The Arabian Nights Entertainments HTML version

The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the
IN the times of the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid there lived in Bagdad a poor porter
named Hindbad, who on a very hot day was sent to carry a heavy load from one
end of the city to the other. Before he had accomplished half the distance he was
so tired that, finding himself in a quiet street where the pavement was sprinkled
with rose water, and a cool breeze was blowing, he set his burden upon the
ground, and sat down to rest in the shade of a grand house. Very soon he
decided that he could not have chosen a pleasanter place; a delicious perfume of
aloes wood and pastilles came from the open windows and mingled with the
scent of the rose water which steamed up from the hot pavement. Within the
palace he heard some music, as of many instruments cunningly played, and the
melodious warble of nightingales and other birds, and by this, and the appetising
smell of many dainty dishes of which he presently became aware, he judged that
feasting and merry making were going on. He wondered who lived in this
magnificent house which he had never seen before, the street in which it stood
being one which he seldom had occasion to pass. To satisfy his curiosity he went
up to some splendidly dressed servants who stood at the door, and asked one of
them the name of the master of the mansion.
"What," replied he, "do you live in Bagdad, and not know that here lives the noble
Sindbad the Sailor, that famous traveller who sailed over every sea upon which
the sun shines?"
The porter, who had often heard people speak of the immense wealth of
Sindbad, could not help feeling envious of one whose lot seemed to be as happy
as his own was miserable. Casting his eyes up to the sky he exclaimed aloud,
"Consider, Mighty Creator of all things, the differences between Sindbad's life
and mine. Every day I suffer a thousand hardships and misfortunes, and have
hard work to get even enough bad barley bread to keep myself and my family
alive, while the lucky Sindbad spends money right and left and lives upon the fat