Being returned from my sixth voyage, I absolutely laid aside all thoughts of travelling any farther; for, besides that my years now required rest, I was resolved no more to expose myself to such risk as I had run; so that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my days in quiet. One day, as I was treating some of my friends, one of my servants came and told me that an officer of the caliph asked for me. I rose from the table, and went to him. ‘The caliph,’ said he, ‘has sent me to tell you that he must speak with you.’ I followed the officer to the palace, where, being presented to the caliph, I saluted him by prostrating myself at his feet. ‘Sinbad,’ said he to me, ‘I stand in need of you; you must do me the service to carry my answer and present to the King of Serendib. It is but just I should return his civility.’
This command of the caliph to me was like a clap of thunder. ‘Commander of the Faithful,’ replied I, ‘I am ready to do whatever your majesty shall think fit to command me; but I beseech you most humbly to consider what I have undergone. I have also made a vow never to go out of Bagdad.’ Here I took occasion to give him a large and particular account of all my adventures, which he had the patience to hear out.
As soon as I had finished, ‘I confess,’ said he, ‘that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet you must for my sake undertake this voyage which I propose to you. You have nothing to do but to go to the Isle of Serendib, and deliver the commission which I give you. After that you are at liberty to return. But you must go; for you know it would be indecent, and not suitable to my dignity, to be indebted to the king of that island.’ Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon it, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased at it, and ordered me a thousand sequins for the expense of my journey.
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