Select the desired text size
This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Sinbads third voyage.
The Arabian Nights Entertainments,
Start of Story
After a very short time the pleasant easy life I led made me quite
forget the perils of my two voyages. Moreover, as I was still in the
prime of life, it pleased me better to be up and doing. So once more
providing myself with the rarest and choicest merchandise of Bagdad, I
conveyed it to Balsora, and set sail with other merchants of my
acquaintance for distant lands. We had touched at many ports and made
much profit, when one day upon the open sea we were caught by a
terrible wind which blew us completely out of our reckoning, and
lasting for several days finally drove us into harbour on a strange
"I would rather have come to anchor anywhere than here," quoth our
captain. "This island and all adjoining it are inhabited by hairy
savages, who are certain to attack us, and whatever these dwarfs may do
we dare not resist, since they swarm like locusts, and if one of them
is killed the rest will fall upon us, and speedily make an end of us."
These words caused great consternation among all the ship's company,
and only too soon we were to find out that the captain spoke truly.
There appeared a vast multitude of hideous savages, not more than two
feet high and covered with reddish fur. Throwing themselves into the
waves they surrounded our vessel. Chattering meanwhile in a language
we could not understand, and clutching at ropes and gangways, they
swarmed up the ship's side with such speed and agility that they almost
seemed to fly.
You may imagine the rage and terror that seized us as we watched them,
neither daring to hinder them nor able to speak a word to deter them
from their purpose, whatever it might be. Of this we were not left
long in doubt. Hoisting the sails, and cutting the cable of the
anchor, they sailed our vessel to an island which lay a little further
off, where they drove us ashore; then taking possession of her, they
made off to the place from which they had come, leaving us helpless
upon a shore avoided with horror by all mariners for a reason which you
will soon learn.
Turning away from the sea we wandered miserably inland, finding as we
went various herbs and fruits which we ate, feeling that we might as
well live as long as possible though we had no hope of escape.
Presently we saw in the far distance what seemed to us to be a splendid
palace, towards which we turned our weary steps, but when we reached it
we saw that it was a castle, lofty, and strongly built. Pushing back
the heavy ebony doors we entered the courtyard, but upon the threshold
of the great hall beyond it we paused, frozen with horror, at the sight
which greeted us. On one side lay a huge pile of bones--human bones,
and on the other numberless spits for roasting! Overcome with despair
we sank trembling to the ground, and lay there without speech or
The sun was setting when a loud noise aroused us, the door of
the hall was violently burst open and a horrible giant entered. He was
as tall as a palm tree, and perfectly black, and had one eye, which
flamed like a burning coal in the middle of his forehead. His teeth
were long and sharp and grinned horribly, while his lower lip hung down
upon his chest, and he had ears like elephant's ears, which covered his
shoulders, and nails like the claws of some fierce bird.
At this terrible sight our senses left us and we lay like dead men.
When at last we came to ourselves the giant sat examining us
attentively with his fearful eye. Presently when he had looked at us
enough he came towards us, and stretching out his hand took me by the
back of the neck, turning me this way and that, but feeling that I was
mere skin and bone he set me down again and went on to the next, whom
he treated in the same fashion; at last he came to the captain, and
finding him the fattest of us all, he took him up in one hand and stuck
him upon a spit and proceeded to kindle a huge fire at which he
presently roasted him. After the giant had supped he lay down to
sleep, snoring like the loudest thunder, while we lay shivering with
horror the whole night through, and when day broke he awoke and went
out, leaving us in the castle.
When we believed him to be really gone we started up bemoaning our
horrible fate, until the hall echoed with our despairing cries. Though
we were many and our enemy was alone it did not occur to us to kill
him, and indeed we should have found that a hard task, even if we had
thought of it, and no plan could we devise to deliver ourselves. So at
last, submitting to our sad fate, we spent the day in wandering up and
down the island eating such fruits as we could find, and when night
came we returned to the castle, having sought in vain for any other
place of shelter. At sunset the giant returned, supped upon one of our
unhappy comrades, slept and snored till dawn, and then left us as
before. Our condition seemed to us so frightful that several of my
companions thought it would be better to leap from the cliffs and
perish in the waves at once, rather than await so miserable an end; but
I had a plan of escape which I now unfolded to them, and which they at
once agreed to attempt.
"Listen, my brothers," I added. "You know that plenty of driftwood
lies along the shore. Let us make several rafts, and carry them to a
suitable place. If our plot succeeds, we can wait patiently for the
chance of some passing ship which would rescue us from this fatal
island. If it fails, we must quickly take to our rafts; frail as they
are, we have more chance of saving our lives with them than we have if
we remain here."