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Sindbad's fourth voyage


"Noble gentlemen, my fourth voyage was unique and without parallel. I went to sea once again. My wretched soul must have entered into a pact with the sea devil, as he managed to lure me out again in order to torment me with his unpredictable whims and to subject me to further suffering. For a number of days all went well, but then a terrible storm broke over us, smashed our ship and threw what remained of it like a bundle of firewood on to the shore of an island. The blue man-eater Most of the merchants had disappeared into the deep with all their worldly goods. I myself had been struggling in the water for almost a whole day before the good God had mercy on me and allowed me and three of my companions to reach land. To keep body and soul together we lived for a time on the sparse grasses we found growing near the shore. This island brought us no prospect of rescue, but new perils. We fell into the hands of huge gorilla-like creatures who were man-eaters and threw themselves upon us with voracious appetite. I had to watch my companions being roasted on a spit. When one of these monsters reached out to seize me with a hand as big as a house, I realised for the first time in my life that I was an excellent runner. After I had been running the whole day, I sat down breathless on a cliff, immensely relieved that my flight had been successful.

I was utterly amazed to see a large city down in the valley before me with turrets and towers of exotic appearance. Some people soon approached me who were black as Moors and enveloped in white robes like Beduins. They brought me before their black king, who was a benevolent ruler. A bride is found for Sindbad I did not understand his language, but an interpreter gave me to understand that the sovereign was greatly pleased to have made my acquaintance and that he would regard me henceforward as his friend. Indeed, I was told, he intended to do me an even greater honour: he wished to elevate me to the status of his brother-in-law. The king's sister, an old hag so fat that she resembled an enormous over-ripe pear, was to be my wife. I consented to everything, but made my escape at the very first opportunity. I carried off all the treasures that had been heaped upon me and secretly boarded a ship. After many further dangerous voyages I was finally able to return home."