Part 5 out of 11
dancing on the walls, with nobody to feel it. Let me in, I say; I only
want to warm myself."
Gluck had had his head so long out of the window by this time
that he began to feel it was really unpleasantly cold, and when he
turned and saw the beautiful fire rustling and roaring, and throwing
long, bright tongues up the chimney, as if it were licking its chops
at the savory smell of the leg of mutton, his heart melted within him
that it should be burning away for nothing. "He does look _very_
wet," said little Gluck; "I'll just let him in for a quarter of an hour."
Round he went to the door and opened it; and as the little gentleman
walked in there came a gust of wind through the house that made the
old chimneys totter.
"That's a good boy," said the little gentleman. "Never mind
your brothers. I'll talk to them."
"Pray, sir, don't do any such thing," said Gluck. "I can't let
you stay till they come: they'd be the death of me."
"Dear me," said the old gentleman, "I'm very sorry to hear that.
How long may I stay?"
"Only till the mutton's done, sir," replied Gluck, "and it's very
Then the old gentleman walked into the kitchen, and sat himself
down on the hob, with the top of his cap accommodated up the chimney,
for it was a great deal too high for the roof.
"You'll soon dry there, sir," said Gluck, and sat down again
to turn the mutton. But the old gentleman did _not_ dry there, but
went on drip, drip, dripping among the cinders, and the fire fizzed,
and sputtered, and began to look very black and uncomfortable.
Never was such a cloak; every fold in it ran like a gutter.
"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck at length, after watching the
water spreading in long, quicksilver-like streams over the floor for a
quarter of an hour; "mayn't I take your cloak?"
"No, thank you," said the old gentleman.
"Your cap, sir?"
"I am all right, thank you," said the old gentleman, rather
"But,--sir,--I'm very sorry," said Gluck, hesitatingly; "but--really,
sir,--you're--putting the fire out."
"It'll take longer to do the mutton, then," replied his visitor
Gluck was very much puzzled by the behavior of his guest; it was
such a strange mixture of coolness and humility. He turned away
at the string meditatively for another five minutes.
"That mutton looks very nice," said the old gentleman at length.
"Can't you give me a little bit?"
"Impossible, sir," said Gluck.
"I'm very hungry," continued the old gentleman; "I've had nothing
to eat yesterday nor today. They surely couldn't miss a bit
from the knuckle!"
He spoke in so very melancholy a tone that it quite melted Gluck's
heart. "They promised me one slice today, sir," said he; "I can
give you that, but not a bit more."
"That's a good boy," said the old gentleman again.
Then Gluck warmed a plate, and sharpened a knife. "I don't
care if I do get beaten for it." thought he. Just as he had cut a large
slice out of the mutton, there came a tremendous rap at the door.
The old gentleman jumped off the hob, as if it had suddenly
become inconveniently warm. Gluck fitted the slice into the
mutton again, with desperate efforts at exactitude, and ran to open
"What did you keep us waiting in the rain for?" said Schwartz, as
he walked in, throwing his umbrella in Gluck's face. "Ay! what
for, indeed, you little vagabond?" said Hans, administering an
educational box on the ear, as he followed his brother into the
"Bless my soul!" said Schwartz, when he opened the door.
"Amen," said the little gentleman, who had taken his cap off, and
was standing in the middle of the kitchen, bowing with the utmost
"Who's that?" said Schwartz, catching up a rolling-pin, and turning
to Gluck with a fierce frown.
"I don't know, indeed, brother," said Gluck, in great terror.
"How did he get in?" roared Schwartz.
"My dear brother," said Gluck, deprecatingly, "he was so
The rolling-pin was descending on Gluck's head; but at the instant
the old gentleman interposed his conical cap, on which it
crashed with a shock that shook the water out of it all over the room.
What was very odd, the rolling-pin no sooner touched the cap than
it flew out of Schwartz's hand, spinning like a straw in a high wind,
and fell into the corner at the farther end of the room.
"Who are you, sir?" demanded Schwartz, turning upon him.
"What's your business?" snarled Hans.
"I'm a poor old man, sir," the little gentleman began very
modestly, "and I saw your fire through the window, and begged
shelter for a quarter of an hour."
"Have the goodness to walk out again, then," said Schwartz.
"We've quite enough water in our kitchen without making it a
"It is a cold day to turn an old man out in, sir; look at my gray
hairs." They hung down to his shoulders, as I told you before.
"Ay!" said Hans, "there are enough of them to keep you warm.
"I'm very, very hungry, sir; couldn't you spare me a bit of bread
before I go?"
"Bread, indeed!" said Schwartz; "do you suppose we've nothing
to do with our bread but to give it to such red-nosed fellows as
"Why don't you sell your feather?" said Hans, sneeringly.
"Out with you!"
"A little bit," said the old gentleman.
"Be off!" said Schwartz.
"Off, and be hanged!" cried Hans, seizing him by the collar.
But he had no sooner touched the old gentleman's collar, than
away he went after the rolling-pin, spinning round and round, till
he fell into the corner on the top of it. Then Schwartz was very
angry, and ran at the old gentleman to turn him out; but he also
had hardly touched him, when away he went after Hans and the
rolling-pin, and hit his head against the wall as he tumbled into the
corner. And so there they lay, all three.
Then the old gentleman spun himself round with velocity in the
opposite direction; continued to spin until his long cloak was all
wound neatly about him: clapped his cap on his head, very much on
one side (for it could not stand upright without going through the
ceiling), gave an additional twist to his corkscrew mustaches, and
replied with perfect coolness: "Gentlemen, I wish you a very
good morning. At twelve o'clock tonight I'll call again; after such
a refusal of hospitality as I have just experienced, you will not be
surprised if that visit is the last I ever pay you."
"If ever I catch you here again," muttered Schwartz, coming,
half frightened, out of the corner--but, before he could finish his
sentence, the old gentleman had shut the house door behind him with
a great bang: and there drove past the window, at the same instant,
a wreath of ragged cloud, that whirled and rolled away down the
valley in all manner of shapes; turning over and over in the air,
and melting away at last in a gush of rain.
"A very pretty business, indeed, Mr. Gluck!" said Schwartz.
"Dish the mutton, sir. If ever I catch you at such a trick again
--bless me, why, the mutton's been cut!"
"You promised me one slice, brother, you know," said Gluck.
"Oh! and you were cutting it hot, I suppose, and going to catch
all the gravy. It'll be long before I promise you such a thing
again. Leave the room, sir; and have the kindness to wait in the
coal cellar till I call you."
Gluck left the room, melancholy enough. The brothers ate as
much mutton as they could, locked the rest into the cupboard, and
proceeded to get very drunk after dinner.
Such a night as it was! Howling wind, and rushing rain, without
intermission. The brothers had just sense enough left to put up
all the shutters, and double-bar the door, before they went to bed.
They usually slept in the same room. As the clock struck twelve,
they were both awakened by a tremendous crash. Their door burst
open with a violence that shook the house from top to bottom.
"What's that?" cried Schwartz, starting up in his bed.
"Only I," said the little gentleman.
The two brothers sat up on their bolster, and stared into the
darkness. The room was full of water; and by a misty moonbeam,
which found its way through a hole in the shutter, they could see in
the midst of it an enormous foam globe, spinning round, and bobbing
up and down like a cork, on which, as on a most luxurious
cushion, reclined the little old gentleman, cap and all. There
was plenty of room for it now, for the roof was off.
"Sorry to incommode you," said their visitor, ironically. "I'm
afraid your beds are dampish; perhaps you had better go to your
brother's room: I've left the ceiling on there."
They required no second admonition, but rushed into Gluck's
room, wet through, and in an agony of terror.
"You'll find my card on the kitchen table," the old gentleman
called after them. "Remember, the _last_ visit."
"Pray Heaven it may!" said Schwartz, shuddering. And the
foam globe disappeared.
Dawn came at last, and the two brothers looked out of Gluck's
little window in the morning. The Treasure Valley was one mass
of ruin and desolation. The inundation had swept away trees,
crops, and cattle, and left in their stead a waste of red sand and
gray mud. The two brothers crept shivering and horror-struck into
the kitchen. The water had gutted the whole first floor; corn, money,
almost every movable thing had been swept away, and there was
left only a small white card on the kitchen table. On it, in large,
breezy, long-legged letters, were engraved the words:
_SOUTHWEST WIND, ESQUIRE_
OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE THREE BROTHERS AFTER THE VISIT OF SOUTHWEST
WIND, ESQUIRE; AND HOW LITTLE GLUCK HAD AN INTERVIEW WITH THE KING OF
THE GOLDEN RIVER
Southwest Wind, Esquire, was as good as his word. After the
momentous visit above related, he entered the Treasure Valley no
more; and what was worse, he had so much influence with his relations,
the West Winds in general, and used it so effectually, that
they all adopted a similar line of conduct. So no rain fell in the
valley from one year's end to another. Though everything remained
green and flourishing in the plains below, the inheritance of the
Three Brothers was a desert. What had once been the richest soil
in the kingdom became a shifting heap of red sand; and the brothers,
unable longer to contend with the adverse skies, abandoned their
valueless patrimony in despair, to seek some means of gaining a
livelihood among the cities and people of the plains. All their
money was gone, and they had nothing left but some curious, old-
fashioned pieces of gold plate, the last remnants of their ill-gotten
"Suppose we turn goldsmiths?" said Schwartz to Hans, as they
entered the large city. "It is a good knave's trade; we can put a
great deal of copper into the gold without any one's finding it out."
The thought was agreed to be a very good one; they hired a
furnace, and turned goldsmiths. But two slight circumstances
affected their trade: the first, that people did not approve of the
coppered gold; the second, that the two elder brothers whenever they
had sold anything used to leave little Gluck to mind the furnace,
and go and drink out the money in the alehouse next door. So
they melted all their gold, without making money enough to buy
more, and were at last reduced to one large drinking mug, which an
uncle of his had given to little Gluck, and which he was very fond
of, and would not have parted with for the world; though he never
drank anything out of it but milk and water. The mug was a very
odd mug to look at. The handle was formed of two wreaths of
flowing golden hair, so finely spun that it looked more like silk
than metal, and these wreaths descended into and mixed with a
beard and whiskers of the same exquisite workmanship, which surrounded
and decorated a very fierce little face, of the reddest gold
imaginable, right in the front of the mug, with a pair of eyes in it
which seemed to command its whole circumference. It was impossible
to drink from the mug without being subjected to an intense
gaze out of the side of these eyes; and Schwartz positively averred
that once after emptying it full of Rhenish seventeen times he had
seen them wink! When it came to the mug's turn to be made into
spoons, it half broke poor little Gluck's heart; but the brothers only
laughed at him, tossed the mug into the melting pot, and staggered
out to the alehouse, leaving him, as usual, to pour the gold into bars,
when it was all ready.
When they were gone, Gluck took a farewell look at his old friend
in the melting pot. The flowing hair was all gone; nothing remained
but the red nose and the sparkling eyes, which looked more
malicious than ever. "And no wonder," thought Gluck, "after
being treated in that way." He sauntered disconsolately to the
window, and sat himself down to catch the fresh evening air, and
escape the hot breath of the furnace. Now this window commanded
a direct view of the range of mountains, which, as I told you before,
overhung the Treasure Valley, and more especially of the peak from
which fell the Golden River. It was just at the close of the day;
and when Gluck sat down at the window, he saw the rocks of the
mountain tops all crimson and purple with the sunset; and there
were bright tongues of fiery cloud burning and quivering about
them; and the river, brighter than all, fell in a waving column of
pure gold from precipice to precipice, with the double arch of a
broad purple rainbow stretched across it, flushing and fading
alternately in the wreaths of spray.
"Ah!" said Gluck aloud, after he had looked at it for a while,
"if that river were really all gold, what a nice thing it would be."
"No, it wouldn't, Gluck," said a clear metallic voice, close at
"Bless me! what's that?" exclaimed Gluck, jumping up. There
was nobody there. He looked round the room, and under the table,
and a great many times behind him, but there was certainly nobody
there, and he sat down again at the window. This time he didn't
speak, but he couldn't help thinking again that it would be very
convenient if the river were really all gold.
"Not at all, my boy," said the same voice, louder than before.
"Bless me!" said Gluck again, "what _is_ that?" He looked
again into all the corners and cupboards, and then began turning
round and round as fast as he could in the middle of the room,
thinking there was somebody behind him, when the same voice struck
again on his ear. It was singing now very merrily, "Lala-lira-la";
no words, only a soft, running, effervescent melody, something like
that of a kettle on the boil. Gluck looked out of the window. No,
it was certainly in the house. Upstairs, and downstairs. No, it was
certainly in that very room, coming in quicker time and clearer notes
every moment. "Lala-lira-la." All at once it struck Gluck that it
sounded louder near the furnace. He ran to the opening, and looked
in: yes, he saw right, it seemed to be coming not only out of the
furnace, but out of the pot. He uncovered it, and ran back in a
great fright, for the pot was certainly singing! He stood in the
farthest corner of the room with his hands up and his mouth open,
for a minute or two when the singing stopped, and the voice became
clear and pronunciative.
"Hollo!" said the voice.
Gluck made no answer.
"Hollo! Gluck, my boy," said the pot again.
Gluck summoned all his energies, walked straight up to the crucible,
drew it out of the furnace and looked in. The gold was all
melted, and its surface as smooth and polished as a river; but instead
of reflecting little Gluck's head as he looked in, he saw meeting his
glance from beneath the gold the red nose and sharp eyes of his
old friend of the mug, a thousand times redder and sharper than
ever he had seen them in his life.
"Come, Gluck, my boy," said the voice out of the pot again, "I'm
all right; pour me out."
But Gluck was too much astonished to do anything of the kind.
"Pour me out, I say," said the voice, rather gruffly.
Still Gluck couldn't move.
"_Will_ you pour me out?" said the voice, passionately, "I'm too
By a violent effort Gluck recovered the use of his limbs, took hold
of the crucible, and sloped it so as to pour out the gold. But
instead of a liquid stream there came out, first, a pair of pretty
little yellow legs, then some coat tails, then a pair of arms stuck
akimbo, and, finally, the well-known head of his friend the mug; all
which articles, uniting as they rolled out, stood up energetically on
the floor, in the shape of a little golden dwarf about a foot and a
"That's right!" said the dwarf, stretching out first his legs, and
then his arms, and then shaking his head up and down, and as far
round as it would go, for five minutes without stopping, apparently
with the view of ascertaining if he were quite correctly put together,
while Gluck stood contemplating him in speechless amazement.
He was dressed in a slashed doublet of spun gold, so fine in its texture
that the prismatic colors gleamed over it, as if on a surface
of mother of pearl; and over this brilliant doublet his hair and beard
fell full halfway to the ground in waving curls, so exquisitely delicate,
that Gluck could hardly tell where they ended; they seemed to
melt into air. The features of the face, however, were by no means
finished with the same delicacy; they were rather coarse, slightly
inclined to coppery in complexion, and indicative, in expression,
of a very pertinacious and intractable disposition in their small
proprietor. When the dwarf had finished his self-examination, he
turned his small sharp eyes full on Gluck, and stared at him deliberately
for a minute or two. "No, it wouldn't, Gluck, my boy," said the little
This was certainly rather an abrupt and unconnected mode of
commencing conversation. It might indeed be supposed to refer to
the course of Gluck's thoughts, which had first produced the dwarf's
observations out of the pot; but whatever it referred to, Gluck had
no inclination to dispute what he said.
"Wouldn't it, sir?" said Gluck, very mildly and submissively
"No," said the dwarf, conclusively. "No, it wouldn't." And
with that the dwarf pulled his cap hard over his brows, and took
two turns, of three feet long, up and down the room, lifting his legs
up very high and setting them down very hard. This pause gave
time for Gluck to collect his thoughts a little, and seeing no great
reason to view his diminutive visitor with dread, and feeling his
curiosity overcome his amazement, he ventured on a question of
"Pray, sir," said Gluck, rather hesitatingly, "were you my mug?"
On which the little man turned sharp round, walked straight
up to Gluck, and drew himself up to his full height. "I," said the
little man, "am the King of the Golden River." Whereupon he
turned about again, and took two more turns some six feet long in
order to allow time for the consternation which this announcement
produced in his auditor to evaporate. After which he again walked
up to Gluck and stood still, as if expecting some comment on his
Gluck determined to say something at all events. "I hope your
Majesty is very well," said Gluck.
"Listen!" said the little man, deigning no reply to this polite
inquiry. "I am the King of what you mortals call the Golden
River. The shape you saw me in was owing to the malice of a
stronger king, from whose enchantments you have this instant freed
me. What I have seen of you, and your conduct to your wicked
brothers, renders me willing to serve you; therefore, attend to what
I tell you. Whoever shall climb to the top of that mountain from
which you see the Golden River issue, and shall cast into the stream
at its source three drops of holy water, for him, and for him only,
the river shall turn to gold. But no one failing in his first can
succeed in a second attempt; and if any one shall cast unholy water
into the river it will overwhelm him, and he will become a black
stone." So saying, the King of the Golden River turned away and
deliberately walked into the center of the hottest flame of the
furnace. His figure became red, white, transparent, dazzling,--a
blaze of intense light,--rose, trembled, and disappeared. The King
of the Golden River had evaporated.
"Oh!" cried poor Gluck, running to look up the chimney after
him; "oh, dear, dear, dear me! My mug! my mug! my mug!"
HOW MR. HANS SET OFF ON AN EXPEDITION TO THE GOLDEN RIVER, AND HOW
HE PROSPERED THEREIN
The King of the Golden River had hardly made the extraordinary
exit related in the last chapter before Hans and Schwartz came
roaring into the house very savagely drunk. The discovery of the
total loss of their last piece of plate had the effect of sobering
them just enough to enable them to stand over Gluck, beating him
very steadily for a quarter of an hour; at the expiration of which
period they dropped into a couple of chairs, and requested to know
what he had got to say for himself. Gluck told them his story, of
which, of course, they did not believe a word. They beat him again,
till their arms were tired, and staggered to bed. In the morning,
however, the steadiness with which he adhered to his story obtained
him some degree of credence; the immediate consequence of which was
that the two brothers, after wrangling a long time on the knotty
question, Which of them should try his fortune first, drew their
swords and began fighting. The noise of the fray alarmed the
neighbors, who, finding they could not pacify the combatants, sent
for the constable.
Hans, on hearing this, contrived to escape, and hid himself; but
Schwartz was taken before the magistrate, fined for breaking the
peace, and having drunk out his last penny the evening before, was
thrown into prison till he should pay.
When Hans heard this, he was much delighted, and determined
to set out immediately for the Golden River. How to get the holy
water was the question. He went to the priest, but the priest could
not give any holy water to so abandoned a character. So Hans went
to vespers in the evening for the first time in his life, and, under
pretense of crossing himself, stole a cupful and returned home in
Next morning he got up before the sun rose, put the holy water
into a strong flask, and two bottles of wine and some meat in a
basket, slung them over his back, took his alpine staff in his hand,
and set off for the mountains.
On his way out of the town he had to pass the prison, and as he
looked in at the windows, whom should he see but Schwartz himself
peeping out of the bars, and looking very disconsolate.
"Good morning, brother," said Hans; "have you any message
for the King of the Golden River?"
Schwartz gnashed his teeth with rage, and shook the bars with
all his strength; but Hans only laughed at him, and advising him
to make himself comfortable till he came back again, shouldered his
basket, shook the bottle of holy water in Schwartz's face till it
frothed again, and marched off in the highest spirits in the world.
It was indeed a morning that might have made any one happy,
even with no Golden River to seek for. Level lines of dewy mist
lay stretched along the valley, out of which rose the massy mountains
--their lower cliffs in pale gray shadow, hardly distinguishable
from the floating vapor, but gradually ascending till they caught
the sunlight, which ran in sharp touches of ruddy color along the
angular crags, and pierced, in long level rays, through their fringes
of spear-like pine. Far above, shot up red splintered masses of
castellated rock, jagged and shivered into myriads of fantastic forms,
with here and there a streak of sunlit snow, traced down their chasms
like a line of forked lightning; and far beyond and above all these,
fainter than the morning cloud, but purer and changeless, slept in
the blue sky the utmost peaks of the eternal snow.
The Golden River, which sprang from one of the lower and snowless
elevations, was now nearly in shadow; all but the uppermost jets
of spray, which rose like slow smoke above the undulating line of the
cataract, and floated away in feeble wreaths upon the morning wind.
On this object, and on this alone, Hans' eyes and thoughts were
fixed; forgetting the distance he had to traverse, he set off at an
imprudent rate of walking, which greatly exhausted him before he
had scaled the first range of the green and low hills. He was,
moreover, surprised on surmounting them, to find that a large glacier,
of whose existence, notwithstanding his previous knowledge of the
mountains, he had been absolutely ignorant, lay between him and
the source of the Golden River. He mounted it though, with the
boldness of a practiced mountaineer; yet he thought he had never
traversed so strange or so dangerous a glacier in his life. The ice
was excessively slippery, and out of all its chasms came wild sounds
of gushing water; not monotonous or low, but changeful and loud,
rising occasionally into drifting passages of wild melody, then
breaking off into short melancholy tones, or sudden shrieks, resembling
those of human voices in distress or pain. The ice was broken into
thousands of confused shapes, but none, Hans thought, like the ordinary
forms of splintered ice. There seemed a curious _expression_ about
all their outlines--a perpetual resemblance to living features,
distorted and scornful. Myriads of deceitful shadows, and lurid lights,
played and floated about and through the pale blue pinnacles, dazzling
and confusing the sight of the traveler; while his ears grew dull and
his head giddy with the constant gush and roar of the concealed waters.
These painful circumstances increased upon him as he advanced; the ice
crashed and yawned into fresh chasms at his feet, tottering spires
nodded around him, and fell thundering across his path; and though he
had repeatedly faced these dangers on the most terrific glaciers, and
in the wildest weather, it was with a new and oppressive feeling of
panic terror that he leaped the last chasm, and flung himself,
exhausted and shuddering, on the firm turf of the mountain.
He had been compelled to abandon his basket of food, which
became a perilous incumbrance on the glacier, and had now no
means of refreshing himself but by breaking off and eating some of
the pieces of ice. This, however, relieved his thirst; an hour's
repose recruited his hardy frame, and with the indomitable spirit of
avarice, he resumed his laborious journey.
His way now lay straight up a ridge of bare red rocks, without
a blade of grass to ease the foot, or a projecting angle to afford
an inch of shade from the south sun. It was past noon, and the
rays beat intensely upon the steep path, while the whole atmosphere
was motionless, and penetrated with heat. Intense thirst was soon
added to the bodily fatigue with which Hans was now afflicted; glance
after glance he cast at the flask of water which hung at his belt.
"Three drops are enough," at last thought he; "I may, at least,
cool my lips with it."
He opened the flask, and was raising it to his lips, when his eye
fell on an object lying on the rock beside him; he thought it moved.
It was a small dog, apparently in the last agony of death from thirst.
Its tongue was out, its jaws dry, its limbs extended lifelessly, and
a swarm of black ants were crawling about its lips and throat. Its eye
moved to the bottle which Hans held in his hand. He raised it,
drank, spurned the animal with his foot, and passed on. And he
did not know how it was, but he thought that a strange shadow had
suddenly come across the blue sky.
The path became steeper and more rugged every moment; and the
high hill air, instead of refreshing him, seemed to throw his blood
into a fever. The noise of the hill cataracts sounded like mockery
in his ears; they were all distant, and his thirst increased every
moment. Another hour passed, and he again looked down to the
flask at his side; it was half empty, but there was much more than
three drops in it. He stopped to open it, and again, as he did so,
something moved in the path above him. It was a fair child,
stretched nearly lifeless on the rock, its breast heaving with thirst,
its eyes closed, and its lips parched and burning. Hans eyed it
deliberately, drank, and passed on. And a dark gray cloud came
over the sun, and long, snake-like shadows crept up along the mountain
sides. Hans struggled on. The sun was sinking, but its descent
seemed to bring no coolness; the leaden weight of the dead air
pressed upon his brow and heart, but the goal was near. He saw
the cataract of the Golden River springing from the hillside, scarcely
five hundred feet above him. He paused for a moment to breathe,
and sprang on to complete his task.
At this instant a faint cry fell on his ear. He turned, and saw a
gray-haired old man extended on the rocks. His eyes were sunk,
his features deadly pale, and gathered into an expression of despair.
"Water!" he stretched his arms to Hans, and cried feebly, "Water!
I am dying."
"I have none," replied Hans; "thou hast had thy share of life."
He strode over the prostrate body, and darted on. And a flash of
blue lightning rose out of the east, shaped like a sword; it shook
thrice over the whole heaven, and left it dark with one heavy,
impenetrable shade. The sun was setting; it plunged towards the
horizon like a red-hot ball.
The roar of the Golden River rose on Hans' ear. He stood at the
brink of the chasm through which it ran. Its waves were filled with
the red glory of the sunset; they shook their crests like tongues
of fire, and flashes of bloody light gleamed along their foam. Their
sound came mightier and mightier on his senses; his brain grew
giddy with the prolonged thunder. Shuddering, he drew the flask
from his girdle, and hurled it into the center of the torrent. As he
did so, an icy chill shot through his limbs; he staggered, shrieked,
and fell. The waters closed over his cry. And the moaning of
the river rose wildly into the night, as it gushed over THE BLACK
HOW MR. SCHWARTZ SET OFF ON AN EXPEDITION TO THE GOLDEN RIVER, AND HOW
HE PROSPERED THEREIN
Poor little Gluck waited very anxiously alone in the house for
Hans' return. Finding he did not come back, he was terribly frightened,
and went and told Schwartz in the prison all that had happened.
Then Schwartz was very much pleased, and said that Hans
must certainly have been turned into a black stone, and he should
have all the gold to himself. But Gluck was very sorry, and cried
all night. When he got up in the morning, there was no bread in
the house, nor any money; so Gluck went and hired himself to another
goldsmith, and he worked so hard, and so neatly, and so long
every day, that he soon got money enough together to pay his
brother's fine, and he went and gave it all to Schwartz, and Schwartz
got out of prison. Then Schwartz was quite pleased, and said he
should have some of the gold of the river. But Gluck only begged
he would go and see what had become of Hans.
Now, when Schwartz had heard that Hans had stolen the holy
water, he thought to himself that such a proceeding might not be
considered altogether correct by the King of the Golden River, and
determined to manage matters better. So he took some more of
Gluck's money, and went to a bad priest, who gave him some holy
water very readily for it. Then Schwartz was sure it was all quite
right. So Schwartz got up early in the morning before the sun rose,
and took some bread and wine in a basket, and put his holy water in
a flask, and set off for the mountains. Like his brother, he was
much surprised at the sight of the glacier, and had great difficulty
in crossing it, even after leaving his basket behind him. The day was
cloudless, but not bright; there was a heavy purple haze hanging
over the sky, and the hills looked lowering and gloomy. And as
Schwartz climbed the steep rock path, the thirst came upon him, as
it had upon his brother, until he lifted his flask to his lips to drink.
Then he saw the fair child lying near him on the rocks, and it
cried to him, and moaned for water. "Water, indeed," said
Schwartz; "I haven't half enough for myself," and passed on. And
as he went he thought the sunbeams grew more dim, and he saw a
low bank of black cloud rising out of the west; and when he had
climbed for another hour the thirst overcame him again, and he
would have drunk. Then he saw the old man lying before him on
the path, and heard him cry out for water. "Water, indeed," said
Schwartz; "I haven't half enough for myself," and on he went.
Then again the light seemed to fade from before his eyes, and
he looked up, and, behold, a mist, of the color of blood, had come
over the sun; and the bank of black cloud had risen very high,
and its edges were tossing and tumbling like the waves of the angry
sea. And they cast long shadows, which flickered over Schwartz's
Then Schwartz climbed for another hour, and again his thirst
returned; and as he lifted his flask to his lips, he thought he saw
his brother Hans lying exhausted on the path before him, and, as he
gazed, the figure stretched its arms to him, and cried for water.
"Ha, ha," laughed Schwartz, "are you there? remember the prison
bars, my boy. Water, indeed--do you suppose I carried it all the
way up here for _you_!" And he strode over the figure; yet, as
he passed, he thought he saw a strange expression of mockery about
its lips. And, when he had gone a few yards farther, he looked back;
but the figure was not there.
And a sudden horror came over Schwartz, he knew not why; but
the thirst for gold prevailed over his fear, and he rushed on. And
the bank of black cloud rose to the zenith, and out of it came bursts
of spiry lightning, and waves of darkness seemed to heave and float
between their flashes, over the whole heavens. And the sky, where
the sun was setting, was all level, and like a lake of blood; and a
strong wind came out of that sky, tearing its crimson clouds into
fragments, and scattering them far into the darkness. And, when
Schwartz stood by the brink of the Golden River, its waves were
black, like thunder clouds, but their foam was like fire; and the roar
of the waters below and the thunder above, met, as he cast the flask
into the stream. And, as he did so, the lightning glared in his eyes,
and the earth gave way beneath him, and the waters closed over his
cry. And the moaning of the river rose wildly into the night, as it
gushed over the TWO BLACK STONES.
HOW LITTLE GLUCK SET OFF ON AN EXPEDITION TO THE GOLDEN RIVER, AND HOW
HE PROSPERED THEREIN; WITH OTHER MATTERS OF INTEREST
When Gluck found that Schwartz did not come back, he was very
sorry, and did not know what to do. He had no money, and he was
obliged to go and hire himself again to the goldsmith, who worked
him very hard, and gave him very little money. So, after a month
or two, Gluck grew tired, and made up his mind to go and try his
fortune with the Golden River. "The little king looked very kind,"
thought he. "I don't think he will turn me into a black stone." So
he went to the priest, and the priest gave him some holy water
as soon as he asked for it. Then Gluck took some bread in his
basket, and the bottle of water, and set off very early for the mountains.
If the glacier had occasioned a great deal of fatigue to his brothers,
it was twenty times worse for him, who was neither so strong nor so
practiced on the mountains. He had several very bad falls, lost his
basket and bread, and was very much frightened at the strange
noises under the ice. He lay a long time to rest on the grass, after
he had got over, and began to climb the hill just in the hottest part
of the day. When he had climbed for an hour, he got dreadfully
thirsty, and was going to drink, like his brothers, when he saw an
old man coming down the path above him, looking very feeble,
and leaning on a staff. "My son," said the old man, "I am faint
with thirst, give me some of that water." Then Gluck looked at him,
and when he saw that he was pale and weary, he gave him the water;
"Only, pray, don't drink it all," said Gluck. But the old man drank
a great deal, and gave him back the bottle two-thirds empty. Then
he bade him good speed, and Gluck went on again merrily. And
the path became easier to his feet, and two or three blades of grass
appeared upon it, and some grasshoppers began singing on the bank
beside it; and Gluck thought he had never heard such merry singing.
Then he went on for another hour, and the thirst increased on him
so that he thought he should be forced to drink. But, as he raised
the flask, he saw a little child lying panting by the roadside, and
it cried out piteously for water. Then Gluck struggled with himself,
and determined to bear the thirst a little longer; and he put
the bottle to the child's lips, and it drank it all but a few drops.
Then it smiled on him, and got up, and ran down the hill; and
Gluck looked after it, till it became as small as a little star, and
then turned and began climbing again. And then there were all
kinds of sweet flowers growing on the rocks, bright green moss with
pale pink starry flowers, and soft belled gentians more blue than
the sky at its deepest, and pure white transparent lilies. And crimson
and purple butterflies darted hither and thither, and the sky
sent down such pure light, that Gluck had never felt so happy in his
Yet, when he had climbed for another hour, his thirst became
intolerable again; and, when he looked at his bottle, he saw that
there were only five or six drops left in it, and he could not venture
to drink. And, as he was hanging the flask to his belt again, he saw
a little dog lying on the rocks, gasping for breath--just as Hans
had seen it on the day of his ascent. And Gluck stopped and looked
at it, and then at the Golden River, not five hundred yards above him;
and he thought of the dwarf's word, "that no one could succeed,
except in his first attempt"; and he tried to pass the dog, but it
whined piteously, and Gluck stopped again. "Poor beastie," said
Gluck, "it'll be dead when I come down again, if I don't help it."
Then he looked closer and closer at it, and its eye turned on him so
mournfully, that he could not stand it. "Confound the King, and
his gold too," said Gluck; and he opened the flask, and poured all
the water into the dog's mouth.
The dog sprang up and stood on its hind legs. Its tail disappeared,
its ears became long, longer, silky, golden; its nose became
very red, its eyes became very twinkling; in three seconds the dog
was gone, and before Gluck stood his old acquaintance, the King
of the Golden River.
"Thank you," said the monarch; "but don't be frightened, it's
all right"; for Gluck showed manifest symptoms of consternation
at this unlooked-for reply to his last observation. "Why didn't you
come before," continued the dwarf, "instead of sending me those
rascally brothers of yours, for me to have the trouble of turning
into stones? Very hard stones they make too."
"Oh, dear me!" said Gluck, "have you really been so cruel?"
"Cruel!" said the dwarf; "they poured unholy water into my
stream: do you suppose I'm going to allow that?"
"Why," said Gluck, "I am sure, sir--your Majesty, I mean--they
got the water out of the church font."
"Very probably," replied the dwarf; "but," and his countenance
grew stern as he spoke, "the water which has been refused to the cry
of the weary and dying, is unholy, though it had been blessed by
every saint in heaven; and the water which is found in the vessel
of mercy is holy, though it had been defiled with corpses."
So saying, the dwarf stooped and plucked a lily that grew at
his feet. On its white leaves there hung three drops of clear dew.
And the dwarf shook them into the flask which Gluck held in his
hand. "Cast these into the river," he said, "and descend on the
other side of the mountains into the Treasure Valley. And so good
As he spoke, the figure of the dwarf became indistinct. The
playing colors of his robe formed themselves into a prismatic mist
of dewy light; he stood for an instant veiled with them as with the
belt of a broad rainbow. The colors grew faint, the mist rose into
the air; the monarch had evaporated.
And Gluck climbed to the brink of the Golden River, and its waves
were as clear as crystal, and as brilliant as the sun. And, when he
cast the three drops of dew into the stream, there opened where
they fell a small circular whirlpool, into which the waters descended
with a musical noise.
Gluck stood watching it for some time, very much disappointed,
because not only the river was not turned into gold, but its waters
seemed much diminished in quantity. Yet he obeyed his friend
the dwarf, and descended the other side of the mountains, toward the
Treasure Valley; and, as he went, he thought he heard the noise of
water working its way under the ground. And, when he came in
sight of the Treasure Valley, behold, a river, like the Golden River,
was springing from a new cleft of the rocks above it, and was flowing
in innumerable streams among the dry heaps of red sand.
And as Gluck gazed, fresh grass sprang beside the new streams,
and creeping plants grew, and climbed among the moistening soil.
Young flowers opened suddenly along the river sides, as stars leap
out when twilight is deepening, and thickets of myrtle, and tendrils
of vine, cast lengthening shadows over the valley as they grew.
And thus the Treasure Valley became a garden again, and the inheritance
which had been lost by cruelty was regained by love.
And Gluck went and dwelt in the valley, and the poor were never
driven from his door: so that his barns became full of corn, and his
house of treasure. And, for him, the river had, according to the
dwarf's promise, become a River of Gold.
And, to this day, the inhabitants of the valley point out the place
where the three drops of holy dew were cast into the stream, and
trace the course of the Golden River under the ground, until it
emerges in the Treasure Valley. And at the top of the cataract
of the Golden River are still to be seen TWO BLACK STONES, round
which the waters howl mournfully every day at sunset; and these
stones are still called by the people of the valley THE BLACK
THE ORIENTAL WONDER STORY
THE STORY OF ALADDIN; OR, THE WONDERFUL LAMP
In the capital of one of the large and rich provinces of the kingdom of
China, the name of which I do not recollect, there lived a tailor,
named Mustapha, who was so poor, that he could hardly, by his daily
labor, maintain himself and his family, which consisted of a wife and
His son, who was called Aladdin, had been brought up in a very careless
and idle manner, and by that means had contracted many vicious habits.
He was wicked, obstinate, and disobedient to his father and mother,
who, when he grew up, could not keep him within doors. He was in the
habit of going out early in the morning, and would stay out all day,
playing in the streets and public places with idle children of his own
When he was old enough to learn a trade, his father, not being able to
put him out to any other, took him into his own shop, and taught him
how to use his needle; but neither fair words nor the fear of
chastisement were capable of fixing his lively genius. All his father's
endeavors to keep him to his work were in vain; for no sooner was his
back turned, than he was gone for the day. Mustapha chastised him, but
Aladdin was incorrigible and his father, to his great grief, was forced
to abandon him to his idleness: and was so much troubled at not being
able to reclaim him, that it threw him into a fit of sickness, of which
he died in a few months.
The mother, finding that her son would not follow his father's
business, shut up the shop, sold off the implements of trade, and with
the money she received for them, and what she could get by spinning
cotton, thought to maintain herself and her son.
Aladdin, who was now no longer restrained by the fear of a father, and
who cared so little for his mother, that whenever she chid him, he
would abuse her, gave himself entirely over to his idle habits, and was
never out of the streets from his companions. This course he followed
till he was fifteen years old, without giving his mind to any useful
pursuit, or the least reflection on what would become of him. In this
situation, as he was one day playing according to custom, in the
street, with his vagabond associates, a stranger passing by stood to
This stranger was a sorcerer, called by the writer of this story, the
African magician; and by the name I shall call him with the more
propriety as he was a native of Africa, and had been but two days
arrived from thence.
The African magician, who was a good physiognomist, observing in
Aladdin's countenance something absolutely necessary for the execution
of the design he was engaged in, inquired artfully about his family,
who he was, and what were his inclinations; and when he had learned all
he desired to know, went up to him, and taking him aside from his
comrades, said, "Child, was not your father called Mustapha the
tailor?" "Yes, sir," answered the boy; "but he has been dead a long
At these words, the African magician threw his arms about Aladdin's
neck, and kissed him several times with tears in his eyes. Aladdin, who
observed his tears, asked him what made him weep. "Alas! my son," cried
the African magician with a sigh, "how can I forbear? I am your uncle;
your worthy father was my own brother. I have been many years abroad,
and now I am come home with the hopes of seeing him, you tell me he is
dead. I assure you it is a sensible grief to me to be deprived of the
comfort I expected. But it is some relief to my affliction, that as far
as I can remember him, I knew you at first sight, you are so like him;
and I see I am not deceived." Then he asked Aladdin, putting his hand
into his purse, where his mother lived, and as soon as he had informed
him, gave him a handful of small money, saying, "Go, my son, to your
mother, give my love to her, and tell her that I will visit her
tomorrow, if I have time, that I may have the satisfaction of seeing
where my good brother lived so long, and ended his days."
As soon as the African magician left his newly adopted nephew, Aladdin
ran to his mother, overjoyed at the money his uncle had given him.
"Mother," said he, "have I an uncle?" "No, child," replied his mother,
"you have no uncle by your father's side, or mine." "I am just now
come," said Aladdin, "from a man who says he is my uncle by my father's
side, assuring me that he is his brother. He cried and kissed me when I
told him my father was dead; and to show you that what I tell you is
truth," he added, pulling out the money, "see what he has given me; he
charged me to give his love to you, and to tell you, if he has any time
tomorrow, he will come and pay you a visit, that he may see the house
my father lived and died in." "Indeed, child," replied the mother,
"your father had a brother, but he has been dead a long time, and I
never heard of another."
The mother and son talked no more then of the African magician; but the
next day Aladdin's uncle found him playing in another part of the town
with other children, and embracing him as before, put two pieces of
gold into his hand, and said to him, "Carry this, child, to your
mother, tell her that I will come and see her tonight, and bid her get
us something for supper; but first show me the house where you live."
After Aladdin had showed the African magician the house, he carried the
two pieces of gold to his mother, and when he had told her of his
uncle's intention, she went out and bought provisions; and considering
she wanted various utensils, borrowed them of her neighbors. She spent
the whole day in preparing the supper; and at night when it was ready,
said to her son, "Perhaps your uncle knows not how to find our house;
go and bring him if you meet with him."
Though Aladdin had shown the magician the house, he was ready to go,
when somebody knocked at the door, which he immediately opened: and the
magician came in loaded with wine, and all sorts of fruits, which he
brought for a dessert.
After the African magician had given what he brought into Aladdin's
hands, he saluted his mother, and desired her to show him the place
where his brother Mustapha used to sit on the sofa; and when she had so
done, he fell down and kissed it several times, crying out with tears
in his eyes, "My poor brother! how unhappy am I, not to have come soon
enough to give you one last embrace." Aladdin's mother desired him to
sit down in the same place, but he declined. "No," said he, "I shall
take care how I do that; but give me leave to sit opposite to it, that
although I am deprived of the satisfaction of seeing the master of a
family so dear to me, I may at least have the pleasure of beholding the
place where he used to sit." The widow pressed him no farther, but left
him at liberty to sit where he pleased.
When the magician had made choice of a place, and sat down, he began to
enter into discourse with Aladdin's mother: "My good sister," said he,
"do not be surprised at your never having seen me all the time you have
been married to my brother Mustapha of happy memory. I have been forty
years absent from this country, which is my native place, as well as my
late brother's; and during that time have traveled into the Indies,
Persia, Arabia, Syria, and Egypt, have resided in the finest towns of
those countries; and afterwards crossed over into Africa, where I made
a longer stay. At last, as it is natural for a man, how distant soever
it may be, to remember his native country, relations, and acquaintance,
I was desirous to see mine again, and to embrace my dear brother; and
finding I had strength enough to undertake so long a journey, I
immediately made the necessary preparations, and set out. I will not
tell you the length of time it took me, all the obstacles I met with,
and what fatigues I have endured, to come hither; but nothing ever
mortified and afflicted me so much, as hearing of my brother's death,
for whom I always had a brotherly love and friendship. I observed his
features in the face of my nephew, your son, and distinguished him
among a number of children with whom he was at play; he can tell you
how I received the most melancholy news that ever reached my ears. But
God be praised for all things! It is a comfort for me to find, as it
were, my brother in a son, who has his most remarkable features."
The African magician, perceiving that the widow began to weep at the
remembrance of her husband, changed the conversation, and turning
towards her son, asked him his name. "I am called Aladdin," said he.
"Well, Aladdin," replied the magician, "what business do you follow?
Are you of any trade?"
At this question the youth hung down his head, and was not a little
abashed when his mother answered, "Aladdin is an idle fellow; his
father, when alive, strove all he could to teach him his trade, but
could not succeed; and since his death, notwithstanding all I can say
to him, he does nothing but idle away his time in the street, as you
saw him, without considering he is no longer a child; and if you do not
make him ashamed of it, I despair of his ever coming to any good. He
knows that his father left him no fortune, and sees me endeavor to get
bread by spinning cotton; for my part, I am resolved one of these days
to turn him out of doors and let him provide for himself."
After these words, Aladdin's mother burst into tears; and the magician
said, "This is not well, nephew; you must think of helping yourself,
and getting your livelihood. There are many sorts of trades, consider
if you have not an inclination to some of them; perhaps you did not
like your father's, and would prefer another: come, do not disguise
your sentiments from me; I will endeavor to help you." But finding that
Aladdin returned no answer, "If you have no mind," continued he, "to
learn any handicraft, I will take a shop for you, furnish it with all
sorts of fine stuffs and linens; and with the money you make of them
lay in fresh goods and then you will live in an honorable way. Consult
your inclinations, and tell me freely what you think of my proposal:
you shall always find me ready to keep my word."
This plan greatly flattered Aladdin, who hated work, but had sense
enough to know that such shops were much frequented, and the owners
respected. He told the magician he had a greater inclination to that
business than to any other, and that he should be much obliged to him
for his kindness. "Since this profession is agreeable to you," said the
African magician, "I will carry you with me tomorrow, clothe you as
handsomely as the best merchants in the city, and afterwards we will
think of opening a shop as I mentioned."
The widow, who never till then could believe that the magician was her
husband's brother, no longer doubted after his promises of kindness to
her son. She thanked him for his good intentions; and after having
exhorted Aladdin to render himself worthy of his uncle's favor by good
behavior, served up supper, at which they talked of several indifferent
matters; and then the magician, who saw that the night was pretty far
advanced, took his leave, and retired.
He came again the next day, as he had promised, and took Aladdin with
him to a merchant, who sold all sorts of clothes for different ages and
ranks ready made, and a variety of fine stuffs. He asked to see some
that suited Aladdin in size; and after choosing a suit for himself
which he liked best, and rejecting others which he did not think
handsome enough, he bade Aladdin choose the one he preferred. Aladdin,
charmed with the liberality of his new uncle, made choice of one, and
the magician immediately paid for it.
When Aladdin found himself so handsomely equipped, he returned his
uncle thanks; who promised never to forsake him, but always to take him
along with him; which he did to the most frequented places in the city,
and particularly where the principal merchants kept their shops. When
he brought him into the street where they sold the richest stuffs, and
finest linens, he said to Aladdin, "As you are soon to be a merchant,
it is proper you should frequent these shops, and be acquainted with
them." He then showed him the largest and finest mosques, carried him
to the khans or inns where the merchants and travelers lodged, and
afterwards to the sultan's palace, where he had free access; and at
last brought him to his own khan, where meeting with some merchants he
had become acquainted with since his arrival, he gave them a treat, to
bring them and his pretended nephew acquainted.
This entertainment lasted till night, when Aladdin would have taken
leave of his uncle to go home; the magician would not let him go by
himself, but conducted him to his mother, who, as soon as she saw him
so well dressed, was transported with joy, and bestowed a thousand
blessings upon the magician, for being at so great an expense upon her
child. "Generous relation!" said she, "I know not how to thank you for
your liberality! I know that my son is not deserving of your favors;
and were he ever so grateful, and answered your good intentions, he
would be unworthy of them. I thank you with all my soul, and wish you
may live long enough to witness my son's gratitude, which he cannot
better show than by regulating his conduct by your good advice."
"Aladdin," replied the magician, "is a good boy, and I believe we shall
do very well; but I am sorry for one thing, which is, that I cannot
perform tomorrow what I promised, because, as it is Friday, the shops
will be shut up, and therefore we cannot hire or furnish one, but must
wait till Saturday. I will, however, call on him tomorrow and take him
to walk in the gardens, where people of the best fashion generally
resort. Perhaps he has never seen these amusements, he has only
hitherto been among children; but now he must see men." The African
magician took his leave of the mother and the son, and retired.
Aladdin, who was overjoyed to be so well clothed, anticipated the
pleasure of walking in the gardens. He had never been out of the town,
nor seen the environs, which were very beautiful and pleasant.
Aladdin rose early the next morning, dressed himself, to be ready
against his uncle called on him; and after he had waited some time,
began to be impatient, and stood watching at the door; but as soon as
he perceived him coming, he told his mother, took his leave of her, and
ran to meet him.
The magician caressed Aladdin, and said, "Come, my dear child, and I
will show you fine things." He then led him out at one of the gates of
the city, to some magnificent houses, or rather palaces, to each of
which belonged beautiful gardens, into which anybody might enter. At
every building he came to, he asked Aladdin if he did not think it
fine; and the youth was ready to answer when any one presented itself,
crying out, "Here is a finer house, uncle, than we have seen yet." By
this artifice, the cunning magician led Aladdin some way into the
country; and as he meant to carry him farther, to execute his design,
he took an opportunity to sit down in one of the gardens on the brink
of a fountain of clear water, which discharged itself by a lion's mouth
of bronze into a basin, pretending to be tired: "Come, nephew," said
he, "you must be weary as well as I; let us rest ourselves, and we
shall be better able to pursue our walk."
After they had sat down, the magician pulled from his girdle a
handkerchief with cakes and fruit, which he had provided, and laid them
on the edge of the basin. He broke a cake in two, gave one half to
Aladdin, and ate the other himself; and in regard to the fruit, left
him at liberty to take which sort he liked best. During this short
repast, he exhorted his nephew to leave off keeping company with
vagabonds, and seek that of wise and prudent men, to improve by their
conversation; "for," said he, "you will soon be at man's estate, and
you cannot too early begin to imitate their example." When they had
eaten as much as they liked, they got up, and pursued their walk
through gardens separated from one another only by small ditches, which
marked out the limits without interrupting the communication; so great
was the confidence the inhabitants reposed in each other. By this
means, the African magician drew Aladdin insensibly beyond the gardens,
and crossed the country, till they nearly reached the mountains.
Aladdin, who had never been so far before, began to find himself much
tired with so long a walk, and said to the magician, "Where are we
going, uncle? We have left the gardens a great way behind us, and I see
nothing but mountains; if we go much farther, I do not know whether I
shall be able to reach the town again." "Never fear, nephew," said the
false uncle; "I will show you another garden which surpasses all we
have yet seen; it is not far off; and when we come there, you will say
that you would have been sorry to have been so nigh, and not seen it."
Aladdin was soon persuaded, and the magician, to make the way seem
shorter and less fatiguing, told him a great many stories.
At last they arrived between two mountains of moderate height, and
equal size, divided by a narrow valley, which was the place where the
magician intended to execute the design that had brought him from
Africa to China. "We will go no farther now," said he to Aladdin: "I
will show you here some extraordinary things, which, when you have
seen, you will thank me for: but while I strike a light, gather up all
the loose dry sticks you can see, to kindle a fire with."
Aladdin found so many dried sticks, that before the magician had
lighted a match, he had collected a great heap. The magician presently
set them on fire, and when they were in a blaze, threw in some incense
which raised a cloud of smoke. This he dispersed on each side, by
pronouncing several magical words which Aladdin did not understand.
At the same time the earth trembling, opened just before the magician,
and uncovered a stone, laid horizontally, with a brass ring fixed into
the middle. Aladdin was so frightened at what he saw, that he would
have run away; but the magician caught hold of him, abused him, and
gave him such a box on the ear, that he knocked him down. Aladdin got
up trembling, and with tears in his eyes, said to the magician, "What
have I done, uncle, to be treated in this severe manner?" "I have my
reasons," answered the magician: "I am your uncle, I supply the place
of your father, and you ought to make no reply. But, child," added he,
softening, "do not be afraid; for I shall not ask anything of you, but
that you obey me punctually, if you would reap the advantages which I
intend you." These fair promises calmed Aladdin's fears and resentment;
and when the magician saw that he was appeased, he said to him, "You
see what I have done by virtue of my incense, and the words I
pronounced. Know, then, that under this stone there is hidden a
treasure, destined to be yours, and which will make you richer than the
greatest monarch in the world: no person but yourself is permitted to
lift this stone, or enter the cave; so you must punctually execute what
I may command, for it is a matter of great consequence both to you and
Aladdin, amazed at all he saw, and heard the magician say of the
treasure which was to make him happy, forgot what was past, and rising,
said, "Well, uncle, what is to be done? Command me, I am ready to
obey." "I am overjoyed, child," said the African magician, embracing
him; "take hold of the ring, and lift up that stone." "Indeed, uncle,"
replied Aladdin, "I am not strong enough, you must help me." "You have
no occasion for my assistance," answered the magician; "if I help you,
we shall be able to do nothing; take hold of the ring, pronounce the
names of your father and grandfather, then lift it up, and you will
find it will come easily." Aladdin did as the magician bade him, raised
the stone with ease, and laid it on one side.
When the stone was pulled up, there appeared a cavity of about three or
four feet deep, with a little door, and steps to go down lower.
"Observe, my son," said the African magician, "what I direct. Descend
into the cave, and when you are at the bottom of those steps you will
find a door open, which will lead you into a spacious vault, divided
into three great halls, in each of which you will see four large brass
cisterns placed on each side, full of gold and silver; but take care
you do not meddle with them. Before you enter the first hall, be sure
to tuck up your vest, wrap it about you, and then pass through the
second into the third without stopping. Above all things, have a care
that you do not touch the walls, so much as with your clothes; for if
you do, you will die instantly. At the end of the third hall, you will
find a door which opens into a garden planted with fine trees loaded
with fruit; walk directly across the garden by a path which will lead
you to five steps that will bring you upon a terrace, where you will
see a niche before you, and in that niche a lighted lamp. Take the lamp
down, and extinguish it: when you have thrown away the wick, and poured
out the liquor, put it in your vestband and bring it to me. Do not be
afraid that the liquor will spoil your clothes, for it is not oil; and
the lamp will be dry as soon as it is thrown out. If you should wish
for any of the fruit of the garden, you may gather as much as you
After these words, the magician drew a ring off his finger, and put it
on one of Aladdin's, telling him that it was a preservative against all
evil, while he should observe what he had prescribed to him. After this
instruction he said, "Go down boldly, child, and we shall both be rich
all our lives."
Aladdin jumped into the cave, descended the steps, and found the three
halls just as the African magician had described. He went through them
with all the precaution the fear of death could inspire; crossed the
garden without stopping, took down the lamp from the niche, threw out
the wick and the liquor, and, as the magician had desired, put it in
his vestband. But as he came down from the terrace, seeing it was
perfectly dry, he stopped in the garden to observe the fruit, which he
only had a glimpse of in crossing it. All the trees were loaded with
extraordinary fruit, of different colors on each tree. Some bore fruit
entirely white, and some clear and transparent as crystal; some pale
red, and others deeper; some green, blue, and purple, and others
yellow: in short, there was fruit of all colors. The white were pearls;
the clear and transparent, diamonds; the deep red, rubies; the paler,
balas rubies; the green, emeralds; the blue, turquoises; the purple,
amethysts; and those that were of yellow cast, sapphires. Aladdin was
altogether ignorant of their worth, and would have preferred figs and
grapes, or any other fruits. But though he took them only for colored
glass of little value, yet he was so pleased with the variety of the
colors, and the beauty and extraordinary size of the seeming fruit,
that he resolved to gather some of every sort, and accordingly filled
the two new purses his uncle had bought for him with his clothes. Some
he wrapped up in the skirts of his vest, which was of silk, large and
wrapping, and crammed his bosom as full as it could hold.
Aladdin, having thus loaded himself with riches he knew not the value
of, returned through the three halls with the same precaution, made all
the haste he could, that he might not make his uncle wait, and soon
arrived at the mouth of the cave, where the African magician expected
him with the utmost impatience. As soon as Aladdin saw him, he cried
out, "Pray, uncle, lend me your hand, to help me out." "Give me the
lamp first," replied the magician; "it will be troublesome to you."
"Indeed, uncle," answered Aladdin, "I cannot now; it is not troublesome
to me: but I will as soon as I am up." The African magician was so
obstinate, that he would have the lamp before he would help him up; and
Aladdin, who had encumbered himself so much with his fruit that he
could not well get at it, refused to give it to him till he was out of
the cave. The African magician, provoked at this obstinate refusal,
flew into a passion, threw a little of his incense into the fire, which
he had taken care to keep in, and no sooner pronounced two magical
words, than the stone which had closed the mouth of the cave moved into
its place, with the earth over it in the same manner as it lay at the
arrival of the magician and Aladdin.
This action of the African magician's plainly showed him to be neither
Aladdin's uncle, nor Mustapha the tailor's brother: but a true African.
Africa is a country whose inhabitants delight most in magic of any in
the whole world, and he had applied himself to it from his youth. After
forty years' experience in enchantments, geomancy, fumigations, and
reading of magic books, he had found out that there was in the world a
wonderful lamp, the possession of which would render him more powerful
than any monarch; and by a late operation of geomancy, he had
discovered that this lamp lay concealed in a subterraneous place in the
midst of China, in the situation already described. Fully persuaded of
the truth of this discovery, he set out from the farthest part of
Africa; and after a long and fatiguing journey, came to the town
nearest to this treasure. But though he had a certain knowledge of the
place where the lamp was, he was not permitted to take if himself, nor
to enter the subterraneous place, but must receive it from the hands of
another person. For this reason he had addressed himself to Aladdin,
whom he looked upon as a young lad whose life was of no consequence,
and fit to serve his purpose, resolving, as soon as he should get the
lamp into his hands, to sacrifice him to his avarice and wickedness, by
making the fumigation mentioned before, and repeating two magical
words, the effect of which would remove the stone into its place, so
that no witness would remain of the transaction.
The blow he had given Aladdin was intended to make him obey the more
readily, and give him the lamp as soon as he should ask for it. But his
too great precipitation, and fear lest somebody should come that way
during their dispute, and discover what he wished to keep secret,
produced an effect quite contrary to what he had proposed to himself.
When the African magician saw that all his hopes were frustrated
forever, he returned the same day for Africa; but went quite round the
town, and at some distance from it, lest some persons who had observed
him walk out with the boy, on seeing him come back without him, should
entertain any suspicions, and stop him.
According to all appearance, there was no prospect of Aladdin being any
more heard of. But the magician, when he had contrived his death,
forgot the ring he had put upon his finger, which preserved him, though
he knew not its virtue. It may seem astonishing that the loss of that,
together with the lamp, did not drive the magician to despair; but
magicians are so much used to misfortunes, and events contrary to their
wishes, that they do not lay them to heart, but still feed themselves,
to the end of life, with unsubstantial notions and chimeras.
The surprise of Aladdin, who had never suspected this treachery from
his pretended uncle, after all his caresses and what he had done for
him, is more easily to be imagined than expressed. When he found
himself buried alive, he cried, and called out to his uncle, to tell
him he was ready to give him the lamp; but in vain, since his cries
could not be heard. He descended to the bottom of the steps, with a
design to get into the garden, but the door, which was opened before by
enchantment, was now shut by the same means. He then redoubled his
cries and tears, sat down on the steps, without any hopes of ever
seeing light again, and in a melancholy certainty of passing from the
present darkness into that of a speedy death.
Aladdin remained in this state two days, without eating or drinking,
and on the third looked upon death as inevitable. Clasping his hands
with an entire resignation to the will of God, he said, "There is no
strength or power but in the great and high God." In this action of
joining his hands he rubbed the ring which the magician had put on his
finger, and of which he knew not yet the virtue. Immediately a genie of
enormous size and frightful aspect rose out of the earth, his head
reaching the roof of the vault, and said to him, "What wouldst thou
have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all who
may possess the ring on thy finger; I and the other slaves of that
At another time, Aladdin, who had not been used to such appearances,
would have been so frightened at the sight of so extraordinary a figure
that he would not have been able to speak; but the danger he was in
made him answer without hesitation, "Whoever thou art, deliver me from
this place, if thou art able." He had no sooner spoken these words,
than he found himself on the very spot where the magician had caused
the earth to open.
It was some time before his eyes could bear the light, after being so
long in total darkness: but after he had endeavored by degrees to
support it, and began to look about him, he was much surprised not to
find the earth open, and could not comprehend how he had got so soon
out of its bowels. There was nothing to be seen but the place where the
fire had been, by which he could nearly judge the situation of the
cave. Then turning himself towards the town, he perceived it at a
distance in the midst of the gardens that surround it, and saw the way
by which the magician had brought him. Returning God thanks to find
himself once more in the world, he made the best of his way home. When
he got within his mother's door, the joy to see her and his weakness
for want of sustenance for three days made him faint, and he remained
for a long time as dead. His mother, who had given him over for lost,
seeing him in this condition, omitted nothing to bring him to himself.
As soon as he recovered, the first words he spoke, were, "Pray, mother,
give me something to eat, for I have not put a morsel of anything into
my mouth these three days." His mother brought what she had, and set it
before him. "My son," said she, "be not too eager, for it is dangerous;
eat but little at a time, and take care of yourself. Besides, I would
not have you talk; you will have time enough to tell me what happened
to you when you are recovered. It is a great comfort to me to see you
again, after the affliction I have been in since Friday, and the pains
I have taken to learn what was become of you."
Aladdin took his mother's advice, and ate and drank moderately. When he
had done, "Mother," said he to her, "I cannot help complaining of you,
for abandoning me so easily to the discretion of a man who had a design
to kill me, and who at this very moment thinks my death certain. You
believed he was my uncle, as well as I; and what other thoughts could
we entertain of a man who was so kind to me, and made such advantageous
proffers? But I must tell you, mother, he is a rogue and a cheat, and
only made me those promises to accomplish my death; but for what reason
neither you nor I can guess. For my part, I can assure you, I never
gave him any cause to justify the least ill treatment from him. You
shall judge yourself, when you have heard all that passed from the time
I left you, till he came to the execution of his wicked design."
Aladdin then related to his mother all that had happened to him from
the Friday, when the magician took him to see the palaces and gardens
about the town, and what fell out in the way, till they came to the
place between the two mountains where the great prodigy was to be
performed; how, with incense which the magician threw into the fire,
and some magical words which he pronounced, the earth opened, and
discovered a cave, which led to an inestimable treasure. He forgot not
the blow the magician had given him, in what manner he softened again,
and engaged him by great promises, and putting a ring to his finger, to
go down into the cave. He did not omit the least circumstance of what
he saw in crossing the three halls and the garden, and his taking the
lamp, which he pulled out of his bosom and showed to his mother, as
well as the transparent fruit of different colors, which he had
gathered in the garden as he returned. But, though these fruits were
precious stones, brilliant as the sun, and the reflection of a lamp
which then lighted the room might have led them to think they were of
great value, she was as ignorant of their worth as her son, and cared
nothing for them. She had been bred in a low rank of life, and her
husband's poverty prevented his being possessed of jewels, nor had she,
her relations, or neighbors, ever seen any; so that we must not wonder
that she regarded them as things of no value, and only pleasing to the
eye by the variety of their colors.
Aladdin put them behind one of the cushions of the sofa, and continued
his story, telling his mother, that when he returned to the mouth of
the cave, upon his refusal to give the magician the lamp till he should
get out, the stone, by his throwing some incense into the fire, and
using two or three magical words, shut him in, and the earth closed. He
could not help bursting into tears at the representation of the
miserable condition he was in, at finding himself buried alive in a
dismal cave, till by the touching of his ring, the virtue of which he
was till then an entire stranger to, he, properly speaking, came to
life again. When he had finished his story, he said to his mother, "I
need say no more, you know the rest. This is my adventure, and the
danger I have been exposed to since you saw me."
Aladdin's mother heard with so much patience as not to interrupt him
this surprising and wonderful relation, notwithstanding it could be no
small affliction to a mother, who loved her son tenderly: but yet in
the most moving part which discovered the perfidy of the African
magician, she could not help showing, by marks of the greatest
indignation, how much she detested him; and when her son had finished
his story, she broke out into a thousand reproaches against that vile
impostor. She called him perfidious traitor, barbarian, assassin,
deceiver, magician, and an enemy and destroyer of mankind. "Without
doubt, child," added she, "he is a magician, and they are plagues to
the world, and by their enchantments and sorceries have commerce with
the devil. Bless God for preserving you from his wicked designs; for
your death would have been inevitable, if you had not called upon him,
and implored his assistance." She said a great deal more against the
magician's treachery; but finding that whilst she talked, Aladdin, who
had not slept for three days and nights, began to doze, she left him to
his repose and retired.
Aladdin, who had not closed his eyes while he was in the subterraneous
abode, slept very soundly till late the next morning; when the first
thing he said to his mother was, that he wanted something to eat, and
that she could not do him a greater kindness than to give him his
breakfast. "Alas! child," said she, "I have not a bit of bread to give
you, you ate up all the provisions I had in the house yesterday; but
have a little patience, and it shall not be long before I will bring
you some: I have a little cotton, which I have spun; I will go and sell
it, buy bread, and something for our dinner." "Mother," replied
Aladdin, "keep your cotton for another time, and give me the lamp I
brought home with me yesterday; I will go and sell it, and the money I
shall get for it will serve both for breakfast and dinner, and perhaps
Aladdin's mother took the lamp, and said to her son, "Here it is, but
it is very dirty; if it was a little cleaner I believe it would bring
something more." She took some fine sand and water to clean it; but had
no sooner begun to rub it, than in an instant a hideous genie of
gigantic size appeared before her, and said to her in a voice like
thunder, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave,
and the slave of all those who have the lamp in their hands; I and the
other slaves of the lamp."
Aladdin's mother, terrified at the sight of the genie, fainted; when
Aladdin, who had seen such a phantom in the cavern, snatched the lamp
out of his mother's hand, and said to the genie boldly, "I am hungry,
bring me something to eat." The genie disappeared immediately, and in
an instant returned with a large silver tray, holding twelve covered
dishes of the same metal, which contained the most delicious viands;
six large white bread cakes on two plates, two flagons of wine, and two
silver cups. All these he placed upon a carpet, and disappeared: this
was done before Aladdin's mother recovered from her swoon.
Aladdin had fetched some water, and sprinkled it in her face, to
recover her: whether that or the smell of the meat brought her to life
again, it was not long before she came to herself. "Mother," said
Aladdin, "do not mind this; get up, and come and eat; here is what will
put you in heart, and at the same time satisfy my extreme hunger: do
not let such delicious meat get cold."
His mother was much surprised to see the great tray, twelve dishes, six
loaves, the two flagons and cups, and to smell the savory odor which
exhaled from the dishes. "Child," said she, "to whom are we obliged for
this great plenty and liberality? has the sultan been made acquainted
with our poverty, and had compassion on us?" "It is no matter, mother,"
said Aladdin, "let us sit down and eat; for you have almost as much
need of a good breakfast as myself; when we have done, I will tell
you." Accordingly both mother and son sat down, and ate with the better
relish as the table was so well furnished. But all the time Aladdin's
mother could not forbear looking at and admiring the tray and dishes,
though she could not judge whether they were silver or any other metal,
and the novelty more than the value attracted her attention.
The mother and son sat at breakfast till it was dinner-time, and then
they thought it would be best to put the two meals together; yet after
this they found they should have enough left for supper, and two meals
for the next day.
When Aladdin's mother had taken away and set by what was left, she went
and sat down by her son on the sofa, saying, "I expect now that you
should satisfy my impatience, and tell me exactly what passed between
the genie and you while I was in a swoon"; which he readily complied
She was in as great amazement at what her son told her, as at the
appearance of the genie; and said to him, "But, son, what have we to do
with genies? I never heard that any of my acquaintance had ever seen
one. How came that vile genie to address himself to me, and not to you,
to whom he had appeared before in the cave?" "Mother," answered
Aladdin, "the genie you saw is not the one who appeared to me, though
he resembles him in size; no, they had quite different persons and
habits; they belong to different masters. If you remember, he that I
first saw, called himself the slave of the ring on my finger; and this
you saw, called himself the slave of the lamp you had in your hand: but
I believe you did not hear him, for I think you fainted as soon as he
began to speak."
"What!" cried the mother, "was your lamp then the occasion of that
cursed genie's addressing himself rather to me than to you? Ah! my son,
take it out of my sight, and put it where you please. I will never
touch it. I had rather you would sell it, than run the hazard of being
frightened to death again by touching it: and if you would take my
advice, you would part also with the ring, and not have anything to do
with genies, who, as our prophet has told us, are only devils."
"With your leave, mother," replied Aladdin, "I shall now take care how
I sell a lamp, which may be so serviceable both to you and me. Have you
not been an eye-witness of what it has procured us? and it shall still
continue to furnish us with subsistence and maintenance. You may
suppose as I do, that my false and wicked uncle would not have taken so
much pains, and undertaken so long and tedious a journey, if it had not
been to get into his possession this wonderful lamp, which he preferred
before all the gold and silver which he knew was in the halls, and
which I have seen with my own eyes. He knew too well the worth of this
lamp, not to prefer it to so great a treasure; and since chance hath
discovered the virtue of it to us, let us make a profitable use of it,
without making any great show, and exciting the envy and jealousy of
our neighbors. However, since the genies frighten you so much, I will
take it out of your sight, and put it where I may find it when I want
it. The ring I cannot resolve to part with; for without that you had
never seen me again; and though I am alive now, perhaps, if it was
gone, I might not be so some moments hence; therefore, I hope you will
give me leave to keep it, and to wear it always on my finger. Who knows
what dangers you and I may be exposed to, which neither of us can
foresee, and from which it may deliver us?" As Aladdin's arguments were
just, his mother had nothing to say against them; she only replied,
that he might do what he pleased, for her part, she would have nothing
to do with genies, but would wash her hands of them, and never say
anything more about them.
By the next night they had eaten all the provisions the genie had
brought; and the next day Aladdin, who could not bear the thoughts of
hunger, putting one of the silver dishes under his vest, went out early
to sell it, and addressing himself to a Jew whom he met in the streets,
took him aside, and pulling out the plate, asked him if he would buy
it. The cunning Jew took the dish, examined it, and as soon as he found
that it was good silver, asked Aladdin at how much he valued it.
Aladdin, who knew not its value, and never had been used to such
traffic, told him he would trust to his judgment and honor. The Jew was
somewhat confounded at this plain dealing; and doubting whether Aladdin
understood the material or the full value of what he offered to sell,
took a piece of gold out of his purse and give it him, though it was
but the sixtieth part of the worth of the plate. Aladdin, taking the
money very eagerly, retired with so much haste, that the Jew, not
content with the exorbitancy of his profit, was vexed he had not
penetrated into his ignorance, and was going to run after him, to
endeavor to get some change out of the piece of gold; but he ran so
fast, and had got so far, that it would have been impossible for him to
Before Aladdin went home, he called at a baker's, bought some cakes of
bread, changed his money, and on his return gave the rest to his
mother, who went and purchased provisions enough to last them some
time. After this manner they lived, till Aladdin had sold the twelve
dishes singly, as necessity pressed, to the Jew, for the same money;
who, after the first time, durst not offer him less, for fear of losing
so good a bargain. When he had sold the last dish, he had recourse to
the tray, which weighed ten times as much as the dishes, and would have
carried it to his old purchaser, but that it was too large and
cumbersome; therefore he was obliged to bring him home with him to his
mother's, where, after the Jew had examined the weight of the tray, he
laid down ten pieces of gold, with which Aladdin was very well
They lived on these ten pieces in a frugal manner, and Aladdin, though
used to an idle life, had left off playing with young lads of his own
age ever since his adventure with the African magician. He spent his
time in walking about, and conversing with decent people, with whom he
gradually got acquainted. Sometimes he would stop at the principal
merchants' shops, where people of distinction met, and listen to their
discourse, by which he gained some little knowledge of the world.
When all the money was spent, Aladdin had recourse again to the lamp.
He took it in his hand, looked for the part where his mother had rubbed
it with the sand, rubbed it also, when the genie immediately appeared,
and said, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy
slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their hands."
"I am hungry," said Aladdin, "bring me something to eat." The genie
disappeared, and presently returned with a tray, the same number of
covered dishes as before, set them down, and vanished.
Aladdin's mother, knowing what her son was going to do, went out about
some business, on purpose to avoid being in the way when the genie
came; and when she returned, was almost as much surprised as before at
the prodigious effect of the lamp. However, she sat down with her son,
and when they had eaten as much as they liked, she set enough by to
last them two or three days.
As soon as Aladdin found that their provisions were expended, he took
one of the dishes, and went to look for his Jew chapman; but passing by
a goldsmith's shop, who had the character of a very fair and honest
man, the goldsmith perceiving him, called to him, and said, "My lad, I
have often observed you go by, loaded as you are at present, and talk
with such a Jew, and then come back again empty handed. I imagine that
you carry something which you sell to him; but perhaps you do not know
that he is the greatest rogue even among the Jews, and is so well
known, that nobody of prudence will have anything to do with him. What
I tell you is for your own good. If you will show me what you now
carry, and it is to be sold, I will give you the full worth of it; or I
will direct you to other merchants who will not cheat you."
The hopes of getting more money for his plate induced Aladdin to pull
it from under his vest, and show it to the goldsmith, who at first
sight saw that it was made of the finest silver, asked him if he had
sold such as that to the Jew, when Aladdin told him that he had sold
him twelve such, for a piece of gold each. "What a villain!" cried the
goldsmith; "but," added he, "my son, what is past cannot be recalled.
By showing you the value of this plate, which is of the finest silver
we use in our shops, I will let you see how much the Jew has cheated
The goldsmith took a pair of scales, weighed the dish, and after he had
mentioned how much an ounce of fine silver cost, assured him that his
plate would fetch by weight sixty pieces of gold, which he offered to
pay down immediately. "If you dispute my honesty," said he, "you may go
to any other of our trade, and if he gives you more, I will be bound to
forfeit twice as much; for we gain only the fashion of the plate we
buy, and that the fairest-dealing Jews are not contented with."
Aladdin thanked him for his fair dealing, so greatly to his advantage,
took the gold, and never after went to any other person, but sold him
all his dishes and the tray, and had as much for them as the weight
Though Aladdin and his mother had an inexhaustible treasure in their
lamp, and might have had whatever they wished for, yet they lived with
the same frugality as before, except that Aladdin dressed better; as
for his mother, she wore no clothes but what she earned by spinning
cotton. After their manner of living, it may be supposed, that the
money for which Aladdin had sold the dishes and tray was sufficient to
maintain them some time.
During this interval, Aladdin frequented the shops of the principal
merchants, where they sold cloth of gold and silver, linens, silk
stuffs, and jewelry, and oftentimes joining in their conversation,
acquired a knowledge of the world, and respectable demeanor. By his
acquaintance among the jewelers, he came to know that the fruit which
he had gathered when he took the lamp were, instead of colored glass,
stones of inestimable value; but he had the prudence not to mention
this to any one, not even to his mother.
One day as Aladdin was walking about the town, he heard an order
proclaimed, commanding the people to shut up their shops and houses,
and keep within doors, while the princess Buddir al Buddoor, the
sultan's daughter, went to the baths and returned.
This proclamation inspired Aladdin with eager curiosity to see the
princess's face, which he could not do without admission into the house
of some acquaintance, and then only through a window; which did not
satisfy him, when he considered that the princess when she went to the
baths, would be closely veiled; but to gratify his curiosity, he
presently thought of a scheme, which succeeded; it was to place himself
behind the door of the bath, which was so situated that he could not
fail of seeing her face.
Aladdin had not waited long before the princess came, and he could see
her plainly through a chink of the door without being discovered. She
was attended by a great crowd of ladies, slaves, and eunuchs, who
walked on each side, and behind her. When she came within three or four
paces of the door of the baths, she took off her veil, and gave Aladdin
an opportunity of a full view.
As soon as Aladdin had seen the princess his heart could not withstand
those inclinations so charming an object always inspires. The princess
was the most beautiful brunette in the world; her eyes were large,
lively, and sparkling; her looks sweet and modest; her nose was of a
just proportion and without a fault, her mouth small, her lips of a
vermilion red and charmingly agreeable symmetry; in a word, all the
features of her face were perfectly regular. It is not therefore
surprising that Aladdin, who had never before seen such a blaze of
charms, was dazzled, and his senses ravished by such an assemblage.
With all these perfections the princess had so fine a form, and so
majestic an air, that the sight of her was sufficient to inspire love
After the princess had passed by, and entered the baths, Aladdin
remained some time astonished, and in a kind of ecstasy, retracing and
imprinting the idea of so charming an object deeply in his mind. But at
last, considering that the princess was gone past him, and that when
she returned from the bath her back would be towards him, and then
veiled, he resolved to quit his hiding place and go home. He could not
so far conceal his uneasiness but that his mother perceived it, was
surprised to see him so much more thoughtful and melancholy than usual;
and asked what had happened to make him so, or if he was ill. He
returned her no answer, but sat carelessly down on the sofa, and
remained silent, musing on the image of the charming Buddir al Buddoor.
His mother, who was dressing supper, pressed him no more. When it was
ready, she served it up, and perceiving that he gave no attention to
it, urged him to eat, but had much ado to persuade him to change his
place; which when he did, he ate much less than usual, all the time
cast down his eyes, and observed so profound a silence, that she could
not obtain a word in answer to all the questions she put, in order to
find the reason of so extraordinary an alteration.
After supper, she asked him again why he was so melancholy, but could
get no information, and he determined to go to bed rather than give her
the least satisfaction. Without examining how he passed the night, his
mind full as it was with the charms of the princess, I shall only
observe that as he sat next day on the sofa, opposite his mother, as
she was spinning cotton, he spoke to her in these words: "I perceive,
mother, that my silence yesterday has much troubled you; I was not, nor
am I sick, as I fancy you believed; but I assure you, that what I felt
then, and now endure, is worse than any disease. I cannot explain what
ails me; but doubt not what I am going to relate will inform you.
"It was not proclaimed in this quarter of the town, and therefore you
could know nothing of it, that the sultan's daughter was yesterday to
go to the baths. I heard this as I walked about the town, and an order
was issued that all the shops should be shut up in her way thither, and
everybody keep withindoors, to leave the streets free for her and her
attendants. As I was not then far from the bath, I had a great
curiosity to see the princess's face; and as it occurred to me that the
princess, when she came nigh the door of the bath, would pull her veil
off, I resolved to conceal myself behind the door. You know the
situation of the door, and may imagine that I must have had a full view
of her. The princess threw off her veil, and I had the happiness of
seeing her lovely face with the greatest security. This, mother, was
the cause of my melancholy and silence yesterday; I love the princess
with more violence than I can express; and as my passion increases
every moment, I cannot live without the possession of the amiable
Buddir al Buddoor, and am resolved to ask her in marriage of the sultan
Aladdin's mother listened with surprise to what her son told her; but
when he talked of asking the princess in marriage, she could not help
bursting out into a loud laugh. Aladdin would have gone on with his
rhapsody, but she interrupted him: "Alas! child," said she, "what are
you thinking of? you must be mad to talk thus."
"I assure you, mother," replied Aladdin, "that I am not mad, but in my
right senses; I foresaw that you would reproach me with folly and
extravagance; but I must tell you once more, that I am resolved to
demand the princess of the sultan in marriage, and your remonstrances
shall not prevent me."
"Indeed, son," replied the mother seriously, "I cannot help telling
you, that you have forgotten yourself; and if you would put this
resolution of yours in execution, I do not see whom you can prevail
upon to venture to make the proposal for you." "You yourself," replied
he immediately. "I go to the sultan!" answered the mother, amazed and
surprised. "I shall be cautious how I engage in such an errand. Why,
who are you, son," continued she, "that you can have the assurance to
think of your sultan's daughter? Have you forgotten that your father
was one of the poorest tailors in the capital, and that I am of no
better extraction; and do not you know that sultans never marry their
daughters but to princes, sons of sovereigns like themselves?"
"Mother," answered Aladdin, "I have already told you that I foresaw all
that you have said, or can say: and tell you again, that neither your
discourse nor your remonstrances shall make me change my mind. I have
told you that you must ask the princess in marriage for me: it is a
favor I desire of you, and I beg of you not to refuse, unless you would
rather see me in my grave, than by your compliance give me new life."
The good old woman was much embarrassed, when she found Aladdin
obstinately persisting in so wild a design. "My son," said she again,
"I am your mother, who brought you into the world, and there is nothing
that is reasonable but I would readily do for you. If I were to go and
treat about your marriage with some neighbor's daughter, whose
circumstances were equal with yours, I would do it with all my heart;
and even then they would expect you should have some little estate or
fortune, or be of some trade. When such poor folks as we are wish to
marry, the first thing they ought to think of, is how to live. But
without reflecting on the meanness of your birth, and the little merit
and fortune you have to recommend you, you aim at the highest pitch of
exaltation; and your pretensions are no less than to demand in marriage
the daughter of your sovereign, who with one single word can crush you
to pieces. I say nothing of what respects yourself. I leave you to
reflect on what you have to do, if you have ever so little thought. I
come now to consider what concerns myself. How could so extraordinary a
thought come into your head, as that I should go to the sultan and make
a proposal to him to give his daughter in marriage to you? Suppose I
had, not to say the boldness, but the impudence to present myself
before the sultan, and make so extravagant a request, to whom should I
address myself to be introduced to his Majesty? Do you not think the
first person I should speak to would take me for a madwoman, and
chastise me as I should deserve? Suppose, however, that there is no
difficulty in presenting myself for an audience of the sultan, and I
know there is none to those who go to petition for justice, which he
distributes equally among his subjects; I know too that to those who
ask a favor he grants it with pleasure when he sees it is deserved, and
the persons are worthy of it. But is that your case? do you think you
have merited the honor you would have me ask for you? are you worthy of
it? What have you done to claim such a favor, either for your prince or
country? How have you distinguished yourself? If you have done nothing
to merit so high a distinction, nor are worthy of it, with what face
shall I ask it? How can I open my mouth to make the proposal to the
sultan? His majestic presence and the luster of his court would
absolutely confound me, who used even to tremble before my late husband
your father, when I asked him for anything. There is another reason, my
son, which you do not think of, which is that nobody ever goes to ask a
favor of the sultan without a present. But what presents have you to
make? And if you had any that were worthy of the least attention of so
great a monarch, what proportion could they bear to the favor you would
ask? Therefore, reflect well on what you are about, and consider, that
you aspire to an object which it is impossible for you to obtain."
Aladdin heard very calmly all that his mother could say to dissuade him
from his design, and after he had weighed her representations in all
points, replied: "I own, mother, it is great rashness in me to presume
to carry my pretensions so far; and a great want of consideration to
ask you with so much heat and precipitancy to go and make the proposal
to the sultan, without first taking proper measures to procure a
favorable reception, and therefore beg your pardon. But be not
surprised that through the violence of my passion I did not at first
see every measure necessary to procure me the happiness I seek. I love
the princess, or rather I adore her, and shall always persevere in my
design of marrying her. I am obliged to you for the hint you have given
me, and look upon it as the first step I ought to take to procure the
happy issue I promise myself.
"You say it is not customary to go to the sultan without a present, and
that I have nothing worthy of his acceptance. As to the necessity of a
present, I agree with you, and own that I never thought of it; but as
to what you say that I have nothing fit to offer, do not you think,
mother, that what I brought home with me the day on which I was
delivered from an inevitable death, may be an acceptable present? I
mean what you and I both took for colored glass: but now I am
undeceived, and can tell you that they are jewels of inestimable value,
and fit for the greatest monarch. I know the worth of them by
frequenting the shops; and you may take my word that all the precious
stones which I saw in the most capital jeweler's possession were not to
be compared to those we have, either for size or beauty, and yet they
value theirs at an excessive price. In short, neither you nor I know
the value of ours; but be it as it may, by the little experience I
have, I am persuaded that they will be received very favorably by the
sultan: you have a large porcelain dish fit to hold them; fetch it, and
let us see how they will look, when we have arranged them according to
their different colors."
Aladdin's mother brought the china dish, when he took the jewels out of
the two purses in which he had kept them, and placed them in order
according to his fancy. But the brightness and luster they emitted in
the daytime, and the variety of the colors, so dazzled the eyes both of
mother and son, that they were astonished beyond measure; for they had
only seen them by the light of a lamp; and though the latter had beheld
them pendant on the trees like fruit beautiful to the eye, yet as he
was then but a boy, he looked on them only as glittering playthings.
After they had admired the beauty of the jewels some time, Aladdin said
to his mother, "Now you cannot excuse yourself from going to the
sultan, under pretext of not having a present to make him, since here
is one which will gain you a favorable reception."
Though the good widow, notwithstanding the beauty and luster of the
precious stones, did not believe them so valuable as her son estimated
them, she thought such a present might nevertheless be agreeable to the
sultan, but still she hesitated at the request. "My son," said she, "I
cannot conceive that your present will have its desired effect, or that
the sultan will look upon me with a favorable eye; I am sure, that if I
attempt to deliver your strange message, I shall have no power to open
my mouth; therefore I shall not only lose my labor, but the present,
which you say is so invaluable, and shall return home again in
confusion, to tell you that your hopes are frustrated. I have
represented the consequence, and you ought to believe me; but," added
she, "I will exert my best endeavor to please you, and wish I may have
power to ask the sultan as you would have me; but certainly he would
either laugh at me, and send me back like a fool, or be in so great a
rage as to make us both the victims of his fury."
She used many other arguments to endeavor to make him change his mind;
but the charms of the princess had made too great an impression on his
heart for him to be dissuaded from his design. He persisted in
importuning his mother to execute his resolution, and she, as much out
of tenderness as for fear he should be guilty of greater extravagance,
complied with his request.
As it was now late, and the time for admission to the palace was
passed, it was put off till the next day. The mother and son talked of
different matters the remaining part of the day; and Aladdin strove to
encourage her in the task she had undertaken; while she,
notwithstanding all his arguments, could not persuade herself she
should succeed; and it must be confessed she had reason enough to
doubt. "Child," said she to Aladdin, "if the sultan should receive me
favorably, as I wish for your sake, should even hear my proposal with
calmness, and after this scarcely-to-be-expected reception should think
of asking me where lie your riches and your estate (for he will sooner
inquire after these than your person), if, I say, he should ask me
these questions, what answer would you have me return him?"
"Let us not be uneasy, mother," replied Aladdin, "about what may never
happen. First, let us see how the sultan receives, and what answer he
gives you. If it should so fall out, that he desires to be informed of
what you mention, I have thought of an answer, and am confident that
the lamp which hath supported us so long will not fail me in time of
The tailor's widow could not say anything against what her son then
proposed; but reflected that the lamp might be capable of doing greater
wonders than just providing victuals for them. This consideration
satisfied her, and at the same time removed all the difficulties which
might have prevented her from undertaking the service she had promised
her son with the sultan; Aladdin, who penetrated into his mother's
thoughts, said to her, "Above all things, mother, be sure to keep
secret our possession of the lamp, for thereon depends the success we
have to expect"; and after this caution, Aladdin and his mother parted
to go to rest. But violent love, and the great prospect of so immense a
fortune, had so much possessed the son's thoughts, that he could not
repose himself so well as he could have wished. He rose before
daybreak, awakened his mother, pressing her to get herself dressed to
go to the sultan's palace, and to get admittance, if possible, before
the grand vizier, the other viziers, and the great officers of state
went in to take their seats in the divan, where the sultan always
assisted in person.
Aladdin's mother took the china dish, in which they had put the jewels
the day before, wrapped in two napkins, one finer than the other, which
was tied at the four corners for more easy carriage, and set forwards
for the sultan's palace. When she came to the gates, the grand vizier,
the other viziers, and most distinguished lords of the court were just
gone in; but, notwithstanding the crowd of people who had business was
great, she got into the divan, a spacious hall, the entrance into which
was very magnificent. She placed herself just before the sultan, grand
vizier, and the great lords, who sat in council, on his right and left
hand. Several causes were called, according to their order, pleaded and
adjudged, until the time the divan generally broke up, when the sultan
rising, returned to his apartment, attended by the grand vizier; the
other viziers and ministers of state then retired, as also did all
those whose business had called them thither; some pleased with gaining
their causes, others dissatisfied at the sentences pronounced against
them, and some in expectation of theirs being heard the next sitting.
Aladdin's mother, seeing the sultan retire, and all the people depart,
judged rightly that he would not sit again that day, and resolved to go
home. When Aladdin saw her return with the present designed for the
sultan, he knew not what to think of her success, and in his fear lest
she should bring him some ill news, had not courage to ask her any
questions; but she, who had never set foot into the sultan's palace
before, and knew not what was every day practiced there, freed him from
his embarrassment, and said to him, with a great deal of simplicity,
"Son, I have seen the sultan, and am very well persuaded he has seen me
too; for I placed myself just before him; but he was so much taken up
with those who attended on all sides of him, that I pitied him, and
wondered at his patience. At last I believe he was heartily tired, for
he rose up suddenly, and would not hear a great many who were ready
prepared to speak to him, but went away, at which I was well pleased,
for indeed I began to lose all patience, and was extremely fatigued
with staying so long. But there is no harm done; I will go again
tomorrow; perhaps the sultan may not be so busy."
Though his passion was very violent, Aladdin was forced to be satisfied
with this delay, and to fortify himself with patience. He had at least
the satisfaction to find that his mother had got over the greatest
difficulty, which was to procure access to the sultan, and hoped that
the example of those she saw speak to him would embolden her to acquit
herself better of her commission when a favorable opportunity might
offer to speak to him.
The next morning she repaired to the sultan's palace with the present,
as early as the day before, but when she came there, she found the
gates of the divan shut, and understood that the council sat but every
other day, therefore she must come again the next. This news she
carried to her son, whose only relief was to guard himself with
patience. She went six times afterwards on the days appointed, placed
herself always directly before the sultan, but with as little success
as the first morning, and might have perhaps come a thousand times to
as little purpose, if luckily the sultan himself had not taken
particular notice of her: for only those who came with petitions
approached the sultan, when each pleaded their cause in its turn, and
Aladdin's mother was not one of them.
On the sixth day, however, after the divan was broken up, when the
sultan returned to his own apartment, he said to his grand vizier, "I
have for some time observed a certain woman, who attends constantly
every day that I give audience, with something wrapped up in a napkin:
she always stands up from the beginning to the breaking up of the
audience, and affects to place herself just before me. Do you know what
"Sir," replied the grand vizier, who knew no more than the sultan what
she wanted, but did not wish to seem uninformed, "your Majesty knows
that women often make complaints on trifles; perhaps she may come to
complain to your Majesty, that somebody has sold her some bad flour, or
some such trifling matter." The sultan was not satisfied with this
answer, but replied, "If this woman comes to our next audience, do not
fail to call her, that I may hear what she has to say." The grand
vizier made answer by lowering his hand, and then lifting it up above
his head, signifying his willingness to lose it if he failed.