Georgie O. Seaman
-Compiled by Eren Sarı
O. Seaman - Sailor Stories
belong to the author. It can not be reproduced or converted into
other formats without the permission of the author.
Pazarcı Mah.1063 Sokak.No:7
Antalya / TÜRKİYE
Nokta E-Book International
The Two Georgies
During the reign
(1272-1307) of King Edward Longshanks who subdued Wales, there lived
in the town of London a man called Georgie Porter. He carried burdens
for hire. One day when he was carrying a heavy load on a very hot
day, he got more weary than usual and started to sweat a whole lot.
The heat and the weight burdened him that day. But as he was passing
the gate of a merchant's house where the ground was swept and watered
in front of it, he noticed that the air was temperate there. He saw a
broad bench beside the door; set his load on it, to take rest and
smell the air.
When the porter set his
load on the bench to rest and smell the air, a pleasant breeze with a
delicious fragrance came out to him from the court-door. He sat down
on the edge of the bench, and at once heard from within the melodious
sound of lutes and other stringed instruments. Mirth-exciting voices
were singing and reciting, together with the song of birds that were
warbling and glorifying the Lord in various tunes and tongues. He
discerned turtles, mocking-birds, merles, nightingales, cushats and
stone-curlews inside, and marvelled and was moved to much joy and
Then he went up to the
gate and saw a great flower-garden inside. There were pages and
servants and such a train of attendants and so forth as is found only
with kings and emperors; and his nostrils were greeted with the
savoury odours of all manner meats rich and delicate, and delicious
and generous wines. So he raised his eyes heavenwards and said,
"Whom you will
you make rich! How you rule - while I for my part suffer travail and
And he fell to reciting
How many enjoy goods of
life by my labours
and now recline in cool
Each morning I wake.
This ordinance is just
and cannot fail."
When Georgie the porter
stopped reciting his verses, he picked up his burden and was about to
fare on, when a little foot-page came up to him from the gate, caught
him by the hand and said, "Come in and speak with my master, for
he calls for you."
The porter would have
excused himself to the page but the lad would heed no refusal; so he
left his load with the doorkeeper in the vestible and followed the
boy into the house.
It was a goodly
mansion, radiant and full of majesty. In a grand sitting-room he saw
a company of nobles. They were all seated at tables garnished with
flowers and herbs, besides great plenty of dainty viands and dried
and fresh fruits and confections and wines of the most select
vintages. There also were music instruments and mirth and delicious
servant-girls playing and singing.
All the company was
seated according to rank around a grey-bearded, noble-looking man. He
was stately and fair to look at, and there was majesty about him as
well. Georgie the porter was confounded at that which he saw and said
in himself, "This must be a piece of Eden or some king's
Then he greeted the
company with much respect, and stood with his head bowed down as
humbly as can be. The master of the house bade him draw near and be
seated and spoke kindly to him, bidding him welcome. Then he set
before him various kinds of viands; they were rich and delicate and
delicious. And the porter, after saying graces, ate his fill.
Afterwards he exclaimed, "Praised be for this good meal!"
and also thanked the company for the entertainment.
The host said, "You
are welcome. But what is your name and calling?"
"My name is
Georgie Porter, and I carry folk's goods for hire," said the
The house-master smiled
and rejoined, "Know, Georgie, that your name is as mine. I am
Georgie O. Seaman. And now, please, let me hear the couplets you
recited at the gate."
The porter was abashed
and replied, "No, for toil and travail and lack of luck when the
hand is empty, teach a man ill manners and boorish ways."
Said the host, "Don't
be ashamed; we have the same forename, and then you have become my
name-sake or brother. Your verses pleased me when I heard you recite
them at the gate."
On this the porter
repeated the couplets and they delighted the merchant, who said to
him, "Well, Georgie, I reckon that my life-story is wonderful,
and you shall hear all that happened to me and all I underwent before
I rose to this state of prosperity and became the owner of this
place; for I came to this high estate only after sore travail and
great perils. Oh, how much toil and trouble I suffered in days gone
by!..I made seven voyages, each is a marvellous tale that can
confound the wise and ensnare, and all happened in ways from which
there were neither refuge nor flight."
Voyage of Georgie Seaman
FATHER was a merchant,
one of the notables in another town, and a man of fair means. He died
while I was yet a child, leaving me much money and lands and
farmhouses. When I grew up, I laid hands on it all and ate of the
best and drank freely and wore rich clothes and lived lavishly. I
kept on companioning and consorting with youths of my own age, and
considering that this course of life would go on and on.
After a long time I
woke up from my heedlessness and returned to common sense. But then I
found I had been made poor. I was stricken with dismay and was
reminded of something my father used to say, "Three things are
better than other three; the day of grace is better than the day of
jarring, a live dog is better than a dead man in a certain way; and
the suitable grave is better than the whole cemetery."
Then I got together my
remains of estates and property and sold all - even my clothes - for
three thousand silver coins. With them I resolved to travel to
foreign shores, remembering the saying of the poet,
By means of toil man
shall scale the height;
Dive for pearls only if
you have good lungs.
Undeserved fame can
totally waste a life.
So taking heart I
bought goods, merchandise and all needed for a voyage and embarked
with a company of merchants on board a ship bound for Barcelona.
There we again embarked and sailed many days and nights, and we
passed from isle to isle and sea to sea and shore to shore, buying
and selling and bartering wherever the ship touched, and continued
our course till we came to an island of dreams.
Here the captain cast
anchor and making fast to the shore, put out the landing planks.
All on board landed and
made furnaces with fires in them and busied themselves in various
ways. Some were cooking and some washing, while other some walked
about the island a little.
The whole crew fell to
eating and drinking and playing and sporting. But while I walked
about the desert island, I noticed the captain was standing on the
gunwale and cried out at the top of his voice, saying, "Ho
there! run for your lives and hurry back to the ship and leave your
gear and save yourselves from destruction!
For this island which
you stand on, is no true island, but a great whale in the middle of
the sea. It is so old that sand has settled and trees have sprung up
on its back, so that it is now looks like an island. But when you
lighted fires on it, it felt the heat and in a moment it will dive
with you into the sea and you will all be drowned. So leave your gear
and seek your safety before you die!"
All who heard him left
gear and goods, clothes washed and unwashed, fire pots and brass
cooking-pots, and fled back to the ship for their lives. Some reached
it while others did not. And among was I - suddenly the island shook
and sank into the abysses of the deep, with all that were on it, and
the dashing sea surged over it with clashing waves.I sank with the
others down, down into the deep, but a great wooden tub came my way.
The crew had used it on
board. I gripped it as best as I could and mounted it too. Then I
paddled with my feet like oars while the waves tossed me right and
left.Meanwhile the captain made sail and departed with those who had
reached the ship, regardless of the drowning and the drowned; and I
ceased not following the vessel with my eyes, till she was hid from
sight and I made sure of death.
Darkness closed in on
me while in this plight and the winds and waves bore me on all that
night and the next day, till the tub brought me to a lofty island
with trees overhanging the tide.
I caught hold of a
branch and by its aid clambered up on to the land, after coming nigh
on death; but when I reached the shore, I found my legs cramped and
numbed and my feet bore traces of the nibbling of fish on their
soles; withal I had felt nothing for excess of anguish and fatigue. I
threw myself down on the island ground and did not return to my
senses till next morning, when the sun rose and revived me.
But I found my feet
swollen, so made shift to move by shuffling on my breech and crawling
on my knees, for in that island were found store of fruits and
springs of sweet water.
I ate of the fruits
which strengthened me; and thus I abode days and nights, till my life
seemed to return and my spirits began to revive and I was better able
to move about.
So, after due
consideration, I fell to exploring the island and diverting myself
with gazing on all things that were there; and rested under the trees
from one of which I cut me a staff to lean on.
One day as I walked
along, I caught sight of some object in the distance and thought it a
wild beast or one of the monster-creatures of the sea; but, as I drew
near it, looking hard the while, I saw that it was a noble mare,
tethered on the beach.
Presently I went up to
her, but she cried out against me with a great cry, so that I
trembled for fear and turned to go away, when there came forth a man
from under the earth and followed me, crying out and saying, "Who
are you, where are you from, and what caused you to come here?"
I answered, "I am
a waif, a stranger, and was left to drown with sundry others by the
ship we voyaged in; but a wooden tub came my way; so I saved myself
on it and it floated with me, till the waves cast me up on this
When he heard this, he
took my hand and saying, "Come with me," carried me into a
great underground chamber, which was spacious as a saloon. He made me
sit down at its upper end; then he brought me somewhat of food and,
being hungered, I ate till I was satisfied and refreshed; and when he
had put me at my ease he questioned me of myself, and I told him all
that had befallen me from first to last; and, as he wondered at my
adventure, I said,
"Excuse me; I have
told you the truth of my case and the accident which betided me; and
now I desire that you tell me who you are and why you live here under
the earth and why you have tethered yonder mare on the brink of the
He answered, "Know,
that I am one of the several who are stationed in different parts of
this island. We are of the grooms of King Ferdinand and under our
hand are all his horses. Every month, about new-moon tide we bring
here our best mares which have never been covered, and picket them on
the sea-shore and hide ourselves in this place under the ground, so
that none may espy us. Presently, the stallions of the sea scent the
mares and come up out of the water and seeing no one, leap the mares
and do their will of them. When they have covered them, they try to
drag them away with them, but cannot, by reason of the leg-ropes; so
they cry out at them and butt at them and kick them, which we
hearing, know that the stallions have dismounted; so we run out and
shout at them, whereupon they are startled and return in fear to the
sea. Then the mares conceive by them and bear colts and fillies worth
a mint of money, nor is their like to be found on earth's face. This
is the time of the coming forth of the sea-stallions; and I will bear
you to King Ferdinand and show you our country.
And know that had you
not happened on us you had perished miserably and none had known of
you: but I will be the means of the saving of your life and of your
return to your own land."
I called down blessings
on him and thanked him for his kindness and courtesy; and, while we
were yet talking, behold, the stallion came up out of the sea; and,
giving a great cry, sprang on the mare and covered her.When he had
done his will of her, he dismounted and would have carried her away
with him, but could not by reason of the tether. She kicked and cried
out at him, whereupon the groom took a sword and target and ran out
of the underground saloon, smiting the buckler with the blade and
calling to his company, who came up shouting and brandishing spears;
and the stallion took fright at them and plunging into the sea, like
a buffalo, disappeared under the waves.
After this we sat
awhile, till the rest of the grooms came up, each leading a mare, and
seeing me with their fellow-Castilian, questioned me of my case and I
repeated my story to them. Thereupon they drew near me and spreading
the table, ate and invited me to eat; so I ate with them, after which
they took horse and mounting me on one of the mares, set out with me
and fared on without ceasing, till we came to the capital town of
King Ferdinand, and going in to him acquainted him with my story.
Then he sent for me, and when they set me before him and polite
greetings had been exchanged, he gave me a cordial welcome and
wishing me long life bade me tell him my tale. So I related to him
all that I had seen and all that had befallen me from first to last,
whereat he marvelled and said to me,"My son, you have indeed
been miraculously preserved! Were not the term of your life a long
one, you had not escaped from these straits; but praised be safety!"
Then he spoke cheerily
to me and entreated me with kindness and consideration: moreover, he
made me his agent for the port and registrar of all ships that
entered the harbour. I attended him regularly, to receive his
commandments, and he favoured me and did me all manner of kindness
and invested me with costly and splendid robes. Indeed, I was high in
credit with him, as an intercessor for the folk and an intermediary
between them and him, when they wanted anything of him. I abode thus
a great while and, as often as I passed through the town to the port,
I questioned the merchants and travellers and sailors of the town of
London; in case I got an occasion to return to my native land, but
could find none who knew it or knew any who resorted there.
At this I was
chagrined, for I was weary of long strangerhood; and my
disappointment endured for a time till one day, going in to King
Ferdinand, I found him with a company of Castilians. I saluted them
and they returned my polite greeting; and politely welcomed me and
asked me of my country.
Georgie Seaman said:
"When they asked me of my country I questioned them of theirs
and they told me that they were of various castes, some being
nobility who are the noblest and neither oppress nor offer violence
to any, and clergy, a folk who never abstain from wine, but live in
delight and solace and merriment and own horses and cattle.
Among other things that
I saw in King Ferdinand's dominions was an island,Atlantis, where all
night is heard the beating of drums and tabrets; but we were told by
the neighbouring islanders and by travellers that the inhabitants are
people of diligence and judgment.
In this sea I saw also
a fish two hundred cubits long and the fishermen fear it; so they
strike together pieces of wood and put it to flight. I also saw
another fish, with a head like that of an owl, besides many other
wonders and rarities, which it would be tedious to recount.
I occupied myself thus
in visiting the islands till, one day, as I stood in the port, with a
staff in my hand, according to my custom, behold, a great ship,
wherein were many merchants, came sailing for the harbour. When it
reached the small inner port where ships anchor under the town, the
master furled his sails and making fast to the shore, put out the
landing-planks, whereupon the crew fell to breaking bulk and landing
cargo while I stood by, taking written note of them. They were long
in bringing the goods ashore so I asked the master, "Is there
anything left in your ship?"
He answered, "There
are several bales of merchandise in the hold. Their owner was drowned
from among us at one of the islands on our course; so his goods
remained in our charge by way of trust and we purpose to sell them
and note their price, that we may convey it to his people in the town
"What was the
merchant's name?" said I, and he said, "Georgie Seaman".
At once I cried out to
him with great cry, saying, "Captain, I am that Georgie Seaman
who travelled with other merchants; and when the fish heaved and you
called to us some saved themselves and others sank, I was one of
But a great tub of wood
driften my way, of those the crew had used to wash withal, and the
winds and waves carried me to this island, where I fell in with King
Ferdinand's grooms and they brought me here to the king.
When I told him my
story, he entreated me with favour and made me his harbour-master,
and I have prospered in his service and found acceptance with him.
These bales, therefore are my goods."
The other exclaimed,
"There is neither conscience nor good faith left among men!"
I said, "What do
these words mean, now that I have told you my case?"
And he answered,
"Because you heard me say that I had with me goods whose owner
was drowned, you think to take them without right; but this is
forbidden by law to you, for we saw him drown before our eyes,
together with many other passengers, nor was one of them saved. So
how can you pretend that you are the owner of the goods?"
said I, "listen to my story and give heed to my words, and my
truth will be manifest to you; for lying and leasing are the
letter-marks of the hypocrites."
Then I recounted to him
all that had befallen me since I sailed from London with him to the
time when we came to the whale-island where we were nearly drowned;
and I reminded him of certain matters which had passed between us;
whereupon both he and the merchants were certified at the truth of my
story and recognized me and gave me joy of my deliverance, saying,
"We did not think that you had escaped drowning!"
Then they delivered my
bales to me, and I found my name written on it, nor was anything
lacking. So I opened them and making up a present for King Ferdinand
of the finest and costliest of the contents, caused the sailors carry
it up to the palace, where I went in to the king and laid my present
at his feet, acquainting him with what had happened, especially
concerning the ship and my goods; whereat he wondered with exceeding
wonder and the truth of all that I had told him was made manifest to
him. His affection for me redoubled after that and he showed me
exceeding honour and bestowed on me a great present in return for my.
Then I sold my bales and what other matters I owned making a great
profit on them, and bought me other goods and gear of the growth and
fashion of the island-town.
When the merchants were
about to start on their homeward voyage, I embarked on board the ship
all that I possessed, and going in to the king, thanked him for all
his favours and friendship and craved his leave to return to my own
land and friends. He farewelled me and bestowed on me great store of
the country-stuffs and produce; and I took leave of him and embarked.
Then we set sail and
fared on nights and days, and Fortune served us and Fate favoured us,
so that we arrived in safety in Brighton. There I landed and rejoiced
at being safe. After a short stay, I set out for London, with store
of goods and commodities of great price.Reaching the town in due
time, I went straight to my own quarter and entered my house where
all my friends and kinsfolk came to greet me. Then I hired servants
till I had a large establishment, and I bought houses, and lands and
gardens, till I was richer and in better case than before, and
returned to enjoy the society of my friends and familiars more
assiduously than ever, forgetting all I had suffered of fatigue and
hardship and strangerhood and every peril of travel; and I applied
myself to all manner joys and solaces and delights, eating the
dantiest viands and drinking the deliciousest wines; and my wealth
allowed this state of things to endure.
"This, then, is
the story of my first voyage, and tomorrow I will tell you the tale
of the second of my seven voyages."
Then Georgie Seaman
made Georgie Porter sup with him and bade give him an hundred gold
pieces, saying, "You have cheered us with your company this
The porter thanked him
and, taking the gift, went his way, pondering what he had heard and
marvelling mightily at what things happen to mankind. He passed the
night in his own place and with the early morning repaired to the
abode of Georgie Seaman, who received him with honour and seated him
by his side. As soon as the rest of the company was assembled, he set
meat and drink before them and, when they had well eaten and drunken
and were merry and in cheerful case, he took up his discourse and
recounted to them his second voyage.
Second Voyage of Georgie Seaman
I was living a most
comfortable and enjoyable life, in all solace and delight till one
day my mind became possessed with the thought of travelling about the
world of men and seeing their cities and islands; and a longing
seized me to traffic and to make money by trade. On this resolve I
took a great store of cash and, buying goods and gear fit for travel,
bound them up in bales. Then I went down to the river-bank, where I
found a noble and brand-new ship about to sail, equipped with sails
of fine cloth and well manned and provided; so I took passage in her
with a number of other merchants, and after embarking our goods we
weighed anchor the same day.
Right fair was our
voyage and we sailed from place to place and from isle to isle; and
whenever we anchored we met a crowd of merchants and notables and
customers, and we took to buying and selling and bartering.
At last we came to an
island, fair and verdant, in trees abundant, with yellow-ripe fruits
luxuriant, and flowers fragrant and birds warbling soft descant; and
streams crystalline and radiant; but no sign of man showed to the
descrier, no, not a blower of the fire.
The captain made fast
with us to this island, and the merchants and sailors landed and
walked about, enjoying the shade of the trees and the song of the
birds. I landed with the rest; and, sitting down by a spring of sweet
water that welled up among the trees, took out some vivers I had with
me and ate heartily. And so sweet was the zephyr and so fragrant were
the flowers, that I got drowsy and, lying down in that place, was
soon deep in sleep.
When I woke up, I found
myself alone, for the ship had sailed and left me behind, nor had one
of the merchants or sailors had thought of me. I searched the island
right and left, but found neither man nor Jinn, whereat I was beyond
measure troubled with anguish and concern, because I was left quite
alone, without anything of wordly gear or meat or drink, weary and
heart-broken. So I gave myself up for lost and said,
"Not always does
the crock escape the shock. I was saved the first time by finding one
who brought me from the desert island to an inhabited place, but now
there is no hope for me."
Then I fell to weeping
and wailing. I rose and walked about the island, right and left and
everywhere, unable for trouble to sit or tarry in any one place.
Then I climbed a tall
tree and looked in all directions, but saw nothing save sky and sea
and trees and birds and isles and sands.
However, after a while
my eager glances fell on some great white thing, afar off in the
interior of the island; so I came down from the tree and made for
that which I had seen; and behold, it was a huge white dome rising
high in air and of vast compass. I walked all around it, but found no
door to it, nor could I muster strength or nimbleness by reason of
its exceeding smoothness and slipperiness. So I marked the spot where
I stood and went round about the dome to measure its circumference
which I found fifty good paces.
And as I stood, casting
about how to gain an entrance the day being near its fall and the sun
being near the horizon, behold, the sun was suddenly hidden from me
and the air became dull and dark.
I thought a cloud had
come over the sun, but it was the season of summer; so I marvelled at
this and lifting my head looked steadfastly at the sky, when I saw
that the cloud was none other than an enormous bird, of gigantic
girth and inordinately wide of wing which, as it flew through the
air, veiled the sun and hid it from the island.
At this sight my wonder
redoubled and I remembered a story I had heard before of pilgrims and
travellers, how in a certain island lives a huge bird, called the
"eagle" which feeds its young on elephants; and I was
certified that the dome which caught my sight was none other than a
eagle's egg. As I looked and wondered at the marvels, the bird
alighted on the dome and brooded over it with its wings covering it
and its legs stretched out behind it on the ground, and in this
posture it fell asleep, glory be to Her who sleeps not! When I saw
this, I arose and, unwinding my chaperon from my head, doubled it and
twisted it into a rope, with which I girt my middle and bound my
waist fast to the legs of the eagle, saying to myself,"Peradventure,
this bird may carry me to a land of cities and inhabitants, and that
will be better than abiding in this desert island."
I passed the night
watching and fearing to sleep, lest the bird should fly away with me
unawares; and, as soon as the dawn broke and morn shone, the eagle
rose off its egg and spreading its wings with a great cry flew up
into the air dragging me with it; nor ceased it to soar and to tower
till I thought it had reached the limit of the firmament; after which
it descended, earthwards, little by little, till it lighted on the
top of a high hill.
As soon as I found
myself on the hard ground, I made havee to unbind myself, quaking for
fear of the bird, though it took no heed of me nor even felt me; and,
loosing my chaperon from its feet, I made off with my best
speed.Presently, I saw it catch up in its huge claws something from
the earth and rise with it high in air, and observing it narrowly I
saw it to be a serpent big of bulk and gigantic of girth, wherewith
it flew away clean out of sight. I marvelled at this and faring
forwards found myself on a peak overlooking a valley, exceeding great
and wide and deep, and bounded by vast mountains that spired high in
air: none could descry their summits, for the excess of their height,
nor was any able to climb up thereto. When I saw this, I blamed
myself for that which I had done and said,"Would I had tarried
in the island! It was better than this wild desert; for there I had
at least fruits to eat and water to drink, and here are neither trees
nor fruits nor streams. But verily, as often as I am quit of one
peril, I fall into a worse danger and a more grievous."
However, I took courage
and walked along. I quickly found that the soil was of gold nugget
and obsidian, for that it is a dense stone and a dure, whereon
neither iron nor hardhead has effect, neither can we cut off anything
therefrom nor break it, save by means of leadstone.
Moreover, the valley
swarmed with snakes and vipers, each big as a palm tree, that would
have made but one gulp of an elephant; and they came out by night,
hiding during the day, lest the bald eagles and other eagles pounce
on them and tear them to pieces, as was their wont, why I do not
know. And I repented of what I had done and said,
"I have brought
destruction on myself!" The day began to wane as I went along
and I looked about for a place where I might pass the night, being in
fear of the serpents; and I took no thought of meat and drink in my
concern for my life. Presently, I caught sight of a cave nearhand,
with a narrow doorway; so I entered and seeing a great stone close to
the mouth, I rolled it up and stopped the entrance, saying to myself,
"I am safe here for the night; and as soon as it is day, I will
go forth and see what destiny will do."
Then I looked within
the cave and saw to the upper end a great serpent brooding on her
eggs, at which my flesh quaked and my hair stood on end; but I raised
my eyes to Heaven and, committing my case to fate and lot, abode all
that night without sleep till daybreak, when I rolled back the stone
from the mouth of the cave and went forth, staggering like a drunken
man and giddy with watching and fear and hunger.
As in this sore case I
walked along the valley, behold, there fell down before me a
slaughtered beast; but I saw no one, whereat I marvelled with great
marvel and presently remembered a story I had heard aforetime of
traders and pilgrims and travellers; how the mountains of gold and
silver are full of perils and terrors, nor can any fare through them;
but the merchants who traffic in gold nuggets have a device by which
they obtain them, that is to say, they take a sheep and slaughter and
skin it and cut it in pieces and cast them down from the mountain-
tops into the valley-sole, where the meat being fresh and sticky with
blood, some of the nuggets cleave to it. There they leave it till
mid-day, when the eagles and vultures swoop down on it and carry it
in their claws to the mountain-summits, whereupon the merchants come
and shout at them and scare them away from the meat. Then they come
and, taking the gold nuggets which they find sticking to it, go their
ways with them and leave the meat to the birds and beasts; nor can
any come at the gold nuggets but by this device.
So, when I saw the
slaughtered beast fall (he pursued) and bethought me of the story, I
went up to it and filled my pockets and shawl-girdle and chaperon and
the folds of my clothes with the choicest gold nuggets; and, as I was
thus engaged, down fell before me another great piece of meat. Then
with my unrolled chaperon and lying on my back, I set the bit on my
breast so that I was hidden by the meat, which was thus raised above
the ground. Hardly had I gripped it, when an eagle swooped down on
the flesh and, seizing it with his talons, flew up with it high in
air and me clinging thereto, and ceased not its flight till it
alighted on the head of one of the mountains where, dropping the
carcass he fell to rending it; but, behold, there arose behind him a
great noise of shouting and clattering of wood, whereat the bird took
fright and flew away.
Then I loosed off
myself the meat, with clothes daubed with blood therefrom, and stood
up by its side; whereupon up came the merchant, who had cried out at
the eagle, and seeing me standing there, bespoke me not, but was
frighted at me and shook with fear. However, he went up to the
carcass and turning it over, found no gold nuggets sticking to it,
whereat he gave a great cry and exclaimed, "Harrow, my
disappointment!" And he bemoaned himself and beat hand on hand,
saying, "Alas, the pity of it! How comes this?"
Then I went up to him
and he said to me, "Who are you and what causes you to come
And I, "Fear not,
I am a man and a good man and a merchant. My story is wondrous and my
adventures marvellous and the manner of my coming here is prodigious.
So be of good cheer. You shall receive of me what shall rejoice you,
for I have with me great plenty of gold nuggets and I will give you
of them; for each is better than anything you could get otherwise. So
The man rejoiced at
that and thanked and blessed me; then we talked together till the
other merchants, hearing me in discourse with their fellow, came up
and saluted me; for each of them had thrown down his piece of meat.
And as I went off with them I told them my whole story, how I had
suffered hardships at sea and the fashion of my reaching the valley.
But I gave the owner of
the meat a number of the gold nuggets I had by me, so they all wished
me joy of my escape, saying, "None ever reached that valley and
came off from there alive before you!"
We passed the night
together in a safe and pleasant place, beyond measure rejoiced at my
deliverance from the Valley of Serpents and my arrival in an
inhabited land; and on the morrow we set out and journeyed over the
mighty range of mountains, seeing many serpents in the valley, till
we came to the fair great island of Corsica, wherein was a garden of
huge olive trees under each of which an hundred men might take
shelter. When the folk have a mind to get olive, they bore into the
upper part of the bole with a long iron; whereupon the liquid olive,
which is the sap of the tree, flows out and they catch it in vessels,
where it concretes like gum; but, after this, the tree dies and
Moreover, there is in
this island a kind of wild beast, called "mouflon," that
pastured and feeds on the leaves and twigs of trees. It is a
remarkable animal with great and thick horns. Voyagers and pilgrims
and travellers declare that this beast can carry off a man on its
horn and graze about the island and lie down on the shore. Then comes
the bird Eagle and carries off what it can to feed its young
with.Moreover, I saw in this island many kinds of dwarf donkeys,
whose like are not found in our country.
Here I sold some of the
gold nuggets which I had by me for gold dinars and silver silver
coins and bartered others for the produce of the country; and,
loading them on beasts of burden, fared on with the merchants from
valley to valley and town to town, buying and selling and viewing
After some wonderful
time we went on board a ship from Corsica to Aragon, who owned
Corsica then. We travelled by cart through Aragon with its beautiful
and rugged peaks, dense woodlands and spectacular waterfalls till we
came to the neighbouring country of Castile again, and from there
easily found a ship that was heading for England. After a pleasant
voyage we came to Brighton, where we abode a few days, after which I
continued my journey to London.
I arrived at home with
great store of gold nuggets and money and goods. I foregathered with
my friends and relations and gave alms and largesse and bestowed
curious gifts and made presents to all my friends and companions.
Then I betook myself to
eating well and drinking well and wearing fine clothes and making
merry with my fellows, and forgot all my sufferings in the pleasures
of return to the solace and delight of life, with light heart and
And every one who heard
of my return came and questioned me of my adventures and of foreign
countries, and I related to them all that had befallen me, and the
much I had suffered, whereat they wondered and gave me joy of my safe
"This, then is the
end of the story of my second voyage; and tomorrow I will tell you
what befell me in my third voyage."
The company marvelled
at his story and supped with him; after which he ordered a hundred
dinars of gold to be given to the porter, who took the sum with many
thanks and blessings (which he kept up even when he reached home) and
went his way, wondering at what he had heard.
Third Voyage of Georgie Seaman
Next morning, as soon
as day came, Georgie Porter rose and went back to the house of
Georgie Seaman, even as he had bidden him, and went in and gave him
good-morrow. The merchant welcomed him and made him sit with him till
the rest of the company arrived; and when they had well eaten and
drunken and were merry with joy and jollity, their host began by
brothers, to what I am about to tell you; for it is even more
wondrous than what you have already heard! As I told you yesterday, I
returned from my second voyage overjoyed at being safe and with great
increase of wealth, and I abode for a while in London town savouring
the utmost ease and prosperity and comfort and happiness, till the
carnal man was once more seized with longing for travel and diversion
and adventure, and yearned after traffic and lucre and emolument.
So making up my mind I
laid in great plenty of goods suitable for a sea-voyage and repairing
to Brighton, went down to the shore and found there a fine ship ready
to sail, with a full crew and a numerous company of merchants, men of
worth and substance; faith, piety and consideration.
I embarked with them
and we set sail to bring our voyage to a safe and prosperous issue
and already we congratulated one another on our good fortune and bon
We fared on from sea to
sea and from island to island and town to town, in all delight and
contentment, buying and selling wherever we touched, and taking our
solace and our pleasure, till one day when, as we sailed athwart the
dashing sea, swollen with clashing billows, behold, the master (who
stood on the gunwale examining the ocean in all directions) cried out
with a great cry, and buffeted his face and plucked out his beard and
rent his raiment, and bade furl the sail and cast the anchors. So we
said to him, "What is the matter?"
"Know that the
wind has gotten the better of us and has driven us out of our course
into mid-ocean, and has brought us to the Rock of Gibraltar, a hairy
folk like apes, among whom no man ever fell and came forth alive; and
my heart presages that we all be dead men."
Hardly had the master
made an end of his speech when the apes were on us. They surrounded
the ship on all sides swarming like locusts and crowding the shore.
They were the most
frightful of wild creatures, covered with black hair like felt, foul
of favour and small of stature, being but four spans high,
yellow-eyed and black-faced; none knows their language nor what they
are, and they shun the company of men. We feared to slay them or
strike them or drive them away, because of their inconceivable
multitude; lest, if we hurt one, the rest fall on us and slay us, for
numbers prevail over courage; so we let them do their will, albeit we
feared they would plunder our goods and gear.
They swarmed up the
cables and gnawed them asunder, and on like wise they did with all
the ropes of the ship, so that it fell off from the wind and stranded
on their mountainous coast. Then they laid hands on all the merchants
and crew, and landing us on the island, made off with the ship and
its cargo and went their ways, we do not know where.
We were thus left on
the rock, eating of its fruits and pot-herbs and drinking of its
streams till, one day, we espied in its midst what seemed an
inhabited house. So we made for it as fast as our feet could carry us
and behold, it was a castle strong and tall, compassed about with a
lofty wall, and having a two-leaved gate of ebony-wood both of which
leaves open stood.
We entered and found
within a space wide and bare like a great square, round which stood
many high doors open thrown, and at the farther end a long bench of
stone and brasiers, with cooking gear hanging on it and about it
great plenty of bones; but we saw no one and marvelled thereat with
Then we sat down in the
courtyard a little while and presently falling asleep, slept from the
forenoon till sundown, when lo! the earth trembled under our feet and
the air rumbled with a terrible tone. Then there came down on us,
from the top of the castle, a huge creature in the likeness of a man,
black of colour, tall and big of bulk, as he were a great date-tree,
with eyes like coals of fire and eye-brows like boar's tusks and a
vast big gape like the mouth of a well. Moreover, he had long loose
lips like donkey's, hanging down on his breast and ears like two
Jarms falling over his shoulder-blades and the nails of his hands
were like the claws of a lion.When we saw this frightful giant, we
were like to faint and every moment increased our fear and terror;
and we became as dead men for excess of horror and affright. And
after trampling on the earth, he sat awhile on the bench; then he
arose and coming to us seized me by the arm choosing me out from
among my comrades the merchants.
He took me up in his
hand and turning me over felt me, as a butcher feels a sheep he is
about to slaughter, and I but a little mouthful in his hands; but
finding me lean and fleshless for stress of toil and trouble and
weariness, let me go and took up another, whom in like manner he
turned over and felt and let go; nor did he cease to feel and turn
over the rest of us, one after another, till he came to the master of
Now he was a sturdy,
stout, broad-shouldered wight, fat and in full vigour; so he pleased
the giant, who seized him, as a butcher seizes a beast, and throwing
him down, set his foot on his neck and broke it; after which he
fetched a long spit and thrusting it up his backside, brought it
forth of the crown of his head.
Then, lighting a fierce
fire, he set over it the spit with the captain on it, and turned it
over the coals, till the flesh was roasted, when he took the spit off
the fire and set it like a kebab-stick before him.
Then he tore the body,
limb from limb, as one joints a chicken and, rending the flesh with
his nails, fell to eating of it and gnawing the bones, till there was
nothing left but some of these, which he threw on one side of the
This done, he sat for a
while; then he lay down on the stone-bench and fell asleep, snarking
and snoring like the gurgling of a lamb or a cow with its throat cut;
nor did he awake till morning, when he rose and fared forth and went
his ways.As soon as we were certified that he was gone, we began to
talk with one another, weeping and bemoaning ourselves for the risk
we ran, and saying, "Would Heaven we had been drowned in the sea
or that the apes had eaten us! That were better than to be roasted
over the coals. We shall assuredly perish miserably and none will
know of us; as there is no escape for us from this place."Then
we arose and roamed about the island, hoping that haply we might find
a place to hide us in or a means of flight, for indeed death was a
light matter to us, provided we were not roasted over the fire and
eaten. However, we could find no hiding-place and the evening
overtook us; so, of the excess of our terror, we returned to the
castle and sat down awhile. Presently, the earth trembled under our
feet and the black ogre came up to us and turning us over, felt one
after other, till he found a man to his liking, whom he took and
served as he had done the captain, killing and roasting and eating
him: after which he lay down on the bench and slept all night,
snarking and snoring like a beast with its throat cut, till daybreak,
when he arose and went out as before.
Then we drew together
and conversed and said one to other, "We had better throw
ourselves into the sea and be drowned than die roasted; for this is
an abominable death!"
Said one of us, "Hear
my words! let us cast about to kill him, and be at peace from the
grief of him and rid the merchants of his barbarity and tyranny."
Then said I, "Hear
me, my brothers; if there is nothing for it but to slay him, let us
carry some of this firewood and planks down to the sea-shore and make
us a boat wherein, if we succeed in slaughtering him, we may either
embark and let the waters carry us, or else abide here till some ship
pass, when we will take passage in it. If we fail to kill him, we
will embark in the boat and put out to sea; and if we be drowned, we
shall at least escape being roasted over a kitchen fire with sliced
weasands; while, if we escape, we escape, and if we be drowned, we
"By golly, this is
right talk," said all, and we agreed on this, and set about
carrying it out. So we haled down to the beach the pieces of wood
which lay about the bench; and, making a boat, moored it to the
strand, after which we stowed therein somewhat of victual and
returned to the castle.
As soon as evening fell
the earth trembled under our feet and in came the blackamoor on us,
snarling like a dog about to bite. He came up to us and feeling us
and turning us over one by one, took one of us and did with him as he
had done before and ate him, after which he lay down on the bench and
snored and snorted like thunder.
As soon as we were
assured that he slept, we arose and taking two iron spits of those
standing there, heated them in the fiercest of the fire, till they
were red-hot, like burning coals, when we gripped fast hold of them
and going up to the giant, as he lay snoring on the bench, thrust
them into his eyes and pressed on them, all of us, with our united
might, so that his eyeballs burst and he became stone blind.
Thereupon he cried with
a great cry, whereat our hearts trembled, and springing up from the
bench, he fell a-groping after us, blind-fold.
We fled from him right
and left and he saw us not, for his sight was altogether blent; but
we were in terrible fear of him and made sure we were dead men
despairing of escape. Then he found the door, feeling for it with his
hands and went out roaring aloud; and behold, the earth shook under
us, for the noise of his roaring, and we quaked for fear.
As he quitted the
castle we followed him and betook ourselves to the place where we had
moored our boat, saying to one another, "If this accursed abide
absent till the going down of the sun and come not to the castle, we
shall know that he is dead; and if he come back, we will embark in
the boat and paddle till we escape."
But, as we spoke,
behold, up came the blackamoor with other two as they were giants,
fouler and more frightful than he, with eyes like red-hot coals;
which when we saw, we hurried into the boat and casting off the
moorings paddled away and pushed out to sea.
As soon as the ogres
caught sight of us, they cried out at us and running down to the
sea-shore, fell a-pelting us with rocks, whereof some fell among us
and others fell into the sea.
We paddled with all our
might till we were beyond their reach, but the most part of us were
slain by the rock-throwing, and the winds and waves sported with us
and carried us into the midst of the dashing sea, swollen with
billows clashing. We knew not where we went and my fellows died one
after another, till there remained but three, myself and two others.
For as often as one died, we threw him into the sea.
We were sore exhausted
for stress of hunger, but we took courage and heartened one another
and worked for dear life and paddled with main and might, till the
winds cast us on an island, as we were dead men for fatigue and fear
We landed on the island
and walked about it for a while, finding that it abounded in trees
and streams and birds; and we ate of the fruits and rejoiced in our
escape from the black and our deliverance from the perils of the sea;
and thus we did till nightfall, when we lay down and fell asleep for
excess of fatigue. But we had hardly closed our eyes before we were
aroused by a hissing sound like the sough of wind, and awaking, saw a
serpent like a dragon, a seld-seen sight, of monstrous make and belly
of enormous bulk which lay in a circle around us. Presently it reared
its head and, seizing one of my companions, swallowed him up to his
shoulders; then it gulped down the rest of him, and we heard his ribs
crack in its belly. Presently it went its way, and we abode in sore
amazement and grief for our comrade and mortal fear for ourselves,
saying, "By golly, this is a marvellous thing! Each kind of
death that threatened us is more terrible than the last. We were
rejoicing in our escape from the black ogre and our deliverance from
the perils of the sea; but now we have fallen into that which is
By golly, we have
escaped from the blackamoor and from drowning: but how shall we
escape from this abominable and viperish monster?"
Then we walked about
the island, eating of its fruits and drinking of its streams till
dusk, when we climbed up into a high tree and went to sleep there, I
being on the topmost bough. As soon as it was dark night, up came the
serpent, looking right and left; and, making for the tree whereon we
were, climbed up to my comrade and swallowed him down to his
shoulders. Then it coiled about the bole with him, while I, who could
not take my eyes off the sight, heard his bones crack in its belly,
and it swallowed him whole, after which it slid down from the tree.
When the day broke and
the light showed me that the serpent was gone, I came down, as I were
a dead man for stress of fear and anguish, and thought to cast myself
into the sea and be at rest from the woes of the world; but could not
bring myself to this, for verily life is dear.
So I took five pieces
of wood, broad and long, and bound one crosswise to the soles of my
feet and others in like fashion on my right and left sides and over
my breast; and the broadest and largest I bound across my head and
made them fast with ropes.
Then I lay down on the
ground on my back, so that I was completely fenced in by the pieces
of wood, which enclosed me like a bier.
So as soon as it was
dark, up came the serpent, as usual, and made towards me, but could
not get at me to swallow me for the wood that fenced me in. So it
wriggled round me on every side, while I looked on, like one dead by
reason of my terror; and every now and then it would glide away and
come back; but as often as it tried to come at me, it was hindered by
the pieces of wood wherewith I had bound myself on every side. It
ceased not to beset me thus from sundown till dawn, but when the
light of day shone on the beast it made off, in the utmost fury and
extreme disappointment. Then I put out my hand and unbound myself,
well-nigh down among the dead men for fear and suffering; and went
down to the island-shore, whence a ship afar off in the midst of the
waves suddenly struck my sight. So I tore off a great branch of a
tree and made signs with it to the crew, shouting out the while;
which when the ship's company saw they said to another, "We must
stand in and see what this is; it might be a man."
So they made for the
island and presently heard my cries, whereupon they took me on board
and questioned me of my case.
I told them all my
adventures from first to last, whereat they marvelled mightily and
covered my nakedness with some of their clothes. Moreover, they set
before me somewhat of food and I ate my fill and I drank cold sweet
water and was mightily refreshed. My heart revived after utter
despair, till it seemed that all I had suffered were but a dream I
had dreamed. We sailed on with a fair wind till we came to an island,
called Al-Saláhitah, which abounds in sandal-wood.
"When the captain
cast anchor, the merchants and the sailors landed with their goods to
sell and to buy. Then the captain turned to me and said,
"Listen, you are a
stranger and a pauper and tell us that you have undergone frightful
hardship; wherefore I have a mind to benefit you with somewhat that
may further you to your native land, so you will ever bless me and
pray for me."
"So be it,"
answered I; "you shall have my prayers."
Said he, "Know
then that there was with us a man, a traveller thatwe lost, and we
know not if he be alive or dead, for we had no news of him; so I
purpose to commit his bales of goods to your charge, that you may
sell them in this island.
A part of the proceeds
we will give you as an equivalent for your pains and service, and the
rest we will keep till we return to London, where we will enquire for
his family and deliver it to them, together with the unsold goods.
Say me then, will you
undertake the charge and land and sell them as other merchants do?"
I replied "Great
is your kindness to me," and thanked him.