20 April 1690
Once upon a time, there was a country called Hama. The people of that nation were dark skinned, had curly hair and were tall. They enjoyed reading and studying. They always wanted to learn about the world and everything that was in it. They were fascinated by other cultures and engaged often with other nations.
They traded various goods such as silk and perfumes. They were known for the wealth and knowledge that they had amassed. Their merchants wore turbans and were draped in long flowing clothes with beads, bracelets and fascinating jingle-jangles hanging all about.
Knowledge and wealth were similar. They cultivated a desire to have more of both. One day there was a young man. His name was Ali Matu.
Ali Matu was a prince and a warrior. He was fabulously rich and was a skilled fighter. He was loved by women and respected by men. He had a vision to explore the lands over the Borean Sea. He couldn’t do it alone, so he asked the King of Hama for help.
He put together a large caravan of camels and horses that carried gifts of gold, spices, fabrics and exotic food and headed for the capital of Hama: Komodu. The city sat on the coast to the north. It was the biggest city in the land.
It had great walls, a big harbour full of great ships, great palaces and castles and wide stone roads. People spoke in a lofty accent of the Hamanese language. Their fancy and pretentious how dost thou doeth? made Ali laugh when he arrive.
He had sent a messenger ahead to tell the King that he would be arriving. He had hoped that the King would listen to him.
His own fame surprised him. People lined the streets waiting for his procession to enter the city. They yelled in excitement when they saw the famous Ali Matu enter the city. Women fainted and young boys play-fought, reenacting the stories of his adventures.
He finally arrived at the Royal Palace. He sent his herald to request an audience with the King. After a few hours, the herald came back to Ali and told him that the King was waiting for him.
Ali went inside the Throne Room in which he would meet the King. The floors were made from white marble. Black marble columns held up the vaulted ceiling which was decorated with arabesque. The King sat in a golden throne at the end of the room under a red canopy.
Ali kneeled before the King and waited for the King to acknowledge him.
Greetings, your Majesty, Ali nervously said.
Greetings, my son, the King, Thou hast requested an audience with our royal person. What seeketh thou?
I seeketh thine help and blessing, mine liege, Ali answered, For an expedition to the cold lands beyond this Borean Sea.
The King was interested by what Ali said. He was so happy and fascinated that he invited Ali to a feast where they could talk over the project in more detail. Ali and his caravan were housed in a part of the palace.
The feast took place later that evening. There were belly dancers and fire breathers to keep the attendees entertained. There was lots of food. The spicy fragrance wafted around the palace.
Ali then told the King of his request