Rudolf Erich Raspe: Gulliver revived, London 1786 (R3)

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I will relate a very strange circumstance that happened to me a few month before my last return to Europe.

The Grand Seignior, to whom I was introduced by the Imperial, Russian, and French Ambassadors, employed me to negotiate a matter of great importance at Grand Cairo, and which was of such a nature that, it must ever remain a secret.

I went there in great state by land, where having completed the business, dismissed almost all my attendants, and returned like a private gentleman; the weather was delightful, and that famous river the Nile was beautiful beyond all description; in short, I was tempted to hire a barge, to descend by water to Alexandria. On the third day of my voyage the river began to rise most amazingly (you have all heard, I presume, of the annual overflowing of the Nile), and on the next day it spread the whole country for many leagues on each side! On the fifth, at sun-rise, my barge became entangled with what I at first took for shrubs, but as the light became stronger, I found myself surrounded by almonds, which were perfectly ripe, and in the highest perfection; upon plumbing with a line my people found we were at least sixty feet from the ground, and unable to advance or retreat; about eight or nine oʼclock, as near as I could judge by the altitude of the sun, the wind rose suddenly, and canted our barge on one side; here she filled, and I saw no more of her for some time, as you will hear; fortunately we all saved ourselves (six men and two boys) by clinging to the tree, the boughs of which were equal to our weight, though not to that of the barge: in this situation we continued six weeks and three days, living upon the almonds! I need not inform you we had plenty of water. On the forty-second day of our distress the water fell as rapidly as it had risen, and on the forty-sixth we were able to venture down upon terra firma. Our barge was the first pleasing object we saw, about two hundred yards from the spot where she sunk. After drying everything that was useful by the heat of the sun, and loading ourselves with necessaries from the stores on board, we set out to recover our lost ground, and found, by the nearest calculation we had been carried over garden walls, and a variety of enclosures, above one 150 miles. In seven days we reached the river, which was now confined to its banks, related our adventures to a Bey, who kindly accommodated all our wants, and sent us forward in a barge of his own. In six days more we arrived at Alexandria, where we took shipping for Constantinople. I was received kindly by the Grand Seignior, had the honour of seeing the seraglio, to which his highness introduced me himself, and presented me with as many ladies. His wives not excepted, as I thought proper to select for my own amusement, and half a dozen friends also.

R3, S. 66-71



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