The Voyages of “Sinbad, The Sailor” mythos can delight people of all ages. This Arabian Nights folktale revolves around a fictional sailor. Despite the several variations around the main story, its exotic appeal hasn’t died down even among adults.
If your child loves heroic adventure tales or legends and you would like to expand their storytelling skills and boost their imagination and creativity, “Sinbad, The Sailor” is an inspirational story full of magic you can introduce to them.
With several twists and turns, it might be difficult to understand the crux of the whole seven-part series of his magical journey to uncharted territories. Look no further, for we are here to share with you some interesting details on his thrilling voyages and the encounters with challenges on his quest to make a fortune. Sit back and read it to your kids before bed.
Origin Of Sindbad The Sailor Story
Sindbad is one of the characters from the Arabian Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern stories narrated by Scheherazade, the wife of a Persian king named Shahryar. The story, however, was not a part of the original 14th century manuscripts of the Arabian Nights. It is believed that European translators added it during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The tale is about a merchant called Sindbad (also spelled Sinbad), who lived during the third Islamic caliphate. The stories and myths of Sindbad’s adventures are filled with details of giant birds, sea monsters, whales as big as an island, goddesses, and evil fictional characters that are appealing to children and even adults.
Sindbad In Popular Media.
Among the 1,001 tales of the Arabian Nights collection, Sindbad the Sailor is one of the most popular ones. He is one of the most loved heroes among children. In fact, it is so popular that the story has been retold through media channels including television and movies. Several animated TV series, and movies in different languages around the world including Hindi, Japanese, German, Turkish, and Italian English, have been made based on this folk tale.
In English alone, there are 16 retellings of Sindbad’s adventures. A French musical and Sinbad the sailor chords were also made based on his chronicles. Wondering what’s in the stories that have made them so popular that there are so many adaptations?
Then you must read the summary of Sindbad the Sailor stories we have for you.
The Story Of Sindbad The Sailor And His Voyages
If your kids love reading history and enjoy listening to adventurous tales, then they will love the stories about
Sindbad’s seven fantastic voyages. Ready to climb on board?
Tired and hungry, Sindbad the porter, takes a break to rest on the bench outside a mansion. Sitting on the bench, he complains to Allah that it is not fair that some are so poor and others enjoy luxuries. The owner of the house, also named Sindbad, hears this and reaches out to him. The sailor reports to the porter that he was also poor once and that he became wealthy only by fate and destiny.
The First Voyage – The Whale Island
Finally, the narration begins. After spending the little fortune that his father left him, Sindbad decides to recreate his wealth as a merchant. He sets sail on a ship with other traders. They reach an island, which happens to be a resting whale on which trees have grown.
The sleeping whale awakens when the sailors start a small fire to keep themselves warm. When the whale dives deep into the ocean to destroy the fire, Sindbad is pulled into the water but manages to come back up and holds on to a wooden log that he luckily finds. Unluckily for him, the ship departs without him.
With the help of that log, he reaches another island, where he helps save the King’s horse from a supernatural sea monster. The grateful king offers Sindbad a place in his court. Soon he becomes one of the king’s favorites and rises in rank and wealth.
After a few months, the ship that abandoned him comes to the port and Sindbad expresses his desire to go back home. The King approves, gives him a few gold coins and sends him back home. on his ship.
The Second Voyage – The Rocs
Thanks to the wealth he made during the first voyage, Sindbad the sailor has a lot of leisure time on his hands. But he is bored and wants to get back on a ship to see the world. So he sets off on another voyage, and during one of the breaks, he is accidentally abandoned by his crew on an island.
On the island, he finds a giant Roc (a giant bird) egg and attaches himself to it. The giant bird picks up the egg, and along with it Sindbad, and flies to the nest. He passes a valley of giant snakes, big enough to swallow an elephant. The snakes protect the diamonds and gems in the valley, killing anyone who enters it. The snakes are also Roc food.
It so happens that smart merchants throw large chunks of meat on the diamonds in the valley to lure the Roc. The diamonds get stuck to the meat that the birds carry. When the birds come out of the valley with the meat and diamonds, the merchants trick them into leaving the meat to collect the diamonds.
Sindbad smartly straps himself to one of the meat pieces when his Roc picks one up. He also collects a bag full of diamonds and gems when the Roc swoops into the valley. The merchants then rescue Sindbad from the Roc’s nest and take him back home, with the riches he got from the valley.
The Third Voyage – The Monstrous Giants and Giant Snakes
Sindbad’s craving to see more of the world takes him on another journey. As fate would have it, Sindbad and all his shipmates end up on an island, on which there is a castle. The castle belongs to a giant monster, with canine teeth, fiery eyes, a gaping mouth, and extremely dark skin. The giant captures the sailors and decides to eat them one a day, starting with the captain, a fat man.
Worried about their fate, Sindbad and his mates decide to trick the giant. They manage to get the red-hot iron spits on which the giant roasts the person he wants to eat. They successfully blind the monster and escape on a raft made from wood on the island. The crew escapes assaults by the other giants and somehow ends up on another dangerous island, filled with fruit and fresh water, which has huge serpents that attack them.
Fearing death, the crew runs into the woods, only to find that there are more of the large snakes in there. They get scattered and Sindbad, alone now, builds himself a shelter with wooden sticks to keep the serpents from coming close to him. He spends the night in fear and by morning, moves towards the shore, where he finds another merchant ship sailing by.
The merchants on the ship rescue him and are awed by his swashbuckling stories. Lucky for Sindbad, this is the same ship that had accidentally abandoned him during his second voyage. The captain, an honest man, gives Sindbad the money they made from selling his merchandise, making Sindbad wealthier yet again.
The Fourth Voyage – Cannibals and Customs
Sindbad joins another group of merchants to go on another journey. They travel from port to port, peacefully, for a while. But one day, a storm makes the sea wild and fearsome. The wind also becomes powerful and turns the ship upside down, throwing all men and goods into the sea. The sailors, barely make it to an island, by holding on to whatever was floating. They move into the wooded island from the shore and reach a fire house.
The residents of the house welcome the crew and give them food. The sailors eat as much as they want until evening when the hosts move them into a barn-like place. The sailors would eat whatever the hosts fed them and then sleep the rest of the day. Sindbad didn’t like this animal behavior of his fellow sailors, and soon, he realizes that the hosts are fattening them up to eat them.
With the help of one of the guards, Sindbad manages to escape the cannibals. He reaches another part of the island inhabited by ordinary people. Being the merchant he is, Sindbad soon finds a way to make money on the island and impresses the king with his creativity. The king requests Sindbad to live in their city and also gets him married to a nobleman’s daughter.
The kingdom has an unusual custom of burying the living spouse along with the dead one. So when Sindbad’s wife dies of illness, he is forcefully buried in the pit with her, with a jug of water and seven pieces of bread. He survives for a few days, and one lucky night, he finds a burrow dug by a fox or another scavenger animal. Malnourished and thin, he slowly and painfully crawls through the tunnel, which leads him to the shore.
A merchant ship rescues him and takes him home from there.
The Fifth Voyage – Angry Rocs and Old Man Parasite
You might think that Sindbad would give up sailing after a near-death experience during his fourth journey. But his love for the sea compels him to make the same mistakes again. So this time, Sindbad buys a ship and hires an entire crew, including the captain of the ship.
A few weeks into the journey, the sailors halt near an island, the one with the Roc eggs. Out of curiosity, some sailors break open the egg, thinking it to be a stone of some kind. When the little chick comes out of it, they make a meal out of it.
When Sindbad notices what the crew has done, he senses they are in peril and orders the captain to set sail immediately. A few hours into the journey, two giant Rocs use boulders to attack and sink the ship. Sindbad somehow escapes and manages to swim to the nearest shore. On exploring the land, he finds that the island has sweet-smelling flowers and low-hanging fruits. He eats and sleeps that night.
The next morning after the exploration, he finds an old man dressed in a palm-leaf skirt, sitting across him and watching him. He asks Sindbad to help him pluck the fruits, by carrying him on his shoulders. Sindbad agrees reluctantly and takes the old man from one tree to another, until evening.
The old man holds on to Sindbad by wrapping his legs around his host’s neck, almost strangling him. Sindbad carries the burden day after day after day, as the old man punches, kicks, and chokes Sindbad each time he asks him to get off.
One day, Sindbad and the old man come across a guard-like vegetable and grapes. He breaks the guard vegetable in half, clears the insides of it to make a cup. He then crushes the grapes and ferments the liquid in the vegetable bowl, to make wine. He offers the wine to the old man, who continues to drink until he passes out. Somehow, Sindbad manages to free himself from the old man’s stranglehold and makes his way to the shore, where a passing merchant ship rescues him.
On his way back home, Sindbad the merchant amasses money on an ape-infested island and goes back home wealthier than before.
The Sixth Voyage – Lost At Sea & Sri Lanka
Sinbad had all the money and peace he wanted, but his mind tricked him into going on another trip, for the thrill that the adventure gave him. He sets sail on a ship with other merchants and trades at different ports, making money on the way. One day, the ship’s captain comes wailing to the merchants, for they have gone off course and he has no idea about the seas they are traveling on. Even as the captain is pouring his heart out, the ship runs into some sea rocks and eventually crashes.
A lot of people on board the ship drown, leaving Sindbad and a few others on their own to survive. Sindbad and his friends reach an island, which has precious stones and gems for pebbles. The crew mates go crazy collecting all the treasure, and by the end of the day, they are tired. Sadly, the island has only a few herb plants for food, and one after the other, all of Sindbad’s shipmates die of hunger.
With a strong will to live, Sindbad explores the island further and comes across a river. He builds a raft, places all his collected treasure on it, and sets sail on the river. He enters an opening in a wall, like a cave, and when he comes out of it on the other side, he finds civilization. On talking to the people, he realizes he is in Sri Lanka. The king Al Hind is happy to see Sindbad and hear his stories. He sends the sailor back home with more gold as a gift for the caliph and Sindbad.
The Seventh Voyage – One last Adventure
Sindbad was not very happy sitting and doing nothing after his last adventure. So he joins a group of merchants and goes on yet another voyage. For a while, all was well, but one day, a fierce storm steers the ship in an entirely different direction. After the storms subsided, the captain climbs the mast to see where they have landed.
He comes down and says in a rather sad tone that they have reached the furthest corner of the world, called The Sea of the King. This is where Solomon lies buried, under the waves. The captain is sure that there is no way out for the crew and that they will soon be killed by large fishes and sea monsters that are known to inhabit the waters.
After escaping three giant snakes in the sea, the ship crash lands on a reef, leaving the sailors in dangerous waters. Sindbad manages to grab a plank and uses it to stay afloat for two days. After days of thrilling escapades, he finally reaches an island. He quickly finds some food to restore his energy and builds a boat to get back home. He reaches a valley and just before his boat goes down a waterfall, he is rescued by a fisherman.
The fisherman takes him to the town, where a wealthy merchant hosts Sindbad. Having heard of Sindbad and his travels, the old man believes that Sindbad is a prosperous businessman who has Allah’s blessings at all times, for he escaped dangerous seas seven times! He asks Sindbad to marry his daughter, and the sailor of seven seas agrees.
During his stay there, Sindbad encounters evil bird-folk, a giant serpent, and servants of the Almighty himself. After a rather dangerous adventure with the bird people, Sindbad returns to the safety of his home. He and his wife then decide to move to Baghdad, and Sindbad vows never to travel the seas again.
After narrating the story of his seventh and last seafaring odyssey, Sindbad the sailor asks Sindbad the porter – “So now that you heard about the dangers and the hardships I had to go through to become wealthy, do you still think it is unfair that I have these riches?” The porter apologizes for his earlier statements, and the two men decide to be good friends for life.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What adaptations of Sinbad the Sailor have been made into a film?
Some of the popular movie adaptations of ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ are The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), and Arabian Nights: Adventures of Sinbad (1975–1976).
2. How has the story of Sinbad the Sailor been used to promote travel and exploration?
The travel experiences and beautiful details of the places Sinbad visited and the knowledge and culture he experienced may encourage you explore world.
3. What role did Sinbad the Sailor play in Arabian literature and storytelling traditions?
The way the story cycle of ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ has been written and the information it carries about the Arbaian culture, places, Muslim values, and Arabian trades plays an important role in Arabian literature and storytelling traditions. In each story, Sindbad travels to a distant place and successfully finds his way to his hometown, thus representing the idea of a successful traveler and adventurer.
4. How has the character of Sinbad the Sailor evolved over time?
Over the years, the story of Sinbad the Sailor has also evolved owing to the relatability of the current population, cultural variation, media influence, and other factors. For example, while earlier versions of the story depicted him as a wealthy merchant, there are some modern versions where Sinbad has been portrayed as a courageous traveler, pirate, and even a cunning merchant.
Stories, folklore, and fables help children improve their creative thinking skills and imagination. This story on ‘The Seven Voyages Of Sindbad, The Sailor’ talks about various interesting concepts such as goddesses, islands, evil characters, and giant birds. As they read through each voyage and the struggles that Sindbad has to overcome in order to reach his destination, children may learn to never give up on their dreams and also have the strength and courage to overcome the obstacles that come their way. Sounds exciting? Why not join your child in reading these stories to double the fun.
Sail away with Sindbad the Sailor on his first voyage! Join him on an exciting adventure full of surprises and wonders!