Part 4 out of 9
SINDBAD THE SAILOR
(Ed.--This story, in it's original, uncondensed version, in addition
to many others, can be found at the web site http://www.gutenberg.org,
searching in the index for the title Arabian Nights.)
In the reign of the Caliph Harun-al-Rashid there lived in Baghdad a
poor porter called Hindbad. One day he was carrying a heavy burden
from one end of the town to the other; being weary, he took off his
load and sat upon it, near a large mansion.
He knew not who owned the mansion; but he went to the servants and
asked the name of the master. "How," replied one of them, "do you live
in Baghdad, and know not that this is the house of Sindbad the sailor,
that famous voyager, who has sailed round the world?"
The porter said, loud enough to be heard, "Almighty Creator of all
things, consider the difference between Sindbad and me! I work
faithfully every day and suffer hardships, and can scarcely get barley
bread for myself and family, while happy Sindbad spends riches and
leads a life of continual pleasure. What has he done to obtain a lot
so agreeable? And what have I done to deserve one so wretched?"
While the porter was thus complaining, a servant came out of the house
and said to him, "Sindbad, my master, wishes to speak to you. Come
The servants took him into a great hall, where a number of people sat
around a table covered with all sorts of savory dishes. At the upper
end was a tall, grave gentleman, with a long white beard, and behind
him stood a number of officers and servants, all ready to attend his
pleasure. This person was Sindbad. Hindbad, whose fear was increased
at the sight of so many people and of so great a feast, saluted the
company tremblingly. Sindbad bade him draw near, and seating him at
his right hand, served him himself.
Now, Sindbad had heard the porter complain, and this it was that led
him to have the man brought in. When the repast was over, Sindbad
spoke to Hindbad, asked his name and business, and said: "I wish to
hear from your own mouth what it was you said in the street."
Hindbad replied, "My lord, I confess that my weariness put me out
of humor, and made me utter some foolish words, which I beg you to
pardon." "Do not think I am so unjust," resumed Sindbad, "as to blame
you. But you are mistaken about me, and I wish to set you right. You
think that I have gained without labor and trouble the ease and plenty
which I now enjoy. But make no mistake; I did not reach this happy
condition without suffering for several years more trouble of body and
mind than can well be imagined. Yes, gentlemen," he added, speaking
to the whole company, "I assure you that my sufferings have been so
extraordinary that they would make the greatest miser lose his love
of riches; and I will, with your leave, tell of the dangers I have
overcome, which I think will not be uninteresting to you."
THE FIRST VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
He then told the following story:
My father was a wealthy merchant, much respected by everyone. He left
me a large fortune, which I wasted in wild living. I then remembered
Solomon's saying, "A good name is better than precious ointment," and
resolved to walk in my father's ways. I therefore made arrangements to
go on a voyage with some merchants.
After touching at many places where we sold or exchanged goods, we
were becalmed near a small island which looked like a green meadow.
The captain permitted some of us to land, but while we were eating and
drinking, the island began to shake, and he called to us to return to
the ship. What we thought was an island was really the back of a sea
monster. I had just time to catch hold of a piece of wood, when the
island disappeared into the sea.
The captain, thinking I was drowned, resolved to make use of a
favorable gale, which had just risen, to continue his voyage. I was
tossed by the waves all that day and night, but the next day I was
thrown upon an island. I was very feeble, but I crept along and found
a spring of water, which did much to restore my strength.
After this I went farther into the island and saw a man watching some
horses that were feeding near by. He was much surprised to see me and
took me to a cave where there were several other men. They told me
they were grooms of the Maharaja, ruler of the island, and that every
year they brought his horses to this uninhabited place for pasturage.
Next morning they returned to the capital of the island, taking me
with them. They presented me to the Maharaja, who ordered his people
to care for me. The capital has a fine harbor, where ships arrive
daily from all parts of the world, and I hoped soon to have a chance
to return to Baghdad.
One day the ship arrived in which I had sailed from home. I went to
the captain and asked for my goods. "I am Sindbad," I said, "and those
bales marked with his name are mine." At first the captain did not
know me, but after looking at me closely, he cried, "Heaven be praised
for your happy escape. These are your goods; take them and do what you
please with them."
I made a present of my choicest goods to the Maharaja, who asked me
how I came by such rarities. When I told him, he was much pleased and
gave me many valuable things in return. After exchanging my goods for
aloes, sandalwood, camphor, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger, I
sailed for home and at last reached Baghdad with goods worth one
hundred thousand sequins.
Sindbad stopped here and ordered the musicians to proceed with their
concert. When it was evening, Sindbad gave the porter a purse of one
hundred sequins and told him to come back the next day to hear more of
Hindbad put on his best robe the next day and returned to the
bountiful traveler, who welcomed him heartily. When all the guests
had arrived, dinner was served and continued a long time. When it was
ended, Sindbad said, "Gentlemen, hear now the adventures of my second
voyage. They deserve your attention even more than those of the
THE SECOND VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
I planned, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days at
Baghdad, but I grew weary of an idle life, and put to sea a second
time, with merchants I knew to be honorable. We embarked on board a
good ship and set sail. We traded from island to island, and exchanged
goods with great profit.
One day we landed on an island covered with fruit-trees, but we could
see neither man nor animal. We walked in the meadows and along the
streams that watered them. While some gathered flowers and others
fruits, I took my wine and provisions and sat down near a stream
between two high trees, which formed a thick shade. I made a good
meal, and afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept, but
when I awoke, the ship was gone.
In this sad condition, I was ready to die with grief. I was sorry that
I had not been satisfied with the profits of my first voyage, that
might have been enough for me all my life. But my repentance came too
late. At last I took courage and, not knowing what to do, climbed to
the top of a lofty tree and looked about on all sides to see if I
could discover anything that could give me hope. Toward the sea I
could see nothing but sky and water; but looking over the land, I
beheld something white, and, coming down, I took what provisions I had
left and went toward it, the distance being so great that I could not
tell what it was.
As I came nearer, I thought it was a white dome, of great height and
size; and when I came up to it, I touched it and found it to be very
smooth. I went around to see if it was open on any side, but saw it
was not, and that there was no climbing up to the top, as it was so
smooth. It was at least fifty paces around.
By this time the sun was about to set, and all of a sudden the sky
became as dark as if it had been covered with a thick cloud. I was
much astonished at this sudden darkness, but much more when I found it
was caused by a bird of monstrous size, that came flying toward me. I
remembered that I had often heard sailors speak of a wonderful bird
called the roc, and saw that the great dome which I so much admired
must be its egg. The bird alighted, and sat over the egg.
As I saw it coming, I crept close to the egg, so that I had before me
one of the legs of the bird, which was as big as the trunk of a tree.
I tied myself strongly to it with my turban, hoping that the roc next
morning would carry me out of this desert island.
After passing the night in this condition, the bird flew away as soon
as it was daylight, and carried me so high that I could not see the
earth; it afterwards descended so swiftly that I lost my senses. But
when I found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, and had
scarcely done so when the roc, having taken up a serpent in its bill,
The spot where it left me was surrounded by mountains that seemed
to reach above the clouds, and so steep that there was no chance of
getting out of the valley. When I compared this place with the desert
island from which the roc had brought me, I found that I had gained
nothing by the change.
As I walked through this valley, I saw it was strewn with diamonds,
some of which were of a surprising size. I had never believed what I
had heard sailors tell of the valley of diamonds, and of the tricks
used by merchants to obtain jewels from that place; but now I found
that they had stated nothing but the truth. For the fact is that the
merchants come to this valley when the eagles have young ones, and
throw great joints of meat into the valley; the diamonds, upon whose
points they fall, stick to them; the eagles pounce upon those pieces
of meat and carry them to their nests on the rocks to feed their
young; the merchants at this time run to the nests, drive off the
eagles, and take away the diamonds that stick to the meat.
I had thought the valley must surely be my grave, but now I took
courage and began to plan a way to escape. Collecting the largest
diamonds and putting them into the leather bag in which I used to
carry my provisions, I took the largest of the pieces of meat, tied it
close around me, and then lay down upon the ground, face downwards,
the bag of diamonds being made fast to my girdle. I had scarcely
placed myself in this position when one of the eagles, having taken me
up with the piece of meat to which I was fastened, carried me to his
nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants frightened the eagles,
and when they had forced them to quit their prey, one of them came
to the nest where I was. He was much alarmed when he saw me; but,
recovering himself, instead of asking how I came thither, began to
quarrel with me, and asked why I stole his goods.
"You will treat me," replied I, "with more politeness when you know me
better. Do not be uneasy; I have diamonds enough for you and myself,
more than all the other merchants together. Whatever they have they
owe to chance, but I selected for myself in the bottom of the valley
those which you see in this bag."
I had scarcely done speaking when the other merchants came crowding
about us, much astonished to see me, but more surprised when I told
them my story.
They took me to their camp, and there, when I opened my bag, they were
surprised at the beauty of my diamonds, and confessed that they had
never seen any of such size and perfection.
I prayed the merchant who owned the nest to which I had been carried,
for every merchant had his own nest, to take as many for his share as
he pleased. He, however, took only one, and that, too, the least of
them; and when I pressed him to take more, he said, "No, I am very
well satisfied with this gem, which is valuable enough to save me the
trouble of making any more voyages, and will bring as great a fortune
as I desire."
The merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for
several days; and each of them being satisfied with the diamonds
that had fallen to his lot, we left the place and traveled near high
mountains, where there were serpents of great length, which we had the
fortune to escape.
We took shipping at the first port we reached, and touched at the isle
of Roha, where the trees grow that yield camphor.
I pass over many other things peculiar to this island, lest I should
weary you. Here I exchanged some of my diamonds for merchandise. From
here we went to other islands, and at last, having touched at several
trading towns of the continent, we landed at Bussorah, and from there
I proceeded to Baghdad. There I gave presents to the poor, and lived
honorably upon the vast riches I had gained with so many terrible
hardships and so many great perils. Thus Sindbad ended the story of
the second voyage, gave Hindbad another hundred sequins, and invited
him to come the next day to hear more of his adventures.
THE THIRD VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
On the third day the porter again repaired to the house in which he
had heard such wonderful tales. After the dinner was finished, the
host began once more to tell of his travels.
I soon grew weary of a life of idleness and embarked with some
merchants on another long voyage. One day we were overtaken by a
storm, which drove us out of our course, and we were obliged to cast
anchor near an island. As soon as we landed, we were surrounded by
savage dwarfs, who took possession of our ship and sailed away. Left
without means of escape from the island, we determined to explore it,
in hope of finding food and shelter.
We had not advanced far, however, when we discovered that this island
was inhabited by giants, more savage than the dwarfs who had first
attacked us. We knew that we could not remain on the island, and so we
went back to the shore and planned how we might escape.
When night came, we made rafts, each large enough to carry three men,
and as soon as it was light we put to sea with all the speed we could.
The giants saw us as we pushed out and, rushing down to the water's
edge, threw great stones, which sank all the rafts except the one upon
which I was.
All that day and night we were tossed by the waves, but the next
morning we were thrown upon an island, where we found delicious fruit
which satisfied our hunger. Beautiful as this island was, we found
ourselves in danger as great as any we had escaped. My two companions
were killed by serpents, and I was almost in despair, when I saw a
ship in the distance. By shouting and waving my turban I attracted the
attention of the crew, and a boat was sent for me.
As soon as I saw the captain, I knew him to be the man who, in my
second voyage, had left me on the island. "Captain," said I, "I am
Sindbad, whom you left on the island."
"Heaven be praised," said the captain; "I am glad that my careless act
did not cause your death. These are your goods, which I always took
care to preserve."
We continued at sea for some time and touched at many islands, where I
traded for cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. At last I returned to
Baghdad with so much wealth that I knew not its value. I gave a great
deal to the poor and bought another estate.
Thus Sindbad finished the story of his third voyage. He gave another
hundred sequins to Hindbad and invited him to dinner the next day.
THE FOURTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
After dinner on the fourth day the merchant once more began to tell of
After I had rested from the dangers of my third voyage, my love for
trade and adventure again took hold of me. I provided a stock of goods
and started on another voyage. We had sailed a great way, when we were
overtaken by a storm, and the ship was wrecked. I clung to a plank and
was carried by the current to an island; here I found fruit and spring
water, which saved my life. The next day I started to explore the
island and, seeing some huts, I went toward them. The people who lived
in these huts were savages, and they took me prisoner. I was in such
fear of them that I could not eat, and at last I became sick.
After that they did not watch me so closely, and I found a chance to
escape. I traveled seven days, living upon coconuts, which served me
for food and drink. On the eighth day I met some people gathering
pepper, and I told them my story. They treated me with great kindness
and took me with them when they sailed home.
On arriving in their own country they presented me to their King, who
commanded his people to take care of me, and soon I was looked upon
as a native rather than a stranger. I was not, however, satisfied
to remain away from my own home and planned to escape and return to
One day I saw a ship approaching the place where I was. I called
to the crew, and they quickly sent a boat and took me on board. We
stopped at several islands and collected great stores of costly goods.
After we had finished our traffic, we put to sea again and at last
arrived at Baghdad. I gave large sums to the poor and enjoyed myself
with my friends in feasts and amusements.
Here Sindbad made a present of one hundred sequins to Hindbad, whom he
requested to return the next day to dine with him and hear the story
of his fifth voyage.
THE FIFTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
The story of the fifth day was as follows:
All the misfortunes I had undergone could not cure me of my desire to
make new voyages. I therefore had a ship built and, taking with me
several merchants, I started on my fifth voyage.
We touched at a desert island, where we found a roc's egg. We could
see that the young bird had begun to break the shell with his beak.
The merchants who were with me broke the shell with hatchets and
killed the young roc. Scarcely had they done this when the parent
birds flew down with a frightful noise. We hurried to the ship and set
sail as speedily as possible. But the great birds followed us, each
carrying a rock between its claws. When they came directly over our
ship, they let the rocks fall, and the ship was crushed and most of
the passengers killed. I caught hold of a piece of the wreck and swam
to an island. Here I found fruit and streams of fresh, pure water.
After resting and eating some of the fruit, I determined to find out
who lived upon the island.
I had not walked far, when I saw an old man sitting on the bank of a
stream. He made signs to me to carry him over the brook, and as he
seemed very weak, I took him upon my back and carried him across. When
we reached the other side, the old man threw his legs around my neck
and squeezed my throat until I fainted. But he kept his seat and
kicked me to make me stand up. He made me carry him all that day, and
at night lay down with me, still holding fast to my neck.
This continued for some time, and I grew weaker every day. One day,
feeling sure that I could not escape, he began to laugh and sing and
move around on my back. This was my opportunity, and, using all my
strength, I threw him to the ground, where he lay motionless.
Feeling very thankful at my escape, I went down to the beach and saw a
ship at anchor there. The crew were very much surprised when I told my
adventure. "You are the first," they said, "who ever escaped from the
old man of the sea after falling into his power."
We soon put out to sea and after a few days arrived at a great city.
One of the merchants invited me to go with him and others to gather
coconuts. The trunks of the coconut trees were lofty and very smooth,
and I saw many apes among the branches. It was not possible to climb
the trees, but the merchants, by throwing stones, provoked the apes
to throw the coconuts at us, and by this trick we collected enough
coconuts to load our ship.
We then set sail and touched at other islands, where I exchanged
my coconuts for pepper and wood of aloes. I also hired divers, who
brought me up pearls that were very large and perfect. When I returned
to Baghdad, I made vast sums from my pepper, precious woods, and
pearls. I gave the tenth of my gains to charity, as I had done on my
return from other voyages.
Sindbad here ordered one hundred sequins to be given to Hindbad and
requested him to dine with him the next day to hear the account of his
THE SIXTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
When dinner was finished on the sixth day, Sindbad spoke as follows:
After a year's rest I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the
entreaties of my friends, who did all in their power to keep me at
home. I traveled through several provinces of Persia and the Indies,
and then embarked on a long voyage, in the course of which the ship
was carried by a rapid current to the foot of a high mountain, where
she struck and went to pieces.
We managed to save most of our provisions and our goods, but it was
impossible to climb the mountain or to escape by the sea. We were
obliged to remain upon the strip of shore between the mountain and the
sea. At last our provisions were exhausted, and my companions died,
one after the other. Then I determined to try once more to find a way
A river ran from the sea into a dark cavern under an archway of rock.
I said to myself, "If I make a raft and float with the current, it
will doubtless carry me to some inhabited country." I made a very
solid raft and loaded it with bales of rich goods from the wreck,
and rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones which covered the
As soon as I entered the cavern, I found myself in darkness and I
floated on, I knew not where. I must have fallen asleep, for when I
opened my eyes I was on the bank of a river, and a great many people
were around me. They spoke to me, but I did not understand their
language. I was so full of joy at my escape from death that I said
aloud in Arabic, "Close thine eyes, and while thou art asleep, Heaven
will change thy evil fortune into good fortune."
One of the men, who understood Arabic, said, "Brother, we are
inhabitants of this country and water our fields from this river. We
saw your raft, and one of us swam out and brought it here. Pray tell
us your history." After they had given me food, I told them my story,
and then they took me to their King. I told the King my adventures;
and when my raft was brought in, I showed him my rich goods and
precious stones. I saw that my jewels pleased him, and I said, "Sire,
I am at your Majesty's service, and all that I have is yours." He
answered, with a smile, "Sindbad, I will take nothing from you; far
from lessening your wealth, I mean to increase it."
I prayed the King to allow me to return to my own country, and he
granted me permission in the most honorable manner. He gave me a rich
present and a letter for the Commander of the Faithful, our sovereign,
saying to me, "I pray you, give this present and this letter to the
The letter was written on the skin of a certain animal of great value,
very scarce, and of a yellowish color. The characters of this letter
were of azure, and the contents as follows:
"The King of the Indies, before whom march one hundred elephants, who
lives in a palace that shines with one hundred thousand rubies, and
who has in his treasury twenty thousand crowns enriched with diamonds,
to Caliph Harun-al-Rashid "Though the present we send you be small,
receive it, however, as a brother and a friend, in consideration of
the hearty friendship which we bear for you, and of which we are
willing to give you proof. We send you this letter as from one brother
to another. Farewell."
The present consisted of one single ruby made into a cup, about half
a foot high and an inch thick, filled with round pearls large and
beautiful; the skin of a serpent, whose scales were as bright as an
ordinary piece of gold, and had the power to preserve from sickness
those who lay upon it; quantities of the best wood of aloes and
camphor; and, lastly, a wonderful robe covered with jewels of great
The ship set sail, and after a successful voyage we landed at
Bussorah, and from there I went to the city of Baghdad, where the
first thing I did was to go to the palace of the Caliph.
Taking the King's letter, I presented myself at the gate of the
Commander of the Faithful and was conducted to the throne of the
Caliph. I presented the letter and gift. When he had finished reading,
he asked me if that ruler were really as rich as he represented
himself in his letter.
I said, "Commander of the Faithful, I can assure your Majesty he does
not stretch the truth. I bear him witness. Nothing is more worthy of
admiration than the splendor of his palace. When the King appears in
public, he has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and rides
betwixt two ranks of his ministers and favorites, and other people of
his court. Before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a
golden lance in his hand, and behind him there is another who strands
with a rod of gold, on the top of which is an emerald half a foot long
and an inch thick. "He is attended by one thousand men, clad in cloth
of gold, and mounted on elephants richly decked. The officer who is
before him cries from time to time, in a loud voice, 'Behold the great
monarch, the powerful Sultan of the Indies, the monarch greater than
Solomon and the powerful Maharaja. 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 alone who liveth forever and
The Caliph was much pleased with my account, and sent me home with a
Here Sindbad commanded another hundred sequins to be paid to Hindbad,
and begged his return on the morrow to hear of his last voyage.
THE LAST VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR
On the seventh day, after dinner, Sindbad told the story of his last
On my return home from my sixth voyage, I had entirely given up all
thoughts of again going to sea; for, not only did my age now
require rest, but I was resolved to run no more such risks as I had
encountered, so that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my
days in peace.
One day, however, an officer of the Caliph inquired for me. "The
Caliph," said he, "has sent me to tell you that he must speak with
you." I followed the officer to the palace, where, being presented to
the Caliph, I saluted him, throwing myself at his feet.
"Sindbad," said he to me, "I stand in need of your service; you must
carry my answer and present to the King of the Indies."
This command of the Caliph was to me like a clap of thunder.
"Commander of the Faithful," I replied, "I am ready to do whatever
your Majesty shall think fit to command; but I beg you most humbly to
consider what I have undergone. I have also made a vow never to leave
The Caliph insisted, and I finally told him that I was willing to
obey. He was pleased, and gave me one thousand sequins for the
expenses of my journey.
I prepared for my departure in a few days. As soon as the Caliph's
letter and present were delivered to me, I went to Bussorah, where I
embarked, and had a safe voyage. Having arrived at the capital of the
Indies, I was shown to the palace with much pomp, when I prostrated
myself on the ground before the King.
"Sindbad," said the King, "you are welcome; I have many times thought
of you; I bless the day on which I see you once more." I thanked him
for his kindness, and delivered the gifts from my master.
The Caliph's present was a complete suit of cloth of gold, fifty robes
of rich stuff, a hundred of white cloth, the finest of Cairo, Suez,
and Alexandria; a vessel of agate, more broad than deep, an inch
thick, and half a foot long, the bottom of which was carved to
represent a man with one knee on the ground, who held a bow and arrow,
ready to discharge at a lion. He sent him also a rich tablet, which,
according to tradition, had belonged to the great Solomon.
The King of the Indies was highly gratified at the Caliph's mark of
friendship. A little time after this I asked leave to depart, and with
much difficulty obtained it. The King, when he dismissed me, made me
a very splendid present. I embarked for Baghdad, but had not the good
fortune to arrive there so speedily as I had hoped. Three or four days
after my departure we were attacked by pirates, who seized upon our
ship, because it was not a vessel of war. Some of the crew fought
back, which cost them their lives. But myself and the rest, who were
not so rash, the pirates saved, and carried into a distant island,
where they sold us.
I fell into the hands of a rich merchant, who, as soon as he bought
me, took me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely as
a slave. Some days after, he asked me if I understood any trade. I
answered that I was no mechanic, but a merchant, and that the pirates
who sold me had robbed me of all I had.
"Tell me," he said, "can you shoot with a bow?" I answered that the
bow was one of my exercises in my youth.
Then my master told me to climb into a tree and shoot at the elephants
as they passed and let him know as soon as I killed one, in order that
he might get the tusks. I hid as he told me, and as I was successful
the first day, he sent me day after day, for two months.
One morning the elephants surrounded my tree, and the largest pulled
up the tree with his trunk and threw it on the ground. Then, picking
me up, he laid me on his back and carried me to a hill almost covered
with the bones and tusks of elephants. I knew that this must be the
burial place of the elephants and they had brought me here to show me
that I could get vast quantities of ivory without killing any more
I went back to the city and told my master all that had happened.
He was overjoyed at my escape from death and the riches which I had
obtained for him. As a reward for my services he set me free and
promised to send me home as soon as the trade winds brought the ships
A ship arrived at last, and my master loaded one half of it with ivory
for me. When we reached a port on the mainland, I landed my ivory and
set out for home with a caravan of merchants. I was a long time on the
journey, but was happy in thinking that I had nothing to fear from
the sea or from pirates. At last I arrived at Baghdad, and the Caliph
loaded me with honors and rich presents.
Sindbad here finished the story of his seventh and last voyage. Then
addressing himself to Hindbad, he said, "Well, friend, did you ever
hear of any person who had suffered as much as I have?"
Hindbad kissed Sindbad's hand and said, "Sir, my afflictions are not
to be compared with yours. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are
worthy of all the riches you possess. May you live happily for a long
Sindbad ordered him to be paid another hundred sequins and told him to
give up carrying burdens and to eat henceforth at his table, for he
wished him to remember that he would always have a friend in Sindbad
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Discussion. 1. Why did Sindbad tell the story of his voyages? 2.
What was the effect of these stories upon Hindbad? 3. If Hindbad had
desired to become as rich as Sindbad, what should he have done, and
what price would he have paid? 4. Why did Sindbad give money to his
guest at the end of each story? 5. Did he do other good deeds with his
money? 6. In each of these three long stories, of Aladdin, Ali Baba,
and Sindbad the Sailor, what do you learn about the duty of men who
have by chance or by their own hard work succeeded in acquiring
riches? 7. How many voyages did Sindbad make to satisfy his love of
adventure? 8. Which voyage was undertaken to please someone else? 9.
Mention some things that Sindbad sold at great profit. 10. Where are
these articles most used or valued? 11. Why was it so difficult to
travel by water at the time Sindbad lived? 12. What do we learn about
Sindbad's character from the story of his voyages? 13. What do we
learn about Sindbad's character from his treatment of Hindbad? 14.
What parts of the story show that people in Sindbad's time knew very
little about geography? 15. Which of Sindbad's seven voyages is the
most interesting to you? 16. What have you learned of Eastern customs
from this story? 17. Earlier you were told why we read adventure
stories of this kind; show why you think the Arabian Nights stories
have the two values mentioned. 18. Class readings: Select passages to
be read aloud. 19. Outline for testing silent reading. Tell in your
own words the story of each of the voyages of Sindbad, using the topic
headings given in the book. If possible, try to tell these stories to
some child who cannot read them. 20. The Arabian Nights by Wiggin and
Smith was illustrated by the famous American artist, Maxfield Parrish;
you will enjoy looking at these pictures. 21. Find in the Glossary the
meaning of: mansion; grave; humor; ointment; sandalwood; repentance;
turban; shipping; traffic; azure. 22. Pronounce: Caliph;
Harun-al-Rashid; savory; repast; becalmed; Maharaja; rarities; aloes;
sequin; roc; desert; Arabic; sovereign; tradition.
Phrases for Study
attend his pleasure, Commander of the Faithful, bountiful traveler,
THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD
(Ed.--This story, in it's original, uncondensed version, in addition
to many others, can be found at the web site http://www.gutenberg.org,
searching in the index for the title Robin Hood.)
THE HOME OF ROBIN IN SHERWOOD FOREST
Many hundreds of years ago, when the Plantagenets were kings, England
was so covered with woods that a squirrel was said to be able to hop
from tree to tree from the Severn to the Humber.
It must have been very different-looking from the country we travel
through now; but still there were roads that ran from north to south
and from east to west, for the use of those who wished to leave their
homes, and at certain times of the year these roads were thronged with
people. Pilgrims going to some holy shrine passed along, merchants
taking their wares to Court, Abbots and Bishops ambling by on palfreys
to bear their part in the King's Council, and, more frequently still,
a solitary Knight, seeking adventures.
Besides the broad roads there were small tracks and little green
paths, and these led to clumps of low huts, where dwelt the peasants,
charcoal-burners, and plowmen, while here and there some larger
clearing than usual told that the house of a yeoman was near.
Now and then as you passed through the forest you might ride by a
splendid abbey, and catch a glimpse of monks in long black or white
gowns, fishing in the streams and rivers that abound in this part of
England, or casting nets in the fish ponds which were in the midst
of the abbey gardens. Or you might chance to see a castle with round
turrets and high battlements, circled by strong walls, and protected
by a moat full of water.
This was the sort of England into which the famous Robin Hood was
born. We know very little about him, who he was, or where he lived,
except that for some reason he had offended the King, who had declared
him an outlaw, so that any man might kill him and never pay a penalty
But, outlaw or not, the poor people loved him and looked on him as
their friend, and many a stout fellow came to join him, and led a
merry life in the greenwood, with moss and fern for bed, and for meat
the King's deer, which it was death to slay.
Peasants of all sorts, tillers of the land, yeomen, and, as some say,
Knights, went on their ways freely, for of them Robin took no toll;
but rich men with moneybags well filled trembled as they drew near to
Sherwood Forest--who was to know whether behind every tree there did
not lurk Robin Hood or some of his men?
THE COMING OF LITTLE JOHN
One day Robin was walking alone in the wood, and reached a river which
was spanned by a very narrow bridge, over which one man only could
pass. In the middle stood a stranger, and Robin bade him go back and
let him go over. "I am no man of yours," was all the answer Robin got,
and in anger he drew his bow and fitted an arrow to it.
"Would you shoot a man who has no arms but a staff?" asked the
stranger in scorn; and with shame Robin laid down his bow, and
unbuckled an oaken stick at his side. "We will fight till one of us
falls into the water," he said; and fight they did, till the stranger
planted a blow so well that Robin rolled over into the river.
"You are a brave soul," said he, when he had waded to land; and he
blew a blast with his horn which brought fifty good fellows, clad in
green, to the little bridge. "Have you fallen into the river, that
your clothes are wet?" asked one; and Robin made answer, "No, but this
stranger, fighting on the bridge, got the better of me and tumbled me
into the stream."
At this the foresters seized the stranger and would have ducked him,
had not their leader bade them stop and begged the stranger to stay
with them and make one of themselves. "Here is my hand," replied the
stranger, "and my heart with it. My name, if you would know it, is
"That must be altered," cried Will Scarlett; "we will call a feast,
and henceforth, because he is full seven feet tall and round the waist
at least an ell, he shall be called Little John."
And thus it was done; but at the feast Little John, who always liked
to know exactly what work he had to do, put some questions to Robin
Hood. "Before I join hands with you, tell me first what sort of life
this is you lead. How am I to know whose goods I shall take, and
whose I shall leave? Whom shall I beat, and whom shall I refrain from
And Robin answered: "Look that you harm not any tiller of the ground,
nor any yeoman of the greenwood--no, nor any knight or squire, unless
you have heard him ill spoken of. But if rich men with moneybags come
your way, see that you spoil THEM, and mark that you always hold in
your mind the High Sheriff of Nottingham."
This being settled, Robin Hood declared Little John to be second in
command to himself among the brotherhood of the forest, and the
new outlaw never forgot to hold in his mind the High Sheriff of
Nottingham, who was the bitterest enemy the foresters had.
Robin Hood, however, had no liking for a company of idle men about
him, so he at once sent off Little John and Will Scarlett to the great
road known as Wafting Street with orders to hide among the trees and
wait till some adventure might come to them. If they took captive Earl
or Baron, Abbot or Knight, he was to be brought unharmed back to Robin
But all along Wafting Street the road was bare; white and hard it lay
in the sun, without the tiniest cloud of dust to show that a rich
company might be coming; east and west the land lay still.
LITTLE JOHN'S FIRST ADVENTURE
At length, just where a side path turned into the broad highway, there
rode a Knight, and a sorrier man than he never sat a horse on a summer
day. One foot only was in the stirrup; the other hung carelessly by
his side. His head was bowed, the reins dropped loose, and his horse
went on as he would. At so sad a sight the hearts of the outlaws were
filled with pity, and Little John fell on his knees and bade the
Knight welcome in the name of his master. "Who is your master?" asked
"Robin Hood," answered Little John.
"I have heard much good of him," replied the Knight, "and will go with
Then they all set off together, tears running down the Knight's cheeks
as he rode. But he said nothing; neither was anything said to him. And
in this wise they came to Robin Hood.
"Welcome, Sir Knight," cried he, "and thrice welcome, for I waited to
break my fast till you or some other had come to me." "God save you,
good Robin," answered the Knight; and after they had washed themselves
in the stream, they sat down to dine off bread and wine, with flesh of
the King's deer, and swans and pheasants. "Such a dinner have I not
had for three weeks and more," said the Knight.
"And if I ever come again this way, good Robin, I will give you as
fine a dinner as you have given me."
"I thank you," replied Robin; "my dinner is always welcome; still, I
am none so greedy but I can wait for it. But before you go, pay me, I
pray you, for the food which you have had. It was never the custom for
a yeoman to pay for a Knight."
"My bag is empty," said the Knight, "save for ten shillings only."
"Go, Little John, and look in his wallet," said Robin, "and, Sir
Knight, if in truth you have no more, not one penny will I take; nay,
I will give you all that you shall need."
So Little John spread out the Knight's mantle, and opened the bag, and
therein lay ten shillings and naught besides.
"What tidings, Little John?" cried his master.
"Sir, the Knight speaks truly," said Little John.
"Then fill a cup of the best wine and tell me Sir Knight, whether it
is your own ill doings which have brought you to this sorry pass."
"For a hundred years my fathers have dwelt in the forest," answered
the Knight, "and four hundred pounds might they spend yearly. But
within two years misfortune has befallen me, and my wife and children
"How did this evil come to pass?" asked Robin.
"Through my own folly," answered the Knight, "and because of the great
love I bore my son, who would never be guided of my counsel, and slew,
ere he was twenty years old, a Knight of Lancaster and his squire. For
their deaths I had to pay a large sum, which I could not raise without
giving my lands in pledge to a rich man at York. If I cannot give him
the money by a certain day, they will be lost to me forever."
"What is the sum?" asked Robin. "Tell me truly."
"It is four hundred pounds," said the Knight.
"And what will you do if you lose your lands?" asked Robin again.
"Hie myself over the sea," said the Knight, "and bid farewell to my
friends and country. There is no better way open to me."
As he spoke, tears fell from his eyes, and he turned to depart.
"Good day, my friend," he said to Robin; "I cannot pay you what I
should--" But Robin held him fast. "Where are your friends?" asked he.
"Sir, they have all forsaken me, since I became poor, and they turn
away their heads if we meet upon the road, though when I was rich they
were ever in my castle."
When Little John and Will Scarlett and the rest heard this, they wept
for very shame and fury, and Robin bade them fill a cup of the best
wine and give it to the Knight.
"Have you no one who would stay surety for you?" said he.
"None," answered the Knight; "there is no one who will stay surety for
"You speak well," said Robin, "and you, Little John, go to my treasure
chest, and bring me thence four hundred pounds. And be sure you count
So Little John went, and Will Scarlett, and they brought back the
"Sir," said Little John, when Robin had counted it and found it no
more and no less, "look at his clothes, how thin they are! You have
stores of garments, green and scarlet, in your coffers--no merchant in
England can boast the like. I will measure some out with my bow." And
thus he did.
"Master," spoke Little John again, "there is still something else. You
must give him a horse, that he may go as beseems his quality to York."
"Take the gray horse," said Robin, "and put a new saddle on it, and
take likewise a good palfrey and a pair of boots, with gilt Spurs on
them. And as it would be a shame for a Knight to ride by himself on
this errand, I will lend you Little John as squire--perchance he may
stand you in yeoman's stead."
"When shall we meet again?" asked the Knight.
"This day twelve months," said Robin, "under the greenwood tree."
THE KNIGHT WINS BACK HIS LANDS
Then the Knight rode on his way, with Little John behind him, and as
he went he thought of Robin Hood and his men, and blessed them for the
goodness they had shown toward him.
"Tomorrow," he said to Little John, "I must be in the city of York,
for if I am so much as a day late, my lands are lost forever; and
though I were to bring the money, I should not be allowed to redeem
Now the man who had lent the money, as well as the Knight, had been
counting the days, and the next day he said to his friends, "This
day year there came a Knight and borrowed of me four hundred pounds,
giving his lands as surety. If he come not to pay his debt before
midnight, they will be mine forever."
"It is full early yet," said one; "he may still be coming."
"He is far beyond the sea and suffers from hunger and cold," said the
rich man. "How is he to get here?"
"It were a shame," said another, "for you to take his lands. And you
do him much wrong if you drive such a hard bargain."
"He is dead or hanged," said a third, "and you will have his lands."
So they went to the High Justiciar, whose duty it would be to declare
the Knight's lands forfeited if he did not pay the money.
"If he come not this day," cried the rich man, rubbing his hands, "the
lands will be mine."
"He will not come," said the Justiciar, but he knew not that the
Knight was already at the outer gate, and Little John with him.
"Welcome, Sir Knight," said the porter. "The horse that you ride is
the noblest that ever I saw. Let me lead it and the steed of your
companion to the stable, that they may have food and rest."
"They shall not pass these gates," answered the Knight sternly, and he
entered the hall alone.
"I have come back, my lord," he said, kneeling down before the rich
man, who had just returned from court. "Have you brought my money?"
"I have come to pray you to give me more time," said the Knight.
"The day was fixed and cannot be gainsaid," answered the Justiciar,
who was sitting at meat with others in the hall.
The Knight begged the Justiciar to be his friend and help him, but he
"Give me one more chance to get the money and free my lands," prayed
the Knight. "I will serve you day and night till I have four hundred
pounds to redeem them." But the rich man only vowed that the money
must be paid that day or the lands be forfeited.
Then the Knight stood up straight and tall.
"You are not courteous," he said, "to make a Knight kneel so long. But
it is well to prove one's friends against the hour of need."
Then he looked the rich man full in the face, and the man felt uneasy
and hated the Knight more than ever. "Out of my hall, false Knight,"
he cried, pretending to a courage he did not feel.
But the Knight answered him, "Never was I false, and that I have shown
in jousts and in tourneys."
"Give him two hundred pounds more," said the Justiciar to the rich
man, "and keep the lands yourself."
"No," cried the Knight, "not if you offered me a thousand pounds would
I do it. No one here shall be heir of mine." Then he strode up to a
table and emptied out four hundred pounds. "Take your gold which you
lent to me a year agone," he said. "Had you but received me civilly, I
would have paid you something more."
Then he passed out of the hall singing merrily and rode back to his
house, where his wife met him at the gate.
He went forth full merrily singing, As men have told in tale; His lady
met him at the gate, At home in Wierysdale.
"Welcome, my lord," said his lady; "Sir, lost is all your good." "Be
merry, dame," said the Knight, "And pray for Robin Hood."
Then he told how Robin Hood had befriended him, and how he had
redeemed his lands, and finished his tale by praising the outlaw. "But
for his kindness," he said, "we had been beggars."
After this the Knight dwelt at home, looking after his lands and
saving his money carefully, till the four hundred pounds lay ready for
Robin Hood. Then he bought a hundred bows and a hundred arrows, and
every arrow was an ell long, and had a head of silver and peacock's
feathers. And clothing himself in white and red, and with a hundred
men in his train, he set off to Sherwood Forest.
On the way he passed an open space near a bridge where there was a
wrestling, and the Knight stopped and looked, for he himself had taken
many a prize in that sport. Here the prizes were such as to fill any
man with envy: a fine horse, saddled and bridled, a great white bull,
a pair of gloves, and a ring of bright, red gold.
There was not a yeoman present who did not hope to win one of them.
But when the wrestling was over, the yeoman who had beaten them all
was a man who kept apart from his fellows and was said to think much
Therefore the men grudged him his skill, and set upon him with blows,
and would have killed him had not the Knight, for love of Robin Hood,
taken pity on him, while his followers fought with the crowd, and
would not suffer them to touch the prizes a better man had won.
When the wrestling was finished, the Knight rode on, and there under
the greenwood tree, in the place appointed, he found Robin and his
merry men waiting for him, according to the tryst that they had fixed
"God save thee, Robin Hood,
And all this company."
"Welcome be thou, gentle Knight,
And right welcome to me.
"Hast thou thy land again?" said Robin;
"Truth then tell thou me."
"Yea, 'fore God," said the Knight,
"And for it thank I God and thee.
"Have here four hundred pounds,
The which you lent to me;
And here are also twenty marks
For your courtesie."
But Robin would not take the money. A miracle had happened, he said,
and it had been paid to him, and shame would it be for him to take it
Then he noticed for the first time the bows and arrows which the
Knight had brought, and asked what they were. "A poor present to you,"
answered the Knight; and Robin, who would not be outdone, sent Little
John once more to his treasury, and bade him bring forth four hundred
pounds, which were given to the Knight.
After that they parted, in much love; and Robin prayed the Knight if
he were in any strait to let him know at the greenwood tree, and while
there was any gold there he should have it.
HOW LITTLE JOHN BECAME THE SHERIFF'S SERVANT
Meanwhile the High Sheriff of Nottingham proclaimed a great
shooting-match in a broad open space, and Little John was minded to
try his skill with the rest. He rode through the forest, whistling
gaily to himself, for well he knew that not one of Robin Hood's men
could send an arrow as straight as he, and he felt little fear of
When he reached the trysting place, he found a large company
assembled, the Sheriff with them, and the rules of the match were read
out: where they were to stand, how far the mark was to be, and that
three tries should be given to every man.
Some of the shooters shot near the mark; some of them even touched it;
but none but Little John split the slender wand of willow with every
arrow that flew from his bow.
At this sight the Sheriff of Nottingham swore that Little John was the
best archer that ever he had seen, and asked him who he was and where
he was born, and vowed that if he would enter his service he would
give twenty marks a year to so good a bowman.
Little John, who did not wish to confess that he was one of Robin
Hood's men and an outlaw, said his name was Reynold Greenleaf, and
that he was in the service of a Knight, whose leave he must get before
he became the servant of any man.
This was given heartily by the Knight whose lands had been saved by
the kindness of Robin Hood, and Little John bound himself to the
Sheriff for the space of twelve months, and was given a good white
horse to ride on whenever he went abroad. But for all that, he did not
like his bargain, and made up his mind to do the Sheriff, who was
hated of the outlaws, all the mischief he could.
His chance came on a Wednesday, when the Sheriff always went hunting,
and Little John lay in bed till noon, or till he grew hungry. Then he
got up and told the steward that he wanted some dinner. The steward
answered that he should have nothing till the Sheriff came home; so
Little John grumbled and left him, and sought out the butler.
Here he was no more successful than before; the butler just went to
the buttery door and locked it, and told Little John that he would
have to make himself happy till his lord returned.
Rude words mattered nothing to Little John, who was not, accustomed to
be balked by trifles; so he gave a mighty kick, which burst open the
door, and then ate and drank as much as he would, and when he had
finished all there was in the buttery, he went down into the kitchen.
Now the Sheriff's cook was a strong man and a bold one, and had no
mind to let another man play the king in his kitchen; so he gave
Little John three smart blows, which were returned heartily. "Thou art
a brave man and hardy," said Little John, "and a good fighter withal.
I have a sword; take you another, and let us see which is the better
man of us twain."
The cook did as he was bid, and for two hours they fought, neither of
them harming the other. "Fellow," said Little John at last, "you are
one of the best swordsmen that I ever saw--and if you could shoot as
well with the bow, I would take you back to the merry greenwood, and
Robin Hood would give you twenty marks a year and two changes of
"Put up your sword," said the cook, "and I will go with you. But first
we will have some food in my kitchen, and carry off a little of the
gold and silver that is in the Sheriff's treasure house."
They ate and drank till they wanted no more, and they broke the locks
of the treasure house, and took of the silver as much as they could
carry, and of the gold, three hundred pounds and more, and departed
unseen by anyone to Robin in the forest.
"Welcome! welcome!" cried Robin, when he saw them; "a welcome, too,
to the fair yeoman you bring with you. What tidings from Nottingham,
"The proud Sheriff greets you, and sends you by my hand his cook and
his silver vessels, and three hundred pounds and three also."
Robin shook his head, for he knew better than to believe Little John's
tale. "It was never by his good will that you brought such treasure to
me," he answered; and Little John, fearing that he might be ordered to
take it back again, slipped away into the forest to carry out a plan
that had just come into his head.
He ran straight on for five miles, till he came up with the Sheriff,
who was still hunting, and flung himself on his knees before him.
"Reynold Greenleaf," cried the Sheriff, "what are you doing here, and
where have you been?"
"I have been in the forest, where I saw a fair hart of a green color,
and seven score deer feeding hard by."
"That sight would I see too," said the Sheriff.
"Then follow me," answered Little John, and he ran back the way he
came, the Sheriff following on horseback, till they turned a corner of
the forest, and found themselves in Robin Hood's presence. "Sir, here
is the master hart," said Little John.
Still stood the proud Sheriff; A sorry man was he. "Woe be to you,
Reynold Greenleaf; Thou hast betrayed me!"
"It was not my fault," answered Little John, "but the fault of your
servants, master; for they would not give me my dinner." So he went
away to see to the supper.
It was spread under the greenwood tree, and they sat down to it,
hungry men all. But when the Sheriff saw himself served from his own
dishes, his appetite went from him.
"Take heart, man," said Robin Hood, "and think not we will poison you.
For charity's sake, and for the love of Little John, your life shall
be granted you. Only for twelve months you shall dwell with me, and
learn what it is to be an outlaw."
To the Sheriff this punishment was worse to bear than the loss of
gold, or silver dishes, and earnestly he begged Robin Hood to set him
free, vowing he would prove himself the best friend that ever the
Neither Robin nor any of his men believed him; but he swore that he
would never seek to do them harm, and that if he found any of them in
evil plight he would deliver them out of it. With that Robin let him
HOW ROBIN MET FRIAR TUCK
In many ways life in the forest was dull in the winter, and often the
days passed slowly; but in summer, when the leaves were green, and
flowers and ferns covered all the woodland, Robin Hood and his men
would come out of their warm resting places, like the rabbits and the
squirrels, and would play, too. Races they ran to stretch their legs,
or leaping matches were arranged, or they would shoot at a mark.
Anything was pleasant when the grass was soft once more under their
"Who of you can kill a hart five hundred paces off?" So said Robin to
his men one bright May morning; and they went into the wood and tried
their skill, and in the end it was Little John who brought down the
hart, to the great joy of Robin Hood.
"I would ride my horse a hundred miles to find one who could match
with thee," he said to Little John; and Will Scarlett, who was perhaps
rather jealous of this mighty deed, answered, with a laugh, "There
lives a friar in Fountains Abbey who would beat both him and you."
Now Robin Hood did not like to be told that any man could shoot better
than himself or his foresters; so he swore lustily that he would
neither eat nor drink till he had seen that friar. Leaving his men
where they were, he put on a coat of mail and a steel cap, took his
shield and sword, slung his bow over his shoulder, and filled his
quiver with arrows. Thus armed, he set forth to Fountains Dale.
By the side of the river a friar was walking, armed like Robin, but
without a bow. At this sight Robin jumped from his horse, which he
tied to a thorn, and called to the friar to carry him over the water,
or it would cost him his life.
The friar said nothing, but hoisted Robin on his broad back and
marched into the river. Not a word was spoken till they reached the
other side, when Robin leaped, lightly down, and was going on his way.
Then the friar stopped him. "Not so fast, my fine fellow," said he.
"It is my turn now, and you shall take me across the river, or woe
will betide you."
So Robin carried him, and when they had reached the side from which
they had started, he set down the friar and jumped for the second
time on his back, and bade him take him whence he had come. The friar
strode into the stream with his burden, but as soon as they got to the
middle he bent his head, and Robin fell into the water. "Now you can
sink or swim, as you like," said the friar, as he stood and laughed.
Robin Hood swam to a bush of golden broom, and pulled himself out of
the water; and while the friar was scrambling out, Robin fitted an
arrow to his bow and let fly at him. But the friar quickly held up his
shield, and the arrow fell harmless.
"Shoot on, my fine fellow; shoot on all day if you like," shouted the
friar; and Robin shot till his arrows were gone, but always missed his
mark. Then they took their swords, and at four of the afternoon they
were still fighting.
By this time Robin's strength was wearing, and he felt he could not
fight much more. "A boon, a boon!" cried he. "Let me but blow three
blasts on my horn, and I will thank you on my bended knees for it."
The friar told him to blow as many blasts as he liked, and in an
instant the forest echoed with his horn; it was but a few minutes
before half a hundred yeomen were racing over the lea. The friar
stared when he saw them; then, turning to Robin, he begged of him a
boon also; and leave being granted, he gave three whistles, which were
followed by the noise of a great crashing through the trees, as fifty
great dogs bounded toward him.
"Here's a dog for each of your men," said the friar, "and I myself for
you"; but the dogs did not listen to his words, for two of them rushed
at Robin and tore his mantle of Lincoln green from off his back. His
men were kept busy defending themselves, for every arrow shot at a dog
was caught and held in the creature's mouth.
Robin's men were not used to fight with dogs, and felt they were
getting beaten. At last Little John bade the friar call off his dogs,
and as he did not do so, he let fly some arrows, which this time left
half a dozen dead on the ground.
"Hold, hold, my good fellow," said the friar, "till your master and I
can come to a bargain"; and when the bargain was made, this was how
it ran: that the friar was to forswear Fountains Abbey and join
Robin Hood, and that he should be paid a golden noble every Sunday
throughout the year, besides a change of clothes on each holy day.
This Friar had kept Fountains Dale Seven long years or more; There was
neither Knight, nor Lord, nor Earl Could make him yield before.
But now he became one of the most famous members of Robin Hood's men
under the name of Friar Tuck.
HOW ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN FELL OUT
One Whitsunday morning, when the sun was shining and the birds
singing, Robin Hood called to Little John to come with him into
Nottingham to church. As was their custom, they took their bows, and
on the way Little John proposed that they should shoot a match, with a
penny for a wager.
Robin, who held that he shot better than any Other man living, laughed
in scorn, and told Little John that he should have three tries to his
master's one, which John without more ado accepted.
But Robin soon repented both of his offer and his scorn, for Little
John speedily won five shillings, whereat Robin became angry and smote
Little John with his hand. Little John was not the man to bear being
treated so, and he told Robin roundly that he would never more own him
for master, and straightway turned back into the wood.
At this, Robin was ashamed of what he had done, but his pride would
not suffer him to say so; and he continued his way to Nottingham, and
entered the Church of St. Mary, not without secret fears, for the
Sheriff of the town was ever his enemy. However, there he was, and
there he meant to stay.
He knelt down in the sight of all the people; but none knew him save
one man only, and he stole out of church and ran to the Sheriff and
bade him come quickly and take his foe.
The Sheriff was not slow to do what he was bidden, and, calling his
men to follow him, he marched to the church. The noise they made in
entering caused Robin to look round. "Alas, alas," he said to himself,
"now miss I Little John."
But he drew his two-handed sword and laid about him in such wise that
twelve of the Sheriff's men lay dead before him. Then Robin found
himself face to face with the Sheriff, and gave him a fierce blow; but
his sword broke on the Sheriff's head, and he had shot away all his
arrows. So the men closed round him and bound his arms.
Ill news travels fast, and not many hours had passed before the
foresters heard that their master was in prison. They wept and moaned
and wrung their hands, and seemed to have gone suddenly mad, till
Little John bade them pluck up their hearts and help him deal with the
The next morning Little John hid himself and waited with a comrade
till he saw a messenger riding along the road, carrying letters from
the Sheriff to the King, telling him of the capture of Robin Hood.
"Whence come you?" asked Little John, going up to the messenger, "and
can you give us tidings of an outlaw named Robin Hood, who was taken
"You may thank me that he is taken," said the rider, "for I laid hands
"I thank you so much that I and my friend will bear you company," said
Little John, "for in this forest are many wild men who own Robin Hood
for leader, and you ride along this road at the peril of your life."
They went on together, talking the while, when suddenly Little John
seized the horse by the head and pulled down the rider.
"He was my master," said Little John, "That you have brought to bale;
Never shall you come at the King For to tell him that tale."
Then taking the letters, Little John carried them to the King.
When they arrived at the palace in the presence of the King, Little
John and his companion fell on their knees and held out the letters.
"God save you, my liege lord," they said, and the King unfolded the
letters and read them.
Then he handed his own seal to Little John and ordered him to bear it
to the Sheriff and bid him without delay bring Robin Hood unhurt into
his presence. "There never was yeoman in Merry England that I longed
so sore to see," he said.
The King also ordered his treasurer to give the messengers twenty
pounds each, and made them yeomen of the crown.
Little John took the King's seal to the Sheriff, who made him and his
companion welcome because they came from the King. He set a feast for
them, and after he had eaten he fell asleep. Then the two outlaws
stole softly to the prison. They overpowered the guard and, taking the
keys, hunted through the cells until they found Robin Hood. Little
John whispered to his master to follow him, and they crept along till
they reached the lowest part of the city wall, from which they jumped
and were safe and free.
"Now, farewell," said Little John; "I have done you a good turn for an
ill." "Not so," answered Robin Hood; "I make you master of my men and
me." But Little John would hear nothing of it. "I only wish to be your
comrade, and thus it shall be," he replied.
"Little John has beguiled us both," said the King, when he heard of
HOW THE KING VISITED ROBIN HOOD
Now the King had no mind that Robin Hood should do as he willed, and
called his Knights to follow him to Nottingham, where they would lay
plans how best to take captive the outlaw. Here they heard sad tales
of Robin's misdoings, and how of the many herds of wild deer that had
roamed the forest, in some places scarce one deer remained. This was
the work of Robin Hood and his merry men, on whom the King swore
vengeance with a great oath.
"I would I had this Robin Hood in my hands," cried he, "and an end
should soon be put to his doings." So spake the King; but an old
Knight, full of days and wisdom, answered him and warned him that the
task of taking Robin Hood would be a sore one, and best let alone. The
King, who had seen the vanity of his hot words the moment that he had
uttered them, listened to the old man and resolved to bide his time
until perchance some day Robin should fall into his power.
All this time, and for six weeks later that he dwelt in Nottingham,
the King could hear nothing of Robin, who seemed to have vanished
into the earth with his merry men, though one by one the deer were
vanishing, too. At last one day a forester came to the King and told
him that if he would see Robin he must come with him and take five of
his best Knights. The King eagerly sprang up to do his bidding, and
the six men, clad in monks' clothes, mounted their palfreys and rode
merrily along, the King wearing an Abbot's broad hat over his crown,
and singing as he passed through the greenwood. Suddenly at the turn
of a path Robin and his archers appeared before them.
"By your leave, Sir Abbot," said Robin, seizing the King's bridle,
"you will stay a while with us. Know that we are yeomen, who live upon
the King's deer, and other food have we none. Now you have abbeys and
churches, and gold in plenty; therefore give us some of it, in the
name of holy charity."
"I have no more than forty pounds with me," answered the King, "but
sorry I am it is not a hundred, for you should have it all."
So Robin took the forty pounds, and gave half to his men, and then
told the King he might go on his way. "I thank you," said the King,
"but I would have you know that our liege lord has bid me bear you his
seal and pray you to come to Nottingham."
At this message Robin bent his knee.
"I love no man in all the world
So well as I do my King,"
he cried, "and Sir Abbot, for thy tidings, which fill my heart with
joy, today thou shalt dine with me, for love of my King."
Then he led the King into an open place, and Robin took a horn and
blew it loud, and at its blast seven score of young men came speedily
to do his will.
"They are quicker to do his bidding than my men are to do mine," said
the King to himself.
Speedily the foresters set out the dinner, roasts of venison and
loaves of white bread, and Robin and Little John served the King.
"Make good cheer," said Robin, "Abbot, for charity, and then you shall
see what sort of life we lead, so that you may tell our King."
When he had finished eating, the archers took their bows and hung
rose-garlands up with a string, and every man was to shoot through the
garland. If he failed, he should have a buffet on the head from Robin.
Good bowmen as they were, few managed to stand the test. Little John
and Will Scarlett and Much all shot wide of the mark, and at length no
one was left in but Robin himself and Gilbert of the Wide Hand. Then
Robin fired his last bolt, and it fell three fingers from the garland.
"Master," said Gilbert, "you have lost; stand forth and take your
punishment, as was agreed."
"I will take it," answered Robin, "but, Sir Abbot, I pray you that I
may suffer it at your hands."
The King hesitated. "It does not become me," he said, "to smite such
a stout yeoman"; but Robin bade him smite on and spare him not; so he
turned up his sleeve, and gave Robin such a lusty buffet on the head
that he lost his feet and rolled upon the ground.
"There is pith in your arm," said Robin. "Come, shoot a main with me."
And the King took up a bow, and in so doing his hat fell back, and
Robin saw his face.
"My lord the King of England, now I know you well," cried he; and he
fell on his knees, and all the outlaws with him. "Mercy I ask, my lord
the King, for all my brave foresters and me."
"Mercy I grant," then said the King; "and therefore I came hither, to
bid you and your men leave the greenwood and dwell in my Court with
"So shall it be," answered Robin; "I and my men will come to your
Court, and see how your service liketh us."
ROBIN AT COURT
"Have you any green cloth," asked the King, "that you could sell to
me?" and Robin brought out thirty yards and more, and clad the King
and his men in coats of Lincoln green. "Now we will all ride to
Nottingham," said he, and they went merrily, shooting by the way.
The people of Nottingham saw them coming and trembled as they watched
the dark mass of Lincoln green drawing near over the fields. "I fear
lest our King be slain," whispered one to another; "and if Robin Hood
gets into the town, there is not one of us whose life is safe"; and
every man, woman, and child made ready to flee.
The King laughed out when he saw their fright, and called them back.
Right glad were they to hear his voice, and they feasted and made
merry. A few days later the King returned to London, and Robin dwelt
in his Court for twelve months. By that time he had spent a hundred
pounds, for he gave largely to the Knights and squires he met, and
great renown he had for his open-handedness. But his men, who had been
born under the shadow of the forest, could not live amid streets and
houses. One by one they slipped away, till only Little John and Will
Scarlett were left. Then Robin himself grew homesick, and at the
sight of some young men shooting he thought upon the time when he was
accounted the best archer in all England, and went straightway to the
King and begged for leave to go on a pilgrimage.
"I may not say you nay," answered the King; "seven nights you may be
gone and no more." And Robin thanked him, and that evening set out for
the greenwood. It was early morning when he reached it at last, and
listened thirstily to the notes of singing birds, great and small.
"It seems long since I was here," he said to himself; "it would give
me great joy if I could bring down a deer once more"; and he shot a
great hart, and blew his horn, and all the outlaws of the forest came
flocking round him. "Welcome," they said, "our dear master, back to
the greenwood tree"; and they threw off their caps and fell on their
knees before him in delight at his return.
Naught that the King could say would tempt Robin Hood back again, and
he dwelt in the greenwood for two and twenty years after he had run
away from Court. And he was ever a faithful friend, kind to the poor,
and gentle to all women.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Historical Note. When William the Conqueror became King of England he
destroyed many villages and towns to make royal forests in which he
might enjoy his favorite sport of hunting. The most famous of the
hunting grounds was in Hampshire and was called the New Forest.
Hundreds of poor people were driven from their homes and left
shelterless that this hunting park might be made. In order to keep up
these hunting grounds, William and the Kings who followed him made
very severe laws for the protection of the deer. The temptation to
shoot these deer must have been very strong, especially to men living
near the forest, for the English at that time excelled all other
nations in the use of the long bow. In consequence of this, many men
killed the King's deer, and fled to the woods to escape punishment.
There they formed into bands and, knowing the forests so well, were
safe from the King's officers. Among these outlaws were many brave and
skillful archers, but none was ever more famous than the hero of this
story, Robin Hood.
Discussion. 1. Why was Robin Hood obliged to live in the forest? 2.
How did he win the friendship of Little John? 3. What did Robin Hood
tell him about the Sheriff of Nottingham? 4. Describe the appearance
of the Knight whom Little John met in the forest. 5. What foods were
prepared for the dinner which Robin Hood invited the Knight? 6. How
had these provisions been obtained? 7. What story did the Knight tell
to Robin Hood? 8. How did Robin Hood help him? 9. Where do you think
the treasure chest was kept? 10. From whom had this treasure been
taken? 11. How did the Knight show his gratitude after he regained his
lands? 12. Why did the Sheriff of Nottingham want Little John in his
service? 13. What thought was constantly in Little John's mind? 14.
How did he accomplish his purpose? 15. What explanation did he give to
Robin Hood for what he brought from the Sheriff's house? 16. How did
he induce the Sheriff to follow him to the place where Robin Hood was?
17. What punishment did Robin Hood decide upon for the Sheriff? Why
did he not carry it out? 18. How was Robin Hood captured by the
Sheriff? 19. What reason do you think the King had for wanting to see
Robin Hood? 20. What did he determine to do after Robin Hood's escape?
21. Find words in which Robin Hood expressed his love for his King.
22. What offer did the King make to Robin Hood and his men? Why did
the King make them such an offer? 23. Why did Robin dislike living at
Court? 24. How long did Robin Hood live in the greenwood after he left
the Court? 25. Under what conditions do you think life in the forest
would be pleasant? 26. What were these men obliged to give up when
they went into the forest to live? 27. What did they gain by living in
the forest? 28. When did Robin Hood show himself generous? 29. When
did Robin show himself merciful? 30. What do you think of Little
John's treatment of the Sheriff of Nottingham after he had lived in
his house? 31. When did Little John show himself a loyal friend? 32.
When did he show himself hard and cruel? 33. What things mentioned in
this story show that the manners and life of the people in England at
this time were rough? 34. What qualities were most admired in men at
the time of Robin Hood? 35. What was the reason for this? 36. Make a
list showing the good qualities of Robin Hood, such as his courtesy,
his justice, his sense of fair play. Mention the incidents that
illustrate each characteristic. 37. Show that this story has the two
values mentioned in the last paragraph of page 146. 38. Why did Robin
dislike the Sheriff? 39. Find, from the story, ways in which poor or
unfortunate men were oppressed by the laws in those days. 40. Did the
laws seem made to give equal justice to all, or unfair advantages to
the rich and powerful? 41. How do you think Robin felt about these
matters? 42. How did he try to take the side of the poor men who were
thus unfairly dealt with by the government? 43. Tell the story of
Friar Tuck. 44. Why did the King take such an interest in Robin? Do
you think the King was glad to get away from the Court? Why? 45. What
did he say about the way in which Robin was obeyed by his followers?
46. What does the Forward Look tell you about the source of this
story? 47. Class readings: Little John's first adventure, omitting all
but the dialogue, (3 pupils); Robin and his archers with the King;
Robin at the King's Court. 48. Outline for testing silent reading.
Tell the story of Robin Hood, using these topics: (a) the home of
Robin in Sherwood Forest; (b) the coming of Little John; (c) Little
John's first adventure, (d) the Knight's recovery of his lands; (e)
Little John as the Sheriff's servant; (f) Robin's meeting with Friar
Tuck; (g) the disagreement between Robin and Little John; (h) the
King's visit to Robin Hood; (i) Robin at Court. 49. You will enjoy
seeing the pictures in the edition of Robin Hood illustrated by N. C.
Wyeth. 50. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: abbey; battlements
ell; coffers; tourneys; hart; broom; boon; noble. 51. Pronounce:
Plantagenets; palfreys; peasants; yeoman; toll; pheasants; naught;
hie; surety; Justiciar; gainsaid; jousts; heir; tryst; steward;
balked; lea; ado; liege; beguiled; buffet.
Phrases for Study
King's Council, stout fellow, took no toll, break my fast, sorry pass,
guided of my counsel, stay surety, beseems his quality, stand you in
yeoman's stead, redeem them, was minded to try, without more ado, in
such wise, brought to bale, shoot a main, service liketh us.
(Ed.--This story, in it's original, uncondensed version, in addition
to many others, can be found at the web site http://www.gutenberg.org,
searching in the index for the title Gulliver's Travels.)
GULLIVER SAILS FOR THE SOUTH SEA AND IS SHIPWRECKED
My name is Lemuel Gulliver, and my home is in Nottinghamshire. I went
to college at Cambridge, where I studied hard, for I knew my father
was not rich enough to keep me when I should become a man, and that I
must be able to earn my own living.
I decided to be a doctor, but as I had always longed to travel, I
learned to be a good sailor as well. When I had succeeded in becoming
both doctor and sailor, I married, and with my wife's consent I became
surgeon upon a ship and made many voyages. One of these voyages was
with Captain Prichard, master of a vessel called the Antelope, bound
for the South Sea. We set sail from Bristol and started upon our
journey very fairly, until there came a violent storm that drove our
ship near an island called Van Diemen's Land. The Antelope was driven
against a rock, which wrecked and split the vessel in half.
Six of the sailors and myself let down one of the small boats, and,
getting into it, rowed away from the ruined vessel and the dangerous
rock. We rowed until we were so tired we could no longer hold the
oars; then we were obliged to allow our boat to go as the waves
Suddenly there came another violent gust of wind from the north, and
our small boat was at once overturned. I do not know what became of my
unfortunate companions, but I fear all must have been drowned. I was
a good swimmer, and I swam for my life. I went the best way I could,
pushed forward by wind and tide. Sometimes I let my legs drop to see
if my feet touched the bottom, and when I was almost overcome and
fainting, I found to my great joy that I was out of the deep water and
able to walk.
By this time the storm was over. I walked about a mile, until I
reached the shore, and when I stood upon land I could not see a sign
of any houses or people. I felt very weak and tired; so I lay down
upon the grass, which was very short and soft; and soon fell into a
I must have slept all that night, for when I awoke, it was bright
daylight. I tried to rise, but found I was not able even to move.
I had been lying upon my back, and I found my arms and legs were
strongly fastened on each side to the ground; and that my hair, which
was long and thick, was also tied to the ground. I felt several
slender threads over my body. Fastened in this way, I could only look
upwards, and, as the sun came out and shone in my eyes, this was very
uncomfortable. I heard a queer noise about me, but could see nothing
except the sky.
In a little while I felt something alive moving on my left leg; this
thing came gently forward over my breast and almost up to my chin.
Bending my eyes downward as much as I could, I saw a tiny human
creature, not more than six inches high, with a tiny bow and arrow in
his hands. While I gazed in astonishment, forty more of the same kind
followed the first. I called out so loud in my amazement that they all
ran back in a fright, and I felt them leaping from my sides to the
ground. However, they soon returned, and one of them came up so far
as to get a full sight of my face. As he looked at me, he held up his
hands and cried out in a shrill but distinct voice, "Hekinah degul!"
Of course I did not understand what this meant, but from the tone in
which it was said I thought it must express admiration for me.
All this time I lay in great uneasiness. At length I struggled to get
loose, and managed to break the strings and pull up the pegs that
fastened my left arm to the ground. Then with a violent tug that
caused me much pain I broke the strings that tied down my hair on the
left side, and was then able to turn my head a trifle.
The little people all ran off before I could seize them, and there
was a great deal of shouting in very shrill voices. Then in about an
instant I felt quite a hundred arrows shot on my left hand, which
pricked me like so many needles. Besides this, another hundred were
shot into the air and fell all over my body, and some upon my face.
When this shower of arrows was over, I lay groaning with the pain and
covering my face with my free hand. I had only just done so in time,
for immediately another and larger shower fell upon me, and some of
the little people tried to stick their spears into my sides; but
luckily I had a leather waistcoat on, which the tiny spears could not
After this, I thought I had better lie still and remain very quiet
till night came. Then I hoped this odd army would leave me and I
should be able to set myself free. I was not at all afraid of any
number of such small people, once I had the use of my limbs.
GULLIVER IS VISITED BY THE EMPEROR
When they saw I was quiet, they stopped shooting arrows; and, as I
was almost starving, I tried to show them I wanted food by putting my
finger to my mouth, and looking beseechingly at them, praying them to
give me something to eat.
Soon several ladders were put against my sides. Upon these about a
hundred of the people mounted and walked toward my mouth, carrying
baskets full of meat. This meat was in the same shape as shoulders,
legs, and loins of mutton, but smaller than the wings of a lark. It
was all well dressed and cooked, and I ate two or three joints at a
mouthful and took three loaves at a time, which were no bigger than
bullets. The little people gave the food to me as fast as they could,
and showed much wonder at the greatness of my appetite.
I must confess I was tempted to pick up those who were running over
my body and throw them to the ground. But remembering the shower of
arrows and the food they had given me, I felt I was bound in honor not
to do them harm. I could not help thinking these tiny creatures were
plucky and brave, that they should dare to walk over such a giant as
I must seem to them, although one of my hands was free to seize upon
After a time there came before me no less a personage than his
Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of these odd little people. His Majesty
mounted my right leg and advanced forward to my face, followed by a
dozen of his courtiers.
As he stood looking at my face, he spoke for about ten minutes without
any sign of anger, but very gravely and sternly, and often pointing in
front of him, toward, as I afterwards found, the capital city.
To this city the people agreed I was to be carried, and it lay about
half a mile off. I made signs to the Emperor that I wanted to be freed
from the cords that bound me to the earth, and allowed to rise. But
although he understood me well enough, his Majesty shook his head and
showed me I must be carried as a prisoner. However, he made other
signs that told me I should have meat and drink, and was not to be
ill-treated. After this the Emperor and his train got off my body and
Soon after, I felt a great number of people at my left side; and they
loosened the cords that held me, and so let me turn a little upon my
right and get more ease in my uncomfortable position.
Then they put some sweet-smelling ointment upon my face and hands,
which soon removed the smart of the arrows. Being thus refreshed, I
again fell into a deep sleep, which lasted some hours.
These little people were very clever at making all kinds of machines
and engines for carrying heavy weights. They built their ships and
men-of-war, which were about the length of a large dining-table, in
the woods where the timber grew, and then carried them to the sea upon
the machines they made.
They now set to work to prepare the greatest engine they had, which
was a frame of wood, raised three inches from the ground, and about as
long as one of our bedsteads and nearly as wide across. Five hundred
carpenters and engineers got this machine into readiness to carry me
to the city. There was loud shouting, as it was brought up to my side;
and then came the chief difficulty, which was how to lift me on to it.
Eighty poles were driven into the ground, each pole about as tall as
an ordinary ruler. Then the workmen bound my neck, hands, body, and
legs in bandages, and to these bandages they fixed hooks with the
strongest cords fastened to them. Nine hundred of the strongest men
then drew up these cords by pulleys attached to the poles, and thus in
about three hours I was raised and slung upon the machine, and there
tied fast. Fifteen hundred of the Emperor's largest horses, each about
four inches and a half high, were used to draw me on the machine, to
When at last we arrived at the city gates, the Emperor and all his
court came out to meet us. At the place where we stopped there stood
a very old temple, which was the largest in the whole kingdom. The
people no longer used it to worship in, and it had been emptied of
all its furniture and ornaments. It was in this building the Emperor
decided I should live. The great gate was about four feet high and two
feet wide, and I could easily creep through it. Upon each side of the
gate was a small window, just six inches from the ground. To one of
these windows the Emperor's smith fixed ninety-one chains, like those
we use as watch chains in England, and these chains were locked to my
left leg by thirty-six padlocks. Just in front of the temple there was
a turret five feet high, and the Emperor and his principal nobles got
upon the top of this turret to be able to look at me as I lay.
So many people crowded from the city to see me, and all mounted upon
my body by the help of ladders, that at last the Emperor gave an order
that no one else must do so, on penalty of death. For this I was very
glad, as I was becoming quite worn out.
When the workmen found it was impossible for me to break my chains
and get free, they cut all the strings that bound me, and I rose up
feeling very strange and sad.
The astonishment of the people at seeing me rise was truly great. The
chains that held my left leg were two yards long, and that allowed me
to walk backwards and forwards, and also to creep into the temple and
GULLIVER IS KEPT A PRISONER AT THE CAPITAL
When I found myself on my feet, I looked about at the surrounding
country. It seemed like one big garden, and the fields, which were
about the size of an ordinary room, appeared like so many beds of
flowers. Then there were the little patches of trees, which made the
woods of this tiny country, and the tallest tree among them was not
much higher than an Englishman. The little city itself looked like the
painted scene in a theater.
As I was extremely tired, I did not stay long to look, but crept into
my house and shut the door after me. When I had rested, I came out
again and stepped backward and forward as far as my chains allowed.
Then the Emperor began to ride up to me; but upon seeing me, the horse
took fright and nearly threw its rider, which was no wonder, as the
poor animal must have thought I was a moving mountain. The prince was
an excellent horseman and kept his seat well, while his attendants ran
to assist him. Then his Majesty got off his horse and walked up to me
and seemed to look at me with great admiration, but did not come near
enough for me to touch him. He ordered his cooks to bring me more
food and drink, and they brought me the food put into carriages upon
wheels, which they pushed forward until I could reach them. I very
soon emptied the carriages.
The Empress and the young princes, with many other nobles and ladies,
all came and gathered round the Emperor and watched me while I ate.
His Majesty was taller than any of the others; that is to say, he
stood about the breadth of my nail above the heads of his people. He
was handsome and well made and had an air of great dignity. I heard
that he had reigned seven years, and had been victorious, and that he
was much respected.
His dress was very plain, except that he had on his head a light
helmet made of gold and adorned with jewels and with a plume upon it.
He now held his drawn sword in his hand, to defend himself if I should
happen to break loose. This sword was about three inches long, and the
hilt and case of it were gold, enriched with diamonds.
After about two hours the court went away, and I was left with a guard
of soldiers to keep the people from crowding round me. This guard was
necessary, for one of the men had the impudence to shoot an arrow
at me as I sat upon the ground, and it nearly hit my eye. Then the
soldiers ordered the man to be seized and bound and given into my
hands to punish. I took him up and made a face as if I were going
to eat him. The poor little fellow screamed terribly, and even the
soldiers looked very much alarmed when I took out my penknife.
However, I soon put an end to their fears, for I cut the strings that
bound my captive and set him gently upon the ground and let him run
away. I saw that all the soldiers and people were delighted at this
mark of my mercy and gentleness; and I afterwards heard they told the
Emperor about it, and he was very pleased with me.
When night came, I crept into my shelter again and lay upon the ground
to sleep. The next day the Emperor gave orders for a bed to be made
for me. The workmen brought six hundred beds to my house in carriages,
and sewed them all together to make one large enough for me to lie
upon. They did the same with sheets and blankets, and at the end of
two weeks' labor my bed was ready for me.
As the news of my arrival spread over the kingdom, it brought numbers
of people to see me. The villages were almost emptied, and those men
and women who should have been at work came to the city to gaze at me.
At last the Emperor gave orders that all who had seen me once were to
go to their homes immediately, and not come near me again without his
The Emperor and his court met together to talk over what could be done
with me, which seemed a very difficult question. They were afraid I
might break my chains and do them harm; then they were afraid that I
would eat so much that it would cause a famine in the land and there
would be no food left for them. Luckily for me, his Majesty remembered
the kind way I had treated the man who shot the arrow at me, and
because of my good behavior he allowed me to live. Orders were given
for each of the villages round the city to send in every morning six
cows and forty sheep for my meals, and also bread and wine, for all of
which the Emperor paid.
I was also given six hundred little men as my servants, and these
built their tents upon each side of my door. Then three hundred
tailors set to work to make me a suit of clothes like those worn in
that country, and six of the most learned men taught me to speak the
language. Lastly, the Emperor's horses and those of the nobles and
soldiers were ridden and exercised before me, until they became quite
used to seeing me and would trot quietly past.
GULLIVER IS GIVEN HIS LIBERTY
My quiet and good behavior so pleased the Emperor and his court that I
began to hope he would soon give me my liberty. I did all I could to
make the people like me and lose their fear of me. I would lie down
and let five or six of them dance upon my hand, and at last the boys
and girls even dared to come and play at hide-and-seek in my hair.
There was one general, named Skyresh, who was my enemy. I had not
given him any cause to dislike me, but he did, and it was he who tried
to persuade the Emperor not to give me my liberty. However, I implored
his Majesty so often to set me free that at last he promised to do so,
but he first made me swear to certain conditions which were to be read
to me. These conditions were as follows:
"His Majesty, the mighty Emperor of Lilliput, proposes to the
Man-Mountain the following articles, which he must swear to perform:
"First. The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our country without our
"Second. He shall not enter our chief city without our express
"Third. He shall walk only along the principal roads, and not over our
meadows and fields of corn.
"Fourth. As he walks he must take the greatest care not to trample
upon any of our subjects, or their horses and carriages, and he must
not take any into his hands without their consent.
"Fifth. If we desire to send a message anywhere, very quickly, the
Man-Mountain shall be obliged to carry the messenger and his horse in
his pocket and return with them safe to our court.
"Sixth. He must promise not to join the army of our enemies in the
island of Blefuscu, and he must do his utmost to destroy their fleet
of ships, which is now preparing to attack us.
"Seventh. The Man-Mountain shall always be ready to help our workmen
in lifting heavy weights.
"Eighth. He must walk all round our island and then tell us how many
steps round it measures.
"Lastly. The Man-Mountain shall have a daily allowance of food
sufficient for 1724 of our subjects.
"All of these conditions he must take a solemn oath to keep. Then he
shall be allowed his liberty."
I swore to keep these promises, and my chains were at once unlocked
and I was at full liberty. I expressed my gratitude by casting myself
at the Emperor's feet, but he graciously commanded me to rise, telling
me he hoped I would prove a useful servant and deserve all the favors
he had conferred upon me.
One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my liberty, the
principal noble who managed the Emperor's private affairs, and whose
name was Reldresal, came to my house, attended by only one servant.
He asked to speak to me privately, and I readily consented, as he had
always shown me much kindness. I offered to lie down so that he could
speak into my ear, but he chose to let me hold him in my hand during
He told me that the island of Lilliput was threatened with invasion by
an army from the island of Blefuscu, which was the next island, and
one almost as large and powerful as Lilliput itself. These two islands
and their Emperors had for some time been engaged in a most obstinate
Reldresal told me that his Majesty had just heard that the
Blefuscudians had got together a large fleet of warships and were
preparing to invade Lilliput. His Majesty said he placed great trust
in my power to help them in this trouble, and had commanded his
officer to lay the case before me.
I told Reldresal to present my humble duty to the Emperor and tell him
I thought it would hardly be fair for me, as I was a foreigner, to
interfere between the two islands. But I said I was quite ready, even
at the risk of my life, to defend his Majesty's state and person
against all invaders.
The island of Blefuscu was separated from Lilliput by a channel eight
hundred yards wide. I had not yet seen it, but after hearing that the
Emperor of Blefuscu had a fleet of ships upon the water, I kept from
going near the coast, as I did not want to be noticed by the enemy.
The Blefuscudians did not know of my presence in Lilliput. I told his
Majesty, the Emperor of Lilliput, that I had a plan by which I could
seize all the enemy's ships.
GULLIVER CAPTURES THE BLEFUSCUDIAN FLEET
I had asked the most clever seamen upon the island how deep the
channel was, and they told me that in the middle it was about six feet
deep, and at the sides it was only four feet. I then walked toward the
coast and lay down behind a hillock; here I took out my telescope and
looked at the enemy's fleet. It consisted of fifty men-of-war and a
great number of smaller vessels. I hurried back to my house and gave
orders for a quantity of the strongest rope and bars of iron. The
Emperor said all my orders were to be carried out. The rope that was
brought me was only as thick as our packing thread, and the iron bars
were the length and size of a knitting-needle. I twisted three lengths
of the rope together to make it stronger, and three of the iron bars
in the same way. I turned up the ends of the bars to form a hook. I
fixed fifty hooks to as many pieces of rope, and then I took them all
down to the coast.
Here I took off my shoes and stockings and coat, and walked into the
sea. I waded until I came to the middle of the channel, and, the water
being deep there, I was obliged to swim about thirty yards. After this
I waded again, and in less than half an hour I arrived at the fleet of
the enemy. The Blefuscudians were so frightened when they saw me that
they leaped out of their ships and swam to shore.
I then took my hooks and ropes and fastened a hook to the end of each