This section is from the book "Stories From The Thousand And One Nights", by Edward William Lane and Stanley Lanepoole. Also available from Amazon: Stories From Thousand And One Nights: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
Know, O my brothers, that when I returned to the city of Baghdad, and met my companions and my family and my friends, and was enjoying the utmost pleasure and happiness and ease, and had forgotten all that I had experienced, by reason of the abundance of my gains, and had become immersed in sport and mirth, and the society of friends and companions, leading the most delightful life, my wicked soul suggested to me to travel again to the countries of other people, and I felt a longing for associating with the different races of men, and for selling and gains. So I resolved upon this, and purchased precious goods, suitable to a sea-voyage, and, having packed up many bales, more than usual, I went from the city of Baghdad to the city of El-Basrah, where I embarked my bales in a ship, and joined myself to a party of the chief men of El-Basrah, and we set forth on otir voyage. The vessel proceeded with us, confiding in the blessing of God (whose name be exalted 1), over the roaring sea agitated with waves, and the voyage was pleasant to us; and we ceased not to proceed in this manner for a period of nights and days, from island to island and from sea to sea, until a contrary wind rose against us one day. The master therefore cast the anchors, and stayed the ship in the midst of the sea, fearing that she would sink in the midst of the deep. And while we were in this state, supplicating, and humbling ourselves to God (whose name be exalted!), there rose against us a great tempest, which rent the sails in strips, and the people were submerged with all their bales and their commodities and wealth. I was submerged among the rest, and I swam in the sea for half a day, after which I abandoned myself; but God (whose name be exalted!) aided me to lay hold upon a piece of one of the planks of the ship, and I and a party of the merchants got upon it We continued sitting upon this plank, striking the sea with our feet, and the waves and the wind helping us; and we remained in this state a day and a night. And on the following day, shortly before the mid-time between sunrise and noon, a wind rose against us, the sea became boisterous, the waves and the wind were violent, and the water cast us upon an island; and we were like dead men, from excess of sleeplessness and fatigue, and cold and hunger, and fear and thirst.
We walked along the shores of that island, and found upon it abundant herbs; so we ate some of them to stay our departing spirits, and to sustain us; and passed the next night upon the shore of the island. And when the morning came, and diffused its light and shone, we rose and walked about the island to the right and left, and there appeared to us a building in the distance. We therefore proceeded over the island in the direction of that building which we had seen from a distance, and ceased not to proceed until we stood at its door. And while we were standing there, lo, there came forth to us from that door a party of naked men, who, without speaking to us, seized us, and took us to their King, and he commanded us to sit. So we sat; and they brought to us some food, such as we knew not, nor in our lives had we seen the like of it; wherefore my stomach consented not to it, and I ate none of it in comparison with my companions, and my eating so little of it was owing to the grace of God (whose name be exalted!), in consequence of which I have lived to the present time. For when my companions ate of that food, their minds became stupefied, and they ate like madmen, and their states became changed. Then the people brought to them cocoa-nut-oil, and gave them to drink of it, and anointed them with it; and when my companions drank of that oil, their eyes became turned in their faces, and they proceeded to eat of that food contrary to their usual manner. Upon this, therefore, I was confounded respecting their case, and grieved for them, and became extremely anxious by reason of the violence of my fear for myself with regard to these naked men. I observed them attentively, and, lo, they were a Magian people, and the King of their city was a ghul; and every one who arrived at their country, or whom they saw or met in the valley or the roads, they brought to their King, and they fed him with that food, and anointed him with that oil, in consequence of which his body became expanded, in order that he might eat largely; and his mind was stupefied, his faculty of reflection was destroyed, and he became like an idiot. Then they gave him to eat and drink in abundance of that food and oil, until he became fat and stout, when they slaughtered him and roasted him, and served him as meat to their King. But as to the companions of the King, they ate the flesh of men without roasting or otherwise cooking it. So when I saw them do thus, I was in the utmost anguish on my own account and on account of my companions. The latter, by reason of the excessive stupefaction of their minds, knew not what was done unto them, and the people committed them to a person who took them every day and went forth to pasture them on that island like cattle.
But as for myself, I became, through the violence of fear and hunger, infirm and wasted in body, and my flesh dried upon my bones. So when they saw me in this state, they left me and forgot me, and not one of them remembered me, nor did I occur to their minds, until I contrived a stratagem one day, and, going forth from that place, walked along the island to a distance. And I saw a herdsman sitting upon something elevated in the midst of the sea; and I certified myself of him, and, lo, he was the man to whom they had committed my companions that he might pasture them; and he had with him many like them. As soon, therefore, as that man beheld me, he knew that I was in possession of my reason, and that nought of that which had afflicted my companions had afflicted me. So he made a sign to me from a distance, and said to me, Turn back, and go along the road that is on thy right hand; thou wilt so reach the King's highway. Accordingly I turned back, as this man directed me, and, seeing a road on my right hand, I proceeded along it, and ceased not to go on, sometimes running by reason of fear, and sometimes walking at my leisure until I had taken rest. Thus I continued to do until I was hidden from the eyes of the man who directed me to the way, and I saw him not nor did he see me. The sun had disappeared from me, and darkness approached; wherefore I sat to rest, and desired to sleep; but sleep came not to me that night on account of the violence of my fear and hunger and fatigue. And when it was midnight, I arose and walked on over the island, and I ceased not to proceed until day arrived, and the morning came and diffused its light and shone, and the sun rose over the tops of the high hills and over the low gravelly plains. I was tired and hungry and thirsty: so I began to eat of the herbs and vegetables that were upon the island, and continued to eat of them till I was satiated, and my departing spirit was stayed; after which I arose and walked on again over the island; and thus I ceased not to do all the day and the next night; whenever I was hungry, eating of the vegetables.