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nobility - Man Indian

♪1øø1~The fourth voyage of Sindbad♪


The fourth voyage of Sindbad

"The pleasures and amusement in which i induiged after my third voyage, had not charms sufficiently powerfull to deter me from venturing on the sea again. I gave way to my love for traffic and adventure. I settled my affairs, and furnishee myself with the merchendise suited to the places i intendet to visit, and travelled towards Persia, some of the provinces of which i traversed, until i at last reached the port, where i embarked. We set sail, and touched at several points of the mainland, and at some of the oriental islands. But one day we were surprised by a sudden squall of wind. Our sails were thorn in a thousand pieces, and the vessel, becoming ungovernable, was driven on a sandbank and went to pieces. A great number of the crew perished, and the cargo was swallowed up by the waves."

"With some other merchants and seamen i had the good fortune to get hold on a plank. We were all drawn by the strenght of the current towards an island that lay before us. We found some fruits and fresh water, which recruited our strenght, and we lay down to sleep in the spot where the waves had thrown us. The next morning, when the sun was risen, we left the shore, and advancing into the island, perceived some habitations, towards which we bent our steps. When we drew near, a great number of blacks came forward, and, surrounding us, made us prisoners. They seemed to divide us among themselves, and then led us away to their houses."

"Five of my comrades and myself were taken into the same place. Our captors made us sit down, and then offered us a certain herb, inviting us by signs to eat of it. My companions, without considering that the people did not eat of it themselves, only consulted their hunger and devoured it greedily. I had a sort of presentiment that this herb was given us for no good purpose, and refused even to taste it, and it was well i did so, for a short time after i perceived that my companions soon lost all sense of their position, and did not know what they said. The blacks then served us with some rice dressed with the oil of the cocoanut, and my comrades, not being sensible of what they did, ate ravenously of this mess. I likewise partook of it, but fed sparingly."

"The blacks had given us the herb first to turn our brains, and thus banish the sorrow which our miserable situation would create, and the rice was given to fatten us. As these men were anthropophagi, they designed to feast on us when we were in good condition. My poor companions fell victims to the barbarous custom of these wretches, becouse they had lost their senses, and could not foresee their destiny. As for me, instead of fattening as the others had done, i grew thinner every day. The fear of death, which constantly haunted me, poisoned the food i took, and i fell into a state of langour, which was in the end very beneficial to me, for when the blacks had devoured my comrades, they were content to let remain untill i should be worth eating."

"In the meantime i was allowed a great deal of liberty, and my actions were scarcely observed. This afforded me the opportunity one day of quitting the habitation of the blacks, and escaping. I walked for seven days, taking care to avoid those places continually which appeared inhabited, and living on cocoa nuts, which afforded me both drink and food."

"On the eight day i came to the seashore. Here i saw some white people employed in gathering pepper, which grew wery plentifully in that place. They came towards me as they perceived me, and asked me in Arabic from whence i came."

"Delighted to hear my native language once more, i readily satisfied their curiosity."

"I remained with them until they had collected as much pepper as they chose to gather. They made me embark with them in the vessel which had conveyed them, and we soon reached another island, from whence they had come. My deliverers presented me to their king, who was a good prince. He had the patience to listent to the recital of my adventures, which astonished him, and he ordered me some new clothes, and desired i might be taken care of. This island was very populous, and abounded in all sorts of articles for commerce. The pleasantness of my new quarters began to console me for my misfortunes, and the kindness of this generous prince made me completely happy. Indeed, i appeared to be his greatest favourite."

"I remarked one thing which appeared to me very singular. Every one, the king not excepted, rode on horseback without saddle, bridle or stirrups. I one day took the liberty to ask his majesty why such things were not used in his city, he replied that he had never heard of the things of which i spoke."

"I immediately went to a workman, and gave him a model from which to make the tree of a saddle. When he had executed his task, i myself covered the saddle tree with leather, richly embroidered in gold, and stuffed it with hair. I then applied to a locksmith, who made me a bit and some stirrups also, according to the patterns i gave him."

"When these articles were completed, i presented them to the king, and tried them on one of his horses. The prince then mounted his steed, and was so pleased with its accountrements, that he testified his approbation by making me considerable presents. I was then obliged to make several saddles for his ministers and the principal officers of his household, who all rewarded me with very rich and handsome gifts. I also made some for the wealthiest inhabitants of the town, by which i gained great reputation and credit."

"As i constantly attended at court, the king said to me one day, 'Sindbad, i love you, and i know that all my subjects who have any knowledge of you entertain a high regard for you. I have one request to make, which you must not deny me.'
'O king,' replied i, 'there is nothing your majesty can command which i will not perform, to prove my obedience to your orders. Your power over me is absolute.'
'I wish you to marry,' resumed the prince, 'that you may have a tender tie to attach you to my dominions, and prevent you returning to your native country.'
As i did not dare to refuse the king's offer, he bestowed on me in marriage a lady of his court who was noble, beautiful, ribh, and accomplished. After the ceremony of the nuptials i took up my abode in the house of my wife, and lived with her for some time in perfect harmony. Nevertheless i was discontented with my situation and designed to make my escape at the first convenient opportunity, and return to Bagdad."

"While i was thus meditating an escape, the wife of one of my neighbours, with whom i was very intimate, fell sick and died. I went to console the widower, and finding him in the deepest affliction, i said to him, 'May god preserve you, and grant you a long life.'
'Alas!' replied he, 'I have only one hour to live.'
'Oh,' resumed i, 'do not suffer such dismal ideas to take possession of your mind. I hope that i shall enjoy your frienship for many years.'
'I wish with all my heart,' said he, 'that your life may be of long duration. As for me, the die is cast, and this day i shall be buried with my wife. Such is the custom which our ancestors have established in this island, and which is still inviolably observed. The husband is interred alive with his dead wife, and the living wife with the dead husband. Nothing can save me, and every one submits to this law.'"

"Whilst he was relating to me this singularly barbarous custom, the bare idea of whibh filled me with terror, his relations, friends, and neighbours came to make arrangements for the funeral. They dressed the corpse of the woman in the richest attire, as on the day of her nuptials, and decorated her with all her jewels. They then placed her on an open bier, and the procession set out. The husband, dressed in mourning, went immediately after the body of his wife, and the relations followed. They bent their course towards a high mountain, and when they had reached the summit, a large stone was raised which covered a deep pit, and the body was let down into the pit in all its sumptuous apparel and ornaments. Thereupon the husband took his leave of his relations and friends, and without making any resistance suffered himself to be placed on a bier, with a jug of water and seven small loaves by his side. He was then let down into the pit as his wife had been. This mountain extended to a great distance, reching even to the seashore, and the pit was very deep. When the ceremony was ended the stone was replaced and the company retired. I need scarcely tell you that i was particulary affected by this ceremony. I could not avoid telling the king my sentiments on this subject. 'O king,' said i, 'i cannot express my astonishment at the strange custom which exists in your dominions, of interring the living with dead, in the whole course of my travels i never heard of so cruel a decree.'
'What can i do, Sindbad?' replied the king, 'It is a law common to all ranks, and even i submit to it. I shall be interred alive with the queen my consort, if she happens to die first.'
'Will your majesty allow me to ask,' resumed i, 'if strangers are obliged to conform to this custom?'
'Certainly,' said the king, 'they are not exempt when they marry in the island.'"

"I returned home thoughtful and sad. The fear that my wife might die before me, and that i must be interred with her, distressed me beyond measure. I soon had good reason to fear. She was taken dangerously ill and died in a few days. To be buried alive appeared to me a horrible a fate as being devoured by the anthropophagi, yet i was obliged to submit. The king accompanied by his whole court, proposed to honour the procession with his presence, and the principal inhabitants of the city also, out of respect to me, were present at my interment."

"When all was in readiness for the ceremony, the corpse of my wife, decorated with her jewels, and dressed in the most magnificent clothes, was placed an a bier, and the procession set out. As the chief mourner in this dreadful tragedy, i followed the body of my wife, my eyes full of tears, and deploring my miserable destiny. Before we arrived at the mountain i made an appeal to the compassion of the spectators. I first addressed myself to the king, then the courtiers who were near me, and entreated them to have pity on me. 'Consider,' said i, 'that i am a stranger, who ought not to be subject to your rigorous law, and that i have another wife and children in my own country.'
I pronounced these words ...
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