First voyage of Sindbad ship – Alif Laila
Sindbad said that I had acquired a considerable ancestral property, but I fell under the control of the foolishness of the youth and blown it away for enjoyment. When my father was alive, he used to say that death is better than poverty. All the wise have said so. I would think of this over and over again and in my mind wept over my plight. In the end, when poverty became beyond my tolerance, I sold my remaining goods and took the money I got and went to the sea merchants and said that now I also want to go out for business. He gave me great advice on business. According to him, I bought the goods of the trade and took them on a merchant’s ship, paid rent, loaded the goods and boarded myself. The ship went on its business voyage.
The ship passed through the Persian Gulf and reached the country of Persia, which is situated on the left side of Arabia and on the west side of India. The Persian Gulf was two and a half thousand miles in length and seventy miles in width. I was not used to sailing, so I was suffering from sea sickness for several days. Then it got better. On the way we found many islands where we bought and sold goods. One day our ship was sailing. Then a beautiful green island appeared in front of us. The captain took off the sails of the ship and put anchor and said that those who wish to visit this island should come. I and several other merchants, who were bored sitting on the ship, took the food and went to that island by boat. But that island started shaking when we lit a fire for cooking. Seeing this the merchants started shouting that run away and go on the ship, this is not an island, The back of a big fish. Everyone jumped and sat on the small boat of the ship. I could not do this due to incompetence. The boat headed towards the ship. Here the fish, which had woken up from our fire, dived into the water. I started swimming in the sea. I had only one wood in my hand which I had brought to burn. With the help of that he started swimming in the sea. Before I could reach the ship, the ship lifted anchor and left.
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I swam in that bottomless water for a whole day and a night. Fatigue took away all my strength and I was not even able to move my arms and legs to swim. I was about to drown when a huge sea wave tossed me over the shore. But the edge was not flat. Rather it was of a standing slope. Somehow, grabbing the roots of the dying trees, I reached up and fell to the ground like a dead body.
When the sunrise came, I was sick with hunger. He did not have the strength to walk on his feet, so he walked on his knees. Fortunately, I found a spring of fresh water at some distance away whose water came to life in me. I searched and found some sweet fruits and leaves to eat and filled my stomach with them. Then I started walking around the island. I saw a mare grazing. It was very beautiful, but when I looked near, I found that it was tied to a peg. Then from the bottom of the earth, I heard the sound of some human beings speaking and after some time a man came out of the ground and started asking me who are you, what have you come to do. When I told him my condition, he grabbed me and took me to the basement.
There were many more humans there. He gave me food. I asked them what are you doing sitting in the basement on this deserted island. He said, we are the sons of the emperor. The master king of this island sends his good mares here once a year to get them pregnant with hippopotamuses. The colts that are born in this way are used to ride the people of the royal family. We tie the horses here and hide and sit. The hippopotamus has a habit of killing the mare after mating. When that horse wants to kill our mare after mating, we run out of the dungeon and run towards her screaming. Hearing our word, the horse runs away and takes a dip in the sea. Tomorrow we will be back to our capital.
I told them that I will also go with you because I cannot go to my own country from this island. We were just talking that the hippopotamus came out of the sea and after having sex with the mare, he wanted to kill him, that the men ran screaming and the horse ran away and hid in the sea. On the next day they gathered all the horses and came to the capital. I also went with him. He presented me in front of his emperor. On asking him, I told my whole situation. He took great pity on me. He ordered his servants to put this man at ease. So I started living comfortably.
I used to meet there merchants and people coming from outside so that I could find someone with whose help I could reach Baghdad. The city was very big and beautiful and every day ships from many countries anchored at its port. People from India and many other countries used to meet me and ask about the customs and rituals of my country and I would ask them about their country.
There was an island named Seal in the kingdom of the emperor. I had heard about him that the sound of drumming used to come from there night and day. The shippers also told me that the Muslims there believe that at the end of the universe there will be born an irreligious and false man who will claim that I am God. He will be Kana and the donkey will be his ride. I even went to see that island once. On the way I saw giant fish in the sea. They were a hundred cubits long, but some of them were even two hundred cubits long. He was scared to see them. But she herself was so timid that she used to run away just by making a sound on the frame. I also saw another type of fish. Its length was not more than an arm, but its mouth was like that of an owl. I went for walks like this for a long time.
One day I was standing at the port of that city. There a ship anchored and many merchants landed in it carrying bales of trade goods. The bales were stored on the top of the ship and were clearly visible from the shore. Suddenly I caught sight of a bundle on which my name was written. I recognized that it was the same bundle that I had loaded onto the ship at Basra. I went to the captain of the ship. He understood that I had drowned. Anyway, after so many days of troubles and worries, my face had changed, so he could not recognize me.
I asked him how this seemingly unclaimed bundle was. He said, Sindbad, a merchant from Baghdad, was on our ship. We were in the middle of the sea one day when a small island appeared and some merchants landed on it. In fact, it was not an island, but the back of a very big fish that had fallen asleep on the ocean floor. When merchants lit a fire on her to cook food, she first shook and then dived into the sea. All the merchants came to the ship by boat or swam, but poor Sindbad drowned there. These bundles are his own. Now I have decided to sell the goods of this bundle and pass it on to the family members of Sindbad in Baghdad.
I told him that the Sindbad you think is dead is me and this bundle and the bundles with it are mine. He said, ‘Okay, become Sindbad himself to grab my man’s goods. By the way, you seem naive in appearance, but what is the understanding that you have agreed to do such a big deceit. I myself have seen Sindbad sinking. Apart from this, many merchants also witness that he has drowned. How can I believe you?
I said, brother, talk about something thoughtfully. You didn’t even listen to me and made me a liar. He said, tell me your condition. I told the whole story of how I swam with the help of wood and reached the uninhabited island after swimming in the sea for twenty four hours and how the king’s servants brought me from there and presented me to the king.
The captain did not believe my story at first. Then he carefully looked at me and showed me to other traders as well. Everyone recognized me for a while and said that it was actually Sindbad. Everyone started congratulating me on getting a new life and thanking God.
The captain hugged me and said, God has great mercy that you survived. Now take care of your goods and sell it the way you want. I greatly admired the honesty of the captain and said that you also take a little of my goods. But he did not take anything, gave all the goods to me.
I presented some beautiful and valuable things from my belongings to the king. Where did you get these valuable things from, he asked? I told him the whole story. He was overjoyed to hear this. He gladly accepted my gift and in return gave me things much more valuable than him. After leaving him, I came again on the ship and after selling my goods, took the produce of that country like sandalwood, ebony, camphor, nutmeg, clove, black pepper etc. and then boarded the ship. Passing through many countries and islands, our ship reached the port of Basra. From there it came to Baghdad by land route. I made a profit of one lakh dinar in this trade. I was very happy to meet my family members and brothers and sisters. I built a huge house and bought many slaves and maidservants and lived happily ever after. Within a few days I forgot the hardships of my journey.
Sindbad finished his story and asked the choir-players, who had been silent at the time of his travelogue, to start singing again. These things became the night. Sindbad asked for a bag of four hundred dinars and gave it to Hindbad and said that now you go to your home, if you come again at this time tomorrow, I will tell you more stories of my travels. Hindbad had never seen so much wealth before. He thanked Sindbad a lot. According to his order, Hindbad came to his house wearing other nice and new clothes. Sindbad was pleased to see him and smiled and asked Hindbad about his well being.
After sometime other friends of Sindbad also came and as per the routine rules, delicious dishes were brought out. When everyone was satisfied after eating and drinking, Sindbad said, Friends, now I will tell you the story of my second ocean voyage, it is no less strange than the first one. Everyone listened carefully and Sindbad started speaking.