Sinbad soon forgot about the hardships that he had suffered on his first four voyages, so he again left his comfortable home in Baghdad and embarked on an another journey. This time he bought his own ship and hired a master and some sailors. Other merchants accompanied him. Since Sinbad was the owner of the ship, the other merchants paid him a fair price for taking them along.
For a while, they had an enjoyable journey. They engaged in profitable commerce and diverted themselves in their leisure hours.
Then they came to a deserted island. While Sinbad remained on the ship, other merchants went ashore and found a large white dome. They did not realize that it was the egg of a roc. When they struck it with stones, liquid came running out and they found a hatchling inside. They decided to kill it, so that they could eat its meat.
When Sinbad learned what was going on, he was alarmed. He had encountered a roc on a previous journey, so he knew that the merchants were flirting with danger. He hastened ashore to warn them, but they did not listen to him.
When the male roc arrived and saw the broken egg, he called his mate. When Sinbad and his companions beheld the huge birds that they had offended, they quickly embarked and sailed away. The rocs left briefly. They each picked up a huge mass of rock and returned to the fleeing ship. The male roc soared above the ship and dropped his load. It was a near miss.
When the female dropped her load, it hit the stern of the ship and caused it to founder. Sinbad managed to grab one of the planks of the ship and eventually reached an island.
After resting his weary bones, Sinbad arose and ate some of the fruits that grew in abundance on the island. When night fell, he slept soundly till the morning.
When Sinbad began to explore the island, he encountered an old man who was accustomed to communicate by signs rather than with words. He wanted Sinbad to put him on his shoulders and carry him across the stream.
Sinbad decided to show kindness to the old man and did as he requested. However, when he reached the other side, Sinbad realized that he had fallen into a trap. The old man twisted his rough black legs around Sinbad’s neck and refused to get off.
After that, the old man made Sinbad do whatever he wanted him to do. If Sinbad resisted or was slow to comply, he punished the recalcitrant sailor by inflicting sharp blows with his feet.
There were pumpkins and grapes growing on the island. To drown his sorrows, Sinbad decided to make wine. He took a pumpkin, cut off the top, and cleaned it out. Then he filled it with grape juice. When it was sufficiently fermented, he began to drink it.
Eventually the old man wanted to try it. He drank freely, became intoxicated, and lost consciousness.
Sinbad was then able to get rid of his onerous burden. He threw the old man to the ground and killed him with a large mass of stone.
For several days, Sinbad enjoyed the abundant fruits that grew on the island. A passing ship eventually picked him up. He learned from the sailors that his oppressor was the Old Man of the Sea. Sinbad was the only victim who had ever escaped his clutches.
Sinbad soon encountered further problems. When the ship came to the City of the Apes, Sinbad went ashore to divert himself, and the ship left without him.
At night, apes regularly entered the city. To escape danger, the residents of the city spent the night on board their ships. At daybreak the apes always left, so the inhabitants could safely return to their city. Fortunately, some residents befriended Sinbad and allowed him to stay on their ship.
The next day, one of his new residents gave Sinbad advice that enabled him to earn some money. His friend gave him a bag and instructed him to fill it with pebbles and leave the city with a party of men who were going to gather coconuts.
When the party arrived at the trees, some apes saw them. The apes were afraid and climbed the coconut trees to escape from the people who were approaching. The people then threw pebbles at the apes. The apes retaliated by throwing coconuts at the people. The people then gathered the coconuts and took them back to the city.
Sinbad imitated the action of his fellow gatherers. He soon mastered the process, and gathered a lot of coconuts.
At the advice of his friend, Sinbad sold the worst coconuts and saved the best for later. For some time, gathering coconuts was Sinbad’s daily occupation.
He eventually secured passage on a visiting ship. He took his coconuts along and made a handsome profit selling them in various places.
On one island, Sinbad encountered some people who were diving for pearls. Sinbad gave them some coconuts. In exchange, the divers dove for pearls and gave Sinbad what they found.
Sinbad returned to Baghdad richer than before. He used some of his wealth to provide for widows and orphans.
It is interesting to note that the charity practiced by Sinbad is a regular feature of Muslim culture. At least, I ran across the term “zacat,” which is an obligatory tax that Muslims pay. The revenue thus collected is used for charity.
“Tales from the Arabian Nights”; Maple Press