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ALADDIN, OR, THE WONDERFUL LAMP
N a town of Tartary there lived a tailor, named Mustapha, who was so poor that he could hardly maintain himself, his wife, and his son Aladdin. When the boy was of proper years to serve as an apprentice, his father took him into his shop, and taught him how to work; but all his father could do was in vain, for Aladdin was incorrigible.
His father was therefore forced to abandon him to his libertinism; the thoughts of this brought on a fit of sickness, of which he shortly died; and the mother finding that her son would not follow his father's trade, shut up the shop; and with the money she earned by spinning cotton, thought to support herself and son.
Aladdin continued to give himself up to all kinds of folly, until one day as he was playing in the street a stranger passing by, stood to observe him.
This stranger was a great magician; knowing who Aladdin was, and what were his propensities, went up to him, and said, ‘Child, was not your father called Mustapha? and was he not a tailor?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ answered Aladdin, ‘but he has been dead some time.’
The magician threw his arms round Aladdin’s neck, and said, ‘I am your uncle, I have been many years abroad; and now, when I have come with the hope of seeing my brother, you tell me he is dead!’
The Magician caressed Aladdin, and gave him a very beautiful ring; which he told the youth was of great value. By these artifices he led Aladdin some distance out of the town, until they came between two mountains.
He then collected dry sticks, and made a fire, into which he cast a perfume, and turning himself round, pronounced some magical words. The earth immediately trembled, and opened; and discovered a stone with a ring, by which it might be raised up.
The magician said, ‘Under this stone is a treasure destined to be yours: take hold of this ring and lift it up.’ Aladdin did as he was directed, and raised the stone with great care.
When it was removed there appeared a cavern, into which the magician bade him descend; and told him at the bottom of the steps was a door open, which led into a large palace, divided into three great halls; at the end of these was a garden, planted with trees, bearing the most delicious fruits. ‘Across that garden,’ said he, ‘you will perceive a terrace, and in it a niche, which contains a lighted lamp.
‘Take down the lamp; extinguish the light; throw out the wick; pour out the oil; put the lamp into your bosom, and bring it to me.’
Aladdin jumped into the cavern, and found the halls; he went through them, crossed the garden, took down the lamp, and put it into his bosom.
As he returned, he stopped to admire the fine fruits with which the trees were loaded. Some bore fruit entirely white, others red, green, blue, and yellow. Although he imagined they were coloured glass, he was so pleased with them, that he filled his pockets, and then returned to the entrance of the cavern.
When he came thither he said to the magician, ‘Uncle, lend me your hand to assist me in getting up.’
‘Give me the lamp first’ said the magician.
‘I cannot, till I am up,’ replied Aladdin.
The magician would have the lamp before he would help Aladdin to get out; and Aladdin refused to give it to him, before he was out of the cavern. The magician became so enraged, that he threw some perfume into the fire, and, pronouncing a few magical words, the stone returned to its former place, and thus buried Aladdin, who in vain called out that he was ready to give up the lamp.
The magician, by the powers of art, had discovered that if he could become possessed of a wonderful lamp that was hidden somewhere in the world, it would render him greater than any prince. He afterwards discovered that tins lamp was in a subterraneous cavern between two mountains of Tartary.
He accordingly proceeded to the town which was nearest to this treasure, and knowing that he must receive it from the hands of some other person, he thought Aladdin very suitable to his purpose.
When Aladdin had procured the lamp, the Magician was in such extreme haste to become possessed of this wonderful acquisition, or was so unwilling that the boy should reveal the circumstance, that he defeated his own intention.
In this manner he forgot also the ring which he had formerly given to Aladdin; and which, he had informed the youth, would always preserve him from harm; but went away without either.
When Aladdin found that he was immured alive in this cavern, he sat down on the steps, and remained there two days; on the third day, he clasped his hands together in terror and despair at his unfortunate condition.
In joining his hands he rubbed the ring which the magician had given him; and immediately a genius of awful stature stood before him.
‘What wouldst thou have with me?’ said the terrific form: ‘I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, whilst thou dost possess the ring that is on thy finger.’
Aladdin said, ‘Whoever thou art, deliver me from this place, if thou art able.’ He had no sooner spoken than the earth opened, and he found himself at the place where the magician had performed his incantations.
Aladdin returned home as fast as he could, and related to his mother all that had happened to him: she naturally uttered imprecations at the vile magician; and lamented that she had no food to give her son, who had not tasted any for three days.
Aladdin then showed her the lamp, and said, ‘Mother, I will take this lamp and sell it to buy us food; but I think if I were to clean it first, it would fetch a better price.’ He therefore sat down, and began to rub it with sand and water.
Immediately an awful genius appeared, and said, ‘What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and as the slave of all who may possess the lamp in thy hand.’ Aladdin said, ‘I hunger: bring me food.’ The genius disappeared; but in an instant returned with some delicate viands, on twelve silver plates; he placed them on the table and vanished. Aladdin and his mother sat down and ate heartily. The victuals lasted them until the next night; when Aladdin took the plates and sold them. As they lived with frugality the money kept them several years.
One day Aladdin saw the princess Badroulboudour, as she was going to the baths. He was so struck with her beauty, that he ran home and requested his mother to go to the sultan, and ask for the princess in marriage. His mother thought he must be mad, and endeavoured to dissuade him from such a foolish desire: but he replied that he could not exist without the princess.
He then brought his mother the fruit which he had gathered in the subterraneous garden; and told her to take it as a present to the sultan, for it was worthy the greatest monarch; he having found by frequenting the shops of jewellers, that, instead of being coloured glass, they were jewels of inestimable value.
His mother being thus persuaded, set off for the sultan’s palace; where, having obtained an audience, she presented the jewels to the sultan in a china vase.
The sultan graciously received the present; and having heard her request, he said, ‘I cannot allow lily daughter to marry until I receive some valuable consideration from your son; yet, if at the expiration of three months from this day, he will send me forty vases like this one, filled with similar jewels, and borne by forty black slaves, each of them led by a white slave in magnificent apparel, I will consent that he shall become my son-in-law.’
The sultan indeed was unwilling that his daughter should be married to a stranger: but supposing the demand he made would be greater than Aladdin could comply with, he considered that this condition would be as effectual as a refusal, and that without seeming to oppose the young man’s request. Aladdin’s mother returned home, and told him the stipulations upon which the sultan would consent to his match. His joy was therefore unbounded, when he found that he was so likely to espouse the princess. As soon as his mother left him, he took the lamp and rubbed it; when immediately the same genius appeared, and asked what he would have. Aladdin told him what the sultan required, and that the articles must be provided by the time appointed; which the genius promised should be done. At the expiration of three months, the genius brought the fourscore slaves, and the vessels filled with jewels. Aladdin’s mother being attired in a superb robe, set out with them to the palace. When the sultan beheld the forty vases, full of the most precious and brilliant jewels; and the eighty slaves, the costliness of whose garments was as great as the dresses of kings, he was so astonished, that he thought it unnecessary to inform himself whether Aladdin had all the other qualifications which ought to be possessed by a monarch’s son-in-law. The sight of such immense riches, and Aladdin’s diligence in complying with his demand, persuaded the sultan that he could not want any other accomplishments; he therefore said to the young man’s mother, ‘Go tell thy son that I wait to receive him, that he may espouse the princess, my daughter.’ When Aladdin’s mother had withdrawn, the sultan arose from his throne, and ordered that the vases and jewels should be carried into the princess’s apartment.
The mother of Aladdin soon returned to her son: ‘You are arrived,’ said she to him, ‘at the height of your desires. The sultan waits to embrace you, and conclude your marriage.’ Aladdin in ecstasies at this intelligence, retired to his chamber, and rubbed the lamp. The obedient genius appeared. ‘Genius,’ said Aladdin, ‘I wish to bathe immediately: afterwards provide me with a robe more superb than monarch ever wore.’ The genius then rendered him invisible, and transported him to a marble bath; where he was undressed, without seeing by whom, and rubbed and washed with waters of the most exquisite fragrance. His skin became clear and delicate; he put on a magnificent garment which he found ready for him; and the genius then transported him to his chamber, where he inquired if Aladdin had further commands for him. ‘Yes,’ answered Aladdin, ‘bring me a horse, and let it be furnished with the most costly and magnificent trappings; let there be a splendid retinue of slaves to attend me, and let them be attired in the most expensive habiliments. For my mother also provide an extensive equipage; let six female slaves attend her, each bearing a different robe, suitable even to the dignity of a sultaness; let not anything be wanting to complete the splendour of her retinue. But, above all, bring ten thousand pieces of gold in ten purses.’ The genius disappeared, and returned with a horse, forty slaves, ten purses of gold, and six female slaves, each bearing a most costly robe for Aladdin’s mother. Aladdin entrusted six of the purses to the slaves that they might distribute the money among the people as they proceeded to the sultan’s palace. He then despatched one of the slaves to the royal mansion, to know when he might have the honour of prostrating himself at the sultan’s feet.
The slave brought him word that the sultan waited for him with impatience. When he arrived at the gate of the palace, the grand vizier, the generals of the army, the governors of the provinces, and all the great officers of the court, attended him to the council hall; and having assisted him to dismount, they led him to the sultan’s throne. The sovereign was amazed to see that Aladdin was more richly apparelled than he was; he arose, however, from his throne, and embraced him. He gave a signal, and the air resounded with trumpets, hautboys, and other musical instruments. He then conducted Aladdin into a magnificent saloon, where a sumptuous entertainment had been provided. After this splendid repast, the sultan sent for the chief law officer of his empire, and ordered him immediately to prepare the marriage contract between the princess and Aladdin. The sultan then asked Aladdin if the marriage should be solemnized that day. To which he answered, ‘Sir, I beg your permission to defer it until I have built a palace, suitable to the dignity of the princess; and I therefore entreat you farther to grant me a convenient spot of ground near your own palace; and I will take care to have it finished with the utmost expedition.’ ‘Son,’ said the sultan, ‘take what ground you think proper.’ After which he again embraced Aladdin, who respectfully took leave and returned home.
He retired to his chamber, took his lamp and summoned the genius as usual. ‘Genius,’ said he, ‘build me a palace near the sultan’s fit for the reception of my spouse the princess; but instead of stone, let the walls be formed of massy gold and silver, laid in alternate rows; and let the interstices be enriched with diamonds and emeralds. The palace must have a delightful garden, planted with aromatic shrubs and plants, bearing the most delicious fruits and beautiful flowers. But in particular let there be an immense treasure of gold and silver coin. The palace, moreover, must be well provided with offices, store-houses, and stables full of the finest horses, and attended by equerries, grooms, and hunting equipage.’ By the dawn of the ensuing morning, the genius presented himself to Aladdin, and said, ‘Sir, your palace is finished; come and see if it accords with your wishes.’ He had no sooner signified his readiness to behold it, than the genius instantly conveyed him thither. He found that it surpassed all his expectations. The officers and slaves were all dressed according to their rank and services. The genius then showed him the treasury, in which he saw heaps of bags full of money, piled up to the very ceiling. The genius then conveyed Aladdin home, before the hour arrived at which the gates of the sultan’s palace were opened.
When the porters arrived at the gates of the royal mansion, they were amazed to see Aladdin’s palace. The grand vizier who came afterwards, was no less astonished: he went to acquaint the sultan of it, and endeavoured to persuade the monarch that it was all enchantment. ‘Vizier,’ replied the sultan, ‘you know as well as I do, that it is Aladdin’s palace, on the ground which I gave him.’ When Aladdin had dismissed the genius, he requested his mother to go to the royal palace with her slaves, and tell the sultan she came to have the honour of attending the princess towards the evening to her son’s palace. Aladdin soon afterwards left his paternal dwelling; but he was careful not to forget his wonderful lamp, by the aid of which he had become so eminently dignified. Aladdin’s mother was received at the royal palace with great honour; and was introduced to the apartment of the beautiful princess. The princess received her with great affection; and while the women were decorating her with the jewels Aladdin had sent, an elegant collation was laid before them. In the evening the princess took leave of the sultan her father, and proceeded to Aladdin’s palace. She was accompanied by his mother, and was followed by a hundred slaves, magnificently dressed. Bands of music led the procession, followed by an hundred black slaves, with appropriate officers. Four hundred of the sultan’s young pages carried torches on each side; these, with the radiant illuminations of the Sultan’s and Aladdin’s palaces, rendered it as light as day.
When the princess arrived at the new palace, Aladdin, filled with delight, hastened to receive her. He addressed her with that reverence which her dignity exacted; but with that ardour which her extreme beauty inspired. He took her by the hand, and led her into a saloon, where an entertainment, far beyond description, was served up.
The dishes were of burnished gold, and contained every kind of rarity and delicacy. Vases, cups, and other vessels, were also of gold, so exquisitely carved, that the excellency of the workmanship might be said to surpass the value of the material.
Aladdin conducted the princess and his mother to their appropriate places in this magnificent apartment; and as soon as they were seated, a choir of the most melodious voices, accompanied by a band of the most exquisite performers, formed the most fascinating concert during the whole of the repast.
About midnight Aladdin presented his hand to the princess to dance with her: and thus concluded the ceremonies and festivities of the day.
On the next morning Aladdin, mounted on a horse richly caparisoned, and attended by a troop of slaves, proceeded to the sultan’s palace. The monarch received him with parental affection, and placed him beside the royal throne.
Aladdin did not limit himself to the two palaces, but went about the city, and attended the different mosques. He visited also the grand vizier, and other great personages: his manner, which had become extremely pleasing, endeared him to his superiors; and his affability and liberality gained him the affection of the people.
He might thus have been happy, had it not been for the magician, who no sooner understood that Aladdin had arrived at this eminent good fortune, than he exclaimed, This poor tailor’s son has discovered the secret virtues of the lamp! but I will endeavor to prevent him in the enjoyment of it much longer. The next morning he set forward, and soon afterwards arrived at the town in Tartary where Aladdin resided.
The first object he had to attain, was a knowledge of the place in which Aladdin kept the lamp: he soon found by his art that this inestimable treasure was in Aladdin’s palace; a discovery which delighted him.
He also learned that Aladdin was gone on a hunting excursion, which would engage him from home eight days.
The magician then went to a manufacturer of lamps, and purchased a dozen copper ones, which he put into a basket.
He thus proceeded towards Aladdin’s palace; and when he came near it, he cried, ‘Who’ll change old lamps for new ones?’ This strange inquiry attracted a crowd of people and children about him, who thought he must be mad to give new lamps for old ones; yet still he continued to exclaim, ‘Who’ll change old lamps for new ones?’
This he repeated so often near Aladdin’s palace, that the princess sent one of her women slaves to know what the man cried: ‘Madam,’ said the slave, ‘I cannot forbear laughing to see a fool, with a basket full of new lamps on his arm, asking to exchange for old ones.’ Another woman slave who was present, said, ‘I know not whether the princess has observed it, but there is an old lamp upon the cornice; if the princess so pleases, she may try if this foolish man will give a new one for it.’
This was Aladdin’s wonderful lamp which he had placed upon the cornice before he set off on the hunting excursion: but neither the princess, nor those who
were about her, had observed it. At all other times, but when hunting, Aladdin carried it about him. The Princess, who knew not the value of the lamp, bade one of the slaves take it, and make the exchange.
The slave went and called the magician; and showing him the old lamp, said, ‘Will you give me a new one in exchange?’
The magician knowing that this was the lamp he wanted, snatched it from the slave, and thrust it into his bosom, bidding him take that which he liked best: the slave chose one, and carried it to the princess.
As soon as the magician got beyond the gates of the city, he stopped; and passed the remainder of the day, until it was night, in an adjoining wood; when he took the lamp and rubbed it.
The genius instantly appeared. ‘I command thee,’ said the magician, ‘to convey me, together with the palace thou hast built for Aladdin, with all its inhabitants, to a place in Africa.’ The genius instantly transported him, with the palace and every thing it contained to the place in Africa, which the magician had appointed.
The next morning, the sultan went, as usual, to his closet window, to admire Aladdin’s palace; but when he saw an uncovered space of ground, instead of a palace, he could not retain his astonishment and indignation. He went into another apartment, and sent for the grand vizier, who was no less amazed than the sultan had been.
The sultan exclaimed, ‘Where is that impostor, that I may instantly have his head taken off? Order a detachment of fifty horse-soldiers to bring him before me loaded with chains.’ The detachment obeyed the orders: and about six leagues from the town, they met Aladdin returning home; they told him that the sultan had sent them to accompany him home.
Aladdin had not the least apprehension, and pursued his way, but when they came within half a league of the city, the detachment surrounded him, and the officer said, ‘Prince Aladdin, I am commanded by the sultan to arrest you, and to carry you before him as a criminal.’ They then fastened both his arms, and in this manner the officer obliged Aladdin to follow him on foot into the town.
When the soldiers came near the town, the people seeing Aladdin led thus a culprit, doubted not that his head would be cut off: but as he was generally beloved, some took sabres and other kind of arms; and those who had none, gathered stones, and followed the detachment; and in this manner they reached the palace.
Aladdin was carried before the sultan; who as soon as he saw him, ordered that his head should be instantly cut off, without hearing him, or giving him any opportunity to explain himself. As soon as the executioner had taken off the chains, he caused Aladdin to kneel down; then drawing his sabre, he waited only for the sultan’s signal to separate the head from the body.
At that instant the populace had forced the guard of soldiers, and were scaling the walls of the palace. The sultan ordered the executioner to unbind Aladdin; and desired the grand vizier to tell the people that Aladdin was pardoned. When Aladdin found himself at liberty, he turned towards the sultan, and said to him in an affecting manner, ‘I beg your majesty to let me know my crime!’ ‘Thy crime!’ answered the sultan, ‘follow me!’ The sultan then took him into his closet. When he came to the door, he said to him, ‘You ought to know where your palace stood; look and tell me what has become of it.’
‘I beg your majesty,’ said Aladdin, ‘to allow me forty days to make my inquiries.’ — ‘I give you forty days,’ said the sultan. For three days Aladdin rambled about till he was tired. At the close of the third day he came to a river’s side; there, under the influence of despair, he determined to cast himself into the water. He thought it right first to say his prayers; and went to the river side to wash his hands and face, according to the law of Mahomed. The bank of the river was steep and slippery; and as he trod upon it, he slid down against a little rock. In falling down the bank, he rubbed his ring so hard, that the same genius appeared which he had seen in the cavern.
Aladdin said, ‘I command thee to convey me to the place where my palace stands, and set me down under the princess’s window.’ The genius immediately transported him into the midst of a large plain, on which his palace stood, and set him exactly under the window, and left him there fast asleep. The next morning, one of the women perceived Aladdin, and told the princess, who could not believe her; but, nevertheless, she instantly opened the window, when she saw Aladdin, and said to him, ‘I have sent to have one of the private gates opened for you.’
Aladdin went into the princess’s chamber, where, after they had affectionately embraced, he said to her, ‘What has become of an old lamp, which I left upon the cornice when I went hunting?’
The princess told him that it had been exchanged for a new one; and that the next morning she found herself in an unknown country, which she had been told was in Africa, by the treacherous man himself, who had conveyed her thither by his magic art. ‘Princess,’ said Aladdin, ‘you have informed me who the traitor is, by telling me you are in Africa. He is the most perfidious of all men; but this is not the time or place to give you a full account of his iniquity. Can you tell me what he has done with the lamp, and where he has placed it?’
‘He carries it carefully wrapped up in his bosom,’ said the princess; ‘and this I know, because he has taken it out and showed it to me.’ ‘Princess,’ said Aladdin, ‘tell me, I conjure thee, how this wicked and treacherous man treats you.’ ‘Since I have been here,’ replied the princess, ‘he comes once every day to see me; and I am persuaded that the indifference of my manner towards him, and the evident reluctance of my conversation, induces him to withhold more frequent visits. All his endeavours are to persuade me to break that faith I pledged to you, and to take him for a husband. He frequently informs me that I have no hopes of seeing you again, for that you are dead, having had your head struck off by order of the sultan. He also calls you an ungrateful wretch; says that your good fortune was owing to him; besides many other things of a similar kind. He, however, receives no other answer from me than grief, complaints, and tears; and he is, therefore, always obliged to retire with evident dissatisfaction. I have but little doubt that his intention is to allow me some time for my sorrow to subside, in hopes that my sentiments may afterwards become changed; but that if I persevere in an obstinate refusal, that he will use violence to compel me to marry him. But your presence, Aladdin, subdues all my apprehensions.’
‘I have great confidence,’ replied Aladdin, ‘since my princess’s fears are diminished; and I believe that I have thought of the means to deliver you from our common enemy. I shall return at noon, and will then communicate my project to you, and tell you what must be done for its success. But that you may not be surprised, it is well to inform you, that I shall change my dress; and I must beg of you to give orders that I may not wait long at the private gate, but that it may be opened at the first knock.’ All which the princess promised to observe.
When Aladdin went out of the palace, he perceived a countryman before him, and having come up with him, made a proposal to change clothes, to which the man agreed. They accordingly went behind a hedge, and made the exchange. Aladdin afterwards travelled to the town, and came to that part in which merchants and artisans have their respective streets, according to the articles which are the subject of their trade. Among these he found the druggists, and having gone to one of the principal shops, he purchased half-a-drachm of a particular powder that he named.
Aladdin returned to the palace, and when he saw the princess, he told her to invite the magician to sup with her; ‘Then,’ said he, ‘put this powder into one of the cups of wine; charge the slave to bring that cup to you, and then change cups with him. No sooner will he have drank off the contents of the cup, but you will see him fall backwards.’
The magician came, and at table he and the princess sat opposite to each other. The princess presented him with the choicest things that were on the table, and said to him, ‘If you please we will exchange cups, and drink each other’s health.’ She presented her cup, and held out her hand to receive the other from him. He made the exchange with pleasure. The princess put the cup to her lips, while the African magician drank the very last drop, and fell backwards lifeless. No sooner had the magician fallen, than Aladdin entered the hall, and said, ‘Princess, I must beg you to leave me for a moment.’ When the princess was gone, Aladdin shut the door, and going to the dead body of the magician, opened his vest, took out the lamp; and rubbed it. The genius immediately appeared. ‘Genius,’ said Aladdin, ‘I command thee to convey this palace to its former situation in Tartary.’ The palace was immediately removed into Tartary, without any sensation to those who were contained in it. Aladdin went to the princess’s apartment, and embracing her, said, ‘I can assure you, princess, that your joy and mine will be complete to-morrow morning.’
THE AFRICAN MAGICIAN DRANK THE VERY LAST DROP AND FELL BACKWARD LIFELESS.
Aladdin rose at daybreak in the morning, and put on one of his most splendid habits. At an early hour he went into the hall, from the windows of which he perceived the sultan. They met together at the foot of the great staircase of Aladdin’s palace. The venerable sultan was some time before he could open his lips, so great was his joy that he had found his daughter once more. She soon came to him; he embraced her, and made her relate all that had happened to her. Aladdin ordered the magician’s body to be thrown on the dunghill, as the prey of birds. Thus Aladdin was delivered from the persecution of the magician. Within a short time afterwards the sultan died at a good old age; and, as he left no sons, the princess became heiress to the crown: but Aladdin being her husband, the sovereignty, it was agreed by the great officers of state, should devolve upon him. Great preparations were made for Aladdin’s coronation. Throughout the east there had never been so magnificent a ceremonial as this was to be. At length the morning arrived.
The procession to the principal mosque was several hours proceeding. Aladdin was seated on a throne, under a canopy of gold; the crown was being placed on his head, when — he awoke, and found that he had been fast asleep on his father’s shop-board!