"Though the present we send you be inconsiderable, receive it, however, as a brother and a friend, in consideration of the hearty friendship which we bear for you, and of which we are willing to give you proof. We desire the same part in your friendship, considering that we believe it to be our merit, as we are both kings. We send you this letter as from one brother to another.
The present consisted, first, of one single ruby made into a cup, about half a foot high, an inch thick, and filled with round pearls of half a drachm each. 2. The skin of a serpent, whose scales were as bright as an ordinary piece of gold, and had the virtue to preserve from sickness those who lay upon it. 3. Fifty thousand drachms of the best wood of aloes, with thirty grains of camphire as big as pistachios. And 4. A female slave of great beauty, whose robe was covered over with jewels.
The ship set sail, and after a very successful navigation we landed at Bussorah, and from thence I went to the city of Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.
I took the King of Serendib's letter, and went to present myself at the gate of the Commander of the Faithful, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the caliph. I made my obeisance, and presented the letter and gift. When he had read what the King of Serendib wrote to him, he asked me if that prince were really so rich and potent as he represented himself in his letter. I prostrated myself a second time, and, rising again, said, "Commander of the Faithful, I can assure your majesty he doth not exceed the truth. I bear him witness. Nothing is more worthy of admiration than the magnificence of his palace. When the prince appears in public he has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and rides between two ranks of his ministers, favorites, and other people of his court. Before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind him there is another, who stands with a rod of gold, on the top of which is an emerald, half a foot long and an inch thick. He is attended by a guard of one thousand men, clad in cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned. The officer who is before him on the same elephant cries from time to time, with a loud voice, 'Behold the great monarch, the potent and redoubtable Sultan of the Indies, the monarch greater than Solomon, and the powerful Maharaja.'
"After he has pronounced those words, the officer behind the throne cries in his turn, 'This monarch, so great and so powerful, must die, must die, must die!' And the officer before replies, 'Praise alone be to Him who liveth for ever and ever.'"
The caliph was much pleased with my account, and sent me home with a rich present.
Here Sindbad commanded another hundred sequins to be paid to Hindbad, and begged his return on the morrow to hear his seventh and last voyage.
THE SEVENTH AND LAST VOYAGE
On my return home from my sixth voyage, I had entirely given up all thoughts of again going to sea; for, besides that my age now required rest, I was resolved no more to expose myself to such risks as I had encountered, so that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my days in tranquillity. One day, however, an officer of the caliph's inquired for me. "The caliph," said he, "has sent me to tell you that he must speak with you." I followed the officer to the palace, where, being presented to the caliph, I saluted him by prostrating myself at his feet. "Sindbad," said he to me, "I stand in need of your services; you must carry my answer and present to the King of Serendib."
This command of the caliph was to me like a clap of thunder.
"Commander of the Faithful," I replied, "I am ready to do whatever your majesty shall think fit to command; but I beseech you most humbly to consider what I have undergone. I have also made a vow never to leave Bagdad."
Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon my compliance, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased, and ordered me one thousand sequins for the expenses of my journey.
I prepared for my departure in a few days. As soon as the caliph's letter and present were delivered to me, I went to Bussorah, where I embarked, and had a very prosperous voyage. Having arrived at the Isle of Serendib, I was conducted to the palace with much pomp, when I prostrated myself on the ground before the king.
"Sindbad," said the king, "you are welcome; I have many times thought of you; I bless the day on which I see you once more." I made my compliments to him, and thanked him for his kindness, and delivered the gifts from my august master.
The caliph's letter was as follows:
"Greeting, in the name of the Sovereign Guide of the Right Way, from the servant of God, Haroun-al-Raschid, whom God hath set in the place of vicegerent to His Prophet, after his ancestors of happy memory, to the potent and esteemed Raja of Serendib.
"We receive your letter with joy, and send you from our imperial residence, the garden of superior wits. We hope when you look upon it you will perceive our good intention, and be pleased with it. Farewell."
The caliph's present was a complete suit of cloth of gold, valued at one thousand sequins; fifty robes of rich stuff; a hundred of white cloth, the finest of Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria; a vessel of agate, more broad than deep, an inch thick, and half a foot wide, the bottom of which represented in bas-relief a man with one knee on the ground, who held a bow and an arrow, ready to discharge at a lion. He sent him also a rich tablet, which, according to tradition, belonged to the great Solomon.
The King of Serendib was highly gratified at the caliph's acknowledgment of his friendship. A little time after this audience I solicited leave to depart, and with much difficulty obtained it. The king, when he dismissed me, made me a very considerable present. I embarked immediately to return to Bagdad, but had not the good-fortune to arrive there so speedily as I had hoped. God ordered it otherwise.
Three or four days after our departure we were attacked by pirates, who easily seized upon our ship, because it was not a vessel of war. Some of the crew offered resistance, which cost them their lives. But for myself and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the pirates saved us, and carried us into a remote island, where they sold us.
I fell into the hands of a rich merchant, who, as soon as he bought me, took me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely as a slave. Some days after he asked me if I understood any trade. I answered that I was no mechanic, but a merchant, and that the pirates who sold me had robbed me of all I possessed.
"Tell me," replied he, "can you shoot with a bow?" I answered that the bow was one of my exercises in my youth. He gave me a bow and arrows, and, taking me behind him on an elephant, carried me to a thick forest some leagues from the town. We penetrated a great way into the wood, and when he thought fit to stop, he bade me alight; then showing me a great tree, "Climb up that," said he, "and shoot at the elephants as you see them pass by, for there is a prodigious number of them in this forest, and if any of them fall, come and give me notice." Having spoken thus, he left me victuals, and returned to the town, and I continued upon the tree all night.
I saw no elephant during the night, but next morning, at break of day, I perceived a great number. I shot several arrows among them, and at last one of the elephants fell, when the rest retired immediately, and left me at liberty to go and acquaint my patron with my success. When I had informed him, he commended my dexterity, and caressed me highly. We went afterward together to the forest, where we dug a hole for the elephant; my patron designing to return when it was rotten, and take his teeth to trade with.
I continued this employment for two months. One morning, as I looked for the elephants, I perceived with extreme amazement that, instead of passing by me across the forest as usual, they stopped, and came to me with a horrible noise, in such numbers that the plain was covered and shook under them. They surrounded the tree in which I was concealed, with their trunks uplifted, and all fixed their eyes upon me. At this alarming spectacle I continued immovable, and was so much terrified that my bow and arrows fell out of my hand.
My fears were not without cause; for after the elephants had stared upon me some time, one of the largest of them put his trunk round the foot of the tree, plucked it up, and threw it on the ground. I fell with the tree, and the elephant, taking me up with his trunk, laid me on his back, where I sat more like one dead than alive, with my quiver on my shoulder. He put himself at the head of the rest, who followed him in line, one after the other, carried me a considerable way, then laid me down on the ground, and retired with all his companions. After having lain some time, and seeing the elephants gone, I got up, and found I was upon a long and broad hill, almost covered with the bones and teeth of elephants. I doubted not but that this was the burial-place of the elephants, and that they carried me thither on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to kill them, as now I knew where to get their teeth without inflicting injury on them. I did not stay on the hill, but turned toward the city; and after having travelled a day and a night, I came to my patron.
As soon as my patron saw me, "Ah, poor Sindbad!" exclaimed he, "I was in great trouble to know what was become of you. I have been at the forest, where I found a tree newly pulled up, and your bow and arrows on the ground, and I despaired of ever seeing you more.
Pray tell me what befell you." I satisfied his curiosity, and we both of us set out next morning to the hill. We loaded the elephant which had carried us with as many teeth as he could bear; and when we were returned, my master thus addressed me: "Hear now what I shall tell you. The elephants of our forest have every year killed us a great many slaves, whom we sent to seek ivory. For all the cautions we could give them, those crafty animals destroyed them one time or other. God has delivered you from their fury, and has bestowed that favor upon you only. It is a sign that He loves you, and has some use for your service in the world. You have procured me incredible wealth; and now our whole city is enriched by your means, without any more exposing the lives of our slaves.
After such a discovery, I can treat you no more as a slave, but as a brother. God bless you with all happiness and prosperity. I henceforth give you your liberty; I will also give you riches."
To this I replied: "Master, God preserve you. I desire no other reward for the service I had the good-fortune to do to you and your city but leave to return to my own country." "Very well,"
said he, "the monsoon will in a little time bring ships for ivory.
I will then send you home." I stayed with him while waiting for the monsoon; and during that time we made so many journeys to the hill, that we filled all our warehouses with ivory. The other merchants who traded in it did the same, for my master made them partakers of his good-fortune.
The ships arrived at last, and my master himself having made choice of the ship wherein I was to embark, loaded half of it with ivory on my account, laid in provisions in abundance for my passage, and besides obliged me to accept a present of some curiosities of the country of great value. After I had returned him a thousand thanks for all his favors I went aboard. We stopped at some islands to take in fresh provisions. Our vessel being come to a port on the mainland in the Indies, we touched there, and, not being willing to venture by sea to Bussorah, I landed my proportion of the ivory, resolving to proceed on my journey by land. I realized vast sums by my ivory, bought several rarities, which I intended for presents, and when my equipage was ready, set out in company with a large caravan of merchants. I was a long time on the journey, and suffered much, but was happy in thinking that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from pirates, from serpents, or from the other perils to which I had been exposed.
I at last arrived safe at Bagdad, and immediately waited upon the caliph, to give him an account of my embassy. He loaded me with honors and rich presents, and I have ever since devoted myself to my family, kindred, and friends.
Sindbad here finished the relation of his seventh and last voyage, and then addressing himself to Hindbad, "Well, friend," said he, "did you ever hear of any person that suffered so much as I have done? Is it not reasonable that, after all this, I should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life?" As he said these words, Hindbad kissed his hand, and said, "Sir, my afflictions are not to be compared with yours. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy of all the riches you possess, since you make so good a use of them.
May you live happily for a long time." Sindbad ordered him to be paid another hundred sequins, and told him to give up carrying burdens as a porter, and to eat henceforth at his table, for he wished that he should all his life have reason to remember that he henceforth had a friend in Sindbad the Sailor.
Although hundreds have tried, both at home and abroad, no one has been able to write a book that could take the place of Robinson Crusoe, the story of that sturdy, voyaging Englishman who was always on the lookout for adventures and was never discouraged by any circumstances in which he found himself. The picture of the brave captain in his hairy goatskin clothes, Poll on his shoulder, his faithful dog by his side, and Friday following along behind, is one that remains stamped for life on every reader's mind.
Like all great books, it interests people of all ages. To the child it is a fascinating fairy tale; to the older boys and girls it is a story of stirring adventure, while to the mature man it is a picture of civilization. And so it has come to be read again and again, and admired and cherished the world over.
Robinson Crusoe was written in 1719 by Daniel Defoe, the son of a butcher, when he was over sixty years of age. His son deserted and deceived him, as Robinson Crusoe deserted and deceived his father, and it almost broke the old man's heart.
ROBINSON CRUSOE IS SHIPWRECKED
By Daniel Defoe
Having lived almost four years in the Brazils, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well upon my plantation, I had not only learned the language, but had contracted acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters, as well as among the merchants at St. Salvador, which was our port; and in my discourses among them, I had frequently given them an account of my two voyages to the coast of Guinea, the manner of trading with the negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase upon the coast for trifles, such as beads, toys, knives, scissors, hatchets, bits of glass, and the like, not only gold dust, Guinea grains, elephants' teeth, etc., but negroes, for the service of the Brazils, in great numbers.
They listened very attentively to my discourses on these heads, but especially to that part which related to the buying of negroes, which was a trade at that time, not far entered into.
Being in company with some merchants and planters of my acquaintance, and talking of things very earnestly, three of them came to me next morning, and told me they had been musing very much upon what I had discoursed with them of the last night, and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and, after enjoining me secrecy, they told me that they had a mind to fit out a ship to go to Guinea; that they had all plantations as well as I, and for which they needed nothing so much as servants; that as it was a trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publicly sell the negroes when they came home, so they desired to make but one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately, and divide them among their own plantations; and, in a word, the question was, whether I would go to manage the trading part upon the coast of Guinea; and they offered me that I should have my equal share of the negroes, without providing any part of the stock.
This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it been made to any one that had not had a settlement and a plantation of his own to look after, which was in a fair way of coming to be very considerable, and with a good stock upon it; but for me, that was thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but to go on as I had begun for three or four years more, and to have sent for the other hundred pounds from England, and who in that time, and with that little addition, could scarce have failed of being worth three or four thousand pounds sterling, and that increasing, too; for me to think of such a voyage was the most preposterous thing that ever man in such circumstances could be guilty of.
But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist the offer than I could restrain my first rambling designs when my father's good counsel was lost upon me. In a word, I told them I would go with all my heart, if they would undertake to look after my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I should direct, if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and entered into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal will disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death, making the captain of the ship that had saved my life, as before, my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I had directed in my will, one-half of the produce being to himself, and the other to be shipped to England.
In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects, and to keep up my plantation; had I used half as much prudence to have looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I ought to have done and ought not to have done, I had certainly never gone away from so prosperous an undertaking, and gone upon a voyage to sea, attended with all its hazards.