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Short Stories

      The Valley of Diamonds   (The Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor)

There was a valley in which I found myself was much deeper and was narrow too, and was also surrounded by the mountains which reached at the height of the clouds, and was much erect and rocky that there was none of the way to climb up to their sides. As I walked about, in search for some way of escaping from this place, I observed that the ground was covered with diamonds, some of them of a huge unexpected size.

This view gave me a great pleasure, but my glee was soon ended when I also saw a numerous snakes which were so long and so large that the smallest of them could have swallowed an elephant very easily. Luckily for me they appeared to hide in the caves during the day-time, and they only came out by the night-time,  because of their enemy -the roc.

All the day long I moved up and down through the valley, and when it grew dark I went into a cave, and having blocked the entrance with a stone, I ate the left of the food and lay down to sleep, but all through the night the serpents crawled to and fro, hissing terribly, so that I could barely close my eyes with fear. I was much thankful when the morning appeared, and when I guessed the silence that the snakes had moved back to their place I came quickly out of my cave and moved up and down the valley again, kicking the diamonds out of my way, for I felt that they were in fact worthless things to a man in this situation.

At last, being very tired, I sat down upon a rock, but I had hardly closed my eyes when I was felt that something fell to the ground with a thud close beside me.

It was a huge piece of fresh meat, and as I looked at it few more pieces rolled over beside me. I had always thought that the stories of the sailors told about the famous valley of diamonds, and of the way which some of the merchants had work out for getting at the precious stones, were mere travelers' tales invented to give more joy to the hearers, but now I came to know that they were surely true. These merchants came to the valley at the time when the eagles, which keep their habitant in the rocks, had hatched their young ones. The merchants then threw great chunk of meat into the valley. These, falling with so much force upon the diamonds, were sure to take up some of the precious stones with them, when the eagles pounced upon the meat and carried it off to their nests to feed their hungry broods.

Then the merchants, scared away the parent eagles with shouts and outcries and would secure their treasures. Until this moment I had looked upon the valley, for it seemed me no possibility of getting out of it alive, but now I took courage and began to search for the means for escaping from this place. I began to pick up all the big diamonds I could find and kept them very carefully in the leather wallet which had held my requirements; I tied it to my belt. I then chose the piece of meat which seemed most suitable to my purpose, and with the aid of my turban tied it very tightly to my back; this done I laid down upon my face and waited for the coming of the eagles.

I soon heard the noise of the flapping of their wings above me, and I was sure that one of them seize upon my piece of meat, and also to me with it, and took flight slowly towards his nest, into which he presently dropped me. Luckily for me the merchants were on the watch, and setting up their usual outcries they rushed to the nest scaring away the eagle. Their amazement was great when they saw me, and also their anger, and with one deal they  ill-treated me for having robbed them of their usual profit. I spoke to the one who seemed most angry, I said: "I am sure, if you knew all that I have suffered, you would show more kindness towards me, and as for diamonds, I have enough diamonds here for you and me and all your companion."

So saying this I showed the diamonds to him. The others all crowded round me, wondering at my adventures and approving the device by which I had escaped from the valley, and when they had led me to their camp and examined my diamonds, they assured me that in all the years that they had carried on their trade they had seen no stones to be compared with them for size and beauty.

I found that each merchant chose a particular nest, and took his chance of what he might find in it. So I begged the one who owned the nest to which I had been carried to take as much as he would of my treasure, but he pleased himself with one stone, and that by no means the largest, assuring me that with such a stone his luck was made, and he need not work hard any more. I stayed with the merchants for few days, and then as they were sailing homewards I gladly joined them.

Our way lay across high mountains infected with frightful snakes, but we had the good luck to escape them and came at last to the seashore. After that we sailed to the isle of Rohat where the camphor trees grow to such a size that a hundred men could shelter under one of them easily. The sap flows from an opening made high up in the tree into a vessel hung there to receive it, and soon hardens into the substance called camphor, but the tree itself shrink up and dies when it has been  treated like this so.

In this same island we saw the rhinoceros, an animal which is smaller than the elephant and larger than the buffalo. It has one horn which is too huge which is solid, but has a furrow from the base to the tip. Upon it is traced in white lines the figure of a man.

The rhinoceros fights with the elephant, and holding  him up with his horn carries the elephant off upon his head, but becoming blind with the blood of his enemy, he falls to the ground, and then comes the roc, and clutches them both and takes them to feed his young ones. This doubtless amazed you, but if you do not believe my tale go to Rohat and see for your own self.

For the fear of tiring you I pass over in silence many other wonderful things which we saw in this island. Before we left I exchanged one of my diamonds for much goodly stock by which I profited greatly on our homeward way. At last we reached Balsora, after that I rushed to Baghdad, where my first action was to donate large sums of money to the poor, after which I settled down to enjoy calmly the riches I had expand with so much toil and pain.

Having thus introduced the adventures of Sinbad's second voyage, he again gave a hundred tinsels to Hindbad, inviting him to come again on the following next day and hear how he get on upon his third voyage. The other guests also leave to their homes, but all returned at the same hour next day, including Hindbad, whose daily life of hard work and poverty had already begun to seem to him like a bad dream. Again after the feast,  Sinbad maintain the attention of his guests and began the story of his third voyage.