Sixth voyage of Sindbad ship – Alif Laila
Sindbad told Hindbad and other people that you can think for yourself that what kind of troubles I faced as well as how much money I got. I myself was surprised by this. A year later, the frenzy of traveling struck me again. My relatives stopped me a lot but I did not listen. In the beginning I traveled a lot by land and traded in many cities of Persia. Then sat on a ship at a port and started a new sea voyage.
The captain had planned to go on a long journey, but after some time he forgot the way. He regularly looked at his travel books and maps to know where he was. One day he started crying after reading the book. He threw off his turban and started plucking his hair. We asked what had happened to you, so he told after a while that here a sea current is taken us aside, it will throw us on a shore such that our ship will break and we will all die on that shore. Saying this he got the sails off the ship.
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Nothing happened to him. Bouncing with the velocity of the current, the ship hit the hill and shattered like a mirror. Since this happened on the shore itself, we brought food and other things to the shore. The captain said, ‘Nobody has control over luck. Now let us all hug each other and weep and dig our own graves because no one has escaped from here.’ Hearing this, we hugged each other and wept as we saw shipwrecks and human skeletons scattered far and wide on the shore. It seemed that thousands of travelers had come there and died. The items of their trade were scattered all around.
There were mines of Bilour and Lal on that mountain. Nearby many rivers converged at one place and went inside a cave. The resin dripped from that mountain and fell into the sea and the fish used to eat it and after some time spew it out. That would become mica. There were heaps of that mica too. It was impossible to avoid the sea current in the sea because the height of the mountain stopped the strong wind that pulled the ships in the opposite direction. The mountain was so high that it was impossible to climb it and go to the other side.
We cried over our misfortune and waited for our death. We distributed the food brought from the ship equally. Whoever among us died, the rest of us would dig a grave and bury it. I would bury most of the dead and take their remaining food. In this way, I had enough food items. Slowly all my friends died. Being left alone made me even more sad. I also dug my grave so that when the time comes to die, I will lie in it.
I used to curse myself day and night that why did I come here to die a slow death, leaving such a happy life at home. But what to do with repentance? One night suddenly a thought came to my mind by the mercy of God. I thought that when the rivers come together in the form of one big river, while flowing inside the lair, then they must also come out somewhere else after the lair. That’s why I thought that somehow I should go to some country with the help of this river. Hundreds of ships were lying broken on the shore. I made a boat by joining the planks. I thought that one is sure to die on the bank, even if I go to the river, there will be maximum death and I may be saved.
In the hope of survival, I made many bundles of things to collect, choosing from among the numerous gems lying there and the valuables of the dead passengers’ scattered belongings, in addition to the food items on the boat. Bringing the boat to the bank of the river, I placed bales on either side of it so that the boat would not be too light and remain balanced. After doing this, I took the scolding and left the boat in the river by taking the name of God.
When the boat went to the cave, it came completely dark. I could not see. Sometimes leaving the boat on the stream, he used to slow down, sometimes he started to row. Somewhere the ceiling of the cave was so low that it hit my head. I used to eat very little of what I had kept with me so that I could survive. After some time, such an outburst of sleep struck me that when I fell asleep, I kept sleeping for hours. When he woke up, he saw that the boat was tied in the open on the bank of the river near the city. I saw that there are many dark-skinned people around me. I saluted them and inquired about their well being.
He said something in reply but I could not understand it at all.
Well, I was very happy to reach among the men and I thanked God aloud in my language Arabic and said that God helps man from moment to moment and man should not be disheartened by his kindness and I should also It is advisable to close my eyes and leave myself with the help of God.
One of those people knew Arabic. Hearing my words, he came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about seeing us. We are residents of this area. We come here to water our fields from the river. Today the water in the river was less as if something was blocking the stream. When we went ahead and saw, at one point your boat was stuck crooked due to which the water coming in the stream had reduced. One of us swam and he straightened your boat again and threw it into the stream. Then we tied your boat here. Now tell me who are you and where have you come from.’
I told him that my hunger is going to kill me, first give me something to eat. They gave many kinds of food items. Then I told them my condition from beginning to end. They were very surprised to hear this. They said that we will take you to our king, there you tell him your condition. I said, I’m ready for it.
They took my bundles and went with me. This was Saran Island (Lanka). I entered the royal court and upon seeing the king sitting on the throne, I bowed down to the Hindu custom and kissed his throne. The king asked, who are you? I said, my name is Sindbad Jahadi, I am a resident of Baghdad city. He said, where are you going and how did you come to my kingdom. I told him the story of my travels through to the end. He was surprised to hear this. He ordered that the account of Sindbad’s life be written rather than written with gold water so that it can find a place in our history and other knowledgeable books.
He ordered my bundles to be opened. He was even more surprised to see the precious gems and other things like sandalwood in them. I said, ‘Maharajadhiraja, it is all yours, take as much as you want from it, but if you want to take everything, then do that too.’ He smiled and replied, ‘No, it is all yours, we will not take any of it.’ Then he ordered that keep this man in a good house with his furnishings, keep an attendant for his service and take care of his comfort in every way. His servants did the same and took me down to a luxurious house. I used to go to the royal court every day and on my leave from there, I used to roam here and there to see the things worth seeing of the state.
Saran Island is slightly south of the equator. That is why there are always equal days and nights. The length of that island is forty kos and so is its breadth. There are high mountains around the capital. From there the beach is on a three-day walk. There are many mines of red (gem) and other gems, and there is also a stone called corund, which is used to cut and carve diamonds and other gems. There are also plenty of coconut and many other fruit trees. Pearls are also found in the sea there. Hazrat Adam, who according to the Qur’an and the Bible is the first man of man, was brought to a mountain on this island when he was descended from heaven.
After I had gone and seen a lot there, I requested the emperor to now allow me to go to my country. He not only gave me permission but also gave me many valuable things as a reward. He also gave me a letter to the Caliph Harun Rashid and many gifts that I should deliver them to the Caliph. I accepted this by bowing my head. The emperor arranged for a strong ship to carry me and instructed the captain and the Khalasis to transport Sindbad to his country with great honor, without causing any inconvenience on the way.
The letter given by the emperor of Saran Island to the Caliph was written on soft yellow leather. This leather belonged to a particular animal and was very valuable. The letter was written on it in purple ink. The text of the letter was as follows, ‘This letter is being sent from the King of Saran Island. A thousand decorated elephants walk before the king’s ride, his palace is so splendid, whose roofs are studded with a million precious gems, and in his treasury, among other things, are crowns studded with twenty thousand diamonds. The Emperor of Saran Island is sending the following gifts to the Caliph Harun Rashid in a fraternal way. He wants the Caliph and his to have a strong friendship and we both do not want each other’s harm. I wish the well being of the king of Saran Island, Khalifa.’
Among the gifts that the emperor sent to the Caliph was a cup made of gems, whose crew was a quarter-and-a-half-inch (about two-and-a-half inches) thick and was surrounded by a fringe of pearls. The fringe beads were each weighing three mashes. A bed of python’s skin, which was more than an inch thick. The specialty of this bed was that the person sleeping on it never fell ill. The third gift was sandalwood worth one lakh coins. The fourth gift was thirty grains of camphor, which were equal to one pistachio. The fifth gift was a maidservant who was very beautiful and was adorned with very valuable clothes and ornaments.
After traveling for some time, our ship reached the port of Basra safely. I came to Baghdad with all my belongings and letters and gifts sent to the Caliph. The first thing I did was to reach the Caliph’s palace with the maid—whom I had kept safe from the youth of the family—and other gifts and letters. Hearing about my arrival, the Caliph immediately sent me a call. His servants took me with all the belongings before the Caliph. I kissed the ground and gave a letter to the Caliph. He read the letter completely and then asked me, ‘You have seen the king of Saran Island, is he as majestic as it is written in this letter?
I said, ‘That’s exactly what he wrote. He did not exaggerate at all in the letter, I have seen his majesty and majesty with my own eyes. The splendor of his palace cannot be described in words. When he goes somewhere, all the ministers and feudatories ride on their elephants and follow him. In front of his own elephant’s cistern, the bodyguards carry golden work spears, and behind the servants, the pawns move. There is a huge sapphire on the end of that shack. All the elephants’ cisterns and furnishings are so well-equipped that I cannot describe them.
‘While the king’s ride goes on, an announcer says in a loud voice that the ride of the majestic king is coming, whose palace is studded with a million gems and who has a crown of twenty thousand diamonds and before whom no king can stand, even if he Hindu or Muslim.’
‘After the first announcer speaks, the second announcer says that no matter how much opulence the emperor has, it is destined to die. On this the first says that it should get the blessings of all people that it may have eternal life.
‘This emperor is so just that there is neither a judge nor a Kotwal in his kingdom. His subjects are such intelligent that no one does injustice to anyone or hurts anyone. Since everyone lives in great harmony, there is no need for the system to be established from above. That is why neither the police nor the Kotwals nor the judges have been kept in the kingdom of Saran Island.
The Caliph said on hearing this that from your description and this letter it seems that that emperor is very intelligent and smart, that is why he is able to make such good arrangements that there is no need for police etc. Saying this the Caliph gave me the khilat (garment of honor) and sent me off.
After telling this story, Sindbad said that if you come again tomorrow, I will narrate my seventh and last sea voyage. Saying this he gave four hundred dinars to Hindbad. On the second day Hindbad came during the meal and the Musahib of Sindbad also came. After lunch, Sindbad started the story.