What a great letter from Nadia, retelling the events in the story 'The First Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor' using detailed description and deliberate vocabulary choices. Have a read below. I was gripped from the first paragraph.
What I'm about to say is the truth, it's no lie. I really did get swept up and I really was on a whale. You may not believe this mysterious tale as you have never had the experience, but I have, and I will explain my story in vivid detail. So let me take you on my journey so you can see this peculiar tale from another point of view.
Back then I was an unwise young man. I spent all my fathers savings on items I didn’t need. So one day I decided I needed to go abroad, to the open seas to seek new land. After saying goodbye, I set out with my crew and sailed far away. It had been days since my crew and I saw land, so we were all getting restless until one calm morning. As we were about to turn another direction, when all of a sudden we spotted the most magnificent island. Immediately, we stopped our ship and decided to stay for the night.
As dinner was being prepared, I set out to explore the island in more detail. By the time dinner was served, I was far in the woods, unable to hear my crew shouting. Then all of a sudden the ground begun to shake. It got louder and louder. As quick as my legs could carry me, I dashed towards the ship. But by the time I had got there it was gone. Then the worst happened. The island begun to sink to the sea floor. With pure panic written all over my face, I told myself it was over, and it would be a miracle if I survived. As I was about to shut my eyes, I realised the island was a whale, a whale that had been woken up. I was out of ideas. Then all of a sudden I saw a small tree floating. I clung onto it with my life, hoping I’d be safe.
It had been days since I had seen any alive being, and of course I was getting restless. But then, as I was about to die, I saw land. And this time it didn’t look like a whale, it looked like a proper island. The minute I reached the island, my head fell onto the sand, then I began to sleep. When I woke up I realised I had no food. I began to search. After hours of hunting, I had no luck, so I decided to climb the mountain. When I had finally climbed the steep mountain, I saw food and water. Immediately I ran towards the sauce of water, when all of a sudden two guards took hold of me. They asked me why I was here, then I began to explain my story. Luckily in the end they understood, and then they told me that I was lucky because if I arrived one day later, they wouldn’t have been here. Then they took me to their king. Then once again I told them my story. The king was lovely and told me I could stay here. Then I started a new life.
A few weeks had passed and of course I had got bored. I was desperate to go home. One day when I was working, I saw a familiar man. He said that this ship belonged to me and if I wanted I could sail home. I was delighted. When I made my announcement to the king, he handed me millions of gold coins and wished me luck. Eventually I was home, safe and sound.
Sindbad the sailor
I loved in Leila's letter how she explains in the beginning how the story was formed. I also really like the detailed and considered description throughout.
Greetings, I am Sindbad the sailor, and I have a tale worth sharing, so here I am, recording my escapade in this letter, so that people have knowledge of my intrepid exploit. Though lies have twisted and morphed my story so much, that my tale is just a mere fable. But in this account, I will tell you what really happened. So, this is how it started:
Recently, my father had made an honourable profit, enough to feed the family for weeks, but recklessly, I depleted stacks and stacks of gold coins, on gold cloth, lush spices, and many ceramic pots and pans, with swirly inscriptions. I am puzzled what possessed me to do such things, but the past cannot be reversed. By then we were living on scraps; pieces of sheep tendon, vulgar pieces of stale crusts, and overcooked rice. I decided this was enough, so I hired a crew and a ship with the money we had left, and explained to my family that I would seek fresh land, and make my fortune, to put a stop to our poverty. The next day I set off to the docks, where a crew of twelve was waiting beside a navy blue ship, its tall funnel already spouting mushrooming smoke columns into the clean air. As I hopped aboard, I had a sinking feeling that I would meet a wet demise, but I put on a brave face as my family waved me away.
The small ship whirred and clunked, and finally was flung into motion, as a shoal of silver fish darted around the iron anchor, which was currently embedded in the golden sand. After heaving stocks of food, water, spare ropes, and cooking pots, we were ready to set off to discover new land. After weeks of drifting across the sheets of blue water, my crew and I started to desire land, even just a patch, to feel the solid ground instead of the choppy, turbulent sea underneath the sweet cedar deck. As we were just about to lose hope, an island came into view. We sailed furiously towards it, and on one starry night, we arrived at the shore. Soft sand melted under my feet, and a sigh of relief escaped my mouth. Tickly grass stroked my ankles, and a cool breeze rushed into my face. After setting up camp, and a pot of stew to cook over a fire, I went off to explore and appreciate the beauty of the small island.
Brightly coloured flowers sprouted at my feet, and the waving arms of the trees provided a comfortable flurry of wind to refresh my face. It was paradise, after the tossing currents of the sea, that whipped spray and cold water into my face. As I started to return to the base, the ground beneath my feet shook softly. Then it rumbled. Then it boomed. Louder and louder, until cracks formed in the earth. At that point, its was too serious. I ran as fast as I could back to shore, out of the tangling clutches of the beautiful but deadly forests, but no matter how quickly I could have ran, I didn’t make it, as the remains of the crew had scarpered, and taken the ship with them. The only option was to jump in the unforgiving clasps of the sea. I made a running jump, and landed on a thin branch with a thud, and right in front of me was a blue face of pure vengeance. I recoiled in horror. It was a whale, not an island!
I paddled as rapidly as I could, and by dusk, I arrived at a strip of beach. I immediately collapsed into a ball, and slept soundly through the night. When I finally awoke, I could see the island more clearly. There was a jagged outcrop of mountain, and a few trees, but otherwise the place was barren. I figured climbing the mountain was my only chance. So at daybreak, I was at the summit of the cliff. Suddenly, I saw a pool of glittering water, and a shrub with sage coloured leaves on it. I ate my fill, and started to ascend the last stretch of the cliff, when two guards came up to me and demanded who I was. I told them I was Sindbad, and one of them furrowed their brow suspiciously. Despite that, they lead me to a small cave poking out from a outcrop of jagged stone, where a snowy white horse was tethered to a cedar tree outside the cave. They beckoned me inside, and handed me a goblet of fresh water, a slice of buttered bread, and a sliver of spiced meat. After I ate the meal, I told them my story, and their mouths hung open with disbelief.
The next dawn, they said I could ride back on their finest steed, and tell the King my story. I agreed, and set off immediately. Riding the strong horse into the faded sunset across the golden path, I realised a massive city in the distance, the sun bathing it in rays of light, illuminating it.
After weeks of being in the city, as usual, I started to become fatigued by doing the same doings all the time. But one day, that changed. One bright morning when I was recording today’s finds, a merchant’s boat drifted in quietly, its wet anchor gleaming in the light. As soon as the merchant set foot upon the soft sandy shore, tension built up inside of me. Was that one of the merchants I travelled with? He limped towards me, and at closer inspection, I saw he had a black eyepatch, and a cast covering up the grisly contents of his arm. He booked all his cargo in, and started talking about the late Sindbad, and how brave he was. My heart swelled in pleasure as I told him I was Sinbad. His mouth was agape with excitement and confusion. He told me the crew thought I was dead.
The next day, the merchant asked me to come back home with him, and I accepted with no hesitation. The king bade me farewell, and gifted me with a gilded sack of gold ingots stacked neatly, shining emeralds, and coins galore. He wished me safe travel, and after that, I never saw him again.
Sindbad the Sailor.
Another super letter, from Chelsea. I really like the detailed description she has included and the deliberate vocabulary choices. Have a read in the attachments below.