Select the desired text size
This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Sinbads seventh voyage.
Start of Story
After my sixth voyage I was quite determined that I would go to sea no
more. I was now of an age to appreciate a quiet life, and I had run
risks enough. I only wished to end my days in peace. One day,
however, when I was entertaining a number of my friends, I was told
that an officer of the Caliph wished to speak to me, and when he was
admitted he bade me follow him into the presence of Haroun al Raschid,
which I accordingly did. After I had saluted him, the Caliph said:
"I have sent for you, Sindbad, because I need your services. I have
chosen you to bear a letter and a gift to the King of Serendib in
return for his message of friendship."
The Caliph's commandment fell upon me like a thunderbolt.
"Commander of the Faithful," I answered, "I am ready to do all that
your Majesty commands, but I humbly pray you to remember that I am
utterly disheartened by the unheard of sufferings I have undergone.
Indeed, I have made a vow never again to leave Bagdad."
With this I gave him a long account of some of my strangest adventures,
to which he listened patiently.
"I admit," said he, "that you have indeed had some extraordinary
experiences, but I do not see why they should hinder you from doing as
I wish. You have only to go straight to Serendib and give my message,
then you are free to come back and do as you will. But go you must; my
honour and dignity demand it."
Seeing that there was no help for it, I declared myself willing to
obey; and the Caliph, delighted at having got his own way, gave me a
thousand sequins for the expenses of the voyage. I was soon ready to
start, and taking the letter and the present I embarked at Balsora, and
sailed quickly and safely to Serendib. Here, when I had disclosed my
errand, I was well received, and brought into the presence of the king,
who greeted me with joy.
"Welcome, Sindbad," he cried. "I have thought of you often, and
rejoice to see you once more."
After thanking him for the honour that he did me, I displayed the
Caliph's gifts. First a bed with complete hangings all cloth of gold,
which cost a thousand sequins, and another like to it of crimson stuff.
Fifty robes of rich embroidery, a hundred of the finest white linen
from Cairo, Suez, Cufa, and Alexandria. Then more beds of different
fashion, and an agate vase carved with the figure of a man aiming an
arrow at a lion, and finally a costly table, which had once belonged to
King Solomon. The King of Serendib received with satisfaction the
assurance of the Caliph's friendliness toward him, and now my task
being accomplished I was anxious to depart, but it was some time before
the king would think of letting me go. At last, however, he dismissed
me with many presents, and I lost no time in going on board a ship,
which sailed at once, and for four days all went well.
On the fifth
day we had the misfortune to fall in with pirates, who seized our
vessel, killing all who resisted, and making prisoners of those who
were prudent enough to submit at once, of whom I was one. When they
had despoiled us of all we possessed, they forced us to put on vile
raiment, and sailing to a distant island there sold us for slaves. I
fell into the hands of a rich merchant, who took me home with him, and
clothed and fed me well, and after some days sent for me and questioned
me as to what I could do.
I answered that I was a rich merchant who had been captured by pirates,
and therefore I knew no trade.
"Tell me," said he, "can you shoot with a bow?"
I replied that this had been one of the pastimes of my youth, and that
doubtless with practice my skill would come back to me.
Upon this he provided me with a bow and arrows, and mounting me with
him upon his own elephant took the way to a vast forest which lay far
from the town. When we had reached the wildest part of it we stopped,
and my master said to me: "This forest swarms with elephants. Hide
yourself in this great tree, and shoot at all that pass you. When you
have succeeded in killing one come and tell me."
So saying he gave me a supply of food, and returned to the town, and I
perched myself high up in the tree and kept watch. That night I saw
nothing, but just after sunrise the next morning a large herd of
elephants came crashing and trampling by. I lost no time in letting
fly several arrows, and at last one of the great animals fell to the
ground dead, and the others retreated, leaving me free to come down
from my hiding place and run back to tell my master of my success, for
which I was praised and regaled with good things. Then we went back to
the forest together and dug a mighty trench in which we buried the
elephant I had killed, in order that when it became a skeleton my
master might return and secure its tusks.
For two months I hunted thus, and no day passed without my securing, an
elephant. Of course I did not always station myself in the same tree,
but sometimes in one place, sometimes in another. One morning as I
watched the coming of the elephants I was surprised to see that,
instead of passing the tree I was in, as they usually did, they paused,
and completely surrounded it, trumpeting horribly, and shaking the very
ground with their heavy tread, and when I saw that their eyes were
fixed upon me I was terrified, and my arrows dropped from my trembling