchants. Our fleet then consisted of five ships: three carracks, one barque and one caravel. The English had three.

            The English made a play for us and our Captain unwisely commanded the fleet to disperse. The caravel turned too hastily and damaged one of the carracks enough for the English to easily catch and enter her. The caravel sank, the barque escaped, another carrack was taken and then we came under attack. Our Captain gave direction to run aground on Tenerife saying that he preferred to save some of our lives and some of the goods and lose the rest, rather than surrender and commit all to the mercy of the enemy.

            The sea was high, and I knew that the coast was full of hidden rocks so that our vessel could not hope to come near land before being torn into fragments. I tried to persuade the Captain to try the mercy of the enemy rather than lose his own life and those of so many brave men. He would not listen, and so I decided I had to shift for myself.

            I concealed my jewels in my sleeve, harnessed the Gansas to my engine and climbed onto it, trusting (as indeed it happily fell out) that when the ship split my birds would not wait for their white sheet signal and would think to save their own lives and take off towards the land.  When the carrack struck a rock and split, I loosened my birds’ reins and at the shock of the impact they all rose and carried me to land on the Island of Tenerife. 

            Now, I had pitched upon that part of the island where their famous high mountain El Pico begins to rise, and the slopes of this country are inhabited by a savage kind of people. Hours after my landing, they spied me, and, thinking me a great prize, made for me as fast as they could bearing long staves and weapons. Dear Reader, I knew that they were intent on cutting me into a thousand pieces.

            I spied a white cliff on the side of the mountain which I hoped my Gansas might see as a signal and take off towards so that I might escape, so as quickly as I could, I put myself back on my engine and loosed the reins of the Gansas and they all took off in one direction. But what then? Prick up your ears, prepare yourself to listen to the strangest chance that ever fell to any mortal man!

            My Gansas, like so many horses with the bit between their teeth, made not towards the cliff I’d aimed at but took me to the top of El Pico – some fifteen leagues above the level of the sea. When we set down, my poor Gansas fell to panting and blowing and gasping for breath so that I was afraid they might die. I thought it best to not trouble them for a while and had no notion of what would follow.

            It was now the season that these Gansas were wont to take their flight away for the winter and I realised later that they must have been mindful of their usual voyage. As I prepared to unharness them they rose up, and having no higher place from the mountain top to make toward, to my unspeakable fear and amazement they struck bolt upright – and never left soaring up and up for the space of one whole hour. Towards the end of this time I saw that they were labouring less and less until – O incredible thing! – they stopped moving their wings but remained in the air as steady as if they were on so many perches. The reins slackened, but neither the engine nor I moved at all, merely stayed still as if we had no manner of weight. I found then by this experience that which no philosopher had ever dreamed of: that those things that we call ‘heavy’ do not sink towards the centre of the Earth but rather are drawn by a secret property of the globe of the Earth, just as lodestone draws iron. This was indeed a wonderful thing to know, but, O Reader, what magic there was to come!

Bishop Godwin is brought back to land by his servant’s step on the stairs. It is a surprise, to hear the creaks and groans of the old house breaking into the activities of the day when he is so far away.  He thinks of Gonsales and Diego signalling across the bay and wonders whether he has wasted his God-given brain and its capacity for invention – for how might this system have helped armies to win battles and save lives? He feels his shoulders tense and shrugs to ease them. His gut is large and heavy, and he thinks what a thing it must be to soar free of this earth and fly. He closes his eyes and drifts up until he is high on a mountain, lashed to a device balanced on the snowy summit. He feels frost nip his nose and the beating of  swans’ wings fills the thin pale air. 


From his bed chamber window, Bishop Godwin can see an orchard to the west, beyond the kitchen garden. The apple blossom has faded now, and Godwin knows the fruit will be forming, small nuggets of green flourishing under the English sun. His St Helena had no apples – there was no need to dream them when he has made his home in a county of orchards. He has told his household that he is tired and needs a rest from the heat of the day, but he is becoming a dissembler as his skill at the telling of fables grows. In truth, Gonsales is calling him for how can the little Spanish traveller voyage on without Godwin’s imgination to conjure his path? They are becoming intertwined, these two, and when Godwin looks in his glass he feels surprise to see the greying English face of an old man.

Our Captain gave direction to run aground on Tenerife saying that he preferred to save some of our lives and some of the goods and lose the rest, rather than surrender and commit all to the mercy of the enemy. The sea was high, and I knew that the coast was full of hidden rocks so that our vessel could not hope to come near land before being torn into fragments. I tried to persuade the Captain to try the mercy of the enemy rather than lose his own life and those of so many brave men. He would not listen, and so I decided I had to shift for myself.

I concealed my jewels in my sleeve, harnessed the Gansas to my engine and climbed onto it, trusting (as indeed it happily fell out) that when the ship split my birds would not wait for their white sheet signal and would think to save their own lives and take off towards the land.  When the carrack struck a rock and split, I loosened my birds’ reins and at the shock of the impact they all rose and carried me to land on the Island of Tenerife.

Now, I had pitched upon that part of the island where their famous high mountain El Pico begins to rise, and the slopes of this country are inhabited by a savage kind of people. Hours after my landing, they spied me, and, thinking me a great prize, made for me as fast as they could bearing long staves and weapons. Dear Reader, I knew that they were intent on cutting me into a thousand pieces.

I spied a white cliff on the side of the mountain which I hoped my Gansas might see as a signal and take off towards so that I might escape, so as quickly as I could, I put myself back on my engine and loosed the reins of the Gansas and they all took off in one direction. But what then? Prick up your ears, prepare yourself to listen to the strangest chance that ever fell to any mortal man!

My Gansas, like so many horses with the bit between their teeth, made not towards the cliff I’d aimed at but took me to the top of El Pico – some fifteen leagues above the level of the sea. When we set down, my poor Gansas fell to panting and blowing and gasping for breath so that I was afraid they might die. I thought it best to not trouble them for a while and had no notion of what would follow.

It was now the season that these Gansas were wont to take their flight away for the winter and I realised later that they must have been mindful of their usual voyage. As I prepared to unharness them they rose up, and having no higher place from the mountain top to make toward, to my unspeakable fear and amazement they struck bolt upright – and never left soaring up and up for the space of one whole hour. Towards the end of this time I saw that they were labouring less and less until – O incredible thing! – they stopped moving their wings but remained in the air as steady as if they were on so many perches. The reins slackened, but neither the engine nor I moved at all, merely stayed still as if we had no manner of weight. I found then by this experience that which no philosopher had ever dreamed of: that those things that we call ‘heavy’ do not sink towards the centre of the Earth but rather are drawn by a secret property of the globe of the Earth, just as lodestone draws iron. This was indeed a wonderful thing to know, but, O Reader, what magic there was to come!

My Gansas stayed unmoving without the support of anything other than the air but were still carried swiftly along – and I could not tell whether it was upward, downward or sidelong: all seemed the same. The swiftness of the motion almost stopped my breath: If I were to liken it to an arrow shot from a bow, or a stone cast down from a high tower it would come vastly short of it. Truly, I must confess that the horror and amazement of that place was such that if I had not been armed with a true noble Spanish courage and resolution, I would certainly have died of fright!


And then, dear Reader, more horror! The illusion of devils and wicked spirits – in the likenesses of men and women – came about me in great numbers and enticed me to become one of their fraternity and make covenants with their master (whom they would not name). If I agreed, I should not only be brought safely to my home but would have the command of all earthly pleasures there, at all times, for the rest of my days. I mistrusted them but did not dare to openly refuse their offer: I stalled for time, and asked them to help me with some food so that I did not starve – although I felt no hunger and indeed, my Gansas likewise had had ample opportunity to seize many kinds of insects and birds but I never saw them feed on anything at all.
The devils brought me various sorts of flesh and fish, well dressed; exceedingly fresh and without salt. I also tasted wine there, as good as any in Spain, and beer as good as any in Antwerp. I dared to decline their offer and eventually was rid of them, having filled my pockets with as many victuals as I could pack in, including a little bottle of good Canary wine.
As I flew on, I could see the clouds spread under me and the Earth below them. It seemed always day, and the stars never altered, not shining brightly and then disappearing, as we see them from Earth, but always a whitish colour, like that of the moon in daytime. Those stars I saw were at least ten times larger than we see them from Earth, and the moon appeared fearfully huge to me.
Dear Reader, some observations about this space: stars only appeared on that part of the hemisphere that was next to the moon, and the nearer they were to her, the more of them there seemed. I’d perceived that my Gansas were taking a route directly towards the moon and that when we rested we were either carried without obvious motion around the globe of the Earth or we stayed static and parallel to the Earth, and the Earth itself was carried about, turning perpetually from West to East. The air in that place was quiet and windless, and temperate, neither hot nor cold. I had never thought the speculation of the philosophers that the air above the Earth contains both heat and moisture any more than a fancy, and I was proved right. Lastly, it must be remembered that after my departure from the Earth I never felt any hunger or thirst. I cannot tell why, but so I found it and I remained in perfect health and strength of body and mind – indeed, even above my usual vigour.
My Gansas pressed on, still directing their course toward the moon. They moved so swiftly I believe they gained fifty leagues each hour and, in that passage, I noted three remarkable things:
The first, that the further we went, the lesser the globe of the Earth appeared to us whereas the moon showed more and more monstrously huge. The second, that the Earth masked itself with a kind of brightness like another moon, and even as we on Earth discern certain spots on the moon, so did I then in the Earth. But whereas those moon spots continue constantly the same, the spots on the Earth changed every hour. I believe that the Earth’s natural motion is to turn on her own axis every twenty-four hours from West to East (as Copernicus tells us). I saw at first in the body of the Earth, a shape like a pear with a morsel bitten from one side. After a while, I saw that shape slide away to the east revealing the African coast; then came a great shining brightness in the space, which was undoubtedly the Atlantic Ocean. After that came a spot almost oval in shape, as we see America to be on our maps. Then, another vast clearness representing the West Ocean, and lastly, a medley of spots like the countries of the East Indies. So that then it seemed to me that the Earth was nothing other than a huge mathematical globe, turning so that I was able to see within the space of twenty-four hours all the countries and oceans of our world. And this turning was the only way I had of measuring the days and reckoning time.

The hour is small. The moon is stark white against the jewelled sky and Godwin feels it must have dazzled him into dreaming up these strange and uninvited visions of demons, these convictions about the sun and its stars. He wonders whether he has made a pact with the Devil in a moment of abstraction: that he, like Doctor Faust, has bargained his soul for knowledge. For he has seen the future: messages instant in time and men flying through the air and friends sharing thoughts from afar, and he does not know how this prophecy came. Had Copernicus or Galileo flown towards the moon as he has and seen the Earth and its land and oceans set out below? He feels shame, for if they had, they were braver men than he, facing the wrath of the Church and the mockery of others whilst he skulks in his chamber and hides his thoughts in a ledger and tells no one.


The English sun is gentle in the late afternoon, but Godwin barely sees the slanting light laying shadows across the ground. He treads heavily along straight paths of sand, between clipped box and through arbours sweet with white roses. He does not hear the bees fussing around the lavender, the whirr of the turtle dove beyond the moat. He is not here, in this peaceful garden by the river. He is flying to the moon.

Now, reader, philosophers and mathematicians have made the world believe that the Earth has no motion, and to make their hypothesis fit, they attribute to all the celestial bodies two motions quite contrary to each other: one is from the East to the West to be performed in twenty-four hours and the other from West to East. They expect us to believe this? That the huge bodies of the highest stars fixed within the celestial spheres, each more than one hundred times as big as the entire Earth, should be as so many nails in a cart wheel, to be whirled about in the short space of a day and night? Whereas, in fact, it is many thousands of years (no less, I believe, than thirty thousand) before the celestial orb finishes his course from West to East. These philosophers are wilful and blind; their theories are absurd.
The moon rotates in twenty-seven days; the Sun, Venus or Mercury in a year or thereabouts; Mars in three years, Jupiter in twelve years and Saturn in thirty: each one has his single and proper motion. I will not go as far as Copernicus in making the sun the centring point of the Earth, and unmoveable, and I will not be positive about anything apart from saying that the Earth has a natural motion – and my eyes can now testify this to be true.
But, dear Reader, let me apologise. I promised you a history, and I have fallen into philosophising. Let me return to my story and tell you of another matter worthy of special mention. During the time of my journey I saw a reddish cloud approaching which was revealed to be a huge swarm of locusts. Those who have read the writings of learned men concerning locusts will know how they are seen in the air for many days before they fall upon a country, and I know now that these creatures come from the globe of the moon.
I passed on my journey for eleven or twelve days, carried all the while directly to the moon with such a violent whirling and speed that cannot be expressed – most strange given that my Gansas moved their wings only now and then. They held them stretched out, and as eagles and kites will sometimes do when they rest upon the air and I believe my Gansas took their naps then, for I never saw them sleep at any other time.
As for myself, I was bound so fast to my engine I took my rest with ease, sleeping as easily – although this will seem incredible – as if I were in the best feather bed in Antwerp.
Eventually, we neared the globe of the Moon. The first difference between it and our Earth was that it showed itself in its natural colours – whereas with the Earth, we are only removed from it a league or so before it appears as a lurid blue. I perceived also that the moon was covered for the most part with a mighty sea, the dry land being those pieces we see from Earth as darker than the rest of the moon’s body and which the country people call ‘the Man in the Moon’. As for that part which shines so clearly in our eyes, it is another ocean, sprinkled here and there with islands which are so small we cannot discern them from Earth. So, in truth, that splendour that appears to us and gives light to our night, appears to be nothing other than the reflection of sunbeams off water, as out of a glass. Again, how badly this chimes with that which the philosophers teach in their schools and how I, Gonsales, have proved them wrong.
Dear Reader, eventually, we landed. On Tuesday the eleventh day of September my Gansas set me down upon the top of a very high hill in that other world of the moon, where I was immediately presented with many most strange and unusual sights.
I first observed that although the Earth showed much bigger from the moon than the moon does to us on Earth, perhaps three times the diameter, yet every feature on the moon was larger: ten, twenty, perhaps thirty times as great. Their trees were at least three times as high and more than five times the breadth and thickness. So was their vegetation, and their birds and beasts, although most of their species did not resemble ours. Only swallows and nightingales, cuckoos, woodcocks, bats and some kinds of wild fowl, including my Gansas which, I now know, spend the seasons they are not with us on Earth up in their other habitat, the moon.
As soon as we landed, I was surprised with a ravenous hunger. I fastened my engine and my Gansas to a tree and set about searching my pockets for the victuals the devils had given me. But, to my great amazement and discomfort, I did not find the partridge and capon I’d reserved there but a mingle mangle of dry leaves, goats’ hair, sheep or goats’ dung, moss and similar rubbish. As for my Canary wine, it was turned to a stinking and filthy kind of liquor like the urine of a beast.


…to be continued

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