Arabian Nights: The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad

“On the eighth day I came to the seashore; here I saw some white people employed in gathering pepper, which grew very plentifully in that place. They came towards me as soon 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 listen 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.

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Arabian Nights: The Third Voyage of Sindbad

“The giant duly returned to sup on one of our companions. After his hideous meal he fell asleep and snored till daybreak, when he arose and went out as before. Our situation appeared to be so hopeless that some of my comrades were on the point of throwing themselves into the sea, rather than be sacrificed by the horrible monster; and they advised the rest to follow their example; but one of the company thus addressed them: ‘We are forbidden to kill ourselves; and even were such an act permitted, would it not be more rational to endeavour to destroy the barbarous giant, who has destined us to such a cruel death?’

“As I had already formed a project of that nature, I now communicated it to my fellow-sufferers, who approved of my design. ‘ My friends,’ said I then, ‘you know that there is a great deal of wood on the seashore. If you will take my advice, we can make some rafts, and when they are finished we will leave them in a proper place till we can find an opportunity to make use of them. In the meantime we can put in execution the design I propose to you to rid ourselves of the giant. If my stratagem succeeds, we may wait here with patience till some vessel passes, by means of which we may quit this fatal isle; if, on the contrary, we fail, we shall have recourse to our rafts, and put to sea. My advice was approved by all; and we immediately built some rafts, each large enough to support three persons.

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Arabian Nights: The Second Voyage of Sindbad

As I had the honour to tell you yesterday, I had resolved, after my first voyage, to pass the rest of my days in tranquillity at Bagdad. But the desire of seeing foreign countries and carrying on some traffic by sea returned. I bought merchandise and set off a second time with some merchants whose probity I could rely on. We embarked in a good vessel, and recommending ourselves to the care of Allah, we began our voyage.

“We went from island to island, and bartered our goods very profitably. One day we landed on one which was covered with a variety of fruit trees, but so desert that we could not discover any habitation, or the trace of a human being. We walked in the meadows and along the brooks that watered them; and whilst some of my companions were amusing themselves with gathering fruits and flowers, I took out some of the wine and provisions I had brought with me, and seated myself by a little stream under some trees, which afforded a delightful shade. When I had satisfied my hunger, sleep gradually stole over my senses. I cannot say how long I slept, but when I awoke the ship was no longer in view. I was much surprised at this circumstance, and rose to look for my companions, but they were all gone; and I could only just descry the vessel in full sail, at such a distance that I soon lost sight of it.

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Parabole Sufi: I tre pesci

C’erano una volta tre pesci che vivevano in uno stagno: uno era intelligente, un altro lo era a metà e il terzo era stupido. La loro vita era quella di tutti i pesci di questo mondo, finché un giorno arrivò …un uomo.
L’uomo portava una rete e il pesce intelligente lo vide attraverso l’acqua. Facendo appello all’esperienza, alle storie che aveva sentito e alla propria intelligenza, il pesce decise di passare all’azione.
“Dato che ci sono pochi posti dove nascondersi in questo stagno, farò finta di essere morto”, pensò. Raccolte tutte le sue forze, balzò fuori dall’acqua e atterrò ai piedi del pescatore, che si mostrò piuttosto sorpreso. Tuttavia, visto che il pesce tratteneva il respiro, l’uomo lo credette morto e lo ributtò nello stagno. Allora il nostro pesce si lasciò scivolare in una piccola cavità sotto la riva.

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Arabian nights: The First Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor

IN the reign of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid, there lived in Bagdad a poor porter, who was named Hindbad. One day; during the most violent heat of summer, he was carrying a heavy load from one extremity of the city to the other. Much fatigued by the length of the way he had come, he arrived in a street where the pavement was sprinkled with rose-water, and a grateful coolness refreshed the air. Delighted with this mild and pleasant situation, he placed his load on the ground, and took his station near a large mansion. The delicious scent of aloes and frankincense which issued from the windows, the sound of a charming concert issuing from within the house accompanied with the melody of the nightingales, and other birds peculiar to the climate ofBagdad , added to the smell of different sorts of viands, led Hindbad to suppose that some grand feast was in progress. He wished to know to whom this house belonged.

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The Arabian Nights: The Story of the Merchant and the Jinni (nights 1 – 3)

IT has been related to me, O happy King, said Shahrazad, that there was a certain merchant who had great wealth, and traded extensively with surrounding countries; and one day he mounted his horse, and journeyed to a neighbouring country to collect what was due to him, and, the heat oppressing him, he sat under a tree, in a garden, and put his hand into his saddle-bag, and ate a morsel of bread and a date which were among his provisions. Having eaten the date, he threw aside the stone, and immediately there appeared before him an ‘Efrit, of enormous height, who, holding a drawn sword in his hand, approached him, and said, Rise, that I may kill thee, as thou hast killed my son. the merchant asked him, How have I killed thy son? He answered, When thou atest the date, and threwest aside the stone, it struck my son upon the chest, and, as fate had decreed against him, he instantly died.

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The Arabian Nights: Ali Baba and the forty thieves


IN days of yore and in times and tides long gone before, there dwelt in a certain town of Persia two brothers, one named Kasim and the other Ali Baba, who at their father’s demise had divided the little wealth he had left to them with equitable division, and had lost no time in wasting and spending it all. The elder, however, presently took to himself a wife, the daughter of an opulent merchant, so that when his father-in-law fared to the mercy of Almighty Allah, he became owner of a large shop filled with rare goods and costly wares and of a storehouse stocked with precious stuffs, likewise of much gold that was buried in the ground. Thus was he known throughout the city as a substantial man. But the woman whom Ali Baba had married was poor and needy. They lived, therefore, in a mean hovel, and Ali Baba eked out a scanty livelihood by the sale of fuel which he daily collected in the jungle and carried about the town to the bazaar upon his three asses..

translated by Sir Richard Burton in 1850

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