The Pacha of Many Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 417 pages of information about The Pacha of Many Tales.

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The gale lasted for three days, and then it as suddenly fell calm.  I had observed by the compass that we had been running to the eastward, and I supposed that we were not very far from the Western Isles.  As I surveyed the bodies of my companions, it occurred to me that they ought to fetch a high price in Italy as specimens of art, and I resolved to dispose of them as the work of men.  Having no other employment, I brought up the spare planks from below, and made packing-cases for them all.  It was with some difficulty that I contrived, by means of tackles, to lower them to the hold, which I succeeded in accomplishing with safety excepting in one instance, when, from the tackle-fall giving way, the image fell to the bottom of the vessel, and being very brittle, was broken into pieces.  As it was no longer of any value as a statue, I broke it up to examine it, and I can assure your highness that it was very wonderful to witness how every part of the human body was changed into flint, of a colour corresponding with that which it had been when living.  The heart was red, and on my arrival in Italy I had several seals made from it, which were pronounced by the lapidaries who cut them to be of the finest blood-red cornelian.  I have now a piece of the dark stone of which the liver was composed, which I keep for striking a light.  As it afterwards proved, almost all of it was valuable, for the alternate fat and lean formed a variety of beautiful onyxes and sardonyx, which I disposed of very advantageously to the cameo engravers.  I was several days employed in packing up, but I had plenty of provisions and water, and had no doubt but that I should be seen by some vessel before they were expended.  Three weeks had elapsed, when one morning I went on deck, and saw land on both sides of me.  I immediately recognised the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Straits, through which I was drifting.  I was boarded by a Spanish gun-boat from Algesiras, and having stated that all my crew had died two months before of the yellow fever, I was towed in, put into quarantine for forty days, and then permitted to equip my vessel and procure sailors.  This I was enabled to do by selling two of the flasks which held the water, and which, like all the other utensils of the island from which I had escaped, were of pure gold.

I did not think it prudent to go to Leghorn, where not only the vessel might be recognised, and the widow give me some trouble, but the statues also might have been identified as the men who had sailed in the vessel, and occasion my being burnt as a necromancer by the Inquisition.  I directed my course for Naples, where I arrived in safety.  Having disembarked my metamorphosed crew, I hired a large room to exhibit them, and expected to realise a considerable sum; but as I could not name the artist, and the figures had not the grace which the Italians admire, they remained on my hands, and were even found fault with

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The Pacha of Many Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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