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 I was enjoying a most comfortable life, and the most pure happiness, as ye were told yesterday, until it occurred to my mind, one day, to travel again to the lands of other people, and I felt a longing for the occupation of traffic, and the pleasure of seeing the countries and islands of the world, and gaining my subsistence. I resolved upon that affair, and, having taken forth from my money a large sum, I purchased with it goods and merchandise suitable for travel, and packed them up. Then I went to the bank of the river, and found a handsome, new vessel, with sails of comely canvas, and it had a numerous crew, and was superfluously equipped. So I
4 [a paragraph similar to the preceding occurs at the end of the narrative of each of Es-Sindibad's voyages, but, as in the case of Shahrazads repetitions each night, it is not here repeated.! blamed myself for that which I had done, and for my having undertaken this voyage and fatigue after I had been reposing at ease in my abode and my country, in ample happiness, and enjoying good food and good drink and good apparel, and had not been in want of any thing, either of money or goods or merchandise. I repented of my having gone forth from the city of Baghdad, and set out on a voyage over the sea, after the fatigue that I had suffered during my first voyage, and I felt at the point of destruction, and said, Verily to God we belong, and verily unto Him we return I And I was in the predicament of the mad. After that, I rose and stood up, and walked about the island to the right and left, unable to sit in one place. Then I climbed up a lofty tree; and began to look from it to the right and left; but saw nought save sky and water, and trees and birds, and islands and sands. Looking, however, with a scrutinizing eye, there appeared to me on the island a white object, indistinctly seen in the distance, of enormous siae: so I descended from the tree, and went towards it, and proceeded in that direction without stopping until I arrived at it; and, lo, it was a huge white dome, of great height and large circumference. I drew near to it, and walked round it; but perceived no door to it; and I found that I had not strength nor activity to climb it, on account of its exceeding smoothness. I made a mark at the place where I stood, and went round the dome measuring its circumference; and, lo, it was fifty full paces; and I meditated upon some means of gaining an entrance into it.
The close of the day, and the setting of the sun, had now drawn near; and, behold, the sun was hidden, and the sky became dark, and the sun was veiled from me.
I therefore imagined that a cloud had come over it; but this was in the season of summer: so I wondered; and I raised my head, and, contemplating that object attentively, I saw that it was a bird, of enormous size, bulky body, and wide wings, flying in the air; and this it was that concealed the body of the sun, and veiled it from view upon the island. At this my wonder increased, and I remembered a story which travellers and voyagers had told me long before, that there is, in certain of the islands, a bird of I therefore disengaged myself from the slaughtered animal, with the blood of which my clothes were polluted; and I stood by its side. And, lo, the merchant who had cried out at the vulture advanced to the slaughtered animal, and saw me standing there. He spoke not to me; for he was frightened at me, and terrified; but he came to the slaughtered beast, and turned it over; and, not finding any thing upon it, he uttered a loud cry, and said, Oh, my disappointment! There is no strength nor power but in God! We seek refuge with God from Satan the accursed!- He repented, and struck hand upon hand, and said, Oh, my grief! What is this affair?-So I advanced to him, and he said to me, Who art thou, and what is the reason of thy coming to this place? I answered him, Fear not, nor be alarmed; for I am a human being, of the best of mankind; and I was a merchant, and my tale is marvellous, and my story extraordinary, and the cause of my coming to this mountain and this valley is wondrous to relate. Fear not; for thou shalt receive of me what will rejoice thee: I have with me abundance of diamonds, of which I will give thee as much as will suffice thee, and every piece that I have is better than all that would come to thee by other means: therefore be not timorous nor afraid.-And upon this the man thanked me, and prayed for me, and conversed with me; and, lo, the other merchants heard me talking with their companion; so they came to me. Each merchant had thrown down a slaughtered animal; and when they came to us, they saluted me, and congratulated me on my safety, and took me with them; and I acquainted them with my whole story, relating to them what I had suffered on my voyage, and telling them the cause of my arrival in this valley. Then I gave to the owner of the slaughtered animal to which I had attached myself an abundance of what I had brought with me; and he was delighted with me, and prayed for me, and thanked me for that; and the other merchants said to me, By Allah, a new life hath been decreed thee; for no one ever arrived at this place before thee and escaped from it; but praise be to God for thy safety-They passed the next night in a pleasant and safe place, and I passed the night with them, full of the utmost joy at my safety and my escape from the valley of serpents, and my arrival in an inhabited country. And when day came, we arose and journeyed over that great mountain, beholding in that valley numerous serpents; and we continued to advance until we arrived at a garden in a great and beautiful island, wherein were camphor-trees, under each of which trees a hundred men might shade themselves. When any one desireth to obtain some camphor from one of these trees, he maketh a perforation in the upper part of it with something long, and catcheth what descendeth from it. The liquid camphor floweth from it, and concreteth like gum. It is the juice of that tree; and after this operation, the tree drieth, and becometh firewood. In that island too is a kind of wild beast called the rhinoceros which pastureth there like oxen and buffaloes in our country; but the bulk of that wild beast is greater than the bulk of the camel, and it eateth the tender leaves of trees. It is a huge beast, with a single horn, thick, in the middle of its head, a cubit in length, wherein is the figure of a man. And in that island are some animals of the ox-kind.
Moreover, the sailors, and travellers, and persons in the habit of journeying about in the mountains and the lands, have told us, that this wild beast which is named the rhinoceros lifteth the great elephant upon its horn, and pastureth with it upon the island and the shores, without being sensible of it; and the elephant dieth upon its horn; and its fat, melting by the heat of the sun, and flowing upon its head entereth its eyes, so that it becometh blind. Then it lieth down upon the shore, and the rukh cometh to it, and carrieth it off [with the elephant] in its talons to its young ones, and feedeth them with it and with that which is upon its horn, [namely the elephant]. I saw also in that island abundance of the buffalo-kind, the like of which existeth not among us.
The valley before mentioned containeth a great quantity of diamonds such as I carried off and hid in my pockets. For these the people gave me in exchange goods and commodities belonging to them; and they conveyed them for me, giving me likewise pieces of silver and pieces of gold; and I ceased not to proceed with them, amusing myself with the sight of different countries, and of what God hath created, from valley to valley and from city to city, we, in our way, selling and buying, until we arrived at the city of El-Basrah. We remained there a few days, and then I came to the city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace, and came to my quarter, and entered my house, bringing with me a great quantity of diamonds, and money and commodities and goods in abundance. I met my family and relations, bestowed alms and gifts, made presents to all my family and companions, and began to eat well and drink well and wear handsome apparel. I associated with friends, and companions, forgot all that I had suffered, and ceased not to enjoy a pleasant life and joyful heart and dilated bosom, with sport and merriment. Every one who heard of my arrival came to me, and inquired of me respecting my voyage, and the states of the different countries: so I informed him, relating to him what I had experienced and suffered; and he wondered at the severity of my sufferings, and congratulated me on my safety.-This is the end of the account of the events that befell me and happened to me during the second voyage; and to-morrow, if it be the will of God (whose name be exalted), I will relate to you the events of the third voyage.