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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 5 out of 12

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us, we fell to the ground, and lay a long time immoveable. The
sun was set, and whilst we were in this lamentable condition 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 palm-tree.
He had but one eye, and that in the middle of his forehead, where
it looked as red as burning coal. His foreteeth were very long
and sharp, and came without his mouth, which was deep like 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

At last we came to ourselves, and saw him sitting in the porch
looking at us: when he had considered us well, he advanced
towards us, and laying his hand upon me, he took me up by the
nape of the neck, turned me round as a butcher would do a sheep's
head; and, 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, viewing 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, and roasted him in his apartment for supper; which
being done, he returned to the porch, where he lay and fell
asleep, snoring louder than thunder: he slept thus till morning;
for our parts, 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. When we thought him at a distance, we
broke the melancholy silence we had kept all night; and, every
one grieving more than another, we made the palace resound with
our complaints and groans. Though there were a great many of us,
and we had but one enemy, we had not at first the presence of
mind to think of delivering ourselves from him by his death. This
enterprise, however, though hard to put in execution, was the
only design we ought naturally to have formed. We thought upon
several other things, but determined nothing; so that, submitting
to what it should please God to order concerning us, we spent the
day in running about the island for fruit and herbs to sustain
our lives. When evening came, we sought for a place to lie in,
but found none; so that we were forced, whether we would or not,
to return to the palace.

The giant failed not to come back, and supped once more upon one
of our companions; after which he slept and snored till day, and
then went out and left us as formerly. Our condition was so very
terrible, that some 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 this, one of the company answered, that we were forbidden 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
approved 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 ship pass by that may carry us out of this
fatal island; but, if it happen to miscarry, we may 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, who has already devoured
two of us? My advice was relished, and we made floats capable of
carrying three persons each.

We returned to the palace towards evening, and the giant arrived
a little while after. We were forced to submit to see a number of
our comrades roasted; but at last revenged ourselves on the
brutish giant thus. After he had made an end of his cursed
supper, he lay down on his back, and fell asleep. As soon as we
heard him snore[Footnote: It would seem the Arabian author has
taken this story from Homer's Odyssey.] according to his custom,
nine of the boldest among us, with myself, took each a spit, and
putting the points of them into the fire till they were burning
hot, we thrust them into his eye all at once, and blinded him.
The pain 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-rise, 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 the island, and not to risk our lives upon the floats.
But day had scarcely appeared when we perceived our cruel enemy,
accompanied with two others, almost of the same size, leading
him; and a great number more coming before him with a very quick
pace. When we saw this, we made 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
companions, except the two with me, were drowned. We rowed with
all our might, and got out of the reach of the giants. When we
got to sea, however, we were exposed to the mercy of the waves
and the winds, tossed about sometimes on one side and sometimes
on another, and spent that night and the following day under a
cruel uncertainty as to our fate; but 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 palmtree, whose scales made a rustling
as he creeped along. He swallowed up one of my comrades,
notwithstanding his loud cries, and the efforts he made to rid
himself of the serpent; which, shaking him several times against
the ground, crushed him, and we could hear him gnaw and tear the
poor wretch's bones, when we had fled at a great distance from
him. Next day we saw the serpent again, to our great terror, when
I cried out, O Heaven, to what dangers are we exposed! We
rejoiced yesterday at our having escaped from the cruelty of a
giant, and the rage of the waves, and now are fallen into another
danger equally as terrible.

As we walked about, we saw a large tall tree, upon which we
intended 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, 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 as nature
prompts 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 pleasure.

In the mean time I gathered together a quantity of small wood,
brambles, and dry thorns, and making them up into faggots, made a
great circle with them round the tree, and tied some of them to
the branches over my head. Having done this, when the evening
came, I shut myself up within the circle, with this melancholy
piece of 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 sat till day,
like a cat watching in vain for a mouse, that has retired to a
place of safety. When day appeared, he retired, but I dared not
leave my fort until the sun rose. I was fatigued with the toil he
had put me to, and suffered so much by his poisonous breath, that
death seemed more eligible to me than the horror of such a
condition. I came down from the tree and, not thinking on the
resignation I had made to the will of God the preceding day, I
ran towards the sea with a design to throw myself headlong into
it. God took compassion on my desperate state; for, just as I was
going to throw myself, into the sea, I perceived a ship at a
considerable distance. I called as loud as I could, and taking
the linen from my turban, displayed it so as they might observe
me. This had the desired effect; the crew perceived me, and the
captain sent me his boat. As soon as I came on board, the
merchants and seamen flocked about me to learn how I came into
that desert island; and after I had told them all that befell me,
the oldest among them said to me, they had several times heard of
the giants that dwelt in that island; that they were cannibals,
and ate men raw as well as roasted. As to the serpents, they
added, that there were abundance in the isle, that they 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; and the
captain, seeing that I was in rags, was so generous as to give me
one of his own suits. We were at sea for some time, touched at
several islands, and at last landed at that of Salabat, where
grows sanders, a wood of great use in physic. We entered the
port, and came to anchor. The merchants began to unload their
goods, in order to sell or exchange them. In the meantime the
captain came to me, and said, Brother, I have here a parcel of
goods that belonged to a merchant, who sailed some time on board
this ship; and he being dead, I design to dispose of them for the
benefit of his heirs, when I know them. The bales he spoke of lay
on the deck; and showing them to me, he says, There are the
goods; I hope you will take care to sell them, and you shall have
factorage. I thanked him for giving me an opportunity to employ
myself, because I hated to be idle. The clerk of the ship took an
account of all the bales, with the names of the merchants to whom
they belonged; and when he asked the captain in whose name he
should enter those he gave me the charge of, Enter them, says the
captain, in the name of Sindbad the sailor. I could not hear
myself named without some emotion; and looking steadfastly on the
captain, I knew him to be the person who, in my second voyage,
had left me in the island, where I fell asleep by a brook, and
set sail without me, or sending to see for me. But I could not
remember him at first, he being so much altered since I saw him.
As for him, who believed me to be dead, I could not wonder at his
not knowing me. But captain, says I, was the merchant's name, to
whom those bales belonged, Sindbad? Yes, replies he, that was his
name; he came from Bagdad, and embarked on board my ship at
Balsora. One day when we landed at an island to take in water and
other refreshments, I know not by what mistake, I set sail
without observing that he did not re- embark with us; neither I
nor the merchants perceived it till four hours after. We had the
wind in our stern, and so fresh a gale, that it was not then
possible for us to tack about for him. You believe him then to be
dead, said I? Certainly answered he. No, captain, said I; look
upon me, and you may know that I am Sindbad, whom you left in the
desert island: I fell asleep by a brook, and, when I awaked, I
found all the company gone. At these words the captain looked
steadfastly upon me; and, having considered me attentively, knew
me at last, embraced me, and said, God be praised that fortune
has supplied my defect. There are your goods, which I always took
care to preserve, and to make the best of them at every port
where I touched. I restore them to you, with the profit I have
made on them. I took them from him, and at the same time
acknowledged how much I owed to him.

From the isle of Salabat we went to another, where I furnished
myself with cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. As we sailed from
the island, we saw a tortoise that was twenty cubits in length
and breadth. We observed also a fish which looked like a crow,
and gave milk, and its skin is so hard that they usually make
bucklers of it. I saw another which had the shape and colour of a
camel. In short, after a long voyage, I arrived at Balsora, and
from thence returned to this city of Bagdad, with so great
riches, that I knew not what I had. I gave a great deal to the
poor, and added another great estate to those I had already.

Thus Sindbad finished the history of his third voyage; gave
another hundred sequins to Hindbad, and invited him to dinner
next day, to hear the history of his fourth voyage. Hindbad and
the company retired: and next day when they returned, Sindbad,
after dinner, continued the relation of his adventures.

The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.

The pleasure, says he, and the divertisements I took after my
third voyage, had not charms enough to divert me from another. I
was again prevailed upon by my passion for traffic, and curiosity
to see new things. I therefore put my affairs in order, and
having provided a stock of goods fit for the places 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
ports of Terra Firma, and some of the eastern islands, we put out
to sea, and were seized by such a sudden gust of wind, as obliged
the captain to furl his sails, and to take all other necessary
precautions, to prevent the danger that threatened us; but all
was in vain; our endeavours took no effect; the sails were torn
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 a plank, and we were carried by the current to
an island which lay before us. There we found fruit and fountain
water, which preserved our lives. We staid all night near the
place where the sea cast us ashore, without consulting what we
should do, our misfortune having dispirited us so much.

Next morning, as soon as, the sun was up, 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 amongst them,
and carried us to their respective habitations. I, and five of my
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, consulted only the satisfying their own
hunger, and fell to eating 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 blacks filled us afterwards with rice,
prepared with oil of cocoas; and my comrades, who had lost their
reason, ate of it greedily. I ate 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
prepared for us; and they gave us rice on purpose to fatten us;
for, being cannibals, their design was to eat us as soon as we
grew fat. They accordingly ate my comrades, who were not sensible
of their condition; but my senses being entire, you may easily
guess, gentlemen, that instead of growing fat, like the rest, 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 eaten 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
scarcely 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 an old man about the houses, the
rest 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, when I
stopped to rest a little, and to eat some of the provisions I had
taken care of; but I speedily set forward again, and travelled
seven days, avoiding those places which seemed to be inhabited,
and lived for the most part upon cocoa nuts, which served me both
for meat and drink. On the eighth day I came near the sea, and
saw all of a sudden 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, and, as soon as they saw me,
asked me in Arabic, who I was, and whence I came? I was overjoyed
to hear them speak in my own language, and willingly satisfied
their curiosity by giving them an account of my shipwreck, and
how I fell into the hands of the blacks. Those blacks, replied
they, eat men; but by what miracle did you escape their cruelty?
I told them the same story I now told 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 hear the relation of my
adventures, which surprised him; and he afterwards gave me
clothes, and commanded care to be taken of me. The island was
very well peopled, plentiful of everything, 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
by consequence every man in court and city sought how 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 bridles or stirrups. This
made me one day take the liberty to ask the king how that came to
pass. His majesty answered, that I talked to him of things which
nobody knew the use of in his dominions. I went immediately to a
workman, and gave him a model for making the stock of a saddle.
When that was done, I covered it myself with velvet and leather,
and embroidered it with gold. I afterwards went to a locksmith,
who made me a bridle according to the pattern I showed him, and
then he also made me 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 mightily
pleased with them, that he testified his satisfaction by large
presents to me. I could not avoid making several others for his
ministers and principal officers of his household, who all of
them made me presents that enriched me in a little time. I also
made for the people of quality in the city, so that I gained
great reputation and regard from everybody.

As I made my court very exactly to the king, he says to me one
day, Sindbad, I love thee; and all my subjects, who know thee,
treat thee according to my example. I have one thing to demand of
thee, which thou must grant. Sir, answered I, there is nothing
but what I will do as a mark of my obedience to your majesty,
whose power over me is absolute. I have a mind thou shouldst
marry, replies he, that thou mayst stay in my dominions, and
think no more of thy own country. I dared not resist the prince's
will, and 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, winch my present
establishment, however advantageous, could not make me forget.
While I was thinking on this, the wife of one of my neighbours,
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 swallowed up with sorrow, I said to him as soon as I
saw him, God preserve you, and grant you a long life. Alas!
replies he, how do you think I should obtain that favour you wish
me? I have not above an hour to live. Pray, says I, do not
entertain such a melancholy thought; I hope it will not be so,
but that I shall enjoy your company for many years. I wish you,
says he, a long life; but for me, my days are at an end, for I
must be buried this day with my wife. This is a law which our
ancestors established in this land, and always observed it
inviolably. The living husband is interred with the dead wife,
and the living wife with the dead husband. Nothing can save me;
every one must submit to this law. While he was entertaining me
with an account of this barbarous custom, the very hearing of
which frightened me cruelly, his kindred, friends, and
neighbours, came in a body to assist at the funeral. They put on
the corpse the woman's richest apparel, as if it had been her
wedding-day, and dressed her with all her jewels; then they put
her into an open coffin, and, lifting it up, began their march to
the place of burial. The husband walked at the head of the
company, and followed the corpse. They went up to an high
mountain, and, when they came thither, took up a great stone,
which covered the mouth of a very deep pit, and let down the
corpse with all its apparel and jewels. Then the husband,
embracing his kindred and friends, suffered himself to be put
into another open coffin without resistance, with a pot of water
and seven little loaves, and was let down in the same manner as
his wife. The mountain was pretty long, and reached to the sea.
The ceremony being ever, they covered the hole again with the
stone, and returned.

It is needless, gentlemen, for me to tell you that I was the only
melancholy spectator of this funeral; whereas the rest were
scarcely moved at it, the thing being customary to them. I could
not forbear speaking my thoughts of this matter to the king: Sir,
says I, I cannot enough admire 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, Sindbad? says the king; it is a common
law. I shall be interred with the queen my wife, if she die
first. But, sir, says I, may I presume to demand of your majesty,
if strangers be obliged to observe this law? Without doubt,
replies the king, (smiling at the occasion of my question,) they
are not exempted, if they be married in this island. I went home
very melancholy at this answer, from fear of my wife dying first,
and lest I should be interred alive with her, which occasioned me
very mortifying reflections. But there was no remedy; I must have
patience, and submit to the will of God. I trembled, however, at
every little indisposition of my wife: but, alas! in a little
time my fears came upon me all at once; for she fell sick, and
died in a few days. You may judge of my sorrow: 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 would do the like. When all was ready for the
ceremony, the corpse was put into a coffin, with all the jewels
and magnificent apparel. The cavalcade was begun; and, as second
actor in 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 made an essay on the minds of the spectators;
I addressed myself to the king in the first place, and then to
all those who were round me, and, bowing before them to the earth
to kiss the border of their garments, I prayed them to have
compassion upon me. Consider, said I, that I am a stranger, and
ought not to be subject to this rigorous law, and that I have
another wife and children in my own country[Footnote: He was a
Mahometan, and this sect allows polygamy.]. It was to no purpose
for me to speak thus, for no soul was moved at it; on the
contrary, they made haste to let down my wife's corpse into the
pit, and put me down the next moment in an open coffin, with a
vessel full 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 help of the little
light that came from above, the nature of this subterraneous
place; it was a vast long cave, and might be about fifty fathoms
deep. I immediately felt an insufferable stench, proceeding from
the multitude of dead corpses which I saw on the right and left;
nay, I fancied that I heard some of them sigh out their last.
However, when I got down, I immediately left my coffin, and
getting at a distance from the corpse, held my nose, and lay down
upon the ground, where I staid a long time, bathed in tears. Then
reflecting upon my sad lot, It is true, said I, that God disposes
all things according to the decrees of his providence; but, poor
Sindbad, art not thou thyself the cause of being brought to die
so strange a death? Would to God thou hadst perished in some of
those tempests which thou hast escaped; then thy death would not
have been so lingering and terrible in all its circumstances. But
thou hast drawn all this upon thyself by thy cursed avarice. Ah,
unfortunate wretch! shouldst thou not rather have staid at home,
and quietly enjoyed the fruits of thy labour?

Such were the vain complaints with which I made the cave to echo,
beating my head and stomach out of rage and despair, and
abandoning myself to the most afflicting thoughts. Nevertheless,
I must tell you, that instead of calling death to my assistance
in that miserable condition, I felt still an inclination to live,
and to do all I could to prolong my days. I went groping about,
with my nose stopped, for the bread and water that was in my
coffin, and took some of it. Though the darkness of the cave was
so great that I could not distinguish day and night, yet I always
found my coffin again, and the cave seemed to be more spacious
and fuller of corpses than it appeared to be at first. I lived
for some days upon my bread and water; which being all spent, at
last I prepared for death. As I was thinking of death, I heard
the stone lifted from the mouth of the cave, and immediately the
corpse of a man was let down. When men are reduced to necessity,
it is natural for them to come to extreme resolutions. While they
let down the woman, I approached the place where her coffin was
to be put, and as soon as I perceived they were covering the
mouth of the cave, I gave the unfortunate wretch two or three
great blows over the head with a large bone that I found; which
stunned, or, to say the truth, killed her. I committed this
horrid action merely for the sake of the bread and water that
were in her coffin, and thus I had provisions for some days more.
When that was spent, they let down another dead woman, and a
living man; I killed the man in the same manner; and, as good
luck would have it for me, there was then a sort of mortality in
the town, so that by this means I did not want for provisions.

One day, as I had despatched another woman, I heard something
walking, and blowing or 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, that at last I perceived a light
resembling a star: I went on towards the 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 stopped for 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 my self upon the banks of the sea. I leave you to guess at
the excess of my joy; it was such, that I could scarcely persuade
myself of its being real. But when I recovered from my surprise,
and was 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 the dead carcases. I considered the mountain,
and perceived it to be situate 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 rugged and steep. I fell down
upon the shore to thank God for his mercy, and afterwards entered
the cave again to fetch bread and water, which I did by daylight,
with a better appetite than I had done since my interment in the
dark hole. I returned thither again, 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, waiting till some
ship passed by, without any fear of rain, for it was not then the
season. After two or three days, I perceived a ship that had but
just come out of the harbour, and passed near the place where I
was. I made signs with the linen of my turban, and called to them
as loud as I could: they heard me, and sent a boat 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
inquire into 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 offered him.

We passed by several islands, and, among others, that called the
isle of Bells, about ten days sail from Serendib, with a regular
wind, and six from that of Kela, where we landed. This island
produces lead mines, Indian canes, and excellent camphire. The
king of the isle of Kela is very rich and potent, and the isle of
Bells[Footnote: Now Ceylon.], 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
commerce in that island, we put to sea again, and touched at
several other ports, and at last 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 in enjoying
my kindred and friends, making good cheer with them.

Here Sindbad finished the relation of his fourth voyage, which
was more surprising to the company than all the three former. He
gave a new present of a hundred sequins to Hindbad, whom he
prayed to return next day at the same hour to dine with him, and
to hear the story of his fifth voyage. Hindbad and the rest of
his guests took leave of him, and retired. Next day, when all
met, they sat down at table; and when dinner was over, Sindbad
began the relation of his fifth voyage.

The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.

The pleasures I enjoyed had charms enough again to make me forget
all 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 and loaded, and set out with
them for the best sea-ports; 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 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 the egg of a roc,
equal in bigness to that I formerly mentioned. There was a young
roc 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 hatches, and made a hole in
it, from whence they pulled out the young roc, piece after piece,
and roasted it. I had earnestly dissuaded them from meddling with
the egg, but they would not listen to me. Scarcely had they made
an end of their treat, when there appeared in the air, at a
considerable distance from us, two great clouds. The captain,
whom I hired to sail my ship, knowing by experience what it
meant, cried that it was the he and the she roc that belonged to
the young one, and pressed us to re-embark with all speed, to
prevent the misfortune which he saw would otherwise befall us. We
made haste to do so, and set sail with all possible diligence. In
the mean time the two rocs approached with a frightful noise,
which they redoubled when they saw the egg broken, 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 befell us. They returned, and we
observed that each of them carried between their talons stones,
or rather rocks, of a monstrous size. When they came directly
over my ship, they hovered, and one of them let fall a stone;
but, by the dexterity of the steersman, who turned the ship with
the rudder, it missed us, and falling by the side of the ship
into the sea, divided the water so that we could almost see to
the bottom. The other roc, to our misfortune, threw the stone so
exactly upon the middle of the ship, that it split it 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 caught hold, by good fortune, of a piece of the wreck;
and swimming sometimes with one hand, and sometimes with the
other, but always holding fast my board, the wind and the tide
being for me, I came to an island whose banks were very steep; I
overcame that difficulty, however, and got ashore. I sat down
upon the grass to recover myself a little from my fatigue, after
which I got up, and went into the island to view 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, with pleasant windings and turnings. I ate the fruits,
which I found excellent, and drank of the water, which was very

Night being come, I lay down upon the grass, in a place
convenient enough; but I could not sleep an hour at a time, my
mind being disturbed with the fear of being alone in so desert a
place. Thus I spent the best part of the night in fretting and
reproaching myself for my imprudence in not staying at home,
rather than undertake this last voyage. These reflections carried
me so far, that I began to form a design against my own life; but
daylight dispersed those melancholy thoughts, and I got up and
walked among the trees, but not without apprehensions of danger.
When I was a little advanced into the island, I saw an old man,
who seemed very weak and feeble. He sat upon the banks 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
help; so I took him upon my back, and having carried him over,
bid him get down, and, for that end, stooped, that he might get
off with ease; but, instead of that, he, who to me appeared very
decrepit, clasped his legs nimbly about my neck, when I perceived
his skin to be like that of a cow. He sat astride me 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 ill-natured old
fellow kept fast about my neck, but opened his legs a little to
give me some time to recover my breath. When I had done so, he
thrust one of his feet against my stomach, and struck me so
rudely on the side with the other, that he forced me to rise up
against my will. Having got up, he made me walk up under the
trees, and forced me now and then to stop to gather and eat such
fruits as we found. He never left me all day; and when I lay down
to rest me by night, he laid himself down by me, holding always
fast about my neck. Every morning he pushed me to make me awake;
and afterwards obliged me to get up and walk, and pressed me with
his feet. You may judge then, gentlemen, what trouble I was in,
to be charged with such a burden as I could no ways rid myself

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 the 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 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 carried him with more ease than I did
before, made a sign for me to give him the calabash; and the
liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it all off. There being
enough of it to stupify him, he became drunk immediately; and the
fumes getting into his head, he began to sing after his manner,
and to dance with his breech upon my shoulders. His jolting made
him vomit, and he loosened his legs from me by degrees; so that,
finding he did not press me as before, I threw him upon the
ground, where he lay without motion, when I took up a great
stone, with which I crushed his head to pieces.

I was extremely rejoiced to be freed thus for ever from this
cursed old fellow, and walked upon the bank of the sea, where I
met the crew of a ship that had cast anchor to take in water and
refresh themselves. They were extremely surprised 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. After having informed me
of those things, they carried me with them to the ship; the
captain received me with great satisfaction when they told him
what had befallen me. He put out again to sea; and, after some
days sail, we arrived at the harbour of a great city, the houses
of which were built with good stone.

One of the merchants of the ship, who had taken me into his
friendship, obliged me to go along with him, and carried me to a
place appointed as a retreat for foreign merchants. He gave me a
great bag, and having recommended me to some people of the town
who used to gather cocoas, 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 do not separate from them, otherwise you endanger your
life. Having thus spoken, he gave me provisions for the journey,
and I went with them. We came to a great forest of trees,
extremely straight and tall, the trunks of which were so smooth
that it was not possible for any man to climb up the branches
that bore the fruit. All the trees were cocoa ones; and when we
entered the forest, we saw a great number of apes of several
sizes, that fled as soon as they perceived us, climbing up to the
tops of the trees with surprising 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 cocoa nuts at us so 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 that, 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 together as many
cocoas as amounted to a considerable sum.

The vessel in which I arrived sailed with the 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 when she was ready
to sail, I went and took leave of the merchant who had been so
kind to me; but he could not embark with me, because he had not
finished his affairs. We set sail towards those islands where
pepper grows in great plenty. From thence we went to the isle of
Comari[Footnote: This island, or peninsula, ends at the cape
which we now call Cape Comorin. It is also called Comar and
Comor.], where the best kind of wood of aloes grows, and whose
inhabitants have made it an inviolable law to themselves to drink
no wine, nor to suffer any place of debauch. I exchanged my
cocoas in these two islands 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 in a vessel that happily arrived at Balsora; from thence
I returned to Bagdad, where I made vast sums of my pepper, wood
of aloes, and pearls. I gave the tenth of my gains in alms, as I
had done upon my return from other voyages, and endeavoured to
ease myself from my fatigues by diversions of all sorts.

When Sindbad had finished his story, he ordered one hundred
sequins to Hindbad, who retired with all the other guests; but
next day the same company returned to dine with rich Sindbad,
who, after having treated them as formerly, demanded audience,
and gave the following account of his sixth voyage.

The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.

Gentlemen, says he, you long, without doubt, to know how, after
being 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 to it by my stars. But, be that
as 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 that they knew not where they were. They found it at
last, but we had no ground to rejoice. We were all seized with
extraordinary fear, when we saw the captain quit his post, and
cry out. He threw off his turban, pulled the hair off his beard,
and beat his head like a madman. We asked him the reason, and he
answered, that he was in the most dangerous place in all the sea:
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 danger; we cannot escape it, if he do not take pity
on us. At these words he ordered the sails to be changed; but all
the ropes broke, and the ship, without any possibility of helping
it, was carried by the current to the foot of an inaccessible
mountain, where she was run ashore, and broken to pieces, yet so
as we saved our lives, our provisions, and the best of our goods.
This being over, the captain says to us, God has now done what he
pleased; we may every man dig our grave here, and bid the world
adieu; for we are all in so fatal a place, that none shipwrecked
here did ever return to their homes again. His discourse
afflicted us mortally, and we embraced one another with tears in
our eyes, bewailing our deplorable lot.

The mountain at the foot of which we were cast, was the coast of
a very long and large island. This coast was covered over with
wrecks: and, by the vast number of men's bones we saw every
where, and which filled us with horror, we concluded that
abundance 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. While, 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. What is most remarkable in
this place is, that the stones of the mountain are of crystal,
rubies, or other precious stones. Here also is a sort of fountain
of pitch or bitumen that runs into the sea, which the fishes
swallow, and then vomit up again turned into ambergris; this the
waves throw upon the beach in great quantities. Here grow also
trees, most of which are wood of aloes, equal to those of Comari.

To finish the description of this place, which may well be called
the gulph, as nothing ever returns from it, it is not possible
for ships to get off from it, when once they come within ft
certain distance of it. If they be driven thither by a wind from
the sea, the wind and the current ruin them; and if they come
into it when a land wind blows, which might seem to favour their
getting out again, the height of the mountain stops the wind, and
occasions a calm, so that the force of the current drives them
ashore, where they are broken in pieces, as ours was; and what
completes the misfortune, there is no possibility of getting to
the top of the mountain, or getting out in any manner of way. We
continued upon the shore like men out of their senses, and
expected death every day. At first we divided our provisions as
equally as we could, so that every one lived a longer or shorter
time, according to his temperance, and the use he made of his
provisions. Those who died first were interred by the rest; and
for my part, I paid the last duty to all my companions. Nor need
you wonder at this; for, besides that I husbanded the provision
that fell to my share better than they, I had provisions of my
own which I did not share with my comrades; yet, when I buried
the last, I had so little remaining, that I thought it could not
hold out long: So I dug a grave, resolving to lie down in it,
because there was none left alive to inter me. I must confess to
you, at the same time, that, while I was thus employed, I could
not but reflect upon myself as the cause of my own ruin, and
repented that I had ever undertaken this last voyage. Nor did I
stop at reflections only, but had well nigh hastened my own
death, and began to tear my hands with my teeth. But it pleased
God once more to take compassion on me, and put it in my mind to
go to the bank of the river which ran into the great cave, where,
considering the river with great attention, I said to myself,
This river, which runs thus under the ground, must come out
somewhere or other. If I make a float, and leave myself to the
current, it will bring me to some inhabited country, or drown me.
If I be drowned, I lose nothing, but only change one kind of
death for another; and if I get out of this fatal place, I shall
not only avoid the fate of my comrades, but perhaps find some new
occasion of enriching myself. Who knows but fortune waits, upon
my getting off this dangerous shelve, to compensate my shipwreck
with usury? After this, I immediately went to work on a float. I
made it of good large pieces of timber and cables, for I had
choice of them, and tied them together so strong, that I had made
a very solid little float. When I had finished it, I loaded it
with some bales of rubies, emeralds, ambergris, rock crystal, and
rich stuffs. Having balanced all my cargo exactly, and fastened
them well to the float. I went on board it with two little oars
that I had made: and leaving it to the course of the river, I
resigned myself to the will of God.

As soon as I came into the cave, I lost all light, and the stream
carried me I knew not whither. Thus I sailed some days in perfect
darkness, and once found the arch so low, that it almost broke my
head, which made me very cautious afterwards to avoid the like
danger. All this while I ate nothing but what was just necessary
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, on 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. 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, and he
will help thee; thou needest not perplex thyself about any thing
else; shut thine eyes, and, while thou art asleep, God will
change thy bad fortune into good. One of the blacks who
understood Arabic, hearing me speak thus, came towards me, and
said, Brother, do not be surprised at us: we are inhabitants of
this country, and came hither to day to water our fields, by
digging little canals from this river, which comes out of the
neighbouring mountain. We perceived something floating upon the
water, went speedily to see what it was, and perceiving your
float, 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, for it must be extraordinary; how did you
venture yourself into this river, and whence did you come? I
begged of them first to give me something to eat, and then I
would satisfy their curiosity. They gave me several sorts of
food; and when I had satisfied my hunger, I gave them a true
account of all that had befallen me, which they listened to with
admiration. As soon as I had finished my discourse, they told me,
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 to their
king myself; for the thing was too extraordinary to be told by
any other than the person to whom it happened. I told them I was
ready to do whatever they pleased. They immediately sent for a
horse, which was brought them in a little time; and having made
me get up upon him, some of them walked before me to show me the
way, and the rest took my float and cargo, and followed me. We
marched thus all together, 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
and sit down near him. He first asked me my name: I answered,
They call me Sindbad the sailor, because of the many voyages I
had undertaken; and that I was a citizen of Bagdad. But, replies
he, how came you 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 written in letters
of gold, and laid up in the archives of the kingdom. At last my
float was brought to him, 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 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 would 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, nor 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 dominions without marks of my liberality. All
the answer I returned was by praying for the prosperity of the
prince, and commendations of his generosity and bounty. He
charged one of his officers to take care of me, and ordered
people to serve me at his own 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 went every day
at a set hour to make my court to the king, and spent the rest of
my time in seeing the city, and what was most worthy of my

The isle of Serendib[Footnote: Geographers place it on this side
of the line, in the first climate.] is situate just under the
equinoctial line; so that the days and nights there are always
twelve hours each, and the island is eighty[Footnote: The eastern
geographers make a parasang longer than a French league.]
parasangs in length, and as many in breadth. The capital city
stands in the middle of a fine valley formed by a mountain, in
the middle of the island, which is the highest in the world. It
is seen three days sail off at sea. There are rubies and several
sorts of minerals in it, and all the rocks for the most part
emerald, a metal line stone made use of to cut and smooth other
precious stones. Here grow all kinds of rare plants and trees,
especially cedars and cocoas. There is also pearl-fishing in the
mouth of its river, and in some of its vallies there 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 it.

When I came back to the city, I prayed the king to allow me to
return to my country, which he granted me in the most obliging
and honourable manner. He would needs force a rich present upon
me; and when I went to take leave of him, he gave me one much
more considerable, at the same time charging me with a letter for
the commander of the faithful, our sovereign, and said, I pray
you give this present from me, and this letter, to Caliph Haroun
Alraschid, and assure him of my friendship. I took the present
and letter in a very respectful manner, and promised his majesty
punctually to execute the commission with which he was pleased to
honour me. Before I embarked, this prince sent to seek for the
captain and the merchants who were to go with me, and ordered
them to treat me with all possible respect.

The letter from the king of Serendib was written on the skin of a
certain animal of great value, because of its being so scarce,
and of a yellowish colour. The characters of this letter were of
azure, and the contents thus: "The King of the Indies, before
whom march 100 elephants, who lives in a palace that shines with
100,000 rubies, and who has in his treasury 20,000 crowns
enriched with diamonds, to Caliph Haroun Alraschid. Though the
present which we send you be inconsiderable, receive it, as a
brother and a friend, in consideration of the hearty friendship
which we bear you, and of which we are willing to give you proof.
We desire the same part in your friendship, considering that we
believe it to be our merit, being of the same dignity with
yourself. We conjure you thus in the quality of a brother.
Adieu." The present consisted, in the first place, of one single
ruby made into a cup, about half a foot high, an inch thick, and
filled with round pearls of half a dram each. 2. Of the skin of a
serpent, whose scales were as large as an ordinary piece of gold,
and had the virtue to preserve from sickness those who lay upon
it. 3. In 50,000 drams of the best wood of aloes, with 30 grains
of camphire as big as pistachios. And, 4. A female slave of
ravishing beauty, whose apparel was covered with jewels.

The ship set sail, and, after a very long and successful
navigation, 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's letter, continued
Sindbad, 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 asked me if that
prince was really so rich and potent as he had said in his
letter? I prostrated myself a second time, and rising again,
Commander of the faithful, says I, I can assure your majesty he
does not exceed the truth on that head; I am witness of it. There
is nothing more capable of raising a man's admiration than the
magnificence of his palace. When the prince appears in public, he
has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and marches
betwixt two ranks of his ministers, favourites, and other people
of his court: Before him, upon the same elephant, an officer
carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind the throne there
is another, who stands upright, with a column of gold, on the top
of which there is an emerald half a foot long, and an inch thick;
before him there marches a guard of one thousand men clad in
cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly
caparisoned. While the king is on his march, the officer who is
before him on the same elephant cries, from time to time, with a
loud voice, Behold the great monarch, the potent and redoubtable
sultan of the Indies, whose palace is covered with 100,000
rubies, and who possesses 20,000 crowns of diamonds. Behold the
crowned monarch, greater than the great Solima[Footnote:
Solomon.] and the great Mihrage[Footnote: An ancient king of a
great island, of the same name, in the Indies, and much famed
among the Arabians for his power and wisdom.]. After he has
pronounced these words, the officer behind the throne cries in
his turn, This monarch, so great and so powerful, must die, must
die, must die. And the officer before replies, Praise be to him
that lives for ever. Further, the king of Serendib is so just,
that there are no judges in his dominions; his people have no
need of them; they understand and observe justice exactly of
themselves. The caliph was much pleased with my discourse. The
wisdom of that king, says he, appears in his letter; and, after
what you tell me, I must confess that his wisdom is worthy of his
people, and his people deserve so wise a prince. Having spoken
thus, he discharged me, and sent me home with a rich present.

Sindbad left off speaking, and his company retired, Hindbad
having first received one hundred sequins; and next day they
returned to hear the relation of his seventh and last voyage.

The Seventh and last Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.

Being returned from my sixth voyage, I absolutely laid aside all
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 some of
my friends, one of my servants came and told me that an officer
of the caliph asked for me. I rose from the table, and went to
him. The caliph, says 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, 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. This
command of the caliph to me was like a clap of thunder. Commander
of the faithful, replied I, I am ready to do whatever your
majesty shall think fit to command me; but I beseech you most
humbly to consider what I have undergone; I have also made a vow
never to go out of Bagdad. Hence I took occasion to give him a
large and particular account of all my adventures, which he had
the patience to hear out. As soon as I had finished, I confess,
says he, that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet
you must, for my sake, undertake this voyage which I propose to
you. You have nothing to do but to go to the isle of Serendib,
and deliver the commission which I give you; after that, you are
at liberty to return. But you must go; for you know it would be
indecent, and not suitable to my dignity, to be indebted to the
king of the island. Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon it,
I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very
well pleased at it, and ordered me a thousand sequins for the
charge of my journey.

I prepared for my departure in a few days; and as soon as the
caliph's letter and present were delivered to me, I went to
Balsora, where I embarked, and had a very happy voyage. I arrived
at the isle of Serendib, where I acquainted the king's ministers
with my commission, and prayed them to get me a 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 prince knew me immediately, and testified very great
joy to see me. O Sindbad, says he, you are welcome; I swear to
you I have many times thought of you since you went hence. I
bless the day upon which we see one another once more. I made my
compliment to him; and, after having thanked him for his kindness
to me, I delivered him the caliph's letter and present, which he
received with all imaginable satisfaction.

The caliph's present was a complete set of cloth of gold, valued
at a thousand sequins; fifty robes of rich stuff, a hundred
others of white cloth, the finest of Cairo, Suez[Footnote: A port
on the Red Sea.], Cusa[Footnote: A town of Arabia.], and
Alexandria; a royal crimson bed, with a second of another
fashion; a vessel of agate, broader than deep, of an inch thick,
and half a foot wide, the bottom of which represented, in bass-
relief, a man with one knee on the ground, who held a bow and
arrow, ready to let fly at a lion. He sent him also a rich table,
which, according to tradition, belonged to the great Solomon. The
caliph's letter was as follows: "Greeting, in the name of the
sovereign guide of the right way, to the potent and happy sultan
from Abdallah Haroun Alraschid, whom God hath set in the place of
honour after his ancestors of happy memory. We received your
letter with joy, and send you this from the council of our port,
the garden of superior wits. We hope, when you look upon it, you
will find our good intention, and be pleased with it. Adieu."

The king of Serendib was mightily pleased that the caliph
answered his friendship. A little time after this audience, I
solicited leave to depart, and obtained 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; for, three or
four days after my departure, we were attacked by corsairs, who
easily seized upon our ship, because it was no vessel of force.
Some of the crew offered resistance, which cost them their lives.
But for me and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the corsairs
saved us on purpose to make slaves of us. We were all stripped;
and, instead of our own clothes, they gave us sorry rags, and
carried us into a remote island, where they sold us. I fell into
the hands of a rich merchant, who, as soon as he bought me,
carried me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely
for a slave. Some days after, not knowing who I was, he asked me
if I knew 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 forgotten it. Then he gave me a bow and arrows, and
taking me behind him upon an elephant, carried me to a vast
forest some leagues from the town. We went a great way into the
forest, and when he thought to stop, he bid me alight: then
showing 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 spoken thus, he left
me victuals, and returned to the town and I continued upon the
tree all night, during which I saw no elephants, but 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 had told him the news,
he gave me a good, meal, commended my dexterity, and caressed me
mightily. We went afterwards together to the forest, where we dug
a hole for the elephant; my patron designing to return when it
was rotten, and to take his teeth, &c. to trade with. I continued
this game for two months, and killed an elephant every day,
getting sometimes upon one tree, sometimes upon another. One
morning, as I looked for the elephants, I perceived, with extreme
amazement, that, instead of passing by me across the forest, as
usual, they stopped, and came to me, with a horrible noise, in
such a number that the earth was covered with them, and shook
under them. They encompassed the tree where I was, with their
trunks extended, and their eyes all fixed upon me. At this
frightful spectacle I continued immovable, and was so much
frightened, that my bow and arrows fell out of my hands. My fears
were not 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. Conceive, if you
can, the condition I was in: I thought myself to be in a dream;
at last, after having lain some time, and seeing the elephants
gone, I got up, and found I was upon a long and broad hill,
covered all over with the bones and teeth of elephants. I confess
to you that this object furnished me with abundance of
reflections. I admired the instinct of those animals; I doubted
not but that was their burying-place, and they carried me thither
on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to persecute them,
since I did it only for their teeth. I did not stay on the hill,
but turned towards the city, and, after having travelled a day
and a night, I came to my patron. I met no elephant in my way,
which made me think they had retired further into the forest, to
leave me at liberty to come back to the hill without any

As soon as my patron saw me, Ah, poor Sindbad, says he, I was in
great trouble to know what was become of you. I have been at the
forest, where I found a tree newly pulled up, and a bow and
arrows on the ground; and, after having sought for you in vain, I
despaired of ever seeing you more. Pray tell me what befel you,
and by what good hap thou art still alive. I satisfied his
curiosity; and going both of us next morning to the hill, he
found, to his great joy, that what I had told him was true. We
loaded the elephant upon which we came with as many teeth as he
could carry; and when we were returned, Brother, says my patron,
(for I will treat you no more as a slave, after having made such
a discovery as will enrich me,) God bless you with all happiness
and prosperity. I declare before him, that I give you your
liberty. I concealed from you what I am now going to tell you.
The elephants of our forest have every year killed us a great
many slaves whom we sent to seek ivory. For all the cautions we
gave them, these crafty animals killed them one time or other.
God has delivered you from their fury, and has bestowed that
favour upon you only. It is a sign that he loves you, and has use
for your services in the world. You have procured me incredible
gain. We could not have ivory formerly, but by exposing the lives
of our slaves; and now our whole city is enriched by your means.
Do not think I pretend to have rewarded you by giving you
liberty; I will also give you considerable riches. I could engage
all our city to contribute towards making your fortune, but will
have the glory of doing it myself.

To this obliging discourse, I replied, Patron, God preserve you.
Your giving me liberty is enough to discharge what you owe me;
and I desire no other reward for the service I have had the good
fortune to do to you and your city, but leave to return to my own
country. Very well, says he, the Mocon [Footnote: A regular wind
that comes six months from the east, and as many from the west.]
will in a little time bring ships for ivory. I will send you home
then, and give you wherewith to bear your charges. I thanked him
for my liberty, and his good intention towards me. I staid with
him, expecting the Mocon; and during that time we made so many
journies to the hill, that we filled our warehouses with ivory.
The other merchants, who traded in it, did the same thing, for it
could not be long concealed from them. The ships arrived at last,
and my patron himself, having made choice of the ship wherein I
was to embark, loaded half of it with ivory on my account; he
laid in provisions in abundance for my passage; and besides
obliged me to accept a present of the curiosities of the country,
of great value. After I had returned him a thousand thanks for
all his favours, I went on board. We set sail; and as the
adventure which procured me this liberty was very extraordinary,
I had it continually in my thoughts. We stopped at some islands
to take in fresh provisions; our vessel being come to a port on
the Terra Firma in the Indies, we touched there, and not being
willing to venture by sea to Balsora, I landed my proportion of
the ivory, resolving to proceed on my journey by land. I made
vast sums of my ivory, bought several rarities which I intended
for presents, and, when my equipage was got ready, I set out in
company with a large caravan of merchants. I was a long time on
the way, and suffered very much; but endured all with patience,
when I considered that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from
pirates, from serpents, nor of the other perils I had undergone.
All these fatigues, however, ended at last, and I came safe to
Bagdad. I went immediately to call upon the caliph, and gave him
an account of my embassy. That prince told me he had been uneasy
because I was so long of returning, but he always hoped God would
preserve me. When I told him the adventure of the elephants, he
seemed to be much surprised at it, and would never have given any
credit to it, had he not known my sincerity. He reckoned this
story, and the other relations I had given him, to be so curious,
that he ordered one of his secretaries to write them in
characters of gold, and lay them up in his treasury. I retired
very well satisfied with the honours I had received, and the
presents which he gave me; and after that I gave myself up wholly
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,
says he, did you ever hear of any person that suffered so much as
I have done, or of any mortal that has gone through so many
perplexities? Is it not reasonable, that, after all this, I
should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life? As he said this, Hindbad
drew near to him, and, kissing his hand, said, I must
acknowledge, sir, that you have gone through terrible dangers; my
troubles are not comparable to yours; if they afflict me for a
time, I comfort myself with the thoughts of the profit I get by
them. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy besides
of all the riches you enjoy, because you make such a good use of
them. May you therefore continue to live in happiness and joy
till the day of your death. Sindbad gave him a hundred sequins
more, received him into the number of his friends, and desired
him to quit his porter's employment, and come and dine every day
with him, that he might all his days have reason to remember
Sindbad the sailor.

Scheherazade, perceiving it was not yet day, continued her
discourse, and began another story.


Sir, said she, I have already had the honour to entertain your
majesty with a ramble which the Caliph Haroun Alraschid made one
night from his palace; I will give you an account of one more.
This prince one day commanded the grand vizier Giafar to come to
his palace the night following. Vizier, says he, I will take a
walk round the town, to inform myself what people say, and
particularly how they are pleased with my officers of justice. If
there be any against whom they have reason of just complaint, we
will turn them out, and put others in their stead, who may
officiate better: If, on the contrary, there be any that have
gained their applause, we will have that esteem for them which
they deserve. The grand vizier being come to the palace at the
hour appointed, the caliph, he, and Mesrour the chief of the
eunuchs, disguised themselves so as they could not be known, and
went out ail together. They passed through several places, and by
several markets; and as they entered a small street, they
perceived, by the light of the moon, a tall man, with a white
beard, who carried nets on his head; he had a folding basket of
palm leaves on his arm, and a club in his hand. This old man,
says the caliph, does not seem to be rich; let us go to him, and
inquire into his circumstances. Honest man, said the vizier, who
art thou? The old man replied, Sir, I am a fisher, but one of the
poorest and most miserable of the trade; I went from my house
about noon to go a-fishing, and from that time to this I have not
been able to catch one fish; at the same time I have a wife and
small children, and nothing to maintain them. The caliph, moved
with compassion, says to the fisherman, Hast thou the courage to
go back and cast thy nets once more? We will give thee a hundred
sequins for what thou shall bring up. At this proposal, the
fisherman, forgetting all his day's toil, took the caliph at his
word, and with him, Giafar, and Mesrour, returned to the Tigris;
he saying to himself, These gentlemen seem to be too honest and
reasonable not to reward my pains; and if they give me the
hundredth part of what they promise me, it will be a great deal.
They came to the bank of the river; and the fisherman throwing in
his net, when he drew it again, brought up a trunk close shut,
and very heavy. The caliph made the grand vizier pay him a
hundred sequins immediately, and sent him away. Mesrour, by his
master's order, carried the trunk on his shoulder; and the caliph
was so very eager to know what was in it, that he returned to the
palace with all speed. When the trunk was opened, they found in
it a large basket made of palm leaves, shut up, and the covering
of it sewed with red thread. To satisfy the caliph's impatience,
they would not take time to unrip it, but cut the thread with a
knife, and they took out of the basket a bundle wrapt up in a
sorry piece of hanging, and bound round with a rope, which being
untied, and the bundle opened, they found, to their great
amazement, the corpse of a young lady, whiter than snow, all cut
in pieces.

Your majesty may imagine, a great deal better than I am able to
express the astonishment of the caliph at this dreadful
spectacle. His surprise was instantly changed into passion, and
darting an angry look at the vizier, Ah! thou wretch, said he, is
this your inspection into the actions of my people? Do they
commit such impious murders under thy ministry in my capital
city, and throw my subjects into the Tigris, that they may cry
for vengeance against me at the day of judgment? If thou dost not
speedily revenge the murder of this woman, by the death of her
murderer, I swear by Heaven, that I will cause thee to be hanged,
and forty more of thy kindred. Commander of the faithful, replied
the grand vizier, I beg your majesty to grant me time to make
inquiry. I will allow thee no more, said the caliph, than three
days; therefore thou must look to it. The vizier Giafar went home
in great confusion of mind. Alas, said he, how is it possible
that, in such a vast and populous city as Bagdad, I should be
able to detect a murderer, who undoubtedly committed the crime
without witness, and perhaps may be already gone from hence? Any
other person but me would take some wretched person out of
prison, and cause him to die, to satisfy the caliph; but I will
not burden my conscience with such a barbarous action; I will
rather die than save my life at this rate. He ordered the
officers of police and justice to make strict search for the
criminal: they sent their servants about, and they themselves
were not idle, for they were no less concerned in this matter
than the vizier. But all their endeavours turned to nothing; what
pains soever they took, they could not find out the murderer; so
that the vizier concluded his life to be gone, unless some
remarkable providence hindered it. The third day being come, an
officer came to this unfortunate minister with a summons to
follow him, which the vizier obeyed. The caliph asked him for the
murderer. He answered, with tears in his eyes, Commander of the
faithful, I have not found any person that could give me the
least account of him. The caliph, full of fury and rage, gave him
many reproachful words, and ordered that he and forty
Bermecides[Footnote: The Bermecides were a family come out of
Persia, and of them the grand Vizier was descended.] more should
be hanged up at the gate of the palace.

In the mean while the gibbets were preparing, and orders were
sent to seize forty Bermecides more in their houses; a public
crier was sent about the city to cry thus, by the caliph's order,
Those who have a desire to see the grand vizier Giafar hanged,
and forty more Bermecides of his kindred, let them come to the
square before the palace. When all things were ready, the judge
criminal, and a great many officers belonging to the palace,
brought out the grand vizier with forty Bermecides, and set each
of them at the foot of the gibbet designed for them, and a rope
was put about each of their necks. The multitude of people that
filled the square could not, without grief and tears, behold this
tragical sight; for the grand vizier and the Bermecides were
loved and honoured on account of their probity, bounty, and
impartiality, not only in Bagdad, but through all the dominions
of the caliph.

Nothing could prevent the execution of this prince's too severe
and irrevocable sentence; and the lives of the most honest people
in the city were just going to be taken away, when a young man,
of handsome mien and good apparel, pressed through the crowd till
he came to the place where the grand vizier was; and after he had
kissed his hand, said, Most excellent vizier, chief of the emirs
of this court, and comforter of the poor, you are not guilty of
the crime for which you stand here. Withdraw, and let me expiate
the death of the lady who was thrown into the Tigris. It was I
who murdered her, and deserve to be punished for it. Though these
words occasioned great joy to the vizier, yet he could not but
pity the young man, in whose look he saw something that, instead
of being ominous, was engaging; but as he was about to answer
him, a tall man, pretty well in years, who had likewise forced
his way through the crowd, came up to him, saying, Sir, do not
believe what this young man tells you; I killed that lady who was
found in the trunk; and this punishment ought only to fall upon
me. I conjure you, in the name of God, not to punish the innocent
for the guilty. Sir, says the young man to the vizier, I do
protest that I am he who committed this vile act, and nobody else
had any hand it. My son, said the old man, it is despair that
brought you hither, and you would anticipate your destiny. I have
lived a long time in the world, and it is time for me to be gone;
let me therefore sacrifice my life for yours. Sir, said he again
to the vizier, I tell you once more I am the murderer; let me die
without any more ado. The controversy between the old man and the
young one obliged the grand vizier Giafar to carry them both
before the caliph, to which the criminal judge consented, being
very glad to serve the vizier. When he came before the prince, he
kissed the ground seven times, and spoke after this manner:
Commander of the faithful, I have brought here before your
majesty this old man, and this young one, who both confess
themselves to be the sole murderers of the lady. Then the caliph
asked the criminals which of them it was that so cruelly murdered
the lady, and threw her into the Tigris? The young man assured
him it was he, but the old man maintained the contrary. Go, says
the caliph to the grand vizier, and cause them both to be hanged.
But, sir, says the vizier, if only one of them be guilty, it
would be unjust to take the lives of both. At these words the
young man spoke again: I swear by the great God, who has raised
the heavens so high as they are, that I am the man who killed the
lady, cut her in quarters, and threw her into the Tigris about
four days ago. I renounce my part of happiness among the just at
the day of judgment, if what I say be not truth; therefore I am
he that ought to suffer. The caliph, being surprised at this
oath, believed him, especially as the old man made no answer to
this. Whereupon, turning to the young man, Thou wretch, said he,
what was it that made thee to commit that detestable crime, and
what is it that moves thee to offer thyself voluntarily to die?
Commander of the faithful, said he, if all that has passed
between that lady and me were set down in writing, it would be a
history that would be very useful to other men. I command you
then to relate it, said the caliph. The young man obeyed, and


Commander of the faithful, your majesty may be pleased to know,
that this murdered lady was my wife, the daughter of this old man
you see here, who is my uncle by the father's side. She was not
above twelve years old when he gave her to me, and it is now
eleven years ago. I have three children by her, all boys, yet
alive; and I must do her the justice to say, that she never gave
me the least occasion of offence; she was chaste, of good
behaviour, and made it her whole business to please me. For my
part, I loved her entirely, and rather prevented her, in granting
any thing she desired, than opposed it. About two months ago she
fell sick; I took all imaginable care of her, and spared nothing
that could procure a speedy recovery. After a month, she began to
grow better, and had a mind to go to the bagnio. Before she went
out of the house, Cousin, said she, (for so she used to call me
from familiarity), I long for some apples; if you could get me
any, you would please me extremely; I have longed for them a
great while, and I must own it is come to that height, that if I
be not satisfied very soon, I fear some misfortune will befal me.
With all my heart, said I, I will do all that is in my power to
make you easy, and went immediately round all the markets and
shops in the town to seek for apples, but could not get one,
though I offered a sequin for each. I returned home very much
dissatisfied at my disappointment. As for my wife, when she
returned from the bagnio, and saw no apples, she became so very
uneasy, that she could not sleep all night: I rose betimes in the
morning, and went through all the gardens, but had no better
success than the day before; only I happened to meet an old
gardener, who told me that all my pains would signify nothing,
for I could not expect to find apples any where but in your
majesty's garden at Balsora. As I loved my wife passionately, and
would not have any thing of neglect to satisfy her chargeable
upon me, I put myself in a traveller's habit, and after I had
told her my design, I went to Balsora, and made my journey with
so great diligence, that I returned at the end of fifteen days
with three apples, which cost me a sequin each; there were no
more left in the garden, so that the gardener would let me have
them no cheaper. As soon as I came home, I presented them to my
wife, but her longing was over; so she satisfied herself with
receiving them, and laid them down by her. In the mean time she
continued sickly, and I knew not what remedy to get for her.

A few days after I returned from my journey, as I was sitting in
my shop, in the public place where all sorts of fine stuffs are
sold, I saw an ugly tall black slave come in with an apple in his
hand, which I knew to be one of those I had brought from Balsora.
I had no reason to doubt it, because I was certain there was not
one to be had in all Bagdad, nor in any garden about it. I called
to him, and said, Good slave, pray thee tell me where thou hadst
this apple? It is a present (said he, smiling) from my mistress.
I was to see her to-day, but found her indisposed. I saw three
apples lying by her, and asked where she had them? She told me,
the good man her husband had made a fortnight's journey on
purpose for them, and brought them to her. We had a collation
together; and, when I took my leave of her, I brought away this
apple that you see. This discourse put me out of my senses; I
rose, shut up my shop, ran home with all speed, and going to my
wife's chamber, looked immediately for apples, and seeing only a
couple, asked what was become of the third? Then my wife turning
her head to the place where the apples lay, and perceiving there
were but two, answered me coldly, Cousin, I know not what is
become of it. At this answer I did verily believe what the slave
told me to be true; and at the same time giving myself up to
madness and jealousy, I drew my knife from my girdle, and thrust
it into the unfortunate creature's throat; I afterwards cut off
her head, and divided her body into four quarters, which I packed
up in a bundle, and hiding it in a basket, sewed it up with a
thread of red yarn, put all together in a trunk, and, when night
came, carried it on my shoulder down to the Tigris, where I sunk

The two youngest of my children were already put to bed, and
asleep, the third being gone abroad; but, at my return, I found
him sitting by my gate, weeping very much. I asked him the
reason: Father, said he, I took this morning from my mother,
without her knowledge, one of those three apples you brought her,
and I kept it a long while; but, as I was playing some time ago
with my little brother in the street, a tall slave that went by
snatched it out of my hands, and carried it with him: I ran after
him, demanding it back; and besides, told him that it belonged to
my mother, who was sick; and that you had made a fortnight's
journey to fetch it; but all to no purpose, he would not restore
it. And whereas I still followed him, crying out, he turned and
beat me, and then ran away as fast as ever he could from one lane
to another, till at length I lost sight of him. I have since been
walking without the town, expecting your return, to pray you,
dear father, not to tell my mother of it, lest it should make her
worse. When he had said these words, he fell a weeping again more
bitterly than before.

My son's discourse afflicted me beyond measure: I then found
myself guilty of an enormous crime, and repented too late of
having so easily believed the calumnies of a wretched slave, who,
from what he had learned of my son, invented that fatal lie. My
uncle, here present, came just at the time to see his daughter;
but, instead of finding her alive, understood from me that she
was murdered, for I concealed nothing from him; and, without
staying for his censure, declared myself the greatest criminal in
the world. Upon this, instead of reproaching me, he joined his
tears with mine, and we wept three days together without
intermission; he for the loss of a daughter whom he always loved
tenderly, and I for the loss of a dear wife, of whom I had
deprived myself after so cruel a manner, by giving too easy
credit to the report of a lying slave.

This, commander of the faithful, is the sincere confession your
majesty commanded from me. You have now heard all the
circumstances of my crime, and I most humbly beg of you to order
the punishment which it merits; and, however severe it may be, I
shall not in the least complain, but esteem it too easy and

The caliph was very much astonished at the young man's relation;
but this just prince, finding he was to be pitied rather than
condemned, began to speak in his favour. This young man's crime,
said he, is pardonable before God, and excusable with men. The
wicked slave is the sole cause of this murder; it is he alone
that must be punished. Wherefore, said he, looking upon the grand
vizier, I give you three days time to find him out; if you do not
bring him within that space, you shall die in his stead. The
unfortunate Giafar, who thought himself now out of danger, was
terribly perplexed at this new order of the caliph; but not
daring to return any answer to the prince, whose hasty temper he
well knew, he departed from his presence, and retired to his
house with tears in his eyes, persuading himself he had but three
days to live; for he was so fully convinced that he should not
find the slave, that he made not the least inquiry about him. Is
it possible, said he, that in such a city as Bagdad, where there
is such an infinite number of negro slaves, I should be able to
find out him who is guilty? So that, unless God be pleased to
bring it about, as he has already detected the murderer, nothing
can possibly save my life! The vizier spent the two first days in
mourning with his family, who sat round him weeping, and
complaining of the caliph's cruelty. The third day being come, he
prepared himself to die with courage, as an honest minister, and
one who had nothing to trouble his conscience with: he sent for
notaries and witnesses, who signed the last will he made in their
presence; after which he took leave of his wife and children, and
bade them the last farewell. All his family were drowned in
tears, so that there never was a more sorrowful spectacle; At
last the messenger came from the caliph to tell him that he was
out of all patience, having heard nothing from him, nor
concerning the negro slave, whom he had commanded him to search
for: I am therefore ordered, said he, to bring you before his
throne. The afflicted vizier made ready to follow the messenger;
but, as he was going but, they brought him his youngest daughter,
who was about five or six years of age. The nurses who attended
her, presented her to her father to receive his last blessing.
Having a particular love to the child, he prayed the messenger to
give him leave to stop for a moment, and, taking his daughter in
his arms, kissed her several times; as he was embracing her the
last time, he perceived she had somewhat in her bosom that looked
bulky, and a sweet scent. My dear little one, said he, what hast
thou in thy bosom? My dear father, said she, it is an apple, upon
which is written the name of our lord and master the caliph; our
slave Rihan[Footnote: This word signifies, in Arabic, basilic, an
odoriferous plant; and the Arabians call their slaves by this
name, as the custom in France is to give the name of jessamin to
a footman.] sold it to me for two sequins.

At the words apple and slave, the grand vizier cried out with
surprise intermixed with joy, and, putting his hand into the
child's bosom, pulled out the apple. He caused the slave, who was
not far off, to be brought immediately; and when he came, Rascal!
said he, where hadst thou this apple? My lord, said the slave, I
swear to you that I neither stole it in your house, nor out of
the commander of the faithful's garden; but the other day, as I
was going through a street where three or four children were at
play, one of them having it in his hand, I snatched it from him,
and carried it away. The child ran after me, telling me it was
none of his own, but belonged to his mother, who was sick; and
that his father, to save her longing, had made a long journey,
and brought home three apples, whereof this was one, which he had
taken from his mother without her knowledge. He said what he
could to make me give it him back, but I would not; I brought it
home, and sold it for two sequins to the little lady your
daughter; and this is the whole truth of the matter.

Giafar could not enough admire how the roguery of a slave had
been the cause of an innocent woman's death, and almost of his
own. He carried the slave along with him, and, when he came
before the caliph, gave the prince an exact account of all that
the slave had told him, and the chance that brought him to the
discovery of his crime. Never was any surprise so great as the
caliph's, yet he could not prevent himself from falling into
excessive fits of laughter. At last he recovered himself, and,
with a serious mien, told the vizier, That, since his slave had
been the occasion of so strange an accident, he deserved an
exemplary punishment. Sir, I must own it, said the vizier, but
his guilt is not irremissible; I remember a strange story of a
vizier of Cairo, called Noureddin[Footnote: Noureddin signifies,
in Arabic, the light of religion.] Ali and of his son
Bedreddin[Footnote: Bedreddin signifies the full moon of
religion.] Hassan of Balsora; and as your majesty delights to
hear such things, I am ready to tell it on this condition, that
if your majesty find it more astonishing than that which gives me
occasion to tell it, you will be pleased to pardon my slave. I am
content, said the caliph; but you undertake a hard task, for I do
not believe you can save your slave, the story of the apples
being so very singular. Upon this Giafar began his story thus:


Commander of the faithful, there was in former days a sultan of
Egypt, a strict observer of justice, gracious, merciful, and
liberal; and his valour made him terrible to his neighbours. He
loved the poor, and protected the learned, whom he advanced to
the highest dignities. This sultan had a vizier, who was prudent,
wise, sagacious, and well versed in the sciences. This minister
had two sons, very handsome men, and who in every thing followed
his own footsteps. The eldest was called Schemseddin[Footnote:
That is to say, the sun of religion.] Mohammed, and the younger
Noureddin Ali. The last especially was endowed with all the good
qualities that any man could have. The vizier their father being
dead, the sultan sent for them; and after he had caused them both
to put on the usual robes of a vizier, I am as sorry, says he,
for the loss of your father as yourselves; and because I know you
live together, and love one another entirely, I will bestow his
dignity upon you conjunctly; go and imitate your father's
conduct. The two new viziers humbly thanked the sultan, and went
home to their house to make due preparation for their father's
interment. They did not go abroad for a month, and then went to
court, where they appeared continually on council-days; when the
sultan went a hunting, one of the brothers went along with him
and this honour they had by turns. One evening, as they were
talking after supper, the next day being the elder brother's turn
to go a hunting with the sultan, he said to his younger brother,
since neither of us is yet married, and as we live so lovingly
together, a thought is come into my head; Let us both marry in
one day, and let us choose two sisters out of some family that
may suit our quality: What do you think of this fancy? I must
tell you, brother, answered Noureddin, that it is very suitable
to our friendship; there cannot be a better thought; for my part,
I am ready to agree to any thing you shall think fit. But hold,
this is not all, says Schemseddin; my fancy carries me further.
Suppose both our wives should conceive the first night of
marriage, and should happen to be brought to bed on one day,
yours of a son and mine of a daughter, we will give them to one
another in marriage when they come of age. Nay, says Noureddin
aloud, I must acknowledge that this project is admirable; such a
marriage will perfect our union, and I willingly consent to it.
But then, brother, says he further, if this marriage should
happen, would you expect that my son should settle a jointure on
your daughter? There is no difficulty in that, replies the elder;
for I am persuaded, that, besides the usual articles of
marriage-contract, you will not fail to promise in his name at
least three thousand sequins, three good manors, and three
slaves. No, said the younger, I will not consent to that; are we
not brethren, and equal in title and dignity? Do not you and I
both know what is just? The male being nobler than the female, it
is your part to give a large dowry with your daughter. By what I
perceive, you are a man that would have your business done at
another's charge.

Though Noureddin spoke these words in jest, his brother, being of
an ill temper, was offended; and falling into a passion, A
mischief upon your son, said he, since you prefer him before my
daughter; I wonder you had so much confidence as to believe him
worthy of her; you must needs have lost your judgment, to think
that you are my equal, and say we are colleagues: I would have
you to know, you fool, that, since you are so impudent, I would
not marry my daughter to your son, though you would give him more
than you are worth. This pleasant quarrel between two brothers,
about the marriage of their children before they were born, went
so far, that Schemseddin concluded with threatening: Were I not
to-morrow, says he, to attend the sultan, I would treat you as
you deserve; but, at my return, I shall make you sensible that it
does not become a younger brother to speak so insolently to his
elder brother as you have done to me. Upon this he retired to his
apartment, and his brother went to bed.

Schemseddin rose very early next morning, and goes to the palace
to attend the sultan, who went to hunt about Cairo, near the
pyramids. As for Noureddin, he was very uneasy all night, and
considering that it would not be possible for him to live longer
with a brother who treated him with so much haughtiness, he
provided a good mule, furnished himself with money, jewels,
provisions, and victuals; and having told his people that he was
going a private journey for two or three days, he departed. When
he was out of Cairo, he rode by the desert toward Arabia; but his
mule happening to tire by the way, he was forced to pursue his
journey on foot. A courier that was going to Balsora, by good
fortune overtaking him, took him up behind him. As soon as the
courier came to Balsora, Noureddin alighted, and returned him
thanks for his kindness. As he went about to seek for a lodging,
he saw a person of quality, with a great retinue, coming along,
to whom all the people showed a mighty respect, and stood still
till he passed by, Noureddin stopping among the rest. This was
the grand vizier to the sultan of Balsora, who walked through the
city, to see that the inhabitants kept good order and discipline.
This minister, casting his eye by chance on Noureddin, and
finding something extraordinary in his aspect, looked very
attentively upon him, and as he came near him, and saw him in a
traveller's habit, he stood still, asked him who he was, and from
whence he came? Sir, said Noureddin, I am an Egyptian, born at
Cairo, and have left my country, because of the unkindness of a
near relation, and am resolved to travel through the world, and
rather to die than return home again. The grand vizier, who was a
reverend old gentleman, after hearing those words, says to him,
Son, beware, do not pursue your design; there is nothing but
misery in the world; you are not sensible of the hardships you
must endure; come follow me, I may perhaps make you forget the
thing that has forced you to leave your own country. Noureddin
followed the grand vizier, who soon perceived his good qualities,
and fell so much in love with him, that one day he said to him in
private, My son, I am, as you see, so far gone in years, that
there is no likelihood I shall live much longer. Heaven has
bestowed only one daughter upon me, who is beautiful as you are
handsome, and now fit for marriage. Several people of the
greatest quality at this court have desired her for their sons,
but I could not grant their request. I have a love for you, and
think you so worthy to be received into my family, that,
preferring you before all those that have sought her, I am ready
to accept you for my son-in-law. If you like the proposal, I will
acquaint the sultan my master that I have adopted you by this
marriage, and will pray him to grant you the reversion of my
dignity of grand vizier in the kingdom, of Balsora. In the
meantime, nothing being more requisite for me than ease in my old
age, I will not put you in possession of my estate, but leave the
administration of public affairs to your management. Having made
an end of this kind and generous proposal, Noureddin fell at his
feet, and expressing himself in terms that demonstrated his joy
and gratitude, told the vizier that he was at his command in
every thing. Upon this the vizier sent for his chief domestics,
ordered them to furnish the great hall of his palace, and to
prepare a great feast. He afterwards sent to invite the nobility
of the court and city to honour him with their company, and when
they were all met, (Noureddin having now told him who he was,) he
said to those lords, for he thought it proper to speak thus on
purpose to satisfy such of them to whom he had refused his
alliance: I am now, my lords, to discover a thing to you which I
have hitherto kept a secret. I have a brother who is grand vizier
to the sultan of Egypt, as I am to the sultan of this kingdom.
This brother has but one son, whom he would not marry in the
court of Egypt, but sent him hither to marry my daughter, that
both our branches may be reunited. His son, whom I knew to be my
nephew as soon as I saw him, is the young gentleman whom I here
present to you, and is to be my son-in-law. I hope you will do me
the honour to be present at his wedding, which I am resolved to
celebrate this day. The noblemen, who could not take it ill that
he preferred his nephew before all the great matches that had
been proposed to him, said, that he had very good reasons, for
what he did, were willing to be witnesses to the ceremony, and
wished that God might prolong his days to enjoy the satisfaction
of the happy match.

The lords met at the vizier's, having testified their
satisfaction at the marriage of his daughter with Noureddin, sat
down to dinner, which lasted a good while; and the latter course
was sweet-meats, of which every one, according to custom, took
what he thought fit. The notaries came in with the
marriage-contract, when the chief lords signed it; and, after the
company departed, the grand vizier ordered his servants to
prepare a bagnio, and have every thing else provided for
Noureddin in the best manner: When he had washed and dried
himself, he was going to put on his former apparel, but had an
extraordinary rich suit brought him. Being dressed and perfumed
with the most odoriferous essence, he went to see the grand
vizier, his father-in-law, who was exceedingly well pleased with
his genteel mien; and having made him sit down, My son, said he,
you have declared unto me who you are, and the quality you had at
the court of Egypt. You have also told me of a difference betwixt
you and your brother, which occasioned you to leave your country.
I desire you to make me your entire confident, and to acquaint me
with the cause of your quarrel; for now you have no reason either
to doubt me, or to conceal any thing from me. Noureddin
accordingly gave him an account of every circumstance of the
quarrel; at which the vizier burst out into a fit of laughter,
and said, This is one of the oddest things that I ever heard: Is
it possible, my son, that your quarrel should rise so high about
an imaginary marriage? I am sorry you fell out with your elder
brother upon such a frivolous matter; but I find he is in the
wrong to be angry at what you only spoke in jest, and I ought to
thank Heaven for that difference which has procured me such a
son-in-law. But, said the old gentleman, it is late, and time for
you to retire; go to your bride, my son; she expects you;
to-morrow I will present you to the sultan, and hope he will
receive you in such a manner as shall satisfy us both. Noureddin
took leave of his father-in-law, and went to his spouse's
apartment. It is remarkable, continued Giafar, that Schemseddin
happened also to marry at Cairo the very same day that this
marriage was solemnized at Balsora; the particulars are as
follow. After Noureddin left Cairo, with an intention never to
return, Schemseddin, who was gone a hunting with the sultan of
Egypt, did not come back in a month; for the Sultan loved the
game extremely, and continued the sport all that while.
Schemseddin, on his return, ran to Noureddin's apartment, but was
much surprised when he understood, that, under pretence of taking
a journey of two or three days, he had gone away on a mule the
same day that the sultan went a hunting, and never appeared
since. This circumstance vexed him so much the more, beeause he
did not doubt that the hard words he had used were the cause of
his going away. He sent a messenger in search of him, who went to
Damascus, and as far as Aleppo, but Noureddin was then at
Balsora. When the courier returned, and brought word that he
heard no news of him, Schemseddin intended to make further
inquiry after him in other parts; but in the mean time had a
fancy to marry, and obtained the daughter of one of the greatest
lords in Cairo upon the same day that his brother married the
daughter of the grand vizier of Balsora.

But this is not all, said Giafar; at the end of nine months,
Schemseddin's wife was delivered of a daughter at Cairo, and on
the same day Noureddin's wife had a son at Balsora, who was named
Bedreddin Hassan. The grand vizier of Balsora testified his joy
for the birth of his grandson by great gifts and public
entertainments; and, to show his son-in-law the great esteem he
had for him, he went to the palace, and begged the sultan to
grant Noureddin his office, that he might have the comfort,
before his death, to see his son-in-law made grand vizier his
stead. The sultan, who had taken a great liking to Noureddin when
his father presented him after his marriage, and had ever since
heard every body speak well of him, readily granted his
father-in-law's request, and caused Noureddin immediately to put
on the robe of a grand vizier. The next day, when the father saw
his son-in-law preside in council as he himself had done, and
perform all the offices of grand vizier, his joy was complete.
Noureddin behaved himself so well in every thing, that one would
have thought he had been all his lifetime employed in such
affairs. He continued afterwards to assist in council every time
when the infirmities of age would not permit his father-in-law to
appear. The old gentleman died about four years after, and
Noureddin performed the last duties to him with all possible love
and gratitude. As soon as his son Bedreddin had attained to seven
years of age, he provided him a most excellent tutor, who taught
him as became his birth. The child had a ready wit, a genius
capable of receiving all the instructions that could be given,
and, after having been two years under the tuition of his master,
learned the alcoran by heart. His father Noureddin put him
afterwards to other tutors, by whom his mind was cultivated to
such a degree, that, when he was twelve years of age, he had no
more occasion for them; and then, as his physiognomy promised
wonders, he was admired by all.

Noureddin had hitherto kept him to his studies, and had not yet
brought him into public; but now he carried him to the palace, on
purpose to have the honour of kissing the hand of the sultan, who
received him very graciously. The people who saw him in the
streets were charmed with his genteel mien, and gave him a
thousand blessings. His father, purposing to make him capable of
supplying his place, spared no cost for that end, brought him up
to business of the greatest moment, and in short omitted nothing
to advance a son he loved so well. But as he began to enjoy the
fruits of his labour, he was all of a sudden taken with a violent
fit of sickness; and, finding himself past recovery, disposed
himself to die like a good Mussulman. In his last moments he
forgot not his son Bedreddin, but called for him, and said, My
son, you see this world is transitory; there is nothing durable
but that to which I shall speedily go. You must therefore from
henceforth begin to fit yourself for this change, as I have done;
you must prepare for it without murmuring, so as to have no
trouble of conscience for not acting the part of a really honest
man. As for your religion, you are sufficiently instructed in it
by what you have learned from your tutors, and by your own study.
As to what belongs to an honest man, I shall give you some
instructions, of which I hope you will make good use; and as it
is a necessary thing to know one's self, and you cannot come to
that knowledge unless you first understand who I am, I shall now
tell you. I am a native of Egypt; my father, your grandfather,
was first minister to the sultan of that kingdom. I myself had
the honour to be vizier to that same sultan, and so has my
brother, your uncle, who, I suppose, is yet alive; his name is
Schemseddin. I was obliged to leave him, and come into this
country, where I have raised myself to the high dignity which I
now enjoy. But you will understand all these matters more fully
by a manuscript which I shall leave you. Noureddin pulled out his
pocket-book, which he had written with his own hand, and carried
always about him, and giving it to Bedreddin, Take it, says he,
and read it at your leisure; you will find, among other things,
the day of my marriage, and that of your birth; these are such
circumstances as perhaps you may hereafter have occasion to know;
therefore you must keep it very carefully. Bedreddin, being most
afflicted to see his father in that condition, and sensibly
touched with his discourse, could not but weep when he received
the pocket-book, and promised never to part with it.

That very moment Noureddin fainted, so that it was thought he
would have expired; but he came to himself again, and uttered
these words: My son, the first instruction I give you is, not to
make yourself familiar with all sorts of people. The way to live
happy is to keep your mind to yourself, and not tell your
thoughts too freely. Secondly, Not to do violence to any body
whatever, for in that case you will draw every body's hatred upon
you. You ought to consider the world as a creditor, to whom you
owe moderation, compassion, and forbearance. Thirdly, Not to say
a word when you are reproached; for, as the proverb says, he that
keeps silence is out of danger. In this case particularly you
ought to practise it. You also know what one of our poets says
upon this subject, That silence is the ornament and safeguard of
life; and that our speech ought not to be like a storm of rain
that spoils all. Never did any man yet repent of having spoken
too little, though many have been sorry that they spoke too much.
Fourthly, To drink no wine, for that is the source of all vices.
Fifthly, To be frugal in your way of living; if you do not
squander your estate away, it will maintain you in time of
necessity. I do not mean you should be either too liberal or too
niggardly; for though you have but little, if you husband it
well, and lay it out upon proper occasions, you will have many
friends; but if, on the contrary, you have great riches, and make
a bad use of them, the world will forsake you, and leave you to

In short, Noureddin Ali continued, till the last moment of his
breath, to give good advice to his son, by whom he was
magnificently interred.

Bedreddin Hassan of Balsora, for so he was called because born in
that town, was so overwhelmed with grief for the death of his
father, that instead of a month's time to mourn, according to
custom, he kept himself closely shut up in tears and solitude
about two months without seeing any body, or so much as going
abroad to pay his duty to the sultan of Balsora, who, being
displeased at his neglect, and regarding it as a slight put upon
his court and person, suffered his passion to prevail, and in his
fury called for the new grand vizier, (for he had created a new
one as soon as Noureddin died,) commanded him to go to the house
of the deceased, and seize upon it, with all his other houses,
lands, and effects, without leaving any thing for Bedreddin
Hassan, and to bring him prisoner along with him. The new grand
vizier, accompanied by a great many messengers belonging to the
palace, justices and other officers, went immediately to execute
his commission; but one of Bedreddin's slaves, happening
accidentally to come into the crowd, no sooner understood the
vizier's errand, than he ran in all haste to give his master
warning. He found him sitting in the porch of his house, as
melancholy as if his father had been but newly dead. He fell down
at his feet quite out of breath; and, after he had kissed the hem
of his garment, cried out, My lord, save yourself immediately.
Bedreddin, lifting up his head, said, What is the matter? what
news dost thou bring? My lord, said he, there is no time to be
lost; the sultan, horribly incensed against you, has sent people
to take all you have, and to seize your person.

The words of this faithful and affectionate slave put Bedreddin
into great confusion. May not I have so much time, said he, as to

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