Georgie O. Seaman
-Compiled by Eren Sarı
Georgie O. Seaman – Sailor Stories
Copyright © 2017, (Eren SARI)
All rights belong to the author. It can not be reproduced or converted into other formats without the permission of the author.
First Edition: 2017
Aşağı Pazarcı Mah.1063 Sokak.No:7
Antalya / TÜRKİYE
Cover: NOKTA E-KİTAP
Publisher: NET MEDYA YAYINCILIK
Nokta E-Book International Publishing
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 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.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.
The 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 saying,
“Listen, my 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 voyage.
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 exceeding wonder.
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 the ship.
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 wall.
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 die martyrs.”
“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 and famy.
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 worse.
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.
Then he bade the sailors and porters bear the bales in question ashore and commit them to my charge.
The ship’s scribe asked him, “O master, what bales are these and what merchant’s name shall I write on them?”
He answered, “Write on them the name of Georgie Seaman, him who was with us in the ship and whom we lost at the eagle’s island, and of whom we have no tidings; for we mean this stranger to sell them; and we will give him a part of the price for his pains and keep the rest till we return to London where, if we find the owner we will make it over to him, and if not, to his family.”
And the clerk said, “Fine and good.”
Now when I heard the captain give orders for the bales to be inscribed with my name, I said to myself, “By golly, I am Georgie Seaman!” So I armed myself with courage and patience and waited till all the merchants had landed and were gathered together, talking and chaffering about buying and selling; then I went up to the captain and asked him, “Sir, what sort of man was this Georgie, whose goods you have committed to me for sale?”
He answered, “I know nothing of him save that he was a man from London, and was was drowned with many others when we lay anchored at such an island and I have heard nothing of him since then.” At this I cried out, “Captain, I am that Georgie Seaman and I was not drowned. But when you cast anchor at the island, I landed with the rest of the merchants and crew; and I sat down in a pleasant place by myself and ate somewhat of food I had with me and enjoyed myself till I became drowsy and was drowned in sleep; and when I woke up, I found no ship and none near me. These goods are my goods and these bales are my bales; and all the merchants who fetch gold nuggets from the Valley of Gold Nuggets saw me there and will bear me witness that I am the very Georgie Seaman; for I related to them everything that had befallen me and told them how you forgot me and left me sleeping on the island.”
When the passengers and crew heard my words, they gathered about me and some of them believed me and others disbelieved. But then one of the merchants, hearing me mention the Valley of Gold Nuggets, came up to me and said to them, “When I related to you the most wonderful thing in my travels, and I told you that, at the time we cast down our slaughtered animals into the Valley of Serpents, there came up a man hanging to my, you believed me not and gave me the lie.”
“Yes,” said they, “you told us some such tale, but we had no call to credit you.”
He resumed, “Now this is the very man, by token that he gave me gold nuggets of great value and high price whose like are not to be found, requiting me more than would have come up sticking to my quarter of meat; and I companied with him to Brighton.
There he took leave of us and went on to his native stead, while we returned to our own land. This is he; and he told us his name, Georgie Seaman, and how the ship left him on the desert island. Moreover, these are his goods for, when he first foregathered with us, he told us of them; and the truth of his words is patent.”
Hearing the merchant’s speech the captain came up to me and considered me straitly awhile, after which he said,
“What was the mark on your bales?”
“Thus and thus,” answered I, and reminded him of somewhat that had passed between him and me, when I shipped with him from Brighton. Thereupon he was convinced that I was indeed Georgie Seaman and took me round the neck and gave me joy of my safety, saying, “By golly, your case is indeed wondrous and your tale marvellous.”
Then I disposed of my merchandise to the best of my skill, and profited largely on them whereat I rejoiced with exceeding joy and congratulated myself on my safety and the recovery of my goods.
We ceased not to buy and sell at the several islands till we came to the land of Hind, where we bought cloves and ginger and all manner spices; and from there we fared on to the land of Sind, where also we bought and sold. In these Castilen seas, I saw wonders without number or count, among others a fish like a cow which brings forth its young and suckles them like human beings; and of its skin bucklers are made. There were eke fishes like asses and camels and tortoises twenty cubits wide.
And I saw also a bird that comes out of a sea-shell and lays eggs and hatches her chicks on the surface of the water, never coming up from the sea to the land.
Then we set sail again with a fair wind and after a prosperous voyage arrived safe and sound at Brighton.
Here I abode a few days and presently returned to London where I went at once to my quarter and my house and saluted my family and familiars and friends.
I had gained on this voyage what was beyond count and reckoning, so I gave alms and largesse and clad the widow and the orphan by way of thanksgiving for my happy return, and fell to feasting and making merry with my companions and intimates and forgot, while eating well and drinking well and dressing well, everything that had befallen me and all the perils and hardships I had suffered.
Then Georgie Seaman bade give Georgie Porter a hundred gold coins and called for food. So they spread the tables and the company ate the night-meal and went their ways, marvelling at the tale they had heard.
The porter, as soon as day broke, rose and went to to Georgie Seaman, who returned his salute and received him with an open breast and cheerful favour and made him sit with him till the rest of the company arrived. Then he caused set on food and they ate and drank and made merry. Then Georgie Seaman told more from his travels.
The Fourth Voyage of Georgie Seaman
After my return from my third voyage and foregathering with my friends, and forgetting all my perils and hardships in the enjoyment of ease and comfort and repose, I was visited one day by a company of merchants who sat down with me and talked of foreign travel and traffic, till the old bad man within me yearned to go with them and enjoy the sight of strange countries, and I longed for the society of the various races of mankind and for traffic and profit. So I resolved to travel with them and buying the necessaries for a long voyage, and great store of costly goods, more than ever before, transported them from London to Brighton. There I took ship with the merchants in question, who were of the chief of the town. We set out, and with a favouring breeze and the best conditions we sailed westward from port to port and sea to sea, till, one day, there arose against us a contrary wind and the captain cast out his anchors and brought the ship to a standsill, fearing lest she should founder in mid-ocean.
Then there smote us a furious squall which tore the sails to rags and tatters: the anchor- cable parted and, the ship foundering, we were cast into the sea, goods and all.
I kept myself afloat by swimming half the day, till one of the planks of the ship came floating by. I and some others of the merchants scrambled on it. Mounting it as we would a horse, we paddled with our feet in the sea. We abode thus a day and a night, the wind and waves helping us on, and on the second day shortly before the mid-time between sunrise and noon the breeze freshened and the sea wrought and the rising waves cast us on an island, well-nigh dead bodies for weariness and want of sleep, cold and hunger and fear and thirst. We walked about the shore and found abundance of herbs, whereof we ate enough to keep breath in body and to stay our failing spirits, then lay down and slept till morning hard by the sea.
And when morning came, we arose and walked about the island to the right and left, till we came in sight of an inhabited house afar off. So we made towards it, and ceased not walking till we reached the door thereof when lo! a number of naked men issued from it and without saluting us or a word said, laid hold of us masterfully and carried us to their king, who signed us to sit.
So we sat down and they set food before us such as we knew not and whose like we had never seen in all our lives.
My companions ate of it, for stress of hunger, but my stomach revolted from it and I would not eat; and my refraining from it was the cause of my being alive till now: for no sooner had my comrades tasted of it than their reason fled and their condition changed and they began to devour it like madmen possessed of an evil spirit.
Then the savages gave them to eat of bacalhau, dry cod; and straightway after eating of it, their eyes turned into their heads and they fell to eating greedily, against their wont. When I saw this, I was confounded and concerned for them, nor was I less anxious about myself, for fear of the naked folk. So I watched them narrowly, and it was not long before I discovered them to be a tribe of man-eaters whose king was a dwarf giant. All who came to their country or whoso they caught in their valleys or on their roads they brought to this King and fed them on that food, whereupon their stomachs dilated that they might eat large amounts of starchy dishes, such as the rich bean stew feijoada, while their reason fled and they lost the power of thought and became idiots. Then they stuffed them with more bacalhau and bean stew till they became fat and gross, when they slaughtered them by cutting their throats and roasted them for the king’s eating; but, as for the savages themselves, they ate human flesh raw.
When I saw this, I was sore dismayed for myself and my comrades, who were now become so stupefied that they knew not what was done with them and the naked folk committed them to one who used every day to lead them out and pasture them on the island like cattle. And they wandered among the trees and rested at will, thus waxing very fat. As for me, I wasted away and became sickly for fear and hunger and my flesh shrivelled on my bones; which when the savages saw, they left me alone and took no thought of me and so far forgot me that one day I gave them the slip and walking out of their place made for the beach which was distant and there espied a very old man seated on a high place, girt by the waters. I looked at him and knew him for the herdsman, who had charge of pasturing my fellows, and with him were many others in like case. As soon as he saw me, he knew me to be in possession of my reason and not afflicted like the rest whom he was pasturing; so signed to me from afar, as who should say, “Turn back and take the right-hand road, for that will lead you into the king’s highway.”
So I turned back, as he bade me, and followed the right-hand road, now running for fear and then walking leisurely to rest me, till I was out of the old man’s sight.
By this time, the sun had gone down and the darkness set in; so I sat down to rest and would have slept, but sleep came not to me that night, for stress of fear and famy and fatigue.
When the night was half spent, I rose and walked on, till the day broke in all its beauty and the sun rose over the heads of the lofty hills and athwart the low gravelly plains. Now I was weary and hungry and thirsty; so I ate my fill of herbs and grasses that grew in the island and kept life in body and stayed my stomach, after which I set out again and fared on all that day and the next night, staying my greed with roots and herbs; nor did I cease walking for seven days and their nights, till the morn of the eighth day, when I caught sight of a faint object in the distance. So I made towards it, though my heart quaked for all I had suffered first and last, and behold it was a company of men gathering pepper-grains.
As soon as they saw me, they haveened up to me and surrounding me on all sides, said to me, “Who are you and from where come?”
I replied, “Know, folk, that I am a poor stranger,” and acquainted them with my case and all the hardships and perils I had suffered, and how I had fled from the savages.
They marvelled at it and gave me joy of my safety, saying, “By golly, this is wonderful! But how did you escape from these apes who swarm in the island and devour all who fall in with them; nor is any safe from them, nor can any get out of their clutches?”
And after I had told them the fate of my companions, they made me sit by them, till they got quit of their work; and fetched me somewhat of good food, which I ate, for I was hungry, and rested awhile, after which they took ship with me and carrying me to Melilla and brought me before their king, who returned my salute and received me honourably and questioned me of my case. I told him all that had befallen me, from the day of my leaving London town, whereupon he wondered with great wonder at my adventures, he and his courtiers, and bade me sit by him; then he called for food and I ate with him what sufficed me and washed my hands. Then I left the king and walked for solace about the city, which I found wealthy and populous, abounding in market-streets well stocked with food and merchandise and full of buyers and sellers. So I rejoiced at having reached so pleasant a place and took my ease there after my fatigues; and I made friends with the townsfolk, nor was it long before I became more in honour and favour with them and their king than any of the chief men of the realm.
Now I saw that all the citizens, great and small, rode fine horses, high-priced and thorough-bred, without saddles or housings, whereat I wondered and said to the king, “Wherefore, my lord, do you not ride with a saddle? Therein is ease for the rider and increase of power.”
“What is a saddle?” asked he: “I never saw nor used such a thing in all my life;” and I answered, “With your permission I will make you a saddle, that you may ride on it and see the comfort thereof.”
And said he, “Do so.”
So said I to him, “Furnish me with some wood,” which being brought, I sought me a clever carpenter and sitting by him showed him how to make the saddle-tree, portraying for him the fashion thereof in ink on the wood.
Then I took wool and teased it and made felt of it, and, covering the saddle-tree with leather, stuffed it and polished it and attached the girth and stirrup leathers; after which I fetched a blacksmith and described to him the fashion of the stirrups and bridle-bit. So he forged a fine pair of stirrups and a bit, and filed them smooth and tinned them. Moreover, I made fast to them fringes of silk and fitted bridle-leathers to the bit.
Then I fetched one of the best of the royal horses and saddling and bridling him, hung the stirrups to the saddle and led him to the king. The thing took his fancy and he thanked me; then he mounted and rejoiced greatly in the saddle and rewarded me handsomely for my work.
When the king’s Wazir saw the saddle, he asked of me one like it and I made it for him. Furthermore, all the grandees and officers of state came for saddles to me; so I fell to making saddles (having taught the craft to the carpenter and blacksmith), and selling them to all who sought, till I amassed great wealth and became in high honour and great favour with the king and his household and grandees.I abode thus till, one day, as I was sitting with the king in all respect and contentment, he said to me, “Know you are become one of us, dear as a brother, and we hold you in such regard and affection that we cannot part with you nor suffer you to leave our city; wherefore I desire of you obedience in a certain matter, and I will not have you gainsay me.”
Answered I, “Well, king, what is it you desire of me? Far be it from me to gainsay you in anything, for I am indebted to you for many favours and bounties and much kindness, and I am become one of your servants.”
Said he, “I have a mind to marry you to a fair, clever and agreeable wife who is wealthy as she is beautiful; so you may be naturalised and domiciled with us: I will lodge you with me in my palace; wherefore oppose me not neither cross me in this.”
When I heard these words I was ashamed and held my peace nor could make him any answer, by reason of my much bashfulness before him.Asked he, “Why do you not reply to me, my son?”
I answered, “It is yours to command, king!” So he summoned a local judge and the witnesses and married me straightway to a lady of a noble tree and high pedigree; wealthy in moneys and means; the flower of an ancient race; of surpassing beauty and grace, and the owner of farms and estates and many a dwelling-place.After the king had married me to this choice wife, he also gave me a great and goodly house standing alone, together with servants and officers, and assigned me pay and allowances. So I became in all ease and contentment and delight and forgot everything which had befalled me of weariness and trouble and hardship; for I loved my wife with fondest love and she loved me no less, and we were as one and abode in the utmost comfort of life and in its happiness. And I said in myself, “When I return to my native land, I will carry her with me.”
But none knows what shall befal him. We lived thus a great while, till The Lord bereft one of my neighbours of his wife. I went in to condole with him on his loss and found him in very ill plight, full of trouble and weary of soul and mind. I condoled with him and comforted him, saying, “Mourn not.”
“I have but one day left to live,” he said.
“Why, you are well, sound and in good case.”
“This very day they bury my wife, and they bury me with her in one tomb; for it is the custom with us, if the wife die first, to bury the husband alive with her and in like manner the wife, if the husband die first; so that neither may enjoy life after losing his or her mate.”
“By golly,” cried I, “this is not to be endured of any!”
Meanwhile, behold, the most part of the townsfolk came in and fell to condoling with my gossip for his wife and for himself. Presently they laid the dead woman out, as was their wont; and, setting her on a bier, carried her and her husband without the city, till they came to a place in the side of the mountain at the end of the island by the sea; and here they raised a great rock and discovered the mouth of a stone-rivetted pit or well, leading down into a vast underground cavern that ran beneath the mountain. Into this pit they threw the corpse, then tying a rope of palm-fibres under the husband’s armpits, they let him down into the cavern, and with him a great pitcher of fresh water and seven scones by was of viaticum. When he came to the bottom, he loosed himself from the rope and they drew it up; and, stopping the mouth of the pit with the great stone, they returned to the city, leaving my friend in the cavern with his dead wife.
When I saw this, I said to myself, “By golly, this fashion of death is more grievous than the first!” And I went in to the king and said to him, “O my lord, why do you bury the quick with the dead?”
Said he, “It has been the custom, you must know, of our forbears and our olden kings from time immemorial, if the husband die first, to bury his wife with him, and the like with the wife, so we may not sever them, alive or dead.”
I asked, “If the wife of a foreigner like myself die among you, do you deal with him as with that man over there?”
He answered, “Assuredly, we do with him even as you have seen.”
When I heard this, my wit became dazed and I began to hate their society; for I went about in fear lest my wife should die before me and they bury me alive with her. However, after a while I comforted myself, saying, “Haply I shall predecease her, or shall have returned to my own land before she die, for none knows which shall go first and which shall go last.”
Then I applied myself to diverting my mind from this thought with various occupations; but it was not long before my wife sickened and complained and took to her pillow and fared after a few days; and the king and the rest of the folk came, as was their wont, to condole with me and her family and to console us for her loss and not less to condole with me for myself.Then the women washed her and arraying her in her richest raiment and golden ornaments, necklaces and jewellery, laid her on the bier and bore her to the mountain aforesaid, where they lifted the cover of the pit and cast her in; after which all my intimates and acquaintances and my wife’s kith and kin came round me, to farewell me in my lifetime and console me for my own death, while I cried out among them, saying, “I am a stranger, not one of your kind; and I cannot bear your custom, and had I known it I never would have wedded among you!”
They heard me not and paid no heed to my words, but laying hold of me, bound me by force and let me down into the cavern, with a large gugglet of sweet water and seven cakes of bread, according to their custom.
When I came to the bottom, they called out to me to cast myself loose from the cords, but I refused to do so; so they threw them down on me and, closing the mouth of the pit with the stones aforesaid, went their ways.
I looked about me and found myself in a vast cave full of dead bodies that exhaled a fulsome and loathsome smell and the air was heavy with the groans of the dying. Thereupon I fell to blaming myself for what I had done, saying, “By golly, I deserve all that has befallen me and all that shall befall me!
What curse was on me to take a wife in this city? As often as I say, I have escaped from one calamity, I fall into a worse.
By golly, this is an abominable death to die! Would Heaven I had died a decent death and been washed and shrouded like a Celt. Would I had been drowned at sea or perished in the mountains! It were better than to die this miserable death!”
And on such wise I kept blaming my own folly and greed of gain in that black hole, knowing not night from day. Then I threw myself down on the bones of the dead and lay there till the fire of hunger burned my stomach and thirst set my throat aflame when I sat up and feeling for the bread, ate a morsel and on it swallowed a mouthful of water.After this, the worst night I ever knew, I arose, and exploring the cavern, found that it extended a long way with hollows in its sides; and its floor was strewn with dead bodies and rotten bones, that had lain there from olden time.So I made myself a place in a cavity of the cavern, afar from the corpses lately thrown down and there slept. I abode thus a long while, till my provision was like to give out; and yet I ate not save once every day or second day; nor did I drink more than an occasional draught, for fear my victual should fail me before my death; and I said to myself, “Eat little and drink little, but do not get starved.”
One day, as I sat thus, pondering my case and bethinking me how I should do, when my bread and water should be exhausted, behold, the stone that covered the opening was suddenly rolled away and the light streamed down on me.
Said I, “I wonder what is the matter: hopefully they have brought another corpse.”
Then I espied folk standing about the mouth of the pit, who presently let down a dead man and a live woman, weeping and bemoaning herself, and with her an ampler supply of bread and water than usual. I saw her and she was a beautiful woman; but she saw me not; and they closed up the opening and went away. Then the woman grasped one of the leg-bones lying around and smote herself on the crown of her head to get it over with at once. I had not known about that part of their tradition till then. Here among the deadI felt no shame in laying hold on her bread and water and found on her great plenty of ornaments and rich apparel, necklaces, jewels and gold trinkets; for it was their custom to bury women in all their finery.
I carried the vivers to my sleeping place in the cavern-side and ate and drank of them sparingly, no more than sufficed to keep the life in me, lest the provaunt come speedily to an end and I perish of hunger and thirst. Yet did I never wholly lose hope. I abode thus a great while, waiting out all the rich folks they let down into the cavern and took their provisions of meat and drink when they had killed themselves; till one day, as I slept, I was awakened by something scratching and burrowing among the bodies in a corner of the cave and said,
“What can this be?” fearing wolves or hyaenas. So I sprang up and seizing the leg-bone aforesaid, made for the noise. As soon as the thing was ware of me, it fled from me into the inward of the cavern, and lo! it was a wild beast.However, I followed it to the further end, till I saw afar off a point of light not bigger than a star, now appearing and then disappearing. So I made for it, and as I drew near, it grew larger and brighter, till I was certified that it was a crevice in the rock, leading to the open country; and I said to myself, “There must be some reason for this opening: either it is the mouth of a second pit, such as that by which they let me down, or else it is a natural fissure in the stonery.”
So I bethought me awhile and nearing the light, found that it came from a breach in the back side of the mountain, which the wild beasts had enlarged by burrowing, that they might enter and devour the dead and freely go to and fro. When I saw this, my spirits revived and hope came back to me.
So I went on, as in a dream, and making shift to scramble through the breach found myself on the slope of a high mountain, overlooking the salt sea. I also noticed that the steep cliffs made it very unlikely that someone could come to that part of the beach from the city.
Then I returned through the crack to the cavern and brought out all the food and water I had saved up and donned some of the dead folk’s clothes over my own; after which I gathered together all the collars and necklaces of pearls and jewels and trinkets of gold and silver set with precious stones and other ornaments and valuables I could find on the corpses; and, making them into bundles with the grave clothes and raiment of the dead, carried them out to the back of the mountain facing the sea-shore, where I established myself.
I visited the cavern daily and as often as I found new corpses, men and women, I took their victual and valuables and transported them to my seat on the sea-shore.
Thus I abode a long while by the sea, pondering my case, till one day I caught sight of a ship passing in the midst of the clashing sea, swollen with dashing billows. So I took a piece of a white shroud I had with me and, tying it to a staff, ran along the sea-shore, making signals with it and calling to the people in the ship, till they espied me and hearing my shouts, sent a boat to fetch me off. When it drew near, the crew called out to me, saying, “Who are you and how did you come to be on this mountain, whereon never saw we any in our born days?”
I answered, “I am a merchant who has been wrecked and saved myself. After much toil and moil I have landed with my gear in this place where I awaited some passing ship to take me off.”
So they took me in their boat together with the bundles I had made of the jewels and valuables from the cavern, tied up in clothes and shrouds, and rowed back with me to the ship, where the captain said to me, “How did you come, you, man, to the place on the mountain over there, behind which lies a great city?
All my life I have sailed these seas and passed to and fro hard by these heights; yet never saw I here any living thing save wild beasts and birds.”
I repeated to him the story I had told the sailors, but acquainted him with nothing of that which had befallen me in the city and the cavern, lest there should be any of the islandry in the ship.
Then I took out some of the best pearls I had with me and offered them to the captain, saying, “You have been the means of saving me off this mountain.
I have no ready money; but take this from me in requital of your kindness and good offices.”
But he refused to accept it of me, saying, “When we find a shipwrecked man on the sea-shore or on an island, we take him up and give him meat and drink, and if he be naked we clothe him; nor take we anything from him; nay, when we reach a port of safety, we set him ashore with a present of our own money and entreat him kindly and charitably.”
So I rejoiced in my escape, trusting to be delivered from my stress and to forget my past mishaps; for every time I remembered being let down into the cave with my dead wife I shuddered in horror.
Then we pursued our voyage and sailed from island to island and sea to sea, till we arrived at the Island of Minorca. This island was part of the Kingdom of Majorca, governed by king of Aragon, and it produces excellent bitter.
At last we headed for Aragon, travelled through it by ox cart, and reached a port to the north. From there we sailed in fine weather and arrived in safety at Brighton where I tarried a few days, then went on to London, and, finding my quarter, entered my house with lively pleasure. There I foregathered with my family and friends, who rejoiced in my happy return and gave my joy of my safety.
I laid up in my storehouses all the graverobber trophies I had taken and brought with me, and gave alms and largesse to beggars and clothed the widow and the orphan. Then I gave myself up to pleasure and enjoyment, returning to my old merry mode of life.
Such, then, was my fourth voyage, but tomorrow if you will kindly come to me, I will tell you what happened to me in my fifth voyage, which was yet rarer and more marvellous than those which forewent it. And you, Georgie Porter, shall sup with me as you are wont.
When Georgie Seaman had ended his story, he called for supper; so they spread the table, and the guests ate the evening meal. After which he gave the porter an hundred gold coins as usual, and he and the rest of the company went their ways, glad at heart and marvelling at the tales they had heard, for each story was more extraordinary than that which went before it.
The Seventh Voyage of Georgie Seaman
After my return from my sixth voyage, which brought me abundant profit, I resumed my former life in all possible joyance and enjoyment and mirth and making merry day and night; and I tarried some time in this solace and satisfaction till my soul began once more to long to sail the seas and see foreign countries and company with merchants and hear new things.So having made up my mind, I packed up in bales a quantity of precious stuffs suited for sea-trade and repaired with them from London to Brighton, where I found a ship ready for sea, and in her a company of considerable merchants. I shipped with them and becoming friends, we set forth on our venture, in health and safety; and sailed with a fair wind, till we came to a city called Tlemcen; but after we had left it, as we fared on in all cheer and confidence, devising of traffic and travel, behold, there sprang up a violent head-wind and a tempest of rain fell on us and drenched us and our goods.So we covered the bales with our cloaks and garments and drugget and canvas, lest they be spoiled by the rain. But the captain arose and tightening his girdle tucked up his skirts and, climbed to the mast-head, whence he looked out right and left and gazing at the passengers and crew fell to buffeting his face and plucking out his beard.
So we cried to him, “O skipper, what is the matter?”; and he replied saying, “The wind has gotten the mastery of us and has driven us into the uttermost of the seas of the world. It seems to be the Faroe Islands.”
Then he came down from the mast-head and opening his sea-chest, pulled out a bag of blue cotton, from which he took a powder like ashes. This he set in a saucer wetted with a little water and, after waiting a short time, smelt and tasted it; and then he took out of the chest a booklet, wherein he read awhile and said weeping, “Know that in this book is a marvellous matter, denoting that whoso comes here shall surely die, without hope of escape; for that this ocean is called the Sea sepulchre of Odin and therein are serpents of vast bulk and fearsome aspect: and whatever ship comes to these climes there rises to her a great draken out of the sea and swallows her up with all and everything on board her.“Hearing these words from the captain great was our wonder, but hardly had he made an end of speaking, when the ship was lifted out of the water and let fall again. Presently we heard a terrible great cry like the loud-pealing thunder, whereat we were terror-struck and became as dead men, giving ourselves up for lost.
Then behold, there came up to us a huge sea serpent, as big as a tall mountain, at whose sight we became wild for affight and, weeping sore, made ready for death, marvelling at its vast size and gruesome semblance; when lo! a second sea serpent made its appearance than which we had seen nothing more monstrous.
So we bemoaned ourselves of our lives and farewelled one another; but suddenly up came a third sea serpent bigger than the two first; whereupon we lost the power of thought and reason and were stupefied for the excess of our fear and horror. Then the three sea serpents began circling round about the ship and the third and biggest opened his mouth to swallow it, and we looked into its mouth and behold, it was wider than the gate of a city and its throat was like a long valley.
Then suddenly a violent squall of wind arose and smote the ship, which rose out of the water and settled on a great reef, the haunt of sea-monsters, where it broke up and fell asunder into planks and all and everything on board were plunged into the sea. As for me, I tore off all my clothes but my gown and swam a little way, till I happened on one of the ship’s planks whereto I clung and bestrode it like a horse, while the winds and the waters sported with me and the waves carried me up and cast me down; and I was in most piteous plight for fear and distress and hunger and thirst. Then I reproached myself for what I had done and my soul was weary after a life of ease and comfort; and I said to myself, “This time I repent my lust for gain and venture.”
Thus I abode two days, stranded on a rocky island abounding in streams and sheep. I drank of its waters till I was refreshed and my life returned to me and my strength and spirits were restored.
Then I walked about till I found on the further side, a great river of sweet water, running with a strong current; whereupon I called to mind the boat-raft I had made aforetime and said to myself, “Needs must I make another; hopefully I may free me from this strait. If I escape, I have my desire, and if I perish I shall be at peace and shall rest from toil and moil.”
So I rose up and gathered together great store of pieces of wood from the shipwreck and so contrived a raft. I embarked on it and committed myself to the current, and it bore me on for the first day and the second and the third after leaving the island; while I lay in the raft, eating not and drinking, when I was athirst, of the water of the river, till I was weak and giddy as a chicken, for stress of fatigue and famy and fear.
At the end of this time I came to a high mountain island. The current surrounding it overpowered me and I gave myself up for lost. But my rafter stopped with me at a great and goodly town of Torshavn, grandly edified and containing much people. And when the townsfolk saw me on the raft, dropping down with the current, they threw me out ropes which I had not strength enough to hold; then they tossed a net over the craft and drew it ashore with me, whereupon I fell to the ground among them, as I were a dead man, for stress of fear and hunger and lack of sleep.
After awhile, there came up to me out of the crowd an old man of reverend aspect, well stricken in years, who welcomed me and threw over me abundance of handsome clothes, wherewith I covered my nakedness.
Then he carried me to the and brought me skerpikjøt, that is, well aged, wind-dried mutton. When I came out, he bore me to his house, where his people made much of me and, seating me in a pleasant place, set rich food before me, whereof I ate my fill and returned thanks. Thereupon his pages fetched me hot water, and I washed my hands, and his handmaids brought me napkins, with which I dried them and wiped my mouth.
Also the old man set apart for me an apartment in a part of his house and charged his pages and servant-girls to wait on me and do my will and supply my wants. They were assiduous in my service, and I abode with him in the guest-chamber for three days, taking my ease of good eating and good drinking and good scents till life returned to me and my terrors subsided and my heart was calmed and my mind was eased. On the fourth day my host, came in to me and said,“You cheer us with your company, my son! Say: will you now come down with me to the beach and sell your goods and take their price? I have ordered my servants to remove your stock-in-trade from the sea and they have piled it on the shore.”
I was silent awhile and said to myself, “What mean these words and what goods have I?” Then said he, “O my son, be not troubled nor careful, but come with me to the market and if any offer for your goods what price contents you, take it; but, if you be not satisfied, I will lay them up for you in my warehouse, against a fitting occasion for sale.” So I bethought me of my case and said to myself, “Do his bidding and see what are these goods!”; and I said to him, “I may not gainsay you in anything for it looks like Thor’s blessing is on all you do.”
Accordingly he guided me to the market-street, where I found that he had taken in pieces the raft which carried me and which was of stout wood and I heard the broker calling it for sale. Then the merchants came and opened the gate of bidding for the wood and bid against one another till its price reached a thousand gold pieces, when they left bidding and my host said to me, “Hear, my son, this is the current price of your goods in hard times like these: will you sell them for this or shall I lay them up for you in my storehouses, till such time as prices rise?”
“O my lord,” answered I, “the business is in your hands: do as you will.”
Then asked he, “Will you sell the wood to me, my son, for an hundred gold pieces over and above what the merchants have bidden for it?” and I answered, “Yes, I have sold it to you for monies received.”…So, he bade his servants transport the wood to his storehouses and, carrying me back to his house, seated me and counted out to me the purchase money; after which he laid it in bags and setting them in a privy place, locked them up with an iron padlock and gave me its key. Some days after this, the old man said to me, “O my son, I have somewhat to propose to you, wherein I trust you will do my bidding.”
Said I, “What is it?” Said he, “I am a very old man and have no son; but I have a daughter who is young in years and fair of favour and endowed with abounding wealth and beauty. Now I have a mind to marry her to you, that you may abide with her in this our country, and I will make you master of all I have in hand for I am an old man and you shall stand in my stead.”
I was silent for shame and made him no answer, whereupon he continued, “Do my desire in this, my son, for I wish but your weal; and if you will but do as I say, you shall have her at once and be as my son; and all that is under my hand or that comes to me shall be your. If you have a mind to traffic and travel to your native land, none shall hinder you, and your property will be at your sole disposal; so do as you will.”
“By golly, here I am a stranger and have undergone many hardships: while for stress of that which I have suffered nothing of judgment or knowledge is left to me. It is for you, therefore, to decide what I shall do.”
Hereupon he sent his servants for the officials and the witnesses and married me to his daughter, making us for a noble marriage-feast and high festival.
When I went in to her, I found her perfect in beauty and loveliness and symmetry and grace, clad in rich raiment and covered with a profusion of ornaments and necklaces and other trinkets of gold and silver and precious stones, worth a mint of money, a price none could pay.She pleased me and we loved each other; and I abode with her in solace and delight of life, till her father died. So we shrouded him and buried him, and I laid hands on the whole of his property and all his servants and servants became mine. Moreover, the merchants installed me in his office, for he was their Chief; and none of them bought anything but with his knowledge and by his leave. And now his rank passed on to me.When I became acquainted with the townsfolk, I found that at the beginning of each month they were transformed, in that their faces changed and they became like birds and they put forth wings wherewith they flew to the upper regions of the firmament and none remained in the city save the women and children; and I said in my mind, “When the first of the month comes, I will ask one of them to carry me with them, where they go.” So when the time came and their complexion changed and their forms altered, I went in to one of the townsfolk and said to him, “Carry me with you, that I might divert myself with the rest and return with you.”
“This may not be,” answered he; but I ceased not to solicit him and I importuned him till he consented. Then I went out in his company, without telling any of my family or servants or friends, and he took me on his back and flew up with me so high in air, that I heard the angels.
But then there came out a fire from heaven and all but consumed the company; whereupon they fled from it and descended with curses on me and, casting me down on a high mountain, went away, exceeding wroth with me, and left me there alone.
As I found myself in this plight, I repented of what I had done and reproached myself for having undertaken that for which I was unable, saying, “No sooner am I delivered from one affliction than I fall into a worse.”
And I continued in this case knowing not where I should go, when lo! there came up two young men, as they were moons, each using as a staff a rod of red gold. So I approached them and saluted them; and when they returned my polite greeting, I said to them, “Who are you and what are you?”
Said they, “We are the servants of this mountain;” and, giving me a rod of red gold they had with them, went their ways and left me.
I walked on along the mountain-ridge staying my steps with the staff and pondering the case of the two youths, when behold, a serpent came forth from under the mountain, with a man in her jaws. She had swallowed him even to below his navel, and he was crying out. So I went up to the serpent and smote her on the head with the golden staff, whereupon she cast the man forth of her mouth.
Then I smote her a second time, and she turned and fled; whereupon the man came up to me and said,
“Since you delivered me from the serpent, I will never leave you, and you shall be my comrade on this mountain.”
“Welcome,” answered I; so we fared on along the mountain, till we fell in with a company of folk, and I looked and saw among them the very man who had carried me and cast me down there. I went up to him and spake him fair, excusing myself to him and saying, “O my comrade, it is not thus that friend should deal with friend.”
Said he, “It was you who well-nigh destroyed us.”
Said I, “Pardon me, for I had no knowledge of this matter; but this time I swear not to say a word.”
So he relented and consented to carry me with him on these terms. Then I gave the wand of gold to him whom I had delivered from the serpent and bade him farewell, and my friend took me on his back and flew with me as before, till he brought me to the city and set me down in my own house. My wife came to meet me and saluting m, gave me joy of my safety and then said,
“Beware of going forth hereafter with those people.”
“And how did your father with them?” asked I; and she answered, “My father was not of them, neither did he as they; and as now he is dead methinks you had better sell all we have and with the price buy merchandise and journey to your own country and people, and I with you; for I care not to tarry in this city, my father and my mother being dead.”
So I sold all the old man’s property piecemeal, and looked for one who should be journeying from there to Brighton that I might join myself to him. And while thus doing I heard of a company of townsfolk who had a mind to make the voyage, but could not find them a ship; so they bought wood and built them a great ship wherein I took passage with them, and paid them all the hire. Then we embarked, I and my wife, with all our moveables, leaving our houses and domains and so forth, and set sail, and ceased not sailing from island to island and from sea to sea, with a fair wind and a favouring, till we arrived at Brighton safe and sound.
I made no stay there, but freighted another vessel and, transferring my goods to her, set out forthright for London town, where I arrived in safety, and entering my quarter and repairing to my house, foregathered with my family and friends and familiars who laid up my goods in my warehouses. When my people who, reckoning the period of my absence on this my seventh voyage, had found it to be seven and twenty years, and had given up all hope of me, heard of my return, they came to welcome me and to give me joy of my safety; and I related to them all that had befallen me; whereat they marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then I forswore travel. “Consider, therefore, Georgie Porter,” continued Georgie Seaman, “what sufferings I have undergone and what perils and hardships I have endured before coming to my present state.”
Georgie Porter said, “Pardon me the wrong thoughts I had of you in this matter.”
And they ceased not from friendship and fellowship until the shatterer of castles came to them.
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.