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The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

KNOW, O company, that after my return from my sixth voyage, which brought me abundant profit, I resumed my former life in all possible joyance and enjoyment and mirth and making merry day and night. And I tarried sometime in this solace and satisfaction, till my soul began once more to long to sail the seas and see foreign countries and company with merchants and hear new things. So, having made up my mind, I packed up in bales a quantity of precious stuffs suited for sea trade and repaired with them from Baghdad city to Bassorah town, where I found a ship ready for sea, and in her a company of considerable merchants. I shipped with them and, becoming friends, we set forth on our venture in health and safety, and sailed with a wind till we came to a city called Madinat-al-Sin.
But after we had left it, as we fared on in all cheer and confidence, devising of traffic and travel, behold, there sprang up a violent head wind and a tempest of rain fell on us and drenched us and our goods. So we covered the bales with our cloaks and garments and drugget and canvas, lest they be spoiled by the rain, and betook ourselves to prayer and supplication to Almighty Allah, and humbled ourselves before Him for deliverance from the peril that was upon us. But the captain arose and, tightening his girdle, tucked up his skirts, and after taking refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned, clomb to the masthead, whence he looked out right and left, and gazing at the passengers and crew, fell to buffeting his face and plucking out his beard. So we cried to him, "O Rais, what is the matter?" and he replied, saying: "Seek ye deliverance of the Most High from the strait into which we have fallen, and bemoan yourselves and take leave of one another. For know that the wind hath gotten the mastery of us, and hath driven us into the uttermost of the seas world." Then he came down from the masthead and opening his sea chest, pulled but a bag of blue cotton, from which he took a powder like ashes. This he set in a saucer wetted with a little water, and after waiting a short time, smelt and tasted it. And then he took out of the chest a booklet, wherein he read awhile, and said, weeping:
"Know, O ye passengers, that in this book is a marvelous matter, denoting that whoso cometh hither shall surely die, without hope of escape. For that this ocean is called the Sea of the Clime of the King, wherein is the sepulcher of our lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!), and therein are serpents of vast bulk and fearsome aspect. And what ship soever cometh to these climes, there riseth to her a great fish out of the sea and swalloweth her up with all and everything on board her." Hearing these words from the captain, great was our wonder, but hardly had he made an end of speaking when the ship was lifted out of the water and let fall again, and we applied to praying the death prayer and committing our souls to Allah.
Presently we heard a terrible great cry like the loud-pealing thunder whereat we were terror-struck and became as dead men, giving ourselves up for lost. Then, behold, there came up to us a huge fish, as big as a tall mountain, at whose sight we became wild for affright and, weeping sore, made ready for death, marveling at its vast size and gruesome semblance. When lo! a second fish made its appearance, than which we had seen naught more monstrous. So we bemoaned ourselves of our lives and farewelled one another. But suddenly up came a third fish bigger than the two first, whereupon we lost the power of thought and reason and were stupefied for the excess of our fear and horror. Then the three fish began circling round about the ship and the third and biggest opened his mouth to swallow it, and we looked into its mouth and, behold, it was wider than the gate of a city and its throat was like a long valley. So we besought the Almighty and called for succor upon His Apostle (on whom be blessing and peace!), when suddenly a violent squall of wind arose and smote the ship, which rose out of the water and settled upon a great reef, the haunt of sea monsters, where it broke up and fell asunder into planks, and all and everything on board were plunged into the sea.
As for me, I tore off all my clothes but my gown, and swam a little way, till I happened upon one of the ship’s planks, whereto I clung and bestrode it like a horse, whilst the winds and the waters sported with me and the waves carried me up and cast me down. And I was in most piteous plight for fear and distress and hunger and thirst. Then I reproached myself for what I had done and my soul was weary after a life of ease and comfort, and I said to myself: "O Sindbad, O Seaman, thou repentest not and yet thou art ever suffering hardships and travails, yet wilt thou not renounce sea travel, or an thou say, ’I renounce,’ thou liest in thy renouncement. Endure then with patience that which thou sufferest, for verily thou deservest all that betideth thee!" And I ceased not to humble myself before Almighty Allah and weep and bewail myself, recalling my former estate of solace and satisfaction and mirth and merriment and joyance. And thus I abode two days, at the end of which time I came to a great island abounding in trees and streams. There I landed and ate of the fruits of the island and drank of its waters, till I was refreshed and my life returned to me and my strength and spirits were restored and I recited:

"Oft when thy case shows knotty and tangled skein,
Fate downs from Heaven and straightens every ply.
In patience keep thy soul till clear thy lot,
For He who ties the knot can eke untie."

Then I walked about till I found on the further side a great river of sweet water, running with a strong current, whereupon I called to mind the boat raft I had made aforetime and said to myself: "Needs must I make another. Haply I may free me from this strait. If I escape, I have my desire and I vow to Allah Almighty to foreswear travel. And if I perish, I shall be at peace and shall rest from toil and moil." So I rose up and gathered together great store of pieces of wood from the trees (which were all of the finest sandalwood, whose like is not albe’ I knew it not), and made shift to twist creepers and tree twigs into a kind of rope, with which I bound the billets together and so contrived a raft. Then saying, "An I be saved, ’tis of God’s grace," I embarked thereon and committed myself to the current, and it bore me on for the first day and the second and the third after leaving the island whilst I lay in the raft, eating not and drinking, when I was athirst, of the water of the river, till I was weak and giddy as a chicken for stress of fatigue and famine and fear.

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