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Sindbad's fifth voyage


When Sindbad the Sailor saw that his tale had made a profound impression and that his listeners were still of good cheer and sat there full of hope that they would hear more, he continued without a pause.

"Pay heed, noble gentlemen and listen to the story of my fifth voyage, which is even more marvellous than the previous ones. God is omniscient and wise, and nobody but He can understand His mysterious wisdom. When I returned home from my voyages with handsome profits, as I have recounted to you, I distributed alms with a grateful heart, gave clothes to widows and orphans and gifts to my friends and relatives. But an unexpected tempting opportunity swept away my firm resolution to give up my life of adventure and to suppress my longing for the big world and the wide seas. I saw many merchants - good, decent people - board a large ship, all joyful and full of hope of a safe journey and successful trading. The human soul tends towards evil and, as I have already said, I too forgot my good resolutions and boarded the vessel. We sailed on and on until one day the captain struck himself in the face and seemed to be in despair. We inquired: "Captain, what is the matter?" He replied with trembling lips: "I must tell you, oh travellers, that a treacherous wind has led me astray and driven us into the middle of an ocean that I do not know but have heard of. There must be somebody on board our ship who has fallen prey to the devil of the sea and who will be our undoing. This unnatural wind is driving us with all its might towards the Mountain of the Apes, which you see before you rising out of the surge. The pirate apes May the Almighty grant us His protection!" - The Captain had scarcely finished speaking when apes were already surrounding the ship on all sides; they had come from the land and fell upon us like locusts, seized all the merchants and sailors and dragged them off to the island, jumped back on to the ship without us and sailed off with everything on board. img "The pirate apes" We now found ourselves alone on this terrible island in the middle of an unknown ocean. We were just becoming accustomed to the idea that we would have to live on its fruit and vegetables, when all at once we saw a huge dragon with an enormous body that had encircled myself and my companions. In no time at all it had seized one of us, swllowed him whole with a terrible smacking of its horrible lips, and crawled off, its hunger satisfied. Every day the dragon devoured one of us. It clearly welcomed the change of diet and was glad to break the monotony of ape meat for humans. The loss of our companions weighed on our hearts and we were paralysed by the thought that we too would end our days in the throat of this hideous fire-breathing monster. There is no power and no strength but God's! I racked my brains seeking to devise a means of escaping the terrible fate awaiting us all. With the remaining three merchants, I had climbed a tall tree, which we used as a place to sleep. I climbed up to the highest branches. My hope was confirmed that the dragon would take those on the lower level first. When it had reached and devoured the last of my companions, I made a plan. A square meal I took five strong, thick branches, which I tied as firmly as I could one at right angles to my feet, three others to my left and right sides and across my stomach, and the last long thick branch diagonally to my head parallel to that on my feet. Thus surrounded by wood, I threw myself to the ground, lying there as in a chamber. The dragon appeared at nightfall as usual to fetch its last victim. But as it was unable to devour me due to the wood protecting me on all sides, it coiled itself around me, while I watched half dead with fear and horror. img "A square meal" When the cruel dragon realised that it could not devour me in my wooden fortress, it abandoned the attempt and moved off in terrible ragte. From sunset to the break of dawn it had sought to eat me. Now I rose and moved as one risen from the dead to the strand where I espied a ship far away on the high seas. I succeeded in attracting their attention by waving a huge branch to and fro. I was discovered and brought on board.

When questioned by the captain and crew I recounted my experiences and adventures to their great amazement. They brought me new clothes to wear, gave me shoes, invited me to eat and offered me cool fresh water to drink so that my heart was gladdened, my spirits rose and a deep peace returned to my soul. - Under full sail We anchored at the Island of Es-Salahita. Here all the merchants and passengers disembarked, taking their wares with them, which they exchanged and sold. I remained on board with the ship's officers and had to watch them going about their business as a destitute shipwrecked beggar. That broke my heart. The captain saw my inner torment and spoke: "Revered stranger, we lost a man who travelled with us: we know not whether he is alive or dead for we have never heard from him since. The entire hold of our ship is full of his rich wares, now without an owner. I would like to give you some bales of this rich cargo so that you can try your luck." - When I entered the hold I saw that it was full of my lost goods and that every item bore the inscription 'Sindbad the Sailor'. There is no need to recount the rest. In Baghdad, noble gentlemen, I was able to prove who I was. Now my wealth was immeasurable." - When Sindbad saw his poor namesake, the carrier, listening open-mouthed, he quickly beckoned to his slave and once again gave the porter a hundred gold mithkals.