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Sindbad The Sailor My Fourth Voyage

from Favorite Fairy Tales.





My desire of seeing foreign countries rendered my pleasures at home
unsatisfactory. I therefore arranged my affairs, commenced a voyage to
Persia, and having bought a large stock of goods loaded a ship and again
embarked. The ship struck upon a rock, and the cargo was lost. A few
others and myself were borne by the current to an island, on which we
were surrounded by black savages, and carried to their huts. The savages
offered us herbs; my companions eagerly took them, for they were hungry.
Grief would not allow me to eat; and presently I saw that the herbs had
made my comrades senseless. Rice, mixed with oil of cocoanuts, was then
offered to us, which my companions ate greedily and grew fat. My unhappy
friends were then devoured one after another, having become appetizing
to the cannibals. But I languished so much that they did not think me
fit to eat. They left me to the care of an old man, from whom I managed
to escape; and taking care to go a contrary way from that which the
savages had taken I never stopped till night. At the end of seven days,
on the seashore I found a number of white persons gathering pepper. They
asked me in Arabic who I was, and whence I came; and I gave them an
account of the shipwreck, and of my escape. They treated me kindly and
presented me to their King, who treated me with great liberality. During
my stay with them, I observed that when the King and his nobles went
hunting, they rode their horses without bridle or saddle. With the
assistance of some workmen I made a bridle and saddle, and having put
them upon one of the King's horses, presented the animal, thus
equipped, to His Majesty. He was so delighted that he instantly mounted
and rode about the grounds almost the whole day. All the ministers of
state and the nobility induced me to make saddles and bridles for them,
for which they made me such magnificent presents that I soon became very
rich. The King at last requested that I would marry, and become one of
his nation. From a variety of circumstances I could not refuse, and he
therefore gave me one of the ladies of his Court, who was young, rich,
beautiful, and virtuous. We lived in the greatest harmony in a palace
belonging to my wife. I had made a good friend of a very worthy man who
lived in this place. Hearing one day that his wife had just died, I went
to condole with him on this unexpected calamity. We were alone together,
and he appeared to be in the deepest grief. After I had talked with him
some time on the uselessness of so much sorrow, he told me that it was
an established law that the living husband should be buried with the
deceased wife, and that within an hour he must submit. I shuddered at
the dreadful custom. In a short time the woman was attired in her most
costly dress and jewels, and placed in an open coffin. The procession
then began, the husband following the corpse. They ascended to the top
of an exceedingly high mountain, and a great stone was removed, which
covered the mouth of a deep pit. The corpse was let down, and the
husband, having taken leave of his friends, was put into another open
coffin, with a pot of water and seven small loaves, and he was let down.
The stone was replaced and they all returned. The horror of this was
still fresh upon my mind, when my wife fell sick and died. The King and
the whole Court, out of respect to me, instantly prepared to assist at a
similar ceremony with me. I restrained the feeling of despair until we
arrived at the top of the mountain, when I fell at the feet of the King
and begged him to spare my life. All I said was ineffectual, and after
my wife was let down, I also was put into the deep pit, everyone being
totally indifferent to my cries and lamentations. I made the cave echo
with my vain complaints. I lived some days on the bread and water which
had been put into my coffin, but this supply was at length exhausted. I
then wandered to a remote part of this frightful cave and lay down to
prepare for death. I was thus wishing only for a speedy termination of
my misery, when I heard something walking and panting. I started up,
upon which the thing panted still more, and then ran away. I pursued it,
and sometimes it seemed to stop, but on my approach continued to go on
before me. I pursued it, until at last I saw a glimmering light like a
star. This redoubled my eagerness, until at last I discovered a hole
large enough to allow my escape. I crept through the aperture, and found
myself on the seashore, and discovered that the creature was a sea
monster which had been accustomed to enter at that hole to feed upon the
dead bodies. Having eaten some shellfish, I returned to the cave, where
I collected all the jewels I could find in the dark. These I carried to
the seashore, and tied them up very neatly into bales with the cords
that let down the coffins. I laid them on the beach, waiting till some
ship should pass. In two days a ship came out of the harbor, and passed
by that part of the coast. I made a signal, and a boat took me on board.
I was obliged to say that I had been wrecked; for, had they known my
real story, I should have been carried back, as the captain was a
native of this country. We touched at several islands, and at the port
of Kela, where I found a ship ready to sail for Balsora; and having
presented some jewels to the captain who had brought me to Kela, I
sailed, and at last arrived at Bagdad.





Next: Sindbad The Sailor The Fifth Voyage

Previous: Sindbad The Sailor The Third Voyage



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