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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 - 40/114 -

I tied myself strongly to it with the cloth that went round my turban, in hopes that when the roc[Footnote: Mark Paul in his Travels, and Father Martini in his History of China, speak each of this bird, and say it will take up an elephant and a rhinoceros.] flew away next morning, she would carry me with her out of this desert island. After having passed the night in this condition, the bird actually flew away next morning as soon as it was day, and carried me so high that I could not see the earth; she afterwards descended all of a sudden, and with so much rapidity, that I lost my senses. But when the roc was sat, and I found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, and had scarcely done so, when the bird, having taken up a serpent of a monstrous length in her bill, flew straight away. The place where it left me was a very deep valley, encompassed on all sides with mountains so high, that they seemed to reach above the clouds, and so full of steep rocks, that there was no possibility to get out of the valley. This was a new perplexity upon me; so that, when I compared this place with the desert island the roc brought me from, I found that I had gained nothing by the change.

As I walked through this valley, I perceived that it was strewed with diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness. I took a great deal of pleasure to look upon them, but speedily saw at a distance such objects as very much diminished my satisfaction, and which I could not look upon without terror; there were a great number of serpents, so big, and so long, that the least of them was capable of swallowing an elephant. They retired in the day-time to their dens, where they hid themselves from the roc, their enemy, and did not come out but in the night-time. I spent the day in walking about the valley, resting myself at times, in such places as I thought most commodious. When night came on, I went into a cave, where I thought I might be in safety; I stopped the mouth of it, which was low and straight, with a great stone, to preserve me from the serpents, but not so exactly fitted as to hinder light from coming in. I supped on part of my provisions; but the serpents, which began to appear, hissing about in the mean time, put me into such extreme fear, that you may easily imagine I did not sleep. When day appeared, the serpents retired, and I came out of the cave trembling; I can truly say, that I walked a long time upon diamonds, without having a mind to touch any of them. At last I sat down, and, notwithstanding my uneasiness, not having shut my eyes during the night, I fell asleep, after having ate a little more of my provisions. But I had scarcely shut my eyes, when something that fell by me with a great noise awakened me, and this was a great piece of fresh meat; at the same time I saw several others fall down from the rocks in different places.

I always looked upon it to be a fable, when I heard mariners and others discourse of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagems made use of by some merchants to get jewels from thence; but I found it to be true; for, in reality, those merchants come to the neighbourhood of this valley when the eagles have young ones, and throwing great joints of meat into it, the diamonds upon whose points they fall stick to them: The eagles, which are stronger in this country than any where else, fall down with great force upon these pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests upon the top of the rocks, to feed their young ones with; at which time the merchants, running to these nests, frighten the eagles by their noise, and take away the diamonds that stick to the meat. And this stratagem they made use of to get the diamonds out of the valley, which is surrounded with such precipices that nobody can enter it. I believed, till then, that it was not possible for me to get out of this abyss,which I looked upon as my grave; but then I changed my mind, for the falling in of those pieces of meat put me in hopes of a way to save my life. I began to gather together the greatest diamonds I could see, and put them into a leather bag in which I used to carry my provisions. I afterwards took the largest piece of meat I could find, tied it close round me with the cloth of my turban, and then laid myself upon the ground with my face downward, the bag of diamonds being tied fast to my girdle, so that it could not possibly drop off. I had scarcely laid me down when the eagles came; each of them seized a piece of meat, and one of the strongest having taken me up with the piece of meat on my back, carried me to his nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants fell straightway a-shooting to frighten the eagles; and when they had forced them to quit their prey, one of them came up to the nest where I was: He was very much afraid when he saw me; but recovering himself, instead of inquiring how I came hither, he began to quarrel with me, and asked why I stole his goods? You will treat me, replied I, with more civility, when you know me better. Do not trouble yourself; I have diamonds enough for you and me too, more than all the merchants together. If they have any, it is by chance; but I chose myself, in the bottom of the valley, all those which you see in this bag; and, having spoken these words, I showed him them. I had scarcely done speaking, when the other merchants came trooping about us, very much astonished to see me; but they were much more surprised when I told them my story; yet they did not so much admire my stratagem to save myself, as my courage to attempt it. They carried me to the place where they staid all together, and there having opened my bag, they were surprised at the largeness of my diamonds, and confessed, that in all the courts where they had been, they never saw any that came near them. I prayed the merchant, to whom the nest belonged whither I was carried, (for every merchant had his own,) to take as many for his share as he pleased: He contented himself with one, and that too the least of them; and when I pressed him to take more without fear of doing me any injury, No, says he, I am very well satisfied with this, which is valuable enough to save me the trouble of making any more voyages, and to raise as great a fortune as I desire.

I spent the night with these merchants, to whom I told my story a second time, for the satisfaction of those who had not heard it. I could not moderate my joy, when I found myself delivered from the danger I have mentioned; I thought myself to be in a dream, and could scarcely believe myself to be out of danger. The merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for several days; and each of them being satisfied with the diamonds that had fallen to his lot, we left the place next morning all together, and travelled near high mountains, where there were serpents of a prodigious length, which we had the good fortune to escape. We took the first port, and came to the isle of Ropha, where trees grow that yield camphire. This tree is so large, and its branches so thick, that a hundred men may easily sit under its shade. The juice, of which the camphire is made, runs out from a hole bored in the upper part of the tree, is received in a vessel, where it grows to a consistency, and becomes what we call camphire; and the juice being thus drawn out, the tree withers and dies. There is here also the rhinoceros, a creature less than the elephant, but greater than the buffalo: it has a horn upon its nose about a cubit long; which is solid, and cleft in the middle from one end to the other, and there are upon it white draughts, representing the figure of a man. The rhinoceros fights with the elephant, runs his horn into his belly, and carries him off upon his head; but the blood and the fat of the elephant running into his eyes, and making him blind, he falls to the ground; and, what is astonishing, the roc comes and carries them both away in her claws, to be meat for her young ones.

I pass over many other things peculiar to this island, lest I should be troublesome to you. Here I exchanged some of my diamonds for good merchandise. From thence we went to other isles; and at last, having traded at several trading towns off the firm land, we lauded at Balsora, from whence I went to Bagdad. There I immediately gave great alms to the poor, and lived honourably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained with so much fatigue. Thus Sindbad ended the story of his second voyage, gave Hindbad another hundred sequins, and invited him to come next day to hear the story of the third. The rest of the guests returned to their homes, and came again the next day at--the same hour; and certainly the porter did not fail, having almost forgotten his former poverty. When dinner was over, Sindbad demanded attention, and gave them the following account of his third voyage.

Sindbad the Sailor's Third Voyage.

The pleasures of the life which I then led soon made me forget the risks I had run in my two former voyages; but being then in the flower of my age, I grew weary of living without business; and hardening myself against the thoughts of any danger I might incur, I went from Bagdad with the richest commodities of the country to Balsora. There I embarked again with other merchants. We made a long navigation, and touched at several ports, where we drove a considerable commerce. One day being out in the main ocean, we were attacked by a horrible tempest, which made us lose our course. The tempest continued several days, and brought us before the port of an island, which the captain was very unwilling to enter; but we were obliged to cast anchor there. When we had furled our sails, the captain told us, that this and some other neighbouring islands were inhabited by hairy savages, who would speedily attack us; and though they were but dwarfs, yet our misfortune was such, that we must make no resistance, for they were more in number than the locusts; and if we happened to kill one of them, they would all fall upon us and destroy us. This discourse of the captain put the whole equipage into a great consternation, and we found very soon, to our cost, that what he had told us was too true; an innumerable multitude of frightful savages, covered over with red hair, and about two feet high, came swimming towards us, and encompassed our ship in a little time. They spoke to us as they came near, but we understood not their language; they climbed up the sides of the ship with so much agility as surprised us. We beheld all this with fear, without daring to offer at defending ourselves, or to speak one word to divert them from their mischievous design. In short, they took down our sails, cut the cable, and, hauling to the shore, made us all get out, and afterwards carried the ship into another island from whence they came. All travellers carefully avoided that island where they left us, it being very dangerous to stay there, for a reason you shall hear anon; but we were forced to bear our affliction with patience. We went forward into the island, where we found some fruits and herbs to prolong our lives as long as we could; but we expected nothing but death. As we went on, we perceived at a distance a great pile of building, and made towards it. We found it to be a palace, well built and very high, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we thrust open. We entered the court, where we saw before us a vast apartment, with a porch, having on one side a heap of men's bones, and on the other a vast number of roasting spits. We trembled at this spectacle, and being weary with travelling, our legs failed under us, we fell to the ground, and lay a long time immoveable. The sun was set, and whilst we were in this lamentable condition the

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 - 40/114

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