Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
There once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called Aladdin, a
careless, idle boy who would do nothing but play all day long in the
streets with little idle boys like himself. This so grieved the father
that he died; yet, in spite of his mother's tears and prayers, Aladdin
did not mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the streets as
usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he was not the son of
Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir," replied Aladdin; "but he died a long
while ago." On this the stranger, who was a famous African magician,
fell on his neck and kissed him saying: "I am your uncle, and knew you
from your likeness to my brother. Go to your mother and tell her I am
coming." Aladdin ran home and told his mother of his newly found
uncle. "Indeed, child," she said, "your father had a brother, but I
always thought he was dead." However, she prepared supper, and bade
Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine and fruit. He fell
down and kissed the place where Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin's
mother not to be surprised at not having seen him before, as he had
been forty years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin, and
asked him his trade, at which the boy hung his head, while his mother
burst into tears. On learning that Aladdin was idle and would learn no
trade, he offered to take a shop for him and stock it with merchandise.
Next day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and took him all over
the city, showing him the sights, and brought him home at nightfall to
his mother, who was overjoyed to see her son so fine.
Next day the magician led Aladdin into some beautiful gardens a long
way outside the city gates. They sat down by a fountain and the
magician pulled a cake from his girdle, which he divided between them.
Then they journeyed onwards till they almost reached the mountains.
Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go back, but the magician
beguiled him with pleasant stories and lead him on in spite of himself.
At last they came to two mountains divided by a narrow valley. "We
will go no farther," said his uncle. "I will show you something
wonderful; only do you gather up sticks while I kindle a fire." When
it was lit the magician threw on it a powder he had about him, at the
same time saying some magical words. The earth trembled a little in
front of them, disclosing a square flat stone with a brass ring in the
middle to raise it by. Aladdin tried to run away, but the magician
caught him and gave him a blow that knocked him down. "What have I
done, uncle?" he said piteously; whereupon the magician said more
kindly: "Fear nothing, but obey me. Beneath this stone lies a
treasure which is to be yours, and no one else may touch it, so you
must do exactly as I tell you." At the word treasure Aladdin forgot
his fears, and grasped the ring as he was told, saying the names of his
father and grandfather. The stone came up quite easily, and some steps
appeared. "Go down," said the magician; "at the foot of those steps
you will find an open door leading into three large halls. Tuck up
your gown and go through them without touching anything, or you will
die instantly. These halls lead into a garden of fine fruit trees.
Walk on till you come to niche in a terrace where stands a lighted
lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it me." He drew a ring
from his finger and gave it to Aladdin, bidding him prosper.
Aladdin found everything as the magician had said, gathered some fruit
off the trees, and, having got the lamp, arrived at the mouth of the
cave. The magician cried out in a great hurry: "Make haste and give me
the lamp." This Aladdin refused to do until he was out of the cave.
The magician flew into a terrible passion, and throwing some more
powder on to the fire, he said something, and the stone rolled back
into its place.
The man left the country, which plainly showed that he was no uncle of
Aladdin's but a cunning magician, who had read in his magic books of a
wonderful lamp, which would make him the most powerful man in the
world. Though he alone knew where to find it, he could only receive it
from the hand of another. He had picked out the foolish Aladdin for
this purpose, intending to get the lamp and kill him afterwards.
For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and lamenting. At
last he clasped his hands in prayer, and in so doing rubbed the ring,
which the magician had forgotten to take from him. Immediately an
enormous and frightful genie rose out of the earth, saying: "What
wouldst thou with me? I am the Slave of the Ring, and will obey thee
in all things." Aladdin fearlessly replied, "Deliver me from this
place!" whereupon the earth opened, and he found himself outside. As
soon as his eyes could bear the light he went home, but fainted on the
threshold. When he came to himself he told his mother what had passed,
and showed her the lamp and the fruits he had gathered in the garden,
which were in reality precious stones. He then asked for some food.
"Alas! child," she said, "I have nothing in the house, but I have spun
a little cotton and will go sell it." Aladdin bade her keep her
cotton, for he would sell the lamp instead. As it was very dirty, she
began to rub it, that it might fetch a higher price. Instantly a
hideous genie appeared, and asked what she would have. She fainted
away, but Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly: "Fetch me something
to eat!" The genie returned with a silver bowl, twelve silver plates
containing rich meats, two silver cups, and two bottles of wine.
Aladdin's mother, when she came to herself, said: "Whence comes this
splendid feast?" "Ask not, but eat," replied Aladdin. So they sat at
breakfast till it was dinner-time, and Aladdin told his mother about
the lamp. She begged him to sell it, and have nothing to do with
devils. "No," said Aladdin, "since chance hath made us aware of its
virtues, we will use it, and the ring likewise, which I shall always
wear on my finger." When they had eaten all the genie had brought,
Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on until none were left.
He then had recourse to the genie, who gave him another set of plates,
and thus they lived many years.
One day Aladdin heard an order from the Sultan proclaimed that everyone
was to stay at home and close his shutters while the Princess his
daughter went to and from the bath. Aladdin was seized by a desire to
see her face, which was very difficult, as she always went veiled. He
hid himself behind the door of the bath, and peeped through a chink.
The Princess lifted her veil as she went in, and looked so beautiful
that Aladdin fell in love with her at first sight. He went home so
changed that his mother was frightened. He told her he loved the
Princess so deeply he could not live without her, and meant to ask her
in marriage of her father. His mother, on hearing this, burst out
laughing, but Aladdin at last prevailed upon her to go before the
Sultan and carry his request. She fetched a napkin and laid in it the
magic fruits from the enchanted garden, which sparkled and shone like
the most beautiful jewels. She took these with her to please the
Sultan, and set out, trusting in the lamp. The Grand Vizier and the
lords of council had just gone in as she entered the hall and placed
herself in front of the Sultan. He, however, took no notice of her.
She went every day for a week, and stood in the same place. When the
council broke up on the sixth day the Sultan said to his Vizier: "I
see a certain woman in the audience-chamber every day carrying
something in a napkin. Call her next time, that I may find out what
she wants." Next day, at a sign from the vizier, she went up to the
foot of the throne and remained kneeling until the Sultan said to her:
"Rise, good woman, and tell me what you want." She hesitated, so the
Sultan sent away all but the Vizier, and bade her speak freely,
promising to forgive her beforehand for anything she might say. She
then told him of her son's violent love for the Princess. "I prayed
him to forget her," she said, "but in vain; he threatened to do some
desperate deed if I refused to go and ask your Majesty for the hand of
the Princess. Now I pray you to forgive not me alone, but my son
Aladdin." The Sultan asked her kindly what she had in the napkin,
whereupon she unfolded the jewels and presented them. He was
thunderstruck, and turning to the vizier, said: "What sayest thou?
Ought I not to bestow the Princess on one who values her at such a
price?" The Vizier, who wanted her for his own son, begged the Sultan
to withhold her for three months, in the course of which he hoped his
son could contrive to make him a richer present. The Sultan granted
this, and told Aladdin's mother that, though he consented to the
marriage, she must not appear before him again for three months.
Aladdin waited patiently for nearly three months, but after two had
elapsed, his mother, going into the city to buy oil, found everyone
rejoicing, and asked what was going on. "Do you not know," was the
answer, "that the son of the Grand Vizier is to marry the Sultan's
daughter tonight?" Breathless she ran and told Aladdin, who was
overwhelmed at first, but presently bethought him of the lamp. He
rubbed it and the genie appeared, saying: "What is thy will?" Aladdin
replied: "The Sultan, as thou knowest, has broken his promise to me,
and the vizier's son is to have the Princess. My command is that
to-night you bring hither the bride and bridegroom." "Master, I obey,"
said the genie. Aladdin then went to his chamber, where, sure enough,
at midnight the genie transported the bed containing the vizier's son
and the Princess. "Take this new-married man," he said, "and put him
outside in the cold, and return at daybreak." Whereupon the genie took
the vizier's son out of bed, leaving Aladdin with the Princess. "Fear
nothing," Aladdin said to her; "you are my wife, promised to me by your
unjust father, and no harm will come to you." The Princess was too
frightened to speak, and passed the most miserable night of her life,
while Aladdin lay down beside her and slept soundly. At the appointed
hour the genie fetched in the shivering bridegroom, laid him in his
place, and transported the bed back to the palace.
Presently the Sultan came to wish his daughter good-morning. The
unhappy Vizier's son jumped up and hid himself, while the Princess
would not say a word and was very sorrowful. The Sultan sent her
mother to her, who said: "How comes it, child, that you will not speak
to your father? What has happened?" The Princess sighed deeply, and
at last told her mother how, during the night, the bed had been carried
into some strange house, and what had passed there. Her mother did not
believe her in the least, but bade her rise and consider it an idle
The following night exactly the same thing happened, and next morning,
on the Princess's refusing to speak, the Sultan threatened to cut off
her head. She then confessed all, bidding him ask the Vizier's son if
it were not so. The Sultan told the Vizier to ask his son, who owned
the truth, adding that, dearly as he loved the Princess, he had rather
die than go through another such fearful night, and wished to be
separated from her. His wish was granted, and there was an end of
feasting and rejoicing.
When the three months were over, Aladdin sent his mother to remind the
Sultan of his promise. She stood in the same place as before, and the
Sultan, who had forgotten Aladdin, at once remembered him, and sent for
her. On seeing her poverty the Sultan felt less inclined than ever to
keep his word, and asked his Vizier's advice, who counselled him to set
so high a value on the Princess that no man living would come up to it.
The Sultan than turned to Aladdin's mother, saying: "Good woman, a
sultan must remember his promises, and I will remember mine, but your
son must first send me forty basins of gold brimful of jewels, carried
by forty black slaves, led by as many white ones, splendidly dressed.
Tell him that I await his answer." The mother of Aladdin bowed low and
went home, thinking all was lost. She gave Aladdin the message adding,
"He may wait long enough for your answer!" "Not so long, mother, as
you think," her son replied. "I would do a great deal more than that
for the Princess." He summoned the genie, and in a few moments the
eighty slaves arrived, and filled up the small house and garden.
Aladdin made them to set out to the palace, two by two, followed by his
mother. They were so richly dressed, with such splendid jewels, that
everyone crowded to see them and the basins of gold they carried on
their heads. They entered the palace, and, after kneeling before the
Sultan, stood in a half-circle round the throne with their arms
crossed, while Aladdin's mother presented them to the Sultan. He
hesitated no longer, but said: "Good woman, return and tell your son
that I wait for him with open arms." She lost no time in telling
Aladdin, bidding him make haste. But Aladdin first called the genie.
"I want a scented bath," he said, "a richly embroidered habit, a horse
surpassing the Sultan's, and twenty slaves to attend me. Besides this,
six slaves, beautifully dressed, to wait on my mother; and lastly, ten
thousand pieces of gold in ten purses." No sooner said then done.
Aladdin mounted his horse and passed through the streets, the slaves
strewing gold as they went. Those who had played with him in his
childhood knew him not, he had grown so handsome. When the sultan saw
him he came down from his throne, embraced him, and led him into a hall
where a feast was spread, intending to marry him to the Princess that
very day. But Aladdin refused, saying, "I must build a palace fit for
her," and took his leave. Once home, he said to the genie: "Build me
a palace of the finest marble, set with jasper, agate, and other
precious stones. In the middle you shall build me a large hall with a
dome, its four walls of massy gold and silver, each side having six
windows, whose lattices, all except one which is to be left unfinished,
must be set with diamonds and rubies. There must be stables and horses
and grooms and slaves; go and see about it!"
The palace was finished the next day, and the genie carried him there
and showed him all his orders faithfully carried out, even to the
laying of a velvet carpet from Aladdin's palace to the Sultan's.
Aladdin's mother then dressed herself carefully, and walked to the
palace with her slaves, while he followed her on horseback. The Sultan
sent musicians with trumpets and cymbals to meet them, so that the air
resounded with music and cheers. She was taken to the Princess, who
saluted her and treated her with great honour. At night the princess
said good-bye to her father, and set out on the carpet for Aladdin's
palace, with his mother at her side, and followed by the hundred
slaves. She was charmed at the sight of Aladdin, who ran to receive
her. "Princess," he said, "blame your beauty for my boldness if I have
displeased you." She told him that, having seen him, she willingly
obeyed her father in this matter. After the wedding had taken place,
Aladdin led her into the hall, where a feast was spread, and she supped
with him, after which they danced till midnight.
Next day Aladdin invited the Sultan to see the palace. On entering the
hall with the four-and-twenty windows with their rubies, diamonds and
emeralds, he cried, "It is a world's wonder! There is only one thing
that surprises me. Was it by accident that one window was left
unfinished?" "No, sir, by design," returned Aladdin. "I wished your
Majesty to have the glory of finishing this palace." The Sultan was
pleased, and sent for the best jewelers in the city. He showed them
the unfinished window, and bade them fit it up like the others. "Sir,"
replied their spokesman, "we cannot find jewels enough." The Sultan
had his own fetched, which they soon used, but to no purpose, for in a
month's time the work was not half done. Aladdin knowing that their
task was vain, bade them undo their work and carry the jewels back, and
the genie finished the window at his command. The Sultan was surprised
to receive his jewels again, and visited Aladdin, who showed him the
window finished. The Sultan embraced him, the envious vizier meanwhile
hinting that it was the work of enchantment.
Aladdin had won the hearts of the people by his gentle bearing. He was
made captain of the Sultan's armies, and won several battles for him,
but remained as courteous as before, and lived thus in peace and
content for several years.
But far away in Africa the magician remembered Aladdin, and by his
magic arts discovered that Aladdin, instead of perishing miserably in
the cave, had escaped, and had married a princess, with whom he was
living in great honour and wealth. He knew that the poor tailor's son
could only have accomplished this by means of the lamp, and travelled
night and day till he reached the capital of China, bent on Aladdin's
ruin. As he passed through the town he heard people talking everywhere
about a marvelous palace. "Forgive my ignorance," he asked, "what is
the palace you speak of?" "Have you not heard of Prince Aladdin's
palace," was the reply, "the greatest wonder in the world? I will
direct you if you have a mind to see it." The magician thanked him who
spoke, and having seen the palace knew that it had been raised by the
Genie of the Lamp, and became half mad with rage. He determined to get
hold of the lamp, and again plunge Aladdin into the deepest poverty.
Unluckily, Aladdin had gone a-hunting for eight days, which gave the
magician plenty of time. He bought a dozen lamps, put them into a
basket, and went to the palace, crying: "New lamps for old!" followed
by a jeering crowd. The Princess, sitting in the hall of
four-and-twenty windows, sent a slave to find out what the noise was
about, who came back laughing, so that the Princess scolded her.
"Madam," replied the slave, "who can help laughing to see an old fool
offering to exchange fine new lamps for old ones?" Another slave,
hearing this, said, "There is an old one on the cornice there which he
can have." Now this was the magic lamp, which Aladdin had left there,
as he could not take it out hunting with him. The Princess, not
knowing its value, laughingly bade the slave take it and make the
exchange. She went and said to the magician: "Give me a new lamp for
this." He snatched it and bade the slave take her choice, amid the
jeers of the crowd. Little he cared, but left off crying his lamps,
and went out of the city gates to a lonely place, where he remained
till nightfall, when he pulled out the lamp and rubbed it. The genie
appeared, and at the magician's command carried him, together with the
palace and the Princess in it, to a lonely place in Africa.
Next morning the Sultan looked out of the window towards Aladdin's
palace and rubbed his eyes, for it was gone. He sent for the Vizier
and asked what had become of the palace. The Vizier looked out too,
and was lost in astonishment. He again put it down to enchantment, and
this time the Sultan believed him, and sent thirty men on horseback to
fetch Aladdin back in chains. They met him riding home, bound him, and
forced him to go with them on foot. The people, however, who loved
him, followed, armed, to see that he came to no harm. He was carried
before the Sultan, who ordered the executioner to cut off his head.
The executioner made Aladdin kneel down, bandaged his eyes, and raised
his scimitar to strike. At that instant the Vizier, who saw that the
crowd had forced their way into the courtyard and were scaling the
walls to rescue Aladdin, called to the executioner to stay his hand.
The people, indeed, looked so threatening that the Sultan gave way and
ordered Aladdin to be unbound, and pardoned him in the sight of the
crowd. Aladdin now begged to know what he had done. "False wretch!"
said the Sultan, "come hither," and showed him from the window the
place where his palace had stood. Aladdin was so amazed he could not
say a word. "Where is your palace and my daughter?" demanded the
Sultan. "For the first I am not so deeply concerned, but my daughter I
must have, and you must find her or lose your head." Aladdin begged
for forty days in which to find her, promising if he failed to return
to suffer death at the Sultan's pleasure. His prayer was granted, and
he went forth sadly from the Sultan's presence.
For three days he wandered about like a madman, asking everyone what
had become of his palace, but they only laughed and pitied him. He
came to the banks of a river, and knelt down to say his prayers before
throwing himself in. In doing so he rubbed the ring he still wore.
The genie he had seen in the cave appeared, and asked his will. "Save
my life, genie," said Aladdin, "and bring my palace back." "That is
not in my power," said the genie; "I am only the Slave of the Ring; you
must ask him of the lamp." "Even so," said Aladdin, "but thou canst
take me to the palace, and set me down under my dear wife's window."
He at once found himself in Africa, under the window of the Princess,
and fell asleep out of sheer weariness.
He was awakened by the singing of the birds, and his heart was lighter.
He saw plainly that all his misfortunes were owning to the loss of the
lamp, and vainly wondered who had robbed him of it.
That morning the Princess rose earlier than she had done since she had
been carried into Africa by the magician, whose company she was forced
to endure once a day. She, however, treated him so harshly that he
dared not live there altogether. As she was dressing, one of her women
looked out and saw Aladdin. The Princess ran and opened the window,
and at the noise she made, Aladdin looked up. She called to him to
come to her, and great was the joy of these lovers at seeing each other
again. After he had kissed her Aladdin said: "I beg of you, Princess,
in God's name, before we speak of anything else, for your own sake and
mine, tell me what has become of an old lamp I left on the cornice in
the hall of four-and-twenty windows when I went a-hunting." "Alas," she
said, "I am the innocent cause of our sorrows," and told him of the
exchange of the lamp. "Now I know," cried Aladdin, "that we have to
thank the African magician for this! Where is the lamp?" "He carries
it about with him," said the Princess. "I know, for he pulled it out
of his breast to show me. He wishes me to break my faith with you and
marry him, saying that you were beheaded by my father's command. He is
forever speaking ill of you, but I only reply by my tears. If I
persist, I doubt not but he will use violence." Aladdin comforted her,
and left her for a while. He changed clothes with the first person he
met in the town, and having bought a certain powder returned to the
Princess, who let him in by a little side door. "Put on your most
beautiful dress," he said to her, "and receive the magician with
smiles, leading him to believe that you have forgotten me. Invite him
to sup with you, and say you wish to taste the wine of his country. He
will go for some, and while he is gone I will tell you what to do."
She listened carefully to Aladdin and when he left her, arrayed herself
gaily for the first time since she left China. She put on a girdle and
head-dress of diamonds and seeing in a glass that she was more
beautiful than ever, received the magician, saying, to his great
amazement: "I have made up my mind that Aladdin is dead, and that all
my tears will not bring him back to me, so I am resolved to mourn no
more, and have therefore invited you to sup with me; but I am tired of
the wines of China, and would fain taste those of Africa." The
magician flew to his cellar, and the Princess put the powder Aladdin
had given her in her cup. When he returned she asked him to drink her
health in the wine of Africa, handing him her cup in exchange for his,
as a sign she was reconciled to him. Before drinking the magician made
her a speech in praise of her beauty, but the Princess cut him short,
saying: "Let us drink first, and you shall say what you will
afterwards." She set her cup to her lips and kept it there, while the
magician drained his to the dregs and fell back lifeless. The Princess
then opened the door to Aladdin, and flung her arms around his neck;
but Aladdin went to the dead magician, took the lamp out of his vest,
and bade the genie carry the palace and all in it back to China. This
was done, and the Princess in her chamber felt only two little shocks,
and little thought she was home again.
The Sultan, who was sitting in his closet, mourning for his lost
daughter, happened to look up, and rubbed his eyes, for there stood the
palace as before! He hastened thither, and Aladdin received him in the
hall of the four-and-twenty windows, with the Princess at his side.
Aladdin told him what had happened, and showed him the dead body of the
magician, that he might believe. A ten days' feast was proclaimed, and
it seemed as if Aladdin might now live the rest of his life in peace;
but it was not meant to be.
The African magician had a younger brother, who was, if possible, more
wicked and more cunning than himself. He travelled to China to avenge
his brother's death, and went to visit a pious woman called Fatima,
thinking she might be of use to him. He entered her cell and clapped a
dagger to her breast, telling her to rise and do his bidding on pain of
death. He changed clothes with her, coloured his face like hers, put
on her veil, and murdered her, that she might tell no tales. Then he
went towards the palace of Aladdin, and all the people, thinking he was
the holy woman, gathered round him, kissing his hands and begging his
blessing. When he got to the palace there was such a noise going on
round him that the Princess bade her slave look out the window and ask
what was the matter. The slave said it was the holy woman, curing
people by her touch of their ailments, whereupon the Princess, who had
long desired to see Fatima, sent for her. On coming to the Princess
the magician offered up a prayer for her health and prosperity. When
he had done the Princess made him sit by her, and begged him to stay
with her always. The false Fatima, who wished for nothing better,
consented, but kept his veil down for fear of discovery. The princess
showed him the hall, and asked him what he thought of it. "It is truly
beautiful," said the false Fatima. "In my mind it wants but one
thing." "And what is that?" said the Princess. "If only a roc's egg,"
replied he, "were hung up from the middle of this dome, it would be the
wonder of the world."
After this the Princess could think of nothing but the roc's egg, and
when Aladdin returned from hunting he found her in a very ill humour.
He begged to know what was amiss, and she told him that all her
pleasure in the hall was spoilt for want of a roc's egg hanging from
the dome. "If that is all," replied Aladdin, "you shall soon be
happy." He left her and rubbed the lamp, and when the genie appeared
commanded him to bring a roc's egg. The genie gave such a loud and
terrible shriek that the hall shook.
"Wretch!" he cried, "is it not enough that I have done everything for
you, but you must command me to bring my master and hang him up in the
midst of this dome? You and your wife and your palace deserve to be
burnt to ashes, but that this request does not come from you, but from
the brother of the African magician, whom you destroyed. He is now in
your palace disguised as the holy woman, whom he murdered. He it was
who put that wish into your wife's head. Take care of yourself, for he
means to kill you." So saying, the genie disappeared.
Aladdin went back to the Princess, saying his head ached, and
requesting that the holy Fatima should be fetched to lay her hands on
it. But when the magician came near, Aladdin, seizing his dagger,
pierced him to the heart. "What have you done?" cried the Princess.
"You have killed the holy woman!" "Not so," replied Aladdin, "but a
wicked magician," and told her of how she had been deceived.
After this Aladdin and his wife lived in peace. He succeeded the
Sultan when he died, and reigned for many years, leaving behind him a
long line of kings.