176 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
return to life and light, I murmured to myself in Arabic, ' Close thine eyes, and while thou sleepest Heaven will change thy fortune from evil to good.'
One of the natives, who understood this tongue, then came forward saying:
' My brother, be not surprised to see us; this is our land, and as we came to get water from the river we noticed your raft floating down it, and one of us swam out and brought you to the shore. We have waited for your awakening ; tell us now whence you come and where you were going by that dangerous way? '
I replied that nothing would please me better than to tell them, but that I was starving, and would fain eat something first. I was soon supplied with all I needed, and having satisfied my hunger I told them faithfully all that had befallen me. They were lost in wonder at my tale when it was interpreted to them, and said that adventures so surprising must be related to their king only by the man to whom they had happened. So, procuring a horse, they mounted me upon it, and we set out, followed by several strong men carrying my raft just as it was upon their shoulders. In this order we marched into the city of Serendib, where the natives presented me to their king, whom I saluted in the Indian fashion, prostrating myself at his feet and kissing the ground ; but the monarch bade me rise and sit beside him, asking first what was my name.
' I am Sindbad,' I replied, ' whom men call " the Sailor," for I have voyaged much upon many seas.'
' And how come you here? ' asked the king.
I told rny story, concealing nothing, and his surprise and delight were so great that he ordered my adventures to be written in letters of gold and laid up in the archives of his kingdom.
Presently my raft was brought in and the bales ox>ened in his presence, and the king declared that in all his treasury there were no such rubies and emeralds as