In one story he is enslaved by the old man of the sea & uses apes to pick fruit so he can afford his fare back to Baghdad

The Final Jeopardy question for Tuesday, July 9, 2024, plunged into the depths of classic literature. The category set the stage: “Literature,” promising a query that might require contestants to dig through their memories of dusty bookshelves and timeless narratives. The clue presented was, “In one story he is enslaved by the old man of the sea & uses apes to pick fruit so he can afford his fare back to Baghdad.”

Who is Sinbad?

This enigmatic figure, Sinbad the Sailor, originates from the Middle Eastern folk tale collection known as the “One Thousand and One Nights,” or more commonly, “Arabian Nights.” These tales have traveled through centuries, narrated from one generation to another, entwining myth with adventure and the exotic with the everyday.

Sinbad the Sailor’s stories are a compelling blend of adventure, fantasy, and the trials of fate. In the particular tale referenced by the Jeopardy clue, Sinbad’s fifth voyage is under the spotlight. He finds himself captured by the old man of the sea, a burdensome creature who clings to Sinbad’s shoulders, rendering him a captive through deceit. This episode not only tests his resilience but also his ingenuity in facing dire circumstances.

The mention of apes picking fruits refers to another segment of the same voyage. After escaping the old man, Sinbad washes ashore on an island inhabited by apes. Here, he observes these creatures collecting fruits from a mysterious valley. Sinbad’s quick thinking leads him to use the apes to gather these fruits, which he then uses to trade for his passage back to Baghdad. This part of his voyage highlights his ability to adapt and utilize the resources available to him, a recurring theme in his adventures that symbolizes the human spirit’s enduring ingenuity.

The stories of Sinbad the Sailor are not merely about fantastical adventures; they are rich in cultural significance and human values. They reflect themes of endurance, cleverness, and the eternal human yearning for exploration and understanding of the unknown. Each of Sinbad’s voyages brings new challenges and mystical encounters, which are metaphors for the trials one faces through life.


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