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 and my friends and my companions, that when I returned from that fifth voyage, and forgot what I had suffered, by reason of sport and merriment and enjoyment and gayety, and was in a state of the utmost joy and happiness, I continued thus until I was sitting one day in exceeding delight and happiness and gayety; and while I sat, lo, a party of merchants came to me, bearing the marks of travel. And upon this I remembered the days of my return from travel, and my joy at meeting my family and companions and friends, and at entering my country; and my soul longed again for travel and commerce. So I determined to set forth. I bought for myself precious, sumptuous goods, suitable for the sea, packed up my bales, and went from the city of Baghdad to the city of El-Basrah, where I beheld a large vessel, in which were merchants and great men, and with them were precious goods. I therefore embarked my bales with them in this ship, and we departed in safety from the city of El-Basrah. We continued our voyage from place to place and from city to city, selling and buying, and diverting ourselves with viewing different countries. Fortune and the voyage were pleasant to us, and we gained our subsistence, until we were proceeding one day, and, lo, the master of the ship vociferated and called out, threw down his turban, slapped his face, plucked his beard, and fell down in the hold of the ship by reason of the violence of his grief and rage. So all the merchants and other passengers came together to him and said to him, O master, what is the matter? And he answered them, Know, O company, that we have wandered from our course, having passed forth from the sea in which we were, and entered a sea of which we know not the routes; and if God appoint not for us some means of effecting our escape from this sea, we all perish: therefore pray to God (whose name be exalted!) that He may save us from this case. Then the master arose and ascended the mast, and desired to loose the sails; but the wind became violent upon the ship, and drove her back, and her rudder broke near a lofty mountain; whereupon the master descended from the mast, and said, There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! No one is able to prevent what is predestined! By Allah, we have fallen into a great peril, and there remaineth to us no way of safety or escape from it!-So all the passengers wept for themselves: they bade one another farewell, because of the expiration of their lives, and their hope was cut off. The vessel drove upon that mountain, and went to pieces; its planks were scattered, and all that was in it was submerged; the merchants fell into the sea, and some of them were drowned, and some caught hold upon that mountain, and landed upon it.
I was of the number of those who landed upon the mountain; and, lo, within it was a large island. By it were many vessels broken in pieces, and upon it were numerous goods, on the shore of the sea, of the things thrown up by the sea from the ships that had been wrecked, and the passengers of which had been drowned. Upon it was an abundance, that confounded the reason and the mind, of commodities and wealth that the sea cast upon its shores. I ascended to the upper part of the island, and walked about it, and I beheld in the midst of it a stream of sweet water, flowing forth from beneath the nearest part of the mountain, and entering at the furthest part of it, on the opposite side [of the valley]. Then all the other passengers went over that mountain to [the interior of] the island, and dispersed themselves about it, and their reason was confounded at that which they beheld. They became like madmen in consequence of what they saw upon the island, of commodities and wealth lying on the shore of the sea. I beheld also in the midst of the above-mentioned stream an abundance of various kinds of jewels and minerals, with jacinths and large pearls, suitable to Kings. They were like gravel in the channels of the water which flowed through the fields; and all the bed of that stream glittered by reason of the great number of minerals and other things that it contained. We likewise saw on that island an abundance of the best kind of Sanfi aloes-wood, and Kamari aloes-wood. And in that island is a gushing spring of crude ambergris, which floweth like wax over the side of that spring through the violence of the heat of the sun, and spreadeth upon the sea-shore, and the monsters of the deep come up from the sea and swallow it, and descend with it into the sea; but it becometh hot in their stomachs, therefore they eject it from their mouths into the sea, and it congealeth on the surface of the water. Upon this, its colour and its qualities become changed, and the waves cast it up on the shore of the sea: so the travellers and merchants who know it take it and smell it. But as to the crude ambergris that is not swallowed, it floweth over the side of that mountain, and congealeth upon the ground; and when the sun shineth upon it, it melteth, and from it the odour of the whole of that valley becometh like the odour of musk. Then, when the sun withdraweth from it, it congealeth again. The place wherein is this crude ambergris no one can enter: no one can gain access to it: for the mountain surroundeth that island.
We continued to wander about the island, diverting ourselves with the view of the good things which God (whose name be exalted!) had created upon it, and perplexed at our case, and at the things that we beheld, and affected with violent fear. We had collected upon the shore of the sea a small quantity of provisions, and we used it sparingly, eating of it every day, or two days, only one meal, dreading the exhaustion of our stock, and our dying in sorrow, from the violence of hunger and' fear. Each one of us that died we washed, and shrouded in some of the clothes and linen which the sea cast upon the shore of the island; and thus we did until a great number of us had died, and there remained of us but a small party, who were weakened by a colic occasioned by the sea. After this, we remained a short period, and all my associates and companions died, ©ne after another, and each of them who died we buried.