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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Sinbads fourth voyage.
From The Arabian Nights Entertainments
Start of Story
By Andrew Lang.
Rich and happy as I was after my third voyage, I could not make up my
mind to stay at home altogether. My love of trading, and the pleasure
I took in anything that was new and strange, made me set my affairs in
order, and begin my journey through some of the Persian provinces,
having first sent off stores of goods to await my coming in the
different places I intended to visit. I took ship at a distant
seaport, and for some time all went well, but at last, being caught in
a violent hurricane, our vessel became a total wreck in spite of all
our worthy captain could do to save her, and many of our company
perished in the waves. I, with a few others, had the good fortune to
be washed ashore clinging to pieces of the wreck, for the storm had
driven us near an island, and scrambling up beyond the reach of the
waves we threw ourselves down quite exhausted, to wait for morning.
At daylight we wandered inland, and soon saw some huts, to which we
directed our steps. As we drew near their black inhabitants swarmed
out in great numbers and surrounded us, and we were led to their
houses, and as it were divided among our captors. I with five others
was taken into a hut, where we were made to sit upon the ground, and
certain herbs were given to us, which the blacks made signs to us to
Observing that they themselves did not touch them, I was careful
only to pretend to taste my portion; but my companions, being very
hungry, rashly ate up all that was set before them, and very soon I had
the horror of seeing them become perfectly mad. Though they chattered
incessantly I could not understand a word they said, nor did they heed
when I spoke to them. The savages now produced large bowls full of
rice prepared with cocoanut oil, of which my crazy comrades ate
eagerly, but I only tasted a few grains, understanding clearly that the
object of our captors was to fatten us speedily for their own eating,
and this was exactly what happened. My unlucky companions having lost
their reason, felt neither anxiety nor fear, and ate greedily all that
was offered them. So they were soon fat and there was an end of them,
but I grew leaner day by day, for I ate but little, and even that
little did me no good by reason of my fear of what lay before me.
However, as I was so far from being a tempting morsel, I was allowed to
wander about freely, and one day, when all the blacks had gone off upon
some expedition leaving only an old man to guard me, I managed to
escape from him and plunged into the forest, running faster the more he
cried to me to come back, until I had completely distanced him.
For seven days I hurried on, resting only when the darkness stopped me,
and living chiefly upon cocoanuts, which afforded me both meat and
drink, and on the eighth day I reached the seashore and saw a party of
white men gathering pepper, which grew abundantly all about. Reassured
by the nature of their occupation, I advanced towards them and they
greeted me in Arabic, asking who I was and whence I came. My delight
was great on hearing this familiar speech, and I willingly satisfied
their curiosity, telling them how I had been shipwrecked, and captured
by the blacks. "But these savages devour men!" said they. "How did
you escape?" I repeated to them what I have just told you, at which
they were mightily astonished. I stayed with them until they had
collected as much pepper as they wished, and then they took me back to
their own country and presented me to their king, by whom I was
hospitably received. To him also I had to relate my adventures, which
surprised him much, and when I had finished he ordered that I should be
supplied with food and raiment and treated with consideration.
The island on which I found myself was full of people, and abounded in
all sorts of desirable things, and a great deal of traffic went on in
the capital, where I soon began to feel at home and contented.
Moreover, the king treated me with special favour, and in consequence
of this everyone, whether at the court or in the town, sought to make
life pleasant to me.
One thing I remarked which I thought very
strange; this was that, from the greatest to the least, all men rode
their horses without bridle or stirrups. I one day presumed to ask his
majesty why he did not use them, to which he replied, "You speak to me
of things of which I have never before heard!" This gave me an idea.
I found a clever workman, and made him cut out under my direction the
foundation of a saddle, which I wadded and covered with choice leather,
adorning it with rich gold embroidery. I then got a lock-smith to make
me a bit and a pair of spurs after a pattern that I drew for him, and
when all these things were completed I presented them to the king and
showed him how to use them. When I had saddled one of his horses he
mounted it and rode about quite delighted with the novelty, and to show
his gratitude he rewarded me with large gifts. After this I had to
make saddles for all the principal officers of the king's household,
and as they all gave me rich presents I soon became very wealthy and
quite an important person in the city.
One day the king sent for me and said, "Sindbad, I am going to ask a
favour of you. Both I and my subjects esteem you, and wish you to end
your days amongst us. Therefore I desire that you will marry a rich
and beautiful lady whom I will find for you, and think no more of your