Matured Stories

Arabian night (+16) – Episode 16

The Seven
Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor..
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. IN the times of the Caliph Haroun-al-
Raschid there lived in Baghdad a poor
porter named Hindbad, who on a very
hot day was sent to carry a heavy load
from one end of the city to the other.
Before he had accomplished half the
distance he was so tired that, finding
himself in a quiet street where the
pavement was sprinkled with rose water,
and a cool breeze was blowing, he set his
burden upon the ground, and sat down
to rest in the shade of a grand house.
Very soon he decided that he could not
have chosen a pleasanter place; a
delicious perfume of aloes wood and
pastilles came from the open windows
and mingled with the scent of the rose
water which steamed up from the hot
pavement. Within the palace he heard
some music, as of many instruments
cunningly played, and the melodious
warble of nightingales and other birds,
and by this, and the appetising smell of
many dainty dishes of which he presently
became aware, he judged that feasting
and merry making were going on. He
wondered who lived in this magnificent
house which he had never seen before,
the street in which it stood being one
which he seldom had occasion to pass. To
satisfy his curiosity he went up to some
splendidly dressed servants who stood at
the door, and asked one of them the
name of the master of the mansion.
“What,” replied he, “do you live in
Baghdad, and not know that here lives
the noble Sindbad the Sailor, that famous
traveller who sailed over every sea upon
which the sun shines?”
The porter, who had often heard people
speak of the immense wealth of Sindbad,
could not help feeling envious of one
whose lot seemed to be as happy as his
own was miserable. Casting his eyes up
to the sky he exclaimed aloud,
“Consider, Mighty Creator of all things,
the differences between Sindbad’s life
and mine. Every day I suffer a thousand
hardships and misfortunes, and have
hard work to get even enough bad barley
bread to keep myself and my family alive,
while the lucky Sindbad spends money
right and left and lives upon the fat of the
land! What has he done that you should
give him this pleasant life– what have I
done to deserve so hard a fate?”
So saying he stamped upon the ground
like one beside himself with misery and
despair. Just at this moment a servant
came out of the palace, and taking him
by the arm said, “Come with me, the
noble Sindbad, my master, wishes to
speak to you.”
Hindbad was not a little surprised at this
summons, and feared that his unguarded
words might have drawn upon him the
displeasure of Sindbad, so he tried to
excuse himself upon the pretext that he
could not leave the burden which had
been entrusted to him in the street.
However the lackey promised him that it
should be taken care of, and urged him
to obey the call so pressingly that at last
the porter was obliged to yield.
He followed the servant into a vast room,
where a great company was seated round
a table covered with all sorts of
delicacies. In the place of honour sat a
tall, grave man whose long white beard
gave him a venerable air. Behind his
chair stood a crowd of attendants eager
to minister to his wants. This was the
famous Sindbad himself. The porter,
more than ever alarmed at the sight of so
much magnificence, tremblingly saluted
the noble company. Sindbad, making a
sign to him to approach, caused him to
be seated at his right hand, and himself
heaped choice morsels upon his plate,
and poured out for him a draught of
excellent wine, and presently, when the
banquet drew to a close, spoke to him
familiarly, asking his name and
occupation.
“My lord,” replied the porter, “I am
called Hindbad.”
“I am glad to see you here,” continued
Sindbad. “And I will answer for the rest
of the company that they are equally
pleased, but I wish you to tell me what it
was that you said just now in the street.”
For Sindbad, passing by the open
window before the feast began, had
heard his complaint and therefore had
sent for him.
At this question Hindbad was covered
with confusion, and hanging down his
head, replied, “My lord, I confess that,
overcome by weariness and ill-humour, I
uttered indiscreet words, which I pray
you to pardon me.”
“Oh!” replied Sindbad, “do not imagine
that I am so unjust as to blame you. On
the contrary, I understand your situation
and can pity you. Only you appear to be
mistaken about me, and I wish to set you
right. You doubtless imagine that I have
acquired all the wealth and luxury that
you see me enjoy without difficulty or
danger, but this is far indeed from being
the case. I have only reached this happy
state after having for years suffered every
possible kind of toil and danger.
“Yes, my noble friends,” he continued,
addressing the company, “l assure you
that my adventures have been strange
enough to deter even the most avaricious
men from seeking wealth by traversing
the seas. Since you have, perhaps, heard
but confused accounts of my seven
voyages, and the dangers and wonders
that I have met with by sea and land, I
will now give you a full and true account
of them, which I think you will be well
pleased to hear.”
As Sindbad was relating his adventures
chiefly on account of the porter, he
ordered, before beginning his tale, that
the burden which had been left in the
street should be carried by some of his
own servants to the place for which
Hindbad had set out at first, while he
remained to listen to the story.

Also Read:   Eka's Story - Season 1 - Episode 17
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