Fourth voyage of Sindbad ship – Alif Laila
Sindbad said, “After a few days of rest, I had forgotten the past pains and sorrows and then realized that to earn more money and to see the strangeness of the world.” I prepared for the fourth trip and bought in abundance the things of my country which are in demand abroad. Then I went towards Persia with the goods. While doing business in many cities there, I reached a port and did business.
One day our ship got stuck in a storm. The captain tried a lot to handle the ship but could not handle it. The ship collided with a rock submerged in water rising above the bottom of the sea and was shattered. Many people drowned there, but I and some other traders somehow came to the shore with the help of broken boards. We had come to an island. Walking here and there, we ate the fruits of trees and ate our hunger.
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Then we lay down on the beach and started cursing our misfortune. But what was to happen? We fell asleep and slept soundly throughout the night. Waking up in the morning, he started roaming around the island and collecting fruits etc. Suddenly a large crowd of black men surrounded us. They tied ropes around our necks and drove us like sheep and goats to their distant village. Then he placed a food item in front of us and gestured to eat it. My comrades ate it without any thought and immediately became intoxicated. I ate very little of that thing and started watching the actions of black people carefully. My friends could not understand anything but I understood that these people have no good intentions. Then he gave us rice cooked in coconut oil to eat. People get fat from this food. I understood that black people intended to make us fat and then Cook the flesh of our people and eat it by all after the tribe’s feast. My companions used to eat a lot in drunkenness, but I used to eat very little so that I would not become fat and do not become the food of male eaters. I became so weak in eating less and worrying about my life that nothing but bone and leather remained in my body.
I used to roam the island during the day. One day I saw that everyone in the village had gone to work. Only one old man was sitting. I ran away after getting the opportunity. The old man called me out loud, but I did not stop. When people came to the village in the evening, they went out in search of me. But by then I had gone too far. I would run throughout the day and sleep somewhere in the night. On the way, he used to remove hunger from fruits etc. or break coconut and drink its water, which used to pacify both hunger and thirst.
On the eighth day I reached the shore of the sea. There I saw that many white people like me were collecting black pepper because there was a lot of black pepper produced there. I was very happy to see them and I reached to them. They also gathered around and started asking me in Arabic, where are you coming from. I was even more delighted to hear the Arabic dialect and I told them in detail that when the ship broke down, we started on some other shore of the island, from where we were caught by many black people.
They were very surprised to hear this. They said, ‘Oh they are cannibals. How did he leave you?’ I told them further how I saved my life by eating less and running away after getting the chance.
They were very surprised and delighted at my survival alive. I worked with them until their work was done, then they took me on a ship with them and came to their country and presented me in front of their king saying that this man came out safely from the clutches of cannibals Is. When I narrated my whole situation to the emperor, he was very surprised and happy to hear that too. The emperor was of a very kind nature. He gave me clothes and other amenities to wear.
The island which was in the possession of the emperor was very big and full of wealth. The merchants there used to take their things to other countries and many merchants from outside also came. I started hoping that someday I would reach my country. The king was very kind to me. He made me his courtier. People started behaving as if I am a resident of their country after seeing me.
I was surprised to see that people there used to ride horses without bridles. Even the emperor used to ride on the bare back of a horse. I asked the king one day why don’t you guys ride the horse with a bridle. He said, what is a gene bridle. He also said that I should make these things for him.
I made a sample and gave it to the woodworker. He made the genes according to my sample. I overlaid it with leather and put a covering of Atlas and Kamarkhwab on it. Asked a blacksmith to make stirrups and also got bridle items made. When everything was ready, I decorated it on a horse and took it in front of the horse king. When he rode on it, he was very happy and content. He rewarded me a lot and started obeying me even more than before. Then I made many jeenes and bridles and gave them to the members of the kingdom family, ministers etc. They gave me thousands of rupees and other valuables in exchange for them. When my respect increased in the royal court, the townspeople also started respecting me a lot.
One day the emperor had a private conversation with me. He said, ‘I am very pleased with you and want to bestow more and more grace on you. The people of my court and the common people also respect you a lot because of your intelligence. I want you to do one thing. I am sure you will not deny what I say.’ I said, ‘Whatever you command will be in my interest because you have mercy on me. Why would I disobey your command?’ He said, ‘I want you to settle here permanently and give up the idea of going to your country. That’s why I want to marry you to a beautiful and gentle girl here.’ I gladly accepted it.
He got me married to a very beautiful and beautiful young youth. Seeing him, I forgot my family settled in Baghdad. A few days later my neighbor’s wife became ill and died a few days later. I had a good friendship with the neighbor, so went to Matampursi at his house. The man was deeply mourned and his tears could not stop. I explained to him that he should be patient, if God wills, then after the second marriage, he will have a better life. He said, ‘You don’t know anything, that’s why you are giving such comfort. I am only a guest for two-four hours.
I got upset and asked him to clarify the situation, then he said, ‘Today I will be buried alive with my dead wife. This ritual is going on here since ancient times that when the husband dies, the wife is buried with him and when the wife dies, the husband is buried with her. Now there is no way to save my life. The residents here unanimously accept this custom. No one can do anything against it.
My senses were blown away as soon as I heard about this terrible custom. From that time on I started worrying about myself because I too was married. After a while his relatives gathered. He arranged for the shroud etc. They washed the dead body of the woman and put on valuable clothes and carried it away on an open vessel. Her husband also followed them weeping and beating wearing a mournful robe.
Everyone reached a big mountain. There he removed a big rock and a deep and dark pit appeared under it. All the people lowered the boat to the bottom of the pit with the help of a rope. After that the husband of the deceased woman was also thrown into the pit. They also put with him seven loaves of bread and a vessel full of water, and after taking it down, the mouth of the pit was closed with a rock. That mountain was very tall. On the other side was the sea and the area on that side was inaccessible and uninhabited. Keeping the rock in place and mourning for the husband and wife, everyone returned.
I was very scared and wondered why such an inhuman practice which is not there in any country of the world is followed here. But whoever talked to him, he supported this custom and used to call my words wrong. Even when I spoke to the emperor he said, ‘Sindbad, this is a very old ritual of our elders. I can’t stop it even if I want to. This ritual applies to me as well. God forbid, if the queen dies, I too will be buried alive with her. I asked whether this ritual also applies to other countrymen who have settled here. The emperor smiled and said, ‘This ritual is for all, domestic and foreign. No one is taken out of this.’
After that I started getting very nervous. I always thought that if my wife died, I would also have to die such a terrible death. That’s why I started taking great care of my wife’s health. But who can defy the will of God? After some time my wife became very ill and within a few days the time went off. A mountain of sorrow fell upon me. I used to beat my head and say that I ran away from that island in vain. It was better to be buried alive like this that the cannibals would kill and eat me.
In the meantime, the emperor came to my house with his courtiers and servants. Other eminent persons of the city also gathered there and people carried him on the charioteer and I also kept on weeping and crying behind them. Reaching the mountain of burial, I once again tried to save my life. I told the king, Swami, I am not from here. Why am I being given this harshest punishment? Have mercy on me and give me life. I am not alone, there are women and children in my country. Take care of them and leave me.
I made a thousand complaints but the emperor or any other person did not take pity on me. First my wife’s wheelbarrow was lowered into the pit, then I was put on a second wheel and put with me the rotis and a pitcher of water, and the rock was put back on the pit.
The hole was about fifty cubits deep. As soon as I got into it, my mind started bursting with the stench emanating there, which was coming from the decomposition of the dead bodies. I got up from my car and ran away. I started crying and cursing my fate. I used to say ‘whatever God does is said to be good. Know what is good in this misfortune of mine. I was not conscious of the sufferings and dangers of three or three journeys and then went on the fourth journey to die. Now there is no way out of here. That’s how I cried for hours.
But whether it is happiness or sorrow, hunger haunts a person. I reached my chest with my nose and mouth closed and after eating some roti drank water. Lived like this for a few days. When the rotis were over, I thought that now I have to starve. So there was light above. Opening the top of the rock, the people lowered a dead man and his widow with him into the pit. When the people had closed the rock, I picked up the bone of a dead body and came quietly from behind and hit it so hard on the woman’s head that she gasped and collapsed. I killed him with constant blows and went to my corner with the rotis and water I had kept. After two or four days a man was brought down with his dead wife. As before, I finished the man and took his rotis and water. Due to my luck, there was an epidemic in the city and every day two dead bodies and living people started coming with them, killing whom I would take their bread.
One day I heard a voice there as if someone was breathing. It was so dark there that day or night was not known. When I paid attention to the sound itself, along with the breath, there was a slight sound of the feet. When I woke up, I knew that something was running in one direction. I too ran after him. After running like this for a while, I saw a star-like glow in the distance which was twinkling. When I started running towards that side, I saw that there was such a big hole through which I could go out.
Actually I had come out on the slope of the other side of the mountain. The mountain was so high that the townspeople did not even know what was there. Through that hole, some animal used to come inside to eat the dead and with the help of that I found a way out. I came out of that hole under the open sky and thanked God for his kindness. I was now hopeful of my escape.
Now I started thinking something because till now I could not think of anything because of the smell of the dead. I had somehow kept myself alive for so many days by taking little food. Once again, I entered the cave of the dead with a strong heart. Precious gems, Bhushan, etc. were kept with many dead. I groped and collected many diamonds and gems by guesswork.
He tied several bundles of diamonds and jewels to the ropes of the dead bodies and brought them out one by one, from where the sea was visible in front of them. I spent two-three days on the beach eating fruits and flowers.
On the fourth day I saw a ship passing by the shore. I opened my turban and blew it in the air and cried loudly. The captain of the ship saw me. He stopped the ship and sent a boat to pick me up. The sailors started asking me how did you come to this deserted place. Instead of narrating the whole story to them, I told them that two days ago our ship had sunk, all my companions also drowned, only I saved my life and some belongings with the help of some planks. They took me to the ship along with the bundles.
I told the same thing to the captain on the ship and in return for his grace started giving him some gems but he refused to take it. From there we went to several islands. We went to Neil Island, a ten day drive from Saran Island. From there we reached the island of Kali, where there are lead mines and many items of India are also reed, camphor etc. Bud Island is huge and there is a lot of trade going on there. After some time we bought and sold our things and reached Basra from where I came to Baghdad. I got unlimited money. I built many mosques etc. and started living happily. Saying this, Sindbad gave another four hundred dinars to Hindbad and asked him to come the next day also. The next day everyone gathered again and after lunch Sindbad began to describe his fifth journey.