Sindbad The Sailor My Fourth Voyage

: 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.