The sources of the Nile (from a western map of 1441)

Ibn Zulaq: Akhbar Sibawayh al-Misri (Chronicle of Egypt) (d996)


Taken from: Ibn Abd as-Salam al-Manufi (d. 1525 A.D.); Al-fīd al-madīd fī akhbār an-Nīl as-sa’īd

Father Giovanni Vantini FSCJ's Oriental Sources Concerning Nubia 


Some caliphs of Egypt, ordered some natives to go on an expedition upstream the Nile [to its sources]; they arrived at a high mountain from the top of which the water rushed down with great roar, so great that no one could hear [the voice of] his companion standing nearby. Then, one of the party decided to climb to the top and see the headwaters and the environs; no sooner had he reached the top than he began dancing, clapping hands and laughing. Then he went roaming on the mountain slopes never to return. His companions never knew what befell him. Whereupon, another climbed up to see and did the same. A third companion climbed but instructed the others to fasten a rope round his waist. Once I shall reach the place where the other two arrived - he said - pull me down lest I do what they did and lose my way back. They followed his instructions. When he reached the top of the mountain, he behaved like the others; then his companions pulled him back, but - it is said - he had become dumb and could not utter a single word. He died soon afterwards. The expedition returned without obtaining any result other than that.