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Aladdin And The Wonderful Lamp

from Favorite Fairy Tales





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
presently 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.
They then journeyed onward 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 led him on in spite of
himself. At last they came to two mountains divided by a narrow
valley. "We will go no farther," said the false 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 and opened 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 a 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 onto the fire, he said something, and the stone rolled back
into its place.

The magician left Persia forever, 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.


all things"]

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 and 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 for many years.

One day Aladdin heard an order from the Sultan proclaimed that every
one 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 that 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 till 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 would 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 every one
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 to-night?" 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 shall 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
dream.

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 could come up
to it. The Sultan then 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 set out to the palace
two and two, followed by his mother. They were so richly dressed, with
such splendid jewels in their girdles, that every one 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 than 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 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 by 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 honor. 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's 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 jewellers 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 modest and 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 honor 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 marvellous palace. "Forgive my ignorance," he asked, "what is
this palace you speak of?" "Have you not heard of Prince Aladdin's
palace," was the reply, "the greatest wonder of 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 copper 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 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 court-yard 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 that he could
not say a word. "Where is my 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
and 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 every one 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 so doing he rubbed the magic 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 owing 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 gayly 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 round his neck; but Aladdin put her away,
bidding her leave him, as he had more to do. He then 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 only felt two little shocks, and little thought she was at
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 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, colored 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 of 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 humor.
He begged to know what was amiss, and she told him that all her
pleasure in the hall was spoiled for the 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.

From "The Blue Fairy Book," edited by Andrew Lang, by
permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co.





Next: Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves

Previous: The Wild Swans



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