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He smelled the odours of wine.

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 solace.

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 misery enough."

And he fell to reciting quite loudly,

How many enjoy goods of life by my labours
  and now recline in cool shades?
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 palace!"

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 porter.

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."


First 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.


Without oars
It is hard to sail over the sea in an egg-shell. (British proverb)
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 island."

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 sea."

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 of London."

"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 them. 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?"

"Captain," 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 day."

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.


The 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 here?"

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 fear nothing."

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 becomes firewood.

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 foreign countries.

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 broadened breast. 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 return.

"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.


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