Sinbad the Sailor

Sinbad the Sailor appears in the Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Persian, Arab, and Indian tales written down between the 800s and the 1400s. A merchant from the city of Baghdad in the Near East, Sinbad made seven voyages to lands and islands around the Indian Ocean. He had great adventures, survived numerous dangers, and acquired many riches during his travels.

On Sinbad's first voyage, he and his crew visited an island that turned out to be a huge sleeping whale. When they lit a fire, the whale woke up and dived underwater. Sinbad was picked up by another ship and taken home. The second voyage took Sinbad to a desert island, where he discovered an enormous egg belonging to a giant bird called a roc. When the bird appeared, Sinbad grabbed its claw and was carried away to the Valley of Diamonds. Eventually rescued by merchants, he returned to Baghdad laden with diamonds.

During Sinbad's third voyage, the hero was captured by dwarfs and taken to the home of a one-eyed giant. The giant started eating members of his crew. Sinbad managed to escape but was lured to another island by a serpent that tried to swallow him. Once again, Sinbad got away and was rescued by a passing ship. Shipwrecked on his fourth voyage, Sinbad and his crew were taken prisoner by cannibals who planned to eat them. The hero escaped, arrived at a strange kingdom, and married the king's daughter. When she died, however, Sinbad was buried alive with her. He succeeded in getting away again.

On Sinbad's fifth voyage, his ship was destroyed by angry rocs, which dropped huge stones from the air. Washed ashore on an island, he met and killed the Old Man of the Sea. The sixth voyage saw Sinbad once again shipwrecked on an island. There he found precious stones and visited the city of Serendib, whose king sent him home with more wealth. Sinbad returned to Serendib on his final voyage. On the way home he was attacked by pirates, who sold him into slavery. While working as an elephant hunter for the merchant who bought him, Sinbad discovered an elephant burial ground and a huge store of ivory tusks. The merchant gave Sinbad his freedom and enough ivory to make him rich. His final adventure over, Sinbad returned home to Baghdad.

See also Birds in Mythology ; Dwarfs and Elves ; Persian Mythology ; Thousand and One Nights .

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