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Short Stories

      The Great Escape   (The First Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor)

One day after my return, as I went down to the dock, I saw a ship which had just shed the anchor on the ground, and was releasing her loads, while the merchants to whom it belonged were busily directing the removal of it to their storehouse. Moving little closer I noticed that my own name was marked upon some of the packages, and after carefully observing them, I felt sure that they were in fact those which I had put on board our ship at Balsora. I then recognized the captain of the vessel, but as I was certain that he believed me to be dead, I went up to him and asked who owned the packages that I was looking at.

"There was on board my ship," the captain  replied, "a merchant of Baghdad named Sinbad. One day he and several of my other passengers landed upon what we supposed to be an island, but which was really an huge whale floating asleep upon the waves. No sooner did it feel upon its back the heat of the fire which had been kindled, than it plunged into the depths of the sea. Several of the people who were upon it drowned in the waters, and among others this unlucky Sinbad. This merchandise is his, but I have resolved to dispose of it for the benefit of his family if I should ever chance to meet with them."

"Captain," I said, "I am that Sinbad whom you think to be dead, and these are my belongings!"

When the captain heard him saying these words he cried out surprisingly "Lackaday! and what is the world coming up to? In these days there are a few a  honest man to be met with. Did I not see Sinbad drowning with my own eyes, and now you have the bravery to tell me that you are he! I should have taken you to be a just man, and yet for the sake of obtaining that which does not belong to you, you are ready to discover this horrible falsehood."

"Have patience captain, and do me the favor to hear my story so that you could believe me that I myself is Sinbad," I said.

"Then speak," replied the captain, "I'm all in attention."

So I told him of my escape and of my luckily meeting with the king's grooms, and how kindly I had been welcomed at the palace. Very soon I began to see that I had created some impression upon him, and when some of the merchants had arrived, who showed great joy at once more seeing me as I was, he declared that he also recognized me.

So he came close to me and by hugging me he exclaimed, "Heaven is also praised that you have escaped from so great danger. I pray you to take your goods with you, and dispose them as you want them to be done." I thanked him, and praised his honesty, and I begged him to accept several gifts of merchandise in token of my gratitude, but he would take nothing. Of the choicest of my goods I prepared a present for King Mihrage, who was at first amazed, having known that I had lost my all. However, when I had explained to him how my bales had been incredibly return to me, he graciously accepted my gifts, and in return gave me many valuable things.

I then took leave from there and said good-bye to him, and exchanging my products for sandal and aloes wood, camphor, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger, I sailed upon the same ship that I had sailed in Balsora with Thousands of tinsels and reached our home successfully. My family received me with as much joy as I felt upon seeing them once more. I bought land and slaves, and built a great house in which I lived happily, and in the enjoyment of all the pleasures of life to forget my past sufferings.

Here Sinbad waited, and ordered the musicians to play the music again, while the feast continued until evening. When the time came for the porter to depart, Sinbad gave him a purse containing one hundred tinsels, saying, "Take this, Hindbad, and go home, but to-morrow come again and you shall hear more of my adventures."

The porter retired quite overcome by so much generosity, and you may imagine that he was well received at home, where his wife and children thanked their lucky stars that he had found such a benefactor.

The next day Hindbad, dressed in his best, returned to the Sinbad's house, and was received with open arms. As soon as all the guests had arrived the banquet began as before and when they had feasted long and merrily, Sinbad addressed them thus:

"My friends, I beg that you will give me your attention while I relate my adventures of my second voyage, which you will find even more exciting than the first one."