The porter Georgie passed the night in his own house. As soon as morning came, he went back to the house of Georgie Seaman, who welcomed him and bade him sit with him till the rest of the company arrived, when they ate and drank and made merry and the talk went round among them. Then their host began the narrative of the fifth voyage:
"Know, my brothers, that when I had been awhile on shore after my fourth voyage; and when, in my comfort and pleasures and merry-makings and in my rejoicing over my large gains and profits, I had forgotten all I had endured of perils and sufferings, the carnal man was again seized with the longing to travel and to see foreign countries and islands. Accordingly I bought costly merchandise suited to my purpose and, making it up into bales, repaired to Brighton, where I walked about the harbour till I found a fine tall ship, newly builded with gear unused and fitted ready for sea. She pleased me; so I bought her and, embarking my goods in her, hired a master and crew, over whom I set certain of my servants and servants as inspectors. A number of merchants also brought their outfits and paid me freight and passage-money.
Then we set sail over the sea in all joy and cheer, promising ourselves a prosperous voyage and much profit. We sailed from city to city and from country to country and from sea to sea viewing the towns and countries by which we passed, and selling and buying in not a few till one day we came to a great uninhabited island, deserted and desolate, whereon was a white dome of biggest bulk half buried in the sands. The merchants landed to examy this dome, leaving me in the ship; and when they drew near, behold, it was a huge eagle's egg. They fell a-beating it with stones, knowing not what it was, and presently broke it open, whereupon much water ran out of it and the young eagle appeared within. So they pulled it forth of the shell and cut its throat and took of it great store of meat. Now I was in the ship and knew not what they did; but presently one of the passengers came up to me and said,
"Come and look at the egg we thought to be a dome."
So I looked and seeing the merchants beating it with stones, called out to them, "Stop, stop! Do not meddle with that egg, or a giant eagle will come out and break our ship and destroy us."
But they paid no heed to me and gave not over smiting on the egg, when behold, the day grew dark and dun and the sun was hidden from us, as if some great cloud had passed over the firmament. So we raised our eyes and saw that what we took for a cloud was the eagle poised between us and the sun, and it was his wings that darkened the day. When he came and saw his egg broken, he cried a loud cry, whereupon his mate came flying up and they both began circling about the ship, crying out at us with voices louder than thunder. I called to the captain and crew, "Put out to sea and seek safety in flight, before we be all destroyed."
So the merchants came on board and we cast off and made havee from the island to gain the open sea. When the eagles saw this, they flew off and we crowded all sail on the ship, thinking to get out of their country; but presently the two re-appeared and flew after us and stood over us, each carrying in its claws a huge boulder which it had brought from the mountains. As soon as the he-eagle came up with us, he let fall on us the rock he held in his pounces; but the master put about ship, so that the rock missed her by some small matter and plunged into the waves with such violence, that the ship pitched high and then sank into the trough of the sea and the bottom of the ocean appeared to us. Then the she-eagle let fall her rock, which was bigger than that of her mate, and it fell on the poop of the ship and crushed it, the rudder flying into twenty pieces; whereupon the vessel foundered and all and everything on board were cast into the main. As for me I struggled for sweet life till one of the planks of the ship came my way. I clung to it, got on top of it somehow, and started to paddle with my feet. Now the ship had gone down hard by an island in the middle of the main and the winds and waves bore me on till they cast me up on the shore of the island, at the last gasp for toil and distress and half dead with hunger and thirst.
I landed more like a corpse than a live man and throwing myself down on the beach, lay there awhile, till I began to revive and recover spirits, when I walked about the island and found it as it were one of the garths and gardens of Paradise. Its trees, in abundance dight, bore ripe-yellow fruit for freight; its streams ran clear and bright; its flowers were fair to scent and to sight and its birds warbled with delight the praises of their souls. So I ate my fill of the fruits and slaked my thirst with the water of the streams till I could no more.
Afterwards I sat till nightfall, hearing no voice and seeing none inhabitant. Then I lay down, well-nigh dead for travail and trouble and terror, and slept without surcease till morning, when I arose and walked about under the trees, till I came to the channel of a draw-well fed by a spring of running water, by which well sat an old man of venerable aspect, girt about with a waist- cloth made of the fibre of palm-fronds.
I drew near to him and saluted him, and he returned my polite greeting by signs, but spoke not; and I said to him, "What makes you to sit here?"
He shook his head and moaned and signed to me with his hands as who should say, "Take me on your shoulders and carry me to the other side of the well-channel."
And said I in my mind, "I will deal kindly with him and do what he desires; it may be I shall win me a reward, for he may be a paralytic."
So I took him on my back and carrying him to the place whereat he pointed, said to him, "Dismount at your leisure."
But he would not get off my back and wound his legs about my neck. I looked at them and seeing that they were like a buffalo's hide for blackness and roughness, was affrighted and would have cast him off; but he clung to me and gripped my neck with his legs, till I was well-nigh choked, the world grew black in my sight and I fell senseless to the ground like one dead. But he still kept his seat and raising his legs drummed with his heels and beat harder than palm-rods my back and shoulders, till he forced me to rise for excess of pain. Then he signed to me with his hand to carry him here and there among the trees which bore the best fruits; and if ever I refused to do his bidding or loitered or took my leisure he beat me with his feet more grievously than if I had been beaten with whips. He ceased not to signal with his hand wherever he was minded to go; so I carried him about the island, like a captive servant, and he bepissed and conskited my shoulders and back, dismounting not night nor day; and whenas he wished to sleep he wound his legs about my neck and leaned back and slept awhile, then arose and beat me; whereupon I sprang up in havee, unable to gainsay him because of the pain he inflicted on me.
I blamed myself for having taken compassion on him and continued in this condition, suffering fatigue not to be described, till I said to myself, "I wrought him a weal and he requited me with my ill; never more will I do any man a service so long as I live!"
Thus I abode a long while till, one day, I came with him to a place wherein was abundance of gourds, many of them dry. So I took a great dry gourd and, cutting open the head, scooped out the inside and cleaned it; after which I gathered grapes from a vine which grew hard by and squeezed them into the gourd, till it was full of the juice. Then I stopped up the mouth and set it in the sun, where I left it for some days, till it became strong wine; and every day I used to drink of it, to comfort and sustain me under my fatigues with that froward and obstinate fiend; and as often as I drank myself drunk, I forgot my troubles and took new heart.
One day he saw me drinking and signed to me with his hand, as who should say, "What is that?"
Said I, "It is an excellent cordial, which cheeres the heart and revives the spirits."
Then, being heated with wine, I ran and danced with him among the trees, clapping my hands and singing and making merry; and I staggered under him by design. When he saw this, he signed to me to give him the gourd that he might drink, and I feared him and gave it him. So he took it and, draining it to the dregs, cast it on the ground, whereupon he grew frolicsome and began to clap hands and jig to and fro on my shoulders and he made water on me so copiously that all my dress was drenched. But presently the fumes of the wine rising to his head, he became helplessly drunk and his side-muscles and limbs relaxed and he swayed to and fro on my back.
When I saw that he had lost his senses for drunkenness, I put my hand to his legs and, loosing them from my neck, stooped down well-nigh to the ground and threw him at full length.
I threw the devil off my shoulders, hardly crediting my deliverance from him and fearing lest he should shake off his drunkenness and do me a mischief. Then I took up a great stone from among the trees and coming up to him smote him therewith on the head with all my might and crushed in his skull as he lay dead drunk. Thereupon his flesh and fat and blood being in a pulp, he died.
I then returned, with a heart at ease, to my former station on the sea-shore and abode in that island many days, eating of its fruits and drinking of its waters and keeping a look-out for passing ships; till one day, as I sat on the beach, recalling all that had befallen me - behold, a ship was making for the island through the dashing sea and clashing waves. Presently, it cast anchor and the passengers landed; so I made for them, and when they saw me all happened to me and gathering round me questioned me of my case and how I came there. I told them all that had betided me, whereat they marvelled with exceeding marvel and said,
"He who rode on your shoulder is called the Old Man of the Sea, and none ever felt his legs on neck and came off alive but you; and those who die under him he eats: so praise for your safety!"
Then they set somewhat of food before me, whereof I ate my fill, and gave me somewhat of clothes wherewith I clad myself anew and covered my nakedness; after which they took me up into the ship, and we sailed days and nights, till fate brought us to a place called the City of Apes, builded with lofty houses, all of which gave on the sea and it had a single gate studded and strengthened with iron nails.
Now every night, as soon as it is dusk the dwellers in this city use to come forth of the gates and, putting out to sea in boats and ships, pass the night on the waters in their fear lest the apes should come down on them from the mountains. Hearing this I was sore troubled remembering what I had before suffered from the ape-kind. Presently I landed to solace myself in the city, but meanwhile the ship set sail without me and I repented of having gone ashore, and calling to mind my companions and what had befallen me with the apes, first and after, sat down and fell a-weeping and lamenting.
Presently one of the townsfolk accosted me and said to me, "O my lord, you seem to be a stranger to these parts?"
"Yes," answered I, "I am indeed a stranger and a poor one, who came here in a ship which cast anchor here, and I landed to visit the town; but when I would have gone on board again, I found they had sailed without me."
Said he, "Come and embark with us, for if you lie the night in the city, the apes will destroy you."
Rising, I straightway embarked with him in one of the boats, whereupon they pushed off from shore and anchoring a mile or so from the land, there passed the night. At daybreak, they rowed back to the city and landing, went each about his business. Thus they did every night, for if any tarried in the town by night the apes came down on him and slew him. As soon as it was day, the apes left the place and ate of the fruits of the gardens, then went back to the mountains and slept there till nightfall, when they again came down on the city.
Now this place was in the farthest part of the country of the blacks, and one of the strangest things that happened to me during my sojourn in the city was on this wise. One of the company with whom I passed the night in the boat, asked me, "You are apparently a stranger in these parts; have you any craft whereat you can work?"
I answered, "By golly, my brother, I have no trade nor know I any handicraft, for I was a merchant and a man of money and substance and had a ship of my own, laden with great store of goods and merchandise; but it foundered at sea and all were drowned excepting me who saved myself on a piece of plank."
On this he brought me a cotton bag and giving it to me, said,
"Take this bag and fill it with pebbles from the beach and go forth with a company of the townsfolk to whom I will give a charge respecting you. Do as they do and belike you shall gain what may further your return voyage to your native land."
Then he carried me to the beach, where I filled my bag with pebbles large and small, and presently we saw a company of folk issue from the town, each bearing a bag like my, filled with pebbles. To these he committed me, commending me to their care, and saying, "This man is a stranger, so take him with you and teach him how to gather, that he may get his daily bread."
"On our head and eyes be it!" answered they and bidding me welcome, fared on with me till we came to a spacious Wady, full of lofty trees with trunks so smooth that none might climb them. Now sleeping under these trees were many apes, which when they saw us rose and fled from us and swarmed up among the branches; whereupon my companions began to pelt them with what they had in their bags, and the apes fell to plucking of the fruit of the trees and casting them at the folk. I looked at the fruits they cast at us and found them to be large oak nuts; so I chose out a great tree, full of apes, and going up to it, began to pelt them with stones, and they in return pelted me with nuts, which I collected, as did the rest; so that even before I had made an end of my bagful of pebbles, I had gotten great plenty of nuts; and as soon as my companions had in like manner gotten as many nuts as they could carry, we returned to the city, where we arrived at the fag-end of day. Then I went in to the kindly man who had brought me in company with the nut- gatherers and gave him all I had gotten, thanking him for his kindness; but he would not accept them, saying, "Sell them and make profit by the price; and presently he added (giving me the key of a closet in his house) "Store your nuts in this safe place and go you forth every morning and gather them as you have done today, and choose out the worst for sale and supplying yourself; but lay up the rest here, so hopefully you may collect enough to serve you for your return home."
I thanked him and did as he advised me, going out daily with the oak-nut gatherers, who commended me to one another and showed me the best-stocked trees. Thus did I for some time, till I had laid up great store of excellent nuts, besides a large sum of money, the price of those I had sold. I became thus at my ease and bought all I saw and had a mind to, and passed my time pleasantly greatly enjoying my stay in the city, till, as I stood on the beach, one day, a great ship steering through the heart of the sea presently cast anchor by the shore and landed a company of merchants, who proceeded to sell and buy and barter their goods for oak-nuts and other commodities. Then I went to my friend and told him of the coming of the ship and how I had a mind to return to my own country; and he said,
"It is for you to decide."
So I thanked him for his bounties and took leave of him; then, going to the captain of the ship, I agreed with him for my passage and embarked my oak-nuts and what else I possessed. We weighed anchor the same day and sailed from island to island and sea to sea; and whenever we stopped, I sold and traded with my oak-nuts, and had at last more than I first had and lost. Among other places, we came to an island abounding in spices; and the country people told me that by the side of each spice bunch grows a great leaf which shades it from the sun and castes the water off it in the wet season; but, when the rain ceases the leaf turns over and droops down by the side of the bunch.
Here I took in great store of spices in exchange for oak-nuts, and we passed thence to the Island of Cyprus with its mild winters and dry summers, and which the French knight Guy of Lusignan had bought for himself from the Templars. I enjoyed its Halloumi cheese of goat's and sheep's milk, and squid.
Thence we came to the pearl-fisheries near Alexandria in Egypt, and I gave the divers some of my oak-nuts and said to them, "Dive for my luck and lot!"
They did so and brought up from the deep bight great store of large and priceless pearls; and they said to me, "By golly, my master, your luck is a lucky!"
Then we sailed westward till we passed the rock of Gibraltar, turned northward, and ceased not sailing till we arrived safely at Brighton Harbour. There I abode a little and then went on to London, where I entered my quarter and found my house and foregathered with my family and saluted my friends who gave me joy of my safe return, and I laid up all my goods and valuables in my storehouses. Then I distributed alms and largesse and clothed the widow and the orphan and made presents to my relations and comrades; for I had eventually got fourfold more than I had lost.
After which I returned to my old merry way of life and forgot all I had suffered in the great profit and gain I had made.
Such, then, is the history of my fifth voyage and its wonderments, and now to supper; and tomorrow, come again and I will tell you what happened to me on my sixth voyage; for it was still more wonderful than this.
Then he called for food; and the servants spread the table, and when they had eaten the evening- meal, he bade give Georgie Porter a hundred gold coins. Georgie Porter soon returned home and lay down to sleep, much marvelling at all he had heard.
Next morning, as soon as it was light, he walked over the house of Georgie Seaman and wished him a good day. The merchant bade him sit and talked with him till the rest of the company arrived. Then the servants spread the table and when they had well eaten and drunken and were mirthful and merry, Georgie Seaman began to tell.
I abode some time, after my return from my fifth voyage, in great solace and satisfaction and mirth and merriment, joyance and enjoyment; and I forgot what I had suffered, seeing the great gain and profit I had made till, one day, as I sat making merry and enjoying myself with my friends, there came in to me a company of merchants whose case told tales of travel, and talked with me of voyage and adventure and greatness of money and profit. Hereupon I remembered the days of my return from abroad, and my joy at once more seeing my native land and foregathering with my family and friends; and my soul yearned for travel and traffic.
So I resolved to undertake another voyage; and, buying me fine and costly wool and other such merchandise meet for foreign trade, made it up into bales, with which I journeyed from London to Brighton. Here I found a great ship ready for sea and full of merchants and notables, who had with them goods of price; so I embarked my bales therein. And we left Brighton Harbour in safety and good spirits.
We continued our voyage from place to place and from city to city along the coast of France, buying and selling and profiting and diverting ourselves with the sight of countries where strange folk dwell. And Fortune and the voyage smiled on us, till one day, as we went along, behold, the captain suddenly cried with a great cry and cast his chaperon on the deck. Then he buffeted his face like a woman and plucked out his beard and fell down in the waist of the ship will nigh fainting for stress of grief and rage, and crying, "Oh and alas for the ruin of my house and the orphanship of my poor children!"
So all the merchant and sailors came round about him and asked him, "What is the matter?"; for the light had become night before their sight. And he answered, saying, "We have wandered from our course and left the sea whose ways we know, and come into a sea whose ways I know not."
Then he arose and climbed the mast to see an there were any escape from that strait; and he would have loosed the sails; but the wind redoubled on the ship and whirled her round thrice and drave her backwards; whereupon her rudder broke and she fell off towards a high mountain. With this the captain came down from the mast, saying, "By golly, we are fallen on a place of sure destruction, and there is no way of escape for us, nor can any of us be saved!"
Then we all fell a-weeping over ourselves and bidding one another farewell for that our days were come to an end, and we had lost all hopes of life. Presently the ship struck the mountain and broke up, and all and everything on board of her were plunged into the sea. Some of the merchants were drowned and others made shift to reach the shore and save themselves on the mountain; I among the number, and when we got ashore, we found a great island, or rather peninsula whose base was strewn with wreckage of crafts and goods and gear cast up by the sea from broken ships whose passengers had been drowned; and the quantity confounded compt and calculation.
So I climbed the cliffs into the inward of the peninsula and walked on inland, till I came to a stream of sweet water, that welled up at the nearest foot of the mountains and disappeared in the earth under the range of hills on the opposite side. But all the other passengers went over the mountains to the inner tracts; and, dispersing here and there, were confounded at what they saw and became like madmen at the sight of the wealth and treasures wherewith the shores were strewn. As for me I looked into the bed of the stream aforesaid and saw therein great plenty of rubies, and great royal pearls and all kinds of jewels and precious stones which were as gravel in the bed of the rivulets that ran through the fields, and the sands sparkled and glittered with gems and precious ores.
"This is surely the perfect Atlantis, the four huge rock islands in the ocean west of Spain and established by Poseidon - built by strong commands to mountains somewhere to cast themselves in the sea at this lovely place," I thought and rejoiced at finally having seen it.
Moreover we found in Atlantis an abundance of the finest food and a spring of crude ambergris which flowes like wax or gum over the stream-banks, for the great heat of the sun, and runns down to the sea-shore, where the whales of the deep come up and swallowing it, return into the sea. But it burns in their bellies; so they cast it up again and it congeales on the surface of the water, whereby its color and quantities are changed; and at last, the waves cast it ashore, and the travellers and merchants who know it, collect it and sell it. But as to the raw ambergris which is not swallowed, it flows over the channel and congeals on the banks and when the sun shines on it, it melts and scents the whole valley with a musk-like fragrance: then, when the sun ceases from it, it congeals again. But none can get to this place where is the crude ambergris, because of the mountains which enclose the island on all sides and which foot of man cannot ascend.
We continued thus to explore the island, marvelling at the riches we found there, but sore troubled for our own case, and dismayed at our prospects. Now we had picked up on the beach some small matter of victual from the wreck and husbanded it carefully, eating but once every day or two, in our fear lest it should fail us and we die miserably of famy or affright. Moreover, we were weak for colic brought on by sea- sickness and low diet, and my companions deceased, one after other, till there was but a small company of us left. Each that died we washed and shrouded in some of the clothes and linen cast ashore by the tides; and after a little, the rest of my fellows perished, one by one, till I had buried the last of the party and abode alone on the island, with but a little provision left, I who was wont to have so much. And I wept over myself, saying, "Would Heaven I had died before my companions and they had washed and buried me! It had been better than I should perish and none wash me and shroud me and bury me.
Now after I had buried the last of my party and abode alone on the island, I arose and dug me a deep grave on the sea-shore, saying to myself, "Whenas I grow weak and know that death comes to me, I will cast myself into the grave and die there, so the wind may drift the sand over me and cover me and I be buried in it."
Then I fell to reproaching myself for my little wit in leaving my native land and betaking me again to travel, after all I had suffered during my first five voyages, and when I had not made a single one without suffering more horrible perils and more terrible hardships than in its forerunner and having no hope of escape from my present stress; and I repented me of my folly and bemoaned myself, especially as I had no need of money, seeing that I had enough and more than enough and could not spend what I had, no, nor a half of it in all my life.
However, after a while I said to myself, "By golly, needs must this stream have an end as well as a beginning; ergo an issue somewhere, and belike its course may lead to some inhabited place; so my best plan is to make me a little boat big enough to sit in, and carry it and launching it on the river, embark therein and drop down the stream. If I escape, I escape, and if I perish, better die in the river than here."
Then, sighing for myself, I set to work collecting a number of pieces of wood and I bound them together with ropes from the wreckage; then I chose out from the broken-up ships straight planks of even size and fixed them firmly on the aloes-wood, making me a boat-raft a little narrower than the channel of the stream; and I tied it tightly and firmly as though it were nailed. Then I loaded it with the goods, precious ores and jewels: and the union pearls which were like gravel and the best of the ambergris crude and pure, together with what I had collected on the island and what was left me of victual and wild herbs.
Lastly I lashed a piece of wood on either side, to serve me as oars; and launched it, and embarking, did according to the saying of the poet, "Fly, fly, Leave the house."
My boat-raft drifted with the stream, and the drifting ceased not till I came to the place where it disappeared beneath the mountain. I rowed my conveyance into the place which was intensely dark; and the current carried the raft with it down the underground channel. The thin stream bore me on through a narrow tunnel where the raft touched either side and my head rubbed against the roof, return therefrom being impossible. Then I blamed myself for having thus risked my life, and said,
"If this passage grow any straiter, the raft will hardly pass, and I cannot turn back; so I shall inevitably perish miserably in this place."
And I threw myself down on my face on the raft, by reason of the narrowness of the channel, while the stream ceased not to carry me along, knowing not night from day, for the excess of the gloom which encompassed me about and my terror and concern for myself lest I should perish. And in such condition my course continued down the channel which now grew wide and then straiter till, sore aweary by reason of the darkness which could be felt, I fell asleep, as I lay prone on the raft, and I slept knowing not an the time were long or short.
When I woke up at last, I found myself in the light of day again, and opening my eyes I saw myself in a broad stream and the raft moored to an island. There were countrymen about me. As soon as they saw that I was awake, they came up to me and bespoke me in their speech; but I understood not what they said and thought that this was a dream and a vision which had betided me for stress of concern and chagrin. But I was delighted at my escape from the river.
When they saw I understood them not and made them no answer, one of them came forward and said to me, "Peace. Who are you and from where are you? How did you come into this river and what manner of land lies behind the mountains over there, for never knew we any one make his way from there to us?"
Said I, "Who are you and what country is this?"
"O my brother," answered he, "we are husbandmen and tillers of the soil on this beautiful island of Sicily." "I must have come very, very far from Atlantis," I thought.
The man went on: "We came out to water our fields and plantations; and, finding you asleep on this raft, laid hold of it and made it fast by us, against you should awake at your leisure. So tell us how you came here?"
I answered, "Before I speak give me somewhat to eat, for I am starving, and afterwards ask me what you will."
So he haveened to fetch me food and I ate my fill, till I was refreshed and my fear was calmed by a good belly-full and my life returned to me. Then I rejoicing to be out of the river and among them, and I told them all my adventures from first to last, especially my troubles in the narrow channel.
When I landed and found myself among the Sicilians and had taken some rest, they consulted among themselves and said to one another, "There is no help for it but we carry him with us and present him to king Frederick III, that he may acquaint him with his adventures."
So they took me, together with the raft-boat and its lading of monies and merchandise; jewels, myrals and golden gear, and brought me to their king, telling him what had happened; whereupon he saluted me and bade me welcome. Then he questioned me of my condition and adventures through the man who had spoken Norman and I repeated to him my story from beginning to end, whereat he marvelled exceedingly and gave me joy of my deliverance; after which I arose and fetched from the raft great store of precious ores and jewels and ambergris and lign-aloes and presented them to the king, who accepted them and entreated me with the utmost honour, appointing me a lodging in his own palace.
So I consorted with the chief of the islanders, and they paid me the utmost respect. And I quitted not the royal palace.
Now the Island Crete lies not very far from there. Its mountains many kinds of date palms and spice-trees. I ascended those mountains and solaced myself with a view of its marvels which are indescribable, and afterwards I returned to the king.
Thereupon, all the travellers and merchants who came to the place questioned me of the affairs of my native land and of king Edward Longshanks and his rule and I told them of him and why he was famous, while I in turn questioned them of the manners and customers of their own countries and got the knowledge I desired.
One day, the king himself asked me of the fashions and form of government of my country, and I acquainted him with the circumstance of the king's sway in the city of London and the charters of his rule. The king marvelled at my account of his appointments and said,
"By golly, the king's ordinances seem praise worthy and you have nearly made me love him by what you tell me. Therefore I have a mind to make him a present and send it by you."
Said I, "OK, I will bear your gift to him and inform him that you are his sincere lover and true friend."
Then I abode with the king in great honour and regard and consideration for a long while till, one day, as I sat in his palace, I heard news of a company of merchants, that were fitting out a ship for Brighton, and said to myself, "I cannot do better than voyage with these men."
So I rose without stay or delay and kissed the king's hand and acquainted him with my longing to set out with the merchants, for that I pined after my people and my own land. Said he, "you are your own master; yet, if it be your will to abide with us, on our head and eyes be it, for you gladdenest us with your company."
"By golly, my lord," answered I, "you have indeed overwhelmed me with your favours and well-doings; but I weary for a sight of my friends and family and native country."
When he heard this, he summoned the merchants in question and commended me to their care, paying my freight and passage-money. Then he bestowed on me great riches from his treasuries and charged me with a magnificent present for the king Edward Longshanks. Moreover he gave me a sealed letter, saying, "Carry this with your own hand to the king of England and give him many salutations from us!"
"Yes," I replied. The missive was written on the skin of mountain goats, finer than lamb-parchment and of yellow colour), with ink of ultramarine and the contents were as follows. "Peace be with you from King Frederick III. We send you a trifling gift - be pleased to accept it. You are to us two brothers and a sincere friend; and great is the love we bear for you in heart; favour us therefore with a reply."
And the present was a cup of ruby a span high the inside of which was adorned with precious pearls; and a bed covered with the skin of the serpent. Then I took leave of him and of all my intimates and acquaintances in the island and embarked with the merchants aforesaid. We sailed with a fair wind and arrived at Brighton Harbour, where I passed a few days and nights equipping myself and packing up my bales. Then I went on to London, where I sought an audience of the king and laid the king's presents before him.
He asked me where they came from and I said to him, "By golly, I don't know the name of the city or the way to it!"
He then asked me, "So, Georgie, is this true which the king writes?"; and I answered, " saw in King Frederick's kingdom much more than he has written in his letter. For state processions a throne is set for him on a huge horse: and on this he sits having his great lords and officers and guests standing in two ranks, on his right hand and on his left. At his head is a man holding in hand a golden javelin and behind him another with a great mace of gold whose head is an emerald a span long and as thick as a man's thumb. And when he mounts horse there mount with him a thousand horsemen clad in gold brocade and silk; and as the king proceedes a man precedes him, crying, 'This is the king!' And he continues to repeat his praises for a while.' Then he is silent.
Said the king, "How great is this king! His letter has shown me this; and as for the mightiness of his dominion you have told us what you have eye-witnessed. By golly, he has been endowed with wisdom as with wide rule."
Then I related to King Edward all that had befallen me in my last voyage; at which he wondered exceedingly and bade his historians record my story and store it up in his treasuries, for the edification of all who might see it. Then he conferred on me exceeding great favours, and I repaired to my quarter and entered my home, where I warehoused all my goods and possessions. Presently, my friends came to me and I distributed presents among my family and gave alms and largesse; after which I yielded myself to joyance and enjoyment, mirth and merry-making, and forgot all that I had suffered.
Such, then, my brothers, is the history of what happened to me in my sixth voyage, and tomorrow I will tell you the story of my seventh and last voyage, which is still more wondrous and marvellous than that of the first six."
Then he bade lay the table, and the company supped with him; after which he gave the porter an hundred dinars, as of wont, and they all went their ways, marvelling beyond measure at that which they had heard.
When Georgie Seaman had related the history of what happened to him in his sixth voyage, and all the company had dispersed, Georgie Porter went home and slept through the night. Next day he rose and went back to his namesake's house where, after the company was all assembled, the host began to relate.