Thanks for your question. This one brought back memories for me. When
I was a child, I had a much-beloved copy of The Thousand and One
Nights and this was one of the tales that I recall very well.
In The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor, Sindbad comes across an
old and enfeebled man, who indicates that hed like the sailor to
carry him on his back. Sindbad complies. When Sindbad asks the man to
climb down, the old man refuses and digs his heels (and in some
versions tightens his grip on Sindbads neck). This goes on for some
time until Sindbad decides to give the old man some wine. Eventually,
the old man becomes drunk and loosens his grip and Sindbad is able to
throw him off. In some versions, he then kills the old man. Sindbad
subsequently learns that his tormentor was Sheikh-al-Bahr or the
fabled Old Man of the Sea.
There are several versions of this tale. The following links have
Fifth Voyage/Arabian Knights
The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman
One of the possible explanations/origin for the Old Man of the Sea is
that he was an ape or an orangutan.
Sindbad the Sailor, Voyages of
old man of the sea sindbad
old man of the sea 1001 Nights
I hope this answers your question. If you need more information or if
the links do not work, please ask for clarification before rating my
answer and Ill do my best to assist you.