Candide wanders penniless, cold, and hungry to a nearby town called Waldberghoff-tarbk-dikdorff.
Two men ask Candide to dinner. Innocently, he accepts—but it is clear (to us at least) that the men have ulterior motives.
The men lead Candide in a toast to the King of the Bulgars. Then they bind Candide with irons and conscript him into the King’s army.
In the army, Candide is frequently beaten and mistreated.
Candide is confused about why he’s there. Not in the philosophical crisis sense of "why are we here?" but rather "why am I getting beaten every day for no good reason?"
One morning, not realizing he’s breaking a rule, Candide goes on a walk by himself. He is quickly captured and asked to choose between running the gauntlet thirty-six times (or, as they said back then, "six and thirty times") or being beheaded. Hmmm.
Candide says, "Neither!" But the men say that’s not one of the options.
So, in lieu of flipping a coin, Candide decides to give this gauntlet business a shot.
About two gauntlets later, Candide realizes that "six and thirty" is a lot.
Right as he is about to be beheaded, the Bulgar King appears and instructs the executioners to spare Candide since it is obvious that he is a philosopher and completely clueless.