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Week 5: The Eighth Voyage

As you know, I had resolved to never go to sea again.

My terrible fortune at sea and the hardships that I endured after my last voyage guaranteed that I would not find the prospect of a water voyage appealing again.

However, I had not been home in Bagdad for more than two years when I felt the pull of adventure calling me again. Disdaining to travel by boat, I instead put together a caravan with wonderous goods from my own stores and set out with many other traders whom I knew.

We did a brisk trade all the way to the Indies, growing richer and richer as we traveled. But alas! On our return to Bagdad, we were set upon by bandits.

Half a dozen of our caravan lay dead before we surrendered. When at last we gave in to our captors, we were bound hands and legs and left upon the desert while the bandits drove our horses and camels away.

Sprawled on the desert floor, I cursed my wanderlust. We wept at our misfortune and thrashed about, desperate to loosen our bindings. The heat of the desert sun beat down on us and, within an hour or two, the men around me began to pass out from dehydration.

When at last the sun set and we shivered in the sudden cold, our uneasy sleep was interrupted by periodic screams coming from one man or another. With sudden horror, we realized that the vipers and serpents, hidden under rocks and stubbly growth during the heat of the day, had crawled forth hunt in the cool of the night and stumbled upon our crew.

One by one, my friends were struck by snakes and fell to spasm with their venom until I alone remained. I struggled and wriggled as hard as I could and, with great fortune, one coil of my rope caught on the edge of a sharp rock hidden in the sand. With more struggling, the rope eventually snapped and with a scream of relief, I sprang to my feet to race away from that awful killing ground.

I wandered the desert until the sun rose and, when the sun's rays finally beat down upon my face, I was forced to unfold my turban and, stringing it between two low shrubs, I took shelter until evening fell.

For another day, I stumbled across the desert, praying for water or fruit to quench my thirst. On the third day, as I continued my desperate searching, my eyes grew wide with surprise and delight as I saw in the distance an oasis. My weariness forgotten, I ran towards the siren song of the water.

Yet, as I ran, I observed, with some confusion, a distinct lack of wildlife around the pools of sparkling water or under the shade of the palms and bushes. Wondering quietly about this, my fears were confirmed when a lizard clambered up my shoulder to whisper a warning in my ear.

The kind reptile warned me of creatures lurking beneath the waters of the oasis, waiting for weary travelers and animals to bend down to drink before pulling them into the waters to be torn to shreds.

Fear gripped my heart again, but, as I was so desperate for a drink, I decided instead to wait and observe to see if the lizard was telling the truth. Not an hour had passed when I observed a hare approaching the water's periphery. As the hare bent down to drink, a mighty splash obscured my view and, not a second later, the hare had disappeared. Not even its swift legs could save it from whatever dangers lurked in the pool and I had no sooner decided to leave than I observed a caravan of traders approaching the waters.

With a great shout, I ran at breakneck speed towards the unwitting men, waving my turban about and hollering at the top of my lungs. With great fortune, I succeeded in attracting their attention and hastened to explain what I had seen of the treacherous oasis. The men about me were skeptical, until, as chance would have it, a dog belonging to one slipped past the men and bent its head to lap at the water.

No sooner had his tongue hit the water then a mighty splash occurred and the poor hound was promptly wrenched from the shore and into the watery depths. Great shouts arose from the men around me and the leader of the caravan hastened to apologize for their skepticism.

For saving them, they offered to let me join their caravan, and each man provided for me a portion of their own goods, such that I might profit from the trip. We journeyed back towards Bagdad, along the way trading our goods of myrrh and spices for riches of gold and precious gems.

Upon arriving home once more, I proceeded to give a full tenth of my fortune to the poor and retired to house, resolved to adventure no more. But, my dear listening friend, this was not to be...

Caravan in the Desert


Story Information
Unit: The Voyages of Sindbad
From: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments
By: Andrew Lang
Illustrator: H.J. Ford

Author's Note:
I really enjoyed the Voyages of Sindbad. While his luck upon the open sea was always disastrous, it also seemed that he enjoyed great fortune in escaping harrowing situations. He always seems to return home, wiser for his experience, and with a great fortune to boot. The original story ends with Sindbad's seventh voyage, having resolved to never adventure again after his last ordeal. I really tried my best to emulate the style and feel of the original texts in this sequel while also trying to follow the basic plotline of a Sindbad adventure: Sindbad sets out on a voyage, a disaster occurs, he is left alone and on the brink of death, he meets a person or group of people who assist him, and he returns home richer than before. This was definitely a difficult story to write, especially as most of Sindbad's voyages are well over our 1000 word limit. I did my best to provide a complete story, but I do still feel that the ending was a little rushed. Let me know what you think!

Photo Credits:
Caravan in the Desert

Comments

  1. Great story, Rhys! I can definitely tell you were actively reading the original text by your noticing of patterns. You came up with a completely original story, but were able to crafty it in a way that it fit the structure of the other Sindbad stories that you read. I also loved how he thinks this is going to be his last adventure, again, but of course, since its' Sindbad, it won't be.

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  2. Hi, Rhys! Loved this story; I could tell that you really enjoyed the original. I thought that your writing style really fit well with the setting, and I was sucked in by the plot. You really put a lot of detail into this. I do agree that the ending kind of happened a bit suddenly, but I also know that the original Sinbad stories really are pretty long, and it's hard to condense that down within the limits we have here. That being said, I genuinely enjoyed this, and it made me want to read more about Sinbad's adventures! Great job!

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  3. Hi Rhys! I love the introductory sentence. It’s such a great way to begin the story. I enjoy the point of view that you chose to write this in. It was very engaging and gave the reader a personal connection to all of the hardships the character was going through by seeing it firsthand. I haven’t read the original, but I can tell that you put in a good deal of work to make your story something like that. You did a great job! I really enjoyed reading this!

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  4. Hi Rhys!

    I really enjoyed this story! This is the first story I have read of yours and I really like the style of your blog and the way the story reads. It is very user friendly! Your author's note is very informative about why you chose the story and wrote it in the way you did. I thought you did an excellent job staying with the Sinbad template, while also giving it your own flavor. Thanks for the good story!

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