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 from the fourth voyage, and became immersed in sport and merriment and joy, and had forgotten all that I had experienced, and what had befallen me, and what I had suffered, by reason of my excessive joy at the gain and profit and benefits that I had obtained, my mind again suggested to me to travel, and to divert myself with the sight of the countries of other people, and the islands. So I arose and meditated upon that subject, and bought precious goods, suited for a sea-voyage. I packed up the bales, and departed from the city of Baghdad to the city of El-Basrah; and, walking along the bank of the river, I saw a great, handsome, lofty vessel, and it pleased me; wherefore I purchased it. Its apparatus was new, and I hired for it a master and sailors, over whom I set my black slaves and my pages as superintendents, and I embarked in it my bales. And there came to me a company of merchants, who also embarked their bales in it, and paid me hire. We set sail in the utmost joy and happiness, and rejoicing in the prospect of safety and gain, and ceased not to pursue our voyage from island to island and from sea to sea, diverting ourselves with viewing the islands and towns, and landing at them and selling and buying. Thus we continued to do until we arrived one day at a large island, destitute of inhabitants. There was no person upon it: it was deserted and desolate; but on it was an enormous white dome, of great bulk; and we landed to amuse ourselves with a sight of it, and, lo, it was a great egg of a rukh. Now when the merchants had landed, and were diverting themselves with viewing it, not knowing that it was the egg of a rukh, they struck it with stones; whereupon it broke, and there poured down from it a great quantity of liquid, and the young rukh appeared within it. So they pulled it and drew it forth from the shell, and killed it, and took from it abundance of meat. I was then in the ship, and knew not of it, and they acquainted me not with that which they did. But in the mean time one of the passengers said to me, O my master, arise and divert thyself with the sight of this egg which we imagined to be a dome. I therefore arose to take a view of it, and found the merchants striking the egg. I called out to them, Do not this deed; for the rukh will come and demolish our ship, and destroy us. But they would not hear my words.
And while they were doing as above related, behold, the sun became concealed from us, and the day grew dark, and there came over us a cloud by which the sky was obscured. So we raised our heads to see what had intervened between us and the sun, and saw that the wings of the rukh were what veiled from us the sun's light, so that the sky was darkened. And when the rttkh came, and beheld its egg broken, it cried out at us; whereupon its mate, the female bird, came to it, and they flew in circles over the ship, crying out at us with a voice more vehement than thunder.
So I called out to the master and the sailors, and said to them, Push off the vessel, and seek safety before we perish. The master therefore hastened, and, the merchants having embarked, he loosed the ship, and we departed from that island. And when the rukhs saw that we had put forth to sea, they absented themselves from us for a while. We proceeded, and made speed, desiring to escape from them, and to quit their country; but, lo, they had followed us, and they now approached us, each of them having in its claws a huge mass of rock from a mountain; and the male bird threw the rock that he had brought upon us. The master, however, steered away the ship, and the mass of rock missed her by a little space. It descended into the sea by the ship, and the ship went up with us, and down, by reason of the mighty plunging of the rock, and we beheld the bottom of the sea in consequence of its vehement force. Then the mate of the male rukh threw upon us the rock that she had brought, which was smaller than the former one, and, as destiny had ordained, it fell upon the stern of the ship, and crushed it, making the rudder fly into twenty pieces, and all that was in the ship became submerged in the sea.
I strove to save myself, impelled by the sweetness of life, and God (whose name be exalted!) placed within my reach one of the planks of the ship; so I caught hold of it, and, having got upon it, began to row upon it with my feet, and the wind and the waves helped me forward. The vessel had sunk near an island in the midst of the sea, and destiny cast me, by permission of God (whose name be exalted!), to that island. I therefore landed upon it; but I was at ' my last breath, and in the state of the dead, from the violence of the fatigue and distress and hunger and thirst that I had suffered. I then threw myself down upon the shore of the sea, and remained lying there a while, until my soul felt at ease, and my heart was tranquillized, when I walked along the island, and saw that it resembled one of the gardens of Paradise. Its trees bore ripe fruits, its rivers were flowing, and its birds were warbling the praises of Him to whom belongeth might and permanence. Upon that island was an abundance of trees and fruits, with varieties of flowers. So I ate of the fruits until I was satiated, and I drank of those rivers until I was satisfied with drink; and I praised God (whose name be exalted!) for this, and glorified Him. I then remained sitting upon the island till evening came, and night approached; whereupon I rose; but I was like a slain man, by reason of the fatigue and fear that I had experienced; and I heard not in that island a voice, nor did I see in it any person.
I slept there without interruption until the morning, and then rose and stood up, and walked among the trees; and I saw a streamlet, by which sat an old man, a comely person, who was clad from the waist downwards with a covering made of the leaves of trees. So I said within myself, Perhaps this old man hath landed upon this island and is one of the shipwrecked persons with whom the vessel fell to pieces. I then approached him and saluted him, and he returned the salutation by a sign, without speaking; and I said to him, O sheykh, what is the reason of thy sitting in this place? Whereupon he shook his head, and sighed, and made a sign to me with his hand, as though he would say, Carry me upon thy neck, and transport me from this place to the other side of the streamlet. I therefore said within myself, I will act kindly with this person, and transport him to this place to which he desireth to go: perhaps I shall obtain for it a reward [in heaven]. Accordingly I advanced to him, and took him upon my shoulders, and conveyed him to the place that he had indicated to me; when I said to him, Descend at thine ease. But he descended not from my shoulders. He had twisted his legs round my neck, and I looked at them, and I saw that they were like the hide of the buffalo in blackness and roughness. So I was frightened at him, and desired to throw him down from my shoulders; but he pressed upon my neck with his feet, and squeezed my throat, so that the world became black before my face, and I was unconscious of my existence, falling upon the ground in a fit, like one dead. He then raised his legs, and beat me upon my back and my shoulders; and I suffered violent pain; wherefore I rose with him. He still kept his , seat upon my shoulders, and I had become fatigued with bearing him; and he made a sign to me that I should go in among the trees, to the best of the fruits. When I disobeyed him, he inflicted upon me, with his feet, blows more violent than those of whips; and he ceased not to direct me with his hand to every place to which he desired to go, and to that place I went with him. If I loitered, or went leisurely, he beat me; and I was as a captive to him. We went into the midst of the island, among the trees, and he descended not from my shoulders by night nor by day: when he desired to sleep, he would wind his legs round my neck, and sleep a little, and then he would arise and beat me, whereupon I would arise with him quickly, unable to disobey him, by reason of the severity of that which I suffered from him; and I blamed myself for having taken him up, and having had pity on him. I continued with him in this condition, enduring the most violent fatigue, and said within myself, I did a good act unto this person, and it hath become an evil to myself! By Allah, I will never more do good unto any one as long as I live!-I begged of God (whose name be exalted!), at every period and in every hour, that I might die, in consequence of the excessive fatigue and distress that I suffered.