英文故事水手辛巴德2 - THE THIRD VOYAGE
I soon again grew weary of living a life of idleness, and hardening myself against the thought of any danger, I embarked with some merchants on another long voyage. We touched at several ports, where we traded. One day we were overtaken by a dreadful tempest, which drove us from our course.
The storm continued several days, and brought us before the port of an island, which the captain was very Sindbadunwilling to enter; but we were obliged to cast anchor. When we had furled our sails, the captain told us that this and some other neighboring islands were inhabited by hairy savages, who would speedily attack us; and though they were but dwarfs, yet that we must make no resistance, for they were more in number than the locusts; and if we happened to kill one, they would all fall upon us and destroy us.
We soon found that what the captain 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 toward us and encompassed our ship. They chattered as they came near, but we understood not their language. They climbed up the sides of the ship with such agility as surprised us. They took down our sails, cut the cable, and, hauling to the shore, made us all get out, and afterward carried the ship into another island, whence they had come. As we advanced, we perceived at a distance a vast pile of building, and made toward it. We found it to be a palace, elegantly built, and very lofty, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we opened. 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 were seized with deadly apprehension, when suddenly 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 blazed bright 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 genie, 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 toward us, and laying his hand upon me, took me up by the nape of my neck, and turned me 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.
The next night we determined to revenge ourselves on the brutish giant, and did so in the following manner. After he had again finished his inhuman supper on another of our seamen, 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 his 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 I 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 immediately left the palace, and came to the shore, where we made some rafts, each large enough to carry three men, with some timber that lay about in great quantities. We waited till day in order to get upon them, for we hoped if the giant did not appear by sunrising, and give 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 by 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 spent that day and the following night 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 fellow'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 accordingly. Shortly after the serpent came hissing to the foot of the tree; 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 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 I withstood this dictate of despair, and submitted myself to the will of God, who disposes of our lives at His pleasure.
In the meantime I collected together a great quantity of small wood, brambles, and dry thorns, and making them up into fagots, 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 leave my fort until the sun arose.
God took compassion on my hopeless state; for just as I was going, in a fit of desperation, to throw myself into the sea, I perceived a ship in the distance. I called as loud as I could, and, unfolding the linen of 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 they had several times heard of the giants that dwelt in that island, that they were cannibals; and as to the serpents, they added that there were abundance in the island; that they 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 took me before the captain, who, seeing that I was in rags, gave me one of his own suits. Looking steadfastly upon him, 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 seek for me.
I was not surprised that he, believing me to be dead, did not recognize me.
"Captain," said I, "look at me, and you may know that I am Sindbad, whom you left in that desert island."
The captain 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 my acknowledgments for his care of them.
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 much used in medicine.
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 color of a camel.
In short, after a long voyage, I arrived at Bussorah, and 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 Sindbad finished the story of his third voyage. He gave another hundred sequins to Hindbad, and invited him to dinner again the next day to hear.
THE FOURTH VOYAGE
After I had rested from the dangers of my third voyage, my passion for trade and my love of novelty soon again prevailed. I therefore settled my affairs, and provided a stock of goods fit for the traffic I designed to engage in. I took the route of Persia, travelled over several provinces, and then arrived at a port, where I Sindbadembarked. On putting 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 endeavors had no effect; the sails were split into 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 stayed all night near the place where we had been cast ashore.
Next morning, as soon as the sun was up, we explored the island, and 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 a 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 afterward with rice, prepared with oil of cocoanuts; 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 labored 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 in time 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 cocoanuts, 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 stayed 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 afterward 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 favor 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 bridle or stirrups. I went one day 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 afterward went to a smith, who made me a bit, according to the pattern I showed 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 made several others for the ministers and principal officers of his household, which gained me great reputation and regard.
As I paid my court very constantly to the king, he said to me one day, "Sindbad, I love thee, I have one thing to demand of thee, which thou must grant. I have a mind thou shouldst marry, 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 neighbors, with whom I had contracted 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 favor you wish me? I have not above an hour to live, for I must be buried this day with my wife. This is a law in this island. The living husband is interred with the dead wife, and the living wife with the dead husband."
While he was giving an account of this barbarous custom, the very relation of which chilled my blood, his kindred, friends, and neighbors came 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 bier, and began their march to the place of burial. The husband walked first, next to the dead body. They proceeded to a high mountain, and when they had reached the place of their destination, they took up a large stone which formed the mouth of a deep pit, and let down the body with all its apparel and jewels. Then the husband, embracing his kindred and friends, suffered himself to be placed on another bier without resistance, with a pot of water and seven small loaves, and was let down in the same manner. The ceremony being over, the mouth of the pit was again covered with the stone, and the company returned.
I mention this ceremony the more particularly, because I was in a few weeks' time to be the principal actor on a similar occasion. Alas! my own wife fell sick and died. I made every remonstrance I could to the king not to expose me, a foreigner, to this inhuman law. I appealed in vain. The king and all his court, with the most considerable persons in the city, sought to soften my sorrow by honoring the funeral ceremony with their presence; and, at the termination of the ceremony, I was lowered into the pit, with a vessel full of water and seven loaves. 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 fathoms deep. I lived for some time there upon my bread and water, when one day, just as it was on the point of exhaustion, I heard something tread, and breathing or panting as it moved. I followed the sound. The animal seemed to stop sometimes, but always fled and breathed hard 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, which I got through, and found myself upon the seashore, at which I felt exceeding joy. I prostrated myself on the shore to thank God for this mercy, and shortly afterward I perceived a ship 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. It was fortunate for me that these people did not inspect the place where they found me, but without hesitation took me on board.
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. Lead mines are found in the island; also 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. Out of gratitude to God for His mercies, I contributed liberally toward the support of several mosques and the subsistence of the poor, and enjoyed myself with friends in festivities and amusements.
Here Sindbad 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.
THE FIFTH VOYAGE
All the troubles and calamities I had undergone could not cure me of my inclination to make new voyages. I therefore bought goods, departed with them for the best seaport; and there, that I might not be obliged to Sindbaddepend 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 merchandise.
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 roc, equal in size to that I formerly mentioned. There was a young roc in it, just ready to be hatched, and its beak had begun to break the egg. The merchants 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 in vain entreated them not to meddle with the egg.
Scarcely had they finished their repast, When there appeared in the air, at a considerable distance, two great clouds. The captain of my ship, knowing by experience what they meant, said they were the male and female parents of the roc, and pressed us to re- embark with all speed, to prevent the misfortune which he saw would otherwise befall us.
The two rocs 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 endeavor to prevent that which unhappily befell us.
They soon returned, and we observed that each of them carried between its talons an enormous rock. When they came directly over my ship, they hovered, and one of them let go his rock; but by the dexterity of the steersman it missed us, and fell into the sea. The other so exactly hit the middle of the ship as to split it into pieces. The mariners and passengers were all crushed to death, or fell into the sea. 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 the plank, the wind and the tide favoring me, I came to an island, and got safely 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. I ate of the fruits, which I found excellent; and drank of the water, which was very light and good.
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 toward 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.
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 decrepit, threw his legs nimbly about my neck. He sat astride upon my shoulders, and held my throat so tight that I thought he would have strangled me, and I fainted away.
Notwithstanding my fainting, the ill-natured old fellow still kept his seat upon my neck. When I had recovered my breath, he thrust one of his feet against my side, and struck me so rudely with the other that he forced me to rise up against my will. Having arisen, he made me carry him under the trees, and forced me now and then to stop, that he might gather and eat fruit. He never left his seat all day; and when I lay down to rest at night, he laid himself down with me, holding still fast about my neck. Every morning he pinched me to make me awake, and afterward obliged me to get up and walk, and spurred me with his feet.
One day I found 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 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 gave me new vigor, and so exhilarated my spirits that I began to sing and dance as I carried my burden.
The old man, perceiving the effect which this 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 calabash, and the liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it off. There being a considerable quantity of it, he soon began to sing, and to move about from side to side in his seat upon my shoulders, and by degrees to loosen his legs from about me. 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 slew him.
I was extremely glad to be thus freed for ever from this troublesome fellow. I now walked toward 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 embraces. 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." They carried me with them to the captain, who received me with great kindness. He put out again to sea, and, after some days' sail, we arrived at the harbor of a great city, the houses of which overhung the sea.
One of the merchants who had taken me into his friendship invited me to go along with him. He gave me a large sack, and having recommended me to some people of the town, who used to gather cocoanuts, 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 to the tops of the trees with amazing 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 coconuts at us so fast, and with such gestures, as sufficiently testified their anger and resentment. We gathered up the cocoanuts, and from time to time threw stones to provoke the apes; so that by this stratagem we filled our bags with cocoanuts. I thus gradually collected as many cocoanuts as produced me a considerable sum.
Having laden our vessel with cocoanuts, we set sail, and passed by 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. 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 realized vast sums from 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 rested from my fatigues.
Sindbad here ordered one hundred sequins to be given to Hindbad, and requested him and the other guests to dine with him the next day, to hear the account of his sixth voyage.
THE SIXTH VOYAGE
I know, my friends, that you will wish to hear 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, from Sindbadwhich none can escape. Be that as it may, after a year's rest I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the entreaties 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 seaport, where I embarked in a ship, the captain of which was bound on a long voyage, in which he and the pilot lost their course. Suddenly we saw the captain quit his rudder, 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 we were 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.
The mountain at the foot of which we were was covered with wrecks, with a vast number of human bones, and with an incredible quantity of goods and riches of all kinds. These objects served only to augment our despair. In all other places it is usual for rivers to run from their channels into the sea; but here a river of fresh water runs from 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 afterward, turned into ambergris; and this the waves throw up on the beach in great quantities. Trees also grow here, most of which are of wood of aloes, equal in goodness to those of Comari.
To finish the description of this place, 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 favor 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, at the foot of the mountain, in a state of despair, and expected death every day. On our first landing we had 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.
I survived all my companions; and when I buried the last I had so little provisions remaining that I thought I could not long survive, and I dug a grave, resolving to lie down in it, because there was no one left to pay me the last offices of respect. 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 underground, 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."
I immediately went to work upon large pieces of timber and cables, for I had a choice of them from the wrecks, and tied them together so strongly that I soon made a very solid raft. When I had finished, I loaded it with some chests 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 on in perfect darkness, and once, found the arch so low that it very nearly touched my head, which made me cautious afterward 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 I became insensible. I cannot tell how long I continued so; 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, among 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 needst not perplex thyself about anything else: shut thy eyes, and while thou art asleep God will change thy bad fortune into good."
One of the negroes, who understood Arabic, hearing me speak thus, came toward me, and said: "Brother, be not surprised to see us; we are inhabitants of this country, and water our fields from this river, which comes out of the neighboring mountain. We saw your raft, and one of us swam into the river, and brought it hither, where we fastened it, as you see, until you should awake. Pray tell us your history. 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 I must go along with them, and tell my story to their king myself; it being too extraordinary to be related by any other than the person to whom the events had happened.
They immediately sent for a horse, and having helped me to mount, some of them walked before to show 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 negroes 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.
I concealed nothing from the king; but related to him all that I have told you. 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, "Sire, 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, "Sindbad, I will take nothing of yours; far from lessening your wealth, I design to augment it, and will not let you quit my dominions without marks of my liberality."
He then charged one of his officers to take care of me, and ordered people to serve me at his own expense. 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 capital of Serendib stands at the end of a fine valley, in the middle of the island, encompassed by high mountains. They are seen three days' sail off at sea. Rubies and several sorts of minerals abound. All kinds of rare plants and trees grow there, especially cedars and cocoanut. There is also a pearl-fishery 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 honorable manner. He would force a rich present upon me; 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 Haroun-al-Raschid, and assure him of my friendship."
The letter from the King of Serendib was written on the skin of a certain animal of great value, very scarce, and of a yellowish color. 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 Haroun-al-Raschid.
"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, as we are both kings. We send you this letter as from one brother to another. Farewell."
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 bright 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. And 4. A female slave of great beauty, whose robe was covered over with jewels.
The ship set sail, and after a very successful navigation we landed at Bussorah, and from thence I went to the city of Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.
I took the King of Serendib's letter, and went to present myself at the gate of the Commander of the Faithful, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the caliph. I made my obeisance, and presented the letter and gift. 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 rides between two ranks of his ministers, favorites, and other people of his court. Before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind him there is another, who stands with a rod of gold, on the top of which is an emerald, half a foot long and an inch thick. He is attended by a guard of one thousand men, clad in cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned. 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, the monarch greater than Solomon, and the powerful Maharaja.'
"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 alone be to Him who liveth for ever and ever.'"
The caliph was much pleased with my account, and sent me home with a rich present.
Here Sindbad commanded another hundred sequins to be paid to Hindbad, and begged his return on the morrow to hear his seventh and last voyage.
THE SEVENTH AND LAST VOYAGE
On my return home from my sixth voyage, I had entirely given up all thoughts of again going to sea; 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, however, Sindbadan officer of the caliph's inquired for me. "The caliph," said he, "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. "Sindbad," said he to me, "I stand in need of your services; you must carry my answer and present to the King of Serendib."
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 leave Bagdad."
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 expenses of my journey.
I prepared for my departure in a few days. As soon as the caliph's letter and present were delivered to me, I went to Bussorah, where I embarked, and had a very prosperous voyage. Having arrived at the Isle of Serendib, I was conducted to the palace with much pomp, when I prostrated myself on the ground before the king. "Sindbad," said the king, "you are welcome; I have many times thought of you; I bless the day on which I see you once more." I made my compliments to him, and thanked him for his kindness, and delivered the gifts from my august master.
The caliph's letter was as follows:
"Greeting, in the name of the Sovereign Guide of the Right Way, from the servant of God, Haroun-al-Raschid, 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 receive your letter with joy, and send you 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. Farewell."
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, more broad than deep, an inch thick, and half a foot wide, the bottom of which represented in bas-relief a man with one knee on the ground, who held a 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 King of Serendib was highly gratified at the caliph's acknowledgment of his friendship. A little time after this audience I solicited leave to depart, and with much difficulty obtained it. 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 our departure we were attacked by pirates, who easily seized upon our ship, because it was not a vessel of war. Some of the crew offered resistance, which cost them their lives. But for myself and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the pirates saved us, 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, took me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely as a slave. Some days after he asked me if I understood any trade. I answered that I was no mechanic, but a merchant, and that the pirates who sold me had robbed me of all I possessed. "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 on 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 showing 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 the night, but next morning, at break of day, 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 success. When I had informed him, he commended my dexterity, and caressed me highly. We went afterward 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. 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 numbers that the plain was covered and shook under them. They surrounded the tree in which I was concealed, with their trunks uplifted, and all fixed their eyes upon me. At this alarming spectacle I continued immovable, 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 at the head of the rest, who followed him in line, one after the other, carried me a considerable way, then laid me down on the ground, and retired with all his companions. 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 doubted not but that this was the burial-place of the elephants, and that they carried me thither on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to kill them, as now I knew where to get their teeth without inflicting injury on them. I did not stay on the hill, but turned toward the city; and after having travelled a day and a night, I came to my patron.
As soon as my patron saw me, "Ah, poor Sindbad!" 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 your bow and arrows on the ground, and I despaired of ever seeing you more. Pray tell me what befell you." I satisfied his curiosity, and we both of us set out next morning to the hill. We loaded the elephant which had carried us with as many teeth as he could bear; and when we were returned, my master thus addressed me: "Hear now what I shall 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 favor 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; and now our whole city is enriched by your means, without any more exposing the lives of our slaves. After such a discovery, I can treat you no more as a slave, but as a brother. God bless you with all happiness and prosperity. I henceforth give you your liberty; I will also give you riches."
To this I replied: "Master, God preserve you. 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." I stayed with him while waiting for 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 my master made them partakers of his good-fortune.
The ships arrived at last, and my master 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 favors I went aboard. We stopped at some islands to take in fresh provisions. Our vessel being come to a port on the mainland 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 realized vast sums by 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 journey, and suffered much, but was happy in thinking that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from pirates, from serpents, or from the other perils to which I had been exposed.
I at last arrived safe at Bagdad, and immediately waited upon the caliph, to give him an account of my embassy. He loaded me with honors and rich presents, and I have ever since devoted myself to my family, kindred, and friends.
Sindbad 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? Is it not reasonable that, after all this, I should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life?" As he said these words, Hindbad kissed his hand, and said, "Sir, my afflictions are not to be compared with yours. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy of all the riches you possess, since you make so good a use of them. May you live happily for a long time." Sindbad ordered him to be paid another hundred sequins, and told him to give up carrying burdens as a porter, and to eat henceforth at his table, for he wished that he should all his life have reason to remember that he henceforth had a friend in Sindbad the Sailor.英语故事水手辛巴德1