« НазадПродовжити »
with abundance of reflections. I admired the instinct of those animals : |I doubted not but that was their burying-place, and that they carried me thither on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to persecute them, since I did it only for their teeth. I did not stay on the hill, but turned towards the city, and, after having travelled a day and a night, I came to my patron. I met no elephant in my way, which made me think they had retired farther into the forest, to leave me at liberty to come back to the hill without any obstacle.
As soon as my patron saw me; Ah, poor Sinbad, exclaimed he, I was in great trouble to know what was become of you. I have been at the forest, where I found a tree newly pulled up, and a bow and arrows on the ground, and after having sought for you in vain, I despaired of ever seeing you more. Pray tell me what befell you, and by what good chance thou art still alive. I satisfied his curiosity, and going both of us next morning to the hill, he found to his great joy that what I had told him was true. We loaded the elephant which had carried us with as many teeth as he could bear; and when we were returned, Brother, said my patron, for I will treat you no more as my slave, after having made such a discovery as will enrich me, God bless you with all happiness and prosperity. I declare before him, that I give you your liberty. I concealed from you what I am now going to tell you.
The elephants of our forest have every year killed us a great many slaves, whom we sent to seek ivory. For all the cautions we could give them, those crafty animals destroyed them one time or other. God has delivered you from their fury, and has bestowed that favour upon you only. It is a sign that he loves you, and has some use for your service in the world. You have procured me incredible wealth. Formerly we could not procure ivory but by exposing the lives of our slaves, and now our whole city is enriched by your means. Do not think I pretend to have rewarded you by giving you your liberty, I will also give you considerable riches. I could engage all our city to contribute towards making your fortune, but I will have the glory of doing it myself.
To this obliging declaration I replied, Patron, God preserve you. Your giving me my liberty is enough to discharge what you owe me, and I desire no other reward for the service I had the good fortune to do to you and your city, but leave to return to my own country. Very well, said he, the monsoon will in a little time bring ships for ivory. I will then send you home, and give you wherewith to bear your charges. I thanked him again for my liberty and his good intentions towards me. I stayed with him expecting the monsoon; and during that time, we made so many journeys to the hill, that we filled all our warehouses with ivory. The other merchants who traded in it did the same, for it could not be long concealed from them.
The ships arrived at last, and my patron, himself having made choice
of the ship wherein I was to embark, loaded half of it with ivory on my account, laid in provisions in abundance for my passage, and besides, obliged me to accept a present of some curiosities of the country of great value. After I had returned him a thousand thanks for all his favours, I went aboard. We set sail, and as the adventure which procured me this liberty was very extraordinary, I had it continually in my thoughts.
We stopped at some islands to take in fresh provisions. Our vessel being come to a port on the main land in the Indies, we touched there, and not being willing to venture by sea to Bussorah, I landed my proportion of the ivory, resolving to proceed on my journey by land. I made vast sums of my ivory, bought several rarities, which I intended for presents, and when my equipage was ready, set out in company with a large caravan of merchants. I was a long time on the way, and suffered much, but endured all with patience, when I considered that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from pirates, from serpents, or from the other perils to which I had been exposed.
All these fatigues ended at last, and I arrived safe at Bagdad. I went immediately to wait upon the caliph, and gave him an account of my embassy. That prince said he had been uneasy, as I was so long in returning, but that he always hoped God would preserve me. When I told him the adventure of the elephants, he seemed much surprised, and would never have given any credit to it had he not known my veracity. He deemed this story, and the other relations I had given him, to be so curious, that he ordered one of his secretaries to write them in characters of gold, and lay them up in his treasury. I retired well satisfied with the honours I received, and the presents which he gave me ; and ever since I have devoted myself wholly to my family, kindred, and friends.
Sinbad here finished the relation of his seventh and last voyage, and then addressing himself to Hindbad, Well, friend, said he, did you ever hear of any person that suffered so much as I have done, or of any mortal that has gone through so many vicissitudes? Is it not reasonable that, after all this, I should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life? As he said this, Hindbad drew near to him, and kissing his hand, said, I must acknowledge, sir, that you have gone through many imminent dangers; my troubles are not comparable to yours: if they afflict me for a time, I comfort myself with the thoughts of the profit I get by them. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy of all the riches you enjoy, because you make of them such a good and generous use. May you therefore continue to live in happiness and joy till the day of your death! Sinbad gave him one hundred sequins more, received him into the number of his friends, desired him to quit his porter's employment, and come and dine every day with him, that he might have reason to remember Sinbad the voyager.
LUCIAN'S TRUE HISTORY.
[In the fifth voyage of Sinbad, the merchants and sailors find the egg of a roc, which they break with hatchets, and feast upon the bird within. A similar fiction occurs in Lucian's “True History,' where the egg of an enormous kingfisher being broken, discloses a bird larger than twenty vultures. There are, in this fragment of antiquity, several other resemblances to the adventures of Sinbad. In 'Knight's Quarterly Magazine,' there is an analysis of the “True History,' written by a very distinguished scholar; and our readers will not regret its republication in “The Best Story-Tellers:'-]
Amongst the varied productions of the inexhaustible wit and humour of Lucian, is his fictitious voyage, in which his design was not merely to entertain his readers by a series of wonderful narratives, but to parody and ridicule the idle and improbable stories which abounded in the works of travellers, historians, and poets. * * * *
The demands of Lucian upon the faith of his readers are very small ; for he concludes his preface with the grave assurance: “I write, therefore, about things which I neither saw, nor suffered, nor heard from others, and which, besides, never had any existence at all, nor could ever possibly have happened ; wherefore, those who meet with any account of them, ought in no wise to believe them.”
With great solemnity he then goes on : “For once on a time having set out from the Columns of Hercules, and having suffered myself to be carried into the western ocean, I was sailing with a favourable wind.” On the second morning they meet with a tempest, which tosses them about for nine-and-seventy days. On the eightieth the storm subsides, and they come in sight of an island, upon which they land. “And having advanced about three stadia from the sea through the wood, we see a certain pillar made of brass, inscribed with Greek characters, but indistinct and worn out, saying, Thus far came Hercules and Bacchus: and there were near it two footsteps on the rock; the one the size of an acre, the other less, as it appeared to me; the less that of Bacchus, the other of Hercules : having worshipped, therefore, we went on.” This appears to be indeed the land of Bacchus, for they meet with a river of wine, and there were fish in it which made them drunk, till they tempered them by mixing them with water-fish. A little farther on, too, they
meet with vines, the stems of which grow into the bodies of women, like the representations in pictures of Daphne half-transformed, with branches growing from the ends of their fingers, and their heads covered instead of hair with tendrils, leaves, and clusters.
After a misadventure which makes them return hastily to their ship, they set sail, and are attacked by a storm still more terrible than the former, for they are carried up into the air at least three thousand stadia, and are driven along as if in a balloon. “And having sailed in the air seven days and seven nights, on the eighth we see a certain great land in the air, like an island, shining and globular, and illuminated with a great light; and having brought our vessel to it, and come to an anchor, we disembarked. Upon looking over the country, we found it to be inhabited and cultivated. In the day, therefore, we saw nothing thence, but when night came on, there appeared to us other islands in the neighbourhood, some greater and some less, in their colour like fire; and some other earth below, which had cities in it, and rivers, and seas, and woods, and mountains. This, therefore, we conjectured to be the earth which we inhabit.” It is probable that Lucian intended to ridicule the philosophers, who believed the Moon to be an inhabited world. We must go on, however, with his account of it. The unfortunate travellers are apprehended by the Hippogyps. These are men riding on enormous vultures, generally with three heads, and with quills longer and thicker than the mast of a merchant vessel. This very efficient horse-patrol, having met with the strangers in their circuit round the lunar world, carry them into the presence of their king.
Endymion was engaged in a war with Phaëthon, the sovereign of the Sun, in consequence of an attempt to colonize the Morning Star. The strangers attend him into the field; and an account follows of the number, equipment, and disposition of the forces. Lucian seems to have had his eye on similar descriptions in Herodotus, the account of the various nations which composed the army of Xerxes, and of their different arms, and the statement of the numbers and arrangement of the Grecian troops before the battle of Platæa. The phraseology, and a slight touch of the Ionic dialect, betray the allusion ; and there is something truly oriental in the familiarity with which he speaks of tens of thousands in all possible multiples, and in the long and sounding names of the Hippogypi, the Cenchroboli, the Scorodomachi, the Psyleotoxotæ, the Anemodromi, the Strathobalani, ard the Hippogerani; these are all various species of flying cavalry. In such a war it might be supposed that there would be little opportunity for the operations of infantry ; but this difficulty is obviated; for spiders, each of which is much bigger than any of the Cyclades, weave a spacious web between the Moon and the Morning Star, which serves as a field of battle. Victory declared at first for the armies of the Moon; and of the enemy, “ many were taken alive, and many were killed; and the blood flowed, much of it on the clouds, so that they were stained, and appeared red, such as are seen among us at sun-set, and much also dropped upon the earth; so that I conjectured, that it was perhaps in consequence of the occurrence of some such event long ago in the upper regions, that Homer supposed that Jupiter rained blood on occasion of the death of Sarpedon."* Just, however, as they had erected their trophies, the face of affairs is changed by the arrival of certain formidable allies of the people of the Sun, the Nephelocentauri, who are evidently the descendants of Ixion. Endymion and his forces are defeated with great loss; and, amongst the prisoners, are Lucian and two of his companions. The victors begin to build a great wall between the Sun and Moon, in the style of the lines thrown up in the military operations of antiquity, so as to involve the latter in a perpetual eclipse. Endymion is thus compelled to sue for peace; and the treaty is given in the form of those reported by Thucydides, as follows :
“Upon these terms the Sunnites and their allies made an agreement with the Moonites and their allies, that the Sunnites should take down the wall which they have interposed, and no longer make incursions into the Moon, but restore the prisoners also, each at an appointed ransom ; and that the Moonites should leave the other Stars to be governed by their own laws, and not wage war against the Sunnites, but that they should be allies to one another if any one attack them; and that the king of the Moonites should pay tribute every year to the king of the Sunnites, ten thousand jars of dew; and that they should give of themselves ten thousand hostages, and make the colony sent to the Morning Star common ; and that any one else who chose might take part in it; and that they should engrave the treaty upon a pillar of amber, and set it up in the middle of the air upon the boundaries : and there swore, of the Sunnites, | Pyronides, and Therites, and Phlogius; of the Moonites, Nyctor, and | Menius, and Polylampes."
Upon the return of Lucian and his companions, Endymion endeavours in vain to persuade them to stay with him, and at last dismisses them with handsome presents. Before, however, we leave the Moon, we must notice some peculiarities of its inhabitants. One might almost imagine that Lucian intended to ridicule those unhappy individuals, who are compelled, under pain of blindness, to walk about the world with a pair of spectacles on their noses ; for he describes the Moonites as endowed with eyes, which they take out and keep in their pockets till they want them, and then put them in and see. Those who are unfortunate enough to lose their own, are obliged to borrow from their friends; and the rich have frequently several spare eyes, which they lay by. From his describing the Moonites as vanishing into air when they grow old, instead
* Iliad II. 459.