Third voyage of Sindbad ship – Alif Laila
Sindbad said that after coming home, I started living happily. In a few days, as if forgetting the troubles and troubles of the last two journeys and started preparing for the third journey. I took trade items from Baghdad and went to the port of Basra with some merchants and boarded a ship. Our ship went to many islands where we made good profit by doing business.
But one day our ship got stuck in a storm. Because of this we deviated from the straight path. Finally approaching an island, the ship anchored and opened sail. The captain looked at the island paying attention, then tears started flowing in his eyes. When we asked the reason for this, he said, ‘Now God is the protector of us people. Because there are islands of wild people near this island. He has reddish-brown hairs on his body. The shipwrecked ships from these forest dwellers have faced great troubles. They are smaller in size than us but we are constrained in front of them. If one of them is hit by our hand, they will surround us like ants and wipe us out.’
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We all got very nervous on hearing this, but what could we do? After a while, as the captain had said, it happened. A large group of wild people, whose bodies were short and full of scarlet hair, came to the shore and swam around the ship. They started saying something in their own language but we could not understand it. They boarded the ship as easily as monkeys. They wrapped the sails and pulled the ship ashore by cutting the anchor rope. They took us off the ship and dragged us to their island. No ship used to come near that island because of their fear, but it was our death that had dragged us.
They locked us inside a house. We saw that in the courtyard there was a pile of human bones and many thick iron rods were kept. Seeing this, we became unconscious due to fear. After a long time, when we regained consciousness, we started crying considering our condition. Suddenly a door opened and a huge man came into our courtyard from inside. His body was like a palm and his face was like a horse. He had only one eye which was in the center of his forehead and was burning like embers. His teeth were very large and sharp and were protruding from his mouth. His lower lip was so big that it was hanging down to his chest. His ears were elephant-like and covered his shoulders, and his nails were very hard and curved, like those of hunter-gatherers. Seeing that monster, we all once again gasped.
When we came to our senses, we saw that the demon is standing near us and watching us. Then he came closer to us and picked up each one of us and looked around in his hand. Like butchers look at goats and sheep to get an idea of their thickness. At first he caught me but kept me looking thin. Then he looked at each one like this and finally finding the captain the fattest of all, caught him with one hand and with the other hand passed a rod through his body and then lit a fire and roasted the captain and ate it. Then went inside and slept. His snoring kept coming like a thunderstorm and terrified us all through the night. When the day came, he woke up and went out of the house.
We all started crying over our condition. We could not understand how life could be saved from that terrible monster. We all left ourselves to the will of God. After coming out of the house, we quenched our hunger by eating fruits and flowers. We wished that we should not go to that house at night, but there was no other place where we would spend the night, then the demon would find us. So we came to the same house. After a few nights, the demon came again. He then lifted us up and looked at us as before and found one of our companions to be fatter and fresher than the others and roasted them by inserting a stick into his body.
When he went out in the morning, we went out. Many of our companions said that it is better to drown in the sea than such a painful death. But one of us said that we are Muslims and suicide is a big sin for us. We should not kill ourselves to avoid the demon. By listening to him, we stopped from committing suicide and started thinking how life can be saved.
Suggest me a solution. I said, ‘Look, there are a lot of sticks and ropes here on the beach. Let us make four or five boats for them and keep them hidden somewhere. If any opportunity comes, we will run out of them. At the most it will happen that the boats will sink. But that death would be far better than dying at the hands of a demon.
Everyone liked my suggestion. We knew how to make boats, and in a day we made four or five small boats that could carry three men. In the evening we went inside that house again. As usual, the demon picked us up and looked at us and broke a strong man into a bar, roasted it and ate it. When he fell asleep and his snoring became very deep, I explained my plan to my colleagues and we started working on it.
There were many bars lying there and the fire was still burning profusely. I and nine other smart and courageous men lit each bar to red. Then all of us inserted those bars in the eyes of that monster, which made him completely blind. He started hitting his hands here and there. We escaped from him and hid in the corners. If he had found anyone, he would have eaten raw. Then he ran out of the house shouting and we came to the seashore and got into the boats which we had already made. We wanted to start the journey at dawn. That’s when we saw two demons come in their midst holding the hands of the demon whom we had blinded. Many other demons also used to run after him. As soon as we saw them, we put the boats in the sea and started rowing them fast. The demons could not swim in the sea but they started throwing big rocks towards us from the shore itself. except one boat On which I and my two companions were sitting, all the boats were sunk by the rocks thrown by the demons. We sped our boat so far away where their rocks couldn’t come.
But even after coming in the open sea, we could not find peace. The strong wind began to toss our little boat on the water like a straw. We remained in this condition for twenty four hours. Then our boat reached an island. We happily landed on that island and after eating a full stomach of fruits from the trees on the shore, our bodies got some energy. At night we slept on the beach. Suddenly I woke up with a loud rustle and I saw a snake as tall as a coconut tree being eaten by one of our companions. He first broke our partner’s body tightly from all sides and then swallowed it. After some time the snake spewed out his bones and left. The two survivors of us spent the night in great sadness and worry. With so many difficulties, he was freed from the demon, then this trouble came, from which the salvation was not visible. During the day we lived by eating fruits. By evening we had found a tree for our escape. and climbed on it as night fell.
I had reached very high on the tree but my companion could not go that high and lay down on a thick branch. The snake came again in the night. Reaching the root of the tree, he raised his body and grabbed my companion and ate it and then left from there. I lay half dead with fear all night. At sunrise, I got down from the tree and then after eating some fruits etc., I filled my stomach. I believed that today I will definitely become the prey of that snake because it has already seen me. After much deliberation, I figured out the idea that I put a lot of thorny bushes around the tree and covered it with thorns in such a way that no one can see it.
The snake came in the night. He could not reach the root of the tree because of the bushes but sat in ambush all night. In the morning he left. I was so weak and disheartened by the night’s waking and fear of life and hearing the hiss of the snake all night that I thought that it was better to drown in the sea than to live like this. With this intention he went to the beach. But fortunately, a ship appeared a short distance away from the shore. I started shouting and waving my turban in the air. The people of the ship saw me and the captain sent me a boat and got me on board.
They started asking me how I got to that island. An old man said, ‘I wonder how you have survived. I have heard that these islands are inhabited by cannibalistic monsters who eat after roasting men. Apart from this, there are also giant snakes who sleep in caves during the day and go out for hunting at night and if they find any man, they swallow him.
I could not answer his words as he was dying due to hunger and awakening. He fed me food and since my clothes were getting frayed, he also gave me a pair of clothes. Then I described my calamities in detail and told how I was saved from the demon and the snake. Everyone said that there is a great grace of God on you so that you can survive.
Our ship reached Sylhet Island where there is sandalwood which is used in many medicines. The ship anchored there and merchants took their goods and landed on the island to trade. The captain said to me, ‘Brother, you are from Baghdad. Many goods of a merchant there have been lying on my ship for a long time. You take his bundles and give them to his wife and children. If I write a letter, they will pay the wages for your shipment.’
I thanked him for getting me the job. He asked his clerk to hand over the merchant’s goods to this man.
The clerk asked what was the name of the merchant. The captain said that the owner of the goods was Sindbad Jawai. I was so surprised at this that the captain’s face began to look at him. After a while I realized that on my second voyage also he was the captain of the ship. Leaving me sleeping on that island, my companions had gone on the ship and everyone had assumed that I had died somewhere. Although it had not been many days since this incident, the complexion and appearance of my face had changed so much that the captain could not recognize me due to the constant calamities here.
I asked whether this item belonged to Sindbad ship. The captain said, ‘This item is undoubtedly of Sindbad. He was a resident of Baghdad and had boarded our ship from Basra port. One day we reached an island and anchored the ship so that the sweet water from the island would be filled on the ship. Many merchants also got down to roam. Among them was Sindbad. After sometime other people came on the ship but Sindbad did not come. I watched his way for four hours, but when the wind was favourable, I opened my sails and pushed the ship forward.’
I asked whether you have full faith that Sindbad is dead. The captain said that I have no doubt that Sindbad is no longer in the world. I told him, ‘Look at me with all your attention and know whether I am Sindbad or not. What happened was that after landing on the island, I fell into a deep sleep after eating and drinking near a source. My friends didn’t even wake me up. Maybe they didn’t even know where I was sleeping. When I opened my eyes and reached the beach, I saw that your ship has gone away.’
Hearing this, the captain looked at me carefully and recognized me. He hugged me and thanked God that I was alive although he thought I was dead. He said, ‘Your goods have also been traded everywhere I trade, and there has been profit in every deal on it. Now I hand over your goods to you along with your profits.’ Having said this, he handed over my bundles to me and also gave the cash amount which he had with him as profit from the trade of my goods. I had no hope of getting all this and I thanked God lakhs and lakhs.
Then our ship went from Sylhet island to other islands from where we bought cloves, licorice etc. We traveled far and wide. At one place we saw such big turtles whose length was fifty-fifty cubits in width and also strange fishes which give milk like a cow. Turtle’s leather is very hard, its shields are made. We saw another strange kind of fish. Its color and face are like that of a camel. While roaming around, our ship came to the port of Basra. From there I came to Baghdad.
I thanked God lakhs and lakhs for coming to my home in good health. In this happiness, I gave a lot of money to beggars and to help the poor. I have gained so much in this journey that it cannot be counted. Apart from donating etc., I also bought many beautiful buildings and things of comfort and luxury.
After describing the third sea voyage, Singhbad gave four hundred dinars to Hindbad. Also told him that tomorrow you come again at this time and then I will tell you about my fourth journey. Thus Sindbad and other people present left from Sindbad’s house. The next day everyone came at the appointed time and after lunch Sindbad started speaking.