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Sinbads fifth voyage.
Start of Story
It happened one day that I passed a tree under which lay several dry
gourds, and catching one up I amused myself with scooping out its
contents and pressing into it the juice of several bunches of grapes
which hung from every bush. When it was full I left it propped in the
fork of a tree, and a few days later, carrying the hateful old man that
way, I snatched at my gourd as I passed it and had the satisfaction of
a draught of excellent wine so good and refreshing that I even forgot
my detestable burden, and began to sing and caper.
The old monster was not slow to perceive the effect which my draught
had produced and that I carried him more lightly than usual, so he
stretched out his skinny hand and seizing the gourd first tasted its
contents cautiously, then drained them to the very last drop. The wine
was strong and the gourd capacious, so he also began to sing after a
fashion, and soon I had the delight of feeling the iron grip of his
goblin legs unclasp, and with one vigorous effort I threw him to the
ground, from which he never moved again.
I was so rejoiced to have at
last got rid of this uncanny old man that I ran leaping and bounding
down to the sea shore, where, by the greatest good luck, I met with
some mariners who had anchored off the island to enjoy the delicious
fruits, and to renew their supply of water.
They heard the story of my escape with amazement, saying, "You fell
into the hands of the Old Man of the Sea, and it is a mercy that he did
not strangle you as he has everyone else upon whose shoulders he has
managed to perch himself. This island is well known as the scene of
his evil deeds, and no merchant or sailor who lands upon it cares to
stray far away from his comrades." After we had talked for a while
they took me back with them on board their ship, where the captain
received me kindly, and we soon set sail, and after several days
reached a large and prosperous-looking town where all the houses were
built of stone. Here we anchored, and one of the merchants, who had
been very friendly to me on the way, took me ashore with him and showed
me a lodging set apart for strange merchants. He then provided me with
a large sack, and pointed out to me a party of others equipped in like
"Go with them," said he, "and do as they do, but beware of losing sight
of them, for if you strayed your life would be in danger."
With that he supplied me with provisions, and bade me farewell, and I
set out with my new companions. I soon learnt that the object of our
expedition was to fill our sacks with cocoanuts, but when at length I
saw the trees and noted their immense height and the slippery
smoothness of their slender trunks, I did not at all understand how we
were to do it. The crowns of the cocoa-palms were all alive with
monkeys, big and little, which skipped from one to the other with
surprising agility, seeming to be curious about us and disturbed at our
appearance, and I was at first surprised when my companions after
collecting stones began to throw them at the lively creatures, which
seemed to me quite harmless. But very soon I saw the reason of it and
joined them heartily, for the monkeys, annoyed and wishing to pay us
back in our own coin, began to tear the nuts from the trees and cast
them at us with angry and spiteful gestures, so that after very little
labour our sacks were filled with the fruit which we could not
otherwise have obtained.
As soon as we had as many as we could carry we went back to the town,
where my friend bought my share and advised me to continue the same
occupation until I had earned money enough to carry me to my own
country. This I did, and before long had amassed a considerable sum.
Just then I heard that there was a trading ship ready to sail, and
taking leave of my friend I went on board, carrying with me a goodly
store of cocoanuts; and we sailed first to the islands where pepper
grows, then to Comari where the best aloes wood is found, and where men
drink no wine by an unalterable law. Here I exchanged my nuts for
pepper and good aloes wood, and went a-fishing for pearls with some of
the other merchants, and my divers were so lucky that very soon I had
an immense number, and those very large and perfect. With all these
treasures I came joyfully back to Bagdad, where I disposed of them for
large sums of money, of which I did not fail as before to give the
tenth part to the poor, and after that I rested from my labours and
comforted myself with all the pleasures that my riches could give me.
Having thus ended his story, Sindbad ordered that one hundred sequins
should be given to Hindbad, and the guests then withdrew; but after the
next day's feast he began the account of his sixth voyage as follows.