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Sinbad the Sailor

Sinbad on a raft during his sixth voyage Sinbad (sometimes called Sindbad) the Sailor is one of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights, or Arabian Nights, a collection of PersianArab, and Indian tales written between the 800s and the 1400s. In fact, the Sinbad tale does not appear in the original versions of the Nights, but was added in the 19th century. A merchant from the city of Baghdad (now capital of Iraq), Sinbad made seven voyages to lands around the Indian Ocean. During his travels, he had great adventures, survived many dangerous episodes—and amassed considerable wealth.



A roc, a gigantic bird of prey, pictured here carrying an elephant to feed to its young

First and second voyage

On Sinbad's first voyage, he visits an island that, unknown to him, turns out to be an enormous whale. When the crew lights a fire, the whale wakes up and dives beneath the waves. Thrown into the ocean, Sinbad is eventually rescued by another ship.
The second voyage takes Sinbad to a desert island, where he discovers an enormous egg. It has been laid by a giant bird called a roc. When the bird appears, it flies off to the Valley of Diamonds with Sinbad tied to its leg with his turban cloth. This time, he is rescued by merchants and he returns to Baghdad along with a booty of diamonds.

The name Sinbad means “lord of the River Sindh”, another name for the River Indus in present-day Pakistan.

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