folk hero Sindbad the Sailor has been a favorite among the old and
young. Comic strips based on Sindbad's tales have appeared in
newspapers for years at a stretch. They have appeared in many
languages. According to legend, Sindbad was a hero appearing in The
Thousand and One Nights, who embarked on seven voyages, each
studded with incredible adventures.
give you a broad outline, Sindbad was a sailor who was marooned or
shipwrecked after he set sail from Basra with merchandise. He
overcame difficulties and had incredulous escapades, made possible
with his sharp thinking and resourcefulness.
Having overcome impossible situations, Sindbad returns from
each of his voyages an unbelievably rich man.
are several speculations about the source material for the tales of
Sindbad. It is said that Sindbad's adventures were based on the
experiences of Iraqi traders, who conducted business with the East
Indies, China and maybe even some parts of Africa, probably in the
eighth and ninth centuries. Remember those were the days when any
travel was a tale of adventure and every successful voyage was
something like creating history. They were fraught with dangers and
the voyagers always romanced with adventure in some form or the
other. Skirmishes, overcoming natural calamities and disturbances,
fighting natives and all such adventures were an integral part of
traveling and trading.
are references in the stories of Sindbad having brought home
diamonds and other precious stones, sandalwood, camphor, coconuts,
cloves, cinnamon, pepper, aloes, ambergris, and ivory, giving rise
to the idea that Sindbad's trading was mainly conducted in the East.
Some concepts that lend strength to Sindbad's stories being based on
the adventures of Iraqi merchants trading in the East are the
references to the shipwreck being caused by the huge bird called roc
and the savages, who may have been from Andaman Islands. The savages
in canoes harass Sindbad and his crew in the seventh voyage and the
roc appears in the stories of the third and fifth voyages. The
"old man of the sea" who compels Sindbad to carry him, on
the fifth voyage, has been identified with the huge apes of Borneo
adventures have traces of incidents from literature of many nations.
For example, in the third voyage, cannibals feed Sindbad's
companions with food that cause them to lose their sense of
reasoning. The episode is somewhat similar to the lotus eating in Odyssey,
one of the two great Greek epics by Homer. Similarly, the egg of the
bird roc has been described as being dome shaped and white in
color. There are references to a similar thing in Marco Polo's
descriptions of Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa.
it is not exactly clear on what or in which region Sindbad's tales
of adventures were based, some scholars strongly believe that the
stories had probably inspired Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe to
produce their masterpieces Gulliver's
Travels and Robinson