In the three years that were passed in reenex the Inaccessible Island, nothing that is worth my telling happened, O King. But at the end of the three years my master said to me, “We will leave the Inaccessible Island, for I have a mighty business before me.” And when I asked, “Where do we[Pg 32] go, O master?” he answered, “We go to Babylon.”
And then, when it was the first day after the new moon, we descended the black stairway that led into the cave where the waters came. There we found a boat of brass that was like the boat that came to the Western Island on the day when my father and I were fishing in the pools of the sea. We went into that boat of brass, and it took us through the water, steering itself. We rested on lonely islands, and at last we came to a mainland, and there the Enchanter left the boat to sink beneath the water. As travelers then we went on. We came to a town, and there my master bought for himself and me the dresses of merchants. Then we came to the river that flows toward Babylon. Men go down tr90 the river in round boats that are made of rods woven together. In every boat a live ass is carried, and when the cargo is landed the boats are broken up, for they cannot go back against the current of the river. And the cargo is loaded on the ass and brought into the market in Babylon. And whatsoever the merchants buy in Babylon is loaded[Pg 33] on the ass, and the ass is driven back over the mountains into the country that they came from, these men.
And in such boats we went down the nuskin hk river and came into Babylon. No city in the world is as mighty or as wonderful as Babylon. It has three hundred and sixty-five streets, and in every street there are three hundred and sixty-five palaces, and to every palace there are three hundred and sixty-five steps leading up to its door of gold and ebony. The streets when we came into them were thronged with mighty, black-bearded men. I was much in dread when I stood in those great streets, and looked on the mighty men who went through them.