THE STORY OF SINBAD THE VOYAGER.
In the reign of the same caliph Haroun al Rusheed, whom I have already mentioned, there lived at Bagdad a poor porter called Hindbad. One day, when the weather was excessively hot, he was employed to carry a heavy burden from one end of the town to the other. Being much fatigued, and having still a great way to go, he came into a street where a refreshing breeze blew on his face, and the pavement was sprinkled with rose-water. As he could not desire a better place to rest and recruit himself, he took off his load and sat upon it, near a large mansion.
He was much pleased that he stopped in this place; for the agreeable smell of wood of aloes, and of pastils that came from the house, mixing with the scent of the rose-water, completely perfumed and embalmed the air. Besides, he heard from within a concert of instrumental music, accompanied with the harmonious notes of nightingales, and other birds, peculiar to the climate. This charming melody, and the smell of several sorts of savoury dishes, made the porter conclude there was a feast, with great rejoicings within. His business seldom leading him that way, he knew not to whom the mansion belonged; but to satisfy his curiosity, he went to some of the servants, whom he saw standing at the gate in magnificent apparel, and asked the name of the proprietor. "How," replied one of them, "do you live in Bagdad, and know not that this is the house of Sinbad, the sailor, that famous voyager, who has sailed round the world?" The porter, who had heard of this Sinbad's riches, could not but envy a man whose condition he thought to be as happy as his own was deplorable: and his mind being fretted with these reflections, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said loud enough to be heard, "Almighty creator of all things, consider the difference between Sinbad and me! I am every day exposed to fatigues and calamities, and can scarcely get coarse barley-bread for myself and my family, whilst happy Sinbad profusely expends immense riches, and leads a life of continual pleasure. What has he done to obtain from thee a lot so agreeable? And what have I done to deserve one so wretched?" Having finished his expostulation, he struck his foot against the ground, like a man absorbed in grief and despair.
Whilst the porter was thus indulging his melancholy, a servant came out of the house, and taking him by the arm, bade him follow him, for Sinbad, his master, wanted to speak to him.
Sir, your majesty may easily imagine, that the repining Hindbad was not a little surprised at this compliment. For, considering what he had said, he was afraid Sinbad had sent for him to punish him: therefore he would have excused himself, alleging, that he could not leave his burden in the middle of the street. But Sinbad's servants assured him they would look to it, and were so urgent with him, that he was obliged to yield.
The servants brought him into a great hall, where a number of people sat round a table, covered with all sorts of savoury dishes. At the upper end sat a comely venerable gentleman, with a long white beard, and behind him stood a number of officers and domestics, all ready to attend his pleasure. This personage was Sinbad. The porter, whose fear was increased at the sight of so many people, and of a banquet so sumptuous, saluted the company trembling. Sinbad bade him draw near, and seating him at his right hand, served him himself, and gave him excellent wine, of which there was abundance upon the sideboard.
When the repast was over, Sinbad addressed his conversation to Hindbad; and calling him brother, according to the manner of the Arabians, when they are familiar one with another, enquired his name and employment.
"My lord," answered he, "my name is Hindbad." "I am very glad to see you," replied Sinbad; "and I daresay the same on behalf of all the company: but I wish to hear from your own mouth what it was you lately said in the street." Sinbad had himself heard the porter complain through the window, and this it was that induced him to have him brought in.
At this request, Hindbad hung down his head in confusion, and replied, "My lord, I confess that my fatigue put me out of humour, and occasioned me to utter some indiscreet words, which I beg you to pardon." "Do not think I am so unjust," resumed Sinbad, "as to resent such a complaint. I consider your condition, and instead of upbraiding, commiserate you. But I must rectify your error concerning myself. You think, no doubt, that I have acquired, without labour and trouble, the ease and indulgence which I now enjoy. But do not mistake; I did not attain to this happy condition, without enduring for several years more trouble of body and mind than can well be imagined. Yes, gentlemen," he added, speaking to the whole company, "I can assure you, my troubles were so extraordinary, that they were calculated to discourage the most covetous from undertaking such voyages as I did, to acquire riches. Perhaps you have never heard a distinct account of my wonderful adventures, and the dangers I encountered, in my seven voyages; and since I have this opportunity, I will give you a faithful account of them, not doubting but it will be acceptable."
As Sinbad wished to relate his adventures chiefly on the porter's account, he ordered his burden to be carried to the place of its destination, and then proceeded.
The First Voyage.
I inherited from my father considerable property, the greater part of which I squandered in my youth in dissipation; but I perceived my error, and reflected that riches were perishable, and quickly consumed by such ill managers as myself. I farther considered, that by my irregular way of living I wretchedly misspent my time; which is, of all things, the most valuable. I remembered the saying of the great Solomon, which I had frequently heard from my father; That death is more tolerable than poverty. Struck with these reflections, I collected the remains of my fortune, and sold all my effects by public auction. I then entered into a contract with some merchants, who traded by sea. I took the advice of such as I thought most capable of assisting me: and resolving to improve what money I had, I went to Bussorah, and embarked with several merchants on board a ship which we had jointly fitted out.
We set sail, and steered our course towards the Indies, through the Persian gulf, which is formed by the coasts of Arabia Felix on the right, and by those of Persia on the left, and, according to common opinion is seventy leagues wide at the broadest place. The eastern sea, as well as that of the Indies, is very spacious. It is bounded on one side by the coasts of Abyssinia, and is 4,500 leagues in length to the isles of Vakvak. At first I was troubled with the sea-sickness, but speedily recovered my health, and was not afterwards subject to that complaint.
In our voyage we touched at several islands, where we sold or exchanged our goods. One day, whilst under sail, we were becalmed near a small island, but little elevated above the level of the water, and resembling a green meadow. The captain ordered his sails to be furled, and permitted such persons as were so inclined to land; of this number I was one.
But while we were enjoying ourselves in eating and drinking, and recovering ourselves from the fatigue of the sea, the island on a sudden trembled, and shook us terribly.
The trembling of the island was perceived on board the ship, and we were called upon to re-embark speedily, or we should all be lost; for what we took for an island proved to be the back of a sea monster. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook themselves to swimming; but for myself I was still upon the back of the creature, when he dived into the sea, and I had time only to catch hold of a piece of wood that we had brought out of the ship to make a fire. Meanwhile, the captain, having received those on board who were in the sloop, and taken up some of those that swam, resolved to improve the favourable gale that had just risen, and hoisting his sails pursued his voyage, so that it was impossible for me to recover the ship.
Thus was I exposed to the mercy of the waves. I struggled for my life all the rest of the day and the following night. By this time I found my strength gone, and despaired of saving my life, when happily a wave threw me against an island, The bank was high and rugged; so that I could scarcely have got up, had it not been for some roots of trees, which fortune seemed to have preserved in this place for my safety. Having reached the land, I lay down upon the ground half dead, until the sun appeared. Then, though I was very feeble, both from hard labour and want of food, I crept along to find some herbs fit to eat, and had the good luck not only to procure some, but likewise to discover a spring of excellent water, which contributed much to recover me. After this I advanced farther into the island, and at last reached a fine plain, where at a great distance I perceived a horse feeding. I went towards it, fluctuating between hope and fear, for I knew not whether in advancing I was more likely to endanger or to preserve my life. As I approached, I perceived it to be a very fine mare, tied to a stake. Whilst I was admiring its beauty, I heard from beneath the voice of a man, who immediately appeared, and asked me who I was? I related to him my adventure, after which, taking me by the hand, he led me into a cave, where there were several other people, no less amazed to see me than I was to see them.
I partook of some provisions which they offered me. I then asked them what they did in such a desert place? to which they answered, that they were grooms belonging to Maha-raja, sovereign of the island; that every year, at the same season, they brought thither the king's mares, and fastened them as I had seen, until they were covered by a sea-horse, who afterwards endeavoured to destroy the mares; but was prevented by their noise, and obliged to return to the sea. The mares when in foal were taken back, and the horses thus produced were kept for the king's use, and called seahorses. They added, that they were to return home on the morrow, and had I been one day later, I must have perished, because the inhabited part of the island was at a great distance, and it would have been impossible for me to have got thither without a guide.
While they entertained me thus, the horse came out of the sea, as they had told me, covered the mare, and afterwards would have devoured her; but upon a great noise made by the grooms, he left her, and plunged into the sea.
Next morning they returned with their mares to the capital of the island, took me with them, and presented me to the Maha-raja. He asked me who I was, and by what adventure I had come into his dominions? After I had satisfied him, he told me he was much concerned for my misfortune, and at the same time ordered that I should want nothing; which commands his officers were so generous and careful as to see exactly fulfilled.
Being a merchant, I frequented men of my own profession, and particularly enquired for those who were strangers, that perchance I might hear news from Bagdad, or find an opportunity to return. For the Maha-raja's capital is situated on the sea-coast, and has a fine harbour, where ships arrive daily from the different quarters of the world. I frequented also the society of the learned Indians, and took delight to hear them converse; but withal, I took care to make my court regularly to the Maha-raja, and conversed with the governors and petty kings, his tributaries, that were about him. They put a thousand questions respecting my country; and I being willing to inform myself as to their laws and customs, asked them concerning every thing which I thought worth knowing.
There belongs to this king an island named Cassel. They assured me that every night a noise of drums was heard there, whence the mariners fancied that it was the residence of Degial. I determined to visit this wonderful place, and in my way thither saw fishes of 100 and 200 cubits long, that occasion more fear than hurt; for they are so timorous, that they will fly upon the rattling of two sticks or boards. I saw likewise other fish about a cubit in length, that had heads like owls.
As I was one day at the port after my return, a ship arrived, and as soon as she cast anchor, they began to unload her, and the merchants on board ordered their goods to be carried into the customhouse. As I cast my eye upon some bales, and looked to the name, I found my own, and perceived the bales to be the same that I had embarked at Bussorah. I also knew the captain; but being persuaded that he believed me to be drowned, I went, and asked him whose bales these were? He replied, that they belonged to a merchant at Bagdad, called Sinbad, who came to sea with him; but one day, being near an island, as was supposed, he went ashore, with several other passengers, upon this island, which was only a monstrous fish, that lay asleep upon the the sur- face of the water: but as soon as he felt the heat of the fire they had kindled upon his back, to dress some victuals, began to move, and dived under water. Most of the persons who were upon him perished, and among them the unfortunate Sinbad. Those bales belonged to him, and I am resolved to trade with them until I meet with some of his family, to whom I may return the profit. "I am that Sinbad," said I, "whom you thought to be dead, and those bales are mine."
When the captain heard me speak thus, "Heavens!" he exclaimed, "whom can we trust in these times? There is no faith left among men. I saw Sinbad perish with my own eyes, as did also the passengers on board, and yet you tell me you are that Sinbad. What impudence is this? To look on you, one would take you to be a man of probity, and yet you tell a horrible falsehood, in order to possess yourself of what does not belong to you." "Have patience," replied I; "do me the favour to hear what I have to say." "Very well," said he, "speak, I am ready to hear you." Then I told him how I had escaped, and by what adventure I met with the grooms of Maha-raja, who had brought me to his court.
His confidence began to abate upon this declaration, and he was at length persuaded that I was no cheat: for there came people from his ship who knew me, paid me great compliments, and expressed much joy at seeing me alive. At last he recollected me himself, and embracing me, "Heaven be praised," said he, "for your happy escape. I cannot express the joy it affords, me; there are your goods, take and do with them as you please." I thanked him, acknowledged his probity, and in requital, offered him part of my goods as a present, which he generously refused.
I took out what was most valuable in my bales, and presented them to the Maha-raja, who, knowing my misfortune, asked me how I came by such rarities. I acquainted him with the circumstance of their recovery. He was pleased at my good luck, accepted my present, and in return gave me one much more considerable. Upon this, I took leave of him, and went aboard the same ship, after I had exchanged my goods for the commodities of that country. I carried with me wood of aloes, sandal, camphire, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger. We passed by several islands, and at last arrived at Bussorah, from whence I came to this city, with the value of l00,000 sequins. My family and I received one another with all the transports of sincere affection. I bought slaves of both sexes, and a landed estate, and built a magnificent house. Thus I settled myself, resolving to forget the miseries I had suffered, and to enjoy the pleasures of life.
Sinbad stopped here, and ordered the musicians to proceed with their concert, which the story had interrupted. The company continued enjoying themselves till the evening, and it was time to retire, when Sinbad sent for a purse of 100 sequins and giving it to the porter, said, "Take this, Hindbad, return to your home, and come back to-morrow to hear more of my adventures." The porter went away, astonished at the honour done, and the present made him. The account of this adventure proved very agreeable to his wife and children, who did not fail to return thanks to God for what providence had sent him by the hand of Sinbad.
Hindbad put on his best apparel next day, and returned to the bountiful traveller, who received him with a pleasant air, and welcomed him heartily. When all the guests had arrived, dinner was served, and continued a long time. When it was ended, Sinbad, addressing himself to the company, said, "Gentlemen, be pleased to listen to the adventures of my second voyage; they deserve your attention even more than those of the first." Upon which every one held his peace, and Sinbad proceeded.
The Second Voyage.
I designed, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days at Bagdad, as I had the honour to tell you yesterday; but it was not long ere I grew weary of an indolent life. My inclination to trade revived. I bought goods proper for the commerce I intended, and put to sea a second time with merchants of known probity. We embarked on board a good ship, and after recommending ourselves to God, set sail. We traded from island to island, and exchanged commodities with great profit. One day we landed in an island covered with several sorts of fruit-trees, but we could see neither man nor animal. We went to take a little fresh air in the meadows, along the streams that watered them. Whilst some diverted themselves with gathering flowers, and other fruits, I took my wine and provisions, and sat down near a stream betwixt two high trees, which formed a thick shade. I made a good meal, and afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept, but when I awoke the ship was gone.
I was much alarmed at finding the ship gone. I got up and looked around me, but could not see one of the merchants who landed with me. I perceived the ship under sail, but at such a distance, that I lost sight of her in a short time.
I leave you to guess at my melancholy reflections in this sad condition: I was ready to die with grief. I cried out in agony; beat my head and breast, and threw myself upon the ground, where I lay some time in despair, one afflicting thought being succeeded by another still more afflicting. I upbraided myself a hundred times for not being content with the produce of my first voyage, that might have sufficed me all my life. But all this was in vain, and my repentance too late.
At last I resigned myself to the will of God. Not knowing what to do, I climbed up to the top of a lofty tree, from whence I looked about on all sides, to see if I could discover any thing that could give me hopes. When I gazed towards the sea I could see nothing but sky and water; but looking over the land I beheld something white; and coming down, I took what provision I had left, and went towards it, the distance being so great, that I could not distinguish what it was.
As I approached, I thought it to be a white dome, of a prodigious height and extent; and when I came up to it, I touched it, and found it to be very smooth. I went round to see if it was open on any side, but saw it was not, and that there was no climbing up to the top as it was so smooth. It was at least fifty paces round.
By this time the sun was about to set, and all of a sudden the sky became as dark as if it had been covered with a thick cloud. I was much astonished at this sudden darkness, but much more when I found it occasioned by a bird of a monstrous size, that came flying toward me. I remembered that I had often heard mariners speak of a miraculous bird called Roc, and conceived that the great dome which I so much admired must be its egg. In short, the bird alighted, and sat over the egg. As I perceived her coming, I crept to the egg, so that I had before me one of the legs of the bird, which was as big as the trunk of a tree. I tied myself strongly to it with my turban, in hopes that the roc next morning would carry me with her out of this desert island. After having passed the night in this condition, the bird flew away as soon as it was daylight, and carried me so high, that I could not discern the earth; she afterwards descended with so much rapidity that I lost my senses. But when I found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, and had scarcely done so, when the roc, having taken up a serpent of a monstrous length in her bill, flew away.
The spot where it left me was encompassed on all sides by mountains, that seemed to reach above the clouds, and so steep that there was no possibility of getting out of the valley. This was a new perplexity: so that when I compared this place with the desert island from which the roc had brought me, I found that I had gained nothing by the change.
As I walked through this valley, I perceived it was strewed with diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness. I took pleasure in looking upon them; but shortly saw at a distance such objects as greatly diminished my satisfaction, and which I could not view without terror, namely, a great number of serpents, so monstrous, that the least of them was capable of swallowing an elephant. They retired in the day-time to their dens, where they hid themselves from the roc their enemy, and came out only in the night.
I spent the day in walking about in the valley, resting myself at times in such places as I thought most convenient. When night came on, I went into a cave, where I thought I might repose in safety. I secured the entrance, which was low and narrow, with a great stone to preserve me from the serpents; but not so far as to exclude the light. I supped on part of my provisions, but the serpents, which began hissing round me, put me into such extreme fear, that you may easily imagine I did not sleep. When day appeared, the serpents retired, and I came out of the cave trembling. I can justly say, that I walked upon diamonds, without feeling any inclination to touch them. At last I sat down, and notwithstanding my apprehensions, not having closed my eyes during the night, fell asleep, after having eaten a little more of my provision. But I had scarcely shut my eyes, when something that fell by me with a great noise awaked me. This was a large piece of raw meat; and at the same time I saw several others fall down from the rocks in different places.
I had always regarded as fabulous what I had heard sailors and others relate of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagems employed by merchants to obtain jewels from thence; but now I found that they had stated nothing but truth. For the fact is, that the merchants come to the neighbourhood of this valley, when the eagles have young ones, and throwing great joints of meat into the valley, the diamonds, upon whose points they fall, stick to them; the eagles, which are stronger in this country than any where else, pounce with great force upon those pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests on the precipices of the rocks to feed their young: the merchants at this time run to their nests, disturb and drive off the eagles by their shouts, and take away the diamonds that stick to the meat.
Until I perceived the device I had concluded it to be impossible for me to get from this abyss, which I regarded as my grave; but now I changed my opinion, and began to think upon the means of my deliverance.
I began to collect together the largest diamonds I could find, and put them into the leather bag in which I used to carry my provisions. I afterwards took the largest of the pieces of meat, tied it close round me with the cloth of my turban, and then laid myself upon the ground with my face downward, the bag of diamonds being made fast to my girdle.
I had scarcely placed myself in this posture when the eagles came. Each of them seized a piece of meat, and one of the strongest having taken me up, with the piece of meat to which I was fastened, carried me to his nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants immediately began their shouting to frighten the eagles; and when they had obliged them to quit their prey, one of them came to the nest where I was. He was much alarmed when he saw me; but recovering himself, instead of enquiring how I came thither began to quarrel with me, and asked, why I stole his goods? "You will treat me," replied I, "with more civility, when you know me better. Do not be uneasy, I have diamonds enough for you and myself, more than all the other merchants together. Whatever they have they owe to chance, but I selected for myself in the bottom of the valley those which you see in this bag." I had scarcely done speaking, when the other merchants came crowding about us, much astonished to see me; but they were much more surprised when I told them my story. Yet they did not so much admire my stratagem to effect my deliverance, as my courage in putting it into execution.
They conducted me to their encampment, and there having opened my bag, they were surprised at the largeness of my diamonds, and confessed that in all the courts which they had visited they had never seen any of such size and perfection. I prayed the merchant, who owned the nest to which I had been carried (for every merchant had his own), to take as many for his share as he pleased. He contented himself with one, and that too the least of them; and when I pressed him to take more, without fear of doing me any injury, "No," said he, "I am very well satisfied with this, which is valuable enough to save me the trouble of making any more voyages, and will raise as great a fortune as I desire."
I spent the night with the merchants, to whom I related my story a second time, for the satisfaction of those who had not heard it. I could not moderate my joy when I found myself delivered from the danger I have mentioned. I thought myself in a dream, and could scarcely believe myself out of danger.
The merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for several days. And each of them being satisfied with the diamonds that had fallen to his lot, we left the place the next morning, and travelled near high mountains, where there were serpents of a prodigious length, which we had the good fortune to escape. We took shipping at the first port we reached, and touched at the isle of Roha, where the trees grow that yield camphire. This tree is so large, and its branches so thick, that one hundred men may easily sit under its shade. The juice, of which the camphire is made, exudes from a hole bored in the upper part of the tree, is received in a vessel, where it thickens to a consistency, and becomes what we call camphire; after the juice is thus drawn out, the tree withers and dies.
In this island is also found the rhinoceros, an animal less than the elephant, but larger than the buffalo. It has a horn upon its nose, about a cubit in length; this horn is solid, and cleft through the middle, upon this may be seen white lines, representing the figure of a man. The rhinoceros fights with the elephant, runs his horn into his belly, and carries him off upon his head but the blood and the fat of the elephant running into his eyes, and making him blind, he falls to the ground; and then, strange to relate! the roc comes and carries them both away in her claws, for food for her young ones.
I pass over many other things peculiar to this island, lest I should be troublesome to you. Here I exchanged some of my diamonds for merchandize. From hence we went to other islands, and at last, having touched at several trading towns of the continent, we landed at Bussorah, from whence I proceeded to Bagdad. There I immediately gave large presents to the poor, and lived honourably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained with so much fatigue.
Thus Sinbad ended the relation of the second voyage, gave Hindbad another hundred sequins, and invited him to come the next day to hear the account of the third. The rest of the guests returned to their homes, and came again the following day at the same hour, and one may be sure the porter did not fail, having by this time almost forgotten his former poverty. When dinner was over, Sinbad demanded attention, and gave them an account of his third voyage, as follows.
The Third Voyage.
I soon lost in the pleasures of life the remembrance of the perils I had encountered in my two former voyages; and being in the flower of my age, I grew weary of living without business, and hardening myself against the thought of any danger I might incur, went from Bagdad to Bussorah with the richest commodities of the country. There I embarked again with some merchants. We made a long voyage, and touched at several ports, where we carried on a considerable trade. One day, being out in the main ocean, we were overtaken by a dreadful tempest, which drove us from our course. The tempest continued several days, and brought us before the port of an island, which the captain was very unwilling to enter; but we were obliged to cast anchor. When we had furled our sails, the captain told us, that this, and some other neighbouring islands, were inhabited by hairy savages, who would speedily attack us; and. though they were but dwarfs, yet our misfortune was such, that we must make no resistance, for they were more in number than the locusts; and if we happened to kill one of them, they would all fall upon us and destroy us.
This account of the captain, continued Sinbad put the whole company into great consternation and we soon found that what he had told us was but too true; an innumerable multitude of frightful savages, about two feet high, covered all over with red hair, came swimming towards us, and encompassed our ship. They spoke to us as they came near, but we understood not their language; they climbed up the sides of the ship with such agility as surprised us. We beheld all this with dread, but without daring to defend ourselves, or to divert them from their mischievous design. In short, they took down our sails, cut the cable, and hauling to the shore, made us all get out, and afterwards carried the ship into another island from whence they had come. All voyagers carefully avoided the island where they left us, it being very dangerous to stay there, for a reason you shall presently hear; but we were forced to bear our affliction with patience.
We went forward into the island, where we gathered some fruits and herbs to prolong our lives as long as we could; but we expected nothing but death. As we advanced, we perceived at a distance a vast pile of building, and made towards it. We found it to be a palace, elegantly built, and very lofty, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we forced open. We entered the court, where we saw before us a large apartment, with a porch, having on one side a heap of human bones, and on the other a vast number of roasting spits. We trembled at this spectacle, and being fatigued with travelling, fell to the ground, seized with deadly apprehension, and lay a long time motionless.
The sun set, and whilst we were in the lamentable condition I have described, the gate of the apartment opened with a loud crash, and there came out the horrible figure of a black man, as tall as a lofty palm-tree. He had but one eye, and that in the middle of his forehead, where it looked as red as a burning coal. His fore-teeth were very long and sharp, and stood out of his mouth, which was as deep as that of a horse. His upper lip hung down upon his breast. His ears resembled those of an elephant, and covered his shoulders; and his nails were as long and crooked as the talons of the greatest birds. At the sight of so frightful a giant, we became insensible, and lay like dead men.
At last we came to ourselves, and saw him sitting in the porch looking at us. When he had considered us well, he advanced towards us, and laying his hand upon me, took me up by the nape of my neck, and turned round as a butcher would do a sheep's head. After having examined me, and perceiving me to be so lean that I had nothing but skin and bone, he let me go. He took up all the rest one by one, and viewed them in the same manner. The captain being the fattest, he held him with one hand, as I would do a sparrow, and thrust a spit through him; he then kindled a great fire, roasted, and ate him in his apartment for his supper. Having finished his repast, he returned to his porch, where he lay and fell asleep, snoring louder than thunder. He slept thus till morning. As to ourselves, it was not possible for us to enjoy any rest, so that we passed the night in the most painful apprehension that can be imagined. When day appeared the giant awoke, got up, went out, and left us in the palace.
When we thought him at a distance, we broke the melancholy silence we had preserved the whole of the night, and filled the palace with our lamentations and groans. Though we were several in number, and had but one enemy, it never occurred to us to effect our deliverance by putting him to death. This enterprize however, though difficult of execution, was the only design we ought naturally to have formed.
We thought of several other expedients, but determined upon none; and submitting ourselves to what it should please God to order concerning us, we spent the day in traversing the island, supporting ourselves with fruits and herbs as we had done the day before. In the evening we sought for some place of shelter, but found none; so that we were forced, whether we would or not, to return to the palace.
The giant failed not to return, and supped once more upon one of our companions, after which he slept, and snored till day, and then went out and left us as before. Our situation appeared to us so dreadful, that several of my comrades designed to throw themselves into the sea, rather than die so painful a death; and endeavoured to persuade the others to follow their example. Upon which one of the company answered, "That we were forbidden to destroy ourselves: but even if that were not the case, it was much more reasonable to devise some method to rid ourselves of the monster who had destined us to so horrible a fate."
Having thought of a project for this purpose, I communicated it to my comrades, who approved it. "Brethren," said I, "you know there is much timber floating upon the coast; if you will be advised by me, let us make several rafts capable of bearing us, and when they are done, leave them there till we find it convenient to use them. In the mean time, we will carry into execution the design I proposed to you for our deliverance from the giant, and if it succeed, we may remain here patiently awaiting the arrival of some ship to carry us out of this fatal island; but if it happen to miscarry, we will take to our rafts, and put to sea. I admit that by exposing ourselves to the fury of the waves, we run a risk of losing our lives; but is it not better to be buried in the sea than in the entrails of this monster, who has already devoured two of our number?" My advice was approved, and we made rafts capable of carrying three persons on each.
We returned to the palace towards the evening, and the giant arrived shortly after. We were forced to submit to seeing another of our comrades roasted. But at last we revenged ourselves on the brutish giant in the following manner. After he had finished his cursed supper, he lay down on his back, and fell asleep. As soon as we heard him snore, according to his custom, nine of the boldest among us, and myself, took each of us a spit, and putting the points of them into the fire till they were burning hot, we thrust them into his eye all at once, and blinded him. The pain made him break out into a frightful yell: he started up, and stretched out his hands, in order to sacrifice some of us to his rage: but we ran to such places as he could not reach; and after having sought for us in vain, he groped for the gate, and went out, howling in agony.
We quitted the palace after the giant, and came to the shore, where we had left our rafts, and put them immediately to sea. We waited till day, in order to get upon them, in case the giant should come towards us with any guide of his own species, but we hoped if he did not appear by sun-rising, and gave over his howling, which we still heard, that he would prove to be dead; and if that happened to be the case, we resolved to stay in that island, and not to risk our lives upon the rafts: but day had scarcely appeared, when we perceived our cruel enemy, accompanied with two others almost of the same size, leading him; and a great number more coming before him at a quick pace.
We did not hesitate to take to our rafts, and put to sea with all the speed we could. The giants, who perceived this, took up great stones, and running to the shore, entered the water up to the middle, and threw so exactly, that they sunk all the rafts but that I was upon; and all my companions, except the two with me, were drowned. We rowed with all our might, and got out of the reach of the giants. But when we got out to sea, we were exposed to the mercy of the waves and winds, and tossed about, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on another, and spent that night and the following day under the most painful uncertainty as to our fate; but next morning we had the good fortune to be thrown upon an island, where we landed with much joy. We found excellent fruit, which afforded us great relief, and recruited our strength.
At night we went to sleep on the sea-shore but were awakened by the noise of a serpent of surprising length and thickness, whose scales made a rustling noise as he wound himself along. It swallowed up one of my comrades, notwithstanding his loud cries, and the efforts he made to extricate himself from it; dashing him several times against the ground, it crushed him, and we could hear it gnaw and tear the poor wretch's bones, though we had fled to a considerable distance. The following day, to our great terror, we saw the serpent again, when I exclaimed, "O heaven, to what dangers are we exposed! We rejoiced yesterday at having escaped from the cruelty of a giant and the rage of the waves, now are we fallen into another danger equally dreadful."
As we walked about, we saw a large tall tree upon which we designed to pass the following night, for our security; and having satisfied our hunger with fruit, we mounted it according. Shortly after, the serpent came hissing to the foot of the tree; raised himself up against the trunk of it, and meeting with my comrade, who sat lower than I, swallowed him at once, and went off.
I remained upon the tree till it was day, and then came down, more like a dead man than one alive, expecting the same fate with my two companions. This filled me with horror, and I advanced some steps to throw myself into the sea; but the natural love of life prompting us to prolong it as long as we can, I withstood this dictate of despair, and submitted myself to the will of God, who disposes of our lives at his pleasure.
In the mean time I collected together a great quantity of small wood, brambles, and dry thorns, . and making them up into faggots, made a wide circle with them round the tree, and also tied some of them to the branches over my head. Having done this, when the evening came, I shut myself up within this circle, with the melancholy satisfaction, that I had neglected nothing which could preserve me from the cruel destiny with which I was threatened. The serpent failed not to come at the usual hour, and went round the tree, seeking for an opportunity to devour me, but was prevented by the rampart I had made; so that he lay till day, like a cat watching in vain for a mouse that has fortunately reached a place of safety. When day appeared, he retired, but I dared not to leave my fort until the sun arose.
I felt so much fatigued by the labour to which it had put me, and suffered so much from his poisonous breath, that death seemed more eligible to me than the horrors of such a state. I came down from the tree, and, not thinking of the resignation I had the preceding day resolved to exercise, I ran towards the sea, with a design to throw myself into it.
God took compassion on my hopeless state; for just as I was going to throw myself into the sea, I perceived a ship at a considerable distance. I called as loud as I could, and taking the linen from my turban, displayed it, that they might observe me. This had the desired effect; the crew perceived me, and the captain sent his boat for me. As soon as I came on board, the merchants and seamen flocked about me, to know how I came into that desert island; and after I had related to them all that had befallen me, the oldest among them said to me, they had several times heard of the giants that dwelt in that island, that they were cannibals, and ate men raw as well as roasted; and as to the serpents, they added, that there were abundance in the island that hid themselves by day, and came abroad by night. After having testified their joy at my escaping so many dangers, they brought me the best of their provisions; and the captain, seeing that I was in rags, was so generous as to give me one of his own suits. We continued at sea for some time, touched at several islands, and at last landed at that of Salabat, where sandal wood is obtained, which is of great use in medicine. We entered the port, and came to anchor. The merchants began to unload their goods, in order to sell or exchange them. In the mean time, the captain came to me, and said, "Brother, I have here some goods that belonged to a merchant, who sailed some time on board this ship, and he being dead, I design to dispose of them for the benefit of his heirs, when I find who they are." The bales he spoke of lay on the deck, and shewing them to me, he said, "There are the goods; I hope you will take care to sell them, and you shall have factorage." I thanked him for thus affording me an opportunity of employing myself, because I hated to be idle.
The clerk of the ship took an account of all the bales, with the names of the merchants to whom they belonged. And when he asked the captain in whose name he should enter those he had given me the charge of; "Enter them," said the captain, "in the name of Sinbad." I could not hear myself named without some emotion; and looking stedfastly on the captain, I knew him to be the person who, in my second voyage, had left me in the island where I fell asleep, and sailed without me, or sending to see for me. But I could not recollect him at first, he was so much altered since I had seen him.
I was not surprised that he, believing me to be dead, did not recognize me. "Captain," said I, "was the merchant's name, to whom those bales belonged, Sinbad?" "Yes," replied he, "that was his name; he came from Bagdad, and embarked on board my ship at Bussorah. One day, when we landed at an island to take in water and other refreshments, I knew not by what mistake, I sailed without observing that he did not re-embark with us; neither I nor the merchants perceived it till four hours after. We had the wind in our stern, and so fresh a gale, that it was not then possible for us to tack about for him." "You believe him then to be dead?" said I. "Certainly," answered he. "No, captain," I resumed; "look at me, and you may know that I am Sinbad, whom you left in that desert island."
The captain, continued Sinbad, having considered me attentively, recognized me. "God be praised," said he, embracing me; "I rejoice that fortune has rectified my fault. There are your goods, which I always took care to preserve." I took them from him, and made him the acknowledgments to which he was entitled.
From the isle of Salabat, we went to another, where I furnished myself with cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. As we sailed from this island, we saw a tortoise twenty cubits in length and breadth. We observed also an amphibious animal like a cow, which gave milk; its skin is so hard, that they usually make bucklers of it. I saw another, which had the shape and colour of a camel.
In short, after a long voyage, I arrived at Bussorah, and from thence returned to Bagdad, with so much wealth that I knew not its extent. I gave a great deal to the poor, and bought another considerable estate in addition to what I had already.
Thus Sinbad finished the history of his third voyage; gave another hundred sequins to Hindbad, invited him to dinner again the next day, to hear the story of his fourth voyage. Hindbad and the company retired; and on the following day, when they returned, Sinbad after dinner continued the relation of his adventures.
The Fourth Voyage.
The pleasures and amusements which I enjoyed after my third voyage had not charms sufficient to divert me from another. My passion for trade, and my love of novelty, again prevailed. I therefore settled my affairs, and having provided a stock of goods fit for the traffic I designed to engage in, I set out on my journey. I took the route of Persia, travelled over several provinces, and then arrived at a port, where I embarked. We hoisted our sails, and touched at several ports of the continent, and some of the eastern islands, and put out to sea: we were overtaken by such a sudden gust of wind, as obliged the captain to lower his yards, and take all other necessary precautions to prevent the danger that threatened us. But all was in vain our endeavours had no effect; the sails were split in a thousand pieces, and the ship was stranded; several of the merchants and seamen were drowned and the cargo was lost.
I had the good fortune, with several of the merchants and mariners, to get upon some planks, and we were carried by the current to an island which lay before us. There we found fruit and spring water, which preserved our lives. We staid all night near the place where we had been cast ashore, without consulting what we should do; our misfortune had so much dispirited us that we could not deliberate.
Next morning, as soon as the sun was up, we walked from the shore, and advancing into the island, saw some houses, which we approached. As soon as we drew near, we were encompassed by a great number of negroes, who seized us, shared us among them, and carried us to their respective habitations.
I, and five of my comrades, were carried to one place; here they made us sit down, and gave us a certain herb, which they made signs to us to eat. My comrades not taking notice that the blacks ate none of it themselves, thought only of satisfying their hunger, and ate with greediness. But I, suspecting some trick, would not so much as taste it, which happened well for me; for in little time after, I perceived my companions had lost their senses, and that when they spoke to me, they knew not what they said.
The negroes fed us afterwards with rice, prepared with oil of cocoa-nuts; and my comrades, who had lost their reason, ate of it greedily. I also partook of it, but very sparingly. They gave us that herb at first on purpose to deprive us of our senses, that we might not be aware of the sad destiny prepared for us; and they supplied us with rice to fatten us; for, being cannibals, their design was to eat us as soon as we grew fat. This accordingly happened, for they devoured my comrades, who were not sensible of their condition; but my senses being entire, you may easily guess that instead of growing fat, as the rest did, I grew leaner every day. The fear of death under which I laboured, turned all my food into poison. I fell into a languishing distemper, which proved my safety; for the negroes, having killed and eaten my companions, seeing me to be withered, lean, and sick, deferred my death.
Meanwhile I had much liberty, so that scarcely any notice was taken of what I did, and this gave me an opportunity one day to get at a distance from the houses, and to make my escape. An old man, who saw me, and suspected my design, called to me as loud as he could to return; but instead of obeying him, I redoubled my speed, and quickly got out of sight. At that time there was none but the old man about the houses, the rest being abroad, and not to return till night, which was usual with them. Therefore, being sure that they could not arrive time enough to pursue me, I went on till night, when I stopped to rest a little, and to eat some of the provisions I had secured; but I speedily set forward again, and travelled seven days, avoiding those places which seemed to be inhabited, and lived for the most part upon cocoa-nuts, which served me both for meat and drink. On the eighth day I came near the sea, and saw some white people like myself, gathering pepper, of which there was great plenty in that place. This I took to be a good omen, and went to them without any scruple.
The people who gathered pepper came to meet me as soon as they saw me, and asked me in Arabic who I was, and whence I came? I was overjoyed to hear them speak in my own language, and satisfied their curiosity, by giving them an account of my shipwreck, and how I fell into the hands of the negroes. "Those negroes," replied they, "eat men, and by what miracle did you escape their cruelty?" I related to them the circumstances I have just mentioned, at which they were wonderfully surprised.
I staid with them till they had gathered their quantity of pepper, and then sailed with them to the island from whence they had come. They presented me to their king, who was a good prince. He had the patience to hear the relation of my adventures, which surprised him; and he afterwards gave me clothes, and commanded care to be taken of me.
The island was very well peopled, plentiful in everything, and the capital a place of great trade. This agreeable retreat was very comfortable to me after my misfortunes, and the kindness of this generous prince completed my satisfaction. In a word, there was not a person more in favour with him than myself; and, consequently, every man in court and city sought to oblige me; so that in a very little time I was looked upon rather as a native than a stranger.
I observed one thing, which to me appeared very extraordinary. All the people, the king himself not excepted, rode their horses without saddle, bridle, or stirrups. This made me one day take the liberty to ask the king how it came to pass? His majesty answered, that I talked to him of things which nobody knew the use of in his dominions.
I went immediately to a workman, and gave him a model for making the stock of a saddle. When that was done, I covered it myself with velvet and leather, and embroidered it with gold. I afterwards went to a smith, who made me a bit, according to the pattern I shewed him, and also some stirrups. When I had all things completed, I presented them to the king, and put them upon one of his horses. His majesty mounted immediately, and was so pleased with them, that he testified his satisfaction by large presents. I could not avoid making several others for the ministers and principal officers of his household, who all of them made me presents that enriched me in a little time. I also made some for the people of best quality in the city, which gained me great reputation and regard.
As I paid my court very constantly to the king, he said to me one day, "Sinbad, I love thee; and all my subjects who know thee, treat thee according to my example. I have one thing to demand of thee, which thou must grant." "Sir," answered I, "there is nothing but I will do, as a mark of my obedience to your majesty, whose power over me is absolute." "I have a mind thou shouldst marry," replied he, "that so thou mayst stay in my dominions, and think no more of thy own country." I durst not resist the prince's will, and he gave me one of the ladies of his court, noble, beautiful, and rich. The ceremonies of marriage being over, I went and dwelt with my wife, and for some time we lived together in perfect harmony. I was not, however, satisfied with my banishment, therefore designed to make my escape the first opportunity, and to return to Bagdad; which my present settlement, how advantageous soever, could not make me forget.
At this time the wife of one of my neighbours, with whom I had contrasted a very strict friendship, fell sick, and died. I went to see and comfort him in his affliction, and finding him absorbed in sorrow, I said to him as soon as I saw him, "God preserve you and grant you a long life." "Alas!" replied he, "how do you think I should obtain the favour you wish me? I have not above an hour to live." "Pray," said I, "do not entertain such a melancholy thought; I hope I shall enjoy your company many years." "I wish you," he replied, "a long life; but my days are at an end, for I must be buried this day with my wife. This is a law which our ancestors established in this island, and it is always observed inviolably. The living husband is interred with the dead wife, and the living wife with the dead husband. Nothing can save me; every one must submit to this law."
While he was giving me an account of this barbarous custom, the very relation of which chilled my blood, his kindred, friends, and neighbours, came in a body to assist at the funeral. They dressed the corpse of the woman in her richest apparel, and all her jewels, as if it had been her wedding-day; then they placed her on an open coffin, and began their march to the place of burial. The husband walked at the head of the company, and followed the corpse. They proceeded to a high mountain, and when they had reached the place of their destination, they took up a large stone, which covered the mouth of a deep pit, and let down the corpse with all its apparel and jewels. Then the husband, embracing his kindred and friends, suffered himself to be put into another open coffin without resistance, with a pot of water, and seven small loaves, and was let down in the same manner. The mountain was of considerable length, and extended along the sea-shore, and the pit was very deep. The ceremony being over, the aperture was again covered with the stone, and the company returned.
It is needless for me to tell you that I was a most melancholy spectator this funeral, while the rest were scarcely moved, the custom was to them so familiar. I could not forbear communicating to the king my sentiment respecting the practice: "Sir," I said, "I cannot but feel astonished at the strange usage observed in this country, of burying the living with the dead. I have been a great traveller, and seen many countries, but never heard of so cruel a law." "What do you mean, Sinbad?" replied the king: "it is a common law. I shall be interred with the queen, my wife, if she die first." "But, Sir," said I, "may I presume to ask your majesty, if strangers be obliged to observe this law?" "Without doubt," returned the king (smiling at the occasion of my question), "they are not exempted, if they be married in this island."
I returned home much depressed by this answer; for the fear of my wife's dying first, and that I should be interred alive with her, occasioned me very uneasy reflections. But there was no remedy; I must have patience, and submit to the will of God. I trembled however at every little indisposition of my wife. Alas! in a little time my fears were realized, for she fell sick, and died.
Judge of my sorrow; to be interred alive, seemed to me as deplorable a termination of life as to be devoured by cannibals. It was necessary, however, to submit. The king and all his court expressed their wish to honour the funeral with their presence, and the most considerable people of the city did the same. When all was ready for the ceremony, the corpse was put into a coffin, with all her jewels and her most magnificent apparel. The procession began, and as second actor in this doleful tragedy, I went next the corpse, with my eyes full of tears, bewailing my deplorable fate. Before we reached the mountain, I made an attempt to affect the minds of the spectators: I addressed myself to the king first, and then to all those that were round me; bowing before them to the earth, and kissing the border of their garments, I prayed them to have compassion upon me. "Consider," said I, "that I am a stranger, and ought not to be subject to this rigorous law, and that I have another wife and children in my own country." Although I spoke in the most pathetic manner, no one was moved by my address; on the contrary, they ridiculed my dread of death as cowardly, made haste to let my wife's corpse into the pit, and lowered me down the next moment in an open coffin, with full of water and seven loaves. In short, the fatal ceremony being performed, they covered over the mouth of the pit, notwithstanding my grief and piteous lamentations.
As I approached the bottom, I discovered by the aid of the little light that came from above the nature of this subterranean place, it seemed an endless cavern, and might be about fifty fathom deep. I was annoyed by an insufferable stench proceeding from the multitude of bodies which I saw on the right and left; nay, I fancied that I heard some of them sigh out their last. However, when I got down, I immediately left my coffin, and getting at a distance from the bodies, held my nose, and lay down upon the ground, where I stayed a considerable time, bathed in tears. At last, reflecting on my melancholy case, "It is true," said I, "that God disposes all things according to the degrees of his providence; but, unhappy Sinbad, hast thou any but thyself to blame that thou art brought to die so strange a death? Would to God thou hadst perished in some of those tempests which thou hast escaped! then thy death had not been so lingering, and so terrible in all its circumstances. But thou hast drawn all this upon thyself by thy inordinate avarice. Ah, unfortunate wretch! shouldst thou not rather have remained at home, and quietly enjoyed the fruits of thy labour?"
Such were the vain complaints with which I filled the cave, beating my head and breast out of rage and despair, and abandoning myself to the most afflicting thoughts. Nevertheless, I must tell you, that instead of calling death to my assistance in that miserable condition, I felt still an inclination to live, and to do all I could to prolong my days. I went groping about, with my nose stopped, for the bread and water that was in my coffin, and took some of it. Though the darkness of the cave was so great that I could not distinguish day and night, yet I always found my coffin again, and the cave seemed to be more spacious and fuller of bodies than it had appeared to be at first. I lived for some days upon my bread and water, which being all spent, I at last prepared for death.
As I was thinking of death, I heard the stone lifted up from the mouth of the cave, and immediately the corpse of a man was let down When reduced to necessity, it is natural to come to extreme resolutions. While they let down the woman I approached the place where her coffin was to be put, and as soon as I perceived they were again covering the mouth of the cave, gave the unfortunate wretch two or three violent blows over the head, with a large bone; which stunned, or, to say the truth, killed her. I committed this inhuman action merely for the sake of the bread and water that was in her coffin, and thus I had provision for some days more. When that was spent, they letdown another dead woman, and a living man; I killed the man in the same manner, and, as there was then a sort of mortality in the town, by continuing this practice I did not want for provisions.
One day after I had dispatched another woman, I heard something tread, and breathing or panting as it walked. I advanced towards that side from whence I heard the noise, and on my approach the creature puffed and blew harder, as if running away from me. I followed the noise, and the thing seemed to stop sometimes, but always fled and blew as I approached. I pursued it for a considerable time, till at last I perceived a light, resembling a star; I went on, sometimes lost sight of it, but always found it again, and at last discovered that it came through a hole in the rock, large enough to admit a man.
Upon this, I stopped some time to rest, being much fatigued with the rapidity of my progress: afterwards coming up to the hole, I got through, and found myself upon the sea shore. I leave you to guess the excess of my joy: it was such, that I could scarcely persuade myself that the whole was not a dream.
But when I was recovered from my surprise, and convinced of the reality of my escape, I perceived what I had followed to be a creature which came out of the sea, and was accustomed to enter the cavern and feed upon the bodies of the dead.
I examined the mountain, and found it to be situated betwixt the sea and the town, but without any passage to or communication with the latter; the rocks on the sea side being high and perpendicularly steep. I prostrated myself on the shore to thank God for this mercy, and afterwards entered the cave again to fetch bread and water, which I ate by daylight with a better appetite than I had done since my interment in the dark cavern
I returned thither a second time, and groped among the coffins for all the diamonds, rubies,, pearls, gold bracelets, and rich stuffs I could find; these I brought to the shore, and tying them up neatly into bales, with the cords that let down the coffins, I laid them together upon the beach, waiting till some ship might appear, without fear of rain, for it was then the dry season.
After two or three days, I perceived a ship just come out of the harbour, making for the place where I was. I made a sign with the linen of my turban, and called to the crew as loud as I could. They heard me, and sent a boat to bring me on board, when they asked by what misfortune I came thither; I told them that I had suffered shipwreck two days before, and made shift to get ashore with the goods they saw. It was fortunate for me that these people did not consider the place where I was, nor enquire into the probability of what I told them; but without hesitation took me on board with my goods. When I came to the ship, the captain was so well pleased to have saved me, and so much taken up with his own affairs, that he also took the story of my pretended shipwreck upon trust, and generously refused some jewels which I offered him.
We passed by several islands, and among others that called the isle of Bells, about ten days' sail from Serendib, with a regular wind, and six from that of Kela, where we landed. This island produces lead mines, Indian canes, and excellent camphire.
The king of the isle of Kela is very rich and powerful, and the isle of Bells, which is about two days journey in extent, is also subject to him. The inhabitants are so barbarous that they still eat human flesh. After we had finished our traffic in that island, we put to sea again, and touched at several other ports; at last I arrived happily at Bagdad with infinite riches, of which it is needless to trouble you with the detail. Out of gratitude to God for his mercies, I contributed liberally towards the support of several mosques, and the subsistence of the poor, gave myself up to the society of my kindred and friends, enjoying myself with them in festivities and amusements.
Here Sinbad finished the relation of his fourth voyage, which appeared more surprising to the company than the three former. He made a new present of one hundred sequins to Hindbad, whom he requested to return with the rest next day at the same hour to dine with him, and hear the story of his fifth voyage. Hindbad and the other guests took their leave and retired. Next morning when they all met, they sat down at table, and when dinner was over, Sinbad began the relation of his fifth voyage as follows.
The Fifth Voyage.
The pleasures I enjoyed had again charms enough to make me forget all the troubles and calamities I had undergone, but could not cure me of my inclination to make new voyages. I therefore bought goods, departed with them for the best sea-port; and there, that I might not be obliged to depend upon a captain, but have a ship at my own command, I remained till one was built on purpose, at my own charge. When the ship was ready, I went on board with my goods; but not having enough to load her, I agreed to take with me several merchants of different nations with their merchandize.
We sailed with the first fair wind, and after a long navigation the first place we touched at was a desert island, where we found an egg of a roe, equal in size to that I formerly mentioned. There was a young roc it just ready to be hatched, and its bill had begun to appear.
The merchants whom I had taken on board, and who landed with me, broke the egg with hatchets, and made a hole in it, pulled out the young roc piecemeal, and roasted it. I had earnestly intreated them not to meddle with the egg, but they would not listen to me.
Scarcely had they finished their repast, when there appeared in the air at a considerable distance from us two great clouds. The captain whom I had hired to navigate my ship, knowing by experience what they meant, said they were the male and female roc that belonged to the young one, and pressed us to re-embark with all speed, to prevent the misfortune which he saw would otherwise befall us. We hastened on board, and set sail with all possible expedition.
In the mean time, the two roes approached with a frightful noise, which they redoubled when they saw the egg broken, and their young one gone. They flew back in the direction they had come, and disappeared for some time, while we made all the sail we could to endeavour to prevent that which unhappily befell us.
They soon returned, and we observed that each of them carried between its talons stones, or
rather rocks, of a monstrous size. When they came directly over my ship, they hovered, and one of them let fall a stone, but by the dexterity of the steersman it missed us, and falling into the sea, divided the water so that we could almost see the bottom. The other roe, to our misfortune, threw his messy burden so exactly upon the middle of the ship, as to split it into a thousand pieces. The mariners and passengers were all crushed to death, or sunk. I myself was of the number of the latter; but as I came up again, I fortunately caught hold of a piece of the wreck, and swimming sometimes with one hand, and sometimes with the other, but always holding fast my board, the wind and the tide favouring me, I came to an island, whose shore was very steep. I overcame that difficulty, however, and got ashore.
I sat down upon the grass, to recover myself from my fatigue, after which I went into the island to explore it. It seemed to be a delicious garden. I found trees everywhere, some of them bearing green, and others ripe fruits, and streams of fresh pure water running in pleasant meanders. I ate of the fruits, which I found excellent; and drank of the water, which was very light and good.
When night closed in, I lay down upon the grass in a convenient spot, but could not sleep an hour at a time, my mind being apprehensive of danger. I spent best part of the night in alarm, and reproached myself for my imprudence in not remaining at home, rather than undertaking this last voyage. These reflections carried me so far, that I began to form a design against my life; but daylight dispersed these melancholy thoughts. I got up, and walked among the trees, but not without some fears.
When I was a little advanced into the island, I saw an old man, who appeared very weak and infirm. He was sitting on the bank of a stream, and at first I took him to be one who had been shipwrecked like myself. I went towards him and saluted him, but he only slightly bowed his head. I asked him why he sat so still, but instead of answering me, he made a sign for me to take him upon my back, and carry him over the brook, signifying that it was to gather fruit.
I believed him really to stand in need of my assistance, took him upon my back, and having carried him over, bade him get down, and for that end stooped, that he might get off with ease; but instead of doing so (which I laugh at every time I think of it) the old man, who to me appeared quite decrepid, clasped his legs nimbly about my neck, when I perceived his skin to resemble that of a cow. He sat astride upon my shoulders, and held my throat so tight, that I thought he would have strangled me, the apprehension of which make me swoon and fall down.
Notwithstanding my fainting, the ill-natured old fellow kept fast about my neck, but opened his legs a little to give me time to recover my breath. When I had done so, he thrust one of his feet against my stomach, and struck me so rudely on the side with the other, that he forced me to rise up against my will. Having arisen, he made me walk under the trees, and forced me now and then to stop, to gather and eat fruit such as we found. He never left me all day, and when I lay down to rest at night, laid himself down with me, holding always fast about my neck. Every morning he pushed me to make me awake, and afterwards obliged me to get up and walk, and pressed me with his feet. You may judge then, gentlemen, what trouble I was in, to be loaded with such a burden of which I could not get rid.
One day I found in my way several dry calebashes that had fallen from a tree. I took a large one, and after cleaning it, pressed into it some juice of grapes, which abounded in the island; having filled the calebash, I put it by in a convenient place, and going thither again some days after, I tasted it, and found the wine so good, that it soon made me forget my sorrow, gave me new vigour, and so exhilarated my spirits, that I began to sing and dance as I walked along.
The old man, perceiving the effect which this liquor had upon me, and that I carried him with more ease than before, made me a sign to give him some of it. I handed him the calebash, and the liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it all off. There being a considerable quantity of it, he became drunk immediately, and the fumes getting up into his head, he began to sing after his manner, and to dance with his breech upon my shoulders. His jolting made him vomit, and he loosened his legs from about me by degrees. Finding that he did not press me as before, I threw him upon the ground, where he lay without motion; I then took up a great stone, and crushed his head to pieces.
I was extremely glad to be thus freed for ever from this troublesome fellow. I now walked towards the beach, where I met the crew of a ship that had cast anchor, to take in water. They were surprised to see me, but more so at hearing the particulars of my adventures. "You fell," said they, "into the hands of the old man of the sea, and are the first who ever escaped strangling by his malicious tricks. He never quitted those he had once made himself master of, till he had destroyed them, and he has made this island notorious by the number of men he has slain; so that the merchants and mariners who landed upon it, durst not advance into the island but in numbers at a time."
After having informed me of these things, they carried me with them to the ship; the captain received me with great kindness, when they told him what had befallen me. He put out again to sea, and after some days' sail, we arrived at the harbour of a great city, the houses of which were built with hewn stone.
One of the merchants who had taken me into his friendship invited me to go along with him, and carried me to a place appointed for the accommodation of foreign merchants. He gave me a large bag, and having recommended me to some people of the town, who used to gather cocoa-nuts, desired them to take me with them. "Go," said he, "follow them, and act as you see them do, but do not separate from them, otherwise you may endanger your life." Having thus spoken, he gave me provisions for the journey, and I went with them.
We came to a thick forest of cocoa-trees, very lofty, with trunks so smooth that it was not possible to climb to the branches that bore the fruit. When we entered the forest we saw a great number of apes of several sizes, who fled as soon as they perceived us, and climbed up to the top of the trees with surprising swiftness.
The merchants with whom I was, gathered stones and threw them at the apes on the trees. I did the same, and the apes out of revenge threw cocoa-nuts at us so fast, and with such gestures, as sufficiently testified their anger and resentment. We gathered up the cocoa-nuts, and from time to time threw stones to provoke the apes; so that by this stratagem we filled our bags with cocoa-nuts, which it had been impossible otherwise to have done.
When we had gathered our number, we returned to the city, where the merchant, who had sent me to the forest, gave me the value of the cocoas I brought: "Go on," said he, "and do the like every day, until you have got money enough to carry you home." I thanked him for his advice, and gradually collected as many cocoa-nuts as produced me a considerable sum.
The vessel in which I had come sailed with some merchants, who loaded her with cocoa-nuts. I expected the arrival of another, which anchored soon after for the like loading. I embarked in her all the cocoa-nuts I had, and when she was ready to sail, took leave of the merchant who had been so kind to me; but he could not embark with me, because he had not finished his business at the port.
We sailed towards the islands, where pepper grows in great plenty. From thence we went to the isle of Comari, where the best species of wood of aloes grows, and whose inhabitants have made it an inviolable law to themselves to drink no wine, and suffer no place of debauch. I exchanged my cocoa in those two islands for pepper and wood of aloes, and went with other merchants a pearl-fishing. I hired divers, who brought me up some that were very large and pure. I embarked in a vessel that happily arrived at Bussorah; from thence I returned to Bagdad, where I made vast sums of my pepper, wood of aloes, and pearls. I gave the tenth of my gains in alms, as I had done upon my return from my other voyages, and endeavoured to dissipate my fatigues by amusements of different kinds.
When Sinbad had finished his story, he ordered one hundred sequins to be given to Hindbad, who retired with the other guests; but next morning the same company returned to dine with rich Sinbad; who, after having treated them as formerly, requested their attention, and gave the following account of his sixth voyage.
The Sixth Voyage.
Gentlemen, you long without doubt to know, how, after having been shipwrecked five times, and escaped so many dangers, I could resolve again to tempt fortune, and expose myself to new hardships? I am, myself, astonished at my conduct when I reflect upon it, and must certainly have been actuated by my destiny. But be that as it may, after a year's rest I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the intreaties of my kindred and friends, who did all in their power to dissuade me.
Instead of taking my way by the Persian gulf, I travelled once more through several provinces of Persia and the Indies, and arrived at a sea-port, where I embarked in a ship, the captain of which was bound on a long voyage. It was long indeed, and at the same time so unfortunate, that the captain and pilot lost their course. They however at last discovered where they were, but we had no reason to rejoice at the circumstance. Suddenly we saw the captain quit his post, uttering loud lamentations. He threw off his turban, pulled his beard, and beat his head like a madman. We asked him the reason, and he answered, that he was in the most dangerous place in all the ocean. "A rapid current carries the ship along with it, and we shall all perish in less than a quarter of an hour. Pray to God to deliver us from this peril; we cannot escape, if he do not take pity on us." At these words he ordered the sails to be lowered; but all the ropes broke, and the ship was carried by the current to the foot of an inaccessible mountain, where she struck and went to pieces, yet in such a manner that we saved our lives, our provisions, and the best of our goods.
This being over, the captain said to us, "God has done what pleased him. Each of us may dig his grave, and bid the world adieu; for we are all in so fatal a place, that none shipwrecked here ever returned to their homes." His discourse afflicted us sensibly, and we embraced each other, bewailing our deplorable lot.
The mountain at the foot of which we were wrecked formed part of the coast of a very large island. It was covered with wrecks, and from the vast number of human bones we saw everywhere, and which filled us with horror, we concluded that multitudes of people had perished there. It is also incredible what a quantity of goods and riches we found cast ashore. All these objects served only to augment our despair. In all other places, rivers run from their channels into the sea, but here a river of fresh water runs out of the sea into a dark cavern, whose entrance is very high and spacious. What is most remarkable in this place is, that the stones of the mountain are of crystal, rubies, or other precious stones. Here is also a sort of fountain of pitch or bitumen, that runs into the sea, which the fish swallow, and evacuate soon afterwards, turned into ambergris: and this the waves throw up on the beach in great quantities. Trees also grow here, most of which are wood of aloes, equal in goodness to those of Comari.
To finish the description of this place, which may well be called a gulf, since nothing ever returns from it, it is not possible for ships to get off when once they approach within a certain distance. If they be driven thither by a wind from the sea, the wind and the current impel them; and if they come into it when a land-wind blows, which might seem to favour their getting out again, the height of the mountain stops the wind, and occasions a calm, so that the force of the current carries them ashore: and what completes the misfortune is, that there is no possibility of ascending the mountain, or of escaping by sea.
We continued upon the shore in a state of despair, and expected death every day. At first we divided our provisions as equally as we could, and thus every one lived a longer or shorter time, according to his temperance, and the use he made of his provisions.
Those who died first were interred by the survivors, and I paid the last duty to all my companions: nor are you to wonder at this; for besides that I husbanded the provision that fell to my share better than they, I had some of my own which I did not share with my comrades; yet when I buried the last, I had so little remaining, that I thought I could not long survive: I dug a grave, resolving to lie down in it, because there was no one left to inter me. I must confess to you at the same time, that while I was thus employed, I could not but reproach myself as the cause of my own ruin, and repented that I had ever undertaken this last voyage. Nor did I stop at reflections only, but had well nigh hastened my own death, and began to tear my hands with my teeth.
But it pleased God once more to take compassion on me, and put it in my mind to go to the bank of the river which ran into the great cavern. Considering its probable course with great attention, I said to myself, "This river, which runs thus under ground, must somewhere have an issue. If I make a raft, and leave myself to the current, it will convey me to some inhabited country, or I shall perish. If I be drowned, I lose nothing, but only change one kind of death for another; and if I get out of this fatal place, I shall not only avoid the sad fate of my comrades, but perhaps find some new occasion of enriching myself. Who knows but fortune waits, upon my getting off this dangerous shelf, to compensate my shipwreck with usury."
I immediately went to work upon large pieces of timber and cables, for I had choice of them, and tied them together so strongly, that I soon made a very solid raft. When I had finished, I loaded it with some bulses of rubies, emeralds, ambergris, rock-crystal, and bales of rich stuffs. Having balanced my cargo exactly, and fastened it well to the raft, I went on board with two oars that I had made, and leaving it to the course of the river, resigned myself to the will of God.
As soon as I entered the cavern, I lost all light, and the stream carried me I knew not whither. Thus I floated some days in perfect darkness, and once found the arch so low, that it very nearly touched my head, which made me cautious afterwards to avoid the like danger. All this while I ate nothing but what was just necessary to support nature; yet, notwithstanding my frugality, all my provisions were spent. Then a pleasing stupor seized upon me. I cannot tell how long it continued; but when I revived, I was surprised to find myself in an extensive plain on the brink of a river, where my raft was tied, amidst a great number of negroes. I got up as soon as I saw them, and saluted them. They spoke to me, but I did not understand their language. I was so transported with joy, that I knew not whether I was asleep or awake; but being persuaded that I was not asleep, I recited the following words in Arabic aloud: "Call upon the Almighty, he will help thee; thou needest not perplex thyself about any thing else: shut thy eyes, and while thou art asleep, God will change thy bad fortune into good."
One of the blacks, who understood Arabic, hearing me speak thus, came towards me, and said, "Brother, be not surprised to see us, we are inhabitants of this country, and came hither to-day to water our fields, by digging little canals from this river, which comes out of the neighbouring mountain. We observed something floating upon the water, went to see what it was, and, perceiving your raft, one of us swam into the river, and brought it thither, where we fastened it, as you see, until you should awake. Pray tell us your history, for it must be extraordinary; how did you venture yourself into this river, and whence did you come?" "I begged of them first to give me something to eat, and then I would satisfy. their curiosity. They gave me several sorts of food, and when I had satisfied my hunger, I related all that had befallen me, which they listened to with attentive surprise. As soon as I had finished, they told me, by the person who spoke Arabic and interpreted to them what I said, that it was one of the most wonderful stories they had ever heard, and that I must go along with them, and tell it their king myself; it being too extraordinary to be related by any other than the person to whom the events had happened. I assured them that I was ready to do whatever they pleased.
They immediately sent for a horse, which was brought in a little time; and having helped me to mount, some of them walked before to shew the way, while the rest took my raft and cargo and followed.
We marched till we came to the capital of Serendib, for it was in that island I had landed. The blacks presented me to their king; I approached his throne, and saluted him as I used to do the kings of the Indies; that is to say, I prostrated myself at his feet. The prince ordered me to rise, received me with an obliging air, and made me sit down near him. He first asked me my name, and I answered, "People call me Sinbad the voyager, because of the many voyages I have undertaken, and I am a citizen of Bagdad." "But," resumed he, "how came you into my dominions, and from whence came you last?"
I concealed nothing from the king; I related to him all that I have told you, and his majesty was so surprised and pleased, that he commanded my adventures to be written in letters of gold, and laid up in the archives of his kingdom. At last my raft was brought in, and the bales opened in his presence; he admired the quantity of wood of aloes and ambergris, but, above all, the rubies and emeralds, for he had none in his treasury that equalled them.
Observing that he looked on my jewels with pleasure, and viewed the most remarkable among them one after another, I fell prostrate at his feet, and took the liberty to say to him, "Sir, not only my person is at your majesty's service, but the cargo of the raft, and I would beg of you to dispose of it as your own." He answered me with a smile, "Sinbad, I will take care not to covet any thing of yours, or to take any thing from you that God has given you; far from lessening your wealth, I design to augment it, and will not let you quit my dominions without marks of my liberality." All the answer I returned were prayers for the prosperity of that nobly minded prince, and commendations of his generosity and bounty. He charged one of his officers to take care of me, and ordered people to serve me at his own expence. The officer was very faithful in the execution of his commission, and caused all the goods to be carried to the lodgings provided for me.
I went every day at a set hour to make my court to the king, and spent the rest of my time in viewing the city, and what was most worthy of notice.
The isle of Serendib is situated just under the equinoctial line; so that the days and nights there are always of twelve hours each, and the island is eighty parasangs in length, and as many in breadth.
The capital stands at the end of a fine valley, in the middle of the island, encompassed by mountains the highest in the world. They are seen three days' sail off at sea. Rubies and several sorts of minerals abound, and the rocks are for the most part composed of a metalline stone made use of to cut and polish other precious stones. All kinds of rare plants and trees grow there, especially cedars and cocoa-nut. There is also a pearl-fishing in the mouth of its principal river; and in some of its valleys are found diamonds. I made, by way of devotion, a pilgrimage to the place where Adam was confined after his banishment from Paradise, and had the curiosity to go to the top of the mountain.
When I returned to the city, I prayed the king to allow me to return to my own country, and he granted me permission in the most obliging and most honourable manner. He would needs force a rich present upon me; and when I went to take my leave of him, he gave me one much more considerable, and at the same time charged me with a letter for the commander of the faithful, our sovereign, saying to me, "I pray you give this present from me, and this letter to the caliph, and assure him of my friendship." I took the present and letter in a very respectful manner, and promised his majesty punctually to execute the commission with which he was pleased to honour me. Before I embarked, this prince sent for the captain and the merchants who were to go with me, and ordered them to treat me with all possible respect.
The letter from the king of Serendib was written on the skin of a certain animal of great value, because of its being so scarce, and of a yellowish colour. The characters of this letter were of azure, and the contents as follows:
"The king of the Indies, before whom march one hundred elephants, who lives in a palace that shines with one hundred thousand rubies, and who has in his treasury twenty thousand crowns enriched with diamonds, to caliph Haroon al Rusheed.
"Though the present we send you be inconsiderable, receive it however as a brother and a friend, in consideration of the hearty friendship which we bear for you, and of which we are willing to give you proof. We desire the same part in your friendship, considering that we believe it to be our merit, being of the same dignity with yourself. We conjure you this in quality of a brother. Adieu."
The present consisted first, of one single ruby made into a cup, about half a foot high, an inch thick, and filled with round pearls of half a drachm each. 2. The skin of a serpent, whose scales were as large as an ordinary piece of gold, and had the virtue to preserve from sickness those who lay upon it. 3. Fifty thousand drachms of the best wood of aloes, with thirty grains of camphire as big as pistachios. 4. A female slave of ravishing beauty, whose apparel was all covered over with jewels.
The ship set sail, and after a very successful navigation we landed at Bussorah, and from thence I went to Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.
Scheherazade stopped, because day appeared, and next night proceeded thus.
I took the king of Serendib's letter, and went to present myself at the gate of the commander of the faithful, followed by the beautiful slave, and such of my own family as carried the presents. I stated the reason of my coming, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the caliph. I made my reverence, and, after a short speech, gave him the letter and present. When he had read what the king of Serendib wrote to him, he asked me, if that prince were really so rich and potent as he represented himself in his letter? I prostrated myself a second time, and rising again, said, "Commander of the faithful, I can assure your majesty he doth not exceed the truth. I bear him witness. Nothing is more worthy of admiration than the magnificence of his palace. When the prince appears in public, he has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and marches betwixt two ranks of his ministers, favourites, and other people of his court; before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind the throne there is another, who stands upright, with a column of gold, on the top of which is an emerald half a foot long, and an inch thick; before him march a guard of one thousand men, clad in cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned.
"While the king is on his march, the officer, who is before him on the same elephant, cries
from time to time, with a loud voice, 'Behold the great monarch, the potent and redoubtable sultan of the Indies, whose palace is covered with one hundred thousand rubies, and who possesses twenty thousand crowns of diamonds. Behold the monarch greater than Solomon, and the powerful Maha-raja.' After he has pronounced those words, the officer behind the throne cries in his turn, 'This monarch, so great and so powerful, must die, must die, must die.' And the officer before replies, 'Praise be to him who lives for ever.'
"Farther, the king of Serendib is so just, that there are no judges in his dominions. His people have no need of them. They understand and observe justice rigidly of themselves."
The caliph was much pleased with my account. "The wisdom of that king," said he, "appears in his letter, and after what you tell me, I must confess, that his wisdom is worthy of his people, and his people deserve so wise a prince." Having spoken thus, he dismissed me, and sent me home with a rich present.
Sinbad left off, and his company retired, Hindbad having first received one hundred sequins; and next day they returned to hear the relation of his seventh and last voyage.
The Seventh and Last Voyage.
Being returned from my sixth voyage, said Sinbad, I absolutely laid aside all thoughts of travelling; for, besides that my age now required rest, I was resolved no more to expose myself to such risks as I had encountered; so that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my days in tranquillity. One day as I was treating my friends, one of my servants came and told me that an officer of the caliph's enquired for me. I rose from table, and went to him. "The caliph," he said, "has sent me to tell you, that he must speak with you." I followed the officer to the palace, where being presented to the caliph, I saluted him by prostrating myself at his feet. "Sinbad," said he to me, "I stand in need of your service; you must carry my answer and present to the king of Serendib. It is but just I should return his civility."
This command of the caliph was to me like a clap of thunder. "Commander of the faithful," I replied, "I am ready to do whatever your majesty shall think fit to command; but I beseech you most humbly to consider what I have undergone. I have also made a vow never to go out of Bagdad." Hence I took occasion to give him a full and particular account of all my adventures, which he had the patience to hear out.
As soon as I had finished, "I confess," said he, "that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet you must for my sake undertake this voyage which I propose to you. You will only have to go to the isle of Serendib, and deliver the commission which I give you. After that you are at liberty to return. But you must go; for you know it would not comport with my dignity, to be indebted to the king of that island." Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon my compliance, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased, and ordered me one thousand sequins for the expences of my journey.
I prepared for my departure in a few days, and as soon as the caliph's letter and present were delivered to me, I went to Bussorah, where I embarked, and had a very happy voyage. Having arrived at the isle of Serendib, I acquainted the king's ministers with my commission, and prayed them to get me speedy audience. They did so, and I was conducted to the palace in an honourable manner, where I saluted the king by prostration, according to custom. That prince knew me immediately, and testified very great joy at seeing me. "Sinbad," said he, "you are welcome; I have many times thought of you since you departed; I bless the day on which we see one another once more." I made my compliment to him, and after having thanked him for his kindness, delivered the caliph's letter and present, which he received with all imaginable satisfaction.
The caliph's present was a complete suit of cloth of gold, valued at one thousand sequins; fifty robes of rich stuff, a hundred of white cloth, the finest of Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria; a vessel of agate broader than deep, an inch thick, and half a foot wide, the bottom of which represented in bass relief a man with one knee on the ground, who held bow and an arrow, ready to discharge at a lion. He sent him also a rich tablet, which, according to tradition, belonged to the great Solomon. The caliph's letter was as follows:
"Greeting, in the name of the sovereign guide of the right way, from the dependent on God, Haroon al Rusheed, whom God hath set in the place of vicegerent to his prophet, after his ancestors of happy memory, to the potent and esteemed Raja of Serendib.
"We received your letter with joy, and send you this from our imperial residence, the garden of superior wits. We hope when you look upon it, you will perceive our good intention and be pleased with it. Adieu."
The king of Serendib was highly gratified that the caliph answered his friendship. A little time after this audience, I solicited leave to depart, and had much difficulty to obtain it. I procured it however at last, and the king, when he dismissed me, made me a very considerable present. I embarked immediately to return to Bagdad, but had not the good fortune to arrive there so speedily as I had hoped. God ordered it otherwise.
Three or four days after my departure, we were attacked by corsairs, who easily seized upon our ship, because it was no vessel of force. Some of the crew offered resistance, which cost them their lives. But for myself and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the corsairs saved us on purpose to make slaves of us.
We were all stripped, and instead of our own clothes, they gave us sorry rags, and carried us into a remote island, where they sold us.
I fell into the hands of a rich merchant, who, as soon as he bought me, carried me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely for a slave. Some days after, not knowing who I was, he asked me if I understood any trade? I answered, that I was no mechanic, but a merchant, and that the corsairs, who sold me, had robbed me of all I possessed. "But tell me," replied he, "can you shoot with a bow?" I answered, that the bow was one of my exercises in my youth. He gave me a bow and arrows, and, taking me behind him upon an elephant, carried me to a thick forest some leagues from the town. We penetrated a great way into the wood, and when he thought fit to stop, he bade me alight; then shewing me a great tree, "Climb up that," said he, "and shoot at the elephants as you see them pass by, for there is a prodigious number of them in this forest, and if any of them fall, come and give me notice." Having spoken thus, he left me victuals, and returned to the town, and I continued upon the tree all night.
I saw no elephant during that time, but next morning, as soon as the sun was up, I perceived a great number. I shot several arrows among them, and at last one of the elephants fell, when the rest retired immediately, and left me at liberty to go and acquaint my patron with my booty. When I had informed him, he gave me a good meal, commended my dexterity, and caressed me highly. We went afterwards together to the forest, where we dug a hole for the elephant; my patron designing to return when it was rotten, and take his teeth to trade with.
I continued this employment for two months, and killed an elephant every day, getting sometimes upon one tree, and sometimes upon another. One morning, as I looked for the elephants, I perceived with extreme amazement, that, instead of passing by me across the forest as usual, they stopped, and came to me with a horrible noise, in such number that the plain was covered, and shook under them. They encompassed the tree in which I was concealed, with their trunks extended, and all fixed their eyes upon. At this alarming spectacle I continued immoveable, and was so much terrified, that my bow and arrows fell out of my hand.
My fears were not without cause; for after the elephants had stared upon me some time, one of the largest of them put his trunk round the foot of the tree, plucked it up, and threw it on the ground; I fell with the tree, and the elephant taking me up with his trunk, laid me on his back, where I sat more like one dead than alive, with my quiver on my shoulder. He put himself afterwards at the head of the rest, who followed him in troops, carried me a considerable way, then laid me down on the ground, and retired with all his companions. Conceive, if you can, the condition I was in: I thought myself in a dream. After having lain some time, and seeing the elephants gone, I got up, and found I was upon a long and broad hill, almost covered with the bones and teeth of elephants. I confess to you, that this object furnished me with abundance of reflections. I admired the instinct of those animals; I doubted not but that was their burying place, and that they carried me thither on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to persecute them, since I did it only for their teeth. I did not stay on the hill, but turned towards the city, and, after having travelled a day and a night, I came to my patron. I met no elephant in my way, which made me think they had retired farther into the forest, to leave me at liberty to come back to the hill without any obstacle.
As soon as my patron saw me; "Ah, poor Sinbad," exclaimed he, "I was in great trouble to know what was become of you. I have been at the forest, where I found a tree newly pulled up, and a bow and arrows on the ground, and after having sought for you in vain, I despaired of ever, seeing you more. Pray tell me what befell you, and by what good chance thou art still alive." I satisfied his curiosity, and going both of us next morning to the hill, he found to his great joy that what I had told him was true. We loaded the elephant which had carried us with as many teeth as he could bear; and when we were returned, "Brother," said my patron, "for I will treat you no more as my slave, after having made such a discovery as will enrich me, God bless you with all happiness and prosperity. I declare before him, that I give you your liberty. I concealed from you what I am now going to tell you.
"The elephants of our forest have every year killed us a great many slaves, whom we sent to seek ivory. For all the cautions we could give them, those crafty animals destroyed them one time or other. God has delivered you from their fury, and has bestowed that favour upon you only. It is a sign that he loves you, and has some use for your service in the world. You have procured me incredible wealth. Formerly we could not procure ivory but by exposing the lives of our slaves, and now our whole city is enriched by your means. Do not think I pretend to have rewarded you by giving you your liberty, I will also give you considerable riches. I could engage all our city to contribute towards making your fortune, but I will have the glory of doing it myself."
To this obliging declaration I replied, "Patron, God preserve you. Your giving me my liberty is enough to discharge what you owe me, and I desire no other reward for the service I had the good fortune to do to you and your city, but leave to return to my own country." "Very well," said he, "the monsoon will in a little time bring ships for ivory. I will then send you home, and give you wherewith to bear your charges." I thanked him again for my liberty and his good intentions towards me. I staid with him expecting the monsoon; and during that time, we made so many journeys to the hill, that we filled all our warehouses with ivory. The other merchants, who traded in it, did the same, for it could not be long concealed from them.
The ships arrived at last, and my patron, himself having made choice of the ship wherein I was to embark, loaded half of it with ivory on my account, laid in provisions in abundance for my passage, and besides obliged me to accept a present of some curiosities of the country of great value. After I had returned him a thousand thanks for all his favours, I went aboard. We set sail, and as the adventure which procured me this liberty was very extraordinary, I had it continually in my thoughts.
We stopped at some islands to take in fresh provisions. Our vessel being come to a port on the main land in the Indies, we touched there, and not being willing to venture by sea to Bussorah, I landed my proportion of the ivory, resolving to proceed on my journey by land. I made vast sums of my ivory, bought several rarities, which I intended for presents, and when my equipage was ready, set out in company with a large caravan of merchants. I was a long time on the way, and suffered much, but endured all with patience, when I considered that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from pirates, from serpents, or from the other perils to which I had been exposed.
All these fatigues ended at last, and I arrived safe at Bagdad. I went immediately to wait upon the caliph, and gave him an account of my embassy. That prince said he had been uneasy, as I was so long in returning, but that he always hoped God would preserve me. When I told him the adventure of the elephants, he seemed much surprised, and would never have given any credit to it had he not known my veracity. He deemed this story, and the other relations I had given him, to be so curious, that he ordered one of his secretaries to write them in characters of gold, and lay them up in his treasury. I retired well satisfied with the honours I received, and the presents which he gave me; and ever since I have devoted myself wholly to my family, kindred, and friends.
Sinbad here finished the relation of his seventh and last voyage, and then addressing himself to Hindbad, "Well, friend," said he, "did you ever hear of any person that suffered so much as I have done, or of any mortal that has gone through so many vicissitudes? Is it not reasonable that, after all this I should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life?" As he said this, Hindbad drew near to him, and kissing his hand, said, "I must acknowledge, sir, that you have gone through many imminent dangers; my troubles are not comparable to yours: if they afflict me for a time, I comfort myself with the thoughts of the profit I get by them. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy of all the riches you enjoy, because you make of them such a good and generous use. May you therefore continue to live in happiness and joy till the day of your death!" Sinbad gave him one hundred sequins more, received him into the number of his friends, desired him to quit his porter's employment, and come and dine every day with him, that he might have reason to remember Sinbad the voyager.