SINDBAD THE SAILOR AND SINDBAD THE PORTER.
There lived in the city of Baghdad, in the reign of the Khalif Haroun er Reshid, a porter named Sindbad, a poor man who carried [burdens] on his head for hire. One day of great heat he was carrying a heavy load and what with the heat and the burden, he became exceeding weary and sweated amain. Presently he came to the gate of a merchant's house, before which the ground was swept and watered, and there the air was temperate. There was a wide bench beside the door; so he set his load thereon, to rest and take breath, and there came out upon him from the porch a pleasant breeze and a delicious fragrance. He sat down on the edge of the bench, to enjoy this, and heard from within the melodious sound of lutes and other stringed instruments and heart-delighting voices singing and reciting all manner verses with clear and goodly speech, together with the song of birds warbling and glorifying God the Most High in various voices and tongues, turtles and mocking-birds and merles and nightingales and cushats and curlews, whereat he marvelled in himself and was moved to great delight.
Then he went up to the gate and saw within a great garden, wherein were slaves and pages and such a train of servants and attendants and so forth as is only found with kings and sultans, and there was wafted to him the fragrance of all manner rich and delicate meats and generous wines. So he raised his eyes to heaven and said, 'Glory to Thee, O Lord, O Creator and Provider, who providest whom Thou wilt without stint! O my God, I cry Thee pardon for all sins and repent to Thee of all offences! O Lord, there is no gainsaying Thee in Thine ordinance and Thy dominion, neither wilt Thou be questioned of that Thou dost, for Thou indeed art Almighty, extolled be Thy perfection! Whom Thou wilt Thou makest rich and whom Thou wilt Thou makest poor! Whom Thou wilt Thou exaltest and whom Thou wilt Thou abasest and there is no god but Thou! How great is Thy majesty and how mighty Thy dominion and how excellent Thy governance! Verily, Thou favourest whom Thou wilt of Thy servants, whereby the owner of this place abideth in all delight of life and taketh his ease of pleasant scents and delicious meats and generous wines of all kinds. For indeed Thou appointest unto Thy servants that which Thou wilt and that which Thou hast foreordained unto them; wherefore are some weary and some easeful and some enjoy fair fortune and delight, whilst other some suffer the extreme of travail and misery, even as do I.' And he recited the following verses:How many by my toil, unresting and unstayed, Do joy in pleasant food and cool, delightful shade!
When he had made an end of his verses, he took up his burden and was about to fare on, when there came forth the gate to him a little fair-faced page, well-shaped and richly clad, who caught him by the hand, saying, 'Come in and speak with my lord, for he calls for thee.' The porter would have excused himself, but the page would take no refusal; so he left his load with the doorkeeper in the vestibule and followed the boy into the house, which he found goodly of ordinance and full of majesty and cheer, till he brought him to a vast and splendid saloon, wherein he saw a company of nobles and great lords, seated, each according to his rank, at tables heaped with all manner flowers and sweet-scented herbs, besides great plenty of rich meats and fruits and confections and wines of the choicest vintages. There also were fair maids, singing and playing upon instruments of music, and in the highest room sat a man of reverend and majestic aspect, whose cheeks hoariness had smitten, and he was well-made and fair of favour, stately of aspect and full of gravity and venerance and dignity.
The porter was confounded at that which he beheld and said in himself, 'By Allah, this must be either one of the pavilions of Paradise or some king's palace!' Then he saluted the company respectfully, wishing them all kinds of prosperity, and kissing the earth before them, stood in a humble attitude, with his head bowed down. The master of the house bade him draw near and be seated and bespoke him kindly, bidding him welcome. Then he set before him various kinds of rich and delicate meats, and the porter called upon the name of God and ate his fill, after which he exclaimed, 'Praised be God, come what may!' and washing his hands, returned thanks to the company for his entertainment. Quoth the host, 'Thou art welcome and thy day is a blessed one. But what is thy name and condition?' 'O my lord,' answered the other, 'my name is Sindbad the porter, and I carry folk's goods on my head for hire.' The host smiled and rejoined, 'Know, O porter, that my name is even as thine, for I am Sindbad the Sailor; and now I would have thee repeat to me the verses thou didst recite at the gate but now.' The porter was abashed and replied, 'God on thee! Excuse me, for toil and misery and lack of good teach a man ill manners and indiscretion.' 'Be not ashamed,' said the host; 'thou art become my brother; but repeat to me the verses, for they pleased me, when I heard thee recite them at the gate.' So the porter repeated the verses and they pleased the merchant, who said to him, 'Know, O porter, that my story is a wonderful one, and thou shalt hear all that befell me and all I underwent before I won to this state of prosperity and became stablished whereas thou seest me; for I came not to this high estate but after sore travail and great weariness and perils galore, and how much toil and trouble have I not suffered aforetime! Indeed, I have made seven voyages, by each of which hangs a marvellous history, such as confounds the reason, and all this came to pass by the decree of fortune and fore-ordained fate; for there is neither flight nor refuge from that which is written. Know, then, O my lords,' continued he, turning to his guests, 'that
The First Voyage Of' Sindbad the Sailor.
My father was one of the richest and most considerable merchants of my native place and died, whilst I was yet a child, leaving me much wealth in money and lands and houses. When I grew up, I laid hands on the whole and ate and drank freely and wore rich clothes and lived lavishly with my friends and companions of my own age, thinking this way of life would last for ever. Thus did I a great while, till, at last, when I returned to my senses and awoke from my heedlessness, I found my wealth wasted and my case changed, and gone was all I had. At this I was stricken with dismay and confusion and bethought me of a saying of our lord Solomon, son of David (on whom be peace), which I had heard aforetime from my father, "Three things are better than other three; the day of death is better than the day of birth, a live dog than a dead lion and the grave than poverty." Then I sold the remains of my property and got together three thousand dirhems, with which I resolved to travel to foreign countries, remembering the saying of the poet:By sheer endeavour, one winneth to fortune's height, And he who craveth advancement must watch anight.
So I bought me merchandise and what not else was needed for a seavoyage and embarked, with a company of merchants, on board a ship bound for Bassora. There we took ship again and putting out to sea, sailed days and nights and passed from island to island and ocean to ocean and place to place, buying and selling and bartering every-where, till we came to an island as it were one of the pleasaunces of Paradise. Here the captain cast anchor and making fast to the shore, put out the landing-stage. So all on board landed and made furnaces (42) and lighting fires therein, busied themselves in various ways, some cooking and some washing, whilst other some walked about the island for their pleasure and the rest fell to eating and drinking and making merry. I was one of those who explored the place, but, as we were thus variously engaged, behold, the captain cried out to us from the deck at the top of his voice, saying, "Ho, passengers, flee for your lives and leave your gear and hasten back to the ship and save yourselves from destruction, God preserve you! For this is no island, but a great fish stationary in the midst of the sea, on which the sand has settled and trees have sprung up of old time, so that it is become like unto an island; but, when we lighted fires on it, it felt the heat and moved; and presently it will sink with you into the sea and ye will all be drowned. So leave your gear and save yourselves ere ye perish!"
When we heard the captain's warning, we left our gear and fled back to the ship for our lives and some reached it; but, before the rest, of whom I was one, could do so, the island shook and sank into the abysses of the deep, with all that were thereon, and the surging sea closed over it with its clashing billows. I sank with the others, but God the Most High preserved me from drowning and threw in my way a great wooden tub of those that had served the ship's company for washing. I gripped it for dear life and bestriding it, paddled with my feet, whilst the waves sported with me right and left. Meanwhile the captain made sail and departed with those who had reached the ship, regardless of the drowning men, and I followed the vessel with my eyes, till she disappeared from sight and I looked for nothing but death.
In this plight, the darkness closed in upon me and the winds and waves bore me on all that night and the next day, till the tub brought to with me under the lee of a lofty island, with trees overhanging the water. I caught hold of a branch and made shift to clamber up on to the land, after coming nigh upon death. When I reached the shore, I found my feet cramped and bearing traces of the nibbling of fish upon their soles, the which I felt not for excess of fatigue and misery. I threw myself down on the ground, like a dead man, and swooned away, nor did I return to my senses till next morning, when the sun revived me. I tried to walk, but found my feet swollen, so made shift to crawl on my hands and knees towards the interior of the island where I found abundance of fruits and springs of sweet water. I ate of the fruits and drank of the springs; and thus I abode days and nights, till my strength and spirits began to revive and I was able to move about. So I bethought me and cutting myself a staff to lean upon, fell to exploring the island and diverting myself with gazing upon the things that God the Most High had created there.
One day, as I walked along the sea-shore, I caught sight of some live thing in the distance and thought it a wild beast or one of the creatures of the sea; but, as I drew near it, I saw that it was a magnificent mare, tethered on the beach. So I went up to her, but she cried out against me with a great cry, so that I trembled for fear and turned to go away, when there came forth a man from under the earth and followed me, crying out and saying, "Who and whence art thou and how camest thou hither?" "O my lord," answered I, "I am a shipwrecked man, a stranger, to whom God vouchsafed a wooden tub; so I saved myself thereon and it floated with me, till the waves cast me up on this island." When he heard this, he said, "Come with me," and taking me by the hand, carried me into a great underground chamber and made me sit down at the upper end. Then he brought me food and I ate, being anhungred, till I was satisfied and refreshed; after which he questioned me of myself, and I told him all that had befallen me, adding, "For God's sake, O my lord, excuse me; I have told thee the truth of my case; and now I desire that thou tell me who thou art and why thou abidest here under the earth and why thou hast tethered yonder mare on the brink of the sea. "Know," answered he, "that I am one of several who are stationed in different parts of the island, and we are of the grooms of King Mihrjan and under our hand are all his horses. Every month, at the new moon, we bring hither the best of the King's mares, that have never been covered, and tether them on the sea-shore and hide ourselves in this place under the ground, so that none may see us. Presently, the stallions of the sea scent the mares and come up out of the water and seeing no one, leap the mares and cover them. When they have done their will of them, they try to drag them away with them, but cannot, by reason of the tether; so they cry out at them and set on them with hoofs and teeth, which we hearing, know that the stallions have dismounted; so we run out and shout at them, whereupon they are affrighted and return to the sea. Then the mares conceive by them and bear colts and fillies worth a treasury of money, whose like is not to be found on the face of the earth. This is the time of the coming forth of the sea-horses; and so it please God the Most High, I will carry thee to King Mihrjan and show thee our country. Well is it for thee that thou hast happened on us, else hadst thou perished miserably and none known of thee, for there cometh none hither save ourselves: but I will be the means of the saving of thy life and of thy return to thine own land."
I called down blessings on him and thanked him for his kindness and courtesy. While we were talking, the stallion came up out of the sea and giving a great cry, sprang upon the mare and covered her. When he had done his will of her, he dismounted and would have carried her away with him, but could not by reason of the tether. She kicked and cried out at him, whereupon the groom took a sword and buckler and ran out, smiting the buckler with the sword and calling to his companions. With this up came a company of men, shouting and brandishing spears, and the stallion took fright at them and plunging into the sea; like a buffalo, disappeared under the waves. After this, we sat a while, till the rest of the grooms came up, each leading a mare, and seeing me with their fellow, questioned me, and I repeated my story to them. Thereupon they drew near me and spreading the table, ate and invited me to eat; so I ate with them, after which they took horse and mounting me on one of the mares, set out with me and fared on without ceasing, till they came to the capital city of King Mihrjan, and going in to him, acquainted him with my case. Then he sent for me and gave me a cordial welcome and bade me repeat my story to him. So I related to him all that had befallen me from first to last, whereat he marvelled exceedingly and said to me, "By Allah, O my son, thou hast indeed been miraculously preserved! Were not the term of thy life a long one, thou hadst not escaped from these straits; but praised be God for safety!" Then he spoke comfortably to me and entreated me with kindness and consideration. Moreover, he made me his agent for the port and registrar of all ships that entered the harbour and clad me in sumptuous apparel. In this capacity, I attended him regularly, to receive his commandments, and he favoured me and did me all manner of kindness. Indeed, I was high in credit with him, as an intercessor for the folk and an intermediary between them and him, whenas they would aught of him.
I abode thus a great while and as often as I went down to the port, I questioned the merchants and travellers and sailors of the city of Baghdad, so haply I might hear of an occasion to return to my native land, but could find none who knew it or knew any who resorted thither. At this I was chagrined, for I was weary of long strangerhood; but, one day, going in to King Mihrjan, I found with him a company of Indians and saluted them. They returned my salutation and asked me of my country; after which I questioned them of theirs and they told me that they were of various castes, some being called Shatriyas, who are the noblest of their castes and neither oppress nor offer violence to any, and others Brahmins, a folk who abstain from wine, but live in delight and solace and merriment and own camels and horses and cattle. Moreover, they told me that the people of India are divided into two-and-seventy castes, and I marvelled at this exceedingly.
Amongst other things that I saw in King Mihrjan's dominions was an island called Kasil, wherein all night is heard the beating of drums and tabrets, but we were told by the neighbouring islanders and by travellers that the inhabitants are people of diligence and judgment. (43) In this sea I saw also a fish two hundred cubits long and another half that length, with a head like that of an owl, besides many other wonders and rarities, which it would be tedious to recount to you. I occupied myself thus in exploring the islands till, one day, as I stood in the port, with a staff in my hand, according to my wont, I saw a great ship, wherein were many merchants, making for the harbour. When it reached the anchorage, the master furled his sails and making fast to the shore, put out the landing-stage, whereupon the crew fell to unlading the cargo, whilst I stood by, taking note of them. They were long in bringing the goods ashore and I said to the master, "Is there aught left in thy ship?" "Yes, O my lord," answered he; "there are divers bales of merchandise in the hold, whose owner was drowned at one of the islands in our way; so his goods abode in our charge and we purpose to sell them and note their price, that we may carry it to his people in the city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace." "What was the merchant's name?' asked I, and he answered, "Sindbad;" whereupon I straitly considered him and knowing him, cried out to him with a great cry, saying, "O master, I am that Sindbad of whom thou speakest and these are my goods; for, when the fish sank under us and we were plunged into the sea, God threw in my way a great tub of wood, of those the crew had used to wash withal, and the winds and waves carried me to this island, where, by God's grace, I fell in with King Mihrjan's grooms and they brought me hither to their master. When the latter heard my story, he entreated me with favour and made me his harbour-master, and I have prospered in his service and found acceptance with him."
When the master heard what I said, he exclaimed, "There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme! Verily, there is neither conscience nor good faith left among men I" "O captain," said I, "what mean these words, seeing that I have told thee my case?" And he answered, saying, "Because thou heardest me say that I had with me goods whose owner was drowned, thou thinkest to take them without right; but this is forbidden to thee, for we saw him drown before our eyes, together with many others, nor was one of them saved. So how canst thou pretend that thou art the owner of the goods?" "O captain," said I, "listen to my story and give heed to my words, and my soothfastness will be manifest to thee; for falsehood is of the fashion of the hypocrites." Then I recounted to him all that had befallen me since I left Baghdad with him up to the time when we came to the fish, which we took for an island, and reminded him of certain things that had passed between him and me; whereupon both he and the merchants were certified of the truth of my story and recognized me and gave me joy of my deliverance, saying, "By Allah, we thought not that thou hadst escaped drowning! But God hath granted thee new life." Then they delivered my bales to me, and I found my name written thereon, nor was aught thereof lacking. So I opened them and making up a present for King Mihrjan of the richest and most costly of the contents, caused the sailors carry it to the palace,vhere I presented it to the King, acquainting him with what had happened, at which he wondered exceedingly and the truth of all that I had told him was made manifest to him. Wherefore his affection for me redoubled and he showed me exceeding honour and bestowed on me a great present in return for mine. Then I sold my bales and what else I possessed, making a great profit on them, and bought me other goods and gear of the growth and fashion of the island. When the ship was about to start on her homeward voyage, I embarked in her all that I possessed and going in to the King, thanked him for all his favours and craved his leave to return to my country and friends. He gave me leave and bestowed on me great plenty of the stuffs and produce of the country; and I took my leave of him and embarked. Then we set sail and fared on nights and days, by the permission of God the Most High, and Fortune served us and Fate was favourable to us, so that we arrived in safety at Bassora, where I landed, rejoiced at my safe return to my native land. Thence, after a short stay, I set out again for Baghdad and in due time reached that city, with store of goods and commodities of great price. I went straight to my house and all my friends and kinsfolk came to greet me. Then I bought me slaves and servants, black and white and male and female, in great plenty, and houses and lands and gardens, till I was richer and in better case than before, and gave myself up to feasting and banqueting and making merry with my friends and companions more assiduously than ever, forgetting all I had suffered of fatigue and hardship and strangerhood and all the perils of travel. This, then, is the story of my first voyage, and to-morrow, God willing, I will tell you that of the second of my seven voyages.'
Then Sindbad the Sailor made the porter sup with him and gave him an hundred dinars, saying, 'Thou hast cheered us with thy company this day.' The porter thanked him and went his way, pondering that which he had heard and marvelling at the things that betide mankind. He passed the night in his own house and on the morrow repaired to the abode of Sindbad the Sailor, who received him with honour and seated him by himself. Then, as soon as the rest of the company were assembled, he set meat and drink beIore them and when they had well eaten and drunken and were merry and in cheerful case, he took up his discourse and bespoke them, saying, 'Know, O my brethren, that
The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
I abode a while, as I told you yesterday, in the enjoyment of all the comforts and pleasures of life, until one day the longing seized me to travel again and see foreign countries and traffic and make profit by trade. So I took a great sum of money and buying goods and gear fit for travel, packed them into bales. Then I went down to the river-bank, where I found a handsome new ship about to sail, well manned and provided and equipped with sails of fine cloth. I took passage in her, with a number of other merchants, and we weighed anchor the same day. Fair weather attended us, and we sailed from place to place, buying and selling and bartering, till chance brought us to a lovely island, abounding in trees laden with ripe fruits and fragrant flowers and limpid streams and musical with the song of birds; but there was no dweller there, no, not a blower of the fire. The captain made fast with us to this island, and the merchants and sailors landed and walked about, enjoying the shade of the trees and the song of the birds, that chanted the praises of the One, the Victorious, and marvelling at the works of the Omnipotent King. I landed with the rest and sitting down by a spring of sweet water, that welled up among the trees, took out some victual I had with me and ate of that which God the Most High had allotted me. I sat thus, enjoying the pleasant freshness of the breeze and the fragrance of the flowers, till presently I grew drowsy for very pleasance and lying down, soon fell asleep. When I awoke, I found myself alone, for the ship had sailed with all who were therein, and left me behind, nor had one of the merchants or sailors bethought himself of me. I searched the island right and left, but found neither man nor genie, whereat I was beyond measure troubled and my gall was like to burst for excess of chagrin and anguish and concern, for that I was left quite alone, without aught of meat or drink or worldly gear, weary and heart-broken. So I gave myself up for lost and said, "Not always does the pitcher come off unbroken. I escaped the first time and happened on one who brought me to an inhabited place, but this time there is no hope of falling in with such a deliverer." Then I fell a-weeping and wailing and gave myself up to despair, blaming myself for having again adventured upon the perils and hardships of travel, whenas I was at my ease in my own house in my native city, taking my leisure with pleasant food and rich raiment, and lacking nothing, neither money nor goods, and this the more after all the toils and dangers I had undergone in my first voyage, wherein I had so narrowly escaped destruction. And I repented me of having left Baghdad and exclaimed, "Verily we are God's and to Him we return!" For indeed I was even as one mad, and I rose and walked about the island, unable for trouble to abide in any one place. Then I climbed a tall tree and looked in every direction, but saw nothing but sky and sea and trees and birds and islands and sands. However, after a while, I caught sight of some great white thing, afar off in the interior of the island; so I came down from the tree and making for that which I had seen, found it a huge white dome of vast height and compass. I walked all round it, but found no door thereto, nor could I muster strength or nimbleness to climb it, by reason of its exceeding smoothness and slipperiness. So I marked the spot where I stood and went round about the dome to measure its compass, which I found fifty good paces.
As I stood, casting about how to gain an entrance, the sun was suddenly hidden from me and the air became dark. Methought a cloud had come over the sun, but it was the season of summer and the day drew near to sun-down; so I marvelled at this and lifting my head, looked steadfastly at the sun, when I saw that what I had taken for a cloud was none other than an enormous bird, whose outspread wings, as it flew through the air, obscured the sun and veiled it from the island. At this sight my wonder redoubled and I bethought me of a story that I had heard aforetime of pilgrims and travellers, how in certain islands dwells a huge bird, called the roc, which feeds its young on elephants, and was assured that the dome aforesaid was none other than one of its eggs. As I looked and wondered at the marvellous works of God the Most High, the bird alighted on the egg and brooded over it with its wings covering it and its legs spread out behind it on the ground, and in this posture it fell asleep, glory be to Him who sleepeth not I When I saw this, I arose and unwinding the linen of my turban, twisted it into a rope, with which I girt my middle and bound myself fast to the roc's feet, saying in myself, "Peradventure, this bird may carry me to a land of cities and inhabitants, and that will be better than abiding in this island."
I passed the night on wake, fearing to sleep, lest the bird should fly away with me at unawares; and as soon as the dawn broke and day appeared, the roc gave a great cry and spreading its wings, flew up with me into the air. It ceased not to soar, till I thought it had reached the limit of the skies, after which it descended, little by little, till it lighted on the top of a high hill. As soon as I found myself on the earth, I made haste to unbind myself; quaking for fear of the bird, though it took no heed of me nor was ware of me, and loosing the linen of my turban from its feet, made off. Presently, I saw it catch up something from the ground and rise into the air with it, and observing this narrowly, saw it to be a huge great serpent, with which it flew away out of sight. I marvelled at this and faring on, found myself on a crest overlooking a great valley, exceeding wide and deep and bounded by vast mountains, that soared high into the air: none could see their summits, for the excess of their height, nor could any avail to climb up thereto. When I saw this, I blamed myself for that which I had done and said, "Would God I had remained in the island! It was better than this desert place; for there I had at least fruits to eat and water to drink, and here are neither trees nor fruits nor streams. But there is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme! Verily, as often as I am quit of one peril, I fall into a worse and a more grievous."
However, I took courage and walking along the valley, found that its soil was of diamond, the stone wherewith they pierce jewels and precious stones and porcelain and onyx, for that it is a hard dense stone, whereon neither iron nor steel hath effect, neither can we cut off aught therefrom nor break it, save by means of the leadstone. Moreover, the valley swarmed with huge snakes and vipers, as big as palm-trees, that would have made but one gulp of an elephant; and they came out by night, hiding during the day, lest the rocs and eagles should pounce on them and tear them in pieces, as was their wont, why I know not. And I repented of what I had done and said, "By Allah, I have made haste to bring destruction upon myself!" As I went along, forgetttng my hunger and thirst in my concern for my life, the day began to wane and I looked about for a place where I might pass the night, being in fear of the serpents. Presently, I caught sight of a cave near at hand, with a narrow doorway; so I entered and rolled a great stone that I found within to the mouth of the cave and stopped it up, saying in myself; "I am safe here for the night; and as soon as it is day, I will go forth and see what destiny will do." Then I looked within the cave and saw at the further end a great serpent brooding on her eggs, at which my hair stood on end but I raised my eyes to heaven and committing my case to fate and destiny, abode all that night without sleep till daybreak, when I rolled back the stone from the mouth of the cave and went forth, staggering like a drunken man for stress of watching and fear and hunger.
As I walked along the valley, there fell down before me a great piece of meat; but I saw none, at which I marvelled greatly and presently bethought me of a story I had heard aforetime of merchants and pilgrims and travellers, how the mountains where are the diamonds are fenced about with great perils and terrors, nor can any win thither; but the merchants who traffic in diamonds have a device by which they get them, that is to say, they take a sheep and kill and skin it and cut it in quarters and cast them down from the mountain-tops into the valley, where, the meat being sticky with the fresh blood, some of the jewels cling to it. There they leave it till midday, when the eagles and vultures swoop down upon it and carry it up to the mountain-tops, whereupon the merchants come and shout at them and scare them from the meat. Then they come and taking the diamonds, go their ways with them and leave the meat to the birds and beasts; nor can any come at the diamonds, but on this wise. So, when I saw the carcase fall and bethought me of the story aforesaid, I filled my pockets and girdle and turban and the folds of my clothes with great plenty of the best of the diamonds; and as I was thus engaged, down fell another great quarter of meat before me. Then I unrolled the linen of my turban and setting the meat on my breast, bound myself thereto and lay down on my back, so that I was hidden by the meat, which was thus raised above the ground. Hardly had I done this, when an eagle swooped down upon the meat and driving its talons into it, flew up with it and me clinging thereto and alighted on the top of one of the mountains, where it fell to rending the carcase; but there arose a great noise of shouting and clattering of wood, at which the bird took fright and flew away.
Then I loosed myself from the meat, with clothes daubed with blood therefrom, and stood up; whereupon up came the merchant, who had cried out at the eagle, and seeing me standing there, bespoke me not, but was affrighted at me and shook with fear. However, he went up to the carcase and turning it over, found no diamonds sticking to it, whereat he gave a great cry and exclaimed, "Alas, my disappointment! There is no power and no virtue but in God, with whom we seek refuge from Satan the accursed!" And he bemoaned himself and beat hand upon hand, saying, "Alas, the pity of it! How cometh this?" Then I went up to him and he said to me, "Who art thou and how camest thou hither?" "Fear not," answered I. "I am a man and a good one and a merchant. My story is a rare one and the manner of my coming hither is a marvel. So be of good cheer; thou shalt have of me what will gladden thy heart, for I have with me great plenty of diamonds, each better than aught thou couldst get otherwise, and I will give thee thereof what shall suffice thee; so fear nothing." So saying, I gave him abundance of diamonds and he rejoiced therein and thanked and blessed me. Then we talked together till the other merchants, each of whom had thrown down his piece of meat, hearing me in discourse with their fellow, came up and saluted me. I told them my story and how I came thither, and they gave me joy of my safety, saying, "By Allah, a new life hath been decreed to thee, for none ever won to yonder valley and came off thence alive before thee; but praised be God for thy safety!"
I passed the night in their company in a safe and pleasant place, beyond measure rejoiced at my deliverance from the Valley of Serpents and my arrival in an inhabited land; and on the morrow we set out and journeyed along the crest of the mountains, seeing many serpents in the valley, till we came to a wide and fair island, wherein was a grove of great camphor-trees, under each of which a hundred men might shelter. When the folk have a mind to get camphor, they pierce the upper part of the Stem with a long gimlet, whereupon the liquid camphor, which is the sap of the tree, runs out, as it were milk, and they catch it in vessels, where it hardens like gum; but, after this, the tree withers and becomes dry firewood. Moreover, there is in this island a kind of wild beast, called a rhinoceros, that feeds upon grass and leaves of trees, as do oxen and buffaloes with us; but it is a huge beast, bigger of body than the camel, and has a great and thick horn, half a score cubits long, amiddleward its head, wherein, when cleft in twain, is the likeness of a man. Travellers say that this beast will carry off a great elephant on its horn and graze about the island and the sea-coast therewith and take no heed of it, till the elephant dies and its fat melting in the sun, runs down into the rhinoceros's eyes and blinds him, so that he lies down on the shore. Then comes the roc and carries off both elephant and rhinoceros, to feed its young withal. Moreover, I saw in this island many kinds of oxen and buffaloes, whose like are not found in our country.
Here I sold some of my diamonds for gold and silver money and bartered others for the produce of the country, and loading them upon beasts of burden, fared on with the merchants from valley to valley and town to town, buying and selling and viewing foreign countries and the works and creatures of God, till we came to Bassora, where we abode a few days, after which I continued my journey to Baghdad and arrived at home with great store of diamonds and money and goods. I foregathered with my friends and relations and gave alms and largesse and made presents to all my friends and companions. Then I betook myself to eating and drinking and making merry with my fellows, and forgot all my sufferings. And all who heard of my return came and questioned me of my adventures and of foreign countries, and I related to them all that had befallen me, whereat they wondered exceedingly and gave me joy of my safe return. This, then, is the end of the story of my second voyage; and to-morrow, God willing, I will tell you what befell me in my third voyage.'
The company marvelled at his story and ate the evening meal with him; after which he ordered an hundred dinars to be given to the porter, who thanked him and blessed him and went his way, wondering at what he had heard. Next morning, as soon as it was day, he rose and praying the morning-prayer, repaired to the house of Sindbad the Sailor, even as he had bidden him, and gave him good-morrow. The merchant welcomed him and made him sit with him, till the rest of the company arrived; and when they had well eaten and drunken and were merry and in good case, their host began as follows, saying, 'Hearken, O my brothers, to the story of my third voyage, which is more wonderful than those you have already heard. Know that
The Third Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
As I told you yesterday, I returned from my second voyage with great increase of wealth, God having requited me all that I had lost, and I abode awhile at Baghdad in the enjoyment of the utmost ease and prosperity, till I was once more seized with longing for travel and adventure and yearned after traffic and gain, for that the heart is naturally prone to evil. So I laid in great plenty of suitable goods and repairing to Bassora, found there a great ship ready to sail, with a numerous company of merchants and others, men of worth and piety and consideration. I took passage with them and we set sail, commending ourselves to the blessing of God the Most High and trusting in Him to bring our voyage to a safe and prosperous issue. We fared on from sea to sea and from island to island and city to city, in all delight and contentment, buying and selling and taking our pleasure, till, one day, as we sailed, midmost the surging sea, swollen with clashing billows, the master, who stood in the ship's side, examining the sea in all directions, cried out with a great cry and bade furl the sail and cast out the anchors. Then he buffeted his face and plucked out his beard and rent his clothes, saying, "Alas!" and " Woe worth the day! O merchants, we are all lost!" So we said to him, "O master, what is to do?" and he replied, "Know, o my brethren, (may God preserve you,) that the wind has gotten the better of us and driven us out of our course into mid-ocean, and fate, for our ill fortune, hath brought us to the Mountain (44) of the Zughb, (45) who are a folk like apes, never fell any among them and came off alive, and my heart misgives me that we are all dead men."
Hardly had he made an end of his speech when the ship was boarded by an innumerable multitude of the islanders, who are the most frightful of wild creatures like apes, foul of favour and little of stature, being but four spans high, yellow-eyed and black-a-viced and covered with black hair like felt; none knoweth their language nor what they are, and they shun the company of men. They swarmed like locusts about the vessel and the shore, and we feared to strike them or drive them away, because of their vast multitude, lest, if we slew one, the rest should fall on us and kill us, for numbers prevail over courage; so we let them do their will, albeit we feared they would plunder our goods and gear. They swarmed up the cables and gnawed them in sunder, and on like wise they did with all the ropes of the ship, so that it fell off from the wind and stranded upon the mountain. Then they laid hands on all the merchants and crew, and landing us on the island, made off with the ship and its cargo we knew not whither.
We abode on the island, eating of its herbs and fruits and drinking of its streams, till, one day, we espied in its midst what seemed an inhabited house. So we made for it and found it a strong castle, compassed about with lofty walls and having a gate of ebony, with two leaves, both of which stood open. We entered and found within a spacious courtyard, with many high doors opening upon it, and at the farther end a great stone bench and brasiers, with cooking gear hanging thereby and great plenty of bones thereabout; but we saw no one and marvelled thereat exceedingly. Then we sat down in the courtyard and presently falling asleep, slept from the forenoon till sundown, when we were awakened by a rumbling noise in the air. The earth shook under us and behold, there came down upon us from the top of the castle a huge creature, in the likeness of a man, black of colour and tall of stature, as he were a great palm tree, with eyes like coals of fire and tusks like boar's tusks and a vast big mouth like the mouth of a well. Moreover, he had lips like camel's lips, hanging down upon his breast, and ears like two djerms, (46) falling over his shoulders, and the nails of his hands were like lion's claws.
When we saw this frightful monster, we fell down and became as dead men for excess of fear and terror. He sat awhile on the bench, then, coming to us, took me up in his hand and turned me over and felt me, as a butcher feels a sheep, and I but a little morsel in his hands ; but finding me lean and in poor case, for stress of toil and trouble and weariness, let me go and took up another, whom in like manner he turned over and felt and let go; nor did he cease to feel the rest of us, one after another, till he came to the master of the ship. Now he was a stout broad-shouldered fellow, fat and in good case; so he pleased the monster, who seized him, as a butcher seizes a beast, and throwing him down, set his foot on his neck and broke it; after which he fetched a long spit and thrusting it into his fundament, brought it forth of the crown of his head. Then, lighting a great fire, he set over it the spit with the dead man thereon, and turned it over the coals, till the flesh was roasted, when he took the spit off the fire and set it [upright in the ground] before him. Then he tore the body, limb from limb, as one joints a fowl, and rending the flesh with his nails, fell to eating of it and gnawing the bones, till there was nothing left but some bones, which he threw on one side. This done, he lay down on the bench and stretching himself out, fell asleep and snored like the death-rattle of a lamb or a cow, with its throat cut; nor did he wake till morning, when he rose and went out.
As soon as we were certified that he was gone, we began to talk with one another, bemoaning ourselves and saying, "Would God we had been drowned in the sea or that the apes had eaten us! That were better than to be roasted over the coals; by Allah, this is a foul death! But what God wills cometh to pass and there is no power and no virtue save in Him, the Most High, the Supreme! We shall assuredly perish miserably and none will know of us; for there is no escape for us from this place." Then we arose and roamed about the island, so haply we might find a means of flight or a place to hide us in, for indeed death was a light matter to us, so we were not roasted and eaten. However, we could find no hiding-place and the evening overtook us; so, of the excess of our terror, we returned to the Castle and sat down.
Presently, the earth shook under us and the black came up to us and turning us over, felt us, one after another, till be found one to his liking, whom he took and served as he had done the captain, killing and roasting and eating him; after which he laid down on the bench and slept and snored all night, like a beast with its throat cut, till daybreak, when he arose and went out as before. Then we drew together and said to one another, "By Allah, we were better cast ourselves into the sea and be drowned than be roasted and eaten, for this is a vile death!" "Rather let us cast about to kill him," quoth one of us, "and be at peace from him and rid the Muslims of his barbarity and tyranny." Then said I, "O my brothers, if there is nothing for it but to kill him, let us carry some of this wood and planks down to the sea-shore and make a boat, so, if we succeed in killing him, we may either embark in it and let the waters carry us whither God will, or else abide here till some ship pass, when we will take passage therein. If we win not to kill him, we will embark in the boat and put out to sea; and if we be drowned, we shall at least escape being slaughtered and roasted; whilst if we escape, we escape, and if we be drowned, we die martyrs." "By Allah," said they all, "this is a good counsel;" and we agreed upon this, and set about carrying it out. So we haled the pieces of wood [that lay about] down to the beach and making a boat, moored it to the strand, after which we stowed therein somewhat of victual and returned to the castle.
No sooner was it dark than the earth shook under us and in came the black upon us, as he were a raging dog. He came up to us and feeling us, one by one, took one of us and killed and roasted and ate him, after which he lay down on the bench and snored like thunder. As soon as we were assured that he slept, we arose and taking two iron spits of those set up there, heated them in the fiercest of the fire, till they were red-hot, when we gripped fast hold of them and going up to the giant, as he lay snoring on the bench, thrust them into his eyes and pressed upon them, all of us, with our might, so that his eyes were put out and he became blind. Thereupon he gave a great cry, that our hearts trembled thereat, and springing up from the bench, fell a-groping after us, blind-fold. We fled from him right and left and he saw us not, for he was altogether blind; but we were in deadly fear of him and gave ourselves up for lost, despairing of escape. Then he made for the door, feeling for it with his hands, and went out, roaring aloud, so that the earth shook under us, for the noise of his roaring, and we quaked for fear.
We followed him out of the castle and betook ourselves to the place where we had moored our boat, saying to one another, "If this accursed wretch abide absent till the going down of the sun and come not to the castle, we shall know that he is dead; and if he come back, we will embark in the boat and paddle till we escape, committing our affair to God." But, as we spoke, up came the black, with other two as they were ghouls, fouler and more frightful than he, with eyes like red-hot coals; which when we saw, we embarked in haste in the boat and casting off the moorings, pushed out to sea. As soon as the giants caught sight of us, they cried out at us and running down to the sea-shore, fell a-pelting us with rocks, whereof some reached us, and other some fell into the sea. We paddled with all our might till we were beyond their reach, but the most part of us were slain by the stone-throwing, and the winds and waves sported with us and carried us into the midst of the surging sea, swollen with clashing billows. We knew not whither we we went and my fellows died one after another, till there remained but myself and two others on board the boat; for, as often as one died, we threw him into the sea. We were sore exhausted for stress of hunger, but we heartened one another and paddled with our might, till the winds cast us upon an island, as we were dead men for fear and hunger and weariness.
We landed and walked about the island, which abounded in trees and streams and birds, eating of the fruits and rejoicing in our escape from the black and our deliverance from the perils of the sea; and thus we did till nightfall, when we lay down and fell asleep for excess of weariness. After a while we were aroused by a hissing noise, like the wind, and awaking, saw an enormous serpent making for us, which seized one of my companions and swallowed him at one gulp, down to his shoulders; then it gave another gulp and swallowed the rest of him, and we heard his ribs crack in its belly. Then it went its way, and we abode in sore amazement and grief for our comrade and mortal terror for ourselves, saying, "By Allah, this is a marvellous thing! Each kind of death [that besets us] is more terrible than the last. We were rejoicing in our escape from the black and our deliverance from the perils of the sea; but now we have fallen into that which is worse. There is no power and no virtue but in God! By Allah, we have escaped from the black and from drowning; but how shall we escape from this il-omened serpent?"
Then we walked about the island, eating of its fruits and drinking of its streams, till dusk, when we climbed up into a high tree and went to sleep there, I being on the topmost branch. As soon as it was dark night, up came the serpent, looking right and left, and making for the tree on which we were, climbed up to my comrade and swallowed him down to his shoulders. Then it coiled about the tree with him, whilst I heard his bones crack in its belly, and it swallowed him whole, after which it slid down from the tree. When the day broke, I came down, as I were a dead man for excess of fear and anguish, and thought to cast myself into the sea and be at peace from the world; but could not bring myself to this, for life is dear. So I took five broad and long pieces of wood and bound one crosswise to the soles of my feet and another over my head and the others in like fashion on my right and left sides and over my breast and made them fast with ropes, which I twisted of the grass of the island. Then I lay down on the ground on my back, so that I was completely fenced in by the pieces of wood which enclosed me like a bier.
As soon as it was dark, up came the serpent, as usual, and made towards me, but could not get at me to swallow me, for the wood that fenced me in. So it crawled round me on every side, whilst I looked on, like one dead for excess of terror; and every now and then it would go away and come back; but as often as it tried to come at me, it was hindered by the pieces of wood with which I had bound myself on every side. It ceased not to beset me thus from sundown till sunrise, when it made off, in the utmost rage and disappointment. Then I unbound myself, well-nigh dead for fear and sleeplessness, and went down to the sea-shore, whence I saw a ship afar off in the midst of the waves. So I tore off a great branch of a tree and made signs with it, shouting out the while; which when the ship's company saw, they said to each other, "We must stand in and see what this is; belike it is a man." So they steered for the island and presently heard my cries, whereupon they put out a boat and taking me on board, questioned me of my case. I told them all my adventures, at which they marvelled exceedingly and covered my nakedness with some of their clothes. Moreover, they set before me food and cold fresh water, and I ate and drank my fill and was mightily refreshed, and God gave me new life after I had looked for nothing but death. So I praised the Most High and thanked Him for His exceeding mercies, and my heart revived in me, till meseemed as if all I had suffered were but a dream.
We sailed on with a favouring wind till we came to an island called Es Selahiteh, when the captain cast anchor mid the merchants and sailors landed with their goods, to sell and buy. Then the captain turned to me and said, "Hark ye, thou art a stranger and poor and tellest us that thou hast undergone great hardships; wherefore I have a mind to advantage thee with somewhat that may further thee in thy native land, so thou wilt still pray for me." "So be it," answered I; "thou shalt have my prayers." Quoth he, "Know then that there was with us a man, a traveller whom we lost, and we know not if he be alive or dead, for we have had no news of him; so I purpose to commit his goods to thy charge, that thou mayest sell them in the island. A part of the proceeds we will give thee for thy pains, and the rest we will keep till we return to Baghdad, where we will enquire for his family and deliver it to them. Dost thou agree to this?" I thanked him for his kindness and accepted his offer with gratitude, whereupon he bade the sailors and porters carry the bales in question ashore and deliver them to me. Quoth the ship's clerk to him, "O master, what bales are these and what merchant's name shall I write upon them?" "Write on them the name of Sindbad," answered the captain, "him who was with us in the ship and whom we lost at such an island; for we mean this stranger to sell them, and we will give him a part of the price for his pains and keep the rest, till we return to Baghdad, where, if we find him we will pay it to him, and if not, we will make it over to his family." And the clerk said, "It is well and justly thought."
When I heard my name, I bethought me that these must be my goods; so I waited till all the merchants had landed and were gathered together, talking and chaffering; then, taking courage, I went up to the captain and said to him, "O my lord, knowest thou what manner of man was this Sindbad, whose goods thou hast committed to me to sell?" "I know nothing of him," answered the captain, "save that he was a man from the city of Baghdad, Sindbad by name, and that we missed him after touching at such an island and have heard nothing of him since then." At this I gave a great cry and said, "O captain, whom God keep, know that I am that Sindbad and that I was not drowned, but that, landing with the rest of the merchants on the island in question, I sat down in a pleasant place by myself and ate somewhat of food I had with me and enjoyed the freshness of the air, till I became drowsy and fell fast asleep; and when I awoke, I found the ship had sailed without me. These, then, are my goods, and all the merchants that fetch jewels from the Valley of Diamonds know me and will bear me witness of the truth of my story; for I related to them how you forgot me and left me behind and told them all that had befallen me."
When the merchants and crew heard my words, they gathered about me and some of them believed me and others disbelieved; but presently one of the merchants, hearing me mention the Valley of Diamonds, came up and said to them, "Hark ye, good people! When I related to you the most wonderful thing of all that befell me in my travels and told you how, being with other merchants, trying for diamonds in the Valley of Serpents and casting down each our quarter of meat, as of wont, there came up a man hanging to mine,--ye believed me not and gave me the lie. Now this is the very man, by token that he gave me diamonds of great value, whose like are not to be found, requiting me more than would have come up sticking to my quarter of meat; and I carried him with me to Bassora, where he took leave of us and went on to his native city, whilst we returned to our own land. This is he, and God hath sent him hither that the truth of my story may be made manifest to you. Moreover these are his goods, for, when he first foregathered with us, he told us of them, and that his name was Sindbad and how he came to be left on the island; and the truth of his words is manifest." With this the captain came up to me and considered me straitiy awhile, after which he said to me "What was the mark on thy bales?" "Thus and thus," answered I and reminded him of somewhat that had passed between him and me, when I shipped with him from Bassora. Thereupon he was convinced that I was indeed Sindbad and embraced me and gave me joy of my safety, saying, "By Allah, my lord, thy case is indeed wonderful and thy story extraordinary, but praised be God who hath brought thee and me together again, and hath restored thee thy goods and thy gear!" Then I disposed of my goods to the best of my skill, and profited largely on them, whereat I rejoiced exceedingly and congratulated myself on my safety and the recovery of my goods.
After this we continued our voyage from island to island, trading everywhere till we came to the land of Hind, (47) where we bought cloves and ginger and all manner of spices; and thence we fared on to the land of Sind, (48) where also we bought and sold. In the course of this voyage in the Indian seas, I saw wonders without number, amongst others a fish like a cow and others like asses; and I saw also a bird that comes out of a sea-shell and lays eggs and hatches them on the surface of the water, never coming up from the sea to the land. Then we set sail again with a fair wind and after a prosperous voyage, arrived in safety, by the blessing of God the Most High, at Bassora, where I abode a few days and after returned to Baghdad, having gained in this voyage what was beyond count and reckoning. I gave alms and largesse and clad the widow and the orphan, by way of thanksgiving for my happy return, and fell to feasting and making merry with my companions and friends and forgot all that had befallen me and all the perils and hardships I had suffered. This, then is the history of my third voyage, and to-morrow, if it be the will of God, you shall hear that of my fourth voyage, which is still more wonderful than those you have already heard.'
Then he bade give the porter an hundred dinars as of wont and called for food. So they spread the tables and the company supped and went their ways, marvelling at what they had heard. The porter passed the night in his own house and as soon as the day broke and the morning appeared with its light and shone, he rose and praying the morning prayer, betook himself to Sindbad the Sailor, who received him with an open and cheerful favour and made him sit with him till the rest of his friends arrived, when he caused set on food and they ate and drank and made merry. Then Sindbad the Sailor bespoke them and related to them the story of his fourth voyage, saying, 'Know, O my brethren, that
The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
I had not long been in the enjoyment of ease and repose, after my return from my third voyage, when a company of merchants entered Baghdad and foregathering with me, talked with me of foreign travel and traffic, till my soul yearned to go with them and divert itself with the sight of strange countries, and I longed for the society of the various races of mankind and for traffic and gain. So I resolved to travel with them and providing myself with great store of costly goods, more than ever before, transported them to Bassora, where I took ship with the merchants in question, who were of the chief of the town.
We set out, trusting in the blessing of God the Most High, and sailed, with a favouring breeze, from island to island and sea to sea, till, one day, there arose against us a contrary wind and the captain cast out his anchors and brought the ship to a standstill, fearing lest she should founder in mid-ocean. Then we all fell to prayer and humbling ourselves before God the Most High; but, as we were thus engaged, there smote us a furious squall, which tore the sails to rags; the cable parted and [the ship, capsizing,] cast us all into the sea. I kept myself afloat half the day, till, when I had given myself up for lost, God threw in my way one of the planks of the ship, on which I and some others of the merchants clambered and paddled with our feet in the sea. We abode thus a day and a night, the wind and waves helping us on, till, on the forenoon of the second day, the breeze freshened and the waves rose and cast us upon an island, well-nigh dead for cold and weariness and fear and hunger and thirst and lack of sleep. We walked about the shore and found abundance of herbs and roots, of which we ate and stayed our failing spirits, then lay down and slept till morning.
As soon as it was light, we arose and walked about the island, till we came in sight of [what seemed] an inhabited house afar off. So we made towards it, but no sooner had we reached the door thereof; than a number of naked men issued from it and without word said, laid hold of us and carried us to their king, who signed to us to sit. So we sat down and they set food before us, whose like we had never seen in all our lives. My companions ate of it, for stress of hunger, but my stomach revolted from it and I would not eat; and my refraining from it was, by God's favour, the cause of my being alive till now: for no sooner had my comrades tasted of it than their reason fled and their condition changed and they began to eat like madmen. Then the savages gave them to drink of cocoa-nut oil and anointed them therewith; and no sooner had they drunken thereof, than their eyes turned in their heads and they fell to eating greedily against their wont. When I saw this, I was confounded and grieved for them, nor was I less concerned for myself, for fear of the savages. So I watched them narrowly, nor was it long before I discovered them to be a tribe of cannibals. All who fell in their way they brought to their king and fed them upon this food and anointed them with cocoa-nut oil, whereupon their bellies expanded that they might eat amain, whilst their reason fled and they lost the power of thought and became idiots. Then they stuffed them with cocoa-nut oil and the aforesaid food, till they grew fat and stout, when they slaughtered them and roasted them for their king's eating: but, as for the savages themselves, they ate human flesh raw.
When I was aware of this, I was sore dismayed for mysel and my comrades, who were now become so brutalized that they knew not what was done with them and the savages committed them to one, (49) who used every day to lead them out and pasture them on the island like cattle. As for me, I wasted away and became sickly for fear and hunger and my flesh shrivelled on my bones; which when the savages saw, they left me alone and took no thought of me, so that one day I gave them the slip and made for the beach, where I espied a man seated on a high place. I looked at him and knew him for the herdsman, who had charge of my fellows, and with him were great plenty of others like unto them. As soon as he saw me, he knew me to be in possession of my reason and signed to me from afar, as who should say, "Turn back and take the right-hand road, for that will lead thee into the king's highway." So I turned back, as he bade me, and followed the right hand road, now running for fear and now slackening pace, to rest me, till I was out of his sight. By this time, the sun had gone down and the darkness set in; so I sat down to rest and would have slept, but sleep came not to me that night, for stress of fear and hunger and weariness. When the night was half spent I rose and walked on, till the day broke and the sun rose over hill and plain. Now I was weary and hungry and thirsty; so I ate my fill of the herbs and roots that grew in the island and stayed my stomach, after which I set out again.
I fared on thus, night and day, seven days and nights, staying my hunger with roots and herbs, till, on the morning of the eighth day, I caught sight of something moving in the distance. So I made for it, though my heart quaked for all I had suffered first and last, and found that it was a company of men gathering pepper. As soon as they saw me, they hastened up to me and surrounding me on all sides, asked me who I was and whence I came. I acquainted them with my case and all the hardships and perils I had suffered and how I had escaped from the savages, whereat they marvelled and gave me joy of my safety, saying, "By Allah, it is wonderful that thou shouldst have escaped from these blacks, who swarm in the island and devour all who fall in with them, nor is any safe from them."
They made me sit by them, till they had made an end of their work, and brought me good food, of which I ate, for I was hungry, and rested awhile; after which they took ship with me and carrying me to the island where they abode, brought me before their king, who received me kindly and questioned me of my case; whereupon I told him all that had befallen me, from the day of my leaving Baghdad. He wondered greatly at my adventures, he and his courtiers, and made me sit by him; then he called for food and I ate with him and washed my hands and returned thanks to God the most High for all His mercies. Then I left the King and walked about the city, which I found rich and populous, abounding in markets well stocked with food and merchandise and full of buyers and sellers. So I gave myself joy of having reached so pleasant a place and took my ease there after my fatigues; and I made friends with the townsfolk, nor was it long before I became better considered and more in favour with them and their King than any of the chief men of the realm.
Now I saw that all the people, great and small, rode handsome thorough-bred horses barebaeked and without saddles, at which I wondered and said to the King, "O my lord, why dost thou not ride with a saddle? Therein is ease for the rider and increase of power." "What manner of thing is a saddle?" asked he. "I never saw nor used one in all my life." "With thy permission," rejoined I, "I will make thee a saddle, that thou mayst ride on it and see the comfort thereof." And he said, "Do so." So I asked him for wood, which being brought me, I sought out a skilful carpenter and showed him how to make the saddle-tree, portraying him the fashion thereof in ink on the wood. Then I took wool and carded it and made felt of it and covering the saddle-tree with leather, stuffed it and burnished it and bound on the girth and stirrup-leathers; after which I fetched a blacksmith and described to him the fashion of the stirrups and bridle-bit. So he forged a fine pair of stirrups and a bit, and I filed them smooth and tinned them. Moreover, I made fast to them fringes of silk and fitted bridle-leathers to the bit. Then I fetched one of the best of the royal horses and saddling and bridling him, hung the stirrups to the saddle and led him to the King. The thing took his fancy and he thanked me; then he mounted and rejoiced greatly in the saddle and rewarded me handsomely. When the King's Vizier saw the saddle, he sought of me the like and I made it for him. Moreover, all the grandees and officers of state sought saddles of me; so I fell to making saddles, with the help of the carpenter and blacksmith, whom I had taught the craft, and selling them to all who sought, till I amassed great wealth and became in high honour and favour with the King and his household and officers.
I abode thus till, one day, as I was sitting with the King, in all honour and contentment, he said to me, "Hark ye, such an one! Thou art become one of us and we hold thee in such honour and affection that we cannot part with thee now nor suffer thee to leave our city; wherefore I have somewhat to require of thee, in which I will not have thee gainsay me. "O King," answered I, "what is it thou desirest of me? Far be it from me to gainsay thee in aught, for I am indebted to thee for many favours and bounties and much kindness, and (praised be God!) I am become as one of thy servants." Quoth he, "I have a mind to marry thee to a rich, handsome and agreeable wife, so thou mayst be domiciled with us and I will lodge thee with me in my palace; wherefore gainsay me not neither cross me in this." When I heard this, I was abashed and held my peace nor could make him any answer, by reason of my much bashfulness before him. Quoth he, "Why dost thou not answer me, O my son?" And I answered, saying, "O King of the age, it is thine to command." So he summoned the Cadi and the witnesses and married me straightway to a noble lady of surpassing beauty, high descent and great wealth. Then he gave me a great and goodly house, together with slaves and officers, and assigned me stipends and allowances. So I became in all delight and ease and contentment and forgot all that had befallen me of weariness and trouble and hardship; for I loved my wife dearly and she loved me no less, and we were at one and abode in the utmost comfort and happiness. And I said in myself, "When I return to my native land, I will carry her with me." But whatever is decreed to a man, needs must it be, and none knoweth what shall befall him.
We lived thus a great while, till God the Most High bereft a neighbour of mine of his wife. Now he was a friend of mine; so I went in to condole with him on his loss and found him in very ill plight, full of trouble and weary of heart and mind. I condoled with him and comforted him, saying, "Mourn not for thy wife; God will surely give thee a better in her stead, and thy life shall be long, so it please the Most High." But he wept sore and replied, "O my friend, how can I marry another wife and how shall God replace her to me with a better than she, seeing that I have but one day left to live?" "O my brother," said I, return to thy senses and forebode not thine own death, for thou art well and in good health and case." "By thy life, O my friend," rejoined he, "to-morrow thou wilt lose me and wilt never see me again till the Day of Resurrection." "How so?" asked I, and he said, "This very day they bury my wife, and me with her in one tomb; for it is the custom with us, if the wife die first, to bury the husband alive with her, and in like manner the wife, if the husband die first; so that neither may enjoy life after the other." "By Allah," cried I, "this is a most vile custom and not to be endured of any!"
Meanwhile, the most part of the townsfolk came in and fell to condoling with my friend for his wife and himself. Presently, they laid the dead woman out and setting her on a bier, carried her and her husband without the city, till they came to a place in the side of a mountain by the sea, where they raised a great stone and discovered the mouth of a stone-lined pit or well, leading down into a vast underground cavern that ran beneath the mountain.Into this pit they threw the coffin, then tying a rope of palm-fibres under the husband's armpits, they let him down into the cavern, and with him a great pitcher of fresh water and seven cakes of bread. When he came to the bottom, he did himself loose from the rope and they drew it up; then stopping the mouth of the pit with the stone, they returned to the city, leaving my friend in the cavern with his dead wife. When I saw this, I said in myself, "By Allah, this kind of death is more horrible than the first." (50) And I went in to the King and said to him, "O my lord, why do ye bury the live with the dead?" Quoth he, "It has been our custom, from time immemorial, if the husband die first, to bury his wife with him, and the like with the wife, if her husband die first, so we may not sever them, alive or dead." "O King of the age," asked I, "if the wife of a foreigner like myself die among you, deal ye with him as with yonder man?" "Assuredly," answered he; "we do with him even as thou hast seen." When I heard this, my gall-bladder was like to burst, for the violence of my dismay and concern for myself; my wit became dazed and I went in fear lest my wife should die before me and they bury me alive with her. However, after a while, I comforted myself, saying, "Haply I shall die before her, for none knoweth which shall go first and which follow."
Then I applied myself to diverting my mind from this thought with various occupations; but it was not long before my wife sickened and died, after a few days' illness, and the King and the rest of the folk came to condole with me and her family for her loss. Then they washed her and arraying her in her richest clothes and ornaments, laid her on the bier and carded her to the mountain aforesaid, where they lifted the cover of the pit and cast her in; after which all my friends and acquaintances came round me, to bid me farewell in my lifetime and condole with me for myself whilst I cried out amongst them, saying, "I am a foreigner and not subject to your custom!" They paid no heed to my words, but laying hold of me, bound me by force and let me down into the cavern, with a pitcher of fair water and seven cakes of bread, as of wont. When I came to the bottom, they called out to me to cast myself loose from the cords, but I refused to do so; so they threw them down on me and closing the mouth of the pit with the stone aforesaid, went their ways.
I found myself in a vast cavern under the mountain, full of dead bodies, that exhaled a fetid and loathsome smell, and fell to blaming myself for what I had done, (51) saying, "By Allah, I deserve all that hath befallen me! What possessed me to take a wife in this city? There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme! As often as I say, 'I have escaped from one calamity,' I fall into a worse. By Allah, this is a fearful death to die! Would I had been drowned at sea or perished in the mountains! It were better than to die this miserable death!" Then I threw myself down on the bones of the dead and lay there, imploring Gods help and in the violence of my despair, invoking death, which came not to me, till hunger well-nigh gnawed me in sunder and thirst consumed me, when I sat up and feeling for the bread, ate a morsel and drank a mouthful of water. After this, I arose and exploring the cavern, found that it extended a long way right and left, with hollow places in its sides; and its floor was strewn with dead bodies and rotten bones, that had lain there from of old time. So I made myself a place in the sides of the cavern, afar from the freshly buried dead, and there slept.
I abode thus a long while, knowing not night from day, eating not till I was well-nigh torn in pieces with hunger, neither drinking till driven thereto by excess of thirst, for fear my victual should fail me before my death; and my bread and water diminished, till I had but a little left, albeit I ate but a morsel every day or two and drank but a mouthful. One day, as I sat thus, pondering my case and bethinking me how I should do, when my store was exhausted, the stone that covered the opening was suddenly raised, and the light streamed down upon me. Quoth I, "I wonder what is to do!" Then I espied folk standing about the mouth of the pit, who presently let down a dead man and a live woman, weeping and bemoaning herself; and with her the usual pittance of bread and water. I saw her, but she saw me not; and they closed up the opening and went away. Then I took the thighbone of a dead man and going up to the woman, smote her on the crown of the head, and she fell down in a swoon. I smote her a second and a third time, till she was dead, when I laid hands on her bread and water and found on her great plenty of jewels and ornaments and rich apparel. I carried the victual to my niche in the side of the cavern and ate and drank of it sparingly, no more than sufficed to keep the life in me, lest it come speedily to an end and I perish of hunger and thirst.
I abode thus a great while, killing all the live folk they let down into the cavern and taking their provision of meat and drink, till, one day, as I slept, I was awakened by something routing among the bodies in a corner of the cave, and said, "What can this be?" So I sprang up and seizing the thighbone aforesaid, made for the noise. As soon as the thing was ware of me, it fled from me into the inward of the cavern, and behold, it was a wild beast. However, I followed it to the further end, till I saw afar off a tiny point of light, like a star, now appearing and now disappearing. So I made for it, and as I drew near, it grew larger and brighter, till I was certified that it was a crevice in the rock, leading to the open country; and I said in myself, "There must be some reason for this opening; either it is the mouth of a second pit, such as that by which they let me down, or else it is a [natural] fissure in the rock." So I bethought me awhile and nearing the light, found that it came from a breach in the sea-wall of the mountain, which the wild beasts had made, that they might enter and feed upon the dead bodies. When I saw this, my spirits revived and hope came back to me and I made sure of life, after having looked for nothing but death. So I went on, as in a dream, and making shift to scramble through the breach, found myself on the slope of a high mountain, overlooking the salt sea and cutting off all access thereto from the island, so that none could come at that part of the beach from the city.
I praised God and thanked Him, rejoicing greatly in the prospect of deliverance; then I returned to the cavern and brought out all the food and water I had saved up and donned some of the dead folk's clothes over my own; after which I gathered together all the collars and necklaces of pearls and jewels and trinkets of gold and silver set with precious stones and other ornaments and valuables I could find upon the corpses, and making them into bales with the grave-clothes and raiment of the dead, carried them out to the sea-shore, where I established myself, purposing to wait there till it should please God the Most High to send me deliverance by means of some passing ship. I visited the cavern daily and as often as I found folk buried alive there, I killed them and took their victual and valuables.
Thus I abode awhile till, one day, as I sat on the beach, pondering my case, I caught sight of a ship passing in the midst of the surging sea, swollen with clashing billows. So I took a piece of a shroud I had with me and tying it to a staff, ran along the sea-shore, making signals therewith to the people in the ship, till they espied me and hearing my shouts, sent a boat to fetch me off. When it drew near, the crew called out to me, saying, "Who art thou and how camest thou in this place, where never saw we any in our lives?" I answered that I was a merchant, who had been wrecked and saved myself on one of the planks of the ship, with some of my goods, and that, by the blessing of God and my own strength and skill, I had succeeded after severe toil in landing with my gear in that place, where I waited for some one to pass and take me off. So they took me and the bales I had made of the jewels and valuables from the cavern, tied up in clothes and shrouds, and rowed back with me to the ship, where the captain said to me, "How camest thou to yonder place?" All my life I have sailed these seas and passed to and fro by this mountain; yet never saw I here any living thing save wild beasts and birds." I repeated to him the story I had told the sailors, but acquainted him with nothing of that whicn had befallen me in the city and the cavern, lest there should be any of the islanders in the ship. Then I took out some of the best of the jewels and ornaments and offered them to the captain, saying, "O my lord, thou hast been the means of my delivery; so take this from me in requital of thy good offices." But he refused to accept it, saying, "When we find a shipwrecked man on the sea-shore or on an island, we take him up and feed him, and if he be naked, we clothe him; nor take we aught from him, nay, when we reach a port of safety, we set him ashore with a present of our own money and entreat him kindly and charitably, for the love of God the Most High." So I prayed that his life might be long and rejoiced in my escape, trusting to be delivered from my stress.
Then we pursued our voyage and sailed from island to island and sea to sea, till, by God's grace, we arrived in safety at Bassora, where I tarried a few days, then went on to Baghdad and foregathered with my friends and family, who rejoiced in my happy return and gave me joy of my safety. I laid up in my storehouses all the goods I had brought with me, and gave alms and largesse and clothed the widow and the orphan. Then I gave myself up to pleasure and enjoyment, returning to my old merry way of life; but, whenever I call to mind my sojourn in the cavern among the dead, I am like to lose my reason. This, then, is the story of my fourth voyage, and to-morrow I will tell you that which befell me in my fifth voyage, which was yet rarer and more wonderful than those which forewent it.'
When Sindbad the Sailor had made an end of his story, he called for supper; so they spread the table and the guests ate the evening meal; after which he gave the porter an hundred dinars as usual, and he and the rest of the company went their ways, glad at heart and marvelling at what they had heard, for that each story was more extraordinary than that which forewent it. The porter passed the night in his own house, in all joy and cheer and wonderment, and next morning, as soon as it was day, he prayed the morning prayer and repaired to the house of Sindbad the Sailor, who welcomed him and made him sit with him till the rest of the company arrived, when they ate and drank and made merry and the talk went round amongst them. Presently, their host began the story of the fifth voyage and bespoke them, saying, 'Know, O my brethren, that
The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
When I had been awhile on shore and had forgotten all my perils and sufferings, I was again seized with a longing to travel and see foreign countries. So I bought costly merchandise and making it up into bales, repaired to Bassora, where I found in the port a fine tall ship, newly built and fitted ready for sea. She pleased me, so I bought her and embarking my goods in her, hired a master and crew, over whom I set certain of my slaves and servants as inspectors. A number of merchants took passage with me and paid me freight; and we set sail in all joy and cheer, promising ourselves a prosperous voyage and much profit. We sailed from place to place, selling and buying and viewing the countries by which we passed, till one day we came to a great uninhabited island, waste and desolate, whereon was a vast white dome. The merchants landed to examine this dome, leaving me in the ship; and when they drew near, behold, it was a huge roc's egg. They fell a-beating it with stones, knowing not what it was, and presently broke it open, whereupon much water ran out of it and the young roc appeared within. So they pulled it forth of the shell and killed it and took of it great store of meat.
Now I was in the ship and knew not what they did, but presently one of them came up to me and said, "O my lord, come and look at the egg that we thought to be a dome." So I looked and seeing the merchants beating it with stones, called out to them to desist, for that the roc would come and break up our ship and destroy us. But they paid no heed to me and gave not over smiting upon the egg, till presently the day grew dark and the sun was hidden from us, as if some great cloud had passed between us and it. So we raised our eyes and saw that what we took for a cloud was the roc flying between us and the sun, and it was its wings that darkened the day. When it saw its egg broken, it gave a loud cry, whereupon its mate came flying up and they both began circling about the ship, crying out at us with voices louder than thunder. I called out to the master and the crew to put out to sea and seek safety in flight, before we were all destroyed. So the merchants came on board and we cast off and made haste to gain the open sea. When the rocs saw this, they flew off and we crowded sail on the ship, thinking to get beyond their reach; but presently they reappeared and flew after us, each with a huge rock in its claws, that it had brought from the mountains. As soon as the male bird came up with us, he let fall upon us the rock he held in his talons; but the master steered the ship aside, so that the rock missed her by some small matter and plunged into the sea with such violence, that the ship surged up and sank into the trough of the sea and the bottom of the ocean appeared to us. Then the she-bird let fall her rock, which was smaller than that of her mate, and as fore-ordained fate would have it, it fell on the poop of the ship and crushed it, breaking the rudder into twenty pieces; whereupon the vessel foundered and all on board were cast into the sea.
As for me, I struggled for dear life, till God threw in my way one of the planks of the ship, to which I clung and bestriding it, fell a-paddling with my hands and feet. Now the ship had gone down hard by an island and the winds and waves bore me on, till, by permission of God the Most High, they cast me up on the shore of the island, at the last gasp for toil and distress and hunger and thirst. So I landed more dead than alive, and throwing myself down on the beach, lay there awhile, till I began to recover myself, when I walked about the island and found it as it were one of the pleasaunces of Paradise, abounding in trees, laden with ripe fruits, and flowers of all kinds and running streams and birds warbling the praises of Him to whom belong power and eternity. So I ate my fill of the fruits and slaked my thirst with the water of the streams and returned thanks to God the Most High and glorified Him; after which I sat till nightfall, hearing no voice and seeing none.
Then I lay down, well-nigh dead for travail and affright, and slept without ceasing till morning, when I arose and walked among the trees, till I came to a spring of running water, by which sat an old man of venerable aspect, girt about with a waistcloth made of the leaves of trees. Quoth I to myself, "Belike this old man is of those who were wrecked in the ship and hath made his way to this island." So I went up to him and saluted him, and he returned my greeting by signs, but spoke not; and I said to him, "O old man, what ails thee to sit here?" He shook his head and moaned and signed to me, as who should say, "Take me on thy back and carry me to the other side of the stream." And I said to myself, "I will deal kindly with him and do what he desires; it may be God will reward me." So I took him on my shoulders and carrying him to the place to which he pointed, said to him, "Dismount at thy leisure." But he would not get off my back and wound his legs about my neck. I looked at them and seeing that they were like a buffalo's hide for blackness and roughness, was affrighted and would have cast him off; but he clung to me and gripped my neck with his legs, till I was well-nigh choked; the world grew black in my sight and I fell to the ground senseless. But he [still kept his seat and] beat me with his feet on the back and shoulders, till he enforced me rise, for excess of pain. Then he signed to me with his head to carry him hither and thither among the trees, to the best of the fruits; and if I refused to do his bidding or loitered, he beat me with his feet more grievously than if I had been beaten with whips. So I carried him about the island, like a captive slave, and he used to do his occasions on my back, dismounting not day nor night; but, when he wished to sleep, he wound his legs about my neck and lay down and slept awhile, then arose and beat me, where-upon I sprang up in haste, unable to gainsay him, because of the pain he inflicted on me. And indeed I repented me of having taken compassion on him and said in myself, "I did him a kindness and it hath turned to my hurt; by Allah, never more will I do any a service so long as I live!"
I abode thus a long while in the utmost wretchedness, hourly beseeching God the Most High that I might die, for stress of weariness and misery, till one day I came to a place wherein was abundance of gourds, many of them dry. So I took a great dry gourd and cutting open the neck, scooped out the inside and cleaned it; after which I gathered grapes from a vine that grew hard by and squeezed them into the gourd till it was full of the juice. Then I stopped up the mouth and set it in the sun, where I left it for some days till it became strong wine; and every day I used to drink of it, to comfort and sustain me under my fatigues with that froward devil, and as often as I drank, I forgot my troubles and took new heart.
One day, he saw me drinking and signed to me as who should say, "What is that?" Quoth I, "It is an excellent cordial, that cheers the heart and revives the spirits." 'Then, being heated with wine, I ran and danced with him among the trees, clapping my hands and singing and making merry. When he saw this, he signed to me to give him the gourd, that he might drink, and I feared him and gave it him. So he took it and draining it, cast it on the ground, whereupon he grew merry and began to jig to and fro on my shoulders; but presently the fumes of the wine rising to his head, he became helplessly drunk and his every limb relaxed and he swayed to and fro on my back. When I saw that he had lost his senses for drunkenness, I put my hand to his legs and loosing them from my neck, stooped down and threw him to the ground, hardly crediting my deliverance from him and fearing lest he should shake off his drunkenness and do me a mischief.So I took up a great stone from among the trees and smote him therewith on the head with all my might and crushed in his skull and killed him, may God have no mercy on him!
Then I returned, with a heart at ease, to my former station on the sea-shore and abode in the island many days, eating of its fruits and drinking of its waters and keeping a look out for passing ships; till, one day, as I sat on the beach, recalling all that had befallen me and saying, "I wonder if God will save me alive and restore me to my country and my friends!" I suddenly caught sight of a ship making for the island. Presently, it cast anchor and the passengers landed. So I made for them, and when they saw me, they hastened up to me and questioned me of my case and how I came thither. I told them all that had befallen me, whereat they marvelled exceedingly and said, "He who rode on thy shoulders is called the Old Man of the Sea, and none ever fell into his clutches and came off alive but thou; so praised he God for thy safety!" Then they set set food before me, of which I ate my fill, and gave me somewhat of clothes wherewith I clad myself and covered my nakedness; after which they took me up into the ship, and we sailed days and nights, till fate brought us to a place called the City of Apes, builded with lofty houses, all of which gave upon the sea. Now every night, as soon as it is dusk, the dwellers in this city use to come forth of the seaward doors of their houses and putting out to sea in boats and ships, pass the night thus in their fear lest the apes should come down on them from the mountains.
I landed to visit the city, but meanwhile the ship set sail without me and I repented of having gone ashore, and calling to mind my companions and what had befallen me with the apes, first and last, sat down and fell a-weeping and lamenting. Presently one of the townsfolk accosted me and said to me, "O my lord, meseems thou art a stranger to these parts?" "Yes," answered I, "I am indeed an unfortunate stranger, who came hither in a ship that cast anchor here, and I landed to visit the town; but when I would have gone on board again, I found they had sailed without me." "Come," said he, "and embark with us, for, if thou lie the night in the city, the apes will destroy thee." "I hear and obey," replied I and rising, straight-way embarked with him in one of the boats, whereupon they put out to sea and anchoring a mile from the land, passed the night there. At daybreak, they rowed back to the city and landing, went each about his business. Thus they did every night, for if any tarried in the town by night the apes came down on him and killed him. As soon as it was day, the apes left the place and ate of the fruits of the gardens, then went back to the mountains and slept there till nightfall, when they again came down upon the city.
Now this place was in the farthest part of the country of the blacks, and one of the strangest things that befell me during my sojourn there was on this wise. One of those, in whose company I passed the night in the boat, said to me, "O my lord, thou art a stranger in these parts; hast thou any craft at which thou canst work?" "By Allah, O my brother," replied I, "I have no trade nor know I any handicraft, for I was a merchant and a man of substance and had a ship of my own, laden with great store of goods and merchandise; but it foundered at sea and all were drowned but I, who saved myself on a piece of plank, that God vouchsafed me of His favour." With this, he fetched me a cotton bag and giving it to me, said, "Take this bag and fill it with pebbles from the beach and go forth with a company of the townsfolk, to whom I will commend thee. Do as they do and haply thou shalt gain what may further thy return to thy native land." Then he carried me to the beach, where I filled my bag with small pebbles, and presently we saw a company of folk issue from the town, each bearing a bag like mine, filled with pebbles. To these he committed me, commending me to their care and saying, "Take this man with you, for he is a stranger, and teach him how to gather, that he may get his living, and God will reward you." "We hear and obey," answered they and bidding me welcome, fared on with me till we came to a spacious valley, full of lofty trees, that none might climb.
Now in this valley were many apes, which fled at sight of us and climbed up into the trees; whereupon my companions began to pelt them with the stones they had in their bags, and the apes fell to plucking of the fruit of the trees and casting them at the folk. I looked at the fruits they cast at us and found them to be cocoa-nuts; so I chose out a great tree, full of apes, and going up to it, began to pelt them with stones, and they in return pelted me with nuts, which I collected, as did the rest: so that by the time I had made an end of my bagful of pebbles, I had gotten great plenty of nuts; and as soon as my companions had in like manner gotten as many nuts as they could carry, we returned to the city, where we arrived before the end of the day. Then I went in to the man who had brought me in company with the nut-gatherers and gave him all I had gotten, thanking him for his kindness; but he would not accept them and gave me the key of a closet in his house, saying, "Choose out the worst of the nuts and sell them and provide thyself with the price and lay up the rest here. And go thou forth every day and gather nuts, as thou hast done to-day, and lay up the rest here, so haply thou mayest collect enough to serve thee for thy return home." "God requite thee!" answered I and did as he counselled me, going out daily with the cocoa-nut gatherers, who commended me to each other and showed me the best-stocked trees.
Thus did I for some time, till I had laid up great store of excellent nuts, besides a large sum of money, the price of those I had sold. I became thus at my ease and bought all I saw and had a mind to and passed my time pleasantly, till one day, as I stood on the beach, a great ship cast anchor before the city and landed a company of merchants, who proceeded to sell and buy and trade for cocoa-nuts and other commodities. Then I went to my friend and told him of the coming of the ship and how I had a mind to return to my own country; and he said, "It is thine to decide." So I thanked him for his bounties and took leave of him; then, going to the captain of the ship, I agreed with him for my passage and embarked my cocoa-nuts and what else I possessed. We weighed anchor the same day and sailed from place to place; and wherever we stopped, I sold and traded with my cocoa-nuts, and God requited me more than I had lost. Amongst other places, we came to an island abounding in cloves and cinnamon and pepper, and the country people told me that by the side of each pepper-pod grows a great leaf that shades it [from the sun] and casts the water off it in the rainy season; but, when the rain ceases, the leaf turns over and falls down by the side of the pod. Here I took in great store of pepper and cloves and cinnamon, in exchange for cocoa-nuts, and we passed thence to the island of El Usrat, whence comes the Comorin aloes, and thence to another island, five days journey in length, where grows the Chinese aloes, which is better than the Comorin; but the people of the latter island are fouler of case and religion than those of the former, for that they love lewdness and wine-bibbing and know not prayer nor the call to prayer. Thence we came to the island of the pearl-fisheries, and I gave the divers some of my Cocoa-nuts and bade them dive on my account and for my luck. They did so and brought up great plenty of large and fine pearls; and they said to me, By Allah, O my master, thy luck is happy!" Then we sailed on, with the blessing of God the Most High, and arrived safely at Bassora. There I abode a little and then went on to Baghdad, where I foregathered with my friends and family, who gave me joy of my safe return, and laid up all my goods in my storehouses. Then I gave alms and largesse and clothed the widow and the orphan and made presents to my friends and relations; after which I returned to my old merry way of life and forgot all I had suffered in the great profit and gain I had made, for God had requited me fourfold that I had lost. This, then, is the history of my fifth voyage, and now to supper; and to- morrow, come and I will tell you what befell me in my sixth voyage; for it was still more wonderful than this.'
Then he called for food; and the servants spread the table, and they ate the evening-meal, after which he gave the porter an hundred dinars and he returned home, marvelling at all he had heard. Next morning, as soon as it was light, he prayed the morning prayer, and betaking himself to the house of Sindbad the Sailor, bade him good-morrow. The merchant bade him sit and talked with him, till the rest of the guests arrived. Then the servants spread the table and when they had well eaten and drunken and were merry, Sindbad the Sailor began the story of his sixth voyage as follows, saying, 'Know, O my brethren, that
The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
I abode some time, after my return from my fifth voyage, in great joy and comfort, and forgot what I had suffered, till, one day, as I sat making merry and enjoying myself with my friends, there came in to me a company of merchants, bearing signs of travel, and talked with me of travel and adventure and greatness of gain and profit. Their sight recalled to my mind the days of my return from travel, and my joy at once more seeing my native land and foregathering with my friends and relations; and my soul yearned for travel and traffic. So I resolved to undertake another voyage, and buying me rich merchandise, made it up into bales, with which I journeyed from Baghdad to Bassora. Here I found a great ship ready for sea and full of merchants and notables, who had with them goods of price; so I joined myself to them and took passage in the vessel with my goods.
We left Bassora with a fair wind and sailed from place to place, in all delight and solace of life, buying and selling and profiting and diverting ourselves with the sight of foreign countries, till one day, as we went along, the captain suddenly gave a great cry and cast his turban on the deck. Then he buffetted his face and plucked out his beard and fell down in the waist of the ship, for stress of grief and chagrin. So all the merchants and sailors came about him and asked him what was to do, and he answered, saying, "Know, O folk, that we have wandered from our course and come into a sea whose ways I know not. Yonder is a great mountain, upon which we are drifting, and unless God vouchsafe us a means of escape, we are all dead men; wherefore pray ye to the Most High, that he deliver us from this strait."
Then he climbed the mast and would have loosed the sails; but the wind redoubled upon the ship and drove her backward; whereupon her rudder broke and she turned round three times and fell off towards the mountain. With this the captain came down from the mast, saying, "There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme, nor can we avert that which is decreed! By Allah, we are fallen on sure destruction, and there is no way of escape for us!"
Then we all gave ourselves up for lost and fell a-weeping over ourselves and bidding each other farewell. Presently the ship struck upon the mountain and broke up, and all on board her were plunged into the sea. Some were drowned and others made shift to get upon the mountain. I was amongst these latter, and when we got ashore, we found a great island, compassed about with a ring of mountains, whose base was strewn with wrecked ships and goods and gear in countless profusion, cast up by the sea. So we climbed the cliffs into the inward of the island, and my companions, dispersing hither and thither therein, were confounded at what they saw and became as madmen at sight of the countless riches with which its shores were strewn. As for me, I walked on inland, till I came to a stream of sweet water, that welled up at the foot of the mountains and disappeared in the earth under the range of hills on the opposite side. I looked into the bed of this stream and saw therein great plenty of rubies and great royal pearls and all kinds of jewels and precious stones, so that all the channel glittered by reason of their multitude, and they were as gravel in the bed of the rivulets that ran through the fields.
Moreover we found in the island abundance of the finest aloes-wood, both Chinese and Comorin; and there also is a spring of crude ambergris, which exudes over the sides, as it were gum, for the great heat of the sun, and runs down to the sea-shore, where the monsters of the deep come up and swallowing it, return into the sea. But it burns in their bellies; so they cast it up again and it rises to the top of the water, where it congeals and its colour and qualities are changed. By-and-by, the waves cast it ashore and the ambergris-gatherers collect and sell it. The rest of the ambergris congeals on the banks of the stream and when the sun shines on it, it melts and scents the whole valley with a musk-like fragrance: then, when the sun ceases from it, it congeals again. But none can get to this place where is the crude ambergris, because of the mountains aforesaid, which enclose the island on all sides and on which all ships that approach it are wrecked.
We continued thus to explore the island, marvelling at the riches we found there and the wonderful works of God, but sore troubled and dismayed for our own case. Now we had picked up on the beach some small matter of victual from the wreck and husbanded it carefully, eating but once every day or two, in our fear lest it should fail us and we perish miserably of hunger and thirst. Moreover, we were weak for sea-sickness and my companions died one after another, till there were but a few of us left. Each that died we washed and shrouded in some of the clothes and linen cast ashore by the waves; and after a little, the rest of my fellows died, one by one, till I had buried the last of the party and abode alone on the island, with but a little victual left. And I wept over myself, saying, "Would God I had died before my companions and they had washed me and buried me! It had been better than that I should die and none wash me and shroud me and bury me. But there is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!" After awhile I arose and dug me a deep grave on the sea-shore, saying in myself, "When I grow weak and know that death cometh to me, I will lay me down in this grave and die there, so the wind may drift the sand over me and cover me and I be buried therein." Then I fell to reproaching myself for my little wit in leaving my native land and betaking me again to foreign travel, after all I had suffered during my first five voyages, each marked by greater perils and more terrible hardships than its forerunner, especially as I had no need of money, seeing that I had enough and more than enough and could not spend what I had, no, nor half of it, in all my life; and I repented me of my folly, having no hope of escape from my present stress, and bemoaned myself.
However, after a while, I bethought me and said to myself, "By Allah, this stream must have an issue somewhere, and belike its course leads to some inhabited place; so methinks I cannot do better than make me a little boat, big enough to sit in, and carry it down and launching it on the river, embark in it and commit myself to the current. If I escape, I escape, by God's leave; and if I perish, better die in the river than here." So I gathered a number of pieces of aloes-wood and bound them together with ropes from the wreckage; then I chose out from the broken-up ships straight planks of even size and fixed them firmly upon the aloes-wood. On this wise I made me a boat [or raft] a little narrower than the channel of the stream, and tying a piece of wood on its either side, to serve as an oar, launched it on the river. Then I loaded it with the best of the crude ambergris and pearls and jewels and of the wrecked goods and what was left me of victual, and embarking, did according to the saying of the poet:Depart from a place, if therein be oppression, And leave the house tell of its builder's fate
I drifted with the stream, pondering the issue of my affair, till I came to the place where it disappeared beneath the mountains, and the current carried the raft with it into the underground channel. Here I found myself in utter darkness and the stream bore me on through a narrow tunnel, which grew straiter and straiter, till the raft touched either side and my head rubbed against the roof. Then I blamed myself for having undertaken this adventure and said, "If this tunnel grow any straiter, the raft will not pass, and I cannot turn back; so I shall inevitably perish miserably in this place." And I threw myself down on my face on the raft, by reason of the straitness of the channel, whilst the stream ceased not to carry me along the tunnel, which now grew wider and now straiter. I fared on thus, knowing not night from day, for the excess of the darkness that encompassed me and my fear and concern for myself lest I should perish, till, being sore aweary for the intensity of the gloom and worn with hunger and watching, I fell asleep, as I lay on the raft on my face. How long I slept I know not, but, when I awoke, I found myself in the open air and the raft moored to an island in the midst of a number of Indians and blacks.
As soon as the folk saw that I was awake, they came up to me and bespoke me in their language; but I understood not what they said and thought I must be still asleep and that this was a dream that had betided me for stress of trouble and weariness. When they saw I understood them not and made them no answer, one of them came forward and said to me in Arabic, "Peace be on thee, O my brother! Who art thou and what brings thee hither? How camest thou into this river and what manner of land is beyond yonder mountains, for never knew we any make his way thence to us?" Quoth I, "Who are ye and what is this place?" "O my brother," answered he, "we are husbandmen and gardeners, who came out to water our fields and gardens and finding thee asleep on this raft, laid hold of it and made it fast by us, against thou shouldst awake at thy leisure. So tell us how thou camest hither?" "For God's sake, O my lord," rejoined I, "give me to eat, for I am starving; and after ask me what thou wilt." So he hastened to fetch me food and I ate my fill, till I was refreshed and my life returned to me. Then I returned thanks to God the Most High, rejoicing in the happy issue of my toils, and told them all my adventures from first to last.
When I had made an end of my story, they consulted among themselves and said to each other, "We must carry him with us and present him to our King, that he may acquaint him with his adventures." So they took me, together with the raft and its lading, and brought me to their King, telling him what had happened; whereupon he saluted me and bade me welcome. Then he questioned me of my condition and adventures, and I repeated to him my story, at which he marvelled exceedingly and gave me joy of my deliverance; after which I fetched from the raft great store of jewels and precious stones and ambergris and aloes-wood and presented them to the King, who accepted them and entreated me with the utmost honour, appointing me a lodging in his own palace. So I consorted with the chief of the islanders, and they paid me the utmost respect. Moreover, all the travellers and merchants who came to the place questioned me of the affairs of my native land and of the Khalif Haroun er Reshid and his rule there and I told them of him and of that for which he was renowned, and they praised him for this; whilst I in turn questioned them of the manners and customs of their own countries. One day, the King himself questioned me of the manners and way of government of my country, and I acquainted him with the fashion of the Khalif's sway in the city of Baghdad and the justice of his rule. The King marvelled at my account of his ordinances and said, "By Allah, the Khalif's ordinances are indeed wise and his fashions praiseworthy and thou hast made me love him by what thou tellest me; wherefore I have a mind to send him a present by thee." "I hear and obey, O my lord," answered I; "I will carry thy present to him and inform him that thou art his sincere lover."
Then I abode with the King in great honour and ease and consideration, till, one day, as I sat in his palace, I heard tell of a company of merchants, that were fitting out a ship for Bassora, and said in myself; "I cannot do better than make the voyage with these." So I rose at once and going in to the King, kissed his hand and acquainted him with my wish to set out with the merchants, for that I longed after my people and family and native land. Quoth he, "Thou art thine own master; yet, if it be thy will to abide with us, on our head and eyes be it, for thou gladdenest us with thy company.' "O my lord," answered I, "thou hast indeed overwhelmed me with thy favours; but I weary for a sight of my friends and family and native land." When he heard this, he summoned the merchants in question and commended me to their care, paying my freight and passage-money. Moreover, he bestowed on me great riches from his treasuries and committed to my charge a magnificent present for the Khalif Haroun er Reshid.
Then I took leave of him and of all my intimates and acquaintances in the island and embarked with the merchants aforesaid. We set sail with a fair wind, committing ourselves to the care of God (may He be exalted and glorified!), and by His permission in due time arrived, after a prosperous voyage, at Bassora, where I passed a few days, equipping myself and packing up my goods. Then I went on to Baghdad, where I sought an audience of the Khalif and laid the King's presents before him. He asked me whence they came and I said to him, "By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I know not the name of the city nor the way thither!" And I related to him all that had befallen me in my last voyage; at which he wondered exceedingly and bade his scribes record my story and lay it up in his treasuries, for the edification of all who saw it. Then he conferred on me exceeding great favours, and I repaired to my house, where I stored up all my goods and possessions. Presently, my friends came to me and I distributed presents among my family and gave alms and largesse; after which I gave myself up to pleasure and merry-making and forgot all that I had suffered. This, then, O my brothers, is what befell me in my sixth voyage, and to-morrow, if it please God the Most High, I will tell you the story of my seventh and last voyage, which is still more wonderful and extraordinary than that of the first six.
Then he bade lay the table, and the comnany ate the evening meal with him; after which he gave the porter an hundred dinars, as of wont, and they all went their ways, marvelling beyond measure at that which they had heard. Next morning, as soon as he had done his devotions, the porter and the rest of the guests betook themselves to the house of Sindbad the Sailor, and when they were all assembled, the host began the story of his seventh voyage, saying, 'Know, O company, that
The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
After my return from my sixth voyage, in which I made abundant profit, I abode some time in all possible ease and delight, feasting and making merry day and night, till I began once more to long to sail the seas and see foreign countries and company with merchants and hear new things. So I packed up a quantity of precious stuffs into bales and repaired with them to Bassora, where I found a ship ready for sea, and in her a company of considerable merchants. I shipped with them and we set forth on our venture, in health and safety, and sailed with a fair wind, till we came to a city called Medinet-es-Sin; but, [awhile after we had left this place,] as we fared on in all cheer and confidence, devising of traffic and travel, there sprang up a violent head wind and a tempest of rain fell on us and drenched us and our goods. So we covered the bales with drugget and canvas, lest they should be spoiled by the rain, and betook ourselves to prayer and supplication to God the Most High, for deliverance from the peril that was upon us. But the captain arose and girding his middle, tucked up his skirts and climbed to the mast-head, whence he looked out right and left and fell a-buffeting his face and plucking out his beard. So we asked him what was to do, and he replied, saying, "Seek ye deliverance of God the Most High from this our strait and bemoan yourselves and take leave of each other; for know that the wind hath gotten the mastery of us and hath driven us into the uttermost of the seas of the world." Then he came down from the mast-head and opening his chest pulled out a bag of cotton, from which he took a powder like ashes. This he wetted with water and after waiting awhile, smelt it; then he took out of the chest a little book, in which he read awhile and said to us, "Know that in this book is a marvellous saying, denoting that whoso cometh hither shall surely perish, without hope of escape; for that this part of the world is called the Clime of Kings, in which is the sepulchre of our lord Solomon, son of David, (on whom be peace!) and therein are serpents of vast bulk and fearsome aspect: and what ship soever cometh to these parts, there riseth to her a great fish out of the sea and swalloweth her up with all on board."
Great was our wonder at the captain's speech, but hardly had he made an end of speaking, when the ship was suddenly lifted out of the water and let fall again and we heard a terrible great cry like the hurtling thunder, whereat we were smitten with terror and became as dead men, giving ourselves up for lost. Then there came up to us a huge fish, as big as a great mountain, at whose sight we became wild for terror and made ready for death, marvelling at its vast size and gruesome aspect; when lo, a second fish made its appearance, bigger than the first. So we bemoaned ourselves and bade each other farewell ; but, at that moment, up came a third fish bigger than the two first, whereupon we lost the power of thought and reason and were stupefied for the excess of our fear. Then the three fish began circling about the ship and the biggest opened its mouth to swallow it, and we looked into its mouth and behold, it was wider than the gate of a city. So we besought God the Most High and called for succour upon His Apostle (on whom be blessing and peace!) when, suddenly, a violent squall of wind arose and smote the ship, which rose out of the water and settled upon a great reef, where it broke up and fell asunder and all on board were plunged into the sea. As for me, I tore off all my clothes but my shirt and swam, till I fell in with a plank, to which I clung and bestrode it, in the most piteous plight for fear and distress and hunger and thirst, whilst the winds and the waters sported with me, and the waves carried me up and down.
Then I reproached myself for my folly in quitting my hardly earned repose to follow new ventures and said to myself, "O Sindbad, every time [thou undertakest a voyage,] thou sufferest hardships and weariness; yet wilt thou not renounce sea-travel; or, an thou say, 'I renounce,' thou liest in thy renouncement. Endure then [with patience] that which thou sufferest, for indeed thou deservest all that betideth thee. Verily, all this is decreed to me of God the Most High, to turn me from my covetousness, whence arises all that I endure, for I have wealth galore." Then I returned to my senses and said, "Verily, this time I repent to God the Most High, with a sincere repentance, of my lust for gain and venture and will never again name travel with my tongue nor in my thought." And I ceased not to humble myself to God the Most High and weep and bewail myself, recalling my former state of happiness and cheer, and thus I abode two days, at the end of which time I came to a great island, (52) abounding in trees and streams.
I landed and ate of the fruits of the island and drank of its waters, till I was refreshed and restored and my strength returned to me. Then I walked about till I came to a great river of sweet water, running with a strong current; whereupon I called to mind the raft I had made aforetime and said to myself, "Needs must I make me another raft [and commit myself to the current;] haply I may win out of this strait. If I escape I have my desire and I vow to God the Most High to foreswear travel; and if I perish, I shall be at peace from toil and misery."
So I gathered together great store of pieces of wood from the trees, (which were all of the finest sandal-wood, though I knew it not,) and made shift to twist grasses and creepers into a kind of rope, with which I bound the wood together and so contrived a raft. Then I embarked thereon and committed myself to the current, saying, "If I be saved, it is of God's grace;" and it bore me on three days, whilst I lay on the raft, eating not and drinking, when I was athirst, of the water of the stream, till I was giddy and weak as a new-fledged bird, for stress of fear and hunger and fatigue.
At the end of this time, I came to a high mountain, under which ran the river; which when I saw, I was afraid, by reason of the straitness I had suffered in my former underground journey, and I would fain have stayed the raft and landed in that place; but the current over-powered me and drew it into the subterranean passage; whereupon I gave myself up for lost and said, "There is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!" However, after a little, the raft shot out of the tunnel into the open air and I saw beneath me a wide valley, into which the river fell with a noise like thunder and a swiftness as of the wind. The torrent bore me along the valley, holding on to the raft, for fear of falling, whilst the waves tossed me right and left, nor could I avail to stop the raft nor turn it to the shore, till I came to a great and goodly city, wherein was much people.
When the townsfolk saw me on the raft, falling down with the current, they threw out a net and ropes upon the raft and grappling to it, drew it ashore with me, whereupon I fell down amidst them, as I were a dead man for stress of fear and hunger and lack of sleep. After a while, there came up to me an old man of reverend aspect, well stricken in years, who welcomed me and threw over me abundance of handsome clothes, wherewith I covered my nakedness. Then he carried me to the bath and brought me cordial drinks and delicious perfumes. When I came out, he bore me to his house, where his people made much of me, and stablishing me in a pleasant place, set rich food before me, of which I ate my fill and returned thanks to God the Most High for my deliverance. Then his pages brought me hot water, and I washed my hands, and his handmaids brought me silken napkins, with which I dried them and wiped my mouth. Moreover, he assigned me an apartment in his house and charged his pages and women to wait upon me and do my will. So they were assiduous in my service, and I abode with him in the guest-chamber three days, taking my ease of good eating and drinking and sweet scents, till I recovered from my fatigues and life and strength returned to me.
On the fourth day, my host came in to me and said, "Thou cheerest us with thy company, O my son, and praised be God for thy safety! But wilt thou now come down with me to the bazaar and sell thy goods? Belike with their price thou mayst buy thee wherewithal to traffic." When I heard this, I was silent awhile for amazement and said in myself, "What mean these words and what goods have I?" Then said he, "O my son, be not troubled nor careful, but come with me, and if any offer thee what contenteth thee for thy goods, take it; but, if not, I will lay them up for thee in my storehouses, against a fitting occasion." So I bethought me and said to myself, "Let us do his bidding and see what are these goods of which he speaks." And I said to him, "O my old uncle, I hear and obey; I may not gainsay thee in aught, for God's blessing is on that which thou dost."
So he carried me to the market, where I found that he had taken the raft in pieces and delivered the sandal-wood of which it was made to the broker, to cry for sale. Then the merchants came and bid for the wood, till its price reached a thousand dinars, when they left bidding and my host said to me, "O my son, this is the current price of thy goods: wilt thou sell them for this or shall I lay them up for thee in my storehouses, till the price rise?" "O my lord," answered I, "I leave it to thee: do as thou wilt." Then said he, "Wilt thou sell the wood to me for a hundred dinars over and above what the merchants have bidden for it?" And I replied, "I will well." So he bade his servants transport it to his store-houses and carrying me back to his house, counted out to me the purchase money; after which he laid it in bags and setting them in a privy place, locked them up with an iron padlock and gave me the key.
Some days after this, my host said to me, "O my son, I have somewhat to propose to thee, wherein I trust thou wilt do my bidding." Quoth I, "What is it?" And he said, "I am a very old man and have no child but one daughter, who is young and comely and endowed with abounding wealth and beauty. Now I have a mind to marry her to thee, that thou mayst abide with her in this our country, and I will make thee master of all that I possess, for I am an old man and thou shalt stand in my stead." I was silent and made him no answer, whereupon, "O my son," continued he, "do my desire in this, for I wish but thy good; and if thou wilt but do as I say, thou shalt be as my son and all that is under my hand shall be thine. If thou have a mind to traffic and travel to thy native land, none shall hinder thee; so do as thou wilt." "By Allah, O my uncle," replied I, "thou art become to me even as my father, and I am a stranger and have undergone many hardships; nor, for stress of that which I have suffered, is aught of judgment or knowledge left to me. It is for thee, therefore, to decide." With this, he sent for the Cadi and the witnesses and married me to his daughter in great state. When I went in to her, I found her a perfect beauty, well shapen and graceful, clad in rich raiment and covered with a profusion of trinkets and necklaces and other ornaments of gold and silver and precious stones, worth millions of money. She pleased me and we loved one another; and I abode with her in all delight and solace of life, till her father was taken to the mercy of God the Most High. So we washed him and buried him, and I laid hands on all his property. Moreover, the merchants instated me in his office, for he was their chief and none of them bought aught but with his knowledge and by his leave.
When I became acquainted with the townsfolk, I found that at the beginning of each month they underwent a transformation, in that their faces changed and they became like unto birds and put forth wings, wherewith they flew away out of sight and none abode in the city save the women and children; and I said in myself; "When the first day of the month comes, I will ask one of them to carry me with them, whither they go." So, when the time came, I went in to one of the townsfolk and begged him to carry me with him, that I might divert myself with the rest and return with them. "This may not be," answered he; but I importuned him, till he consented. Then I went out with him, without telling any of my family or servants or friends, and he took me on his back and flew up with me so high into the air, that I heard the angels glorying God in the pavilion of the heavens, whereat I wondered and exclaimed, "Praised be God! Extolled be His perfection!"
Hardly had I made an end of speaking, when there came out a fire from heaven and all but consumed the company; whereupon they all fled from it and descended and casting me down on a high mountain, went away, exceeding wroth with me, and left me there alone. When I found myself in this plight, I repented of what I had done and reproached myself for having undertaken that for which I was unable, saying, "There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme! No sooner am I delivered from one affliction than I fall into a worse." Presently, as I sat, knowing not whither I should go, there came up two young men, as they were moons, each staying his steps with a rod of red gold. So I went up to them and saluted them. They returned my greeting and I conjured them by Allah to tell me who and what they were. Quoth they, "We are devout servants of the Most High God, abiding in this mountain," and giving me a rod of gold after the likeness of those they had with them, went their ways and left me.
I walked on along the mountain-top, leaning on the staff and pondering the case of the two youths, till I saw a serpent come forth from under the mountain, with a man in her jaws, whom she had swallowed even to the navel, and he was crying out and saying, "Whoso delivereth me from this serpent, God will deliver him from every strait!" So I went up to the serpent and smote her on the head with the staff, whereupon she cast the man forth of her mouth. Then I smote her a second time, and she turned and fled; whereupon he came up to me and said, "Since my deliverance from yonder serpent hath been at thy hands, I will never leave thee, and thou shalt be my comrade on this mountain." "With all my heart," answered I, and we fared on along the mountain, till we fell in with a company of folk, and I looked and saw amongst them the very man who had cast me down there. So I went up to him and spoke him fair, excusing myself to him and saying, "O my friend, it is not thus that brethren should deal with brethren." Quoth he, "It was thou who [well-nigh] destroyed us by glorifying God on my hack." "Excuse me," answered I; "for I had no knowledge of this; but if thou wilt take me with thee, I swear not to say a word." So he relented and consented to carry me with him, on condition that, so long I abode on his back, I should abstain from pronouncing the name of God or glorifying Him. Then I gave the wand of gold to him whom I had delivered from the serpent and bade him farewell, and my friend took me on his back and flew with me as before, till he brought me to the city and set me down in my own house.
My wife came to meet me and gave me joy of my safety, saying, "Henceforth beware of going forth with yonder folk, neither consort with them, for they are brethren of the devils, and know not the name of God the Most High, neither worship Him." " And how did thy father with them?" asked I. "My father," answered she, "was not of them, neither did he as they; and now he is dead, methinks thou wouldst do well to sell all we have and with the price buy merchandise and return to thine own country and people, and I with thee; for I care not to tarry here, since my father and mother are dead." So I sold all my late father-in-law's property, piecemeal, and looked for one who should be journeying thence [to Bassora,] that I might join myself to him.
Presently, I heard of a company of the townsfolk who had a mind to make the voyage, but could not find a ship; so they bought wood and built them a great ship, in which I took passage with them and paid them the hire. Then we embarked, my wife and I, with all our moveables, leaving our lands and houses and so forth, and set sail, with a favouring wind, for Bassora, where we arrived in due course, after a prosperous voyage. I made no stay there, but freighted another vessel and set out forthright for Baghdad, where I arrived in safety and repairing to my house, foregathered with my kinsfolk and household and laid up my goods in my storehouses. When my friends and family heard of my return, they came to welcome me and give me joy of my safety; and I related to them all that had befallen me, whereat they marvelled exceedingly, having given up hope of me, for that I had been absent from them seven-and-twenty years in this my seventh voyage.
Then I foreswore travel and vowed to God the Most High to venture no more by land or sea, for that this last voyage had surfeited me of travel and adventure; and I thanked God and praised and glorified Him for having restored me to my country and home and friends. Consider, therefore, O Sindbad, O landsman,' continued the host, addressing himself to the porter, 'what sufferings I have undergone and what perils and hardships I have endured [before coming to my present state of prosperity].' 'For God's sake, O my lord,' answered the porter, 'pardon me the wrong I did thee.' And they ceased not from friendship and loving fellowship, [abiding] in all cheer and delight and solace of life, till there came to them that which destroyeth delights and sundereth companies, that which layeth waste the palaces and peopleth the tombs, to wit, the Cup of Death, and glory be to the Living One who dieth not!