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Short Stories

      The Land of Serendib   (The Sixth Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor)

Once I fell into a deep sleep, but when I again opened my eyes and once more saw the morning light; a beautiful country lay before me, and my boat, which was tied to the river bank, was surrounded by the friendly looking black men. I woke up and saluted them, and in return they too spoke me, but I was unable to  understand a single word of their language.

I was feeling perfectly puzzled by my sudden return to life and light, I spoke to myself in Arabic language, "Close the thin eyes, and while doing that so sleepiest Heaven will change your destiny from evil to good."

One of the pupil, who understood my language, came forward and said: "My brother, don't be afraid of us; this is our land, and as we had came here to get water from the river we saw that your boat was floating in this river, and seeing this one of us swam out and brought you to the shore. We all were waiting for you to be awaken; now tell us now that you came here and where you were going by that dangerous way?"

I replied to them that nothing would be better to tell them, but that I was starving with hunger was the first thing to talk about. I said that I would like to eat something first. I was soon granted with all I needed, and having fulfilled my hunger I told them truly all that had happened with me. They concentrated at my tale when it was known to them, and said that the adventures were so surprising and must also be related to their king only by the man with whom all of those adventures had happened. So, using a horse, they mounted me upon it, and we set out, followed by a few strong men carrying my boat upon their shoulders.

In this way we moved towards the city of Serendib, where the pupils assembled me in front of their king, whom I saluted in the Indian style, I bended low before him at his feet and kissed the ground; but the monarch stopped me and made me sit beside him, asking first what was my name.

"I am Sinbad," I replied, "whom men call ''Sinbad-the Sailor'', for I have sailed much upon many of the seas."

"And how come you came here?" asked the king.

I told him  my detailed story, and he was so much surprised that he ordered my adventures to be written in letters of gold and should be placed up in the collections of his kingdom.                                                                            
                                                                                                   Presently my boat was brought in and the treasures opened in his presence, and the king declared that in his entire life he  had never saw such treasures like rubies and emeralds as those which rests in the great heaps before him. Seeing that he looked at them with interest, I would like to say that I myself and all that I had been at his clearance, but he answered me smiling:

"No, Sinbad-the sailor. Heaven stopped me that I should fancy your riches; I will either add more to them, for I wish that you shall not leave my kingdom without I should grant you some gifts in return of my good will." He then ordered his officers to provide me with a suitable place to stay at his costs and sent slaves to look after me and carry my boat and my treasures to my new dwelling place. You may imagine that I praised his kindness and gave him a big thanks, nor did I fail to present myself daily in his audience assembly hall, and for the rest of my time I pleased myself in seeing all that was most worthy of attention in the city.

As the island of Serendib is situated on the equinoctial line, there the days and the nights are equal. The capital of the city is situated at the end of a beautiful valley, formed by the highest mountain in the world, which is in the middle of the island. I am interested to soar to its very height, for this was the place to which Adam was driven out of this wonder. Here many precious things are found mostly, rubies, and rare plants grow numerously, with cedar trees and cocoa palms.

On the seashore and at the mouth of the rivers, the divers dive into the sea and search for pearls, and in some valleys, diamonds are found in a large quantity. After many days I formally requested the king and begged him that I might return to my own country, towards which he willingly agreed. Moreover, he presented me with rich gifts, and when I went to take leave of him he granted me with a royal present and a letter to the Commander of the truly, our supreme ruler lord, saying, "I pray you give these to the Caliph Haroun al Raschid, and promise him of my friendship."

I accepted the responsibility of his promise very politely, and soon sailed upon the ship which the king himself had chosen for me. The king's letter was written in blue bold lovely letters upon a extraordinary and precious skin of yellowish color, and the words of it were: "The Mercy King of the Indies, before whom walked a thousand herds of elephants, who lives in a marvelous palace, of which the roof shines with a hundred thousand rubies, and whose treasure house contains twenty thousand diamond crowns, to the Caliph Haroun al Raschid sends greeting.

Even if the offering we present to you is worthless according to you, we pray you to accept it as a mark of the respect and friendship which we appreciate it for you, and of which we cheerfully send you this token of just a friendship, and we ask of you a like respect if you believe us admirable of your friendship. goodbye, brother."

The present also included a vase carved from a single ruby, six inches high and as thick as my finger; this was filled with the precious pearls, large, and of perfect shape and shine; also, a huge snake skin, with scales as large as a tinsel, which would safeguard from sickness to those who slept upon it. Then quantities of aloes wood, camphor, and pistachio-nuts; and lastly, a beautiful slave girl, whose robes were decorated and glittered with precious stones.

After a long and successful voyage we landed ourselves at Balsora, and I rushed as fast as I could to reach Baghdad, and taking the king's letter I presented myself at the gate of the marvelous palace, followed by the beautiful slave, and various members of my own family, carrying the treasure with themselves.

As soon as I had introduced my task to everyone which was given by the king. I was conducted into the presence of the Caliph, to whom, I gave the letter and the king's gift, and when he looked upon them he asked and confirmed from me whether the Prince of Serendib was really as rich and powerful as he declared to be.

"Commander of the truthful," I replied, again bowing before him to respect him, "I can promise your Majesty that he has in no way showing-off his wealth and wonder. Nothing can be compared as equal to the finery of his palace. When he goes abroad his throne is prepared upon the back of an elephant, and on the either side of him ride also his ministers, his favorites, and his courtiers too. There sits an officer on his elephant's neck , his golden lance in his hand, and behind him stands another person holding a pillar of gold, at the top of which is an emerald stone as long as my hand.

Thousands of men in the cloth of gold, settled upon the richly decorated elephants, go before him, and as the parade moves onward the officer who guides his elephant cries aloud, `Behold the mighty monarch, the powerful and noble Sultan of the Indies, whose palace is covered with a hundred thousand rubies, who owns a  twenty thousand diamond crowns. Behold a monarch greater than Solomon and Mirage in all their glory!'"

"Then the one who stands behind the throne answers: ''This king, which is so great and powerful, must die, must die, and must at once die!'"

"And the first repeats again, ''All praise to Him who lives for evermore."

"Moreover, my lord, in Serendib no ruler to judge is needed, for to the people their selves are the king who judge for the justice."

The Caliph was well pleased with my arrive.

"From the king's letter," said he, "I judged that he was a wise man. It seems that he is worthy of his people, and his people of him."

So saying he allow me to go with rich presents, and I returned in peace to my own house.

When Sinbad had done speaking his guests assembled, Hindbad having first received a hundred tinsels, but all returned next day to hear the story of the seventh voyage, Sinbad thus began.