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Senin, 20 Oktober 2014

THE POPLAR AND THE STREAM

Once upon a time . . . a woodcutter called Ivan lived ln a huge forest in
the north of Russia. A sturdy young man, with his bare hands he built himself 
a stout log cabin and when it was finished, he thought he would look for a
wife. His dream was of a beautiful maiden, tall, slender and fair, with blue
eyes and a creamy skin.
   On Sundays he roamed to distant villages looking for the girl of his
dreams. But the only girls he ever saw were dull and not pretty enough.
   As it so happened, the path he took to work passed close to a pretty little
house with green shutters. Often, the corner of a curtain would be raised and
a sweet-faced girl would watch the woodcutter as he went by. For he had
unwittingly lit the flames of love in a maiden's heart. This young girl c
alled Natasha; she was very shy, but her love for the woodcutter was so great
that, one day, she plucked up enough courage to stop him on the path.
   "I picked this basket of strawberries myself," she said. "Please eat them
and think of me!"
   "Well, she's not exactly ugly," said Ivan to himself as he stared woodenly 
at Natasha, who was blushing to the roots of her hair.
   "I don't like strawberries," he replied bluntly. "But thanks all the same!"
   Tears sprang to Natasha's eyes as she watched him stride away. A few days
later, the girl again stopped Ivan and held out a woolen jacket saying: "The
air will be chilly tonight when you go home. This will keep you warm. I made it
myself."
   But Ivan coldly replied: "What makes you think that a man like me is afraid
of the cold?"
   And this time, at Ivan's refusal, two tears rolled down Natasha's rosy
cheeks and she fled sobbing into the house.
   However, Natasha again watched for the woodcutter. This time, she held out
a bottle and said: "You can t refuse a liqueur that I distilled from all the
fruits of the forest! It will ..." But Ivan broke in saying: "I don't like
liqueurs," and I marched straight on. However, he realized he had been very
rude, so he turned round, but Natasha had gone. As he walked, he said to
himself: " She has gentle eyes . . . and she must be very kind-hearted! 
Perhaps I should take at least one of her gifts, but . . ." The picture of his
dream girl slipped into his mind. "I'm so unhappy!" he sighed.
   At that very moment, on a golden cloud appeared a beautiful lady. "Will you
sing a song for me? I'm Rosalka, one of the woodland fairies!" Ivan stood
thunderstruck.
   "I'd sing for you for the rest of my life!" he exclaimed "If only I could
. . ." and he stretched out his hand to touch the fairy, but she floated out
of reach amongst the branches.
   "Sing then! Sing! Only the sound of your voice will ever send me to sleep!"
So Ivan happily sang all the old lullabies and love songs, while the drowsy 
fairy urged him on: "Sing! Sing!"
   Cold and weary, his voice getting hoarser the woodcutter sang till evening,
as he tried to help the fairy to fall asleep. But when night fell, Rosalka was
still demanding: "If you love me, sing on! Sing!"
   As the woodcutter sang on, in a feeble voice, he kept thinking: "I wish I
had a jacket to keep me warm!"
   Suddenly he remembered Natasha.
   "What a fool I am!" he told himself. "I should have chosen her as my bride,
not this woman who asks and gives nothing in return!"
   Ivan felt that only the gentle-faced Natasha could fill his empty heart. He
fled into the darkness, but he heard a cruel voice call: ". . . you'll never
see her again! All her tears for her great love have turned her into a stream!
You'll never see her again!"
   It was dawn when Ivan knocked at Natasha's door. No one answered. And the
woodcutter saw, with fear, that close by flowed a tiny sparkling stream he had
never noticed before. Weeping sorrowfully, he plunged his face into the water.
   "Oh, Natasha, how could I have been so blind! And I love you now!" Lifting
his gaze to the sky, he silently said a prayer:"Let me stay beside her 
forever! "                                        ||
   Ivan was magically turned into a young poplar tree and the stream bathed its
roots. Natasha had, at last, her beloved Ivan by her side for ever.

THE PEASANT, THE SNAKE AND THE FOX

Once upon a time, a peasant on his way home heard a feeble voice calling 
"Help! Help!" He looked round, took a careful step or two then realised that 
the sound was coming from beneath a large boulder. He asked in amazement: 
"Who's that calling?" And a voice replied,
   "It's me. The rock rolled down over my hole and I'm shut in. I can't get 
out, I'm going to die. Please help me. Move the boulder." The peasant then 
asked:
   "But who are you?"
   "I'm a poor snake," came the reply.
   "A snake? But if I let you out you will bite me."
   "No, no, I promise I won't. Get me out, please!" The peasant allowed 
himself to be persuaded and he shifted the boulder . . . and out of a hole in 
the ground slid a snake which darted towards the peasant and tried to bite 
him. The man jumped back and cried,
   "Why did you do that?" The snake replied, "Because every good deed is 
rewarded by an evil one, didn't you know that?"
   "No, I didn't. I don't think that's so," said the peasant.
   "Very well," said the snake. "Let's go and ask someone. If we come across 
someone who thinks as you do, well, that's it, but if people say I'm right, 
then I shall bite you. Agreed?"
   "Agreed," said the peasant, and off they went.
   A little later, they met an old mangy lame horse, thin and covered in 
scratches, with an uncombed mane and dirty tail. The peasant spoke to him.
   "Listen, friend. If someone does a good deed, what does he get as his 
reward?" Without a moment's hesitation, the horse replied.
   "A bad deed. Look at me! I served my master faithfully for years and now 
that I'm old, he has left me to die of starvation!" At these words, the snake 
turned to the peasant and hissed, "Did you hear that? I shall bite you now!" 
But the man exclaimed: "Wait! One question isn't enough! We have to ask 
someone else."
   "Bother!" exclaimed the snake. "Very well, let's look for someone else, but
wait and see, I'm right and I'll get my bite!" So, leaving the horse behind, 
the pair went on their way.
   They met a sheep which, at the peasant's question, said: "A good deed is 
always repaid with a bad deed. Look at me, I always follow my master and never
complain. I obey him all the time and what does he do? He shears my fleece in 
winter, so I feel the cold, and makes me keep it in summer, so I melt with the
heat!"
   "Get ready," said the snake, "I'm about to bite!" But the peasant said,
   "Please! We've had the first round, and the second one as well, now let's 
play the deciding round. If I'm wrong at the third question, then I'll let you
bite me."
   On they went, and in the wood, the peasant caught sight of a fox. Suddenly 
he had an idea. With an excuse, he left the snake on the road and ran into the
wood to speak to the fox.
   "Listen, fox, do you too think that a good deed is always rewarded by a bad
one?" 
   "Of course!" replied the fox. Then the man went on.
   "Well, listen, I'm going to ask you the same question in front of a snake. 
If you say that one good deed is rewarded by another good deed, I'll give you 
a present of a piglet, a lamb or a goose. How's that?"
   "Good," said the fox. The peasant went back to the snake.
   "I saw a fox over there," he said. "As you know, foxes are wise. Let's go 
and hear what he thinks about it." A little later they asked the fox the same 
question and the fox replied as had been agreed.
   "A good deed is always rewarded with another good deed, but," he went on, 
"why ask me that question?"
   "Because this snake, that I helped to escape from his hole blocked by a 
boulder, wants to bite me," replied the peasant. The fox looked at the snake 
and said, "Hmm! I think a snake can manage to slither under a boulder."
   "But it was a big boulder," the snake protested, "and, it was blocking the 
entrance to my den."
   "I don't believe you!"
   "Oh, don't you? Well come and see then," said the snake, setting off for 
his den with the fox and the peasant. Pointing to the boulder, he said, "See? 
That boulder fell just there," and he pointed to the entrance.
   But the fox shook his head. "A big snake like you couldn't get into such a 
little hole," he said. Annoyed, the snake retorted,
   "Don't you think so?" and slid swiftly into the hole. Then the fox shouted,
   "Quick, peasant man! Shut him in!" and the peasant rolled the boulder back 
across the mouth of the den, imprisoning the snake (and I think he's in there 
yet!).
   "Ah, fox," said the peasant happily, "now that was a good deed! You got rid
of that wicked snake for me! Thanks a million!"
   "Oh, it was nothing," replied the fox, "but don't forget that piglet, the 
lamb and the goose you promised me."
   "No, I won't. Come to the farm this evening and you shall have them," said 
the man.
   That same evening, the fox went to the farm, but the peasant appeared with 
two snarling dogs and a gun, shouting, "Get out of here, you horrible beast, 
if you don't want to get into trouble!"
   The fox trotted away, sad and disappointed, muttering, "and they say I'm 
cunning! The cunning one is that peasant. Oh, well, that poor snake was 
probably right, good deeds are repaid with bad deeds," and off he went, his 
tail between his legs, into the wood.

PRINCE OMAR AND PRINCESS SHEHERAZADE

Once upon a time, on the island of Kaledan, lived a king who was famous all
over the East, well-loved by his subjects and respected even by his enemies. 
In spite of having a good and beautiful wife, his life was not always happy. 
After years of marriage, they had no children and were afraid they would never
know the joy of a family.
   However, at long last, one splendid spring morning, a handsome baby boy was
born and his delighted parents called him Omar. In the language of Kaledan, 
this means "shining light". The years went by and Omar grew into a 
fine-looking youth, brave, intelligent and kind-hearted.
   On his eighteenth birthday, the king sent for his son.
   "Omar, now that you've come of age, you must find a wife. Choose one of the
many princesses you've met and whose only dream is of marrying you."
   "Father," said Omar respectfully, "I've no intention of getting married. 
I'm still young and I'd rather wait till the time is ripe. I want to think 
about it for at least another year." The king agreed and Omar spent the year 
studying with the wisest and cleverest teachers in the kingdom. And though he 
got to know a number of girls, he did not fall in love. When twelve months had
passed, the young prince was again summoned to his father.
   "Well, son," said the king anxiously, "when am I to announce your 
engagement?"
   "Alas, father, I still haven't met the right girl," was Omar's reply. The 
king lost his temper.
   "Omar! You must stop wasting time. You're a grown man now and I want to see
your heirs. Think of the future and make up your mind without delay."
   "I'm sorry, father, I can't do that just yet. I'm not in love and so I 
can't get married." The king, who could not bear to be crossed in such an 
important matter, went into a rage. He shouted for the guards and ordered them
to shut the prince in an old castle in the forest.
   In the meanwhile, lovely sweetnatured Princess Sheherazade was a maiden 
whose home was in China. When she became sixteen years old, her father 
insisted she marry one of the princes that flocked to court her. But 
Sheherazade was waiting to meet a true love. And since nothing the king, her 
father, did served to change her mind, he locked the princess up in one of the
palaces.
   "I'd rather be a prisoner," said the princess, than have a husband I didn't
love."
   Meantime, Omar spent lonely sad days in the castle where he was held 
prisoner. However, two invisible genies, Abhu and Dhabi were amusing 
themselves, unknown to the prince, by secretly watching his movements. One day
Abhu said to his friend:
   "Omar is the most handsome person in the whole world."
   "Not so!" exclaimed Dhabi. "The most beautiful person in the world is 
Sheherazade, the King of China's daughter." The genies started to argue, then 
decided to ask Lilibeth, the daughter of the genie king to judge the matter. 
Lilibeth's advice was this:
   "Go to China, cast a sleeping spell over the princess and bring her to
Omar's castle. When you see them together, then you'll soon see which is the 
most beautiful." That very night Abhu and Dhabi flew all the way to China. The
two genies sent the princess to sleep and carried her to Omar's castle.
   "They're so lovely, they seem made for each other," remarked the genies, 
gazing at the two young people together. "If only they could get to know each 
other . . ." And in the hope that they might, the genies hid behind a curtain 
and waited . . .
   Not long afterwards, Sheherazade opened her eyes and, when she saw Omar at 
her side, her heart began to thump. This was the man she would like to marry. 
So she took off one of her rings and slipped it on to his finger as a token of
love. Then she went back to sleep. On wakening a little later, Omar set eyes 
on Sheherazade and was overwhelmed by her beauty.
   "If this girl is as kind as she's beautiful, she would make a wonderful 
wife," said Omar to himself as he gazed at her in amazement. Then he took off 
a ruby ring and slipped it onto the princess's finger. Drowsy again, he fell 
asleep. Abhu and Dhabi crept out from behind the curtain, wide-eyed.
   "They've fallen in love," said Dhabi. "What are we to do now?" 
   "Take Sheherazde home again. But if they have really fallen in love, 
they'll move heaven and earth to meet again."
   And so, when Omar awoke, Sheherazade had vanished. Confused and upset, the 
prince asked his guards and servants if they had seen her. When the king heard
the story, he told Omar:
   "My lad, you are losing your head over a girl you dreamed about!"
   "No, she wasn't a dream," the prince insisted. "This is the ring she left 
me!" Omar was lovesick. The king called doctors and wise men, but there was 
nothing they could do, for Omar was losing his will to live.
   And far away, Sheherazade was pining in sorrow. The king was certain his 
daughter must have dreamt it all. How otherwise could she have met the 
mysterious young man? The only person who believed the princess was Marzuan, a
childhood friend, and he offered to search for the missing youth. Sheherazade 
handed him Omar's ruby ring. Marzuan set out that same day but, though he 
travelled far and wide, no-one could give him a clue as to the young man's 
identity.
   In the meantime, Abhu and Dhabi secretly followed in his tracks. One day, a
merchant told Marzuan that, on the island of Kaledan, there was a lovesick 
prince. Feeling that this might be the very person he was seeking, Marzuan 
took a passage on a ship bound for Kaledan. After days of sailing, a terrible 
storm broke, driving the ship onto a reef, where it sank. Clinging to a 
floating spar, Marzuan held on till the storm died away, then headed for the 
shore. The beach was deserted, but in the distance he could see the turrets of
a castle. Then, as he was getting his strength back, he saw a horseman 
approach.
   "Where am I?" Marzuan asked the stranger.
   "On the island of Kaledan," replied the horseman. "Who are you?" Marzuan 
jumped to his feet.
   "I'm a doctor, and famous in my own land. I hear that a prince here is 
seriously ill, and I'd like to try and cure him."
   "Yes," replied the horseman, "Prince Omar is indeed seriously ill, but it 
seems his illness is fatal." Disturbed by his words, Marzuan sald:
   "Take me to him straight away." When admitted to Omar's presence, without 
saying a word~ Marzuan showed him the ruby ring. Omar uttered a shriek and 
leapt to his feet. The onlookers stared in surprise.
   "This is the ring I gave to the girl I want to marry!" the prince exclaimed
joyfully.
   "That young lady is Sheherazade. She lives in far off China and is dying to
see you again," Marzuan told him instantly. Omar was delighted. In finding the
girl of his dreams, he would be truly happy.
   He presented Marzuan with a jewelled sword and a splendid horse, as fast as
the wind, as a token of thanks. Then he told him to take him as quickly as 
could be to the beautiful princess. Overcoming all the difficulties that it 
had to face during the long journey, the cheerful procession led by Omar and 
Marzuan, many days later, reached distant China. When they reached 
Sheherazade's city, Omar announced his arrival by sending a messenger with a 
letter for the princess and a diamond ring.
   At long last, the couple had met again. They exchanged their first, 
affectionate words and found they really were meant for each other. Sure of 
their feelings and anxious to start a new life together, Omar and Sheherazade 
quickly asked the king's permission to get married as soon as possible.
   The invisible genies, Abhu and Dhabi too, were at the wedding, a few days 
later.
   "Sheherazade really is lovely!" Dhabi exclaimed.
   "Yes, but Omar . . ." said Abhu.
   "Are you looking for an argument again?" demanded Dhabi. Just then, 
Lilibeth, the genie king's daughter appeared.
   "We still haven't decided which is the better-looking," said Abhu and Dhabi.
   "Well, I'd say they are the best-looking couple in the world," said 
Lilibeth. "And I'm certain their children will be even more handsome."
   And so the argument finally ended to everybody's satisfaction, and the two 
genies hugged each other contentedly.
Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014

THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

Once upon a time . . . an old donkey was ill-treated by his master. Tired 
of such unkindness, he decided to run away, and when he heard that Bremen was 
looking for singers with the town band, he decided that someone with a fine 
braying voice like his might be accepted.
   As he went along the road, the donkey met a skinny dog, covered with sores.
   "Come with me. If you have a good bark, you'll find a job with the band 
too. Just wait and see!"
   A little later, a stray cat, no longer able to catch mice, joined them and 
the trio trotted hopefully on towards the town. As they passed a farmyard, 
they stopped to admire an elderly cockerel who, with outstretched wings, was 
crowing to the skies.
   "You sing well," they told him. "What are you so happy about?"
   "Happy?" muttered the cockerel with tears in his eyes. "They want to put me
in the pot and make broth of me. I'm singing as hard as I can today, for 
tomorrow I'll be gone." But the donkey told him, "Run away with us. With a 
voice like yours, you'll be famous in Bremen!"
   Now there were four of them. The way was long, night fell, and very 
frightened, the four creatures found themselves in a thick forest.
   They scarcely knew whether to press on or to hide in some caves and rest. 
Suddenly, in the distance they saw a light amongst the trees. It came from a 
little cottage and they crept up to the window. The donkey placed his front 
hoofs on the window ledge. Anxious to see, the dog jumped on the donkey's 
back, the cat climbed onto the dog and the cockerel flew on top of the cat to 
watch what was going on inside.
   Now, the cottage was the hideaway of a gang of bandits who were busily 
celebrating their latest robbery. The hungry donkey and his friends became 
excited when they saw the food on the table. Upset by the Jittery crew on his 
back, the donkey stuck his head through the window and toppled his three 
companions on to the lamp. The light went out and the room rang with the 
braying of the donkey who had cut his nose on the glass, the barking of the 
dog and the snarling of the cat. The cockerel screeched along with the others.
   Taken completely by surprise, the terrified bandits fled screaming: "The
Devil! The Devil!" And their abandoned meal ended up in the four friends'
stomachs.
   Later, however, just as the donkey and his companions were dropping off to 
sleep, one of the bandits crept back to the now quiet house and went in to 
find out what had taken place. He opened the door, and with his pistol in his 
hand, he stepped trembling towards the fire. However, mistaking the glow of 
the cat's eyes for burning coals, he thrust a candle between them and 
instantly the furious cat sank its claws into the bandit's face. The man fell 
backwards on to the dog, dropping his gun, which went off, and the animal's 
sharp teeth sank into his leg. When the donkey saw the bandit's figure at the 
door, he gave a tremendous kick, sending the man flying right through the
doorway. The cockerel greeted this feat with a grim crowing sound.
   "Run!" screamed the bandit. "Run! A horrible witch in there scratched my 
face, a demon bit me on the leg and a monster beat me with a stick! And . . ."
But the other bandits were no longer listening, for they had taken to their 
heels and fled.
   And so the donkey, the dog, the cat and the cockerel took over the house 
without any trouble and, with the booty left behind by the bandits, always had
food on the table, and lived happy and contented for many years.

THE SNOW MAIDEN

Once upon a time there was a beautiful garden which became even more
beautiful that day, after a heavy fall of snow covered the ground, the trees
and bushes in a soft white mantle. A little boy and girl were playing happily
in the garden, they were brother and sister.
   They chased each other, threw snowballs and played hide and seek under the 
fir trees. Then the little girl said,
   "Let's make a snow doll."
   They began to make a snow doll and decided it would be a girl.
   "So there will be three of us and we'll have more fun!" said the little 
girl. So they carefully built a doll made of snow, with a pretty oval face, 
long hair, large eyes and a delicate little mouth. It looked just like a real
little girl.
   "Let's give her a kiss and maybe her lips will turn red like ours," said the
sister. So they kissed the doll... and lo and behold, its lips turned red!
   And the snow doll's cheeks turned pink. When a sudden gust of wind blew from
the north, the doll came to life. It moved, smiled at the two children and
started to play with them.
   Some time later, the children's father returned from town. When he saw the
girl in white playing with his own children, he said to himself,
   "It must be one of the neighbour's daughters." Then he said to the little
snow doll, "Come into the house and get warm." But the snow maiden made a 
frightened sign as though to say "No!" The man, however led her into the house,
saying,
   "Oh, you're so cold! The fire will soon warm you up!" But the snow maiden
sighed sadly, though she didn't have the courage to speak. In she went and
stood by the window, looking out at the white garden. Then she began to wep -
as slowly and gently, she began to melt... until nothing was left of her except
a trace of white snow on the floor...
Nasik Qurota THE SNOW MAIDEN

THE MOUSE AND THE LION

Once upon a time . . . a little mouse, scampering over a lion he had 
chanced upon, happened to wake him up. The angry lion grabbed the mouse and 
held it to his jaws. "Don't eat me, Your Majesty!" the mouse pleaded: "Forgive
me! If you let me go, I'll never bother you again. I'll always be grateful, 
and will do you a good turn one day." 
   The lion, who had no intention of eating such a little scrap, and only 
wanted to frighten the mouse, chuckled: "Well, well. A mouse that hopes to do 
a lion a good turn! By helping me to hunt, maybe? Or would you rather roar in 
my place?" The mouse was at a loss for words. "Sire, I really . . ." 
   "All right. You can go," said the lion, shortly, opening his paw. The mouse
scurried thankfully away. 
   Some days later, the lion fell into a trap and found he was caught fast in 
a stout net. Try as he might, he could not a  escape. And the more he 
struggled, the more he became entangled in the mesh, till even his paws were 
held fast. He could not move an inch: it was the end. His strength, claws and 
fearsome fangs gave him no help in freeing himself from the tangle. He was 
about to resign himself to a cruel fate when he heard a small voice: "Do you 
need help, Sire?"
   Exhausted by his struggles, his eyes wet with rage, the lion looked round. 
"Oh, it's you! I'm afraid there's little you can do for me . . ."
   But the mouse broke in: "I can gnaw the ropes. I have strong teeth and, 
though it will take me some time, I'll manage." So the little mouse quickly 
gnawed at the meshes and soon the lion tugged a paw free, then another, till 
he finally succeeded in working himself free of the net.
   "You see, Sire, said tne mouse, "I've cone you a good turn in exchange for 
the favour you did me in letting me go unharmed."
   "How right you are. Never before has a big animal like myself had to be so 
grateful to a little scrap like you!"
Nasik Qurota THE MOUSE AND THE LION

THE TAIL OF THE BEAR

Once upon a time there lived a fisherman who earned a living selling fish, 
making his rounds to the customers on a horse-drawn cart loaded with his catch
of the day.
   One cold winter day, while the fisherman was crossing the woods, a fox 
smelled the fish and began following the cart at a close distance. The 
fisherman kept his trout in long wicker baskets and the sight of the fish made
the fox's mouth water. The fox, however, was reluctant to jump on the cart to 
steal a fish because the fisherman had a long whip that he cracked from time 
to time to spur on the horse. But the smell of fresh fish was so enticing that
the fox overcame her fear of the whip, leapt on to the cart and with a quick 
blow of her paw, dropped a wicker basket on the snow. The fisherman did not 
notice anything and continued his journey undisturbed.
   The fox was very happy. She opened the basket and got ready to enjoy her 
meal. She was about to taste the first bite when a bear appeared.
   "Where did you get all that marvellous trout?" the big bear asked with a 
hungry look on its face.
   "I've been fishing," the fox answered, unperturbed.
   "Fishing? How? The lake is frozen over," the bear said, incredulously. "How
did you manage to fish?"
   The fox was aware that, unless she could get rid of the bear with some kind
of excuse, she would have had to share her fish. But the only plausible answer
she could come up with was:
   "I fished with my tail."
   "With your tail?" said the bear, who was even more astonished.
   "Sure, with my tail. I made a hole in the ice, I dropped my tail in the 
water and when I felt a bite I pulled it out and a fish was stuck on its end,"
the fox told the bear. The bear touched his tail and his mouth began watering.
He said:
   "Thanks for the tip. I'm going fishing too."
   The lake was not too far away, but the ice was very thick and the bear had 
a hard time making a hole in it. Finally, his long claws got the job done. As 
time went by and evening approached, it got colder and colder. The bear 
shivered but he kept sitting by the hole with his tail in the water. No fish 
had bitten yet.
   The bear was very cold and the water of the lake began freezing again 
around his tail. It was then that the bear felt something like a bite on the 
end of his frozen tail. The bear pulled with all his strength, heard something
tear and at the same time felt a very sharp pain. He turned around to find out
what kind of fish he had caught, and right then he realized that his tail, 
trapped in the ice, had been torn off.
   Ever since then, bears have had a little stump instead of a long and thick 
tail.

Nasik Qurota THE TAIL OF THE BEAR

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

 Once upon a time . . . there were three little pigs, who left their mummy
and daddy to see the world.
   All summer long, they roamed through the woods and over the plains,playing
games and having fun. None were happier than the three little pigs, and they
easily made friends with everyone. Wherever they went, they were given a warm 
welcome, but as summer drew to a close, they realized that folk were drifting
back to their usual jobs, and preparing for winter. Autumn came and it began
to rain. The three little pigs started to feel they needed a real home. Sadly
they knew that the fun was over now and they must set to work like the others,
or they'd be left in the cold and rain, with no roof over their heads. They
talked about what to do, but each decided for himself. The laziest little pig
said he'd build a straw hut.
   "It wlll only take a day,' he said. The others disagreed.
   "It's too fragile," they said disapprovingly, but he refused to listen. Not
quite so lazy, the second little pig went in search of planks of seasoned
wood.
   "Clunk! Clunk! Clunk!" It took him two days to nail them together. But the
third little pig did not like the wooden house.
   "That's not the way to build a house!" he said. "It takes time, patience 
and hard work to buiid a house that is strong enough to stand up to wind, 
rain, and snow, and most of all, protect us from the wolf!"
   The days went by, and the wisest little pig's house took shape, brick by
brick. From time to time, his brothers visited him, saying with a chuckle:
   "Why are you working so hard? Why don't you come and play?" But the
stubborn bricklayer pig just said "no".
   "I shall finish my house first. It must be solid and sturdy. And then I'll
come and play!" he said. "I shall not be foolish like you! For he who laughs
last, laughs longest!"
   It was the wisest little pig that found the tracks of a big wolf in the
neighbourhood.
   The little pigs rushed home in alarm. Along came the wolf, scowling 
fiercely at the laziest pig's straw hut.
   "Come out!" ordered the wolf, his mouth watering. I want to speak to you!"
   "I'd rather stay where I am!" replied the little pig in a tiny voice.
   "I'll make you come out!" growled the wolf angrily, and puffing out his
chest, he took a very deep breath. Then he blew wlth all his might, right onto
the house. And all the straw the silly pig had heaped against some 
Nasik Qurota THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
Sabtu, 18 Oktober 2014

SAYED'S ADVENTURES

Once upon a time, in the mysterious East, lived a man called Benezar who
married a woman called Zemira. They were in love with each other and agreed on
all things, except one. Zemira believed in magic, omens, premonitions and 
fairies. Benezar only believed in what he could see before his eyes. However,
that did not mar their happiness at all, and this reached its height, when, one
day, in the midst of thunderstorm, Zemira gave birth to a handsome baby boy.
When Benezar, who had anxiously awaited the arrival, was allowed to see the 
baby, he noticed a tiny whistle hanging from a thin silver thread round its
neck.
   "What's this?" he asked.
   "It's a gift a fairy made to our son," replied Zemira. "It's a magic gift.
Take it," she went on, removing the whistle from the child's neck, "give it to
our son when he is twenty."
   "All right. But listen, what are we to call the child?" asked Benezar.
   "Sayed," replied Zemira.
   The years went by and Sayed grew healthy, strong and brave. He was eighteen
years old when he decided to go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. He
told his father of his decision.
   "Yes, I'm pleased you're going," said his father. "In fact, Sayed, take this
as a lucky charm," and he gave him the fairy's gift.
   "What is it?" Sayed asked.
   "It's a whistle. Your mother, alas now dead, thought highly of it. Carry it
with you always."
   "I will father," said the young man, putting the whistle round his neck.
   Not long after, the travellers with a hundred camels, many merchants and a 
host of guards, set out on the journey. Young Sayed was splendidly equipped and
armed with a sword, spear, bow and arrows.
   It was a long, long way to the holy city of Mecca. They travelled over 
plains, mountains and deserts. It was on a long stretch of desert that they 
were attacked by a large band of robbers.The4y were caught unaware, some tried 
to flee, but Sayed shouted:
   "Flee? Where do you think you can flee to in the desert? Come on. Let's die
fighting!" and he hurled himself against the attackers. At the height of the
fighting, Sayed was attacked by a young robber,richly dressed and riding a
white horse. The young man bravely faced the attacker and killed him with his
sword. A soldier nearby shouted out,
   "What have you done? You've killed Almansor. This is the end, let's run!"
Men ran in all directions. Now practically alone Sayed remembered the whistle
round his neck. If it really was magic, it might be able to help him... he put
it to his lips and blew hard... But nothing happened. Not so much as a whisper
of sound.
   In the meantime, the others had fled. Sayed was taken prisoner, bound and 
led before Sheik Selim, a very powerful man, the leader of several of the 
desert tribes and, unfortunately, the father of Almansor, the very man Sayed
had killed. Selim, however, was not an unjust man. When he discovered that
Sayed had taken Almansor's life in a fair fight, he refused to allow a hair of
his head to be harmed. Indeed, he set him free and entrusted the young man to
some travellers about to leave for far off Mecca, the holy city.
   Sayed thus found himself once more on his travels. However, one night, 
friends of the dead Almansor captured him.
   "Your master told you not to kill me," cried the young man.
   "We're not going to kill you. All we going to do is tie you up and leave 
you here in the desert. Thirst and the sun, or the vultures or the jackals will
do the rest. They, not us, will kill you!" And laughing cruelly, they rode
away. Two whole days went by. Sayed was on the point of death, baked by the
sun and with no water, when close by passed some travellers belonging to Kalum
the merchant. They came to his aid and saved his life.
   As he came back to his senses with the first sips of water, Sayed spoke:
   "May Allah reward you, Sir, for saving my life. What is your name?"
   "My name is Kalum," said the man, "but it won't be Allah who will reward me.
You are going to do that yourself. If I hadn't come along, you would have been
dead by now. And you are going to work for me until you have repaid that debt.
What is your name?"
   "Sayed," he answered.
   "Well, Sayed, get up and come with me." The young man went along with Kalum
and on the way discovered that he was a rich merchant from Baghdad, so that 
was the city in which he went to live. At that time, Baghdad was ruled by the
famous Caliph, Harun-el-Rascid, wise, valiant and loved by all. Kalum owned a 
big bazaar in the city and it was there that Sayed was put to work doing all 
the humble jobs.
   One day, a veiled woman came to the bazaar. Sayed was amazed when she said 
to him,
   "You're Sayed, aren't you?"
   "Yes," he replied in astonishment. "How did you knoe that?"
   "Tell me, have you still got the whistle round you neck?"
   "Of course!" exclaimed the young man. "You must be the fairy who gave it to
my mother. But what is this whistle for? I've tried blowing it, but..." The
woman interrupted him.
   "It will be of no use to you until you are twenty. Then it will save your 
life. Now tell me, what can I do for you?"
   "Help me to get home," Sayed replied. "I need lots of money for that,which
I don't have."
   "But you're brave and strong. You can earn it," said the woman, and she
explained that, every week, tournaments were held in the city, and 
Harun-el-Rascid, the Caliph, always watched them. The winners received rich
prizes. The veiled woman had weapons, armour and horses and she lent these to
Sayed. He took part in the tournaments and always beat the others, winning lots
of prizes, as well as Caliph's admiration. Sayed, however, never revealed his
name, but just mentioned that he was a horseman from distant Cairo.
   Now it so happens that the Caliph, Harun-el-Rascid, liked to wander through
the city at night, disguised as a beggar or merchant, to hear what folk had to
say about him. Not to spy on them, but to try and put right any mistakes he
might have made. Sometimes, he was accompanied by his chief minister. Well, one
night, as Sayed was going home to Kalum's bazaar, he heard shouts and the 
sounds of struggle. Four men had attacked to others in a dark corner. The brave
young man immediately came to the rescue by killing two of the attackers and
chasing the others away. When it was all over, the two victims thanked Sayed
and asked him,
   "Brave youth, what's your name?"
   "My name is Sayed," came the reply.
   "I'm Kalum the merchant's shop assistant."
   "Hmm," said one of the two men, "ypu seem to be more of a gentleman than a 
shop assistant. However, take this ring as a reward for what you did for me."
Then the other man spoke,
   "And this bag of coins. You've saved my life and you deserve it. Goodbye!"
And away they went.
   Sayed stood there with the ring and bag in his hand. With these he could now
find a ship and go home.
   Next day he said to Kalum,
   "I'm leaving. I shan't be working for you any longer."
   "And where are you going to?" asked Kalum.
   "Home!" answered sayed.
   "Home? But it's a costly journey, and with the wages I pay you..." Sayed
smiled,
   "Your pay certainly wouldn't take me far, but..." and he held out the bag,
"but this money will. Farewell!" However, wicked Kalum was not to be defeated.
He told the police Sayed had stolen a bag of gold. The young man was 
immediately arrested. The chief of police asked him,
   "Who gave you this money?"
   "A man I'd never seen before," was the honest reply. Sayed was judged a 
thief and sentenced to deportation to Thirsty Island, the home of the worst
kind of criminals. On the ship the young man thought to himself, "Well, I left
home two years ago, proud, rich and happy. Here i am today, twenty years old,
in the midst of these convicts, condemned to live and die an innocent man in 
prison!"
   During the night there was a terrible storm. Driven by the wind, the ship
was flung about by the waves until it crashed onto some hidden rocks.
   Only one man survived the disaster. It was Sayed. At the mercy of the 
waters, he groped for something to hold on to, but nothing came within his
grasp, until he suddenly felt his fingers touch the whistle the fairy had given
him. Desperately, he blew it... and a dolphin surfaced beside him, shaking its
head as though to tell him to get onto its back. Sayed clambered up and there 
found safety. He remembered the fairy had told him that when he was twenty 
years old, the whistle would save his life! The dolphin carried the young man
within sight of land.
   "Thanks, friend!" called out Sayed as he slid down from the creature and 
swam ashore. What a surprise awaited him! There was a military camp, soldiers
and war machines. Sayed was taken prisoner and brought before none other than
Harun-el-Rascid himself. The soldiers who had seized him said,
   "Sire, this man must be one of the convicts that survived the shipwreck."
   "Is that so?" Harun-el-Rascid demanded gravely.
   "Yes," replied sayed, "I did survive the shipwreck. But I'm not a convict."
And he explained how he had been reported to the police because of the bag of
gold. 'It was given to me," he went on, "by one of two men I saved one night
from being attacked by four robbers." Harun-el Rascid looked at the man sitting
beside him and then said,
   "Did the two men give you anything else?"
   "Yes, they did, this ring," Sayed replied, showing the Caliph the ring which
he kept round his neck with the whistle. Harun rose to his feet and exclaimed:
   "Young man, the two men you helped were my chief minister and myself! Go
free, but first tell me your name."
   "Sayed, Sire."
   "Sayed?" echoed the chief minister. "There's a man here in the camp called
Benezar, who is searching for his son Sayed." "It's my father!" cried the
young man. And it was his father. They hugged each other in delight.
   Since justice must be done in the world, evil Kalum was arrested and
imprisoned as he deserved to be...
Nasik Qurota SAYED'S ADVENTURES

THE SEVEN CROWS

 Once upon a time there was, far away amid high mountains, a green valley. 
The valley was crossed by a clear stream and a woodsman had built his stone 
house on its shore.
   The woodsman was married and had seven sons and one daughter. He often had 
to travel from home to work and his wife had a hard time bringing up the 
children alone. The daughter did not cause her any trouble because she was 
kind, pretty and helpful. But the boys were the cause of her problems because 
they were rude, disobedient and quarrelsome. They had no respect for their 
mother and she was very worried for them.
   When the husband returned home tired after a week's hard work, the poor 
wife couldn't bring herself to tell him of the sons' mischievous behaviour 
because she didn't want to worry him further. The woman kept her sorrow to 
herself not realizing that by doing so her sons would only get worse and 
worse. As a matter of fact, when their father was not home to punish them, the
boys kept on taking advantage of the situation which continued to get worse. 
   Their sister suffered most because she loved her brothers even if they were
wicked, but she loved her mother especially. Being the youngest, however, none
of the brothers paid any attention to her reprimands.
   One day the seven boys got into the biggest trouble yet. In the woods grew 
a dangerous grass which causes the animals stomachs to swell. The woodsman had
always told his sons to make sure that their goats never ate any. The cruel 
boys filled a bag with the grass and then mixed it in with the animals' food. 
Later on the goats and the cow fell ill, their bellies swelled and ached and 
they could not stand up.
   "We won't have any more milk! We won't be able to make any cheese!" the 
mother cried desperately. "How will we survive? The sons laughed maliciously 
and did not realize the evil they had done until the woman, at the height of 
her desperation, cried:
   "I wish you were crows rather than sons of mine!" When she spoke these 
words, a mysterious cloud overshadowed the sun, it was suddenly very chilly 
and the boys turned into seven big crows that flew away croaking.
   The woman was so frightened and felt such regret that she fainted. When the
father came back from work the day after, he found out the truth and was very 
upset. Nevertheless he tried to comfort his wife, telling her she was not to 
blame for the terrible wish that had been fulfllled. But the house was filled 
with sadness and despair.
   A long time passed and the little girl grew older. She still remembered her
brothers and rarely smiled. One day she asked her mother's permission to go 
and look for them.
   "I will find them, I feel it. I feel I have to go and that they are 
expecting me. Let me go, Mother, and give me your blessing."The mother could 
not resist her daughter's pleas and the little girl left home with a little 
bundle of provisions. She walked for two days through the woods, climbing 
towards the mountains. Pretty soon she had no more food , her clothes were 
torn and she was cold and tired.
   The third day, at dawn, she saw a strange little cottage in the mist. 
Something attracted her to the house even though it had a gloomy and 
uninviting appearance. When she was inside the house she found a little table 
with seven bowls on it and her heart beat very fast . . . maybe she had found 
what she was looking for. There was a large pot full of wheat and oats on the 
fire.
   The little girl was very hungry and so she poured a bit of food in a bowl 
and ate it avidly. Then she went upstairs and found a little bedroom with 
seven little beds, each one with a different blanket. With tears in her eyes, 
the little girl realized she had finally found her brothers. Exhausted by the 
trip and the commotion, the little girl lay down on a bed and fell asleep.
   Later on, seven chattering crows pushed open the front door and sat around 
the kitchen table.
   "Someone has eaten some of our soup," one of the crows said after finding 
   "But who would ever come up here?" answered another. 
   "We're condemned to be alone on these mountains forever." 
   "Nobody will ever come to look for us." When they finished eating, the 
crows pulled on their sleeping caps, went upstairs and found the little girl 
in one of their beds. 
   "But this is . . ." one of the crows said, after delicately touching her 
braid with his beak.
   "That's right, this is . . . our sister," they said all together. At that 
moment the little girl opened her eyes and when she saw herself surrounded by 
the big and ugly birds, she was frightened. But out of one ugly beak spoke a 
kind voice:
   "Are you our sister?" The little girl got up and opened her arms:
   "I've found you! I've found you! We're together again at last!" The seven 
crows looked at her sadly and one said:
   "Don't we frighten and disgust you?" The girl hugged every one of them.
   "I love you very much and even if you've turned into crows you're still my 
brothers." When they heard this, the crows were moved and began crying.
   "Why don't you come back home with me?" she asked.
   "We would like very much to come back," they all answered together, "and we
regret our evil ways. But how can we show ourselves to our parents like this?"
   "Mother would accept you all the same, I am sure of it. She keeps crying 
and thinking of you," the little girl answered.
The little girl insisted and convinced her brothers to come home with her.
   "There's no need to walk back up and down the mountains like you did. We 
will fly there and carry you," they said. As they were about to leave, the 
youngest brother said,
   "Wait a minute! Let's bring Mother all the sparkling stones we found as a 
present."
   "They are really beautiful," the little girl said when she saw the bag with
her brothers' treasure.
   "Do you like them? They might be precious, you know. When we crows see 
something sparkle, we cannot help ourselves and take it."
   "This one sparkles more than the rest, maybe it's a diamond." They finally 
left. The world was very different from above. At first the little girl was 
scared, but the seven crows held her firmly and flew safely. Then they saw the
valley, the stream and the little house where they were born. The courtyard 
was deserted and when they landed the little girl said,
   "You wait here and I'll go and call Mother."
   She silently went into the kitchen and saw the poor woman leaning on the 
table and weeping. She hugged her and kissed her saying,
   "Mother I'm back and I have a big surprise for you."
   "You're here at last! I thought I'd lost you forever." The poor woman was 
so happy and moved that she didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. In the 
courtyard she found the crows.
   "My poor sons! I missed you so much. I am so sorry to have uttered that 
curse. A mother should never say such things against her children."
   "We regret all we have done too. We very much regret our wickedness." They 
were all crying over the past when, suddenly, another miracle occurred. The 
seven brothers became boys again. The father, who had heard voices, ran out of
the house.
   "Thank God I can see my children again," he cried as he hugged his sons and
his daughter.
   The years passed and the crows' hats became the only memory of this moving 
story.
   The stones the crows had brought to their mother turned out to be precious 
after all, and the treasure allowed the family to live a better future.
Nasik Qurota THE SEVEN CROWS

THE SEVEN OLD SAMURAI

Once upon a time, in far off Japan, a band of fierce robbers had their 
hiding place on top of a mountain almost always covered with grey clouds, 
windswept and battered by storms. The robbers lived in a large cave where they
had piled their spoils. Now and again, they went down the mountain, attacked a
village, murdered the poor folk they chanced upon, stole whatever they could 
lay hands on and burned it to the ground. Wherever the robbers passed, there 
was nothing but smoking ruins, weeping men and women, misery, mournlng and 
desolation.
   The Emperor, worried at this, had sent his soldiers to attack the mountain,
but the robbers had always managed to drive them off. The Emperor sent for one
of the last remaining Samurai, old Raiko, and said to him:
   "Raiko, you've served me for many years. Do my bidding for one last time. 
Go to the mountain at the head of an army and wipe out these bloodthirsty 
bandits." Raiko sighed.
   "Your Majesty, if I were young again I'd do it alone. Today I'm too old, 
far too old to do that, or to command an army."
   "Must I then," said the Emperor, "submit to the force of these marauding 
robbers?" The old Samurai replied:
   "No, I'll go up there with six Samurai like myself."
   "But if they're all as old as you, how can they help you?"
   "Have faith in us!" said Raiko.
   A few days later, the seven Samurai set off on their journey, not with 
horses, swords, shields and armour, which they could no longer have worn 
anyway, but dressed as humble pilgrims. From the summit, the bandits watched 
them come, and their leader said,
   "Who cares about seven beggars. Let them climb up." The seven reached the 
cave and Raiko humbly said,
   "Let us come in, it's cold outside. There's a wind blowing and we, as you 
can see, are old men. We'll be no trouble to you." The leader of the gang 
scornfully replied:
   "Come in, old men, and stay in a corner." And so. the seven pilgrims 
huddled in a corner while the bandits ate their meal of food stolen from the 
villages nearby.
   Now and again, they threw scraps of food and leftovers to the old men, 
saying: "Eat this, and it is much too good for you." A few hours later, Raiko 
rose to his feet saying:
   "The wind has dropped. We can go on our way. In thanks. for your 
hospitality, we would like to offer you this liqueur, it is sake, rice wine. 
Drink our health with it." The robbers needed no second telling. In the blink 
of an eye, they had emptied the goatskin bottle Raika held out to them. And in
the blink of an eye they all lay dead, for the sake contained a very potent 
poison. And so, the seven Samurai, too old to wield a sword, served the 
Emperor for the last time.
Nasik Qurota THE SEVEN OLD SAMURAI

THE SEVEN VOYAGES OF SINBAD THE SAILOR

Once upon a time years and years ago in Baghdad there lived a porter called
Sinbad. As he was passing a palace one day, he saw a bench in the great 
doorway and thought he would rest on it. So he put down his load, and was 
about to sit down when curiosity got the better of him and, slipping through 
the entrance he went into the gardens. To Sinbad it was like heaven.
   Everywhere there were flower beds, gushing fountains and palm trees, in 
whose shade many gentlemen were strolling. while pages served them with cakes
and drinks. Sinbad couldn't help exclaiming aloud:
   "Well I never! Here I am, worked to the bone, poor and always hungry while 
other lucky men never carry burdens, but enjoy good food and drink. And yet, 
we're all Allah's sons! What a world of difference between me and the people 
who live here." Sinbad had barely stopped speaking when one of the pages came 
across to him and said:
   "Come with me. My master wishes to speak to you." Rather alarmed, Sinbad 
followed the lad into a hall where the owner of the house was seated amongst 
his guests.
   "Come in," he said. "What's your name?"
   "Sinbad, the Porter."
   "My name is Sinbad too. Sinbad the Sailor. I hear you've been complaining, 
but I'd like you to know that I became rich only by working hard and taking 
dreadful risks. All this during seven amazing but adventurous voyages. I 
haven't had an easy life, you know. Sit down and I'll tell you my story."
   "My father," began Sinbad the Sailor, "was a merchant. When he died, he 
left me a fortune. I was young then and foolish, and I started to squander my 
riches until one day, I discovered my money had gone. I didn't lose heart, 
however, for I decided to become a merchant like my father. With the money I 
earned from selling my furniture and carpets I bought all the goods I could 
and set out. I boarded a ship at Bassora with other traders and began to trade
in every port. One day, the captain dropped anchor near a beautiful island and
we went ashore. We had hardly lit the fires to cook our meal when the captain 
suddenly shouted;
   'Quick! Get away! This is no island. It's a huge fish that's been sleeping 
on the waves so long that trees have grown on it. The heat from the fires is 
wakening it. It will dive to the deep any minute now. Back to the ship! Drop 
everything!'
   Many managed to climb aboard again, but I was too far away and ended up in 
the sea. Luckily I found a floating empty barrel. Clinging to this and 
drifting with the winds and currents, I reached an island. As I came ashore, I
saw a mare tethered to a stump. Then a man appeared and asked me:
   'Who are you? Where have you come from?'
   'I've been shipwrecked,' I said. The man went on:
   'Follow me,' he said and took me to a cave, where he offered me some food. 
I told him of my adventure and he listened in amazement. I was dying to know 
why he kept his horse tethered at the shore.
   'I used to be one of King Mihragian's grooms' he replied. 'When the moon is
full, we tether the mares on the beach so they can meet with the sea horses. 
The foals that are born are so beautiful there are none like them in the whole
world. This is the time of the new moon and the sea stallions arrive. When 
it's all over, I'll take you to the king. You're very lucky, you know, for 
you'd have died of hunger on this desert island if you hadn't met me.'
   My rescuer introduced me to his friends and they gave me a friendly 
welcome. Later, back in the city the grooms told the king about my adventure.
   'It was Allah's will that you should be saved,' the ruler told me after 
listening carefully. 'It's your destiny to live a long life.' Because he felt 
I was under the protection of Allah himself, he showered me with gifts and 
favours. I was appointed harbourmaster; it was my job to keep a register of 
all freight in transit and so I found myself in an excellent post.
   Just the same, I felt homesick, and every time a ship came in, I asked the 
captain if he was bound for Baghdad, for I intended to ask him for a passage 
home. One day, however, as I took a note of the cargo on a ship that had just 
tied up, I asked:
   'Anything else on board?'
   'Yes,' replied the captain. 'There's still a certain quantity of goods 
aboard. The owner was lost at sea and must have drowned. I'm going to see if I
can sell them and take the money back to his family in Baghdad.'
   'What was the name of the man who was lost?' I enquired.
   'Sinbad the Sailor.' I let out a shout.
   'I am Sinbad the Sailor! I clung to a barrel that saved my life and drifted
ashore on an island. There, thanks be to Allah, I met the royal grooms. And it
was the king himself who made me harbourmaster. The goods you're carrying on 
board your ship belong to me.'
   'Well, what a story! I've never heard anything like it!' exclaimed the 
captain. 'Isn't there an honest soul left in the world?'
   'Captain!' I gasped. 'Why won't you believe what I say?'
   'Because it's perfectly obvious,' he replied, 'that you heard the trader 
had drowned and now, by inventing a ridiculous adventure, you hope to lay 
hands on his property!' At that point, I described to the captain every single
thing that had taken place on board his ship since the moment it had weighed 
anchor. He was forced to believe I was telling the truth.
   'Good gracious!' everyone gasped. 'We certainly never dreamt that you were 
safe and sound.'
   I got my trading goods back and immediately thought of something precious 
to give to the king. He was astounded at what had happened, but everyone 
assured him that every word was true. He too gave me a gift and allowed me to 
leave with all my belongings. I went aboard. Some days later, I was at 
Bassora and then back to Baghdad. I had grown far richer than before and 
quickly forgot all my past suffering."
   When Sinbad the Sailor had ended his tale, he gave Sinbad the Porter three 
gold coins and told him to return the next day.
   The following day, after providing the porter and the other guests with a 
delicious meal, Sinbad the Sailor again began to speak.
   "One day, I again had a great desire to travel. I decided to invest some of
my money in trading goods and went on board ship at Bassora for my second 
voyage. To begin with, it was a pleasant journey. Then one day, we reached a 
strange desert island. Many of the passengers decided to go ashore and I sat 
down on the bank of a river and fell fast asleep. When I awoke there was not a
soul in sight. The ship had sailed, for the captain had forgot all about me.
   However, I decided to climb a tree and survey the island. It was then that 
I discovered a great white dome.
   Full of hope, I marched in the direction of the dome. but as I drew near, I
realised it had no doors. The sun had not yet set and the sky was a fiery 
pink. Suddenly, everything went dark, as though night had fallen. I looked up 
and saw an enormous bird with outstretch wings, shutting out the sunlight. I 
remembered then of hearing about a bird so huge it fed its nestlings 
elephants. The bird's name was Rukh. Just then I realised that the dome was 
really one of Rukh's eggs. Indeed, the great bird settled on top of the egg 
and dropped of t6o sleep. I unwound my turban and twisted it to make a rope. I
tied the end of it round the bird's leg so that it would carry me away with 
it. At the first light of dawn, the bird woke, spread its immense wings and 
took flight. So high did it rise into the sky that the earth almost vanished 
from sight, but it landed on a plateau. I undid the knot. Rukh floated down
into the valley below and when he returned, it was with a large snake in his 
beak. Nobody lived on this plateau and, on the other side of the valley lay a 
mountain far too high for anyone ever to climb.
   All I could do was clamber down into the valley. When I got there, I saw 
the ground was littered with diamonds and full of terrible snakes. I couldn't 
help shuddering. Luckily, the snakes were not moving about that day, for fear 
of Rukh, but darkness was about to fall. I found a cave and blocked the 
entrance with a rock.
   In the morning, I left the cave and started to roam the valley searching 
for a way out. Suddenly I came upon the carcass of an animal. Just then I 
remembered once hearing the story of a doomed valley, into which diamond 
hunters would throw a large dead animal. The precious gems stuck to the 
carcass and the hunters would then wait for a vulture or eagle to appear. The 
bird of prey would swoop down on the meat and carry it away in its talons to 
the plateau above. There, the diamond hunters, shouting and yelling, forced 
the bird to give up its prey. With this tale in mind, I filled my pockets with
diamonds then roped myself to the dead animal.
   A little later, a huge eagle carried the carcass and me to the plateau. It 
was just about to tear into the flesh with its beak, when some men appeared, 
shouting loudly. The eagle flapped away and, though my clothes were 
bloodstained, I was alive!
   I told the diamond hunters about my adventure and gave some diamonds to the
man who had thrown the carcass into the valley. They all told me I was under 
Allah's own protection. I had come out alive from the valley of the snakes; 
something nobody else had ever done before. Next day, I set off homewards. I 
bartered some of the diamonds for goods to sell and became richer than ever. 
When I arrived in Baghdad, my friends and relations welcomed me with delight 
and, again forgetting all my trials and troubles, I went back to an easy life.
And that's the tale of my second voyage.
   I'll tell you about the third tomorrow. It's time to eat now," ended Sinbad
the Sailor.
   Sinbad the bearer of burdens had, like all those present, listened 
wide-eyed to this story, and again that evening, he found himself gifted 
another three gold coins. Of course, next day, he hurried back to the sailor's
home. He sat at his side till the rich man's friends came, then they sat down 
to a cheerful feast. When the meal was over, Sinbad the Sailor told the tale 
of his third voyage.
   "Rich as I was, I wanted to become even richer. So I got a passage again at
Bassora, on a fine vessel, together with other merchants.
   One day, we ran into a fierce storm and the captain began to cry:
   'The ship is out of control! The sails are in tatters! Let's hope we can 
find shelter in the lee of Monkey Mountain. Though the monkeys are dangerous
beasts!`
   Shortly after this, the ship ran aground on the shore of a strange island 
and, in next to no time. we were surrounded by a tribe of monkeys. About the 
height of a child, hairy and smelly, they rushed about as we stood there 
without moving a muscle, afraid of what they might do. All we could do was 
stand aside and watch them swarm up the masts and tear the rubber lifeboats 
with their sharp teeth.
   Soon after, a giant wave swept the vessel out to sea, with the horrid 
creatures still aboard, together with all our cargo. As we wandered over the 
island, we caught sight of a huge castle-like building. Though very much 
afraid, we ventured through the gateway. The castle looked deserted, but 
somebody certainly lived there for, in the middle of the courtyard stood a 
large bench and a bonfire of logs was ablaze.
   We all sank on to the bench and, overcome by fatigue, fell fast asleep. As 
evening came the ground began to tremble. A terrifying creature was 
approaching us. It was a real ogre, gigantic with fierce red eyes, long fangs 
like those of a wild pig, a great mouth and huge ears. The ogre grabbed me and
started to prod me with his enormous hands. Luckily I was too skinny for his 
taste, so he picked out the plumpest of my companions, killed and made a meal 
of him. After this meal, he stretched out on the bench and slept whiie we 
shrank trembling in a corner, unable to sleep a wink. Next morning, the giant 
went off after locking the door behind him. For us it was a day of terror and 
the giant, when he returned, picked out another of our little band and made a 
meal of him too. As soon as he had fallen asleep, we came to a decision:
   'We must kill him while he's asleep!' So we put two long sticks into the 
coals and when they were burning hot, thrust them into the giant's eyes. The 
ogre leapt to his feet with a scream, knocking us over as he did. Now blinded,
he was quite unable to catch us. He fumbled his way to the door and stumbled 
out, screaming horribly as he went. We ran as fast as we could down to the sea
and hastily made a raft out of pieces of driftwood. The raft was barely in the
water when we saw the giant coming, with an even more horrible-looking 
giantess.
   They started to hurl great rocks at us, and we were hit more than once. 
Before we could escape their reach, they had managed to kill all my companions
except two. Though by now the raft was scarcely afloat, it carried all three 
of us to another island. Not knowing where we were, we roamed all day, meeting
no-one at all, and fell sound asleep when night fell.
   It was not a peaceful night, however. A giant snake crept up and gobbled 
down one of my friends. Then it curled up and went to sleep. Shaking with 
terror, my remaining companion and I climbed a tree. Thinking he was sure to 
be safe there, my friend settled down in the lowest forked branch. This was to
save my life. For the snake later finding the poor man an easy victim, ate him
up rather than climb to the top of the tree for me. I didn't see how I could 
ever get away from this place alive. However, I had an idea. Picking up the 
planks lying round about, I tied one under my feet, another on each side, one 
along my stomach, another at my back and the last as a roof over my head. This
gave me a sort of armour. When, late that night, the snake did its best to 
devour me, it could not, no matter how hard it tried. My wooden armour 
withstood the crushing. The reptile squeezed and squeezed till dawn. but as 
the sun came up, it wearily gave up and slithered away. I untied the planks 
and set off in search of food. My wanderings took me to the tip of the island,
high above the sea. As I sat there, downhearted, staring at the water, I saw a
ship sail past only a few hundred yards from the shore. The crew heard my 
cries and I was safe at last. I was hoisted aboard, fed and clothed and later 
I told them my amazing tale, which naturally astonished those who heard it. A 
fair wind swept us safely into the port of Salahita.
   The captain then said to me:
   'You're a poor unfortunate stranger here, but I'd like to give you another 
chance. This ship is carrying a batch of goods belonging to one of the 
passengers who vanished on a desert island. Nothing has ever been heard of him
again. I'm going to sell these articles and take the money back to his family.
If you like, you can try selling them. I'll give you a commission on what you 
manage to sell.'
   I thanked the captain for his kindness; I was desperately in need. However,
the bosun who was busy listing the cargo, asked a question:
   'Captain,' he said, 'what name do I put on these goods?'
   'Mark them as Sinbad the Sailor's. That's the name of the man who 
disappeared. '
   'But I'm Sinbad the Sailor!' I exclaimed. 'And I didn't disappear at all. I
fell asleep on the island and when I awoke, you had all gone. These are my 
goods. The diamond hunters I met on the mountain, to whom I told my tale, will
vouch for all this.'
   The crowd of seamen and merchants that had clustered round to listen, began
to murmur amongst themselves. Some believed my words, others swore I was a 
liar. Suddenly, however, on hearing the words 'diamond hunters', one of the 
merchants came up to me and, after a good stare, exclaimed:
   'Do you remember when I told you all about the man roped to the carcass I 
threw into Diamond Valley? Well, this is him! I know his face. Everything he 
says is true.' At that, the captain sharply demanded:
   'What marks do your goods have on them? Which are they?' I told him and he 
too realised that I was none other than Sinbad. That's how I got my belongings
back and was able to go on trading as though nothing had happened. When I
returned home, I saw that I was even richer than before. That's all I have to 
tell about my third voyage," Sinbad said, "but if you come back tomorrow, I'll
describe the fourth one."
   Thus saying, he ordered that the bearer of burdens should be given three 
gold coins. Next morning, Sinbad the Porter hurried back to his rich friend. 
They enjoyed a meal and waited till all the other guests had appeared. Then 
Sinbad the Sailor started to tell the story of his fourth adventure.
   "As in the past, I began to feel the urge to travel, and I knew I had to go
back to sea. I bought a great quantity of goods, said goodbye and went to 
Bassora to find a ship. To begin with, the voyage was all plain sailing. Till 
the day a hurricane ripped the sails and broke up the ship. We all ended in 
the sea, though most of us were able to cling to bits of wreckage and keep 
afloat. Then the waters grew calm again and the waves washed us ashore on an 
island. Our first thought was to look for food and as we did so, we came upon 
a building. A band of naked men rushed out, without uttering a sound and shut 
us up in a large pen. They brought us such strange food that I, who did not 
trust them, refused to eat. But, overcome by hunger, my friends gobbled it 
down. This was to lead to their ruin, for the more they ate, as though by 
magic, the hungrier they felt.
   In horror, I realised that the naked men were the subjects of an ogre. They
caught shipwrecked sailors, fattened them up with special food and then when 
they were nice and plump, strangled and roasted them. While my friends, 
already out of their minds, were led to pasture just like farm animals, I 
began to starve. By the time I was nothing but skin and bone, nobody was 
paying the slightest attention to me and I took the opportunity to run away.
   For seven days and seven nights I walked without stopping. At dawn on the 
eighth day, in the distance I could see folk picking peppers. They took pity 
on me and led me to their king. I told His Majesty everything that had 
happened since the day I left Baghdad, and feeling sorry for me, the king 
presented me with a silver coin. I decided to stay in that hospitable city. It
was easy to make friends with the citizens, and they soon had great respect 
for me. One day, I noticed that everyone the rich and the poor, always rode 
bareback. Surprised at this I mentioned it to the king and he asked
   'What is a saddle like?'
   'Have I your permission to make one?' I asked him.
   'If you wish,' he replied, ordering his servants to provide me with 
everything I required. A skilled carpenter built the wooden shape, stuffed it 
with wool and covered it with leather. A blacksmith forged the stirrups. Then 
I strapped the saddle on a horse's back and persuaded the king to try riding 
it. He was so delighted that he gave me a generous reward for my work. A few 
days later, I had a visit from the Prime Minister. He too wanted a saddle, and
in the end, so did many other important officials at Court. I set to work at 
making saddles for them all and quickly became wealthy.
   As time went by, my reputation grew, and the king sent for me one day.
   'You are now highly respected and well loved by all here. But what you need
is a wife. I wish you to marry the young lady I've chosen for you.' And this I
did willingly, for she was rich and beautiful. I was perfectly happy with my 
wife and lived in peace.
   'If I ever go home,' I said to myself, 'I'll take her with me.' But a man's
fate is always a mystery.
   A little time later, I went to visit one of my neighbours. His wife had 
died and he was desperate.
   'My good friend,' I consoled him, 'don't torment yourself like this. You've
still a life to live. Maybe you'll get married again and find a wife that is 
even better than your first one!'
   'How do you expect me to remarry,' the man replied, 'when I've only one 
more day to live!'
   'What? But you're perfectly healthy! '
   'I know,' he said, 'but I shall be buried along with my wife today. That's 
our custom.' And as we were speaking, in came the man's friends and relations.
The dead woman was gently laid in her coffin and carried to the foot of a hill
by the sea shore. There the gravediggers lifted up a great stone, revealing a 
deep pit. Once the coffin had been lowered into the pit, the widower was 
obliged to follow it down, taking with him nothing but a jug of water and 
seven pieces of bread. I cried,
   'That's a fate worse than death,` I hurried straight to the king. 'How can 
anyone be so cruel as to bury the living with the dead?' I asked him.
   'It isn't cruel,' he replied. 'This custom has been followed since the dawn
of time.'
   'Do strangers suffer the same fate?' I asked him.
   'Yes. It touches all who live in this land and have married here.'
   I was aghast. This meant that my life would be linked to my wife's, and if 
she were to die, I would be buried with her. By sheer ill luck wife did fall 
ill some time after and died only a few days later. Her relatives arrived, 
dressed her, adorning her with all her jewellery, then laid her in her coffin.
They firmly gripped me and though I struggled and protested, I was lowered 
into the pit. The stone clanged back into place over my head. Wild with 
terror, I fainted. When I came to my senses I could see, with the aid of a 
feeble light filtering from a tiny crack, that I was in a vast cavern. All 
around, amongst broken coffins, lay skeletons covered with jewels. Horror gave
way to madness. I started to gather up the precious stones, without thinking 
that I would never be able to take them out, for this place was to be my own 
tomb. Overcome by desperation, I screamed, wept and swore, before dropping 
exhausted by the wall of the cavern.
   The days passed. I had carefully rationed my bread and water to make it 
last. I soon lost all notion of time and had no idea how long I had been down 
this pit. Yet a small ray of hope shone within me. I had survived so many 
other adventures and trials that it seemed impossible that I should die now. 
One day, the noise of rolling stones wakened me from sleep. I leapt to my feet
and rushed towards the spot the sound seemed to come from. There I saw a huge 
badger which, alarmed at my sudden arrival, fled along a tunnel. I followed it
and after crawling for what seemed an eternity, caught sight of light: it was 
the hole in the rock through which the badger had entered.
   In the open air again, I found myself halfway up the hillside. Fresh air at
last! I felt as though I had been given a new lease of life. However, I went 
back along the tunnel to the cavern and stripped the dead of the jewels they 
would never need again.
   On the shore I managed to catch some lobsters and other molluscs. The days 
went by, and at last I saw a ship. I rushed to the top of the hill and waved a
white cloth. Luckily someone saw it and a lifeboat was lowered into the water.
I was soon aboard, safe and sound. The ship continued on its way. It was an 
uneventful voyage, and some days later, I returned to Baghdad and my family 
and friends. And that," said Sinbad, "is what happened to me on my fourth sea 
voyage."
   With that, the sailor fell silent and his guests remarked in tones of 
wonder about their host's adventures. It was late when the porter rose to his 
feet to leave, and again he found three gold coins slipped into his hand.
   At the first light of dawn next day, Sinbad the Porter went to the house of
Sinbad the Sailor, who began to tell another tale.
   "I was as good as dead more than once during my fourth voyage, but I soon 
forgot the risks I had run. I began to feel the wanderlust again. This time I 
bought a ship, signed on a captain and loaded it with cargo. We sailed and 
traded from one island to another, till one day, we dropped anchor in a bay of
a desert island. Far in the distance I could see a white dome. It was a huge 
egg. That's when I knew I had landed on Rukh's island. Though I warned the 
merchants not to, they broke the egg and took out the chick. Just as they were
about to cook it, the sky grew very dark. Rukh's wings had blotted out the 
sun. We all ran back to the ship and I shouted to cast off immediately. When 
Rukh saw that the egg was broken, off he flew in search of his mate.
   In a very short time, the two great birds came back, circled above the ship
for a moment or two, then flapped away. We were well out to sea when we 
spotted the birds, each gripping a boulder in its talons. The captain managed 
to swerve and avoid Rukh's rock, but the second boulder scored a direct hit 
on the prow, smashing it to bits. The ship sank like a stone.
   As luck would have it, fate floated a spar towards me and clinging to this,
I was washed by the tide onto an island beach. I found myself in an immense 
garden of Eden, thickly planted with fruit trees and full of sparkling 
streams. After wandering through this garden for a while, I came upon an old 
man dressed in leaves, beside a spring. Thinking he must be another 
shipwrecked sailor, I went over to him.
   Without saying a word, the old man gestured that he wanted to go into the 
nearby forest, but was unable to walk. So I hoisted him onto my shoulders. 
However, when we reached the spot I thought he had pointed to, he refused to 
get down. What's more, as I tried to shrug him off my back, he squeezed his 
legs so tightly round my neck, I almost choked. I fell to the ground and the 
stranger began to kick me with an energy that was amazing in one so old and so
small. Then I realised I was at his mercy. Indeed, by dint of kicking, he made
me carry him here and there, without a moments rest. The only time I got any 
rest was when he fell asleep. But these breaks were very short, for the old 
fellow would not let me be. Dazed by his blows, I was furious at being so 
ill-rewarded for my kindness in helping him in the first place.
   As I was wandering about one day with the old man on my back, I saw some 
large water melons in a field. Close by was a vineyard, the vines laden with 
grapes. I decided I could easily make some wine. The old man said he did not 
mind and let me get on with the job. Several days later, the grapes had 
fermented and when the old fellow saw me happily tasting the wine, he snatched
the gourd from my hands and drained it dry. A little later, he was flat on the
ground, helplessly drunk. I kicked him then as hard as I could and ran off.
   A few days after this, a storm drove a ship into the bay, where she dropped
anchor. I was taken aboard, given fresh clothes and a meal. When the storm had
passed, the ship set sail and some weeks later we reached the monkey town. 
This strange town got its name from the ferocious monkeys that invaded it 
every evening. Towards sundown, the citizens were obliged to leave the town, 
take refuge on ships and other craft and stay away from the shore. Anyone 
remaining in the town would be killed by these fearsome creatures. Here too I 
had another stroke of bad luck.
   Having left the ship and gone to visit the town, I lingered at the market 
and my ship left without me. I was roaming about feeling very frightened, for 
it was almost evening, when a man came over to me.
   'Come with me,' he said, 'or the monkeys will get you!' So I went aboard 
his boat and spent the night out at sea, returning with the rest of the people
in the morning. And for the rest of the time I passed on the island, I spent 
the night on this man's boat. The owner became a friend and he said to me:
   'What's your job? What skills do you have?'
   'I'm a merchant,' I replied, 'but I can't trade, for I've lost all I had.'
   'Take this sack then,' he said 'fill it with stones. Go with these men and 
do as they do! Maybe you'll manage to make some money.' So I filled the sack 
with stones and went with the other men to a palm grove on the outskirts of 
the town, the home of a tribe of monkeys. The men started to throw the stones 
at the beasts, and from their perches in the treetops, the monkeys threw
coconuts. Whether this was in imitation of the men or in self defence, I do 
not know. But when we had thrown all our stones, we filled the sacks with 
coconuts. Back in the town, I took my coconut harvest to my friend.
   'Sell as many as you need to and store the rest in my warehouse.' I could 
not thank him enough for his help. Every day I went to the palm grove and came
back laden with coconuts. I sold some and stored the rest in the warehouse.
   Then one fine day, a ship sailed in. Now was my chance to go home again. I 
agreed a price with the captain for taking me and my load of coconuts. We set 
sail immediately, calling at islands and ports, and at all of them I bartered 
coconuts. On Cinnamon Island I bought cinnamon, on Pepper Island I got a large
quantity of pepper. Then we landed on an island where the aloe trees grew. The
wood of this tree is the best in the world and I bought a large number of 
planks. Later, we came to the Pearl Sea. I called the fishermen and promised
them many coconuts is they would fish pearls for me. This they did, and they
brought me lots of big pearls.
   'You have a great fortune there, Sir,' the fishermen exclaimed. Never 
before had they found so many big pearls all at the one time. With the 
blessing of Allah, we had an easy trip to Bassora, where I stopped for some 
time before going on to Baghdad. There I found my home, family and all my 
friends again. I gave generously, especially to widows and orphans, as I 
always did. When all was said and done, I had succeeded in gaining nearly four
times the amount I had lost. That helped me to quickly forget all my 
misadventures and I soon dropped back into a carefree, happy-go-lucky life.
   "Go now!" said Sinbad the Sailor, "but return tomorrow, and I'll tell you 
what happened during my sixth voyage."
   Sinbad the Porter received his usual three gold coins and went off home. 
Next morning, he returned, and was greeted with Sinbad the Sailor's usual 
kindliness. When the other guests arrived, there was a cheerful feast and all 
those present praised the sailor's generosity. After the meal, Sinbad began to
tell tale. 
   "Well, friends, I was so delighted to be back that my life was a round of 
parties and festivities. Once more I forgot all my past suffering, fears and 
brushes with death. One day, certain merchants who had just returned from a 
long cruise, came to see me, and I was seized with the longing to set out on 
my travels. So I bought new goods and took a passage on a large ship. It was a
peaceful voyage till the day the captain announced in frightened tones:
   'The wind has blown us into unknown waters. Anything can happen now, for I 
have no idea if there are reefs and rocks. I have no charts that show these 
seas. All we can do is pray to Allah!' Still greatly alarmed, he set the sails
to quickly leave behind the uncharted waters. But the wind suddenly veered, so
violently that the rudder split apart, leaving us at the mercy of the waves, a
short distance from an island surrounded by terrifying rocks.
   'There's no hope for us at all!' cried the captain. And a second later, the
ship crashed onto the rocks, smashing into a thousand splinters. With one or 
two others, I managed to cling to a rock. We came later to a wide beach, 
encircled by a steep mountain. Wreckage from many a shipwreck lay scattered on
the shore. Beside the beach, a river flowed for a short distance before 
disappearing into an opening in the rock. We quickly discovered that things of
value were to be found amongst the wrecks and we picked up rubies, pearls, 
emeralds and diamonds.
   Our great fear, however, was of dying of hunger for, though there were a 
few trees, not one bore any signs of fruit or even a berry to eat. And so, 
within a few days, everyone had died but myself, and I knew that I could not 
last long. I decided to dig my own grave.
   'If I should feel too weak,' I told myself, 'I shall lay myself down in my 
coffin and wait for death. Then the wind will blow sand over me and I too will
have a proper burial.' I dug the hole, then sat down to await the end, on the 
bank of the river, cursing my craze for travel. As I gazed at the running 
water, I suddenly realised that it must be flowing somewhere, perhaps even to 
a place where people were living. I had to make a raft. With that thought, I 
set to work using driftwood from the beach. Now, in order to float through the
entrance to the rock the raft would have to be short and narrow, so I made it
the same length as my own height and found two short sticks as oars. I loaded
all the gems I had found and my remaining items of food. Then I shoved it into
the water and lay down on it.
   The current swept me under the shadow of the rock and into darkness. The 
raft floated along, brushing the walls of the underground passageway, ready to
capsize from one minute to the next. Then the tunnel widened and the raft 
glided so smoothly and so gently that I fell asleep.
   When I awoke, I was back in the open air, lying on the grassy river bank 
and surrounded by men. Their friendly looks quickly calmed my fears.
   'Welcome, brother,' said one of the men as I opened my eyes. 'Where have 
you come from? Who are you?' I almost shouted at him:
   'In the name of all-holy Allah! Give me a bite of food. Then I'll answer 
all your questions.' At once the kindly people brought me food and drink, and 
as I gobbled it hungrily, I told them my tale.
   'We must take you to our king,' said the men. 'This is an extraordinary 
story. He'll be interested to hear it.' A few hours later, we were in the 
city. My new friends had brought the raft too, with its load. The king gave me
a splendid welcome, listened to my tale and said how glad he was I had scraped
through. Being curious to hear about life in my own land, he asked me to stay 
as his guest.
   'I've learned a lot from you,' he told me. 'The Caliph of Baghdad seems to 
be a wise ruler. I wish to send him a gift as a token of friendship and 
respect. I'd like you to take it to him when you return to your own city.'
   Not long after, a group of merchants engaged a ship to sail to Bassora. 
This was my chance. I went to the king and told him I wanted to leave. And 
with great courtesy, since I was to take his gift to the Caliph of Baghdad, he
paid all my travelling expenses.
   The moment I reached Baghdad, I called on the Caliph with the gift. He was 
amazed and wondered why an unknown king should be so generous. So I told him 
what had happened. I spent almost a whole week at the Caliph's court, for the 
ruler never tired of hearing me repeat my story. At long last, I was free to 
return home, and I carefully laid my treasure in my strong boxes. And this is 
the adventure of the sixth voyage," ended Sinbad the Sailor. The porter was 
handed his three gold coins and off he went. Back he came at sunrise next day,
and again Sinbad the Sailor began to recount.
   "As before, I craved to travel after a while. For a long time, we had fair 
winds. Then one day, a storm blew up, bringing driving rain, like nothing we 
had ever seen before. But this was not all, for a little later, the captain 
began to tear his hair in desperation as he cried:
   'Pray Allah if we're to be saved! This is the sea of the doomed, from which
there is no return.' Then he took a fistful of earth from a box, dampened it 
with seawater, sniffed it and went on to say:
   'Men, this is a strange part of the world we're in, with evil forces. We've
no hope of escape. We are close to the land where King Solomon is buried, and 
the home of huge deadly snakes. Ships here are swallowed by monster fish!' 
Hardly had the captain said these words than there was a terrible roar, like 
the sound of a thousand tempests. In a flash a giant fish rose from the deep 
and swam towards us. We had barely set eyes on this, when a second and then 
another even more gigantic fish broke the surface of the sea. All three 
splashed round and round us, then the biggest hurled itself at our ship, its 
jaws gaping wide to swallow us. At that very instant, a great wave heaved the 
ship into the air and threw it against the rocks. Everyone on board was 
knocked into the sea. Gasping for breath, I managed to grab a plank. Then I 
found I was alone, for all the others had drowned.
   'If I get out of here alive,' I cried, 'I swear to Allah that I'll never 
again leave Baghdad.' For two days and nights I floated in the sea, but on the
third day, my feet located dry land. I was on an island, and as I explored it,
I came to a river that reminded me of my previous voyage. Perhaps this river 
too would carry me to safety.
   Again I needed a raft, and set about finding suitable bits of wood. 
Luckily, I laid hands on some precious sandalwood, which is light and floats 
well. The raft was soon ready and I set off down the river. For two days, 
everything went smoothly, but on the third day, the current dragged me in the 
direction of a cave. Terror-stricken, I tried in vain to pole the raft to the 
bank, but the river carried me into the heart of the mountain. This time the 
tunnel was not very long, but a series of waterfalls boomed and echoed like 
thunder and I was battered and beaten by the rushing waters. At long last, 
after running the risk of being smashed to pieces against the rocks, the river
again flowed calmly and carried me along till I came to a city.
   By that time I was half dead from hunger and terror. An old man with a 
white beard took me home and gave me shelter. Some days later, he said to me.
   'Come with me, my son, to the market and sell your goods.' I could not 
understand what he meant. What goods? But I said nothing. Then I discovered 
that the sandalwood, of which the raft was made, was valuable in that country.
And so, I again became rich. The old man grew so fond of me he wanted me to 
marry his only daughter. I had no choice but to agree. In any case, his 
daughter was kind and beautiful, as well as rich. Time passed and the old man 
died. I inherited his worldly goods and also his position as chief of the 
merchants.
   But I quickly made an amazing discovery about some of the inhabitants of 
the city: on the first day of each month, certain men grew wings, rose into 
the air and flew far out of sight. The next day, they went back to everyday 
life.
   The first day of the next month, I approached one of the winged men and 
jumped on his back. Off we flew, higher and higher into the sky, almost 
touching the vaults of heaven, and I thought I heard the angels sing. Overcome
by emotion, I couldn't help calling out:
   'Praise and Glory be to Allah!' I had hardly said the last word when a 
giant tongue of fire leapt from the sky, just missing us by inches. We dived 
down to the peak of a high mountain and the winged man yelled at me in rage:
   'You spoiled everything, praising Allah while we were flying!'
   'I never dreamt that it would do any harm,' I replied. 'I'm very sorry. 
Please take me back to the city.' The man agreed, on condition that I made no 
mention of Allah while on his back. He took me straight home where my wife, 
worried at my absence, was delighted to see me. When I told her what had 
happened, she said:
   'You were naive. You mustn't go near these folk. They're brothers to the 
Devil and hate the name of Allah.'
   'What about your father?' I asked.
   'My father never had anything to do with them, and never did anything 
wrong. He wanted me to marry you so there would be no danger of my becoming 
the wife of a winged man. Why don't you sell everything and let's go together 
to Baghdad?' I took her advice and some months later, we came home. Here I saw
friends and relatives who had given up all hope of ever setting eyes on me 
again, and they gave us a great homecoming.
   Everyone was astonished to hear my story, but all were overjoyed when I 
swore that I had been on my last voyage. And this was also my last adventure,"
concluded the host.
   "Please excuse me for my complaints when I didn't know you and had no idea 
how much you had gone through to become rich," said Sinbad the Porter. Sinbad 
the Sailor hugged him and asked him to remain in his house as a guest. And 
from that day on, Sinbad the Sailor and Sinbad the Porter lived together as 
brothers.

A SHREWD FARMER'S STORY

 Once upon a time there lived a farmer who worked far from his home in the 
fields of a rich baron.
   In the past, gangs of bandits hid in the mountains rising behind the plain 
but the emperor had sent his soldiers to find and kill the thieves and now the
area was safe and quiet. Every once in a while, however, old weapons from past
battles could be found in the fields.
   While he was chopping a stump one day, the farmer found a bag full of gold.
The farmer had only ever seen silver coins in his life, and he was so 
astonished to find all that gold, that when he started walking home it was 
already dark. On his way home, the farmer thought about the problems that this
sudden wealth could cause him.
   First of all, everything found on the baron's territory belonged to the 
baron. By law, the farmer had to hand the gold over to the baron. The farmer 
decided that it was much more fair for him to keep the treasure because he was
very poor, rather than giving it to the baron who already had a lot of money. 
He realized the risk he would run if anyone found out about his luck. He would
never tell anyone, of course, but his wife had a reputation for talking too 
much and she would never keep a secret. Sooner or later he would end up in 
jail.
   He thought the problem over and over until he found a solution. Before 
getting home he left the bag full of gold in a bush next to some pine trees 
and the day after, instead of going to work, he went by the village to buy a 
few nice trout, some doughnuts and a rabbit. In the afternoon he went home and
said to his wife:
   "Get your wicker basket and come with me. Yesterday it rained  and the wood
is full of mushrooms. We must get to them before someone else does!" The wife,
who loved mushrooms, picked up her basket and followed her husband. When they 
got to the woods the farmer ran to his wife shouting: 
   "Look! Look! We have found a doughnut tree!" and he showed her the branches
he previously loaded with doughnuts. 
   The wife was astonished but she was even more puzzled when, instead of 
mushrooms, she found trout in the grass. The farmer laughed happily.
   "Today is our lucky day! My grandfather said that everyone has one lucky 
day. We might even find a treasure!" In addition to being a gossip, the
farmer's wife was also a sucker. So she believed her husband and repeated, 
while looking around: "This is our lucky day, this is our lucky day."
   The basket of the woman was full of fish by now. When she and her husband
reached the banks the farmer ran ahead of her, looked into the thicket and
said:
   "Yesterday I laid out my nets and I want to check whether I've caught any 
fish or shrimps." A few minutes later the wife heard the husband shout:
   "Run and see what I've caught! What extraordinary luck! I've fished a 
rabbit!" They were walking back home and the wife kept talking excitedly about
the great dinner with the doughnuts, the fish and the rabbit. The husband 
said: "Let's go by the wood again. We could find other doughnuts!"
   They went to the spot where the farmer had hidden his gold coins. The farmer
pretended to find something.
   "Look over here! There's a strange bag and... it's full of gold! This is an
enchanted forest. We found the doughnuts on the trees, then we found the trout
in the grass and now... gold." The poor woman was so excited that tears filled
her eyes. She could not utter another word and gulped as she touched the shiny
coins.
   At home, after dinner, neither of the two could fall asleep. The farmer and
his wife kept getting up to look over the treasure they had hidden in an old 
boot. The day after the farmer went back to work, but first said to his wife:
   "Don't tell anybody about what happened yesterday." And he repeated the 
same recommendation every day after that. Pretty soon, however, the entire 
village had heard about the treasure. The farmer and his wife were called by 
the baron and when they went in to see him the farmer tried to stand behind 
his wife. His wife, at the request of the baron, spoke first of the doughnuts,
then of the trout on the grass and lastly of the rabbit in the river. 
Meanwhile, behind her, the husband kept tapping his forehead with his finger 
and gesticulating to the baron. The baron began looking at the woman with pity.
   "And then I bet you found a treasure, too."
   "That's right, Sir!" the woman said. The baron turned to the farmer and, 
tapping his finger on his forehead sympathetically said:
   "I see what you mean. Unfortunately, I have the same problem with my 
wife . . ."
   The farmers were sent home and no one believed their story. And so the 
shrewd farmer didn't go to jail and spent his money wisely.

SIX ABLE MEN

Once upon a time there lived a young soldier named Martin who had enlisted 
in the royal army to flght a war. The war was long but victorious and when the
King abandoned the enemy's territory and returned with his troops to the 
homeland, he left Martin to guard the only bridge on the river that separated 
the two nations.
   "Stay on watch on the bridge," the King ordered. "Don't let any enemy 
soldier go by." Days and then months passed, and the soldier kept his watch on
the bridge. He survived by asking the passers-by for food and, after two 
years, thought that the authorities had probably forgotten him. He then headed
towards the capital, where he would ask the King for all his back pay. His 
pockets were empty and his only possessions were a pipe, a bit of tobacco and 
his sword.
   A couple of days later he arrived in a valley where a stream crossed his 
path. A big man with hands as big as hams, large shoulders and a bull's neck 
was sitting by the stream. The man, who had a strangely soft and kind voice, 
asked him:
   "Would you like to cross the stream?" The soldier couldn't ask for more. 
The man effortlessly uprooted a huge tree and laid it across the stream. 
Martin offered the man some of his tobacco in return and when he found out 
that the man had nothing to do, Martin asked him to come along.
   "You'll see all the things we can do together!"
   They had just begun walking away when they met a hunter who was aiming his 
rifle at a faraway hill.
   "What are you aiming at?"
   "Do you see that cobweb on that tree on top of the hill?" the hunter asked.
"I want to get the spider!" The hunter shot and when the three men got to the 
top of the hill they found a big hole in the middle of the cobweb and no more 
spider. Martin had never seen anyone shoot that well and he asked the hunter 
to join them. 
   "Come with us and you'll be in luck!" The three men walked and walked until
they arrived at a windmill. The wheel of the mill was turning even though 
there was no wind. The men were puzzled but further up the road they found a 
fat man sitting on a tree stump. The man was blowing through one of his 
nostrils in the mill's direction. The fat man explained to the three amazed 
fellow travellers that his strength was such that he could sneeze up a 
hurricane. The soldier convinced him to follow them. As they approached the 
city, they were approached by a man who hopped about with his legs tied 
together.
   "Who tied you up?" they asked in unison.
   "I did it myself," the man, who was very young and very thin, answered. "If
I untied myself I would run as fast as the wind and would not enjoy the 
sights." And so it was that even this character, nicknamed Fastfoot by the 
others, joined the group. 
   But the surprises of that extraordinary day were far from over. A little 
man with a round face sat under a tree. He held his hat over his left ear. "If
I straighten my hat," he explained, "I will freeze everything around me." 
Naturally, everybody took his word for it and the stranger was asked to join 
the group. The bizarre company finally arrived at the city. A public notice 
was hung outside the city walls. The princess announced that whoever would 
beat her in a race could marry her. 
   The soldier dusted his uniform, cleaned himself up after the long trip and 
ran to the palace. He wanted to challenge the princess but said that one of 
his servants would run in his place. The princess accepted his challenge. The 
morning after, at the starting line, Fastfoot untied his legs and took off 
like a rocket. Each one of the contestants had a jug that had to be filled at 
a nearby stream and brought back full to the finish line. On his way back, 
Fastfoot stopped to pick a flower and after carefully setting the jug on the 
ground and realizing that the princess was still far away, he decided to lie 
down and rest for a while. Unfortunately, he fell asleep.
   Later on, when the princess caught up with him and saw that he had fallen 
asleep, she kicked down his jug and ran away. She was sure of her victory. 
From far away the sharp sighted hunter shot and hit a spot near Fastfoot's 
ear. Fastfoot woke up all of a sudden and saw the princess approaching the 
finish line. He quickly ran back to the stream, filled the jug and reached the
finish line as fast as lightning. The King was furious. He would never let his
daughter marry a miserable soldier.
   He invited the unsuspecting Martin to the palace. Martin told him about his
two years watching over the river, which made the King ever angrier. The King,
however, pretended to feel guilty and invited the soldier and his friends to a
banquet in a strange dining room. In fact the dining room was lined with iron 
walls and was built over a huge furnace. The King ordered his men to seal the 
dining room's door and to light the furnace. Then he proceeded to watch the 
slow death of the group through an unbreakable glass. The six men began eating
but suddenly felt the floor grow very hot, while the room's temperature 
rapidly increased.
   But Martin did not lose his head. He straightened the hat of the round 
faced little man and pretty soon they were all shivering from the cold. The 
King uselessly urged his men to throw more and more wood in the furnace, but 
the soldier and his fnends had found a remedy to the King's wickedness. No one
had ever come out of this torture chamber alive, but this time the King had to
accept defeat, even though he was still determined not to let his daughter go.
He offered the soldier a large sum of money as long as he gave up the wedding.
   "I will fill you a bag of gold and other riches if you forget the wedding."
   "That's fine with me," Martin said, "and I accept your offer but as long as
I pick the bag and the man who will carry it away." The poor King was unaware 
of the strength of one of the six friends. When he began filling the sack, all
of his gold was not enough to fill it. Martin and his friends were rich. When 
they left court, the King had become very poor.
   The monarch lost his temper and realized the soldier had fooled him. He 
called the army commander and ordered two battalions to chase Martin. "Bring 
them back dead or alive and at all costs!" Later on, the soldiers caught up 
with the six young men and surrounded them.
   "Give us back the gold and surrender," they demanded. But the fattest of the
men began blowing so hard that horses and soldiers were carried away. In just a
few minutes the wounded soldiers were scattered all over the plain and the
battalions were no longer a threat to the six extraordinary friends who 
continued their journey. 
   Then they divided the gold and jewels in equal parts and each one of them 
went his own separate way. Martin crossed the bridge where he had been on 
watch for so long without any reward and never turned back again.
Nasik Qurota SIX ABLE MEN