This is an epic ballad, set against the background of "The Arabian Nights," at an unspecified time in the past. The themes are ones of young men's folly, greed, adventure, crime and punishment. The story is told by an old man who arrives at a cottage somewhere in the British Isles and asks for a bed for the night. He brings the young host a leather pouch with a magnificent "ruby from Trinkamalee." He and three young friends set out some 35 years earlier to see the world and find riches to bring home to their brides. Somewhere in the Middle East, they plotted to break into the palace of the Sultan of Trinkamalee, but are discovered and captured by the guards. Focus is placed on the 7 year-old son of the Sultan who becomes enchanted with stories he overhears of their wild and free earlier lives. He plots to release them and escape with them: he fails; they get away. Before the young host has a chance to learn the identity of his visitor, the old man dies in the night. He suspects, however, that the old man is the father he never knew.
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