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Sinbads sixth voyage.
From The Arabian Nights Entertainments
Start of Story
By Andrew Lang.
I accepted the charge respectfully, and soon embarked upon the vessel
which the king himself had chosen for me. The king's letter was
written in blue characters upon a rare and precious skin of yellowish
colour, and these were the words of it: "The King of the Indies, before
whom walk a thousand elephants, who lives in a palace, of which the
roof blazes with a hundred thousand rubies, and whose treasure house
contains twenty thousand diamond crowns, to the Caliph Haroun al
Raschid sends greeting. Though the offering we present to you is
unworthy of your notice, we pray you to accept it as a mark of the
esteem and friendship which we cherish for you, and of which we gladly
send you this token, and we ask of you a like regard if you deem us
worthy of it. Adieu, brother."
The present consisted of a vase carved from a single ruby, six inches
high and as thick as my finger; this was filled with the choicest
pearls, large, and of perfect shape and lustre; secondly, a huge snake
skin, with scales as large as a sequin, which would preserve from
sickness those who slept upon it. Then quantities of aloes wood,
camphor, and pistachio-nuts; and lastly, a beautiful slave girl, whose
robes glittered with precious stones.
After a long and prosperous voyage we landed at Balsora, and I made
haste to reach Bagdad, and taking the king's letter I presented myself
at the palace gate, followed by the beautiful slave, and various
members of my own family, bearing the treasure.
As soon as I had declared my errand I was conducted into the presence
of the Caliph, to whom, after I had made my obeisance, I gave the
letter and the king's gift, and when he had examined them he demanded
of me whether the Prince of Serendib was really as rich and powerful as
he claimed to be.
"Commander of the Faithful," I replied, again bowing humbly before him,
"I can assure your Majesty that he has in no way exaggerated his wealth
and grandeur. Nothing can equal the magnificence of his palace. When
he goes abroad his throne is prepared upon the back of an elephant, and
on either side of him ride his ministers, his favourites, and
courtiers. On his elephant's neck sits an officer, his golden lance in
his hand, and behind him stands another bearing a pillar of gold, at
the top of which is an emerald as long as my hand. A thousand men in
cloth of gold, mounted upon richly caparisoned elephants, go before
him, and as the procession moves onward the officer who guides his
elephant cries aloud, `Behold the mighty monarch, the powerful and
valiant Sultan of the Indies, whose palace is covered with a hundred
thousand rubies, who possesses twenty thousand diamond crowns.
a monarch greater than Solomon and Mihrage in all their glory!'"
"Then the one who stands behind the throne answers: 'This king, so
great and powerful, must die, must die, must die!'"
"And the first takes up the chant again, `All praise to Him who lives
"Further, my lord, in Serendib no judge is needed, for to the king
himself his people come for justice."
The Caliph was well satisfied with my report.
"From the king's letter," said he, "I judged that he was a wise man.
It seems that he is worthy of his people, and his people of him."
So saying he dismissed me with rich presents, and I returned in peace
to my own house.
When Sindbad had done speaking his guests withdrew, Hindbad having
first received a hundred sequins, but all returned next day to hear the
story of the seventh voyage, Sindbad thus began.