Sindbad and the Valley of Diamonds

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Hello! My name is Sindbad. You must have heard of me. After all, I am the richest and the most famous merchant in all of Baghdad.
I wasn't born rich. It took seven great sea voyages to make me the man I am today.
Let me tell you about the most amazing one of all of my adventures.
Once, after sailing to many ports, buying and selling cargoes, my ship came to a wonderful island. Here I found fine fruit trees, streams, lovely flowers and beautiful singing birds. But there were no people.
I decided to explore this beautiful place. I set off alone to climb the cliffs.
After a while I began to feel weary and lay down to rest on a grassy patch, where I soon fell fast asleep.
Upon waking up, I saw to my horror that the ship had gone. I gazed far out across the water and I could see its sails like a white speck on the horizon.
Hopeless and afraid, I climbed to the top of a nearby hill, hoping to find a town or village on the other side. But there was nothing, except a strange white shape nearby towards which I walked to explore.
It was a gigantic dome. To walk right round it took fifty paces. But there was no way in. No door. I touched its surface which was quite smooth.
All of a sudden, the sky darkened and the wind gushed around me.
I looked up and saw a huge, huge black bird swooping down at me. Its mighty wings spread wide as the bird settled on the great dome.
From the very size of the bird I knew that this was the fabled giant Roc, and the  white dome was infact, the top of its huge egg.
I had heard stories of this monstrous bird, of its size and strength, but I had not believed them. Now I lay buried under its huge belly.
Then, the great bird fell asleep. A plan to help me off the island flashed in my mind.
I unwound my turban and twisted it into a makeshift rope. I tied one end of the turban rope around the bird's leg which felt like a tree trunk and the other end round my waist.
I lay awake all night. Nothing stirred. But at first light, the colossal creature lurched into the air with a deafening screech, carrying me with it.
Up it soared, almost to the sky, with me clinging on tight. After a long flight it started to come down, fast at first but then drifting gently to the bottom of a deep valley to hunt for food.
I had just untied myself from the bird before she took off to the air again with a wriggling black serpent in her beak.
I found myself in a dusty valley closed in by steep hills on all sides, and I had no hope of climbing them.
I had been better off on the island, where at least there was fruit and water to eat and drink to stay alive.
I felt lost.
Then, I noticed that the whole valley was bathed in a soft, glowing light. It was the light of the morning sun reflected in millions of diamonds which lay all over the ground.
All around I could see gems so large that they made my jaw drop in amazement. Even in the finest houses of Baghdad, I had not seen such riches.
But all around those precious stones crawled deadly snakes, some so large they could have swallowed me whole.
I realised then that I had come to the famous Valley of Diamonds, which no man had ever left alive.
I, Sindbad, indeed was terrified, but as the sun rose the evil creepers slid softly away into their dark holes. I roamed this bowl-shaped valley all that day, searching for water and safe place to shelter for the night.
At last I found a small cave on a slope. I looked all around to make sure there were no dangers.
Inside, I hauled a massive stone across the entrance to leave just a chink to let in light.
All night I lay shivering with fear as the snakes and serpents hissed around the opening of the cave, their forked tongues poking through the gaps round the stone.
At dawn, the creatures began to slink away to their hiding places.
Gathering courage, I rolled back the stone and walked out again into the sunlit valley.
Only a few paces had I taken when something hurtled past me down the hillside.
It was the body of a sheep. Then, two or three more crashed down nearby.
These were being thrown down the steep slope by diamond hunters hoping that gems would stick in the animals's fleece.
Giant eagles pounced on the dead sheep and carried them off for food to their nests high in the mountains. There the hunters would frighten away the birds and collect the diamonds.
Till then, I had feared that there was no escape from the valley.
But when I saw an eagle swoop on the dead sheep and carry it off, an idea struck to me.
Accordingly, I crammed all the diamonds I could into my pockets. Then I chose the largest sheep, unwound my turban again and tied myself to it.
I waited under the sheep, my head squashed between its body and the dry earth. One or two snakes hissed round the carcass but slithered away.
And then, suddenly I was in the air, lifted by the sharp talons of the biggest eagle I had ever seen.
Up, the bird flew, coming to rest on a high ledge.
But before I could escape, the eagle started tearing into the sheep, its sharp beak slashing the meat closer and closer to my face.
Luckily for me, suddenly the eagle flew into the air, frightened by a gang of men all yelling and throwing stones. I quickly freed myself and stood up.
I was a horrible sight, covered with the sheep's blood and dust.
The hunters were terrified of me.
I shouted out to them, "I have more diamonds than you have ever seen, more than you'll ever need! And I collected them all myself!"
I showed them my bulging pockets and told them my strange story.
They took me to their master's tent, where he gave me food and drink–and a welcome bath to rid me of the blood and the foul smell of the sheep.
I offered the kind man as many diamonds as he wanted, but he took just a few. "These will be enough," he said. "You must keep the rest, my friend. You have earned the treasure."
I made my way back to the nearest town and sold all the diamonds, but one, for a vast sum of money.
I was able to buy a fleet of ships with rich cargoes to sell back in my home town, Baghdad.
And this fine diamond you see shining in my turban is the one I kept to remind me of my fantastic luck.

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