History of Sindbad the sailor
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS SURPRISING VOYAGES.
Printed and sold by F. Johnston.
THE HISTORY OF
SINDBAD, THE SAILOR.
In the reign of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid, there lived in Bagdad a poor porter, named Hindbad. One day, during the excessive heats of summer, he was carrying a heavy load. from one extremity of the city to the other. and being much fatigued by the length of the way he had come. and having much ground still to traverse. he arrived in a street where the pavement was sprinkled with rose water ; and a gentle breeze refreshed the air. Delighted with this situation he placed his load on the ground. and took his station near a large mansion. The delicious scent of aloes and frankincense, which issued from the windows, and the smell of different sorts of viands. led him to suppose. that some grand feast was given there. He wished to know whose residence it was: for not having frequent occasion to pass that way, he was unacquainted with the names of the inhabitants. To satisfy his curiosity, therefore, he approached some servants, who were standing magnificently dressed, at the door, and inquired who was the master of that mansion. “What (replied the servant, are you an inhabitant in Bagdad, and do not know that this is the residence of Sindbad, the sailor, that famous voyager, who has sailed over all the seas under the sun.” The porter, who had heard of the immense riches of Sinbad. could not help comparing his situation, which appeared so enviable, with his own which was so deplorable; and distressed by the reflection. he raised his eyes, and exclaimed with a loud voice, “Almighty Creator of all things, what has he done to obtain so happy a destiny, or I to merit one so rigorous? In saying this, he struck the ground with his foot, as if entirely given up to despair. He was still musing on his late, when a servant came towards him from the house, and taking hold of his arm, said, “Come, follow me; my master, Sinbad, wishes to speak with you.
It may easily be supposed that Hindbad was not a little surprised at the compliment that was paid him and had reason to fear, that Sinbad sent for him to reprimand him for the words he had uttered; and therefore began to excuse himself from going saying that he could not leave his load in the middle of the street; but the servant assuring him it should be taken care of, pressed him so much, that the porter could no longer refuse to go.
He led him into a spacious room, where a number of persons were seated at a sumptuous banquet, consisting of the most choice viands and delicacies. In the principal seat was a grave and venerable person, with a long white beard. The person was Sinbad. The porter made his obedience with fear and trembling; which Sinbad perceiving, desired him to approach, and seating him at his right hand, helped him himself to the choicest dishes, and gave him some excellent wine to drink.
After the repast, Sinbad addressed himself to the porter by the name of brother, and inquired his name. "Sir, (replied he) my name is Hindbad." "I am glad to see you; but I wish to know from your own lips, what it was you said just now in the street;" for Sinbad, before he went to dinner overheard what he said, from the window and what was his reason for sending for him. At this request, Hindbad, full of confusion, hung down his head, and replied, “Sir, I must confess to you, that my fatigue had put me so out of humour, that I uttered some indiscreet words, which I entreat you to pardon me." "Oh, (resumed Sindbad) do not imagine that I am so unjust as to have any resentment on that account. I feel for your situation, and instead of reproaching, I pity you; but I must undeceive you from one error respecting myself. You suppose, no doubt, that the riches and comforts I enjoy, have been obtained without any labour or trouble. To arrive at this state, I have endured the greatest bodily, as well as mental sufferings you can possibly conceive. Yes gentlemen, continued he, (addressing himself to the whole company) I assure you my sufferings have been of a nature so extraordinary, as would deprive the greatest miser of his love of riches. That you may judge of this. I will, with your leave, relate the dangers I have encountered.
The First Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
My father left me a considerable estate, most part of which I spent during my youth; but I perceived my error, and called to mind. that riches were perishable, and quickly consumed by such bad husbands as myself. I farther considered, that, by my irregular way of living. I wretehedly mispent my time, which is the most valuable thing in the world. Being struck with those reflections, I gathered together the ruins of my estate, and sold all my moveables in the public market to the highest bidder Then I entered into a contract with some merchants that traded by sea. I took the advice of such as I thought most capable to give it me; and, resolving to improve what money I had, I went to Balsora, a port on the Persian Gulph, and embarked with several merchants, who joined with me to fit out a ship on purpose.
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 little island, even almost with the surface of the water which resembled a green meadow. The captain ordered his sails to be furled, and suffered such persons as had a mind to land upon the Island, among whom I was one.
But, while we were diverting ourselves with eating and drinking, and refreshing ourselves from the fatigues of the sea, the island trembled and shook all of a sudden.
They perceived the trembling of the island on board the ship and called to us to reimbark speedily, or we should all be lost; for what we took for an island was only the back of a whale. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook themselves to swim; but, for my part. I was still on the back of the whale when he dived into the sea, and 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 to recover the skip.
Thus I was exposed to the mercy of the waves, and struggled for my life all the rest of the day and the following night. Next morning I found my strength gone and despaired of saving my life when a wave threw me happily against an island. I advanced into the island, and came at last into a fine plain, where I perceived a horse feeding.
Whilst I looked upon him, I heard the voice of a man from under ground who immediately appeared to me, and asked who I was. I gave him an account of 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 ate some victuals, which they offered me, and then, having asked them what they did in such a desert place? they answered, that they were grooms, belonging to King Mihrane, sovereign of the island; and that every year, at the same season, they brought thither the king's horses. till they were washed with the water of a neighbouring pool, by virtue of which they were rendered stronger and more beautiful.
Next morning they departed, and presented me to the king. After I had satisfied his enquires, he told me he was much concerned for my misfortune, and, at the same time, ordered that I should want for nothing.
As I was one day at the port of the city, a ship arrived, and as soon as they began to unload her, and the merchants on board ordered their goods to be carried into the magazine, I cast my eye upon some bales, and perceived them to be the same I had embarked at Balsora. I knew the captain, but being persuaded that he believed me to be drowned, I asked him whose bales they were? He replied that they belonged to a merchant in Bagdad, called Sindbad, who came to sea with him, who was drowned. 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 made myself known to him, when he embraced me, and said he was glad at my escape, and returned me all my goods.
I took leave of King Mihrane, and went on board the same ship, after I had exchanged my goods of that country. We at last arrived at Balsora, from whence I came to Bagdad, with the value of 100,000 (illegible text). My family and I received one another with (illegible text) of joy. I bought slaves of both sexes, fine lands, and built me a house, resolving to forget the miseries I had suffered.
The Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor.
I designed, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days at Bagdad; but it was not (illegible text) I grew weary of an idle life. My inclination to trade revived. I bought goods proper for the commerce I designed, 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 isle covered with several sorts of fruit tree, but so desart, that we could neither see man nor horse upon it We went to take a little fresh air in the meadows, and along the streams that watered them. Whilst some diverted themselves with gathering flowers, and others with gathering fruits I took my wine and provisions, and sat down by a stream betwixt two great trees, which formed a curious shade. I made a very good meal, and afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept; but when I waked the ship was gone.
I was very much surprised to find the ship was gone; I got up, looked about every where. and could not see one of the merchants who landed with me. At last I perceived the ship under sail; but at such a distance, that I lost sight of her in a very little time I then climbed to the top of a great tree, when looking towards the sea, I could see nothing but sky and water; but, looking towards the land, I saw something white; and coming down from the tree, I took up what provisions I had left and went towards it, the distance being so great, that I could not distinguish what it was.
When I came nearer, I thought it to be a white bowl, of a prodigious height and bigness; 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 of it, it was so smooth. It was at least 50 paces round.
By this time the sun was ready 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 was occasioned by a bird of a ⟨monmous⟩ size, that came flying towards me. I remembered a fowl called Roc, that I had often heard mariners speak of, and conceived that the great fowl, which I so much admired, must needs be its egg. In short, the bird lighted, and sat over the egg to hatch it. As I perceived her coming, I crept close to the egg, so that I had before me one of the eggs of the bird, that was as big as the trunk of a tree; I tied myself strongly to it with the cloth that went round my turban, in hopes that when the roc flew away the next morning, she would take me with her out of this desart island. And after having passed the night in this condition, the bird (illegible text) flew away next morning, as soon as it was day, and carried me so high, that I could not see the earth; she afterwards descended all of a sudden with so much rapidity, that I lost my senses. But when the rock was sat, and that I found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, when the bird, having taken up a serpent of a monstrous length in her bill straight flew away.
The place where it left me was a very deep valley, encompassed on all sides with mountains so high that they seemed to reach above the clouds, and so full of steep rocks, that there was no possibility to get out of the valley.
As I walked through this valley, I perceived it was ⟨strewed⟩ with diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness.
I always looked upon it to be a fable, when I heard mariners and others discourse of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagem made use of by some merchants to get jewels from thence, but then I found it to be true. For, in reality, those merchants came to the neighbourhood of this valley, when the eagles have young ones, and throwing great joints of meat into this valley. the diamonds upon whose points they fall. stick to them; the eagles, which are amazingly strong in this country. fall down with great force upon those pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests upon the top of the rocks, to feed their young eagles with; at which time the merchants, running to their nests, frighten the eagles by their noise, and take away the diamonds which stick to the meat.
I believed ever till then, that it was not possible for me to get out of this abyss, which I looked upon as my grave; but then I changed my mind; for the falling in of those pieces of meat, put me in hopes of a way of saving my life.
I began to gather together the greatest diamonds that I could see, and put them into the leather bag where I used to carry my provisions. I afterwards took the largest peace of meat I could find, 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 tied fast to my girdle, that it could not possibly drop off.
I had scarce laid me down, till 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 on my back, carried me to his nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants fell straightway a shouting to frighten the eagles; and when they had obliged them to quit their prey, one of them came up to the nest where I was: he was very much afraid when he saw me; but recovering himself, instead of inquiring how I came thither, he 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. Don't trouble yourself, I have diamonds enough for you and me too, more than all the other merchants together. If they have any it is by chance; but I chose for myself, in the valley, all those who you see in this bag; and having spoke those words, I showed them to him. I had scarce done speaking, when the other merchants came trooping about us, very 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 save myself. as my courage to attempt it.
They carried me to the place where they staid altogether, and there having opened my bag, they were surprised at the largeness of my diamonds, and confessed that in all the courts where they had been, they never saw any that came near them.
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 next morning all together. and travelled near high mountains, where there were serpents of a prodigious length, which we had the good fortune to escape. We took the first port we came at and came to the Isle of Roha, where I exchanged some of my diamonds for good merchandise. From thence we went to other isles, and at last, having touched at several trading towns of the firm land, we landed at Bolsora; from whence I went to Bagdad. There I immediately gave great alms to the poor, and lived honourably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained with so much fatigue.
The Third Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor.
The pleasures of the life which I then led, soon made me forget the risks I had run in my two former voyages; but being then 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, I went from Bagdad with the richest commodities of the country of Balsora. There I embarked again with other merchants. We made a long navigation, and touched at several ports, with which we drove a considerable commerce. One day being out in the main ocean, we were attacked by a horrible tempest, which made us lose our course.
The tempest continued several days, and brouhgt us before the port of an island where the captain was very unwilling to enter, but we were obliged to cast anchor there. When we had furled out sails, the captain told us, that his 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 discourse of the captain put the whole equipage into great consternation, and we found (illegible text) soon to our cost, that what he had told us was but too true. An innumerable multitude of frightful savages, covered all over with red hair, and about two feet high, came swimming toward us and encompassed our ship in a little time. They spoke to us as they came near, but we understood not their language; they climbed up the sides of the ship with surprising agility. We beheld all this with a mortal fear, without daring to offer at defending ourselves, or to speak one word 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 came. All travellers carefully avoided that island, where they left us, it being very dangerous to stay there, for a reason you shall hear anon, but we were forced to bear our affliction with patience.
We went forward into the island, where we found some fruits and herbs to prolong our lives as long as we could; but we expected nothing but death. As we went on, we perceived at a distance a great pile of building, and made towards it. We found it to be a palace well built, and very high, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we thrust open. On entering the court, we saw before a vast apartment, with a porch, having on one side a heap of men’s bones, and on the other, a vast number of roasting spits. We trembled at this spectacle, and being wearied with travelling, our legs failed under us, we fell to the ground, being seized with a mortal fear, and lay a long time immoveable.
The sun was set, and while we were in this lamentable condition just now mentioned, the gate of the apartment opened with a great noise, and there came out the horrible figure of a black man, as high as a tall palm tree. At the sight of so frightful a giant, we lost all sense, and lay as dead men.
At last we came to ourselves, and saw him sitting in the porch looking at us; when he considered us well, he advanced towards us, and laying his hands upon me, he took me up by the nape of my neck, and turned me round as a butcher would do a sheep’s head; after having viewed me well, 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, viewed them in the same manner and the captain being the fattest, he held him with one hand. as I would do a sparrow, and thrusting a spit through him, kindled a great fire, roasted, and ate him in his apartment for supper; which being done, he returned to his porch, where he lay and fell asleep: he slept thus till the morning: for our part, it was not possible for us to enjoy any rest, so that we passed the night in the most cruel fear that can be imagined. Day being come, the giant awaked, got up, went out, and left us in the palace.
Our condition was so very terrible, that several of my comrades designed to throw themselves into the sea, rather than die so strange a death; and those who were of this mind. argued with the rest to follow their example. Upon which, one of our companions answered, That we were forbid to destroy ourselves; but, allowing it to be lawful it was more reasonable to think of a way to rid ourselves of the barbarous tyrant, who designed so cruel a death for us.
Having thought of a project for that end I communicated the same to my comrades, who improved it: “Brethren, said I. you know there is a great deal of timber floating upon the coast: if you will be advised by me, let us make several floats of it that may carry us, and when they are done, leave them there, till we think fit to make use of them. In the mean time, we will execute the design to deliver ourselves from the giant, and if it succeed, we may stay here with patience till some ships pass by, that they may carry us out of this fatal island; but if it happen to miscarry, we will speedily get to our floats, and put to sea. I confess, that by exposing ourselves to the fury of the waves, we run a risk of losing our lives: but if we do, is it not better to be buried in the sea than in the entrails of this monster.” My advice was relished, and we made floats capable of carrying three persons each.
We returned to the palace towards the evening, and the giant arrived a little while after. We were forced to conclude on seeing another of our comrades roasted: but at last revenged ourselves on the brutish giant thus. After he had made in end of 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 them into the fire till they were burning hot, we thrust them into his eye all at once, and blinded him. The pain occasioned him to make a frightful cry, and to get up and stretch out his hands, in order to sacrifice some of us to his rage; but we ran to such places as he could not find us, and after having sought for us in vain, he groped for the gate and went out howling dreadfully.
We went out of the palace after the giant, and came to the shore, where, we had left our floats, and put them immediately into the sea. We waited till day. in order to get upon them in case the giant came towards us with any guide of his own species; but we hoped, if he did not appear by sun-rising, and give over his howling, which we still heard, that he would die; and if that happened to be the case, we resolved to stay in that island. and not risk our lives upon the floats; but day had scarce appeared till we perceived our cruel enemy, accompanied with two others almost of the same size, leading him; and a great number more coming before him. with a very quick pace.
When we saw this, we m(illegible text) no delay, but got immediately upon our floats, and rowed off from the shore. 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 floats but that I was upon, and all my comrades, except the two with me. were drowned. We rowed with all our might, and got out of the reach of the giants. Next morning we had the good luck to be thrown upon an island, where we landed with much joy. We found excellent fruit there, that gave us great relief, so that we pretty well recovered our strength.
In the evening we fell asleep on the bank of the sea, but were awaked by the noise of a serpent as long as a palm tree, whose scales made a rustling as he crept along. He swallowed up one of my comrades, notwithstanding his loud cries, and the efforts he made to rid himself from the serpent; which, after shaking him several times against the ground, crushed him, and we could hear him gnaw the poor wretch’s bones, when we had fled at a great distance from him.
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 accordingly. A little while after, the serpent came hissing to the root of the tree, and raised itself up against the trunk of it, and meeting with my comrade, who sat lower than I, swallowed him at once, and went off.
I staid 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, so that I was going to throw myself into the sea; but nature prompting us to a desire to live as long as we can, I withstood this temptation to despair, and submitted myself to the will of God, who disposes of our lives at his pleasure.
Providence also interposed in a remarkable manner to preserve me from this fatal resolution; 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, all the crew perceived me, and the captain sent me his longboat. As soon as I came aboard, the merchants and seamen flocked about me to know how I came into that desart island ; and after I had told them all that befel me, the oldest among them told me, they had several times heard of the giants who dwell in that island, that they were cannibals, and eat men raw as well as roasted; and as to the serpents, they added, that there were abundance in the isle that hid themselves by day, and came abroad at night. After having testified their joy at my escaping so many dangers. they brought me the best of what they had to eat; anp the captain, seeing that I was all ln rags, was so generous as to give me one of his own suits.
In short after a long voyage I arrived at Balsora, and from thence returned to Bagdad, with so much riches, that I knew not what I had. I gave a great deal of alms to the poor, and bought another great estate to what I had already.
The Fourth Voyage of Sinbad, the Sailor.
The pleasures I took after my third voyage had not charms enough to divert me from another. I was again prevailed upon by my passion for (illegible text), and curiosity to see new things. I therefore put my affairs in order, and having provided a stock of goods fit for the place where I designed to trade, I set out on my journey. I took the way of Persia, of which I travelled several provinces, and then arrived at a port where I embarked. We set sail, and having touched at several qorts of Terra Firma. and some of the eastern islands, we pat out to sea, and was seized by such a sudden gust of wind, as obliged the captain to furl his sails, and to make all other necessary precautions to prevent the danger that threatened us. But all was in vain, our endeavours took no effect, the sails were tore in a thousand pieces, and the ship was stranded, so that a great many of the merchants and seamen were drowned, and the cargo lost.
I had the good fortune, with several of the merchants and mariners, to get on a plank, and we were carried by the current to an island which lay before us. We walked from the shore, and advancing into the island, saw some houses to which we went; and as soon as we came thither, we were encompassed by a great number of blacks, who seized us, shared us among them, and carried us to their respective habitations
I and my five comrades were carried to one place; they made us sit down immediately, and gave us a certain herb, which they made signs for us to eat. My comrades not taking notice that the blacks ate none of it themselves, consulting only the satisfying of their own hunger, fell to eating it with greediness. But I suspecting some trick, would not so much as taste it which happened well for me, for in a little time after, I perceived my companions had lost their senses, and (illegible text) when they spoke to me they knew not what they said.
The blacks fed us afterwards with rice prepared with oil of cocoas and my comrades who had lost their reason, eat of it greedily. I eat of it also, but very sparingly. The blacks gave us that herb at first on purpose to deprive us of our senses, that we might not be aware of the sad destiny for us; for being cannibals, their design was to eat us as soon as we grew fat. They did accordingly eat 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 blacks, having killed and eat up my companions. seeing me to be withered, lean and sick, deferred my death till another time.
Meanwhile, I had a great deal of liberty, so that there was scarce any notice 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 pace, and quickly got out of sight. At that time there was none but the old man about the houses, the (illegible text) being abroad and not to come home till night, which was pretty usual with them. Therefore, being sure that they could not come time enough to pursue me, I went on till night then I stopt to rest a little and to eat some of the provisions I had taken care for 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 all of a sudden saw white people like myself. gathering of pepper, of which there was great plenty in that place; thus 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 languages, and willingly satisfied their curiossity by giving them an account of my shipwreck, and how I fell into the hands of the blacks. Those blacks, replied they, eat men, and by what miracle did you escape their cruelty? I told them the same story I now tell you, 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 came. They presented me to their king, who was a good prince, he had the patience to (illegible text) the relation of my adventure, which surprised him; and he afterwards gave me clothes, and commanded care to be taken of me.
The island was very well peopled, plentiful of every thing, and the capital was a place of great trade. This agreeable place of retreat was very comfortable to me after my misfortune, and the kindness of this generous prince towards me completed my satisfaction. In a word, there was not a person more in favour with him than myself, and in consequence every man in court and city sought now to oblige me: so that in a very little time I was looked upon rather as a native than a stranger.
As I made my court very exactly to the king, he says 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, and that immediately.' "Sir,” answered I “there is nothing but what I will do, as a mark of my obedience to your majesty, whose power over me is absolute.” “I have a mind that thou shouldst marry," replies he, "that so thou mayest stay in my dominions, and think no more of thy own country.” I dared not to, resist the prince’s will, and so he gave me one of the ladies of his court, a noble, beautiful, chaste, and rich lady. The ceremonies of marriage being over, I went and dwelt with the lady, and for some time we lived in perfect harmony. I was not, however, very well satisfied with my condition, and therefore designed to make my escape on the first occasion, and to return to Bagdad; which my sent settlement, how advantageous soever, could not make me forget.
There is a law which is established in this island, and which is always observed inviolably. The living husband is interred with the dead wife, and the living wife with the dead husband.
I could not forbear speaking my thoughts of this matter to the king: "Sir," says I, "I cannot enough express my wonder at the strange custom 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," says the king, "it is a common law: I shall be interred with the queen, my wife, if she dies first." "But Sir," says I, "may I presume to demand of your majesty, if strangers be obliged to observe this law?" "Without doubt," replied the king, smiling at the occasion of my question, "they are not excepted, if they be married in this island."
I went home very melancholy at this answer; for the fear of my wife’s dying first, and that I should be interred with her occasioned me to have very mortifying reflections. But there was no remedy, I must have patience, and submit to this will of God I trembled, however, at every little indisposition of my wife; but alas in a short time my fears came up on me all at once, for she fell sick and died in a few days.
To be interred alive, seemed to me as deplorable an end, as to be devoured by cannibals; but I must submit. The king and all his court would honour the funeral with their presence, and the most considerable people of the city did the like. When all was ready for the ceremony, the corps was put into a coffin with all her jewels and magnificent apparel The cavalcade was begun and as second actor of this doleful tragedy, I went next the corpse, with my eyes full of tears bewailing my deplorable fate. Before I came to the mountain, I addressed myself to the king in the first place and then to those who were round me, and bowing before them to the earth, to kiss the border of their garments. I prayed upon 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.” It was to no purpose for me to speak thus no soul was moved at it, on the contrary, they made haste to let my wife’s corps into the pit, and put me down the next moment in an open coffin, with a vessel of water and seven loaves. In short the fatal ceremony being performed, they covered up the mouth of the pit, notwithstanding the excess of my grief and my lamentable cries.
As I came near the bottom. I discovered by the help of the little light that came from above, the nature of this subterranean place it was a vast long cave, and might be about 50 fathom deep. I immediately felt an insufferable stench, proceeding from the multitude of dead corpse which I saw on the right and left; nay I fancied I heard some of them sigh out their last. I got down I immediately left my coffin and getting at a distance from the corpse held my nose, and lay down upon the ground, where I staid a long time bathed in tears.
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 me more spacious, and fuller of corpses than it appeared to me at first. I lived for some days upon my bread and water, which being all spent I was preparing for death.
At this time I heard something walking, and blowing and panting as it walked. I advanced towards that side from whence I heard the noise, and upon my approach the thing puffed and blew harder as if it had been running away from me, I followed the noise and the thing seemed to stop sometimes, but always fled and blew as I approached. I followed it so long and so far, till at last I perceived a light resembling a star; I went on towards that light and 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 for a man to get out at.
Upon this, I stopt some time to rest myself, being much fatigued with pursuing this discovery so fast: afterwards coming up to the hole. I went out at it, and found myself upon the sea. I leave you to guess at the excess of my joy; it was such that I could scarce persuade myself of its being real.
But when I was recovered from my surprise, and convinced of the truth of the matter, I found the thing which I had followed, and heard puff and blow, to be a creature which came out of the sea, and was accustomed to enter at that hole to feed upon dead carcasses.
I considered the mountain, and perceived it to be situated betwixt the sea and the town, but without any passage or way to communicate with the latter, the rocks on the side of the sea being so rugged and steep, I fell down upon the shore to return God thanks for his mercy, and afterwards entered the cave and groped about among the biers 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 bank when next day I perceived a ship that had but just come out of the harbour and passed near the place where I was. I made a sign with the linen of my turban, and called to them as loud as I could; they heard me, and sent a sloop to bring me on board When the mariners asked by what misfortune I came thither. I told them that I suffered shipwreck two days ago, and made shift to get ashore with the goods they saw. It was happy for me that these people did not consider the place where I was, nor consider the probability of what I told them. but without any more ado, 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 had offered him.
We passed by several islands, and among others ⟨that⟩ called Serendib. with a regular wind six leagues from that of Kela, where we landed. This island produces lead-mines, Indian canes, and excellent camphire.
After we had finished our commerce 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 thankfulness to God for his mercies, I gave great alms for the entertainment of several mosques, and for the subsistence of the poor, and employed myself wholly (illegible text) enjoying my kindred and friends.
The Ffth Voyage of Sinbad, the Sailor
THE pleasures I had enjoyed had again charms enough to make me forget the troubles and calamities I had undergone, without curing me of my inclination to make new voyages. Therefore I bought goods, ordered them to be packed up and loaded, and set out 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 staid 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 took on board me several merchants of different nations with their merchandizo.
We sailed with the first fair wind, and, after a long navigation, the first place we touched at was a desart island, where we found an egg of a roe, equal in bigness with that I formerly mentioned. There was a young roe in it, just ready to be hatched, and the bill of it began to appear. The merchants, whom I had taken on board my ship, and who landed with me, broke the egg with hatchets, and made a hole in it from whence they pulled out the young roe piece after piece, and roasted it. I had earnestly dissuaded them from meddling with the egg, but they would not listen to me.
Scarce had they made an end of their treat, when the he and she roe that belonged to the young one approached with a frightfnl noise, which they redoubled when they saw the egg broke, and their young one gone. But having a mind to avenge themselves, they flew back towards the place from whence they came and disappeared for some time. while we made all the sail we could, to prevent that which unhappily befel us.–They returned, and we perceived that each of them carried betwixt their talens, stones, or rather rocks of monstrous size. When they came directly over my ship, they hovered, and one of them let fall a stone exactly upon the middle of the ship, that it split in a thousand pieces. The mariners and passengers were all killed by the stone or sunk. I myself had the last fate; but as I came up again I catched hold, by good fortune, of a piece of the wreck, and swimming sometimes with one hand, and sometime with the other, but always holding fast my board, the wind and tide being for me, I came to an island whose bank was very steep, I overcame that difficulty, however, and got ashore.
When I was a little advanced into the island I saw an old man, who seemed to me very weak and feeble. He sat upon 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 bowed his head a little. I asked him what he did there, 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 help, so took him upon my back, and having carried him over, bid him get down. and for that end I stooped, that he might get off with ease; but instead of that (which makes me laugh at every time I think on't) the old man, who to me appeared very decrepid, clasped his legs nimbly about my neck, and then I perceived his skin to resemble that of a cow. He sat astride upon my shoulders, and held my throat so strait, that I thought he would have strangled me, the fright of which made me faint away and fall down.
Notwithstanding my fainting, the illnatured 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, be thurst 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. Being got up he made me walk under the trees, and forced me now and then to stop, to gather and eat such fruit as we found. He never left me all day, and when I lay down to rest me by night. He laid himself down with me, holding always (illegible text) 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 what trouble I was in, to be charged with such a burden as I could no ways rid myself from.
One day I found in my way several dry calabashes, 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 calabash, I set it in a convenient place, and coming hither again some days after, I took up my calabash, and setting it to my mouth, found the wine to be so good, that it made me presently not only forget my sorrow, but I grew so vigorous, and was so light hearted that I began to sing and dance as I walked along.
The old man perceiving the effect which this drink had upon me, and that I carryed him with more ease than before, made a sign for me to give him some of it. I gave him the calabash, and the liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it all off. There being enough of it for to fuddle him 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 about made me vomit, and he loosened his legs from about me by degrees. I threw him upon the ground, where he lay without motion, and then I took up a great stone with which I crushed his head to pieces.
I was extremely rejoiced to be freed thus from this cursed old fellow, and walked upon the banks of the sea, where I met with the crew of a ship that had cast anchor, to take in water and refresh themselves. They were extremely surprized to see me, and to hear the particulars of my adventures. You fell, said they, into the hands of the old man of the sea, and are the first that ever escaped strangling by him. He never left those he had once made himself master of till he destroyed them, and he has made this island famous by the number of men he has slain, so that the merchants and mariners who landed upon it, dared not to advance into the island but in numbers together.
One of the merchants of the ship who had taken me in friendship, obliged me to go along with him, and carried me to a place appointed for a retreat for foreign merchants. He gave me a bag, and having recommended me to some people of the town, who used to gather (illegible text), he desired them to take me with them to do the like: "Go: says he, follow them, and do as you see them do, and don't separate from them, otherwise you endanger your life." Having thus spoke, he gave me provisions for the journey, and I went with them.
We came to a great forest of trees, extremely straight and tall, and their trunks were so smooth, that it was impossible for any man to climb up the branches, that bore the fruit. All the trees were cocoas-trees, and when we entered the forest we saw a great number of apes of several sizes, that fled as soon as they (illegible text) us, and climbing up to the tops of the trees, with surprizing swiftness.
The merchants with whom I was, gathered stones, and threw them at the apes on the tops of the trees. I did the same, and the apes out of revenge threw coco-nuts at us as fast, and with such gestures as sufficiently testified their anger and resentment; we gathered up the cocoas, and from time to time threw stones to provoke the apes; so by this stratagem we filled our bags with cocoa nuts, which it had been impossible for us to have done otherwise.
When we had gathered our number, we returned to the city, where the merchant who sent me to the forest, gave me the value of the cocoas I brought; “ Go on,” says he, “and do the like every day until you have got money enough to carry you home.” I thanked him for his good advice, and insensibly gathered so many cocoas as amounted to a considerable sum.
The vessel in which I came, sailed with merchants who loaded her with cocoas. I expected the arrival of another, which landed speedily for the like loading. I embarked on board the same all the cocoas that belonged to me, and set sail towards the island where pepper grows in plenty.
I exchanged my cocoas for pepper and wood of aloes and went with other merchants a pearl fishing, I hired divers, who fetched me up those that were very large and pure. I embarked joyfully on a vessel that arrived happily at Baisora; 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 gain in alms, as I had done upon my return from other voyages, (illegible text) endeavoured to ease myself from my fatigues, by diversions of all sorts.
The Sixth Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor.
It must appear astonishing, that after bein shipwrecked five times, and escaping so many dangers, I could resolve again to try my fortune, and expose myself to new hardships. I am astonished at it myself, when I think on it, and must certainly have been induced by my stars. —But be that how it will, after a year's rest, I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the prayers of my kindred and friends, who did all that was possible to prevent me.
Instead of taking my way by the Persian gulph, I travelled once more through several provinces of Persia and the Indies, and arrived at a sea-port, where I embarked on board a ship the captain of which was resolved on a long voyage.
It was very long indeed, but at the same time so unfortunate that the captain and pilot lost their course so as they knew not where they were. They found it at last, but we had no ground to rejoice at it. We were ill seized with extraordinary fear, when we saw the captain quit his post and cry out. He threw of his turban pulled the hair of his beard and beat his head like a mad man. We asked him the reason, and he answered, that he was in the most dangerous place of all the sea. A rapid currunt carries it along with it. and we shall all of us perish in less than a quarter of an hour. Pray to God to deliver us from this danger, we cannot escape it, if he don’t take pity on us. At these words he ordered the sails to be changed.—but all the ropes broke, and the ship, without being possible to help it, was carried by the currunt to the foot of an inaccessible mountain where she ran ashore and broke to pieces, yet (illegible text) as we saved our lives, our provisions, and the boat of our goods.
This being over, the captain says to us, "God ⟨has⟩ ⟨now⟩ ⟨done⟩ what he pleased, we may every (illegible text) dig our grave here, and bid the world adieu for we are in so fatal a place, that none shipwrecked here did ever return to their homes again.” His (illegible text) as mortally, and we embraced one another with tears in our eyes, (illegible text) our deplorable (illegible text).
The mountain at the foot of which we were cast, was the coast of a very large island. This coast was covered all over with wrecks, and by the vast number, of mans bones we saw everywhere, and which filled us with horror, we concluded that aboundance of people had died there. It is also incredible to tell, what a quantity of goods and riches we found cast ashore there. All those objects served only to augment our grief. Whereas in all other places, rivers run from their channels into the sea, here a great river of fresh water runs out of the sea into a dark cave, whose entrance is very high and large.
We continued on the shore, like men out of their senses, and expected death every day. At first we divided our provisions as equally as we could, and so every one lived a longer or a shorter while, according to their temper, and the use they made of their provisions.
Those who died first were interred by the rest and as for my part, I paid the last duty to all my companions: nor are you to wonder at this; for I husbanded the provisions that fell to my share better then they; yet when I buried the last, I had so little remaining, that I thought I could not hold out any longer. So that I digged a grave, resolving to lie down in it, because there was none left alive to inter me.
But it pleased God once more to take compassion on me, and put in my mind to go to the bank of the river which runs into the great cave, where considering the river with great attention, I said to myself, "This river, which runs thus underground must come out some where or other.' If I make a float, and leave myself to the current, Providence may bring me to some inhabited country where I may, perhaps, find some new occasion of enriching myself.
After this, I immediately made a float, and loaded it with rubies emeralds and rich stuff, and so resigning myself to the will of God, entered the cave; which I had no sooner done, then I lost all light, and the stream ⟨carried⟩ me I know not whither. Thus I sailed some days in perfect darkness, and once found the arch so low that it well nigh broke my head, which made me very cautious afterwards of avoiding the like danger. All this while to support nature; yet notwithstanding this frugality, all my provisions were spent. Then a pleasant sleep seized upon me. I cannot tell how long it continued; but when I awaked, I was surprised to find myself in the middle of a vast country, at the brink of a river, where my float 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.
One of the blacks who understood Arabic, hearing me speak in that language, came towards, me and said, “Brother, pray tell us your history, for it must be extraordinary; and whence do 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 gave them a true account of what had befallen me, which they listened to with admiration. As soon as I had finished my discourse; they told by the person who spoke Arabic and interpreted to them what I said, that it was one of the most surprising stories they ever heard, and that I must go along with them and tell it their king myself; the thing was too extraordinary to be told him by any other than the person to whom it happened. I told them that I was ready to do whatever they pleased.
We marched altogether, till we came to the city of Serendib, for it was in that island where I 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 and kissed the earth. The prince ordered me to rise up, received me with ⟨an⟩ obliging ⟨air⟩ and made me come up and sit down near him He first asked me my name, and I answered Sindbad the Sailor, because of the many voyages I had undertaken, and that I was a ⟨citizen⟩ of Bagdad. "But' replies he, "How did ⟨yea⟩ come into my dominions, and from whence came you last?"
I concealed nothing from the king; I told him all that I have now told you and his majesty was so surprised and charmed with it, that he commanded my adventures to be writ in letters of gold, and laid up in the archives of his kingdom. As (illegible text) my float was brought to him, and the bales opened in his presence; he admired the quality of wood of aloes, and ambergrease but above all, the rubies and emeralds for he had none in his treasury that came near 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 float, and I beg of you to dispose of it as your own." He answered me with a smile, "Sindbad, 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 go out of my (illegible text) without marks of my liberality." All the answer I returned was prayers for the prosperity of that prince, and commendations of his generosity and ⟨bounty⟩. He charged one of his officers to take care of me, and ordered people to serve (illegible text)
his own charge. The officer was very faithful in the execution of his orders, and made all the goods to be carried to the lodgings provided for me.
I prayed the king to allow me to return to my country, which he granted in the most obliging and 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 Caliph Haroun Alrachid.
The ship set sail, and after a long and very successful voyage we landed at Balsora, from whence I went to Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.
I took the king of Serendib a 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 gave an account of the reason of my coming, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the Caliph. I made my reverence by prostration and after a short speech, gave him the letter and present. When he had read what the King of Serendib wrote to him he said to me. "The wisdom of that king 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 spoke thus, he discharged me, and sent me home with a rich present.
The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.
Being returned from my sixth voyage I absolutely laid aside all my thoughts of travelling any further. For besides that my years did now require rest, I was resolved no more to expose myself to such risks as I had run. So that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my days in quiet. One day as I was treating a parcel of my friends, one of my servants came and told me, that an officer of the Caliph’s asked for me. I rose from the table, and went to him. “The Caliph,” says he, "he 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. “Sindbad, says he to me “I stand in need of you: you must do me the service to carry my answer and present to the king of Serendib. It is but just I should return his civility.
I prepared for my departure in a few days, and as soon as the Caliph’s letter and present was delivered to me, I went to Balsora, where I embarked and had a very prosperous voyage. I arrived at the isle of Serendib, where I acquainted the kings 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.
The king of Serendib was mightily pleased that the Caliph answered his friendship. A little time after tehis audience I solicited leave to depart, and obrained the same with much difficulty.
I got it however at last, and the king when he discharged me, made me a very considerable present I embarked immediately to return to Bagdad but had not the good fortune to arrive there as I 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 offering resistance, which cost them their lives But for me and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the Corsairs spared us on purpose to make slaves of 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 what 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, robbed me of all I had "But tell me,” replies he "can you shoot with a bow” I answered "That the bow was one of the exercises of my youth, and I had not yet forgot it.” Then he gave me a bow and arrows and, with a dress peculiar to the island, carried me to a forest some leagues from the town. We went a great way into the forest, and when he thought fit to stopt he bid me alight, and shewing me a great tree, “Climb up that tree” says 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 of it.” Having spoke 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 the next morning, as soon as the sun was up, I saw a great number. I shot several arrows among them, and at last one of the elephants fell, the rest retired immediately, and left me at liberty to go and acquaint my patron with my booty when I told him the news he gave me a good meal, commended my dexterity, and caressed me mightily.
I continued this game for two months, and killed an elephant every day, getting sometime upon one tree, and sometimes upon another. One morning, as I looked for the elephants, I perceived with an 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 numbers that the earth was covered with them, and shook under me. They encompassed the tree where I was, with their trunks extended, and their eyes all f(illegible text)d upon me. At this frightful spectacle I continued immoveable, and was so much frightened that my bow and arrows fell out of my hand.
My fears were not in vain; for after the elephants had stared upon me some time. one of the largest of them put his trunk round the root of the tree, and pulled so strong, that he 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, and carried me to a place where he laid me down on the ground, and retired with all his companions.
I retired very well satisfied with the honours I received, and the presents which he gave me: and after that I gave myself up wholly to my family, kindred and friends.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.