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Burton: A Translation of The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman according to the version of the Calcutta Edition which differs in essential form from the preceding tale

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Know, O my brothers and friends and companions all, that when I left voyaging and commercing, I said in myself, "Sufficeth me that hath befallen me;" and I spent my time in solace and pleasure. One day as I sat at home there came a knock at the door, and when the porter opened a page entered and said, "The Caliph biddeth thee to him." I went with him to the King's majesty and kissed ground and saluted him; whereupon he welcomed me and entreated me with honour and said, "O Sindbad, I have an occasion for thee: wilt thou do it?" So I kissed his hand and asked him, saying, "O my lord, what occasion hath the master for the slave?"; whereto he answered me, "I am minded that thou travel to the King of Sarandib and carry to him our writ and our gift, for that he hath sent to us a present and a letter. I trembled at these words and rejoined, "By Allah the Omnipotent, O my lord, I have taken a loathing to wayfare, and when I hear the words 'Voyage' or 'Travel,' my limbs tremble for what hath befallen me of hardships and horrors. Indeed I have no desire whatever for this; more by token as I have bound myself by oath not to quit Baghdad." Then I informed the Caliph of all I had passed through from first to last, and he marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, "By the Almighty, O Sindbad, from ages of old such mishaps as happened to thee were never know to happen to any, and thou dost only right never even to talk of travel. For our sake, however, thou wilt go this time and carry our present and our letter to him of Sarandib; and Inshallah--by God's leave!--thou shalt return quickly; and on this wise we shall be under no obligation to the said King." I replied that I heard and obeyed, being unable to oppose his command, so he gave me the gifts and the missive with money to pay my way and I kissed hands and left the presence. Then I dropped down from Baghdad to the Gulf, and with other merchants embarked, and our ship sailed before a fair wind many days and nights till, by Allah's aid, we reached the island of Sarandib. As soon as we had made fast we landed and I took the present and the letter; and, going in with them to the King, kissed ground before him. When he saw me, he said, "Well come, O Sindbad! By Allah Omnipotent we were longing to see thee, and glory be to God who hath again shown us thy face!" Then taking me by the hand he made me sit by his side, rejoicing, and he welcomed me with familiar kindness again and entreated me as a friend. After this he began to converse with me and courteously addressed me and asked, "What was the cause of thy coming to us, O Sindbad?" So after kissing his hand and thanking him I answered, "O my lord, I have brought thee a present from my master, the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid;" and offered him the present and the letter which he read and at which he rejoiced with passing joy. The present consisted of a mare worth ten thousand ducats, bearing a golden saddle set with jewels; a book; a sumptuous suit of clothes and an hundred different kinds of white Cairene cloths and silks of Suez, Cufa and Alexandria; Greek carpets and an hundred maunds weight of linen and raw silk. Moreover there was a wondrous rarety, a marvellous cup of crystal middlemost of which was the figure of a lion faced by a kneeling man grasping a bow with arrow drawn to the very head, together with the food-tray of Sulayman the son of David (on whom be peace!). The missive ran as follows, "Peace from King Al-Rashid, the aided of Allah (who hath vouchsafed to him and his forefathers noble rank and wide- spread glory), be on the fortunate Sultan. But after. Thy letter came to our hands and we rejoiced thereat; and we have sent the book entitled 'Delight of the Intelligent and for Friends the Rare Present,' together with sundry curiosities suitable for Kings; so do thou favour us by accepting them: and peace be with thee!" Then the King lavished upon me much wealth and entreated me with all honour; so I prayed for him and thanked him for his munificence. Some days after I craved his leave to depart, but could not obtain it except by great pressing, whereupon I farewelled him and fared forth from his city, with merchants and other companions, homewards-bound without any desire for travel or companions, homewards-bound without any desire for travel or trade. We continued voyaging and coasting along many islands; but, when we were half-way, we were surrounded by a number of canoes, wherein were men like devils armed with bows and arrows, swords and daggers; habited in mail- coats and other armoury. They fell upon us and wounded and slew all who opposed them; then, having captured the ship and her contents, carried us to an island, where they sold us at the meanest price. Now I was bought by a wealthy man who, taking me to his house, gave me meat and drink and clothing and treated me in the friendliest manner; so I was heartened and I rested a little. One day he asked me, "Dost thou know any art or craft?" and I answered him, "O my lord, I am a merchant and know nothing but trade and traffic." "Dost thou know," rejoined he, "how to use bow and arrow?" "Yes," replied I, "I know that much." Thereupon he brought me a bow and arrows and mounted me behind him upon an elephant: then he set out as night was well nigh over and, passing through a forest of huge growths, came to a tall and sturdy tree up which he made me climb. Then he gave me the bow and arrows, saying, "Sit here now, and when the elephants troop hither in early morning, shoot at them; belike thou wilt hit one; and, if he fall, come and tell me." With this he left me. I hid myself in the tree being in sore terror and trembled till the sun arose; and, when the elephants appeared and wandered about among the trees, I shot my arrows at them and continued till I had shot down one of them. In the evening I reported my success to my master who was delighted in me and entreated me with high honour; and next morning he removed the slain elephant. In this wise I continued, every morning shooting an elephant which my master would remove till, one day, as I was perched in hiding on the tree there came on suddenly and unexpectedly an innumerable host of elephants whose screaming and trumpeting were such that I imagined the earth trembled under them. All surrounded my tree, whose circumference was some fifty cubits, and one enormous monster came up to it and winding his trunk round the bole haled it up by the roots, and dashed it to the ground. I fell down fainting amongst the beasts when the monster elephant wound his trunk about me and, setting me on his back, went off with me, the others accompanying us. He carried me still unconscious till he reached the place for which he was making, when he rolled me off his back and presently went his ways followed by the others. So I rested a little; and, when my terror had subsided, I looked about me and I found myself among the bones of elephants, whereby I concluded that this was their burial-place, and that the monster elephant had led me thither on account of the tusks. So I arose and walked a whole day and night till I arrived at the house of my master, who saw my colour changed by stress of affright and famine. He rejoiced in my return and said to me, "By Allah, thou hast made my heart sore! I went when thou wast missing and found the tree torn up, and thought that the elephants had slain thee. Tell me how it was with thee." I acquainted him with all that had betided me; whereat he wondered greatly, and rejoiced and at last asked me, "Dost thou know the place?"; whereto I answered, "Yes, O my master!" So we mounted an elephant and fared until we came to the spot and, when my master beheld the heaps of tusks, he rejoiced greatly; then carrying away as many as he wanted he returned with me home. After this, he entreated me with increased favour and said, "O my son, thou hast shown us the way to great gain, wherefore Allah requite thee! Thou art freed for the Almighty's sake and before His face! The elephants used to destroy many of us on account of our hunting them for their ivories and sorivellos; but Allah hath preserved thee from them, and thou hast profited us by the heaps to which thou hast led us." "O my master," replied I, "God free thy neck from the fire! And do thou grant me, O my master, thy gracious leave to return to my own country." "Yes" quoth he, "thou shalt have that permission. But we have a yearly fair, when merchants come to us from various quarters to buy up these ivories. The time is drawing near; and, when they shall have done their business, I will send thee under their charge and will give thee wherewithal to reach thy home." So I blessed and thanked him and remained with him, treated with respect and honour, for some days, when the merchants came as he had foretold, and bought and sold and bartered; and when they had made their preparations to return, my master came to me and said, "Rise and get thee ready to travel with the traders en route to thy country." They had bought a number of tusks which they had bound together in loads and were embarking them when my master sent me with them, paying for my passage and settling all my debts; besides which he gave me a large present in goods. We set out and voyaged from island to island till we had crossed the sea and landed on the shores of the Persian Gulf, when the merchants brought out and sold their stores: I also sold what I had at a high profit; and I bought some of the prettiest things in the place for presents and beautiful rareties and everything else I wanted. I likewise bought for myself a beast and we fared forth and crossed the deserts from country to country till I reached Baghdad. Here I went in to the Caliph and, after saluting him and kissing hands, informed him of all that had befallen me; whereupon he rejoiced in my safety and thanked Almighty Allah; and he bade my story be written in letters of gold. I then entered my house and met my family and brethren: and such is the end of the history that happened to me during my seven voyages. Praise be to Allah, the One, the Creator, the Maker of all things in Heaven and Earth!--

Now when Shahrazad had ended her story of the two Sindbads, Dinarzad exclaimed, "O my sister, how pleasant is thy tale and how tasteful! How sweet and how grateful!" She replied, "And what is this compared with that I could tell thee tomorrow night?" Quoth the King, "What may it be?" And she said:--It is a tale touching...

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Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.

1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM

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