The Second Voyage Of Sindbad The Sailor

: Favorite Fairy Tales

I designed, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days at

Bagdad, but it was not long ere I grew weary of an indolent life, and

I put to sea a second time, with merchants of known probity. We

embarked on board a good ship, and after recommending ourselves to

God, set sail. We traded from island to island, and exchanged

commodities with great profit. One day we landed on an island covered

with several sorts of
ruit trees, but we could see neither man nor

animal. We walked in the meadows, along the streams that watered them.

Whilst some diverted themselves with gathering flowers, and others

fruits, I took my wine and provisions, and sat down near a stream

betwixt two high trees, which formed a thick shade. I made a good

meal, and afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept, but

when I awoke the ship was gone.

In this sad condition, I was ready to die with grief. I cried out in

agony, beat my head and breast, and threw myself upon the ground,

where I lay some time in despair. I upbraided myself a hundred times

for not being content with the produce of my first voyage, that might

have sufficed me all my life. But all this was in vain, and my

repentance came too late. At last I resigned myself to the will of

God. Not knowing what to do, I climbed up to the top of a lofty tree,

from whence I looked about on all sides, to see if I could discover

anything that could give me hopes. When I gazed towards the sea I

could see nothing but sky and water; but looking over the land I

beheld something white; and coming down, I took what provision I had

left, and went towards it, the distance being so great that I could

not distinguish what it was.

As I approached, I thought it to be a white dome, of a prodigious

height and extent; and when I came up to it, I touched it, and found

it to be very smooth. I went round to see if it was open on any side,

but saw it was not, and that there was no climbing up to the top, as

it was so smooth. It was at least fifty paces round.

By this time the sun was about to set, and all of a sudden the sky

became as dark as if it had been covered with a thick cloud. I was

much astonished at this sudden darkness, but much more when I found it

occasioned by a bird of a monstrous size, that came flying towards me.

I remembered that I had often heard mariners speak of a miraculous

bird called the roc, and conceived that the great dome which I so much

admired must be its egg. In short, the bird alighted, and sat over the

egg. As I perceived her coming I crept close to the egg, so that I had

before me one of the legs of the bird, which was as big as the trunk

of a tree. I tied myself strongly to it with my turban, in hopes that

the roc next morning would carry me with her out of this desert

island. After having passed the night in this condition, the bird flew

away as soon as it was daylight, and carried me so high that I could

not discern the earth; she afterwards descended with so much rapidity

that I lost my senses. But when I found myself on the ground I

speedily untied the knot, and had scarcely done so when the roc,

having taken up a serpent of a monstrous length in her bill, flew


The spot where it left me was encompassed on all sides by mountains

that seemed to reach above the clouds, and so steep that there was no

possibility of getting out of the valley. This was a new perplexity;

so that when I compared this place with the desert island from which

the roc had brought me, I found that I had gained nothing by the


As I walked through this valley I perceived it was strewed with

diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness. I took pleasure

in looking upon them; but shortly saw at a distance such objects as

greatly diminished my satisfaction, and which I could not view without

terror--namely, a great number of serpents, so monstrous that the

least of them was capable of swallowing an elephant. They retired in

the daytime to their dens, where they hid themselves from the roc,

their enemy, and came out only in the night.

I spent the day in walking about in the valley, resting myself at

times in such places as I thought most convenient. When night came on

I went into a cave, where I thought I might repose in safety. I

secured the entrance, which was low and narrow, with a great stone, to

preserve me from the serpents, but not so far as to exclude the light.

I supped on part of my provisions, but the serpents, which began

hissing round me, put me into such extreme fear that I did not sleep.

When day appeared the serpents retired, and I came out of the cave

trembling. I can justly say that I walked upon diamonds without

feeling any inclination to touch them. At last I sat down, and

notwithstanding my apprehensions, not having closed my eyes during the

night, fell asleep, after having eaten a little more of my provisions.

But I had scarcely shut my eyes when something that fell by me with a

great noise awaked me. This was a large piece of raw meat; and at the

same time I saw several others fall down from the rocks in different


I had always regarded as fabulous what I had heard sailors and others

relate of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagems employed by

merchants to obtain jewels from thence; but now I found that they had

stated nothing but the truth. For the fact is that the merchants come

to the neighborhood of this valley, when the eagles have young ones,

and throwing great joints of meat into the valley, the diamonds, upon

whose points they fall, stick to them; the eagles, which are stronger

in this country than anywhere else, pounce with great force upon those

pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests on the precipices of the

rocks to feed their young; the merchants at this time run to their

nests, disturb and drive off the eagles by their shouts, and take away

the diamonds that stick to the meat.

I perceived in this device the means of my deliverance.

Having collected together the largest diamonds I could find, and put

them into the leather bag in which I used to carry my provisions, I

took the largest of the pieces of meat, tied it close round me with

the cloth of my turban, and then laid myself upon the ground with my

face downward, the bag of diamonds being made fast to my girdle.

I had scarcely placed myself in this posture when one of the eagles,

having taken me up with the piece of meat to which I was fastened,

carried me to his nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants

immediately began their shouting to frighten the eagles; and when they

had obliged them to quit their prey, one of them came to the nest

where I was. He was much alarmed when he saw me; but, recovering

himself, instead of inquiring how I came thither, began to quarrel

with me, and asked why I stole his goods. "You will treat me,"

replied I, "with more civility when you know me better. Do not be

uneasy; I have diamonds enough for you and myself--more than all the

other merchants together. Whatever they have they owe to chance; but I

selected for myself, in the bottom of the valley, those which you see

in this bag." I had scarcely done speaking when the other merchants

came crowding about us, much astonished to see me; but they were much

more surprised when I told them my story.


They conducted me to their encampment, and there, having opened my

bag, they were surprised at the largeness of my diamonds, and

confessed that they had never seen any of such size and perfection. I

prayed the merchant who owned the nest to which I had been carried

(for every merchant had his own) to take as many for his share as he

pleased. He contented himself with one, and that, too, the least of

them; and when I pressed him to take more, without fear of doing me

any injury, "No," said he, "I am very well satisfied with this, which

is valuable enough to save me the trouble of making any more voyages,

and will raise as great a fortune as I desire."

I spent the night with the merchants, to whom I related my story a

second time, for the satisfaction of those who had not heard it. I

could not moderate my joy when I found myself delivered from the

danger I have mentioned. I thought myself in a dream, and could

scarcely believe myself out of danger.

The merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for

several days, and each of them being satisfied with the diamonds that

had fallen to his lot, we left the place the next morning, and

travelled near high mountains, where there were serpents of a

prodigious length, which we had the good-fortune to escape. We took

shipping at the first port we reached, and touched at the isle of

Roha, where the trees grow that yield camphor. The tree is so large,

and its branches so thick, that one hundred men may easily sit under

its shade. The juice, of which the camphor is made, exudes from a hole

bored in the upper part of the tree, is received in a vessel, where it

thickens to a consistency, and becomes what we call camphor. After the

juice is thus drawn out, the tree withers and dies.

In this island is also found the rhinoceros, an animal less than the

elephant, but larger than the buffalo. It has a horn upon its nose,

which is solid, and cleft through the middle. The rhinoceros fights

with the elephant, runs his horn into his belly, and carries him off

upon his head; but the blood and the fat of the elephant running into

his eyes and making him blind, he falls to the ground, and then,

strange to relate, the roc comes and carries them both away in her

claws, for food for her young ones.

Here I exchanged some of my diamonds for merchandise. From hence we

went to other islands, and at last, having touched at several trading

towns of the continent, we landed at Bussorah, from whence I proceeded

to Bagdad. There I immediately gave large presents to the poor, and

lived honorably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained with so

much fatigue.