The Sixth Voyage
The Sixth Voyage :
"Before a year after my fifth voyage, I was on my sixth voyage, the longest of all my voyages. As we set sail we had a calm sea. After some days the weather grew bad and huge waves threatened to drown us.
One afternoon, the captain of the ship looked troubled. In desperation, he tore of his turban and paced the deck. He told us that the ship was out of control and soon the ship would crash into a high, rocky mountain. That would mean that we would all be dead. As he had said in a quarter of an hour, our ship did crash into a huge mountain and the ship was in smithers. Good luck and God's blessings saved all abroad. We swam to a narrow strip of land at the foot of the mountain. We soon recovered some food and goods from the shipwreck but it was not heartening news at all. We were caught between a high, steep mountain and a raging sea.
We had divided the food equally amongst ourselves but we knew the food wouldn't last long. My companions were worried and hopeless but I kept heart. I went to the seashore everyday and gathered whatever swept over from our wrecked ship to the shore. Once when I explored the mountains, I discovered hoards of diamonds, rubies and pearls. I gathered some of them and kept in a safe place thinking of selling them if I got out of the situation.
One fine morning, I discovered a cave. To my surprise, I saw a river that flew through the cave from the sea to the land while as a rule, all rivers flew from land to the sea. I did not tell about the river to anyone.
After a few days all my companions were dead as they had eaten off all their shares of food. I had eaten a little food at a time and had some in store so I had managed to live. As my store of food diminished I thought of the river which I had discovered. I thought it would give me a path to escape. I went to the spot where I had gathered pieces of wood from my ship. I made a raft out of the wood, took my precious hoard of gems and some food and set sail on the raft. When I rowed into the cave, there was complete darkness but I kept rowing in the darkness for some days. Some times I had to lie on my back to go through the low roof of the cave. Soon my food stock was finished and I grew weak from hunger. I lay back on my raft and was sure that I would die.
I guess I must have slept off for many hours. I woke up to see daylight. I found myself lying on a riverbank and my raft was floating away. 1 looked up to see some Negroes looking down on me. The Negroes spoke to me in a language which 1 could not understand. Then one of them spoke in Arabic. He said, "I know Arabic too. For many of us lived in Arabia long ago. We found you floating on the raft when we came to dig a canal here. How did you reach this place?"
I ate some of the food and drink that they offered me and told them of my recent experiences. They asked me to tell my story to their king, too.
They took me to their king in Serendib which was the capital of their island. I was given a warm welcome at the palace. After hearing my story, the king invited me to be his royal guest as long as I wished to be. Out of gratitude I wanted to give one of my gems to the king but he refused. He, instead, asked my permission so that he could have my story written in gold lettered manuscript and to be kept in his treasury. I agreed to this gladly.
One fine morning, the king's men took me to show around the island. I observed some rare plants and very well cut precious stones. After some days, I had the urge to go back to my country. On my request, he said that he would arrange for my trip to Baghdad. He gave me a letter written on a leather piece with blue ink. The letter was addressed to the ruler of Baghdad, the Caliph. It spoke of the king's love and respect for the Caliph. The king of Serendib packed sweet-smelling wood, rare spices, a one-foot high ruby cup full of pearls and a snake skin with medicinal qualities to heal any ailment as gifts for the Caliph. He also sent a beautiful slave woman decked in jewel studded robes for the Caliph. I, too, received many rare gifts and soon set sail for Baghdad.
In Baghdad, I delivered the letter and gifts from the King of Serendib to the Caliph of Baghdad. I told the Caliph of how rich the King of Serendib was, who owned twenty thousand diamond studded crowns and lived in a palace whose roof is decked with a hundred thousand rubies. The Caliph of Baghdad was convinced of the King of Serendib's wealth and was eager to hear about my adventures. After I had narrated my story to the Caliph, he gifted me some precious jewels as a gift and so I settled for some time in Baghdad once again before I went on my seventh and last voyage."
The guests and Hindbad were struck to hear Sindbad's tale. They were excited to hear the last voyage's tale next evening. Hindbad left Sindbad's company richer by a hundred gold coins.
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