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 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 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
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
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.