The Arabian Nights Entertainments - online book

Children's Classic Fairy Tales From The East, Edited By Andrew Lang

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180
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
SEVENTH AND LAST VOYAGE
After my sixth voyage I was quite determined that I would go to sea no more. I was now of an age to appre­ciate a quiet life, and I had run risks enough. I only wished to end my days in peace. One day, however, when I was entertaining a number of my friends, I was told that an officer of the Caliph wished to speak to me, and when he was admitted he bade me follow him into the presence of Haroun al Raschid, which I accordingly did. After I had saluted him, the Caliph said :
' I have sent for you, Sindbad, because I need your services. I have chosen you to bear a letter and a gift to the King of Serendib in return for his message of friendship.'
The Caliph's commandment fell upon me like a thunderbolt.
' Commander of the Faithful,' I answered, ' I am ready to do all that your Majesty commands, but I humbly pray you to remember that I am utterly disheartened by the unheard of sufferings I have undergone. Indeed, I have made a vow never again to leave Bagdad.'
With this I gave him a long account of some of my strangest adventures, to which he listened patiently.
11 admit,' said he, 'that you have indeed had some extraordinary experiences, but I do not see why they should hinder you from doing as I wish. You have only to go straight to Serendib and give my message, then you are free to come back and do as you will. But go you must; my honour and dignity demand it.'
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