The Sailor and the Pearl Merchant part 7


Full of terror the sailor swam till he reached the other side of the mountain. There he met an old man who greeted him, and, after hearing his adventure, fed him and took him to his house. But soon, to his horror, Abu`l Fawaris found that this old man also was an ogre. With great cunning he told the ogre`s wife that he could make many useful implements for her house, and she persuaded her husband to save him. After many days in the house, he was sent away to the care of a shepherd, and put to guard sheep. Day by day he planned to escape, but there was only one way across the mountain and that was guarded.

Bring home some of the honey

One day, as he wandered in a wood, he found in the hollow trunk of a tree a store of honey, of which he told the shepherd`s wife when he went home. The next day, therefore, the woman sent her husband with Abu`l Fawaris, telling him to bring home some of the honey; but, on the way, the sailor leaped upon him and bound him to a tree. Then, taking the shepherd`s ring, he returned and told the woman that her husband had given him leave to go, and that he sent his ring in token of this.

But the woman was cunning and asked: “Why did not my husband come himself to tell me this?” Seizing him by the cloak, she told him that she would go with him and find out the truth. The sailor, however, tore himself free, and again fled to the sea, where he thought that he might escape death. In haste and terror he swam for many hours, until at last he espied a ship full of men, who steered towards him and took him on board. Full of wonder they asked how he came there, and he related to them all his adventures.

It happened by great good fortune that the ship`s captain had busi-ness at one place only on the coast, and that from there he was sailing to Basrah. In the space of a month, therefore, Abu`l Fawaris was restored, to his family, to the joy of them all.

The many dangers and sufferings of the sailor had turned his hair white. For many days he rested, and then, one day, as he walked by the seashore, that same old man who had before hired his ship again appeared. Without recognizing him, he asked if he would lend his ship on hire for six months. Abu`l Fawaris agreed to do so for a thousand dinars of gold, which the old man at once paid to him, saying that he would come in a boat on the morrow, ready to depart.

When the ancient departed, the sailor took home the money to his wife, who bade him beware not to cast himself again into danger. He replied that he must be avenged not only for himself, but also for the thousand Muslims whom the villainous old man had slain.

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