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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "The Traveller's Adventure"

The Traveller's Adventure

It is related that a man, mounted upon a camel, in the course of travelling arrived at a place where others from the same caravan had lighted a fire before proceeding on their journey. The fan-like wind, breathing on the embers, had produced a flame; and the sparks, flying over the jungle, the dry wood had become ignited, and the whole plain glowed like a bed of tulips.

In the midst of this was an enormous snake, which, encircled by the flames, possessed no means of escape, and was about to be broiled like a fish, or kabobed like a partridge for the table. Blood oozed from its poison-charged eyes; and, seeing the man and the camel, it thus supplicated for assistance—

“What if in kindness thou vouchsafe me thy pity; Loosen the knot with which my affairs are entangled.”

Now the traveller was a good man, and one who feared God. When he heard the complaint of the snake, and saw its pitiable condition, he reasoned thus with himself: “This snake is, indeed, the enemy of man, but being in trouble and perplexity, it would be most commendable in me to drop the seed of compassion, the fruit of which is prosperity in this world, and exaltation in the next.” Thus convinced, he fastened one of his saddle-bags to the end of his spear, and extended it to the snake, which, delighted at escape, entered the bag, and was rescued from the flames. The man then opening the mouth of the bag, addressed it thus: “Depart whither thou wilt, but forget not to offer up thanksgiving for thy preservation; henceforth seek the corner of retirement, and cease to afflict mankind, for they who do so are dishonest in this world and the next—

Fear God—distress no one; This indeed is true salvation.”

The snake replied, “O young man, hold thy peace, for truly I will not depart until I have wounded both thee and this camel.”

The man cried out, “But how is this? Have I not rendered thee a benefit? Why, then, is such to be my recompense?

On my part there was faithfulness, Why then this injustice upon thine?

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