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Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 91-6, 10/11

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91-6 - The Sixth Voyage of Sindbaad of the Sea (10 of 11) :
Sindbaad on the Island of Sarandeeb

On the 559th Night contd ...

"Now Sindbaad stated the account of his sixth voyage - "I remained in Bagadaad enjoying for some time, then one day a group of merchants came to me and told their tales of travel, so I again had a desire to go on a voyage, so I again collected the things and goods and went to Basaraa, where I embarked on a ship and started our voyage."

On the 560th Night

"So after embarking the ship with my bales, we left Basaraa in safety, we continued our journey from city to city, sea to sea, island to island, selling and buying and viewing different places.

We earned a lot, till one day, when the Master of the ship called out, threw down his turban, slapped his face and fell down because of rage and grief. So all the merchants asked him - "O Master, What is the matter?" He said - "We have wandered from our course from the sea in which we were last, and now we have entered a sea which we do not know. And if God will not deliver us from this sea soon, we will all perish. So pray God that He may save us." The Master wanted to loose the sails but the wind was violent upon the ship and drove her back that her back struck a mountain. At this the Master came down from the mast saying - "No one is able to prevent what is predestined." The ship went to pieces, its planks scattered , and all that was in it was submerged. The merchants fell into the sea, some of them were drowned, some caught hold of that mountain and landed upon it.

I landed on the mountain and within it was a large island. By it were many vessels broken into pieces and upon the mountain were numerous goods scattered here and there - thrown up by the sea. I ascended to the upper part of the island and walked about it and found a stream of sweet water flowing from beneath the mountain and disappearing at the furthest part of the mountain. All the other passengers also went over the mountain. Everybody was confounded at what he saw - various kinds of jewels and minerals (jacinth, large pearls etc etc). They were there like gravels in the channels of the water. On the island, there was a gushing spring of crude ambergris, which was flowing like wax, and the sea animals were coming up and swallowed it and went in again. But they feel hot after eating it, so they will throw it out in the sea. after coming out it will change its color and the waves will throw it again on the shore. The merchants and the travelers who knew it, collected it and sold it.

We collected a small quantity of provisions and we used it sparingly, eating it every day or in two days. But we were weak for colic because of sea sickness and low diet, so our members started dying, one by one. Each one of that died we washed him, wrapped up in the cloth which the sea cast on the shore. Thus we did until a great number of us died."

On the 561st Night

"When the last member of our party had died, and only I remained on the island with very little provision, I wept for myself. Then I arose and dug a deep grave for myself and said to myself - "When I will be sick, I will lie down in this grave and die in it and the wind will cover my body by throwing sand on me." Again I blamed myself for this situation, because I had been suffering for all the voyages and still I chose to travel. There was not even one voyage without suffering. I did not believe that I could escape, but Allaah is Great.

I thought in my mind that this river should have a beginning and an end and it must have a place where it should pass through inhabited place. So I planned to make raft and cast it upon this river and row in it. And if I find no way of saving myself, I will die in this river. So I arose and constructed a raft to suit the river, less wide than the river. I took some valuables, large pearls, jewels etc. plus the remaining provision and launched the raft in the river. The raft started taking me beneath the mountain where the sides of the raft rubbed against the sides and my head rubbed against the roof of the channel.

Now I was unable to return and again I blamed myself for this, because if the place became narrower than this raft then how this raft will pass through and since it could not return, it means I will perish there only. I threw myself on the raft my, face down and it continued to proceed without my knowledge of day and night because of the darkness. The intensity of the darkness wearied and distressed me excessively, so I lay upon the raft face down.

At length I awoke and I saw an extensive tract and the raft tied to the shore of an island and around me was a company of some Indians and Abyssinians. When they saw me, they ran towards me and tried to talk to me in their language which I could not understand. Then a man came to me and talked to me in Arabic language - "Peace be on you, Who are you, Where have you come from, and what is the purpose of your coming here?  We have never seen anybody coming here."

I said - "Peace be upon you. Who are you and which country is this?" He replied - "We are farmers and have come to irrigate our fields and found you asleep on the raft, so we pulled it to the shore. So that you can wake up at your leisure. But now tell us from where have you come?" I said - "I request you to give me some food before I speak something, because I am very hungry, then you may ask me whatever you want." So he quickly brought some food for me and I ate to my satisfaction. I rejoiced at my passing this river, I thanked Allaah, and I told them everything what happened to me."

On the 562nd Night

Next night Shaharzaad again continued the account of Sindbaad's sixth voyage - "When I found myself on the shore among Indians and Abyssinians and they had comforted me, then they talked among themselves and decided to take me to their King. So they took me, along with my raft and all that was on it, to their King, who was the King of Sarandeeb (Ceylon). He saluted me and welcomed me asked me about myself. I gave him something from my treasure, which I brought on my raft - jewels ambergris etc, to him as a gift. He accepted them and treated me with honor. He lodged me in his palace.

The island of Sarandeeb is under the equatorial line - the day is of 12 hours and the night also is 12 hours. Its length is 80 leagues and its breadth is 30 leagues and it extends between two lofty mountains. This mountain can be seen from a distance of three days. It has several minerals, trees, and spices. In its rivers are diamonds and in its valley are pearls. I climbed up a mountain and had a good view of the land of this island. Then I went to the King and he asked me about my country. I told him about our Caliph and the country and in turn I also asked about heir customs. The king liked the Caliph and he said - "You have made me to like your Caliph so I wish to send some presents to him through you." I said - "Sure."

I lived there for some time that one day we heard the news that one ship was about to sail to Basaraa. So I asked the King to go back to my country. He permitted me and gave me many presents from his treasury. He gave me a present and a sealed letter for our Caliph also and said to me - "Give these to your Caliph Haaroon al-Rasheed with my many salutations." Then he wrote a letter for me also on the skin of Khaavee which is finer than parchment. He wrote to the Caliph - "Peace be with you. From the King of India. We have sent you a small present, accept it from us. You are like a brother and friend to us, but we beg you to accept this graciously." The present was a cup of ruby, a span high, the inside of which was embellished with pearls and a bed covered with the skin of serpent that swallows the elephant. His skin had the spots like gold pieces and whoever sits upon it never become diseased, and a 100,000 Miskals (1 Miskal=5 gram) of Indian lign-aloes, and a slave girl like the shining Moon. Then he bade me farewell.

I came to Bagadaad, met my family and my brothers. I took the presents myself to the Caliph. He got very happy to receive them and asked me - "Sindbaad, Is it true what the King has written in his letter?" I said - "Yes, I myself have witnessed the kingdom much more than what he has written in his letter. He is the King like of which neither Solomon nor any Mahaaraaj possessed." Then he became silent but one behind him said - "He will die. I repeat he will die" Then one behind him said - "Who does not die?"

I said - "There is no Qaazee in his kingdom and all people can distinguish the truth from the falsehood." The Caliph got very surprised to hear this, he said - "By Allaah, he has been endowed with great wisdom and dominion." Then he asked me to go home, so I came back home. My friends and relations came to see me. I distributed many presents to them. and started living like before. After a while I forgot all the troubles of my voyage. So such was the journey, now tomorrow I will tell you the account of my seventh voyage which is more wondrous than all the last six voyages."

Then he asked to lay the table, all had food and drink. After which he gave the porter 100 Deenaar as usual and the porter came back to his home." Shaharzaad saw the morning broke so she stopped her story telling.

Contd on 11th Page



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/24/14