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.
As soon, therefore, as we were sure that he was far fro us, we conversed together, and wept for ourselves, saying, Would that we had been drowned in the sea, or that the apes had eaten us; for it were better than the roasting of a man upon burning coals! By Allah, this death is a vile one I But what God willeth cometh to pass, and there is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! We die in sorrow, and no one knoweth of us; and there is no escape for us from this place!-We then arose and went forth upon the island, to see for us a place in which to hide ourselves, or to flee; and it had become a light matter to us to die, rather than that our flesh should be roasted with fire. But we found not for us a place in which to hide ourselves; and the evening overtook us. So we returned to the pavilion, by reason of the violence of our fear, and sat there a little while; and, lo, the earth trembled beneath us, and that black approached us, and, coming among us, began to turn us over, one after another, as on the former occasion, and to feel us, until one pleased him; whereupon he seized him, and did with him as he did with the master of the ship the day before. He roasted him, and ate him upon that mastabah, and ceased not to sleep that night, making a noise with his throat like a slaughtered animal; and when the day came, he arose and went his way, leaving us as usual. Upon this we assembled together and conversed, and said, one to another, By Allah, if we cast ourselves into the sea and die drowned, it will be better than our dying burnt; for this mode of being put to death is abominable! And one of us said, Hear my words. Verily we will contrive a stratagem against him and kill him, and be at ease from apprehension of his purpose, and relieve the Muslims from his oppression and tyranny.-So I said to them, Hear, O my brothers. If we must kill him, we will transport this wood, and remove some of this firewood, and make for ourselves rafts, each to bear three men, after which we will contrive a stratagem to kill him, and embark on the rafts, and proceed over the sea to whatsoever place God shall desire. Or we will remain in this place until a ship shall pass by, when we will embark in it And if we be not able to kill him, we will embark [on our rafts], and put out to sea; and if we be drowned, we shall be preserved from being roasted over the fire, and from being slaughtered. If we escape, we escape; and if we be drowned, we die martyrs. -To this they all replied, By Allah, this is a right opinion and a wise proceeding. And we agreed upon this matter, and commenced the work. We removed the pieces of wood out of the pavilion, and constructed rafts, attached them to the sea-shore, and stowed upon them some provisions; after which we returned to the pavilion.
And when it was evening, lo, the earth trembled witli us, and the black came in to us, like the biting dog. He turned us over and felt us, one after another, and, having taken one of us, did with him as he had done with the others before him. He ate him, and slept upon the mastabah, and the noise from his throat was like thunder. So thereupon we arose, and took two iron spits, of those which were set up, and put them in the fierce fire until they were red-hot, and became like burning coals; when we grasped them firmly, and went with them to that black while he lay asleep snoring, and we thrust them into his eyes, all of us pressing upon them with our united strength and force. Thus we pushed them into his eyes as he slept, and his eyes were destroyed, and he uttered a great cry, whereat our hearts were terrified. Then he arose resolutely from that mastabah, and began to search for us, while we fled from him to the right and left, and he saw us not; for his sight was blinded; but we feared him with a violent fear, and made sure, in that time, of destruction, and despaired of safety. And upon this he sought the door, feeling for it, and went forth from it, crying out, while we were in the utmost fear of him; and lo, the earth shook beneath us, by reason of the vehemence of his cry. So when he went forth from the pavilion, we followed him, and he went his way, searching for us. Then he returned, accompanied by a female, greater than he, and more hideous in form; and when we beheld him, and her who was with him, more horrible than he in appearance, we were in the utmost fear. As soon as the .female saw us, we hastily loosed the rafts that we had constructed, and embarked on them, and pushed them forth into the sea. But each of the two blacks had a mass of rock, and they cast at us until the greater number of us died from the casting, there remaining of us only three persons, I and two others; and the raft conveyed us to another island.
We walked forward upon that island until the close of the day, and the night overtook us in this state; so we slept a little; and we awoke from our sleep, and, lo, a serpent of enormous size, of large body and wide belly, had surrounded us. It approached one of us, and swallowed him to his shoulders: then it swallowed the rest of him, and we heard his ribs break in pieces in its belly; after which it went its way. At this we wondered extremely, and we mourned for our companion, and were in the utmost fear for ourselves, saying, By Allah, this is a wonderful thing! Every death that we witness is more horrible than the preceding one! We were rejoiced at our escape from the black; but our joy is not complete! There is no strength nor power but in God! By Allah, we have escaped from the black and from drowning; but how shall we escape from this unlucky serpent?-Then we arose and walked on over the island, eating of its fruits, and drinking of its rivers, and we ceased not to proceed till morning, when we found a great, lofty tree. So we climbed up it, and slept upon it; I having ascended to the highest of its branches. But when the night arrived, and it was dark, the serpent came, looking to the right and left, and, advaricing to the tree upon which we were, came up to my companion, and swallowed him to his shoulders; and it wound itself round the tree with him, and I heard his bones break in pieces in its belly: then it swallowed him entirely, while I looked on; after which it descended from the tree, and went its way.-I remained upon that tree the rest of the night; and when the day came, and the light appeared, I descended from the tree, like one dead, by reason of excessive fear and terror, and desired to cast myself into the sea, that I might be at rest from the world; but it was not a light matter to me to do so; for life is dear. So I tied a wide piece of wood upon the soles of my feet, crosswise, and I tied one like it upon my left side, and a similar one upon my right side, and a similar one upon the front of my body, and I tied one long and wide upon the top of my head, crosswise, like that which was under the soles of my feet Thus I was in the midst of these pieces of wood, and they enclosed me on every side. I bound them tightly, and threw myself with the whole upon the ground; so I lay in the midst of the pieces of wood, which enclosed me like a closet. And when the evening arrived, the serpent approached as it was wont, and saw me, and drew towards me; but it could not swallow me when I was in that state, with the pieces of wood round me on every side. It went round me; but could not come at me: and I looked at it, being like a dead man, by reason of the violence of my fear and terror. The serpent retired from me, and returned to me; and thus it ceased not to do: every time that it desired to get at me to swallow me, the pieces of wood tied upon me on every side prevented it. It continued to do thus from sunset until daybreak arrived and the light appeared and the sun rose, when it went its way, in the utmost vexation and rage. Upon this, therefore, I stretched forth my hands and loosed myself from those pieces of wood, in a state like that of the dead, through the severity of that which I had suffered from that serpent.