Tuesday, August 20, 2013


from The Arabian Night: Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 3, Translated by Malcolm C Lyons, Penguin Books.

In the capital city of a rich and vast kingdom in China whose name I
cannot at the moment recall, there lived a tailor called Mustafa, whose
only distinguishing feature was his profession. This Mustafa was very
poor, his work hardly producing enough to live on for him, his wife and
a son whom God had given him.

The son, who was called Aladdin, had received a very neglected
upbringing, which had led him to acquire many depraved tendencies.
He was wicked, stubborn and disobedient towards his father and mother,
who, once he became little older, could no longer keep him in the house.
He would set out first thing in the morning and spend the day playing
in the street§ and public places with small vagabonds even younger than

As soon as he was of an age to learn a trade, his father, who was not
in a position to make him learn any trade other than his own, took him
into his shop and began to show him how to handle a needle. But he
remained unable to hold his son’s fickle attention, neither by fear of
punishment nor by gentle means, and could not get him to sit down and
apply himself to his work, as he had hoped. No sooner was Mustafa’s
back turned than Aladdin would escape and not return for the rest of
the day. His father would punish him, but Aladdin was incorrigible, and
so, much to his regret, Mustafa was forced to leave him to his dissolute
ways. All this caused Mustafa much distress, and his grief at not being
able to make his son mend his ways resulted in a persistent illness of
which, a few months later, he died.

Aladdin’s mother, seeing how her son was not going to follow in his
father’s footsteps and learn tailoring, closed the shop so that the proceeds
from the sale of all the tools of its trade, together with the little she could
earn by spinning cotton, would help provide for herself and her son.
Aladdin, however, no longer restrained by the fear of a father, paid

so little attention to his mother that he had the effrontery to threaten
her when she so much as remonstrated with him, and now abandoned
himself completely to his dissolute ways. He associated increasingly with
children of his own age, playing with them with even greater enthusiasm.
He continued this way of life until he was fifteen, with his mind totally
closed to anything else and with no thought of what he might one day
become. Such was his situation when one day, while he was playing in
the middle of a square with a band of vagabonds, as was his wont, a
stranger who was passing by stopped to look at him.

This stranger was a famous magician who, so the authors of this story
tell us, was an African, and this is what we will call him, as he was
indeed from Africa, having arrived from that country only two days

Now it may be that it was because this African magician, who was an
expert in the aft of reading faces, had looked at Aladdin and had seen
all that was essential for the execution of his journey’s purpose, or there
might have been some other reason. Whatever the case, he artfully made
enquiries about Aladdin’s family and about what sort of fellow he was.
When he had learned all that he wanted to know, he went up to the
young man and, drawing him a little aside from his companions, asked
him: ‘My son, isn’t your father called Mustafa, the tailor?’ ‘Yes, sir,’
replied Aladdin, ‘but he has been dead a long time.”

At these words, the magician’s eyes filled with tears and, uttering deep
sighs, he threw his arms round Aladdin’s neck, embracing and kissing
him several times. Aladdin, seeing his tears, asked him why he was
weeping. ‘Ah, my son,’ exclaimed the magician, ‘how could I stop myself?
I am your uncle and your father was my dear brother. I have been
travelling for several years and now, just when I arrive here in the hope
of seeing him again and having him rejoice at my return, you say that he
is dead! I tell you it’s very painful for me to find I am not going to receive
the comfort and consolation I was expecting. But what consoles me a
little in my grief is that, as far as I can remember them, I can recognize
his features in your face, and that I was not wrong in speaking to you.’
Putting his hand on his purse, he asked Aladdin where his mother lived.
Aladdin answered him straight away, at which the magician gave him a
handful of small change, saying: ‘My son, go and find your mother, give
her my greetings and tell her that, if I have time, I will go and see her
tomorrow, so that I may have the consolation of seeing where my brother
lived and where he ended his days.”

As soon as the magician had left, his newly invented nephew, delighted
with the money his uncle had just given him, ran to his mother. ‘Mother_,’
he said to her, ‘tell me, please, have I got an uncle?’ ‘No, my son,’ she
replied, ‘you have no uncle, neither on your late father’s side nor on
mine] ‘But I have just seen a man who says he is my uncle on my father’s
side,’ insisted Aladdin. ‘He was his brother, he assured me. I-Ie even
began to weep and embrace me when I told him my father was dead.
And to prove I am telling the truth,’ he added, showing her the money
he had been given, ‘here is what he gave me. I-Ie also charged me to give
you his greetings and to tell you that tomorrow, if he has the time, he
will come and greet you himself and at the same time see the house
where my father lived and where he died.’ ‘My son,’ said his mother,
‘it’s true your father once had a brother, but he’s been dead a long time
and I never heard him say he had another brother.’ They spoke no more
about the African magician.

The next day, the magician approached Aladdin a second time as he
was playing with some other children in another part of the city,
embraced him as he had done on the previous day and, placing two gold
coins in his hand, said to him: ‘My son, take this to your mother; tell
her I am coming to see her this evening and say she should buy some
food so we can dine together. But first, tell me where I can find your
house.’ Aladdin told him where it was and the magician then let him go.
Aladdin took the two gold coins to his mother who, as soon as she
heard of his uncle’s plans, went out to put the money to use, returning
with abundant provisions; but, finding herself with not enough dishes,
she went to borrow some from her neighbours. She spent all day prepar-
ing the meal, and towards evening, when everything was ready, she said
to Aladdin: ‘My son, perhaps your uncle doesn’t know where our house
is. Go and find him and, when you see him, bring him here.”

Although Aladdin had told the magician where to find the house, he
was nonetheless prepared to go out to meet him, when there was a knock
on the door. Opening it, Aladdin discovered the magician, who entered,
laden with bottles of wine and all kinds of fruit which he had brought
for supper and which he handed over to Aladdin. He then greeted his
mother and asked her to show him the place on the sofa where his
brother used to sit. She showed him and immediately he bent down and
kissed the spot several times, exclaiming with tears in his eyes: ‘My poor
brother! I-Iow sad I am not to have arrived in time to embrace you once
more before your death!’ And although Aladdin’s mother begged him to

sit in the same place, he firmly refused. ‘Never will I sit there,” he said,
‘but allow me to sit facing it, so that though I may be deprived of the
satisfaction of seeing him there in person as the head of a family which
is so dear to me, I can at least look at where he sat as though he were
present.” Aladdin”s mother pressed him no further, leaving him to sit
where he pleased.

Once the magician had sat down in the place he had chosen, he
began to talk to Aladdin”s mother. ‘My dear sister,” he began, ‘d0n’t be
surprised that you never saw me all the time you were married to my
brother Mustafa, of happy memory; forty years ago I left this country,
which is mine as well as that of my late brother. Since then, I have
travelled in India, Arabia, Persia, Syria and Egypt, and have stayed in
the finest cities, and then I went to Africa, where I stayed much longer.
Eventually, as is natural -- for a man, however far he is from the place
of his birth, never forgets it any more than he forgets his parents and
those with whom he was brought up -- I was overcome by a strong desire
to see my own family again and to come and embrace my brother. I felt
I still had enough strength and courage to undertake such 'a long journey
and so I delayed no longer and made my preparations to set out. I won’t
tell you how long it has taken me, nor how many obstacles I have met
with and the discomfort I suffered to get here. I will only tell you that in
all my travels nothing has caused me more sorrow and suffering than
hearing of the death of one whom I have always loved with a true
brotherly love. I observed some of his features in the face of my nephew,
your son, which is what made me single him out from among all the
children with whom he was playing. He will have told you how I received
the sad news that my brother was no longer alive; but one must praise
God for all things and I find comfort in seeing him again in a son who
retains his most distinctive features.”

When he saw how the memory of her husband affected Aladdin”s
mother, bringing tears to her eyes, the magician changed the subject and,
turning to Aladdin, asked him his name. ‘I am called Aladdin,” he replied.
‘Well, then, Aladdin,” the magician continued, ‘what do you do? Do you
have a trade?”

At this question, Aladdin lowered his eyes, embarrassed. His mother,
however, answered in his place. ‘Aladdin is an idle fellow,” she said.
‘While he was alive, his father did his best to make him learn his trade
but never succeeded. Since his death, despite everything I have tried to
tell him, again and again, day after day, the only trade he knows is acting

the vagabond and spending all his time playing with children, as you
saw for yourself, mindless of the fact that he is no longer a child. And if
you can’t make him feel ashamed and realize how pointless his behaviour
is, I despair of him ever amounting to anything. He knows his father left
nothing, and he can himself see that despite spinning cotton all day as I
do, I have great difficulty in earning enough to buy us bread. In fact,
I have decided that one of these days I am going to shut the door on him
and send him off to fend for himself.’

After she had spoken, Aladdin’s mother burst into tears, whereupon
the magician said to Aladdin: ‘This is no good, my nephew. You must
think now about helping yourself and earning your own living. There
are all sorts of trades; see if there isn’t one for which you have a particular
inclination. Perhaps that of your father doesn’t appeal to you and you
would be more suited to another: be quite open about this, I am just
trying to help you.’ Seeing Aladdin remain silent, he went on: ‘If you want
to be an honest man yet dislike the idea of learning a trade, I will provide
you with a shop filled with rich cloths and fine fabrics. You can set about
selling them, purchasing more goods with the money that you make, and
in this manner you will live honourably. Think about it and then tell me
frankly your opinion. You will find that I always keep my word.’

This offer greatly flattered Aladdin, who did not like manual work,
all the more so since he had enough sense to know that shops with these
kinds of goods were esteemed and frequented and that the merchants
were well dressed and well regarded. So he told the magician, whom he
thought of as his uncle, that his inclination was more in that direction
than any other and that he would be indebted to him for the rest of his
life for the help he was offering. ‘Since this occupation pleases you,’ the
magician continued, ‘I will take you with me tomorrow and will have
you dressed in rich garments appropriate for one of the wealthiest mer-
chants of this city. The following day we will consider setting up a shop,
as I think it should be done.’

Aladdin’s mother, who up until then had not believed the magician
was her husband’s brother, now no longer doubted it after hearing all
the favours he promised her son. She thanked him for his good intentions
and, after exhorting Aladdin to make himself worthy of all the wealth
his uncle had promised him, served supper. Throughout the meal, the
talk ran upon the same subject until the magician, seeing the night was
well advanced, took leave of the mother and the son and retired.

The next morning, he returned as he had promised to the widow of

Mustafa the tailor and took Aladdin off with him to a wealthy merchant
who sold only ready-made garments in all sorts of fine materials and for
all ages and ranks. He made the merchant bring out clothes that would
fit Aladdin and, after putting to one side those which pleased him best
and rejecting the others that did not seem to him handsome enough, said
to Aladdin: -‘My nephew, choose from among all these garments the one
you lH<e best.’ Aladdin, delighted with his new uncle’s generosity, picked
one out which the magician then bought, together with all the necessary
accessories, and paid for everything without bargaining.

When Aladdin saw himself so magnificently clothed from top to toe,
he thanked his uncle profusely with all the thanks imaginable, and the
magician repeated his promise never to abandon him and to keep him
always with him. Indeed, he then took him to the most frequented parts
of the city and in particular to those where the shops of the rich me;-
chants were to be found. When he reached the street which had the
shops with the richest cloths and finest fabrics, he said to Aladdin: ‘As
you will soon be a merchant like these, it is a good idea for you to seek
out their company so that they get to know you.’ The magician also
showed him the largest and most beautiful mosques and took him to the
lahans where the foreign merchants lodged and to all the places in the
sultan’s palace which he was free to enter. Finally, after they had wan-
dered together through all the fairest places in the city, they came to the
khan where the magician had taken lodgings. There they found several
merchants whom the magician had got to know since his arrival and
whom he had gathered together for the express purpose of entertaining
them and at the same time introducing them to his so-called nephew.

The party did not finish until towards evening. Aladdin wanted to take
leave of his uncle to return home, but the magician would not let him
go back alone and himself accompanied him back to his mother. When
his mother saw Aladdin in his fine new clothes, she was carried away in
her delight and kept pouring a thousand blessings on the magician who
had spent so much money on her child. ‘My dear relative,’ she exclaimed,
‘I don’t know how to thank you for your generosity. I know my son
does not deserve all you have done for him and he would be quite
unworthy of it if he was not grateful to you or failed to respond to your
kind intention of giving him such a fine establishment. As for myself,
once again I thank you with all my heart; I hope that you will live long
enough to witness his gratitude, which he can best show by conducting
himself in accordance with your good advice.’

‘Aladdin is a good boy,’ the magician replied. ‘He listens to me well
enough and I believe he will turn out well. But one thing worries me -
that I can’t carry out what I promised him tomorrow. Tomorrow is
Friday, when the shops are closed, and there is no way we can think of
renting one and stocking it at a time when the merchants are only
thinking of entertaining themselves. So we will have to postpone our
business until Saturday, but I will come and fetch him tomorrow and I
will take him for a walk in the gardens where all the best people are
usually to be found. Perhaps he has never seen the amusements that are
to be had there. Up until now he has only been with children, but now
he must see men.’ The magician took his leave of mother and son and
departed. Aladdin, however, was so delighted at being so smartly turned
out that he already began to anticipate the pleasure of walking in the
gardens that lay around the city. In fact, he had never been outside the
city gates and had never seen the surroundings of the city, which he
knew to be pleasant and beautiful.

The next day, Aladdin got up and dressed himself very early so as to
be ready to leave when his uncle came to fetch him. After waiting for
what seemed to him a very long time, in his impatience he opened the
door and stood on the doorstep to see if he could see the magician. As
soon as he spotted him, Aladdin told his mother and said goodbye to
her, before shutting the door and running to meet him.

The magician embraced Aladdin warmly when he saw him. ‘Come,
my child,’ he said to him, smiling, ‘today I want to show you some
wonderful things.’ He took him through a gate which led to some fine,
large houses, or rather, magnificent palaces, which all had very beautiful
gardens that people were free to enter. At .each palace that they came to,
he asked Aladdin whether he thought it beautiful, but Aladdin would
forestall him as soon as another palace presented itself, saying: ‘Uncle,
here’s another even more beautiful than those we have just seen.’ All the
while, they were advancing ever deeper into the countryside and the wily
magician, who wanted to go further still in order to carry out the plan
he had in mind, took the opportunity of entering one of these gardens.
Seating himself near a large pool into which a beautiful jet of water
poured from the nostrils of a bronze lion, he pretended to be tired in
order to get Aladdin to take a rest. ‘Dear nephew,’ he said to him, ‘you,
too, must be tired. Let’s sit here and recover ourselves. We shall then
have more strength to continue our walk.’

When they had sat down, the magician took out from a cloth attached

to his belt some cakes and several kinds of fruit which he had brought
with him as provisions, and spread them out on the edge of the pool. He
shared a cake with Aladdin but let him choose for himself what fruits he
fancied. As they partook of this light meal, he talked to his so-called
nephew, giving him numerous pieces of advice, the gist of which was to
exhort Aladdin to give up associating with children, telling him rather
to approach men of prudence and wisdom, to listen to them and to profit
from their conversation. ‘Soon you will be a man like them,’ he said,
‘and you can’t get into the habit too soon of following their example
and speaking with good sense.’ When they had finished eating, they got
up and resumed their walk through the gardens, which were separated
from each other only by small ditches which defined their limits without
impeding access - such was the mutual trust the inhabitants of the city
enjoyed that there was no need for any other boundaries to guard against
them harming each other’s interests. Gradually and without Aladdin being
aware of it, the magician led him far beyond the gardens, making him pass
through open country which took them very close to the mountains.

Aladdin had never before travelled so far and felt very weary from
such a long walk. ‘Uncle,’ he asked the magician, ‘where are we going?
We have left the gardens far behind and I can see nothing but mountains.
If we go any further, I don’t know if I’ll have enough strength to return
to the city.’ ‘Take heart, my nephew,’ replied the bogus uncle. ‘I want to
show you another garden which beats all those you have just seen. It’s
not far from here, just a step away, and when we get there you yourself
will tell me how cross you would have been not to have seen it after
having got so close to it.’ Aladdin let himself be persuaded and the
magician led him even further on, all the while entertaining him with
many amusing stories in order to make the journey less tedious for him
and his fatigue more bearable.

At last they came to two mountains of a moderate height and size,
separated by a narrow valley. This was the very spot to which the
magician had wanted to take Aladdin so that he could carry out the
grand plan which had brought him all the way from the furthest part of
Africa to China. ‘We are not going any further,’ he told Aladdin. ‘I want
to show you some extraordinary things, unknown to any other man,
and when you have seen them, you will thank me for having witnessed
so many marvels that no one else in all the world will have seen but you.
While I am making a fire, you go and gather the driest bushes you can
find for kindling.'

There was such a quantity of brushwood that Aladdin had soon
amassed more than enough in the time that the magician was still starting
up the fire. He set light to the pile and the moment the twigs caught
fire, the magician threw on to them some incense that he had ready at
hand. A dense smoke arose, which he made to disperse right and left
by pronouncing some words of magic, none of which Aladdin could

At the same moment, the earth gave a slight tremor and opened up in
front of Aladdin and the magician, revealing a stone about one and a
half feet square and about one foot deep, lying horizontally on the
ground; fixed in the middle was a ring of bronze with which to lift it up.
Aladdin, terrified at what was happening before his very eyes, would
have fled if the magician had not held him back, for he was necessary
for this mysterious business. He scolded him soundly and gave him such
a blow that he was flung to the ground with such force that his front
teeth were very nearly pushed back into his mouth, judging from the
blood which poured out. Poor Aladdin, trembling all over and in tears,
asked his uncle: ‘What have I done for you to hit me so roughly?’ ‘I have
my reasons for doing this,’ replied the magician. ‘I am your uncle and at
present take the place of your father. You shouldn’t answer me back.”
Softening his tone a little, he went on: ‘But, my child, don’t be afraid.
All I ask is that you obey me exactly if you want to benefit from and be
Worthy of the great advantages I propose to give you.’ These fine
promises somewhat calmed Aladdin’s fear and resentment, and when
the magician saw he was completely reassured, he went on: ‘You have
seen what I have done by virtue of my incense and by the words that I
pronounced. Know now that beneath the stone that you see is hidden a
treasure which is destined for you and which will one day make you
richer than the greatest kings in all the world. It’s true, you are the only
person in the world who is allowed to touch this stone and to lift it to
go inside. Even I am not allowed to touch it and to set foot in the treasure
house when it is opened. Consequently, you must carry out step by step
everything I am going to tell you, not omitting anything. The matter is
of the utmost importance, both for you and for me.’

Aladdin, still in a state of astonishment at all he saw and at what he
had just heard the magician say about this treasure, which was to make
him happy for evermore, got up, forgetting what had just happened to
him, and asked: ‘Tell me then, uncle, what do I have to do? Command
me, I am ready to obey you.’ ‘I am delighted, my child, that you have

made this decision,” replied the magician, embracing him. ‘Come here,
take hold of this ring and lift up the stone.’ ‘But uncle, I am not strong
enough - you must help me,’ Aladdin cried, to which his uncle replied:
‘No, you don’t need my help and we would achieve nothing, you and I,
if I were to help you. You must lift it up all by yourself. just say the
names of your father and your grandfather as you hold the ring, and lift.
You will find that it will come without any difficulty.’ Aladdin did as the
magician told him. He lifted the stone with ease and laid it aside.

When the stone was removed, there appeared a cavity about three to
four feet deep, with a small door and steps for descending further. ‘My
son,’ said the magician to Aladdin, ‘follow carefully what I am going to
tell you to do. Go down into this cave and when you get to the foot of
the steps which you see, you will find an open door that will lead you
into a vast vaulted chamber divided into three large rooms adjacent to
each other. In each room, you will see, on the right and the left, four
very large bronze jars, full of gold and silver - but take care not to touch
them. Before you go into the first room, pull up your gown and wrap it
tightly around you. Then when you have entered, go straight to the
second room and the third room, without stopping. Above all, take great
care not to go near the walls, let alone touch them with your gown, for
if you do, you will immediately die; that’s why I told you to keep it
tightly wrapped around you. At the end of the third room there is a gate
which leads into a garden planted with beautiful trees laden with fruit.
Walk straight ahead and cross this garden by a path which will take you
to a staircase with fifty steps leading up to a terrace. When you are on
the terrace, you will see in front of you a niche in which there is a lighted
lamp. Take the lamp and put it out and when you have thrown away
the wick and poured off the liquid, hold it close to your chest and bring
it to me. Don’t worry about spoiling your clothes - the liquid is not oil
and the lamp will be dry as soon as there is no more liquid in it. If
you fancy any of the fruits in the garden, pick as many as you want -
you are allowed to do so.’

When he had finished speaking, the magician pulled a ring from his
finger and put it on one of Aladdin’s fingers, telling him it would protect
him from any harm that might come to him if he followed all his
instructions. ‘Be bold, my child,’ he then said. ‘Go down; you and I are
both going to be rich for the rest of our lives.’

Lightly jumping into the cave, Aladdin went right down to the bottom
of the steps. He found the three rooms which the magician had described

to him, passing through them with the greatest of care for fear he would
die if he failed scrupulously to carry out all he had been told. He crossed
the garden without stopping, climbed up to the terrace, took the lamp
alight in its niche, threw away the wick and the liquid, and as soon as
this had dried up as the magician had told him, he held it to his chest.
He went down from the terrace and stopped in the garden to look more
closely at the fruits which he had seen only in passing. The trees were all
laden with the most extraordinary fruit: each tree bore fruits of different
colours - some were white; some shining and transparent like crystals;
some pale or dark red; some green; some blue or violet; some light
yellow; and there were many other colours. The white fruits were pearls;
the shining, transparent ones diamonds; the dark red were rubies, while
the lighter red were spinel rubies; the green were emeralds; the blue
turquoises; the violet amethysts; the light yellow were pale sapphires;
and there were many others, too. All of them were of a size and a
perfection the like of which had never before been seen in the world.
Aladdin, however, not recognizing either their quality or their worth,
was unmoved by the sight of these fruits, which were not to his taste -
he would have preferred real figs or grapes, or any of the other excellent
fruit common in China. Besides, he was not yet of an age to appreciate
their worth, believing them to be but coloured glass and therefore of
little value. But the many wonderful shades and the extraordinary size
and beauty of each fruit made him want to pick one of every colour. In
fact, he picked several of each, filling both pockets as well as two new
purses which the magician had bought him at the same time as the new
clothes he had given him so that everything he had should be new. And
as the two purses would not Ht in his pockets, which were already full,
he attached them to either side of his belt. Some fruits he even wrapped
in the folds of his belt, which was made of a wide strip of silk wound
several times around his waist, arranging them so that they could not
fall out. Nor did he forget to cram some around his chest, between his
gown and his shirt.

Thus weighed down with such, to him, unknown wealth, Aladdin
hurriedly retraced his steps through the three rooms so as not to keep
the magician waiting too long. After crossing them as cautiously as he
had before, he ascended the stairs he had come down and arrived at the
entrance of the cave, where the magician was impatiently awaiting him.
As soon as he saw him, Aladdin cried out: ‘Uncle, give me your hand, I
beg of you, to help me climb out.’ ‘Son,’ the magician replied, ‘first, give

me the lamp, as it could get in your way.” ‘Forgive me, uncle,’ Aladdin
rejoined, ‘but it’s not in my way; I will give it you as soon as I get out.’
But the magician persisted in wanting Aladdin to hand him the lamp
before pulling him out of the cave, while Aladdin, weighed down by this
lamp and by the fruits he had stowed about his person, ,stubbornly
refused to give it to him until he was out of the cave. Then the magician,
in despair at the young man’s resistance, fell into a terrible fury: throwing
a little of the incense over the fire, which he had carefully kept alight, he
uttered two magic words and immediately the stone which served to
block the entrance to the cave moved back in its place, with the earth
above it, just as it had been when the magician and Aladdin had first
arrived there.

Now this magician was certainly not the brother of Mustafa the tailor,
as he had proudly claimed, nor, consequently, was he Aladdin’s uncle,
But he did indeed come from Africa, where he was born, and as Africa
is a country where more than anywhere else the influence of magic
persists, he had applied himself to it from his youth, and after forty years
or so of practising magic and geomancy and burning incense and of
reading books on the subject, he had finally discovered that there was
somewhere in the world a magic lamp, the possession of which, could
he lay hands on it, would make him more powerful than any king in the
world. In a recent geomantic experiment, he had discovered that this
lamp was in an underground cave in the middle of China, in the spot
and with all the circumstances we have just seen. Convinced of the truth
of his discovery, he set out from the furthest part of Africa, as we have
related. After a long and painful journey, he had come to the city that
was closest to the treasure, but although the lamp was certainly in the
spot which he had read about, he was not allowed to remove it himself,
he had ascertained, nor could he himself enter the underground cave
where it was to be found. Someone else would have to go down into it,
take the lamp and then deliver it into his hands. That is why he had turned
to Aladdin, who seemed to him to be a young boy of no consequence, just
right to carry out for him the task which he wanted him to do. He had
resolved, once he had the lamp in his hands, to perform the final burning
of incense that we have mentioned and to utter the two magic words
that would produce the effect which we have seen, sacrificing poor
Aladdin to his avarice and wickedness so as to have no witness. The
blow he gave Aladdin and the authority he had assumed over him were
only meant to accustom him to fear him and to obey him precisely so

that, when he asked him for the famed lamp, Aladdin would immediately
give it to him, but what happened was the exact opposite of what he had
intended. In his haste, the magician had resorted to such wickedness in
order to get rid of poor Aladdin because he was afraid that -if he argued
any longer with him, someone would hear them and would make public
what he wanted to keep secret.

When he saw his wonderful hopes and plans forever wrecked, the
magician had no other choice but to return to Africa, which is what he
did the very same day, taking a roundabout route so as to avoid going
back into the city he had left with Aladdin. For what he feared was being
seen by people who might have noticed him walking out with this boy
and now returning without him.

To all appearances, that should be the end of the story and we should
hear no more about Aladdin, but the very person who had thought he
had got rid of Aladdin for ever had forgotten that he had placed on his
finger a ring which could help to save him. In fact it was this ring, of
Whose properties Aladdin was totally unaware, that was the cause of his
salvation, and it is astonishing that the loss of it together with that of
the lamp did not throw the magician into a state of complete despair.
But magicians are so used to disasters and to events turning out contrary
to their desires that all their lives they forever feed their minds on smoke,
fancies and phantoms.

After all the endearments and the favours his false uncle had shown
him, Aladdin little expected such wickedness and was left in a state of
bewilderment that can be more easily imagined than described in words.
Finding himself buried alive, he called upon his uncle a thousand times,
crying out that he was ready to give him the lamp, but his cries were in
vain and could not possibly be heard by anyone. And so he remained in
the darkness and gloom. At last, when his tears had abated somewhat,
he descended to the bottom of the stairs in the cave to look for light in
the garden through which he had passed earlier; but the wall which had
been opened by a spell had closed and sealed up by another spell. Aladdin
groped around several times, to the left and to the right, but could find
no door. With renewed cries and tears, he sat down on the steps in the
cave, all hope gone of ever seeing light again and, moreover, in the sad
certainty that he would pass from the darkness where he was into the
darkness of approaching death.

For two days, Aladdin remained in this state, eating and drinking
nothing. At last, on the third day, believing death to be inevitable, he

raised his hands in prayer and, resigning himself completely to God’s
will, he cried out: ‘There is no strength nor power save in Great and
Almighty God!’

However, just as he joined his hands in prayer, Aladdin unknowingly
rubbed the ring which the magician had placed on his finger and of
whose power he was as yet unaware. Immediately, from the ground
beneath him, there rose up before him a jinni of enormous size and with
a terrifying expression, who continued to grow until his head touched
the roof of the chamber and who addressed these words to Aladdin:
‘What do you want? Here am I, ready to obey you, your slave and the
slave of all those who wear the ring on their finger, a slave like all the
other slaves of the ring.'

At any other time and on any other occasion, Aladdin, who was not
used to such visions, would perhaps have been overcome with terror and
struck dumb at the sight of such an extraordinary apparition, but now,
preoccupied solely with the danger of the present situation, he replied
without hesitation: ‘Whoever you are, get me out of this place, if you
have the power to do so.” No sooner had he uttered these words than
the earth opened up and he found himself outside the cave at the very
spot to which the magician had led him.

Not surprisingly, Aladdin, after so long spent in pitch darkness, had
difficulty at first in adjusting to broad daylight, but his eyes gradually
became accustomed to it. When he looked around, he was very surprised
not to find any opening in the ground; he could not understand how all-
of a sudden he should find himself transported from the depths of the
earth. Only the spot where the kindling had been lit allowed him to tell
roughly where the cave had been. Then, turning in the direction of the
city, he spotted it in the middle of the gardens which surrounded it. He
also recognized the path along which the magician had brought him and
which he proceeded to follow, giving thanks to God at finding himself
once again back in the world to which he had so despaired of ever

When he reached the city, it was with some difficulty that he dragged
himself home. He went in to his mother, but the joy of seeing her again,
together with the weak state he was in from not having eaten for nearly
three days, caused him to fall into a faint that lasted for some time.
Seeing him in this state, his mother, who had already mourned him as
lost, if not dead, did all she could to revive him. At last Aladdin recovered
consciousness and the first words he addressed to her were to ask her to

bring him something to eat, for it was three days since he had had
anything at all. His mother brought him what she had, and, placing it
before him, said: ‘Don’t hurry, now, because that’s dangerous. Take it
easy and eat a little at a time; eke it out, however much you need it. I
don’t want you even to speak to me; you will have enough time to tell
me everything that happened to you when you have quite recovered.
I am so comforted at seeing you again after the terrible state I have been
in since Friday and after all the trouble I went to to discover what had
happened to you as soon as I saw it was night and you hadn’t come

Aladdin followed his mother’s advice and ate and drank slowly, a
little at a time. When he had finished, he said to his mother: ‘I would
have been very cross with you for so readily abandoning me to the mercy
of a man who planned to kill me and who, at this very moment, is quite
certain either that I am no longer alive or that I will die at first light. But
you believed him to be my uncle and so did I. How could we have
thought otherwise of a man who overwhelmed me with both affection
and gifts and who made me so many other fair promises? Now, mother,
you must see he is nothing but a traitor, a wretch and a cheat. In all the
gifts he gave me and the promises he made he had but one single aim -
to kill me, as I said, without either of us guessing the reason why. For
my part, I can assure you thatI didn’t do anything to deserve the slightest
ill treatment. You will understand this yourself when you hear my faithful
account of all that happened since I left you, right up to the time he came
to execute his deadly plan.’

Aladdin then began to tell his mother all that had happened to him
since the previous Friday, when the magician had come to take him with
him to see the palaces and gardens outside the city, and what had
happened along the way until they came to the spot by the two mountains
Where the magician’s great miracle was to take place. He told her how,
with some incense cast into the fire and a few words of magic, the earth
had opened up, straight away, revealing the entrance to a cave which led
to a priceless treasure. I-Ie did not leave out the blow he had received
from the magician, nor how, once the magician had calmed down a
little, he had placed his ring on Aladdin’s finger and, making him count-
less promises, had got him to go down into the cave. I-Ie left out nothing
of all that he had seen as he passed through the three rooms, in the
garden and on the terrace from where he had taken the magic lamp. At
this, he pulled the lamp from his clothes to show to his mother, together

with the transparent fruits and those of different colours which he had
gathered in the garden on his return and with which he had filled the
two purses that he now gave her, though she did not make much of
them. For these fruits were really precious stones; in the light of the lamp
which lit up the room they shone like the sun and glittered and sparkled
in such a way as to testify to their great worth, but Aladdin’s mother
was no more aware of this than he was. She had been brought up in very
humble circumstances and her husband had never been wealthy enough
to give her jewels and stones of this kind. Nor had she ever seen such
things worn by any of her female relatives or neighbours. Consequently,
it is not surprising that she should regard them as things of little value -
a pleasure to the eye, at the very most, due to all their different colours
- and so Aladdin put them behind one of the cushions of the sofa on
which he was seated. He finished the account of his adventures by telling
her how, when he returned to the entrance to the cave, ready to come
out, he had refused to hand over to the magician the lamp that he wanted
to have, at which the cave’s entrance had immediately closed up, thanks
to the incense which the magician had scattered over the fire that he had
kept lit and to the words he had pronounced. Aladdin could not go on
without tears coming to his eyes as he described to her the wretched
state in which he found himself after being buried alive in that fatal cave,
right up to when he emerged and returned to the world, so to speak, as
the result of having touched the ring (of whose powers he was still
unaware). When he had come to the end of his story, he said to his
mother: ‘I don’t need to tell you any more; you know the rest. That was
my adventure and the danger I was in since you last saw me.’

Aladdin’s mother listened patiently and without interrupting to this
wonderful and amazing story which at the same time was so painful for
a mother who loved her son so tenderly despite all his faults. However,
at the most disturbing points when the magician’s treachery was further
revealed, she could not prevent herself from showing, with signs of
indignation, how much she hated him. As soon as Aladdin had finished,
she broke out into a thousand reproaches against the impostor, calling
him a traitor, trickster, murderer, barbarian - a magician, an enemy and
a destroyer of mankind. ‘Yes, my son,’ she added, ‘he’s a magician and
magicians are public menaces; they have dealings with demons through
their spells and their sorcery. Praise the Lord, Who wished to preserve
you from everything that his great wickedness might have done to you!
You should indeed give thanks to Him for having so favoured you. You

would have surely died had you not remembered Him and implored
Him for His help.’ She said much more besides, all the while execrating
the magician’s treachery towards her son. But as she spoke, she noticed
that Aladdin, who had not slept for three days, needed some rest. She
made him go to bed and went to bed herself shortly afterwards.

That night Aladdin, having had no rest in the underground cave where
he had been buried and left to die, fell into' a deep sleep from which he
did not awake until late the following day. He arose and the first thing
he said to his mother was that he needed to eat and that she could not
give him a greater pleasure than to offer him breakfast. ‘Alas, my son,’
she sighed, ‘I haven’t got so much as a piece of bread to give you -
yesterday evening you ate the few provisions there were in the house.
But be patient for a little longer and I will soon bring you some food. I
have some cotton yarn I have spun. I will sell it to buy you some bread and
something else for our dinner.’ ‘Mother,’ said Aladdin, ‘leave your cotton
yarn for some other occasion and give me the lamp I brought yesterday.
I will go and sell it and the money I get will help provide us with enough
for both breakfast and lunch, and perhaps also for our supper.’

Taking the lamp from where she had put it, Aladdin’s mother said to
her son: ‘Here it is, but it’s very dirty. With a little cleaning I think it
would- be worth a little more.’ So she took some water and some fine
sand in order to clean it, but no sooner had she begun to rub it than all
of a sudden there rose up in front of them a hideous jinni of enormous
size who, in a ringing voice, addressed her thus: ‘What do you want?
Here am I, ready to obey you, your slave and the slave of all those who
hold the lamp in their hands, I and the other slaves of the lamp.’

But Aladdin’s mother was in no state to reply; so great was her terror
at the sight of the jinni’s hideous and frightening countenance that at
the first words he uttered she fell down in a faint. Aladdin, on the other
hand, had already witnessed a similar apparition while in the cave, and
so, wasting no time and not stopping to think, he promptly seized the
lamp. Replying in place of his mother, in a firm voice he said to the jinni:
‘I am hungry, bring me something to eat.’ The jinni disappeared and a
moment later returned, bearing on his head a large silver bowl, together
with twelve dishes also of silver, piled high with delicious foods and six
large loaves as white as snow, and in his hands were two bottles of
exquisite wine and two silver cups. He set everything down on the sofa
and then disappeared.

This all happened so quickly that' Aladdin’s mother had not yet

recovered from her swoon when the jinni disappeared for the second
time. Aladdin, who had already begun to throw water on her face,
without effect, renewed his efforts to revive her, and whether it was
that her wits which had left her had already been restored or that the
smell of the dishes which the jinni had brought had contributed in
some measure, she immediately recovered consciousness. ‘Mother,’ said
Aladdin, ‘don’t worry. Get up and come and eat, for here is something
to give you heart again and which at the same time will satisfy my great
hunger. We mustn’t let such good food grow cold, so come and eat.’

Aladdin’s mother was extremely surprised when she saw the large
bowl, the twelve dishes, the six loaves, the two bottles and the two cups,
and when she smelt the delicious aromas which came from all these
dishes. ‘My son,’ she asked Aladdin, ‘where does all this abundance
come from and to whom do we owe thanks for such great generosity?
Can the sultan have learned of our poverty and had compassion on us?’
‘Mother,’ Aladdin replied, ‘let us sit down and eat; you need it as much
as I do. When we have eaten, I will tell you.’ They sat down and ate with
all the more appetite in that neither had ever sat down before to such a
well-laden table.

During the meal, Aladdin’s mother never tired of looking at and
admiring the large bowl and the dishes, although she did not know for
sure whether they were of silver or some other metal, so unaccustomed
was she to seeing things of that kind, and, to tell the truth, as she could
not appreciate their value, which was unknown to her, it was the novelty
of it all that held her admiration. Nor did her son Aladdin know any
more about them than she did.

Aladdin and his mother, thinking to have but a simple breakfast, were
still at table at dinner time; such excellent dishes had given them an
appetite and while the food was still warm, they thought they might just
as well put the two meals together so as not to have to eat twice. When
this double meal was over, there remained enough not only for supper
but for two equally large meals the next day.

After she had cleared away and had put aside those dishes they had
not touched, Aladdin’s mother came and seated herself beside her son
on the sofa. ‘Aladdin,’ she said to him, ‘I am expecting you to satisfy my
impatience to hear the account you promised me.’ Aladdin then pro-
ceeded to tell her exactly what had happened between the jinni and
himself while she was in a swoon, right up to the moment she regained
consciousness. '

Aladdin’s mother was greatly astonished by what her son told her and
by the appearance of the jinni. ‘But, Aladdin, what do you mean by these
jinn of yours?’ she said. ‘Never in all my life have I heard of anyone I
know ever having seen one. By what chance did that evil jinni come and
show itself to me? Why did it come to me and not to you, when it had
already appeared to you in the treasure cave?’

‘Mother,’ replied Aladdin, ‘the jinni who has just appeared to you is
not the same as the one that appeared to me; they look like each other
to a certain extent, being both as large as giants, but they are completely
different in appearance and dress. Also, they have different masters. If
you remember, the one I saw called himself the slave of the ring which I
have on my finger, while the one you have just seen called himself the
slave of the lamp which you had in your hands. But I don’t believe you
can have heard him; in fact, I think you fainted as soon as he began
to speak.’

‘What?’ cried his mother. ‘It’s your lamp, then, that made this evil
jinni speak to me rather than to you? Take it out of my sight and put it
wherever you like; I don’t want ever to touch it again. I would rather
have it thrown out or sold than run the risk of dying of fright touching
it. If you were to listen to me, you would also get rid of the ring. One
should not have anything to do with jinn; they are demons and our
Prophet has said so.’

Aladdin, however, replied: ‘Mother, with your permission, for the
moment I am not going to sell - as I was ready to do - a lamp which is
going to be so useful to both you and me. Don’t you see what it has just
brought us? We must let it go on bringing us things to eat and to support
us. You should see, as I have seen, that it was not for nothing that my
wicked and bogus uncle went to such lengths and undertook such a long
and painful journey, since it was to gain possession of this magic lamp,
preferring it above all the gold and silver which he knew to be in the
rooms as he told me and which I myself saw. For he knew only too well
the worth and value of this lamp than to ask for anything other than
such a rich treasure. Since chance has revealed to us its merits, let’s use
it to our advantage, but quietly and in a way that will not draw attention
to ourselves nor attract the envy and jealousy of our neighbours. I will
take it away, since the jinn terrify you so much, and put it somewhere
where I can End it when we need it; As for the ring, I can’t bring myself
to throw it away either; without the ring, you would never have seen me
again. I may be alive now but without it I might not have lasted for very

long. So please let me keep it carefully, always wearing it on my finger.
Who knows whether some other danger may happen to me that neither
of us can foresee and from which it will rescue me?’ Aladdin’s reasoning
seemed sound enough to his mother, who could find nothing to add.
‘My son,’ she said, ‘you can do as you like. As for myself, I wouldn’t
have anything to do with jinn. I tell you, I wash my hands of them and
won’t speak to you about them again.’

The next evening, there was nothing left after supper of the splendid
provisions brought by the jinni. So, early the following day, Aladdin,
who did not want to be overtaken by hunger, slipped one of the silver
dishes under his clothes and went out to try to sell it. As he went on his
way, he met a Jew whom he drew aside and, showing him the dish, asked
him if he wanted to buy it. The jew, a shrewd and cunning man, took
the dish, examined it and, discovering it to be good silver, asked Aladdin
how much he thought it was worth. Aladdin, who did not know its
value, never having dealt in this kind of merchandise, happily told him
that he was well aware what it was worth and that he trusted in his
good faith. The Jew found himself confused by Aladdin’s ingeniousness.
Uncertain as to whether Aladdin knew what the dish was made of and
its value, he took out of his purse a piece of gold, which at the very most
was equal to no more than a seventy~second of the dish’s true value, and
gave it to him. Aladdin seized the coin with such eagerness and, as soon
as he had it in his grasp, took himself off so swiftly that the Jew, not
content with the exorbitant profit he had made with this purchase, was
very cross at not having realized that Aladdin was unaware of the value
of what he had sold him and that he could have given him far less for it.
He was about to go after the young man to try to recover some change
from his gold, but Aladdin had run off and was already so far away that
he would have had difficulty in catching up with him.

On his way home, Aladdin stopped off at a baker’s shop where he
bought some bread for his mother and himself, paying for it with the
gold coin, for which the baker gave him some change. When he came
to his mother, he gave it her and she then went off to the market to
buy the necessary provisions for the two of them to live on for the next
few days.

They continued to live thriftily in this way; that is, whenever money
ran out in the house, Aladdin sold off all the dishes to the jew - just as
he had sold the first one to him - one after the other, up to the twelfth
and last dish. The Jew, having offered a piece of gold for the first dish,

did not dare give him any less for the rest, for fear of losing such a good
windfall, and so he paid the same for them all. When the money for the
remaining dish was completely spent, Aladdin finally had recourse to the
large bowl, which alone weighed ten times as much as each dish. He
would have taken it to his usual merchant but was prevented from doing
so by its enormous weight. So he was obliged to seek out the jew, whom
he brought to his mother. The Jew, after examining the weight of the
bowl, there and then counted out for him ten gold pieces, with which
Aladdin was satisfied.

As long as they lasted, these ten gold coins were used for the daily
expenses of the household. Aladdin, who had been accustomed to an
idle life, had stopped playing with his young friends ever since his adven-
ture with the magician and spent his days walking around or chatting
with the people with whom he had become acquainted. Sometimes he
would call in at the shops of the great merchants, where he would listen
to the conversation of the important people who stopped there or who
used the shops as a kind of rendezvous, and these conversations gradually
gave him a smattering of worldly knowledge.

When all ten coins had been spent, Aladdin had recourse to the lamp
once again. Taking it in his hand, he looked for the same spot his mother
had touched and, recognizing it by the mark left on it by the sand, he
rubbed it as she had done. Immediately the selfsame jinni appeared in
front of him, but as he had rubbed it more lightly than his mother had
done, the jinni consequently spoke to him more softly. ‘What do you
want?’ he asked in the same words as before. ‘Here am I, ready to obey
you, your slave and the slave of all those "who hold the lamp in their
hands, I and the other slaves of the lamp.’

‘I’m hungry,’ answered Aladdin. ‘Bring me something to eat.’ The
jinni disappeared and a little later he reappeared, laden with the same
bowls and dishes as before, which he placed on the sofa and promptly
disappeared again.

Aladdin’s mother, warned of her son’s plan, had deliberately gone out
on some errand in order not to be in the house when the jinni put in his
appearance. When she returned a little later and saw the table and the
many dishes on it, she was almost as surprised by the miraculous effect
of the lamp as she had been on the first occasion. They both sat down
to eat and after the meal there was still plenty of food for them to live
on for the next two days.

When Aladdin saw there was no longer any bread or other provisions

in the house to live on nor money with which to buy any, he took a
silver dish and went to look for the jew he knew in order to sell it to
him. On his way there, he passed in front of the shop of a goldsmith, a
man respected for his age, an honest man of great probity. Noticing him,
the goldsmith called out to him and made him come in. ‘My son,’ he
said, ‘I have frequently seen you pass by, laden, just like now, on your
way to a certain Jew, and then shortly after coming back, empty-handed.
I imagine that you sell him something that you are carrying. But perhaps
you don’t know that this Jew is a cheat, even more of a cheat than other
Jews, and that no one who knows him wants anything to do with him.
I only tell you this as a favour; if you would like to show me what you
are carrying now and if it is something I can sell, I will faithfully pay
you its true price. Otherwise, I will direct you to other merchants who
will not cheat you.”

The hope of getting more money for the dish made Aladdin draw it
out from among his clothes and show it to the goldsmith. The old man,
who at once recognized the dish to be of Hue silver, asked him whether
he had sold similar dishes to the Jew and how much the latter had paid
him for them. Aladdin naively told him he had sold the Jew twelve
dishes., for each of which he had received only one gold coin from him.
‘The robber!’ exclaimed the goldsmith, before adding: ‘My son, what is
done is done. Forget it. But when I show you the true value of your dish,
which is made of the finest silver we use in our shops, you will realize
how much the Jew has cheated you.’

The goldsmith took his scales, weighed the dish and, after explaining
to Aladdin how much an ounce of silver was worth and how many parts
there were in an ounce, he remarked that, according to the weight of the
dish, it was worth seventy-two pieces of gold, which he promptly counted
out to him in cash. ‘There, here is the true value of your dish,” he told
Aladdin. ‘If you don’t believe it, you can go to any of our goldsmiths
you please and if he tells you it is worth more, I promise to pay you
double that. Our only profit comes from the workmanship of the silver
we buy, and that’s something even the most fair-minded jews don’t do.’

Aladdin thanked the goldsmith profusely for the friendly advice he
had just given him which was so much to his advantage. From then on,
he only went to him to sell the other dishes and the bowl, and the true
price was always paid him according to the weight of each dish. However,
although Aladdin and his mother had an inexhaustible source of money
from their lamp from which to obtain as much as they wanted as soon

as supplies began to run out, nonetheless they continued to live as
frugally as before, except that Aladdin would put something aside in
order to maintain himself in an honest manner and to provide himself
with all that Was needed for their small household. His mother, for her
part, spent on her clothes only what she earned from spinning cotton.
Consequently, with them both living so modestly, it is easy to work out
how long the money from the twelve dishes and the bowl would have
lasted, according to the price Aladdin sold them for to the goldsmith.
And so they lived in this manner for several years, aided, from time to
time, by the good use Aladdin made of the lamp.

During this time, Aladdin assiduously sought out people of importance
who met in the shops of the biggest merchants of gold and silver cloth,
of silks, of the finest linens and of jewellery, and sometimes joined in
their discussions. In this way, he completed his education and insensibly
adopted the manners of high society. It was at the jewellers’, in particular,
that he discovered his error in thinking that the transparent fruits he had
gathered in the garden where he had found the lamp were only coloured
glass, learning that they were stones of great price. By observing the
buying and selling of all kinds of gems in their shops, he got to know
about them and about their value. But he did not see any there similar
to his in size and beauty, and so he realized that instead of pieces of glass
which he had considered as mere trifles, he was in possession of a treasure
of inestimable value. He was prudent enough not to speak about this to
anyone, not even to his mother; and there is no doubt that it was by
keeping silent that he rose to the heights of good fortune, as we shall see
in due course.

One day, when he was walking around in a part of the city, Aladdin
heard a proclamation from the sultan ordering people to shut all their
shops and houses and stay indoors until Princess Badr al-Budur, the
daughter of the sultan, had passed on her way to the baths and had
returned from them.

This public announcement stirred Aladdin’s curiosity; he wanted to
see the princess’s face but he could only do so by placing himself in the
house of some acquaintance and looking through a lattice screen, which
would not suffice, because the princess, according to custom, would be
Wearing a veil over her face when going to the baths. So he thought up
a successful ruse: he went and hid himself behind the door to the baths,
which was so placed that he could not help seeing her pass straight in
front of him.

Aladdin did not have to wait long: the princess appeared and he
watched her through a crack that was large enough for him to see Without
being seen. She was accompanied by a large crowd of her attendants,
women and eunuchs, who walked on both sides of her and in her train.
When she was three or four steps from the door to the baths, she lifted
the veil which covered her face and which greatly inconvenienced her,
and in this Way she allowed Aladdin to see her all the more easily as she
came towards him.

Until that moment, the only other woman Aladdin had seen with her
face uncovered was his mother, who was aged and who never had such
beautiful features as to make him believe that other women existed who
were beautiful. He may well have heard that there were women of
surpassing beauty, but for all the words one uses to extol the merits of
a beautiful Woman, they never make the same impression as a beautiful
woman herself.

When Aladdin set eyes on Badr al-Budur, any idea that all women
more or less resembled his mother flew from his mind; he found his
feelings were now quite different and his heart could not resist the
inclinations aroused in him by such an enchanting vision. Indeed, the
princess was the most captivating dark-haired beauty to be found in all
the world; her large, sparkling eyes were set on a level and full of life;
her look was gentle and modest, her faultless nose perfectly pro-
portioned, her mouth small, with its ruby lips charming in their pleasing
symmetry; in a word, the regularity of all her facial features was nothing
short of perfection. Consequently, one should not be surprised that
Aladdin was so dazzled and almost beside himself at the sight of so many
Wonders hitherto unknown to him united in one face. Added to all these
perfections, the princess also had a magnificent figure and bore herself
with a regal air which, at the mere sight of her, would draw to her the
respect that was her due.

After the princess had entered the baths, Aladdin remained for a while
confused and in a kind of trance, recalling and imprinting deeply on his
mind the image of the vision which had so captivated him and which
had penetrated the very depths of his heart. He eventually came to and,
after reflecting that the princess had now gone past and that it would be
pointless for him to stay there in order to see her when she came out of
the baths, for she would be veiled and have her back to him, he decided
to abandon his post and go away.

When he returned home, Aladdin could not conceal his worry and

confusion from his mother, who, noticing his state and surprised to see
him so unusually sad and dazed, asked him whether something had
happened to him or whether he felt ill. Aladdin made no reply but
slumped down on the sofa, where he remained in the same position, still
occupied in conjuring up the charming vision of the princess. His mother,
who was preparing the supper, did not press him further. When it was
ready, she served it up near to him on the sofa, and sat down to eat.
However, noticing he was not paying any attention, she told him to
come to the table and eat and it was only with great difficulty that he
agreed. He ate much less than. usual, keeping his eyes lowered and in
such profound silence that his mother was unable to draw a single word
out of him in reply to all the questions she asked him in an attempt to
discover the reason for such an extraordinary change in his behaviour.
After supper, she tried to ask him once again the reason for his great
gloom but was unable to learn a thing and Aladdin decided to go to bed
rather than give his mother the slightest satisfaction in the matter.

We will not go into how Aladdin, smitten with the beauty and charms
of Princess Badr, spent the night, but will only observe that the following
day, as he was seated on the sofa facing his mother - who was spinning
cotton, as was her custom - he spoke to her as follows: ‘Mother,’ he
said, ‘I am breaking the silence I have kept since my return from the city
yesterday because I realize it has been worrying you. I wasn’t ill, as you
seemed to think, and I am not ill now, but I can’t tell you what I was
feeling then, and what I am still feeling is something worse than any
illness. I don’t really know what this is, but I’m sure that what you are
going to hear will tell you what it is.’ He went on: ‘No one in this quarter
knew, and so you, too, cannot have known, that yesterday evening the
daughter of the sultan, Princess Badr, was to go to the baths. I learned
this bit of news while walking around the city. An order was proclaimed
to shut up the shops and everyone was to stay indoors, so as to pay due
respect to the princess and to allow her free passage in the streets through
which she was to pass. As I was not far from the baths, I was curious to
see her with her face uncovered, and so the idea came to me to go and
stand behind the door to the baths, thinking that she might remove her
veil when she was ready to go in. You know how the door is placed, so
you can guess how I could see her quite easily if what I imagined were
to happen. And indeed, as she entered she lifted her veil and I had, the
good fortune and the greatest satisfaction in the world to see this lovely
princess. That, then, mother, is the real reason for the state you saw me

in yesterday when I came home and the cause for my silence up till now.
I love the princess with a passion I can’t describe to you; and as this
burning passion grows all the time, I feel it cannot be assuaged by
anything other than the possession of the lovely Badr; which is Why
I have decided to ask the sultan for her hand in marriage.”

Aladdin’s mother listened fairly carefully to what her son told her, up
to the last few words. When she heard his plan to ask for the princess’s
hand, she could not help interrupting him by bursting out laughing.
Aladdin was about to go on but, interrupting him again, she exclaimed:
‘What are you thinking of, my son? You must have gone out of your
mind to talk to me about such a thing!’

‘Mother,’ replied Aladdin, ‘I can assure you I have not lost my senses
but am quite in my right mind. I expected you would reproach me with
madness and extravagance - and you did - but that will not stop me
telling you once again that I have made up my mind to ask the sultan
for the princess’s hand in marriage’

‘My son,’ his mother continued, addressing him very seriously, ‘I can’t
indeed help telling you that you quite forget yourself; and' even if you
are still resolved to carry out this plan, I don’t see through whom you
would dare to make this request to the sultan.’ ‘Through you yourself,’
Aladdin replied without hesitating. ‘Through me!’ exclaimed his mother,
in surprise and astonishment. ‘I go to the sultan? Ah, I would take very
great care to avoid such an undertaking! And who are you, my son,’ she
continued, ‘to be so bold as to think of the daughter of your sultan?
Have you forgotten that you are the son of a tailor, among the least of
his capital’s citizens, and of a mother whose forebears were no more
exalted? Don’t you know that sultans don’t deign to give away their
daughters in marriage even to the sons of sultans, unless they are expected
to reign one day themselves? ‘Mother,’ replied Aladdin, ‘I have already
told you that I had foreseen all that you have said or would say, so
despite all your remonstrances, nothing will make me change my mind.
I have told you that through your mediation I would ask for Princess
Badr’s hand in marriage: this is a favour I ask of you, with all the respect
I owe you, and I beg you not to refuse, unless you prefer to see me die
rather than give me life a second time.”

Aladdin’s mother felt very embarrassed when she saw how stubbornly
he persisted in such a foolhardy plan. ‘My son,’ she said, ‘I am your
mother and, as a good mother who brought you into the World, there is
nothing right and proper and in keeping with our circumstances that I

would not be prepared to do out of my love for you. If it’s a matter of
speaking about marriage to the daughter of one of our neighbours,
whose circumstances are equal or similar to ours, then I would gladly
do everything in my power; but again, to succeed, you would need to
have some assets or income, or you should know some trade. When poor
people like us want to get married, the first thing they need to think
about is their livelihood. But you, not reflecting on your humble status,
the little you have to commend you and your lack of money, you aspire
to the highest degree of fortune and are so presumptuous as to demand
no less than the hand in marriage of the daughter of your sovereign -
who with a single word can crush you and bring about your downfall. I
won’t speak of what concerns you; it is you who should think what you
should do, if you have any sense. I come to what concerns me. How
could such an extraordinary idea as that of wanting me to go to the
sultan and propose that he give you the princess’s, his daughter’s, hand
in marriage ever have come into your head? Supposing I had the - I
won’t say courage - effrontery to present myself to his majesty to put
such an extravagant request to him, to whom would I go to for an
introduction? Don’t you think that the first person to whom I spoke
about it would treat me as a mad woman and throw me out indignantly,
as I deserved? And what about seeking an audience with the sultan? I
know there is no difficulty when one goes to him to seek justice and that
he readily grants it to his subjects when they ask him for it. I also know
that when one goes to ask him a favour, he grants it gladly, when he
sees that one has deserved it and is worthy of it. But is that the position
you are in and do you think you merit the favour that you want me to
ask for you? Are you worthy of it? What have you done for your sultan
or for your country? How have you distinguished yourself? If you haven’t
done anything to deserve so great a favour - of which, anyhow, you are
not worthy - how could I have the audacity to ask him for it? How
could I so much as open my mouth to propose it to the sultan? His
majestic presence alone and the brilliance of his court would make me
dry up immediately - I, who used to tremble before my late husband,
your father, when I had to ask him for the slightest thing. There is
something else you haven’t thought about, my son, and that is that one
does not go to ask a favour of the sultan without bearing a present. A
present has at least this advantage that, if, for whatever reason, he refuses
the favour, he at least listens to the request and to whoever makes it.
But what present do you have to offer? And if you had something worthy

of the slightest attention from so great a ruler, would your gift adequately
represent the scale of the favour you want to ask him? Think about this
and reflect that you are aspiring to something which you cannot possibly

Aladdin listened quietly to everything his mother had to say in her
attempt to make him give up his plan. Finally, after reflecting on all the
points she had made in remonstrating with him, he replied to her, saying:
‘Mother, I admit it’s great rashness on my part to carry my pretensions
as far as I am doing, and that it’s very inconsiderate of me to insist with
such heat and urgency on your going and putting my proposal of mar~
riage to the sultan without first taking the appropriate measures for you
to obtain a favourable and successful audience with him. Please forgive
me, but don’t be surprised if, in the strength of the passion which
possesses me, I did not at first envisage all that could help me procure
the happiness I seek. I love Princess Badr beyond anything you can
imagine, or rather, I adore her and will continue to persevere in my plan
to marry her - my mind is quite made up and fixed in this matter. I am
grateful to you for the opening you have just given me; I see it as the
first step which will help me obtain the happy outcome I promise myself.
You tell me that it is not customary to go before the sultan without
bearing him a present, and that I have nothing which is worthy of him.
I agree with you about the present, and I admit I hadn’t thought about
it. As for your telling me that I have nothing I can possibly offer him,
don’t you think, mother, that what I brought back with me the day .II
was saved from almost inevitable death could not make a very nice gift
for the sultan? I am talking about what   brought back in the two purses
and in my belt, which you and I both took to be pieces of coloured glass.
I have since learned better and I can tell you, mother, that these are
jewels of inestimable value, fit only for great kings. I discovered their
worth by frequenting jewellers’ shops, and you can take my word for it.
None of all those I have seen in the shops of our jewellers can compare
in size or in beauty to those we possess, and yet they sell them for
exorbitant prices. The fact is that neither you nor I know what ours are
worth, but however much that is, as far as I can judge from the little
experience I have gained, I am convinced that the present will please the
sultan very much. You have a porcelain dish large enough and of the
right shape to contain the jewels; fetch it and let’s see the effect they
make when we arrange them according to their different colours.”

Aladdin’s mother fetched the porcelain dish and Aladdin took out the

stones from the two purses and arranged them in it. The effect they made
in full daylight, by the variety of their colours, their brilliance and
sparkle, was such as to almost dazzle them both and they were greatly
astonished, for neither of them had seen the stones except in the light of
a lamp. It is true that Aladdin had seen them hanging on the trees like
fruit, which must have made an enchanting sight; but as he was still a
boy, he had only thought of these stones as trinkets to be played with,
and that is the only way he had thought of them, knowing no better.

After admiring for some time the beauty of the jewels, Aladdin spoke
once more. ‘Mother,’ he said, ‘you can no longer get out of going and
presenting yourself to the sultan on the pretext of not having a present
to offer him; here is one, it seems to me, which will ensure you are
received with the most favourable of welcomes.’

For all the beauty and splendour of the present, Aladdin’s mother did
not think it was worth as much as Aladdin believed it to be. Nonetheless
she thought it would be acceptable and she knew she had nothing to say
to the contrary; but she kept thinking of the request Aladdin wanted her
to make to the sultan with the help of this gift and this worried her
greatly. ‘My son,’ she said to him, ‘I don’t find it difficult to imagine that
the present will have its effect and that the sultan will look upon me
favourably; but when it comes to my putting the request to him that you
want me to make, I feel I won’t have the strength and I will remain silent.
My journey will have been wasted as I will have lost what you claim is
a gift of extraordinary value. I will come home completely embarrassed
at having to tell you that you are disappointed in your hopes. I have
already explained this to you and you should realize that this is what
will happen. However] she added, ‘even if it hurts me, I will give in to
your wish and I will force myself to have the strength and courage to
dare to make the request you want me to make. The sultan will most
probably either laugh at me and send me away as a madwoman or he
will quite rightly fly into a great rage of which you and I will inevitably
be the victims.’

Aladdin’s mother gave her son several other reasons in an attempt to
make him change his mind; but the charms of Princess Badr had made
too deep an impression on his heart for anyone to be able to dissuade
him from carrying out his plan. Aladdin continued to insist his mother
go through with it; and so, as much out of her love for him as out of
fear that he might resort to some extreme measure, she overcame her
aversion and bowed to her son’s will.

As it was too late and the time to go the palace for an audience with
the sultan that day had passed, the matter was put off until the following
day. For the rest of the day, mother and son spoke of nothing else,
Aladdin taking great care to tell his mother everything he could think of
to strengthen her in the decision which she had finally made, to go and
present herself to the sultan. Yet, despite all his arguments, his mother
could not be persuaded that she would ever succeed in the matter, and,
indeed, one must admit she had good reason to doubt. ‘My son,” she
said to Aladdin, ‘assuming the sultan receives me as favourably as I wish
for your sake, and assuming he listens calmly to the proposal you want
me to put to him, what if, after this friendly reception, he should then
ask about your possessions, your riches and your estates? For that’s what
he will ask about before anything else, rather than about you yourself.
If he asks me about that, what do you want me to reply?’ '*

‘Mother,’ said Aladdin, ‘let’s not worry in advance about something
which may never happen. Let’s first see what sort of reception the sultan
gives you and what reply he gives you. If he happens to want to know
all you have just suggested, I will think of an answer to give him, for I
am confident that the lamp, which has been the means of our subsistence
for the past few years, will not fail me in time of need.”

Aladdin’s mother could think of nothing to say to this. She agreed
that the lamp might well be capable of greater miracles than simply
providing them with enough to live on. This thought satisfied her and at-
the same time removed all the difficulties which could have stopped heir
carrying out the mission she had promised her son. Aladdin, who guessed
what she was thinking, said to her: ‘Mother, above all remember to keep
the secret; on it depends all the success you and I expect from this affair.’
They then left each other to have some rest; but Aladdin’s mind was so
filled with his violent passion and his grand plans for an immense fortune
that he was unable to pass the night as peacefully as he would have
wished. Before daybreak, he rose and immediately went to wake his
mother. He urged her to get dressed as quickly as possible in order to go
to the palace gate and to pass through it as soon as it was opened, when
the grand vizier, the other viziers and all the court officials entered the
council chamber where the sultan always presided in person.

Aladdin’s mother did everything her son wanted. She took the por-
celain dish containing the jewels, wrapped it in two layers of cloth, one
finer and cleaner than the other, which she tied by all four corners in
order to carry it more easily. She then set out, to Aladdin’s great satisfac-

tion, and took the street which led to the sultan’s palace. When she
arrived at the gate, the grand vizier, accompanied by the other viziers
and the highest-ranking court officials, had already entered. There was
an enormous crowd of all those who had business at the council. The
gate opened and she walked with them right up into the council chamber,
which was a very handsome room, Wide and spacious, with a grand and
magnificent entrance. She stopped and placed herself in such a way as to
be opposite the sultan, with the grand vizier and the nobles who had a
seat at the council to the right and left of him. One after the other,
people were called according to the order of the requests that had been
presented, and their affairs were produced, pleaded and judged until the
time the session usually adjourned, when the sultan rose, dismissed
the council and withdrew to his apartments where he was followed by
the grand vizier. The other viziers and the court officials withdrew, as
did all who were there on some particular business, some happy to have
won their case, others less satisfied as judgement had been made against
them, and still others left in the hope of their case being heard at the
next session.

Aladdin’s mother, seeing that the sultan had risen and withdrawn and
that everyone was leaving, concluded rightly that he would not reappear
that day and so she decided to return home. When Aladdin saw her
coming in with the present destined for the sultan, he did not know at
first what to think. Afraid that she had some bad news for him, he did
not have the strength to ask her about her trip. The good woman, who
had never before set foot in the sultan’s palace and who had not the
slightest acquaintance with what normally happened there, helped him
out of his difficulty by saying to him with great naivety: ‘My son, I saw
the sultan and I am quite sure he, too, saw me. I was right in front of
him and nobody could prevent him seeing me, but he was so occupied
with all those talking to the right and left of him, that I was filled with
pity to see the trouble he took to listen patiently to them. That went on
for such a long time that I think he finally became weary; for he arose
all of a sudden and withdrew quite brusquely, without wishing to listen
to the many other people who were lined up to speak to him. I was, in
fact, very pleased because I was beginning to lose patience and was very
tired from standing up for so long. However, all is not lost and I intend
to return there tomorrow; perhaps the sultan will be less busy.’

However great his passion, Aladdin had to be content with this excuse
and remain patient. But he at least had the satisfaction of seeing that his

mother had taken the most difficult step, which was to stand before the
sultan; he hoped that she would follow the example of those whom she
saw speaking to him, and not hesitate to carry out the task with which
she was charged when she found an opportunity to speak to him.
The next day, arriving early, as she had done the previous day, Alad-
din’s mother again went to the sultan’s palace with the present of gems;
but her journey once again proved futile. She found the door of the
council chamber closed, council sessions being held only every other day,
and realized that she would have to return the following day. This news
she reported back to Aladdin, who had to remain patient. She returned
six more times to the council chamber, on the appropriate days, always
placing herself in front of the sultan, but with the same lack of success
as on the first occasion. She would perhaps have returned a hundred
more times, all to no avail, had not the sultan, who had seen her standing
in front of him at each session, finally paid attention to her. Her lack of
success is hardly surprising in that only those who had petitions to
present approached the sultan, one by one, to plead their cause, whereas
Aladdin’s mother was not among those lined up before him.

At last, one day, after the council had risen and he had returned to his
apartments, the sultan said to his vizier: ‘For some time now I have
noticed a certain woman who comes regularly every day that I hold my
council session. She carries something wrapped up in a cloth and remains
standing from the beginning of the audience to the end, always deliber-
ately placed in front of me. Do you know what she wants?’ <-

The grand vizier, who knew no more about her than the sultan but
did not wish to appear to be stuck for an answer, replied: ‘Sire, your
majesty knows well how women often raise complaints about matters
of no importance: this one, apparently, has come to complain to you
about having been sold bad flour, or about some other, equally trivial,
wrong.” But the sultan was not satisfied with this reply and said: ‘On the
next council day, if this woman comes again, be sure to have her sum-
moned so that I can hear what she has to say.’ To this the grand vizier
replied by kissing the sultan’s hand and raising it above his head to
indicate that he was prepared to die if he failed to carry out the sultan’s

Aladdin’s mother had by now become so accustomed to going to the
council and standing before the sultan that she did not think it any
trouble, as long as she made her son understand that she was doing
everything she could to comply with his wishes. So she returned to the

palace on the day of the next session and took up her customary position
at the entrance of the chamber, opposite the sultan. a

The grand vizier had not yet begun to bring up any case when the
sultan noticed Aladdin’s mother. Feeling compassion for her, having
seen her wait so long and so patiently, the sultan said to him: ‘First of
all, in case you forget, here is the woman I was telling you about; make
her come up and let us begin by hearing her and getting her business out
of the way.’ Immediately, the grand vizier pointed the woman out to the
chief usher, who was standing ready to receive his orders, and com-
manded him to fetch her and bring her forward. The chief usher went
up to her and made a sign to follow him to the foot of the sultan’s
throne, where he left her, before taking his place next to the grand vizier.
Aladdin’s mother, having learned from the example of the many others
she had seen approach the sultan, prostrated herself, with her forehead
touching the carpet that covered the steps to the throne, and remained
thus until the sultan ordered her to rise. When she rose, the sultan asked
her: ‘My good woman, for some time now I have seen you come to my
council chamber and remain at the entrance from the beginning to the
very end of the session - so what brings you here?’

Hearing these words, Aladdin’s mother prostrated herself a second
time; standing up again, she said: ‘King of all kings, before I reveal to
your majesty the extraordinary and almost unbelievable business which
brings me before your exalted throne, I beg you to pardon me for the
audacity, not to say the impudence, of the request I am going to make
to you- a request so unusual that I tremble and am ashamed to put it
to my sultan.”

The sultan, to allow her to explain herself in complete freedom,
ordered everyone to go out of the council chamber, except the grand
vizier. He then told her she could speak and explain herself without fear.
But Aladdin’s mother, not content with the sultan’s kindness in sparing
her the distress she would have endured in speaking in front of so many
people, wished to protect herself from what she feared would be his
indignation at the unexpected proposal which she was going to putto
him, and continued: ‘Sire, I dare to entreat you that if you find the
request I am going to put to your majesty in any way offensive or
insulting, you will first assure me 'of your forgiveness and grant me your
pardon.’ ‘Whatever it is,’ replied the sultan, ‘I now forgive you and
assure you that no harm will come to you. So speak out.’

Having taken all these precautions because of her fear of arousing the

sultan’s anger at receiving a proposal of so delicate a nature, Aladdin’s
mother then went on to relate faithfully how Aladdin had first seen
Princess Badr, the violent passion which the sight of her had inspired in
him, what he had said to her; and how she had done everything she
could to talk him out of a passion so harmful not only to his majesty
but also to the princess, his daughter, herself. ‘But my son,’ she continued,
‘far from profiting from my advice and admitting his audacity, has obstin-
ately persisted in his purpose. He even threatened that he would be driven
to do something desperate if I refused to come and ask your majesty for
the hand of the princess in marriage. And it was only with extreme reluc-
tance that I finally found myself forced to do him this favour, for which
I beseech your majesty once more to pardon not only me but also my
son, Aladdin, for having deigned to aspire to so elevated a union.’

The sultan listened to this speech very gently and kindly, showing no
sign of anger or indignation, nor making fun of her request. But before
giving her an answer, he asked her what it was she had brought wrapped
in a cloth, whereupon she immediately took the porcelain dish, which
she had set down at the foot of the throne before prostrating herself,
unwrapped it and presented it to him.

One can hardly describe the sultan’s surprise and astonishment when
he saw such a quantity of precious gems, so perfect, so brilliant and of
a size the like of which he had never seen before, crammed into this dish.
For a while he remained quite motionless, lost in admiration. When he
had recovered, he received the present from the hands of Aladdin's
mother, exclaiming ecstatically: ‘Ahi How beautiful! What a splendid
present!’ When he had admired and handled virtually all the jewels, one
by one, examining each gem to assess its distinctive quality, he turned
towards his grand vizier and, showing him the dish, said to him: ‘Look,
don’t you agree you won’t find anything more splendid or more perfect
in the whole world?’ The grand vizier was dazzled. ‘So, what do you
think of such a present? the sultan asked him. ‘Isn’t it worthy of the
princess, my daughter, and can’t I then give her, at a price like that, to
the man who asks me for her hand in marriage?

These words roused the grand vizier into a state of strange agitation.
Some time ago, the sultan had given him to understand that it was his
intention to bestow the princess in marriage to one of his sons, and so
he feared, and with some justification, that the sultan, dazzled by such a
sumptuous and extraordinary gift, would now change his mind. He Went
up to the sultan and whispered into his ear: ‘Sire, one can’t disagree that

the present is worthy of the princess; but I beg your majesty to grant me
three months before you come to a decision. Before that time, I hope
that my son, on whom you have been so kind as to indicate you look
favourably, will be able to present her with a much more valuable gift
than that offered by Aladdin, who is a stranger to your majesty?

The sultan, although he was quite sure that his grand vizier could not
possibly come up with enough for his son to produce a gift of similar
value to offer the princess, nonetheless listened to him and granted him
this favour. Turning, then, to Aladdin’s mother, he said: ‘Go home, good
woman, and tell your son that I agree to the proposal you have made on
his behalf; but I can’t marry the princess, my daughter, to him before I
have furnishings provided for her, and these won’t be ready for three
months. At the end of that time, come back.’

Aladdin’s mother returned home, her joy being all the greater because
she had first thought that, in view of her lowly state, access to the sultan
would be impossible, whereas she had in fact obtained a very favourable
reply instead of the rebuffs and resulting confusion she had expected.
When Aladdin saw his mother come in, two things made him think that
she was bringing good news: one was that she was returning earlier than
usual, and the other was that her face was all lit up and she was smiling.
‘So, Motlier,’ he said to her, ‘is there any cause for hope, or must I die
of despair?’ Having removed her veil and sat down beside him on the
sofa, she replied: ‘My son, I’m not going to keep you in a state of un-
certainty and so will begin at once by telling you that far from thinking
of dying you have every reason to be `happy.’ She went on to tell him
how she had received an audience, before everyone else, and that was
the reason she had returned so early. She also told him what precautions
she had taken not to offend the sultan in putting the proposal of marriage
to Princess Badr, and of the very favourable response she had received
from the sultan’s own mouth. She added that, as far as she could judge
from indications given by the sultan, it was above all the powerful
effect of the present which had determined that favourable reply. ‘I least
expected this,’ she said, ‘because the grand vizier had whispered in his
ear before he gave his reply and I was afraid he would deflect any
goodwill the sultan might have towards you.’

When he heard this, Aladdin thought himself the happiest of men. He
thanked his mother for 'all the trouble she had gone to in pursuit of this
affair, whose happy outcome was so important for his peace of mind.
And although three months seemed an extremely long time such was his

impatience to enjoy the object of his passion, he nonetheless prepared
himself to wait patiently, trusting in the sultan’s word, which he con-
sidered irrevocable.

One evening, when two months or so had passed, with him counting
not only the hours, days and the weeks, but even every moment as he
waited for the period to come to an end, his mother, wanting to light the
lamp, noticed that there was no more oil in the house. So she went out
to buy some. As she approached the centre of the city, everywhere she
saw signs of festivity: the shops, instead of being shut, were all open
and were being decorated with greenery, and illuminations were being
prepared - in their enthusiasm, every shop owner was vying with each
other in their efforts to display the most pomp and magnificence. Every-
where were demonstrations of happiness and rejoicing. The streets them-
selves were blocked by officials in ceremonial dress, mounted on richly
harnessed horses, and surrounded by a milling throng of attendants on
foot. Aladdin’s mother asked the merchant from whom she was buying
her oil what this all meant. ‘My good woman, where are you from?’ he
replied. ‘Don’t you know that the son of the grand vizier is to marry
Princess Badr, daughter of the sultan, this evening? She is about to come
out of the baths and the officials you see here are gathering to accompany
her procession to the palace, where the ceremony is to take place.’

Aladdin’s mother did not wish to hear any more. She returned home
in such haste that she arrived almost breathless. She found Aladdin, who
little expected the grievous news she was bringing, and exclaimed: ‘My
son, you have lost everything! You were counting on the sultan’s fine
promises - nothing will come of them now.’ Alarmed at these words,
Aladdin said to her: ‘But, mother, in what way will the sultan not keep
his promise to me? And how do you know?’ ‘This evening,” she replied,
the son of the grand vizier is to marry Princess Badr, in the palace.’
She went on to explain how she had learned this, telling him all the
circumstances so as to leave him in no doubt.
At this news, Aladdin remained motionless, as though he had been
struck by a bolt of lightning. Anyone else would have been quite over-
come, but a deep jealousy prevented him from staying like this for long.
I-Ie instantly remembered the lamp which had until then been so useful
to him: without breaking out in a pointless outburst against the sultan,
the grand vizier or his son, he merely said to his mother: ‘Maybe the son
of the grand vizier will not be as happy tonight as he thinks he will be.
While I go to my room for a moment, prepare us some supper.’

Aladdin’s mother guessed her son was going to make use of the lamp
to prevent, if possible, the consummation of the marriage, and she was
not deceived. Indeed, when Aladdin entered his room, he took the magic
lamp - which he had removed from his mother’s sight and taken there
after the appearance of the jinni had given her such a fright - and rubbed
it in the same spot as before. Immediately, the jinni appeared before him
and asked: ‘What is your wish? Here am I, ready to obey you, your slave
and the slave of all those who hold the lamp, I and the other slaves of
the lamp.’

‘Listen,’ Aladdin said to him, ‘up until now, you have brought me
food when I was in need of it, but now I have business of the utmost
importance. I have asked the sultan for the hand of the princess, his
daughter; he promised her to me but asked for a delay of three months.
However, instead of keeping his promise, he is marrying her tonight to
the son of the grand vizier, before the time is up: I have just learned of
this and it’s a fact. What I demand of you is that, as soon as the bride
and bridegroom are in bed, you carry them off and bring them both
here, in their bed.’ ‘Master,’ replied the jinni, ‘I will obey you. Do you
have any other command? ‘Nothing more at present,’ said Aladdin, and
the jinni immediately disappeared.

Aladdin returned to his mother and had supper with her, calmly and
peacefully as usual. After supper, he talked to her for a while about the
marriage of the princess as if it were something which no longer worried
him. Then he returned to his room, leaving his mother to go to bed. He
himself did not go to sleep, however, but waited for the jinni's return
and for the order he had given him to be carried out.

All this while, everything had been prepared with much splendour in
the sultan’s palace to celebrate the marriage of the princess, and the
evening passed in ceremonies and entertainments which went on well
into the night. When it was all over, the son of the grand vizier, after a
signal given him by the princess’s chief eunuch, slipped out and was then
brought in by him to the princess’s apartments, right to the room where
the marriage bed had been prepared. He went to bed first. A little while
after, the sultana, accompanied by her ladies and by those of the princess,
her daughter, led in the bride, who, as is the custom of brides, put up a
great resistance. The sultana helped to undress her and put her into bed
as though by force; and, after having embraced her and saying goodnight,
she withdrew, together with all the women, the last to leave shutting the
door behind her.

No sooner had the door been shut than the jinni - as faithful servant
of the lamp and punctual in carrying out the commands of those who
had it in their hands - without giving the bridegroom time to so much
as caress his wife, to the great astonishment of them both, lifted up the
bed, complete with bride and groom, and transported them in an instant
to Aladdin’s room, where he set it down.

Aladdin, who had been waiting impatiently for this moment, did not
allow the son of the grand vizier to remain lying with the princess but
said to the jinni: ‘Take this bridegroom, lock him up in the privy and
come back tomorrow morning, a little after daybreak.’ The jinni immedi-
ately carried off the son of the grand vizier from the bed, in his nightshirt,
and transported him to the place Aladdin had told him to take him,
where he left the bridegroom, after breathing over him a breath which
he felt from head to toe and which prevented him from stirring from
where he was.

However great the passion Aladdin felt for Princess Badr, once he
found himself alone with her, he did not address her at length, but
declared passionately: ‘Don’t be afraid, adorable princess, you are quite
safe here, and however violent the love I feel for your beauty and your
charms, it will never go beyond the bounds of the profound respect I have
for you. If I have been forced to adopt such extreme measures, this was not
to offend you but to prevent an unjust rival from possessing you, contrary
to the word in my favour given me by your father, the sultan.’

The princess, who knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding all
this, paid little attention to what Aladdin had to say and was in no
state to reply to him. Her terror and astonishment at so surprising and
unexpected an adventure had put her into such a state that Aladdin
could not get a word out of her. He did not leave it at that but decided
to undress and then lie down in the place of the son of the grand vizier,
his back turned to the princess, after having taken the precaution of
putting a sword between them, to show that he deserved to be punished
if he made an attempt on her honour.

Happy at having thus deprived his rival of the pleasure which he had
flattered himself he would enjoy that night, Aladdin slept quite peace-
fully. This was not true of the princess, however: never in all her life had
she spent so trying and disagreeable a night; and as for -the son of the
vizier, if one considers the place and the state in which the jinni had left
him, one can guess that her new husband spent it in a much more
distressing manner.

The next morning, Aladdin did not need to rub the lamp to summon
the jinni, who came by himself at the appointed hour, just when Aladdin
had finished dressing. ‘Here am I,” he said to Aladdin. ‘What is your
command?" ‘Go and bring back the son of the grand vizier from the
place where you put him,’ said Aladdin. ‘Place him in this bed again and
carry it back to the sultan’s palace, from where you took it.’ The jinni
went to fetch the. son of the grand vizier, and when he reappeared,
Aladdin took up his sword from the bed. The jinni placed the bridegroom
next to the princess and, in an instant, he returned the marriage bed to
the same room in the sultan’s palace from where he had taken it.

It should be pointed out that, all the while, the jinni could not be seen
by either the princess or the son of the grand vizier - his hideous shape
would have been enough to make them die of fright. Nor did they hear
any of the conversation between Aladdin and him. All they noticed was
how their bed shook and how they were transported from one place to
another; which was quite enough, as one can easily imagine, to give them
a considerable fright.

The jinni had just restored the nuptial bed to its place when the sultan,
curious to discover how his daughter, the princess, had spent the first
night of her marriage, entered her room to wish her good morning. No
sooner did he hear the door open than the son of the grand vizier, chilled
to the bone from the cold he had endured all night long and not yet
having had time to warm up again, got up and went to the closet where
he had undressed the previous evening.

The sultan approached the princess’s bed, kissed her between the eyes,
as was the custom, and asked her, as he greeted her with a smile, what
sort of night she had had; but raising his head again and looking at her
more closely, he was extremely surprised to see that she was in a state
of great dejection and neither by a blush spreading over her face nor by
any other sign could she satisfy his curiosity. She only gave him a most
sorrowful look, which indicated either great sadness or great discontent.
He said a few more words to her but, seeing that he could get nothing
more from her, he decided she was keeping silent out of modesty and so
retired. Nevertheless, still suspicious that there was something unusual
about her silence, he went straight away to the apartments of the Sultana
and told her in what a state he had found the princess and how she had
received him. ‘Sire,’ the sultana said to him, ‘this should not surprise
your majesty; there’s no bride who does not display the same reserve the
morning after her wedding night. It won’t be the same in two or three

days: she will then receive her father, the sultan, as she ought. I am going
to see her myself,’ she added, ‘and I will be very surprised if she receives
me in the same way.’

When the sultana had dressed, she went to the princess’s room. Badr
had not yet risen, and when the sultana approached her bed, greeting
and embracing her, great was her surprise not only to receive no reply
but also to see the princess in a state of deep dejection, which made her
conclude that something she could not understand had happened to her
daughter. ‘My daughter,” she said to her, ‘how is it that you don’t
respond to my caresses? How can you behave like this to your mother?
Don’t you think I don’t know what can happen in circumstances like
yours? I would really like to think that that’s not what’s in your mind
and something else must have happened. Tell me quite frankly; don’t
leave me weighed down by anxiety for a moment longer.’

At last, the princess broke her silence and gave a deep sigh. ‘Ah! My
dear and esteemed mother,” she exclaimed, ‘forgive me if I have failed to
show you the respect I owe you. My mind is so preoccupied with the
extraordinary things that happened to me last night that I have not yet
recovered from my astonishment 'and terror and I hardly know myself.’
She then proceeded to tell her, in the most colourful detail, how shortly
after she and her husband had gone to bed, the bed had been lifted up
and transported in a moment to a dark and squalid room where she found
herself all alone and separated from her husband, without knowing what
had happened to him; how she had seen a young man who had addressed
a few words to her which her terror had prevented her understanding,
who had lain beside her in her husband’s place, after placing a sword
between them; and how her husband had been restored to her and the
bed returned to its place, all in a very short space of time. ‘All this,’ she
added, ‘had just taken place when the sultan, my father, came into the
room; I was so overcome by grief that I had not the strength to reply
even with a single word, and so I have no doubt he was angry at the
manner in which I~ received the honour he did me by coming to see me.
But I hope he will forgive me when he knows of my sad adventure and
sees the pitiful state I’m still in.’

The sultana listened calmly to everything the princess had to say, but
she did not believe it. ‘My daughter,’ she said, ‘you were quite right not
to talk about this to the sultan, your father. Take care not to talk about
it to anyone - they will think you mad if they hear you talk like this.’
‘Mother,’ she rejoined, ‘I can assure you that I am in my right mind. Ask

my husband and he will tell you the same thing.’ ‘I will ask him,” replied
the sultana, ‘but even if his account is the same as yours, I Won’t be any
more convinced than I am now. Now get up and clear your mind of such
fantasies; a fine thing it would be if you were to let such a dream upset
the celebrations arranged for your wedding, which are set to last several
days, not only in this palace but throughout the kingdom! Can’t you
already hear the fanfares and the sounds of trumpets, drums and tam-
bourines? All this should fill you with pleasure and joy and make you
forget the fantastic stories you’ve been telling me.’ The Sultana then
summoned the princess’s maids and, after she had made her get up and
seen her set about getting dressed, she went to the sultan’s apartments
and told him that some fancy had, indeed, entered the head of his
daughter, but that it was nothing. She sent for the son of the vizier to
discover from him a little about what the princess had told her; but he,
knowing himself to be greatly honoured by his alliance with the sultan,
decided it would be best to conceal the adventure. ‘Tell me, son-in-law,’
the Sultana said to him, ‘are you being as stubborn as your Wife?’ ‘My
lady,’ he replied, ‘may I enquire Why you ask me this?’ ‘That will do,’
retorted the sultana. ‘I don’t need to hear anything more. You are Wiser
than she is.’

The rejoicings continued in the palace all day, and the sultana, who
never left the princess, did all she could to cheer her up and make her
take part in the entertainments and amusements prepared for her. But
the princess was so struck down by the visions of what had happened to
her the previous night that it was easy to see she was totally preoccupied
by them, The son of the vizier was just as shattered by the bad night he
had spent but, fired by ambition, he concealed it and, seeing him, no one
would have thought he was anything else but the happiest of bride-

Aladdin, knowing all about what had happened in the palace and
never doubting that the newly-Weds would sleep together, despite the
misadventure of the previous night, had no desire to leave them in peace.
So, after nightfall, he had recourse once again to the lamp. Immediately,
the jinni appeared and greeted him in the same Way as on the other
occasions, offering him his services. ‘The son of the grand vizier and
Princess Badr are going to sleep together again tonight,’ explained
Aladdin. ‘Go, and as soon as they are in bed, bring them here, as you
did yesterday.’

The jinni served Aladdin as faithfully and as punctually as on the

previous day; the son of the grand vizier spent as disagreeable a night as
the one he had already endured and the princess was as mortified as
before to have Aladdin as her bedfellow, with the sword placed between
them. The next day, the jinni, following Aladdin’s orders, returned and
restored the husband to his wife’s side; he then lifted up the bed with
the newly-weds and transported' it back to the room in the palace from
where he had taken it.

Early the next morning, the sultan, anxious to discover how the prin-
cess had spent the second night, and wondering if she would receive him
in the same way as on the previous day, went to her room to find out. But
no sooner did the son of the grand vizier, more ashamed and mortified by
his bad luck on the second night, hear the sultan come in than he hastily
arose and hurled himself into the closet.

The sultan approached the princess’s bed and greeted her, and after
embracing her in the same way as he had the day before, asked her:
‘Well, my dear, are you in as bad a mood this morning as you were
yesterday? Tell me what sort of night you had.’ But the princess again
remained silent, and the sultan saw that her mind was even more dis-
turbed and she was more dejected than the first time. I-Ie had no doubt
now that something extraordinary had happened to her. So, irritated by
the mystery she was making of it and clutching his sword, he angrily
said to her: ‘My daughter, either you tell me what you are hiding from
me or I will cut off your head this very instant.’

At last, the princess, more frightened by the tone of her aggrieved
father and his threat than by the sight of the unsheathed sword, broke
her silence, and, with tears in her eyes, burst out: ‘My dear father and
sultan, I beg pardon of your majesty if I have offended you and I hope
that in your goodness and mercy anger will give way to compassion
when I give you a faithful account of the sad and pitiful state in which I
spent all last night and the night before.’ After this preamble, which
somewhat calmed and softened the sultan, she faithfully recounted to
him all that had happened to her during those two unfortunate nights.
Her account was so moving that, in the love and tenderness he felt for
her, he was filled with deep sorrow. When she had finished her account,
she said to him: ‘If your majesty has the slightest doubt about the account
I have just given, you can ask the husband you have given me. I am
convinced your majesty will be persuaded of the truth when he bears the
same witness to it as I have done.’

The sultan now truly felt the extreme distress that such an astonishing

adventure must have caused the princess and said to her: ‘My daughter,
you were very Wrong not to have told me yesterday about such a strange
affair, which concerns me as much as yourself. I did not marry you with
the intention of making you miserable but rather with a view to making
you happy and content, and to let you enjoy the happiness you deserve
and can expect with a husband who seemed suited to you. Forget now
all the worrying images you have just told me about. I will see to it that
you endure no more nights as disagreeable and as unbearable as those
you have just spent.’

As soon as the sultan had returned to his own apartments, he called
for his grand vizier and asked him: ‘Vizier, have you seen your son and
has he not said anything to you?’ When the vizier replied that he had
not seen him, the sultan related to him everything Princess Badr had just
told him, adding: ‘I do not doubt my daughter was telling the truth, but
I would be very glad to have it confirmed by what your son says. Go
and ask him about it.’

The grand vizier made haste to join his son and to tell him what the
sultan had said. He charged him to not conceal the truth but to tell him
Whether all this was true, to which his son replied: ‘Father, I will conceal
nothing from you. All that the princess told the sultan is true, but she
couldn’t tell him about the ill treatment I myself received, which is this:
since my wedding I have spent the two most cruel nights imaginable and
I do not have the words to describe to you exactly and in every detail
the ills I have suffered. I won’t tell you what I felt when I found myself
.lifted up four times in my bed and transported from one place to another,
unable to see who was lifting the bed or to imagine how that could have
been done. You can judge for yourself the wretched state I found myself
in when I tell you that I spent two nights standing, naked but for my
nightshirt, in a kind of narrow privy, not free to move from where I
stood nor able to make any movement, although I could see no obstacle
to prevent me from moving. I don’t need. to go into further detail about
all my sufferings. I will not conceal from you that all this has not stopped
me from feeling towards the princess, my wife, all the love, respect and
gratitude that she deserves; but I confess in all sincerity that despite all
the honour and glory that comes to me from having married the daughter
of the sultan, I would rather die than live any longer in such an elevated
alliance if I have to endure any further such disagreeable treatment as I
have done. I am sure the princess feels the same as I do and will readily
agree that our separation is as necessary for her peace of mind as it is

for mine. And so, father, I beseech you, by the same love which led you
to procure for me such a great honour, to make the sultan agree to our
marriage being declared null and void.’

However great the grand vizier’s ambition was for his son to become
the son-in-law of the sultan, seeing how firmly resolved he was to separate
from the princess, he did not think it right to suggest he be patient and
wait a few more days to see if this problem might not be solved. I-Ie left
his son and went to give his reply to the sultan, to whom he admitted
frankly that it was only too true after what he had just learned from his
son. Without waiting even for the sultan to speak to him about ending the
marriage, which he could see he was all too much in favour of doing, he
begged him to allow his son to leave the palace and to return home to him,
using as a pretext that it was not right for the princess to be exposed a
moment longer to such terrible persecution for the sake of his son. __

The grand vizier had no difficulty in obtaining what he asked for.
Immediately, the sultan, who had already made up his mind, gave orders
to stop the festivities in his palace, the city and throughout the length
and breadth of his kingdom, countering those originally given. In a very
short while, all signs of joy and public rejoicing in the city and in the
kingdom had ceased.

This sudden and unexpected change gave rise to many different
interpretations: people asked each other what had caused this upset, but
all that they could say was that the grand vizier had been seen leaving_
the palace and going home, accompanied by his son, both of them
looking very dejected. Only Aladdin knew the secret and inwardly re-
joiced at the good fortune which the lamp had procured him. Once he
had learned for certain that his rival had abandoned the palace and that
the marriage between him and the princess was over, he needed no longer
to rub the lamp nor to summon the jinni to stop it being consummated.
What is strange is that neither the sultan nor the grand vizier, who had
forgotten Aladdin and his request, had the slightest idea that he had any
part in the enchantment which had just caused the break-up of the
princess’s marriage.

Meanwhile, Aladdin let the three months go by that the sultan had
stipulated before the marriage between him and Princess Badr could take
place. He counted the days very carefully, and when they were up, the
very next morning he hastened to send his mother to the palace to remind
the sultan of his word.

Aladdin’s mother went to the palace as her son had asked her and

stood at the entrance to the council chamber, in the same spot as before.
As soon as the sultan caught sight of her, he recognized her and immedi-
ately remembered the request she had made him and the date to which
he had put off fulfilling it. The vizier was at that moment reporting to
him on some matter, but the sultan interrupted him, saying: ‘Vizier, I
see the good woman who gave us such a fine gift a few months ago;
bring her up - you can resume your report when I have heard what she
has to say.’ The grand vizier turned towards the entrance of the council
chamber, saw Aladdin’s mother and immediately summoned the chief
usher, to whom he pointed her out, ordering him to bring her forward.

Aladdin’s mother advanced right to the foot of the throne, where she
prostrated herself as was customary. When she rose up again, the sultan
asked her what her request was, to which she replied: ‘Sire, I come before
your majesty once more to inform you, in the name of my son Aladdin,
that the three months’ postponement of the request I had the honour to
put to your majesty has come to an end and I entreat you to be so good
as to remember your word.’

When he had first seen her, so meanly dressed, standing before him in
all her poverty and lowliness, the sultan had thought that by making a
delay of three months to reply to her request he would hear no more
talk o'f_a marriage which he regarded as not at all suitable for his
daughter, the princess. I-Ie was, however, embarrassed at being called
upon to keep his word to her but he did not think it advisable to give
her an immediate reply, so he consulted his grand vizier, expressing to
him.,his repugnance at the idea of marrying the princess to a stranger
whose fortune he presumed was less than the most modest.

The grand vizier lost no time in telling the sultan what he thought
about this. ‘Sire,’ he said, ‘it seems to me there is a sure way of avoiding
such an unequal marriage which would not give Aladdin, even were he
better known to your majesty, grounds for complaint: this is to put such
a high price on the princess that, however great his riches, he could not
meet this. This would be a way of making him abandon such a bold,
not to _say foolhardy, pursuit, about which no doubt he did not think
carefully before embarking on it.’

The sultan approved of the advice of the grand vizier and, turning
towards Aladdin’s mother, he said to her, after a moment’s reflection:
‘My good woman, sultans should keep their word; I am ready to keep
mine and to make your son happy by marrying my daughter, the princess,
to him. However, as I can’t marry her before I know what advantage

there is in it for her, tell your son that I will carry out my word as soon
as he sends me forty large bowls of solid gold, full to the brim with the
same things you have already presented to me on his behalf, and carried
by a similar number of black slaves who, in their turn, are to be led by
forty more white slaves - young, well built, handsome and all magnifi-
cently clothed. These are the conditions on which I am prepared to give
him my daughter. Go, good woman, and I will wait for you to bring me
his reply.’

Aladdin’s mother prostrated herself in front of the sultan’s throne and
withdrew. As she went on her way, she laughed at the thought of her
son’s foolish ambition. ‘Really,’ she said to herself, ‘where is he going to
find so many golden bowls and such a large quantity of those coloured
bits of glass to fill them? Will he go back to that underground cave with
the entry blocked and pick them off the trees there? And all those slaves
turned out as the sultan demanded, where is he going to get them from?
He hasn’t the remotest chance and I don’t think he’s going to be happy
with the outcome of my mission.” When she got home, her mind was
filled with all these thoughts, which made her believe Aladdin had noth-
ing more to hope for, so she said to him: ‘My son, I advise you to give
up any thought of marrying the princess. The sultan did, indeed, receive
me very kindly and I believe he was full of goodwill towards you; but
the grand vizier, I am almost sure, made him change his mind, and I
think you will think the same after you have heard what I have to say.
After I reminded his majesty that the three months had expired and had
begged him, on your behalf, to remember his promise, I noticed that he
only gave the reply I am about to relate after a whispered conversation
with his grand vizier.’ Aladdin’s mother then proceeded to give her son
a faithful account of all that the sultan had said to her and the conditions
on which he said he would consent to the marriage between him and the
princess, his daughter. ‘My son,’ she said in conclusion, ‘he is waiting
for your reply, but, between ourselves,’ she added with a smile, ‘I believe
he will have to wait for a long time.’

‘Not so long as you would like to think, mother,’ said Aladdin, ‘and
the sultan is mistaken if he thinks that by such exorbitant demands he is
going to prevent me from desiring his daughter. I was expecting other
insurmountable difficulties or that he would set a far higher price on my
incomparable princess. But for the moment, I am quite content and what
he is demanding is a mere trifle in comparison with what I would be in
a position to offer him to obtain possession of her. You go and buy some

food for dinner while I go and think about satisfying his demands - just
leave it to me.’

As soon as Aladdin’s mother had gone out to do the shopping, Aladdin
took the lamp and rubbed it; immediately the jinni rose up before him
and, in the same terms as before, asked Aladdin what was his command,
saying that he was ready to serve him. Aladdin said to him: ‘The sultan
is giving me the hand of the princess his daughter in marriage, but first
he demands of me forty large, heavy bowls of solid gold, filled to the
brim with the fruits from the garden from where I took the lamp whose
slave you are. He is also demanding from me that these forty bowls be
carried by a similar number of black slaves, preceded by forty white
slaves - young, well built, handsome and magnificently clothed. Go and
bring me this present as fast as possible so that I can send it to the sultan
before he gets up from his session at the council.’ The jinni told him his
command would be carried out without delay, and disappeared.

Shortly afterwards, the jinni reappeared, accompanied by the forty
black slaves, each one bearing on his head a heavy bowl of solid gold,
filled with pearls, diamonds, rubies and emeralds, all chosen for their
beauty and their size so as to be better than those which had already
been given to the sultan. Each bowl was covered with a silver cloth
embroidered with flowers of gold. All these slaves, both black and white,
together with all the golden dishes, occupied almost the whole of the
very modest house, together with its small courtyard in front and the
little garden at the back. The jinni asked Aladdin if he was satisfied and
whether he had any other command to put to him, and when Aladdin
said he had nothing more to ask him, he immediately disappeared.

When Aladdin’s mother returned from the market and entered the
house, she was very astonished to see so many people and so many
riches. She put down the provisions she had bought and was about to
remove the veil covering her face when she was prevented by Aladdin,
who said to her: ‘Mother, we have no time to lose; before the sultan
finishes his session, it is very important you return to the palace and
immediately bring him this present, Princess Badr’s dowry, which he
asked me for, so that he can judge, by my diligence and punctuality, the
sincerity of my ardent desire to procure the honour of entering into an
alliance with him.’

Without waiting for his mother to reply, Aladdin opened the door to
the street and made all the slaves file out in succession, a white slave
always followed by a black slave, bearing a golden bowl on his head,

and so on, to the last one. After his mother had come out, following the
last black slave, he closed the door and sat calmly in his room, in the
hope that the sultan, after receiving the present he had demanded, would
at last consent to receive him as his son-in-law.

The first white slave who came out of Aladdin’s house made all the
passers-by who saw him stop, and by the time eighty black and white
slaves had finished emerging, the street was crowded with people rushing
up from all parts of the city to see this magnificent and extraordinary
sight. Each slave was dressed in such rich fabrics and wore such splendid
jewels that those who knew anything about such matters would have
reckoned each costume must have cost more than a million dinars: the
neatness and perfect fit of each dress; the proud and graceful bearing of
each slave; their uniform and symmetrical build; the solemn way they
processed - all this, together with the glittering jewels of exorbitant~size,
encrusted and beautifully arranged in their belts of solid gold, and the
insignias of jewels set in their headdresses, which were of a quite special
type, roused the admiration of this crowd of spectators to such a state
that they could not leave off staring at them and following them with
their eyes as far as they could. The streets were so crowded with people
that no one could move but each had to stay where he happened to be.

As the procession had to pass through several streets to get to the
palace, a good number of the city’s inhabitants, of all kinds and classes,
were able to witness this marvellous display of pomp. When the first
of the eighty slaves arrived at the gate of the first courtyard of the
palace, the doorkeepers, who had drawn up in a line as songs they
spotted this wonderful procession approaching, took him for a king,
thanks to the richness and splendour of his dress and they went up to
him to kiss the hem of his garment. But the slave, as instructed by the
jinni, stopped them and solemnly told them: ‘We are but slaves; our
master will appear in due course.’

Then this first slave, followed by the rest, advanced to the second
courtyard, which was very spacious and was where the sultan’s house-
hold stood during the sessions of the council. The palace officials who
headed each rank looked very magnificent, but they were eclipsed in
splendour by the appearance of the eighty slaves who bore Aladdin’s
present. There was nothing more beautiful, more brilliant in the whole
of the sultan’s court; however splendid his courtiers who surrounded
him, none of them could compare with what now presented itself to
his sight.

The sultan, who had been informed of the procession and arrival of
the slaves, had given orders to let them in, and so, as soon as they
appeared, they found the entrance to the council chamber open. They
entered in orderly fashion, one half filing to the right, one half to the
left. After they had all entered and had formed a large semicircle around
the sultan’s throne, each of the black slaves placed the bowl he was
carrying on to the carpet in front of the sultan. All then prostrated
themselves, touching the carpet with their foreheads. At the same time,
the white slaves did the same. Then they all got up and the black slaves,
as they rose, skillfully uncovered the bowls in front of them and stood
with their hands crossed on their chests in great reverence.

Aladdin’s mother, who had, meanwhile, advanced to the foot of the
throne, prostrated herself before the sultan and addressed him, saying:
‘Sire, my son, Aladdin, knows well that this gift he sends to your majesty
is far less than Princess Badr deserves, but he hopes nonetheless that
your majesty will be pleased to accept it and consider it acceptable
for the princess; he offers it all the 'more confidently because he has
endeavoured to conform to the condition which your majesty was
pleased to impose on him.’

The sultan was in no state to pay attention to her compliments: one
look at`the forty golden bowls, filled to the brim with the most brilliant,
dazzling and most precious jewels ever to be seen in the world, and at
the eighty slaves who, as much by their handsome appearance as by the
richness and amazing magnificence of their dress, looked like so many
kings, and he was so overwhelmed that he could not get over his astonish-
ment. Instead of replying to Aladdin’s mother, he addressed the grand
vizier, who likewise could not understand where such a great profusion
of riches could have come from. ‘Well now, vizier,’ he publicly addressed
him, ‘what do you think about a person, whoever he may be, who sends
me such a valuable and extraordinary _present, someone whom neither
of us knows? Don’t you think he is fit to marry my daughter, Princess

For all his jealousy and pain at seeing a stranger preferred before his
son to become the son-in-law of the sultan, the vizier nonetheless man-
aged to conceal his feelings. It was quite obvious that Aladdin’s present
was more than enough for him to be admitted to such a high alliance.
So the vizier agreed with the sultan, saying: ‘Sire, far from believing that
someone who gives you a present so worthy of your majesty should be
unworthy of the honour you wish to do him, I would_ be so bold as to

say that he deserves it all the more, were I not persuaded that there is no
treasure in the world precious enough to be put in balance with your
majesty’s daughter, the princess.” At this, all the courtiers present at the
session applauded, showing that they were of the same opinion as the
grand vizier.

The sultan did not delay; he did not even think to enquire whether
Aladdin had the other qualities appropriate for one who aspired to
become his son-in-law. The mere sight of such immense riches and the
diligence with which Aladdin had fulfilled his demand without making
the slightest difficulty over conditions as exorbitant as those he had
imposed on him, easily persuaded the sultan that Aladdin lacked nothing
to render him as accomplished as the sultan wished. So, to send Aladdin’s
mother back with all the satisfaction she could desire, he said to her:
‘Go, my good woman, and tell your son that I am waiting to receive him
with open arms and to embrace him, and that the quicker he comes to
receive from me the gift I have bestowed on him of the princess, my
daughter, the greater the pleasure he will give me.’

Aladdin’s mother left with all the delight a woman of her status is
capable of on seeing her son, contrary to all expectations, attain such a
high position. The sultan then immediately concluded the day’s audience
and, rising from his throne, ordered the eunuchs attached to the prin-
cess’s service to come and remove the bowls and carry them off to their
mistress’s apartment, where he himself went to examine them with her
at his leisure. This order was carried out at once, under supervision of
the head eunuch.

The eighty black and white slaves were not forgotten; they were taken
inside the palace and, a little later, the sultan, who had been telling
the princess about their magnificence, ordered them to be brought to the
entrance of her apartment so that she could look at them through the
screens and realize that, far from exaggerating anything in his account,
he had not told her even half the story.

Meanwhile, Aladdin’s mother arrived home with an expression which
told in advance of the good news she was bringing. ‘My son,” she said
to him, ‘you have every reason to be happy: contrary to my expectations
- and you will recall what I told you - you have attained the accomplish-
ment of your desires. In order not to keep you in suspense any longer,
the sultan, with the approval of his entire court, has declared that you
are worthy to possess Princess Badr. He is waiting to embrace you and
to bring about your marriage. You must now think about how to prepare

for this meeting so that you may come up to the high opinion the sultan
has formed of you. After all the miracles I have seen you perform, I am
sure nothing will be lacking. I must not forget to tell you also that the sultan
is waiting impatiently for you, and so Waste no time in going to him.’

Aladdin was delighted at this news and, his mind full of the enchant-
ing creature who had so bewitched him, after saying a few Words to
his mother, withdrew to his room. Once there, he took the lamp which
had hitherto been so useful to him in fulfilling all his needs and wishes,
and no sooner had he rubbed it than the jinni appeared before him and
immediately proceeded to offer him his services as before. ‘G jinni,’ said
Aladdin, ‘I have summoned you to help me take a bath and when I have
finished, I want you to have ready for me the most sumptuous and
magnificent costume ever worn by a king.’ No sooner had he finished
speaking than the jinni, making them both invisible, lifted him up and
transported him to a bath made of the finest marble of every shade of
the most beautiful colours. Without seeing who was waiting on him, he
was undressed in a spacious and very Well-arranged room. From this
room he was made to go into the bath, which was moderately hot, and
there he was rubbed and washed with several kinds of perfumed waters.
After he had been taken into various rooms of different degrees of heat,
he came out again transformed, his complexion fresh, all pink and white,
and feeling lighter and more refreshed. He returned to the first room,
but the clothing he had left there had gone; in its place the jinni had
carefully set out the costume he had asked for. When he saw the magnifi-
cence of the garments which had been substituted for his own, Aladdin
was astonished. With the help of the jinni, he got dressed, admiring as
he did so each item of clothing as he put it on, for everything was beyond
anything he could have imagined.

When he had finished, the jinni took him back to his house, to the
same room from where he had transported him. I-Ie then asked Aladdin
Whether he had any other demands. ‘Yes,’ replied Aladdin, ‘I want you
to bring me as quickly as possible a horse which is finer and more
beautiful than the most highly valued horse in the sultan’s stables; its
trappings, its harness, its saddle, its bridle - all must be worth more than
a million dinars. I also ask you to bring me at the same time twenty
slaves as richly and smartly attired as those who delivered the sultan’s
present, who are to walk beside me and behind me in a group, and
twenty more like them to precede me in two files. Bring my mother, too,
with six slave girls to wait on her, each dressed at least as richly as the

princess’s slave girls, and each bearing a complete set of women’s clothes
as magnificent and sumptuous as those of a sultana. Finally, I need ten
thousand pieces of gold in ten purses. There,’ he ended, ‘that’s what
I command you to do. Go, and make haste.’

As soon as Aladdin had finished giving him his orders, the jinni dis-
appeared; shortly afterwards, he reappeared with the horse, the forty
slaves - ten of whom were each carrying a purse containing a thousand
pieces of gold, and the six slave girls - each one bearing on her head a
different costume for Aladdin’s mother, wrapped up in a silver cloth,
and all this he presented to Aladdin. Of the ten purses Aladdin took
four, which he gave to his mother, telling her she should use them for
her needs. The remaining six he left in the hands of the slaves who were
carrying them, charging them to keep them and throw out handfuls of
gold from them to the people as they passed through the streets on their
way to the sultan’s palace. He also ordered these six slaves to walk in
front of him with the others, three on the right and three on the left.
Finally, he presented the six slave girls to his mother, telling her that
they were hers to use as her slaves and that the clothes they brought
were for her.

When Aladdin had settled all these matters, he told the jinni as he
dismissed him that he would call him when he needed his services and
the jinni instantly disappeared. Aladdin’s one thought now was to reply
as quicky as possible to the desire the sultan had expressed to see him.
So he despatched to the palace one of the forty slaves - I will not say the
most handsome, for they were all equally handsome - with the order to
address himself to the chief usher and ask him when Aladdin might have
the honour of prostrating himself at the feet of the sultan. The slave was
not long in carrying out his task, returning with the reply that the sultan
was awaiting him with impatience.

Aladdin made haste to set off on horseback and process in the order
already described. Although this was the First time he had ever mounted
a horse, he appeared to ride with such ease that not even the most
experienced horseman would have taken him for a novice. In less than
a moment, the streets he` passed through filled with an innumerable
crowd of people, whose cheers and blessings and cries of admiration
rang out, particularly when the six slaves with the purses threw handfuls
of gold coins into the air to the left and right. These cheers of approval
did not, however, come from the rabble, who were busy picking up the
gold, but from a higher rank of people who could not refrain from

publicly praising Aladdin for his generosity. Anyone who could remem-
ber seeing him playing in the street, the perpetual Vagabond, no longer
recognized Aladdin, and even those who had seen him not long ago had
difficulty making him out, so different were his features. This is because
one of the properties of the lamp was that it could gradually procure for
those who possessed it the perfections which went with the status they
attained by making good use of it. Consequently, people paid more
attention to Aladdin himself than to the pomp which accompanied him
and which most of them had already seen that same day when the eighty
slaves marched in procession, bearing the present. The horse was also
much admired for its beauty alone by the experts, who did not let
themselves be dazzled by the wealth or brilliance of the diamonds and
other jewels with which it was covered. As the news spread that the
sultan was giving the hand of his daughter, Princess Badr, in marriage
to Aladdin, without regard to his humble birth, no one envied him his
good fortune nor his rise in status, as they seemed well deserved.

Aladdin arrived at the palace, where all was set to receive him. When
he reached the second gate, he was about to dismount, following the
custom observed by the grand vizier, the generals of the armies and the
governors of the provinces of the first rank; but the chief usher, who was
waiting for him by order of the sultan, prevented him and accompanied
him to the council chamber, where he helped him to dismount, despite
Aladdin’s strong opposition, but whose protests were in vain for he had
no say in the matter. The ushers then formed two lines at the entrance
to the chamber and their chief, placing Aladdin on his right, led him
through the middle right up to the sultan’s throne.

As soon as the sultan set eyes on Aladdin, he was no less astonished
to see him clothed more richly and magnificently than he himself had
ever been, than surprised at his fine appearance, his handsome figure
and a certain air of grandeur, which were in complete contrast to the
lowly state in which his mother had appeared before him. His astonish-
ment and surprise did not, however, prevent him from rising from his
throne and descending two or three steps in time to stop Aladdin from
prostrating himself at his feet and to embrace him in a warm show of
friendship. After such a greeting Aladdin still wanted to throw himself
at the sultan’s feet, but the sultan held him back with his hand and
forced him to mount the steps and sit between the vizier and himself.
Aladdin now addressed the sultan. ‘Sire,’ he said, ‘I accept the honours
your majesty is so gracious as to bestow on me; but permit me to tell

you that I have not forgotten I was born your slave, that I know the
greatness of your power and I am well aware how much my birth and
upbringing are below the splendour and the brilliance of the exalted
rank to which I am being raised. If there is any way I can have deserved
so favourable a reception, ,it is maybe due to the boldness that pure
chance inspired in me to raise my eyes, my thoughts and my aspirations
to the divine princess who is the object of my desires. I beg pardon of
your majesty for my rashness but I cannot hide from you that I would
die of grief if I were to lose hope of seeing these desires accomplished.’

‘My son,’ replied the sultan, embracing him a second time, ‘you do
me wrong to doubt for a single instant the sincerity of my word. From
now on, your life is too dear to me for me not to preserve it, by presenting
you with the remedy which is at my disposal. I prefer the pleasure of
seeing you and hearing you to all my treasures and yours together.’

When he had finished speaking, the sultan gave a signal and immedi-
ately the air echoed with the sound of trumpets, oboes and drums. At
the same time, the sultan led Aladdin into a magnificent room where a
splendid feast was prepared. The sultan ate alone with Aladdin, while
the grand vizier and the court dignitaries stood by during the meal, each
according to their dignity and rank. The sultan, who took such great
pleasure in looking at Aladdin that he never took his eyes off him, led
the conversation on several different topics and throughout the meal, in
the conversation they held together and on whatever matter the sultan
brought up, Aladdin spoke with such knowledge and wisdom that he
ended by confirming the sultan in the good opinion he had formed of
him from the beginning.

Once the meal was over, the sultan summoned the grand qadi and
ordered him immediately to draw up a contract of marriage between
Princess Badr, his daughter, and Aladdin. While this was happening, the
sultan talked to Aladdin about several different things in the presence of
the grand vizier and his courtiers, who all admired Aladdin’s soundness
and the great ease with which he spoke and expressed himself and the
refined and subtle comments with which he enlivened his conversation.

When the qadi had completed drawing up the contract in all the
required forms, the sultan asked Aladdin if he wished to stay in the
palace to complete the marriage ceremonies that same day, but Aladdin
replied: ‘Sire, however impatient I am fully to enjoy your majesty’s
kindnesses, I beg you will be so good as to allow me to put them off
until I have had a palace built to receive the princess in, according to her

dignity and merit. For this purpose, I ask you to grant me a suitable spot
in the palace grounds so that I may be closer at hand to pay you my
respects. I will do everything to see that it is accomplished with all
possible speed.’ ‘My son,’ said the sultan, ‘take all the land you think
you need; there is a large space in front of my palace and I myself had
already thought of filling it. But remember, I can’t see you united to my
daughter soon enough to complete my happiness.’ After he had said this,
the sultan embraced Aladdin, who took his leave of the sultan with the
same courtesy as if he had been brought up and always lived at court.

Aladdin remounted his horse and returned home the same way he had
come, passing through the same applauding crowds who wished him
happiness and prosperity. As soon as he got back and had dismounted,
he Went off to his own room, took the lamp and summoned the jinni in
the usual way. The jinni immediately appeared and offered him his
services. ‘O jinni,’ said Aladdin, ‘I have every reason to congratulate
myself on how precisely and promptly you have carried out everything
I have asked of you so far, through the power of this lamp, your mistress.
But now, for the sake of the lamp, you must, if possible, show even more
zeal and more diligence than before. I am now asking you to build me,
as quickly as you can, at an appropriate distance opposite the sultan’s
residence, a palace Worthy of receiving Princess Badr, my wife-to-be. I
leave you free to choose the materials - porphyry, jasper, agate, lapis
lazuli and the finest marble of every colour - and the rest of the building.
But at the very top of this palace, I want you to build a great room,
surrounted by a dome and with four equal sides, made up of alternating
layers of solid gold and silver. There should be twenty-four windows,
six on each side, with the latticed screens of all but one - which I
want left unfinished - embellished, skillfully and symmetrically, with
diamonds, rubies and emeralds, so that nothing like this will have ever
been seen in the world. I also want the palace to have a forecourt, a main
court and a garden. But above all, there must be, in a spot you will
decide, a treasure house, full of gold and silver coins. And I also want
this palace to have kitchens, pantries, storehouses, furniture stores for
precious furniture for all seasons and in keeping with the magnificence
of the palace, and stables filled with the most beautiful horses complete
with their riders and grooms, not to forget hunting equipment. There
must also be kitchen staff and officials and female slaves for the service
of the princess. You understand what I mean? Go and come back when
it’s done.’

It was sunset when Aladdin finished instructing the jinni in the con-
struction of his imagined palace. The next day, at daybreak, Aladdin,
who could not sleep peacefully because of his love for the princess, had
barely risen when the jinni appeared before him. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘your
palace is finished. Come and see if you like it.” No sooner had Aladdin
said he Wanted to see it than in an instant the jinni had transported him
there. Aladdin found it so beyond all his expectations that he could not
admire it enough. The jinni led him through every part; everywhere
Aladdin found nothing but riches, splendour and perfection, with the
officials and slaves all dressed according to their rank and the services
they had to perform. Nor did he forget to show him, as one of the
main features, the treasure house, the door to which was opened by the
treasurer. There Aladdin saw purses of different sizes, depending on
the sums they contained, piled up in a pleasing arrangement which
reached up to the vault. As they left, the jinni assured him of the trea-
surer’s trustworthiness. He then led him to the stables where he showed
him the most beautiful horses in the World and the grooms who were
grooming them. Finally, he took him through storerooms filled with all
the supplies necessary for both the horses’ adornment and their food.

When Aladdin had examined the whole palace from top to bottom,
floor by floor, room by room, and in particular the chamber with the
twenty-four windows, and had found it so rich and magnificent and well
furnished, beyond anything he had promised himself, he said to the jinni;
‘O jinni, nobody could be happier than I am and it would be wrong for
me to complain. But there’s one thing which I didn’t tell you because I
hadn’t thought about it, which is to spread, from the gate of the sultan’s
palace to the door of the apartment intended for the princess, a carpet
of the finest velvet for her to walk on when she comes from the sultan’s
palace.’ ‘I will be back in a moment,’ said the jinni. A little after his
disappearance, Aladdin was astonished to see that what he wanted had
been carried out without knowing how it had been done. The jinni
reappeared and carried Aladdin back home, just as the gate of the sultan’s
palace was being opened.

The palace doorkeepers, who had just opened the gate and who had
always had an unimpeded view in the direction where Aladdin’s palace
now stood, were astounded to find it obstructed and to see a velvet
carpet stretching from that direction right up to the gate of the sultan’s
palace. At first they could not make out what it was, but their astonish-
ment increased when they saw clearly Aladdin’s superb palace. News of

the marvel quickly spread throughout the whole palace. The grand
vizier, who had arrived almost the moment the gate was opened, Was as
astonished as the rest at the extraordinary sight and was the first to tell
the sultan. He wanted to put it down to magic but the sultan rebuffed
him, saying: ‘Why do you want it to be magic? You know as well as I
do that it’s the palace Aladdin has had built for my daughter, the princess;
I gave him permission to do so in your presence. After the sample of his
wealth which we saw, is it so strange that he has built this palace in such
a short time? He wanted to surprise us and to show us what miracles
one can perform from one day to the next. Be honest, don’t you agree
that when you talk of magic you are perhaps being a little jealous? He
was prevented from saying anything more, as the hour to enter the
council chamber had arrived.

After Aladdin had been carried home and had dismissed the jinni, he
found his mother had got up and was beginning to put on the clothes
that had been brought to her. At about the time that the sultan had just
left the council, Aladdin made his mother go to the palace, together with
the slave girls who had been brought her by the jinni’s services. He asked
her that if she saw the sultan she was to tell him that she had come in
order to have the honour of accompanying the princess when she was
ready to go to her palace towards evening. She left and although she and
the slave girls who followed her were dressed like sultanas, the crowds
watching them pass were not so large, as the Women were veiled and
Wore appropriate overgarments to cover the richness and magnificence
of their clothing. As for Aladdin, he mounted his horse and, leaving his
home for the last time, without forgetting the magic lamp whose help
had been so helpful to him in attaining the height of happiness, he
publicly left for his palace, with the same pomp as on the previous day
when he had gone to present himself to the sultan.

As soon as the doorkeepers of the sultan’s palace saw Aladdin’s
mother, they told the sultan. Immediately the order was given to the
bands of trumpets, cymbals, drums, fifes and oboes who had been sta-
tioned in different spots on the palace terraces, and all at once the air
resounded to fanfares and music which announced the rejoicings to the
Whole city. The merchants began to deck out their shops with fine
carpets, cushions and green boughs, and to prepare illuminations for the
night. The artisans left their work, and the people hastened to the great
square between the sultan’s palace and that of Aladdin. But it was
Aladdin’s palace that first attracted their admiration, not so much

because they were accustomed to see that of the sultan but because it
could not enter into comparison with Aladdin’s. The sight of such a
magnificent palace in a place that, the previous day, had neither materials
nor foundations, astonished them most and they could not understand
by what unheard-of miracle this had come about.

Aladdin’s mother was received in the sultan’s palace with honour and
admitted to the princess’s apartments by the chief eunuch. When the
princess saw her, she immediately went to embrace her and made her be
seated on her sofa; and while her maidservants were finishing dressing
her and adorning her with the most precious jewels, which Aladdin had
given her, the princess entertained her to a delicious supper. The sultan,
who came to spend as much time as he could with his daughter before
she left him to go to Aladdin’s palace, also paid great honour to Aladdin’s
mother. He had never seen her before without a veil, although she had
spoken several times to him in public, but now without her veil, though
she was no longer young, one could still see from her features that she
must have been reckoned among the beautiful Women of her day when
she was young. The sultan, who had always seen her dressed very simply,
not to say shabbily, Was filled with admiration at seeing her clothed as
richly and as magnificently as the princess, his daughter, which made
him reflect that Aladdin was equally capable, prudent and wise in every-
thing he did.

When night fell, the princess took leave of her father, the sultan. Their
parting was tender and tearful; they embraced several times in silence,
and finally the princess left her apartments and set out, with Aladdin’s
mother on her left, followed by a hundred slave girls, all wonderfully
and magnificently dressed. All the bands of musicians, which had never
stopped playing since the arrival of Aladdin’s mother, now joined up
and began the procession; they were followed by a hundred sergeants
and a similar number of black eunuchs, in two columns, led by their
officers. Four hundred of the sultan’s young pages walked on each side
of the procession, holding torches in their hands which, together with
the light from illuminations coming from both the sultan’s palace and
Aladdin’s, wonderfully took the place of daylight.

Accompanied in this fashion, the princess stepped on to the carpet
which stretched from the sultan’s palace to Aladdin’s; as she advanced,
the bands of musicians who led the procession approached and joined
with those which could be heard on the terraces of Aladdin’s palace.
This extraordinary confusion of sounds nonetheless formed a concert

which increased the rejoicing not only of the great crowd in the main
square but also of those who were in the two palaces and indeed in the
whole city and far beyond.

At last the princess arrived at the new palace and Aladdin rushed with
all imaginable joy to receive her at the entrance to the apartments des-
tined for him. Aladdin’s mother had taken care to point out her son to
the princess amid the officials who surrounded him, and the princess,
when she saw him, found him so handsome that she was quite charmed.
‘Lovely princess] Aladdin addressed her, going up to her and greeting
her very respectfully, ‘if I have been so unlucky as to have displeased
you by my rashness in aspiring to possess so fair a lady, the daughter of
the sultan, then, if I may say so, you must blame your beautiful eyes and
your charms, not me.’ ‘O prince -I can rightly call you this now -I bow
to my father, the sultan’s wishes; but it is enough for me to have seen
you to tell you that I am happy to obey him.’

Overjoyed by such a satisfying reply, Aladdin did not keep the princess
standing any longer after this unaccustomed walk. In his delight, he took
her hand and kissed it, and then led her into a large room lit by innumer-
able candles where, thanks to the jinni, a magnificent banquet was laid out
on a table. The plates were of solid gold and filled with the most delicious
food. The vases, bowls and goblets, with which the side tables were well
provided, were also of gold and of exquisite craftsmanship. All the other
ornaments and decorations of the room were in perfect keeping with all
this sumptuousness. Delighted to see so many riches gathered together
in one place, the princess said to Aladdin: ‘O prince, I thought that there
was nothing in the world more beautiful than my father’s palace;
but seeing this room alone I realize how wrong I was.’ ‘Princess,’ said
Aladdin, seating her at the place specially set for her at the table, ‘I accept
such a great compliment as I ought; but I know what I should think.’

The princess, Aladdin and his mother sat down at table, and immedi-
ately a band of the most melodious instruments, played and accompanied
by women, all of whom were very beautiful, started up and the music
was accompanied by their equally beautiful voices; this continued
uninterrupted until the end of the meal. The princess was so charmed
that she said she had never heard anything like it in the palace of the
sultan, her father. She did not know, of course, that these musicians
were creatures chosen by the jinni of the lamp.

When the supper was over and the dishes had been swiftly cleared
away, the musicians gave way to a troupe of male and female dancers

who danced several kinds of dances, according to the custom of the land.
They ended with two solo dances by a male and female dancer who,
each in their turn, danced with surprising lightness and showed all the
grace and skill they were capable of. It was nearly midnight When,
according to the custom in China at that time, Aladdin rose and offered
his hand to Princess Badr to dance with her and so conclude the wedding
ceremony. They danced so well together that the whole company was lost
in admiration. When the dance was over, Aladdin, still holding her by the
hand, took the princess and together they passed through to the nuptial
chamber where the marriage bed had been prepared. The princess’s
maidservants helped undress her and put her to bed, and Aladdin’s
servants did the same, then all withdrew. And so ended the ceremonies
and festivities of the Wedding of Aladdin and Princess Badr al-Budur.

The following morning, when Aladdin awoke, his servants came-»to
dress him. They put on him a different costume from the one he had
Worn the day of the wedding, but one that was equally rich and magnifi-
cent. Next, he had brought to him one of the horses specially selected
for him, which he mounted and then went to the sultan’s palace, sur-
rounded by a large troupe of slaves walking in front of him and behind
him and on either side. The sultan received him with the same honours
as on the first occasion, embraced him and, after seating him near him
on the throne, ordered breakfast to be served. ‘Sire,’ said Aladdin, ‘I ask
your majesty to excuse me this honour today. I came to ask you to do
me the honour of partaking of a meal in the princess’s palace, together'
with your grand vizier and your courtiers.’ The sultan was pleased to
grant him this favour. He rose forthwith and, as it was not very far,
wished to go there on foot, and so he set out, with Aladdin on his right,
the grand vizier on his left and the courtiers following, preceded by the
sergeants and principal court officials.

The nearer he drew to Aladdin’s palace, the more the sultan was struck
by its beauty. But he was much more amazed when he entered it and never
stopped praising each and every room he saw. But when, at A1addin’s
invitation, they went up to the chamber with the twenty-four windows,
and the sultan saw the decorations, and above all when he caught sight
of the screens studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds - jewels all
so large and so perfectly proportioned - and when Aladdin remarked
that it was just as opulent on the outside, he was so astonished that he
remained rooted to the spot.

After remaining motionless for a while, the sultan turned to the grand

vizier standing near him and said: ‘Vizier, can there possibly be such a
superb palace in my kingdom, so near to my own palace, without my
having been aware of it till now?’ ‘Your majesty may recall,’ replied the
grand vizier, ‘that the day before yesterday you granted Aladdin, whom
you accepted as your son-in-law, permission to build a palace opposite
your own; that same day, at sunset, there was as yet no palace on that
spot. Yesterday I had the honour to be the first to announce to you that
the palace had been built and was finished.’ ‘Yes, I remember,’ said the
sultan, ‘but I would never have thought this palace would be one of
the wonders of the age. Where in the whole wide world can one find a
palace built of layers of solid gold and silver rather than of stone or
marble, where the windows have screens set with diamonds, rubies and
emeralds? Never has anything like this been heard of before!’

The sultan wished to see and admire the beauty of the twenty-four
screens. When he counted them, he found that only twenty-three of the
twenty-four were each equally richly decorated but that the twenty-
fourth, he was very surprised to discover, had been left unfinished.
Turning to the vizier, who had made it his duty always to stay at his
side, he said: ‘I am surprised that a room of such magnificence should
have been left unfinished? ‘Sire,’ the grand vizier replied, ‘Aladdin appar-
ently was in a hurry and didn’t have time to make this window like the
rest; but I imagine he has the necessary jewels and that he will have the
work done at the first opportunity.’

While this was going on, Aladdin had left the sultan to give some
orders and when he came back to join him again, the sultan said to him:
‘My son, of all the rooms in the world this one is the most worthy to be
admired. But one thing surprises me - that is, to see this one screen left
unfinished. Was it forgotten through carelessness or because the work-
men didn’t have time to put the finishing touches to so fine a piece of
architecture? ‘Sire,’ replied Aladdin, ‘it’s for neither of these reasons
that the screen has remained in the state in which your majesty sees it.
It was done deliberately and it was at my order that the workmen left it
untouched: I wanted your majesty to have the glory of finishing this
room and the palace at the same time. I beg that you will accept my
good intentions so that I will be able to remember your kindness and
your favours.’ ‘If that’s how you intended it, I am grateful to you and
shall immediately give the orders for it to be done.” And indeed he then
summoned the jewellers with the greatest stock of jewels, together with
the most skilled goldsmiths in the capital.

The sultan then went down from this chamber and Aladdin led him
into the room where he had entertained the princess on the day of the
wedding. The princess arrived a moment later and received her father in
a manner which showed him how happy she was with her marriage.
Two tables were laid with the most delicious dishes, all served in golden
vessels. The sultan sat down at the first table and ate with his daughter,
Aladdin and the grand vizier, while all the courtiers were served at the
second table, which was very long. The sultan found the dishes very
tasty and declared he had never eaten anything more exquisite. He said
the same of the wine, which was, indeed, delicious. What he admired
still more were four large side tables filled and laden with an abundance
of flagons, bowls and goblets of solid gold, all encrusted with jewels. He
was also delighted with the bands of musicians scattered around the
room, while the fanfares of trumpets accompanied by drums and tam-
bourines resounding at a suitable distance outside the room gave a most
pleasing effect.

When the meal was over, the sultan was told that the jewellers and
goldsmiths who had been summoned by his order had arrived. He went
up again to the room with the twenty-four screens and, once there,
showed the jewellers and goldsmiths who had followed him the window
which had been left unfinished. ‘I have brought you here,’ he said, ‘so
that you will bring this window to the same state of perfection as the
others; examine them well and waste no time in making it exactly the
same as the rest.’

The jewellers and goldsmiths examined the twenty-three other screens
very closely, and after they had consulted together and were agreed on
what each of them would for his part contribute, they returned to the
sultan. The palace jeweller, acting as spokesman, then said to the sultan:
‘Sire, we are ready to employ all our skills and industry to obey your
majesty, but many as we are, not one of our profession has such precious
jewels and in sufficient quantities for such a great project.’ ‘But I have
enough and more than enough,’ said the sultan. ‘Come to my palace;
I can supply you with them and you can choose those you want.’
After the sultan had returned to the palace, he had all his jewels
brought in to him and the jewellers took a great quantity of them,
particularly from among those which Aladdin had given him as a present.
They used all these jewels but the work did not seem to progress very
much. They returned several times to fetch still more, but after a whole
month they had not finished half of the work. They used all the sultan’s

jewels as well as some borrowed from the grand vizier; yet, despite all
these, all they managed to do was at most to complete half of the window.
Aladdin, who knew that all the sultan’s efforts to make this screen
like the rest were in vain and that he would never come out of it with
any credit, summoned the goldsmiths and told them not only to cease
their work but even to undo everything they had done and to return to
the sultan all his jewels together with those he had borrowed from the
grand vizier.

In a matter of hours, the work that the jewellers and goldsmiths had
taken more than six weeks to do was destroyed. They then departed and
left Aladdin alone in the room. Taking out the lamp, which he had with
him, he rubbed it and immediately the jinni stood before him. ‘O jinni,’
said Aladdin, ‘I ordered you to leave one of the twenty-four screens in
this room unfinished and you carried out my order; I have now sum-
moned you here to tell you that I want you to make this window just
like the rest.’ The jinni disappeared and Aladdin went out of the room.
When he went back in again a few moments later, he found the screen
exactly as he wanted it and just like the others.

Meanwhile, the jewellers and goldsmiths had arrived at the palace and
had been introduced and presented to the sultan in his apartments. The
first jeweller, on behalf of all of them, presented the sultan with the
jewels which they were returning and said: ‘Sire, your majesty knows
how long and how hard we have been working in order to finish the
commission that you charged us with. The work was far advanced when
Aladdin forced us not only to stop but even to undo all we had done
and to return to your majesty all these jewels of yours and those of the
grand vizier.’ The sultan asked them whether Aladdin had told them
why they were to do this, to which they replied no. Immediately, the
sultan gave the order for a horse to be brought and when it came, he
mounted and left with only a few of his men, who accompanied him on
foot. On arriving at Aladdin’s palace, he dismounted at the bottom of
the staircase that led to the room with the twenty-four windows. Without
giving Aladdin any advance notice, he climbed the stairs where Aladdin
had arrived in the nick of time to receive him at the door. .
The sultan, giving Aladdin no time to complain politely that his
majesty had not forewarned him of his arrival and that he had thus
obliged him to fail in his duty, said to him: ‘My son, I have come myself
to ask the reason why you wish to leave unfinished so magnificent and
remarkable a room in your palace as this one.’

The real reason Aladdin concealed from him, which was that the
sultan was not rich enough in jewels to afford such an enormous expense.
However, in order to let the sultan know how far his palace surpassed
not only his own, such as it was, but any other palace in the world, since
the sultan had been unable to complete the smallest part of it, he said to
him: ‘Sire, it is true your majesty has seen this room, unfinished; but
I beg you will come now and see if there is anything lacking.’

The sultan went straight to the window where he had seen the
unfinished screen and when he saw that it was like the rest, he thought
he must have made a mistake. He next examined not only one or two
windows but all the windows, one by one. When he was convinced that
the screen on which so much time had been spent and which had cost
so many days’ work had been finished in what he knew to be a very
short time, he embraced Aladdin and kissed him between the eyes,
exclaiming in astonishment: ‘My son, what a man you are to do such
amazing things and all, almost, in the twinkling of an eye! There is no
one like you in the whole wide world! The more I know you, the more
I admire you.’ Aladdin received the sultan’s praises with great modesty,
replying: ‘Sire, I am very honoured to merit your majesty’s kindness and
approval, and I can assure you I will do all I can to deserve them both
more and more.’

The sultan returned to his palace in the same manner as he had come,
not allowing Aladdin to accompany him. There he found the grand vizier
waiting for him and the sultan, still filled with admiration at the wonders
he had just seen, proceeded to tell him all about them in terms that left
the vizier in no doubt that everything was indeed as he had described it.
But it also confirmed him in his belief that Aladdin’s palace was the
effect of an enchantment - a belief that he had already conveyed to the
sultan almost as soon as the palace appeared. The vizier started to
repeat what he thought, but the sultan interrupted him: ‘Vizier, you have
already told me that, but I can see that you are still thinking of my
daughter’s marriage to your son.’

The grand vizier could see that the sultan was prejudiced against him
and so, not wishing to enter into a dispute with him, made no attempt
to disabuse him. Meanwhile, the sultan every day, as soon as he had
arisen, regularly went to a small room from which he could see the whole
of Aladdin’s palace and he would come here several times a day to
contemplate and admire it.

As for Aladdin, he did not remain shut up in his palace but took care

to let himself be seen in the city several times a week, whether to go and
pray at one mosque or another or, at regular intervals, to visit the grand
vizier, who affected to pay court to him on certain days, or to do honour
to the leading courtiers, whom he often entertained in his palace, by
going to see them in their own houses. Every time he went out, he would
instruct two of his slaves, who surrounded him as he rode, to throw
handfuls of gold coins into the streets and squares through which he
passed and to which a great crowd of people always flocked. Further-
more, no pauper came to the gate of his palace without going away
pleased with the liberality dispensed there on his orders.

Aladdin passed his time in such a way that not a week went by without
him going out hunting, whether just outside the city or further afield,
when he dispensed the same liberality as he rode around or passed
through villages. This generous tendency caused everyone to shower
blessings on him and it became the custom to swear by his head. In
short, without it giving any offence to the sultan to whom he regularly
paid court, one may say that Aladdin, thanks to his affable manner and
generosity, won the affection of all the people and that, in general, he was
more beloved than the sultan himself. Added to all these fine qualities, he
showed such valour and zeal for the good of the kingdom that he could
not be too highly praised. He showed this on the occasion of a revolt
which took place on the kingdom’s borders: no sooner had he heard that
the sultan was raising an army to put the revolt down than he begged
the sultan to put him in command of it, a request which he had no
difficulty in obtaining. Once at the head of the army, he marched against
the rebels, and throughout this expedition he conducted himself so indus-
triously that the sultan learned that the rebels had been defeated, pun-
ished and dispersed before he learned of Aladdin’s arrival in the army.
This action, which made his name famous throughout the kingdom, did
not change his good nature, for he remained as amiable after as before
his victory.

Several years went by in this manner for Aladdin, when the magician,
who 'unwittingly had given him the means of rising to such heights of
fortune, was reminded of him in Africa to where he had returned.
Although he was till then convinced that Aladdin had died a wretched
death in the underground cave where he had left him, the thought
nonetheless came to him to find out exactly how he had died. Being a
great geomancer, he took out of a cupboard a covered square box which
he used to make his observations. Sitting down on his sofa, he placed

the box in front of him and uncovered it. After he had prepared and
levelled the sand with the intention of discovering if Aladdin had died in
the cave, he made his throw, interpreted the figures and drew up the
horoscope. When he examined it to ascertain its meaning, instead of
discovering that Aladdin had died in the cave, he found that he had got
out of it and that he was living in great splendour, being immensely rich;
he had married a princess and was generally honoured and respected.

As soon as the magician had learned through the means of his diabolic
art that Aladdin lived in such a state of elevation, he became red with
rage. In his fury, he exclaimed to himself: ‘That wretched son of a tailor
has discovered the secret and power of the lamp! I took his death for a
certainty and here he is enjoying the fruit of my labours and vigils. But
I will stop him enjoying them much longer, or die in the attempt’ He
did not take long in deciding what to do. The next morning, he mounted
a barbary horse which he had in his stable and set off, travelling from
city to city and from province to province, stopping no longer than was
necessary so as not to tire his horse, until he reached China and was
soon in the capital of the sultan whose daughter Aladdin had married.
There he dismounted in a khan or public hostelry, where he rented a
room and where he remained for the rest of the day and the night to
recover from his tiring journey.

The next day, the first thing the magician wanted to find out was what
people said about Aladdin. Walking around the city, he entered the
best-known and most frequented place, where the most distinguished
people met to drink a certain hot drink which was known to him from
his first journey. As soon as he sat down, a cup of this drink was poured
and presented to him. As he took it, he listened to the conversation going
on around him and heard people talking about Aladdin’s palace. When
he had finished his drink, he approached one of them, singling him out
to ask him: ‘What’s this palace everybody speaks so well of?’ To which
the man replied: ‘Where are you from? You must be a newcomer not to
have seen or heard talk of the palace of Prince Aladdin’ --that is how he
was' now called since he had married Princess Badr - ‘I am not saying it
is one of the wonders of the world, I say it is the only, wonder of the
world, for nothing so grand, so rich, so magnificent has ever been seen
before or since. You must have come from very far away not to have
heard talk of it. Indeed, the whole world must have been talking about

it ever since it was built. Go and look at it and see if I’m not speaking
the truth.’ ‘Excuse my ignorance,” said the magician. ‘I only arrived
yesterday and I have indeed come from very far away - in fact the
furthest part of Africa, which its fame had not yet reached when I left.
For in view of the urgent business which brings me here, my sole concern
in travelling was to get here as soon as possible, without stopping and
making any acquaintances. I knew nothing about it until you told me.
But I will indeed go and see it; and so great is my impatience that I am
ready to satisfy my curiosity this very instant, if you would be so kind
as to show me the way.’

The man the magician had spoken to was only too happy to tell him
the way he must take to have a view of Aladdin’s palace, and the magician
rose and immediately set off. When he reached the palace and had
examined it closely and from all sides, he was left in no doubt that
Aladdin had made use of the lamp to build it. Without dwelling on
Aladdin’s powerlessness as the son of a simple tailor, he was well aware
that only jinn, the slaves of the lamp which he had failed to get hold of,
were capable of performing miracles of this kind. Stung to the quick by
Aladdin’s good fortune and importance, which seemed to him little
different from the sultan’s own, the magician returned to the khan where
he Had taken up lodging.

He needed to find out where the lamp was and whether Aladdin
carried it around with him, or whether he kept in some secret spot, and
this he could only discover through an act of geomancy. As soon as he
reached his lodgings, he took his square box and his sand which he
carried with him on all his travels. When he had completed the operation,
he found that the lamp was in Aladdin’s palace and he was so delighted
at this discovery that he was beside himself. ‘I am going to have this
1amp,’ he said, ‘and I defy Aladdin to stop me from taking it from him
and from making him sink to the depths from which he has risen to such

Unfortunately for Aladdin, it so happened that he had set off on a
hunting expedition for eight days and was still away, having been gone
for only three days. This is how the magician learned about it. Having
performed the act of geomancy which had given him so much joy, he
went to see the doorkeeper of the khan under the pretext of having a
chat with him. The latter, who was of a garrulous nature, needed little
encouragement, telling him that he had himself just been to see Aladdin’s
palace. After listening to him describe with great exaggeration all the

things he had seen which had most amazed and struck him and everyone
in general, the magician said: ‘My curiosity does not stop there and I
won’t be satisfied until I have seen the master to whom such a wonderful
building belongs.” ‘That will not be diffcult,’ replied the doorkeeper.
‘When he is in town hardly a day goes by on which there»isn’t an
opportunity to see him; but three days ago, he went out on a great
hunting expedition which was to last for eight days.’

The magician needed to hear no more. He took leave of the door-
keeper, saying to himself as he went back to his room: ‘Now is the time
to act; I must not let the opportunity escape me.’ He went to a lamp
maker’s shop which also sold lamps. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I need a dozen
copper lamps - can you supply me with them?’ The lamp maker told
him he did not have a dozen but, if he would be patient and wait until
the following day, he could let him have the Whole lot whenever he__
wanted. The magician agreed to this and asked that the lamps be clean
and well polished, and after promising him to pay him well, he returned
to the khan.

The next day, the twelve lamps were delivered to the magician who
gave the lamp maker the price he had asked for, without bargaining. He
put them in a basket which he had specially acquired and, with this on
his arm, he went to Aladdin’s palace. When he drew near, he began to
cry out: ‘Old lamps for new!’

As he approached, the children playing in the square heard him from
a distance and rushed up and gathered around him, loudly jeering at
him, for they took him for a madman. The passers-by, too, laughed at what
they thought was his stupidity. ‘He must have lost his mind,’ they said,
‘to offer to exchange old lamps for new ones.’ But the magician was not
surprised by the children’s jeers nor by what people were saying about
him, and he continued to cry out to sell his wares: ‘Old lamps for new!’

He repeated this cry so often as he went to and fro in front of and
around the palace that Princess Badr, who was at that point in the
room with the twenty-four windows, hearing a man’s voice crying out
something but unable to make out what he was saying because of the
jeers of the children who followed him and who kept increasing in
number, sent down one of her slave girls to go up to him and see what
he was shouting.

The slave girl was not long in returning and entered the room in fits
of laughter. Her mirth was so infectious that the princess, looking at her,
could not stop herself from laughing too. ‘Well, you crazy girl,’ she said,

‘tell me why you are laughing.’ Still laughing, the slave replied: ‘O
princess, who couldn’t stop himself laughing at the sight of a madman
with a basket on his arm full of brand new lamps wanting not to sell
them but to change them for old ones? It’s the children, crowding around
him so that he can hardly move and jeering at him, who are making all
the noise.’

Hearing this, another slave girl interrupted: ‘Speaking of old lamps, I
don’t know if the princess has observed that there is an old lamp on the
cornice. Whoever owns it won’t be cross to find a new one in its place.
If the princess would like, she can have the pleasure of finding out
Whether this madman is really mad enough to exchange a new lamp for
an old one Without asking anything for it in return.’

The lamp the slave girl was talking about was the magic lamp Aladdin
had used to raise himself to his present high state; he himself had put it
on the cornice before going out to hunt, for fear of losing it, a precaution
he had taken on all previous occasions. Up until now, neither the slave
girls, nor the eunuchs, nor even the princess herself had paid any atten-
tion to it during his absence, for apart from when he went out hunting,
Aladdin always carried it on him. One may say that Aladdin was right
to take this precaution, but he ought at least to have locked up the lamp.
Mistakes like this, it is true, are always being made and always will be.

The princess, unaware how precious the lamp was and that it was in
Aladdin’s great interest, not to mention her own, that no one should
ever touch it and that it should be kept safe, entered into the joke. She
ordered a eunuch to take the lamp and go and exchange it. The eunuch
obeyed and went down from the room, and no sooner had he emerged
from the palace gate when he saw the magician. He called out to him
and, when he came up, he showed him the old lamp, saying: ‘Give me a
new lamp for this one here.’

The magician was in no doubt that this was the lamp he was looking
for - there could be no other lamp like it in Aladdin’s palace, where all
the plates and dishes were either of gold or silver. He promptly took it
from the eunuch’s hand and, after he had stowed it safely away in his
cloak, he showed him his basket and told him to choose whichever lamp
he fancied. The eunuch picked one, left the magician and took the new
lamp to the princess. As soon as the exchange had taken place, the square
rang out again with the shouts and jeers of the children, who laughed
even more loudly than before at what they took to be the magician’s

The magician let the children jeer at him, but not wanting to stay any
longer in the vicinity of Aladdin’s palace, he gradually and quietly moved
away. He stopped crying out about changing new lamps for old, for the
only lamp he Wanted was the one now in his possession. Seeing his
silence, the children lost interest and left him to go on his way.

As soon as he was out of the square between the two palaces, the
magician escaped through the less frequented streets and, when he saw
there was nobody about, he set the basket down in the middle of one,
since he no longer had a use for either the lamps or the basket. He then
slipped down another street and hastened on until he came to one of the
city gates. As he made his way through the suburbs, which were exten-
sive, he bought some provisions before leaving them. Once in the
countryside, he left the road and went to a spot out of sight of passers-by,
where he stayed a while until he judged the moment was right for him
to carry out the plan which had brought him there. He did not regret
the barbary horse he had left behind at the khan where he had taken
lodgings, for he reckoned that the treasure he had acquired was fair
compensation for its loss.

The magician spent the rest of the day in this spot until night was at
its darkest. He then pulled out the lamp from under his cloak and rubbed
it. Thus summoned, the jinni appeared. ‘What is your wish?’ it asked
him. ‘Here am I, ready to obey you, your slave and the slave of all those
who hold the lamp, I and the other slaves.’ ‘I command you,’ replied the
magician, ‘this very instant to remove the palace that the other slaves of
the lamp have built in this city, just as it is, with all the people in it, and
transport it and at the same time myself to such-and~such a place in
Africa.’ Without answering him, the jinni, with the assistance of other
jinni, like him slaves of the lamp, transported the magician and the entire
palace in a very short time to the place in Africa he had designated,
where we will leave him, the palace and Princess Badr, and describe,
instead, the sultan’s surprise.

As soon as the sultan had arisen, as was his custom he went to his
closet window in order to have the pleasure of gazing on and admiring
Aladdin’s palace. But when he looked in the direction of where he had
been accustomed to see this palace, all he could see was an empty space,
such as had been before the palace had been built. Believing himself
mistaken, he rubbed his eyes, but still saw nothing, although the weather
was fine, the sky clear and the dawn, which was just breaking, had made
everything sharp and distinct. He looked through the two windows on

the right and on the left but could only see what he had been used to
seeing out of them. So great was his astonishment that he remained for
a long time in the same spot, his eyes turned towards where the palace
had stood but was now no longer to be seen. He could not understand
how so large and striking a palace as Aladdin’s, which he had seen as
recently as the previous day and almost every day since he had given
permission to build it, had vanished so completely that no trace was left
behind. ‘I am not wrong,’ he said to himself. ‘It was there. If it had
tumbled down, the materials would be there in heaps, and if the earth
had swallowed it up, then there would be some trace to show that had
happened.’ Although he was convinced that the palace was no more, he
nonetheless waited a little longer to see if, in fact, he was mistaken. At
last he withdrew and, after taking one final look before leaving, he
returned to his room. There he commanded the grand vizier to be sum-
moned in all haste and sat down, his mind so disturbed with conflicting
thoughts that he did not know what he should do.

The vizier did not keep the sultan waiting long; in fact, he came in
such great haste that neither he nor his officials noticed as they came
that Aladdin’s palace was no longer there, not had the doorkeepers,
when they opened the palace gates, noticed its disappearance. When he
came `up to the sultan, the vizier addressed him: ‘Sire, the urgency with
which your majesty has summoned me makes me think that something
most extraordinary has happened, since you are well aware that today
is the day the council meets and that I must shortly go and carry out my
duties.’ ‘What has happened is indeed truly extraordinary, as you will
agree. Tell me, where is Aladdin’s palace?’ asked the sultan. ‘Aladdin’s
palace?’ replied the vizier in astonishment. ‘I have just passed in front of
it - I thought it was there. Buildings as solid as that don’t disappear so
easily.’ ‘Go and look through my closet window,’ said the sultan, ‘and
then -come and tell me if you can see it.’

The grand vizier went to the closet, and the same thing happened to
him as had happened to the sultan. When he had quite convinced himself
that Aladdin’s palace no longer stood where it had been and that there
did not appear to be any trace of it, he returned to the sultan. ‘Well, did
you see Aladdin’s palace?’ the sultan asked him. ‘Sire,’ he replied, ‘your
majesty may remember that I had the honour to tell you that this palace,
which was the subject of your admiration, with all its immense riches,
was the result of magic, the work of a magician, but your majesty would
not listen to this.’

The sultan, unable to disagree with what the vizier had said, flew into
a great rage which was all the greater because he could not deny his
incredulity. ‘Where is this wretch, this impostor?’ he cried. ‘Bring him at
once so that I can have his head chopped off.” ‘Sire,’ replied the vizier,
‘he took leave of your majesty a few days ago; we must send for him
and ask him about his palace - he must know where it is.’ ‘That would
be to treat him too leniently; go and order thirty of my horsemen to
bring him to me bound in chains,’ commanded the sultan. The vizier
went off to give the sultan’s order to the horsemen, instructing their
officer in what manner to take Aladdin so that he did not escape. They
set out and met Aladdin five or six miles outside the city, hunting on his
return. The officer went up to him and told him that the sultan, in his
impatience to see him, had sent them to inform him and to accompany
him back.

Aladdin, who had not the slightest suspicion of the real reason which
brought this detachment of the sultan’s guard, continued to hunt but,
when he was only half a league from the city, this detachment surrounded
him and the officer addressed him: ‘Prince Aladdin, it is with the greatest
regret that we have to inform you of the order of the sultan to arrest you
and bring you to him as a criminal of the state. We beg you not to think
ill of us for carrying out our duty and we hope you will forgive us.’

Aladdin, who believed himself innocent, was very much surprised at
this announcement and asked the officer if he knew of what crime he
was accused, to which the officer answered that neither he nor his men
knew anything about it. When he saw how few his own men were
compared to the horsemen in the detachment and how they were now
moving away from him, he dismounted. ‘Here I am,” he said. ‘Carry out
your order. I have to say, though, that I don’t believe I am guilty of any
crime, either against the sultan himself or against the state.” A very long,
thick chain was immediately passed around his neck and tied around his
body in such a manner as to bind his arms. Then the officer went ahead
to lead the detachment, while a horseman took the end of the chain and,
following the officer, led Aladdin, who was forced to follow him on foot.
In this manner, Aladdin was led towards the city.

When the horsemen entered the outskirts, the first people who saw
Aladdin being led as a criminal were convinced he was going to have his
head chopped off. As he was held in general affection, some took hold
of their swords or other weapons, while those who had no weapons
armed themselves with stones, and they followed the detachment. Some

horsemen in the rear turned round to face the people as though to
disperse them; but the crowd quickly grew to such an extent that the
horsemen decided on a stratagem, being concerned to get as far as the
sultan’s palace without Aladdin being snatched from them. To succeed
in this, they took great care to take up the entire street as they passed,
now spreading out, now closing up again, according to Whether the
street was broad or narrow. In this way, they reached the palace square,
where they all drew themselves up in a line facing the armed populace,
until their officer and the horseman who led Aladdin had entered the
palace and the doorkeepers had shut the gate to stop the people entering.

Aladdin was led before the sultan who was waiting for him on the
balcony, accompanied by the grand vizier. As soon as he saw him, the
sultan immediately commanded the executioner, whom he had ordered
to be present, to chop off his head, Without wanting to listen to Aladdin
or receive an explanation from him. The executioner seized Aladdin and
removed the chain which he had around his neck and body. On the
ground he spread a leather mat stained with the blood of the countless
criminals he had executed and made him kneel on it before tying a
bandage over his eyes. He then drew his sword, sized him up before
administering the blow and, after flourishing the sword in the air three
times, sat down, waiting for the sultan to give the signal to cut off
Aladdin’s head.

At that moment, the grand vizier noticed that the crowd, who had
broken through the horsemen and filled the square, were scaling the
palace walls in several places and were beginning to demolish them in
an attempt to breach them. Before the sultan could give the signal to the
executioner, the vizier said to him: ‘Sire, I beseech your majesty to reflect
carefully on what you are about to do. You will run the risk of seeing
your palace stormed, and should such a disaster occur, the outcome
could be fatal.’ ‘My palace stormed!’ exclaimed the sultan. ‘Who would
be so bold?’ ‘Sire,’ replied the vizier, ‘if your majesty were to cast a
glance towards the walls of your palace and towards the square, you
would discover the truth of what I say.’

On seeing the excited and animated mob, the sultan was so terror-
stricken that he instantly commanded the executioner to put away his
sword in its sheath and to remove the bandage from Aladdin’s eyes and
let him go free. He also ordered the guards to proclaim that the sultan
was pardoning him and that everyone should go away. As a result, all
the men who had already climbed on top of the palace walls, seeing what

had happened, now abandoned their plan. They very quickly climbed
down and, filled with joy at having saved the life of a man they truly
loved, they spread the news to everyone around them and from there it
soon spread to all the crowd assembled in the palace square. And when
the guards proclaimed the same thing from the top of the terraces to
which they had climbed, it became known to all. The justice the sultan
had done Aladdin by pardoning him pacified the mob; the tumult died
down and gradually everyone went home.

Finding himself free, Aladdin looked up at the balcony and, seeing the
sultan, cried out in an affecting manner to him: ‘Sire, I beseech your
majesty to add one more favour to the one you have already granted
me and to let me know what crime I have committed’ ‘Crime! You
don’t know your crime?’ exclaimed the sultan. ‘Come up here and I’ll
show you.’

Aladdin Went up on to the balcony, where the sultan told him to
follow him, and without looking back, led him to his closet. When he
reached the door, the sultan turned to him, saying: ‘Enter. You ought to
know where your palace stood; look all around and then tell me what
has happened to it.’ Aladdin looked and saw nothing. I-Ie could see the
whole area which his palace had occupied but, having no idea how the
palace could have disappeared, this extraordinary event put him into
such a state of confusion that in his astonishment he could not utter a
single word in reply.

‘Go on, tell me where your palace is and where is my daughter,’ the
sultan repeated impatiently. Aladdin broke his silence, saying: ‘Sire, I see
very well and have to admit that the palace I built is no longer where it
was. I see that it has disappeared but I cannot tell your majesty where it
can be. I can assure you, however, that I had no part in this.’ ‘I am not
so concerned about what happened to your palace,’ the sultan continued.
‘My daughter is a million times more valuable to me and I want you to find
her for me, otherwise I will cut off your head and nothing will stop me.’

‘Sire,’ replied Aladdin, ‘I beg your majesty to grant me forty days’
grace to do all I can, and if in that time I don’t succeed in finding her, I
give you my word that I will offer my head at the foot of your throne so
you can dispose of it as you please.’ ‘I grant you the forty days you ask
for,’ answered the sultan, ‘but don’t think to abuse this favour by believ-
ing you can escape my anger, for I will know how to End you, in
Whatever corner of the earth you may be.”

Aladdin left the sultan, deeply humiliated and in a truly pitiful state:

with head bowed, he passed through the palace courtyards without
daring to raise his eyes in his confusion. Of the chief court officials,
whom he had treated graciously and who had been his friends, not one
for all their friendship went up to him to -console him or to offer to take
him in, but they turned their backs on him as much to avoid seeing him
as to avoid being recognized by him. But even had they gone up to
Aladdin to say something consoling to him or to offer to help him, they
would not have known him for he no longer knew himself, being no
longer in his right mind. This was evident when he came out of the
palace as, without thinking what he was doing, he went from door to
door and asked passers-by, enquiring of them whether they had seen his
palace or could give him any news of it. Consequently, everyone became
convinced that Aladdin had gone out of his mind. Some only laughed,
but the more reasonable, and in particular those linked to him either by
friendship or business, were filled with compassion. He stayed three days
in the city - walking hither and thither and only eating what people
offered him out of charity - unable to decide what to do.

Finally, in the wretched state he was in and feeling he could no longer
stay in a city where he had once cut such a fine figure, he left and went
out into the countryside. Avoiding the main roads and after crossing
several* fields in a state of great uncertainty, eventually, at nightfall, he
came to the bank of a river. There, greatly despondent, he said to himself:
‘Where shall I go to look for my palace? In which province, which
country or part of the world shall I find it and recover my dear princess,
as the sultan demands of me? I will never succeed. It’s best if I don’t go
to all of this wearisome effort, which will in any case come to nothing,
but free myself of all this bitter grief that torments me.’ Having made
this resolution, he was on the point of throwing himself into the river
but, being a good and faithful Muslim, he thought he ought not to do
this before first performing his prayers. Wishing to prepare himself, he
approached the river in order to wash his hands and face according to
custom, but as the bank sloped at that point and was damp from the
water lapping against it, he slipped and would have fallen into the river
had he not been stopped by a small rock which protruded about two
feet above the ground. Fortunately for him, he was still wearing the ring
which the magician had put on his finger before he had gone down into
the cave to remove the precious lamp that had now been taken away
from him. As he caught hold of the rock, he rubbed the ring quite hard
against it and immediately the same jinni who had first appeared to him

in the cave in which the magician had shut him up appeared once again,
saying: ‘What is your wish? Here am I, ready to obey you, your slave
and the slave of all those who wear the ring on their finger, I and the
other slaves of the ring.’

Delighted at this apparition, which he had so little expected in his
despair, Aladdin replied: ‘Save me a second time, jinni, and either tell
me where the palace I built is or bring it back immediately to where it
was.’ ‘What you ask of me,’ replied the jinni, ‘is not within my power to
bring back; I am only the slave of the ring. You must address yourself
to the slave of the lamp.’* ‘If that’s the case,’ said_Aladdin, ‘I command
you, by the power of the ring, to transport me to the place where
my palace is, wherever it is in the world, and set me down underneath
the windows of Princess Badr.’ Hardly had he finished speaking than the
jinni transported him to Africa, to the middle of a meadow where the
palace stood, not far from a large town, and set him down right under-
neath the windows of the princess’s apartments, where he left him. All
this happened in a moment. Despite the darkness of the night, Aladdin
easily recognized his palace and the princess’s apartments; but as the night
was already advanced and all was quiet in the palace, he moved off a little
way and sat down at the foot of a tree. There, filled with hope as he reflected
on the pure chance to which he owed his good fortune, he found himself
in a much more peaceful state than he had been in since the time when he
had been arrested and brought before the sultan and had been delivered
from the recent danger of losing his life. For a while he entertained
himself with these agreeable thoughts but eventually, not having slept at
all for five or six days, he could not stop himself being overwhelmed by
sleep and fell asleep at the foot of the tree where he was sitting.

The next morning, as dawn was breaking, Aladdin was pleasantly
awoken by the singing of the birds, not only those that roosted on the
tree beneath which he had spent the night but all those on the luxuriant
trees in the very garden of his palace. When he cast his eyes on that
wonderful building, he felt a joy beyond words at the thought that he
would soon be its master once more and possess once again his dear
princess. He got up and, approaching the princess’s apartments, walked
for a while underneath her windows until it was light and he could see
her. As he waited, he searched his mind for a possible cause for his
misfortune, and after much thought he became convinced that it all came
from his having left the lamp out of his sight. He blamed himself for his
negligence and his carelessness in letting it leave his possession for a

single moment. What worried him still more was that he could not
imagine who could be so jealous as to envy him his good fortune. He
would have soon guessed had he known that such a man and his palace
were both in Africa, but the slave of the ring had not mentioned this,
while he himself had not even asked about it. The name of Africa alone
should have reminded him of the magician, his avowed enemy.

That morning, Princess Badr arose earlier than she had done ever since
the wily magician - now the master of the palace, the sight of Whom she
had been forced to endure once a day but whom she treated so harshly
that he had not yet been so bold as to take up residence there - had by
his cunning kidnapped her and carried her off to Africa. When she was
dressed, one of her slave girls, looking through the lattice screen, spotted
Aladdin .and ran to tell her mistress. The princess, who could not believe
the news, rushed to the window and saw her husband. She opened the
screen and, hearing the sound, Aladdin raised his head. Recognizing her,
he greeted her with great delight. ‘So as to waste no time, someone has
gone to open the secret door for you; enter and come up,’ said the
princess and closed the screen.

The secret door was beneath the princess’s apartments. Finding it
open, Aladdin entered and went up. It is impossible to describe the
intensity of their joy at their reunion after believing themselves parted
for ever. They embraced several times and showed all the signs of love
and affection one can imagine after such a sad and unexpected separ-
ation. After many an embrace mingled with tears of joy, they sat down.
Aladdin was the first to speak: ‘Before we talk about anything else, dear
princess, I beg you, in the Name of God, in your own interest and that
of your Worthy father, the sultan, and no less of mine, to tell me what
has happened to the old lamp that I put on the cornice in the room of the
twenty-four windows before I went off to hunt.’ ‘Ah, my dear husband!’
sighed the princess. ‘I did indeed suspect that all our troubles came from
the loss of that lamp and what distresses me is that I myself am the cause
of it.’ ‘Dear princess,’ said Aladdin, ‘don’t blame yourself; it’s all my
fault and I should have taken greater care in looking after it. Let’s now
think only about how to repair the damage, and so please be so good as
to tell me how it happened and into whose hands the lamp fell.’

The princess then proceeded to tell Aladdin how the old lamp had
been exchanged for a new one, which she ordered to be brought in for
him to see; and how the following night she had found the palace had
been transported and, the next morning, she woke to find herself in an

unknown country, where she was now talking to him, and that this was
Africa, a fact she had learned from the very mouth of the traitor who
had transported her there by his magic arts.

‘Dear princess,’ Aladdin interrupted her, ‘you have already told me
who the traitor is by explaining that I am with you in Africa. He is the
most perfidious of all men. But now is not the time nor the place to give
you a fuller picture of his evil deeds. I only ask you to tell me what he
has done with the lamp and Where he has put it.” ‘He carries it with him
carefully Wrapped up close to his chest,’ the princess answered, ‘and I
can bear witness to that since he pulled it out and unwrapped it in my
presence in order to show it off.’

‘Princess, please don’t be annoyed with me for wearying you with all
these questions,’ said Aladdin, ‘for they are as important to you as they
are to me. But to come to what most particularly concerns me, tell me,
I beg you, how you yourself have been treated -by this wicked and
treacherous man.’ ‘Since I have been here,” replied the princess, ‘he only
visits me once a day, and I am sure that he does not bother me more
often because these visits offer him so little satisfaction. Every time he
comes, the aim of all his conversation is to persuade me to break the
vows I gave you and to make me take him for my husband, by trying to
make me believe that I should not hope ever to see you again; that you
are no longer alive and that the sultan, my father, has had your head
chopped off. He adds, to justify himself, that you are ungrateful and that
you owed your good fortune only to him, and there are a thousand other
things I will leave him to tell you. And as all he gets from me in reply
are tears and moans, he is forced to depart as little satisfied as when he
came. However, I have no doubt that his intention is to let the worst of
my grief and pain pass, in the hope that I will change my mind, and,
finally, if I persist in resisting him, to use violence. But, dear husband,
your presence has already dispelled my worries.’

‘Princess,’ said Aladdin, ‘I am confident that it is not in vain and your
worries are over, for I believe I have found a way to deliver you from
your enemy and mine. But to do that, I have to go into the town, I will
return towards noon and will then tell you what my plan is and what
you will need to do to help make it succeed. I must warn you not to be
astonished if you see me return dressed in different clothes, but give the
order not to have me kept waiting at the secret door after my first knock.’
The princess promised him that someone would be waiting for him at
the door, which would be opened promptly.

When Aladdin had gone down from the princess’s apartments, leaving
by the same door, he looked around and saw a peasant who was setting
off on the road which led into the country. The peasant had already
gone past the palace and was a little way off, so Aladdin hastened his
steps; when he had caught up with him, he offered to change clothes
with him, pressing him until the peasant finally agreed. The exchange
was done behind a nearby bush; and when they had parted company,
Aladdin took the road back to the town. Once there, he went along the
road leading from the city gate and then passed into the most frequented
streets. On coming to the place where all the merchants and artisans had
their own particular street, he entered that of the apothecaries where he
sought out the largest and best-supplied store and asked the merchant if
he had a certain powder which he named.

The merchant, who, from his clothes, imagined Aladdin to be poor
and that he had not enough money to pay him, said he had but that it
was expensive. Aladdin, guessing what was on the merchant’s mind,
pulled out his purse and, showing him gold coins, asked for half a
drachm of the powder. The merchant weighed it out, wrapped it up and,
as he gave it to Aladdin, asked him for a gold coin. Aladdin handed it
to him and, stopping only long enough in the town to eat something, he
returned to his palace. I-Ie did not have to wait at the secret door
which was immediately opened to him, and he went up to the princess’s

‘Princess,’ he said, ‘the aversion you have shown me you feel for your
kidnapper will perhaps make it difficult for you to follow the advice l’m
going to give you. But allow me to tell you that it is advisable that you
should conceal this and even go against your own feelings if you wish to
deliver yourself from his persecution and give the sultan, your father and
my lord, the satisfaction of seeing you again. If you want to follow my
advice,” continued Aladdin, ‘you must begin right now by putting on
one of your most beautiful dresses, and when the magician comes,
you must be prepared to welcome him as warmly as possible, without
affectation or strain, and with a happy smile, in such a way that, should
there still remain a hint of sadness, he will think it will go away with
time. In your conversation, give him to understand that you are doing
your best to forget me; and so that he should be all the more persuaded
of your sincerity, invite him to have supper with you and indicate to him
that you would be very pleased to taste some of the best wine his country
has to offer. He will then have to leave you to go and find some. Then,

while waiting for him to return, when the food is laid out, pour this
powder into one of the goblets out of which you usually drink. Put it
aside and tell the slave girl who serves you your drink to bring it to you
filled with wine after you have given her a pre-arranged signal. Warn her
to take care and not to make a mistake. When the magician returns and
you are seated at table and when you have eaten and drunk what you
think is sufficient, ask for the goblet containing the powder to be brought
to you and exchange it for his. He will think you will be doing him such
a favour that he won’t be able to refuse you, but no sooner will he have
emptied it than you will see him fall down backwards. If you don’t like
drinking from his goblet, just pretend to drink; you can do so without
fear, for the effect of the powder will be so swift that he Won’t have time
to notice whether you are drinking or not.’

When Aladdin had finished speaking, the princess said: ‘I must admit
I find it very distasteful to have to agree to make advances towards the
magician, even though I know I must; but what can one not resolve to
do when faced with a cruel enemy! I will do as you advise me, for on it
depends my peace of mind no less than yours.” Having made these
arrangements with the princess, Aladdin took his leave and went to
spend the rest of the day near the palace, waiting for night to fall before
returning to the secret door.

From the moment of her painful separation, Princess Badr - inconsol-
able not only at seeing herself separated from her beloved husband
Aladdin, whom she had loved and whom she continued to love more
out of inclination than out of duty, but also from the sultan, her father,
whom she cherished and who loved her tenderly - had remained very
neglectful of her person. She had even, one may say, forgotten the
neatness which so becomes persons of her sex, particularly after the first
time the magician had come to her and she discovered through her slave
girls, who recognized him, that it was he who had taken the old lamp in
exchange for a new one. Following her discovery of this outrageous
swindle, he had become an object of horror to her, and the opportunity
to take the revenge on him that he deserved, and sooner than she had
dared hope for, made her content to fall in with Aladdin’s plans. Thus,
as soon as he had gone, she sat down at her dressing table; her slave girls
dressed her hair in the most becoming fashion and she took out her most
glamorous dress, searching for the one which would best serve her
purpose. She then put on a belt of gold mounted with the largest of
diamonds, all beautifully matched; to go with it she chose a necklace all

of pearls, of which the six on both sides of the central pearl- which was
the largest and the most precious - were so proportioned that the greatest
queens and the wives of the grandest Sultans would have thought them-
selves happy to have a string of pearls the size of the two smallest pearls
in the princess’s necklace. The bracelets of diamonds interspersed with
rubies wonderfully complemented the richness of the belt and the

When the princess was fully dressed, she looked in her mirror and
consulted her maids for their opinion on her dress. Then, having checked
that she lacked none of the charms which might arouse the magician’s
mad passion, she sat down on the sofa to await his arrival.

The magician came at his usual hour. As soon as she saw him come
into the room of the twenty-four windows where she awaited him, she
arose apparelled in all her beauty and charm, and showed him to the
place of honour where she wanted him to take his seat so as to sit down
at the same time as he did, a mark of courtesy she had not shown him
before. The magician, more dazzled by the beauty of the princess’s
sparkling eyes than by the brilliance of the jewellery with which she was
adorned, was very surprised. Her stately air and a certain grace with
which she welcomed him were so different from the rebuffs he had up
till then received from her. In his confusion, he would have sat down on
the edge of the sofa but, seeing the princess did not want to take her seat
until he had sat down where she wished him to, he obeyed.

Once the magician was seated where she had indicated, the princess,
to help him out of the embarrassment she could see he was in, was the
first to speak. Looking at him in such a manner as to make him believe
that he was no longer odious to her, as she had previously made him out
to be, she said: ‘No doubt you are astonished to see me appear so
different today compared to what you have seen of me up till now.
But you will no longer be surprised when I tell you that sadness and
melancholy, griefs and worries, are not part of my nature, and that I try
to dispel such things as quickly as possible when I discover there is no
longer a reason for them. Now, I have been thinking about what you told
me of Aladdin’s fate and, knowing my father’s temper, I am convinced as
you are that Aladdin cannot have avoided the terrible effects of his
wrath. And I can see that if I persist in weeping for him all my life, all
my tears would not bring him back. That is why, after I have performed
for him the final rites and duties that my love dictates, now that he is in
his grave it seems to me that I should look for ways of consoling myself.

This is the reason for the change you see in me. As a start, to remove
any cause for sadness, I have resolved to banish it completely; and,
believing you very much wish to keep me company, I have given orders
for supper to be prepared for us. However, as I only have wine from
China and I am now in Africa, I fancied trying some that is produced
here and I thought that, if there is any, you would be able to procure
some of the best.’

The magician, who had thought it would be impossible for him to be
so fortunate as to End favour so quickly and so easily with the princess,
told her he could not find words sufficient to express how much he
appreciated her kindness. But to finish a conversation which he would
otherwise have found difficult to bring to an end, once he had embarked
on it, he seized upon the subject of African wine that she had mentioned.
He told her that one of the main advantages of which Africa could boast
was that it produced excellent wines, particularly in the region Where
she now found herself; he had a seven-year-old cask which had not yet
been opened, whose excellence, not to set too high a value on it, surpassed
the most exquisite wines in the whole of the world. ‘If my princess will
give me leave, I will go and fetch two bottles and I will be back immedi-
ately,’ he added. ‘I would be sorry to put you to such trouble,’ the
princess replied. ‘It might be better if you sent someone else.’ ‘But I shall
have to go myself,’ said the magician, ‘as only I know where the key of
the storeroom is, and only I know the secret of how to open it.” ‘If that
is the case,’ said the princess, ‘then go, but come back quickly. The
longer you take, the more impatient I will be to see you again, and bear
in mind that we will sit down to eat as soon as you return.’

Filled with hope at his imagined good fortune, the magician did not
so much run as fly to fetch his seven-year-old wine, and returned very
quickly. The princess, well aware that he would make haste, had herself
put the powder that Aladdin had brought her into a goblet which she
had set aside and had then started to serve the dishes. They sat down
opposite each other to eat, the magician so placed that his back was
turned to the refreshments. The princess presented him with all the best
dishes, saying to him: ‘If you wish, I will entertain you with singing and
music, but as there are only the two of us, it seems to me that conversation
would give us more pleasure? The magician regarded this as one more
favour granted him by the princess.

After they had eaten a few mouthfuls, the princess asked for wine to
be brought. She then drank to the health of the magician, after which

she said to him: ‘You were right to sing the praises of your Wine. I have
never drunk anything so delicious.” ‘Charming princess,’ replied the
magician, holding the goblet he had just been given, ‘my wine acquires
an extra virtue by your approval.” ‘Then drink to my health,’ said the
princess, ‘and you will see for yourself what an expert I am.’ The magi-
cian drank to the princess’s health, saying to her as he handed back the
goblet: ‘Princess, I consider myself fortunate for having kept this wine
for such a happy occasion, and I, too, must admit that I have never
before drunk any so excellent in so many Ways.’

At last, when they had finished eating and had drunk three more times
of the Wine, the princess, who had succeeded in charming the magician
with her gracious and attentive Ways, beckoned to the slave girl who
served the wine and told her to fill her goblet with Wine and at the same
time fill that of the magician and give it to him. When they both had
their goblets in their hands, the princess said to the magician: ‘I don’t
know what one does here when one is in love and drinks together, as We
are doing. Back home, in China, lovers exchange goblets and drink each
other’s health.’ As she was speaking, she gave him the goblet she had, in
one hand, While holding out the other to receive his. The magician
hastened to make this exchange, which he did all the more gladly as he
regarded this favour the surest sign that he had completely Won over the
heart of the princess. His happiness was complete. Before he drank to
her, holding his goblet in his hand, he said: ‘Princess, We Africans are .by
no means as skilled in the refinements of the art and pleasures of love as
the Chinese. I learned from you something I did not know and at the
same time I have learned how much I should appreciate the favour you
grant me. Dear princess, I will never forget this: by drinking out of your
goblet, I rediscovered a life I would have despaired of, had your cruelty
towards me continued.'

Princess Badr, bored by the magician’s endless ramblings, interrupted
him, saying: ‘Let us drink first; you can then say what you wish later.’
At the same time, she raised the goblet to her mouth but only touched it
With her lips, While the magician, who was in a hurry to drink first,
drained his goblet Without leaving a drop behind. In his haste to empty
the goblet, when he finished, he leaned backwards a little and remained
a while in this pose until the princess, her goblet still only touching her
lips, saw his eyes begin to roll as he fell, lifeless, on his back.

She had no need to order the secret door to be opened for Aladdin: as
soon as the Word was given that the magician had fallen upon his back,

her slave girls, who were standing several paces from each other outside
the room and all the way down to the foot of the staircase, immediately
opened the door. Aladdin went up and entered the room. When he saw
the magician stretched out on the sofa, the princess got up and was
coming towards him to express her joy and embrace him, but he stopped
her, saying: ‘Princess, now is not yet the time. Please would you go back
to your apartments and see that I am left alone while I try to arrange to
have you transported back to China as quickly as you were brought
from there.’

As soon as the princess and her slave girls and eunuchs were out of
the room, Aladdin closed the door and, going up to the magician’s lifeless
corpse, opened up his shirt and drew out the lamp which was wrapped
up as the princess had described to him. He unwrapped it and as soon
as he rubbed it, the jinni appeared with his usual greeting. ‘Jinni,’ said
Aladdin, ‘I have summoned you to command you, on behalf of the lamp
in whose service you are, to have this palace transported immediately
back to China, to the same part and to the same spot from where it was
brought here.” The jinni nodded to show he was willing to obey and then
disappeared. Immediately, the palace was transported to China, with
only two slight shocks to indicate the removal had taken place - one
when the palace was lifted up from where it was in Africa and the other
when it was set down again in China, opposite the sultan’s palace. All
this happened in a very space of short time.

Aladdin went down to the princess’s apartments. I-Ie embraced her,
saying: ‘Princess, I can assure you that tomorrow morning, your joy and
mine will be complete.’ Then, as the princess had not yet finished eating
and Aladdin was hungry, she had the dishes - which had hardly been
touched - brought from the room of the twenty-four Windows. She and
Aladdin ate together and drank of the magician’s fine old wine, after
which, having no doubt enjoyed conversation which must have been
very satisfying, they withdrew to her apartments.

Meanwhile, the sultan, since the disappearance of Aladdin’s palace
and of Princess Badr, had been inconsolable at having lost her, or so he
thought. Unable to sleep by night or day, instead of avoiding everything
that could keep him in his sorrow, he, on the contrary, sought it out all
the more. Whereas previously he would only go in the morning to his
closet to enjoy gazing at the palace - of which he could never have his
fill - now he would go there several times a day to renew his tears and
plunge himself into ever deeper suffering by the thought that he would

never again see what had given him so much pleasure and that he had
lost what he held dearest in the world. Dawn was just breaking when
the sultan came to this room the morning that Aladdin’s palace had just
been restored to its place. He was lost in thought as he entered it and
filled with grief as he glanced sadly at the spot, not noticing the palace
at first as he was expecting to see only an empty space. When he saw
that the space was no longer empty, he thought at first that this must be
the effect of the mist. But when he looked more closely, he realized
that it must be, without doubt, Aladdin’s palace. Sadness and sorrow
immediately gave way to joy and delight. He hastened to return to his
apartments where he gave orders for a horse to be saddled and brought
to him, and as soon as it was brought, he mounted and set off, thinking
he could not arrive fast enough at Aladdin’s palace.

Aladdin, expecting this to happen, had got up at first light and had
taken out of his wardrobe one of his most magnificent costumes, put it
on and gone up to the room of the twenty-four windows, from where
he could see the sultan approaching. He went down and was just in time
to welcome him at the foot of the staircase and to help him dismount.
‘Aladdin,’ the sultan said to him, ‘I can’t speak to you before I have seen
and embraced my daughter.” Aladdin then led the sultan to the princess’s
apartments, where she had just finished dressing. He had already told
her to remember that she was no longer in Africa but in China, in the
capital of her father, the sultan, and next to his palace once again. The
sultan, his face bathed in tears of joy, embraced her several times, while
the princess, for her part, showed him how overjoyed she was at seeing
him again.

For a while the sultan was unable to speak, so moved was he at having
found his beloved daughter again after having so bitterly wept for her
loss, sincerely believing she must be dead. The princess, too, was in tears,
in her joy at seeing her father again. Finally, the sultan said to her: ‘My
daughter, I would like to think that it’s the joy of seeing me again which
makes you seem so little changed, as though no misfortune had happened
to you. But I am convinced you have suffered a great deal, for one is not
carried off with an entire palace as suddenly as you were without great
alarm and terrible anguish. I want you to tell me all about it and to hide
nothing from me.’

The princess was only too happy to tell him what he wanted to know.
‘Sire,’ she said, ‘if I appear to be so little changed, I beg your majesty to
bear in mind that I received a new life early yesterday morning thanks

to Aladdin, my beloved husband and deliverer whom I had looked on
and mourned as lost to me and whom the joy of seeing and embracing
again has all but restored me. Yet my greatest distress was to see myself
snatched both from your majesty and from my dear husband, not only
because of my love for my husband but also because of my worry that
he, innocent though he Was, should feel the painful consequences of your
majesty’s anger, to which I had no doubt he would be exposed. I suffered
only a little from the insolence of my kidnapper - Whose conversation I
found disagreeable, but which I could put an end to, because I knew
how to gain the upper hand. Besides, I was as little constrained as I am
now. As for my abduction, Aladdin had no part in it: I alone - though
totally innocent - am to blame for it.’

In order to persuade the sultan of the .truth of what she said, she told
him in detail all about the African magician, how he had disguised
himself as a seller of lamps who exchanged new lamps for old ones, and
how she had amused herself by exchanging Aladdin’s lamp, not knowing
its secret and importance; how, after this exchange, she and the palace
had been lifted up and both transported to Africa together with the
magician; how the latter had been recognized by two of her slave girls
and by the eunuch who had exchanged the lamp for her, when the
magician first had the effrontery to come and present himself to her after
the success of his audacious enterprise, and to propose marriage to her;
how she had suffered at his hands until the arrival of Aladdin; and what
measures the two of them had taken to remove the lamp which the
magician carried on him and how they had succeeded, particularly by
her dissimulation in inviting him to have supper with her; and, finally,
she told him of the poisoned goblet she had offered to the magician. ‘As
for the rest,’ she concluded, ‘I leave it to Aladdin to tell you about it.’

Aladdin had little more to tell the sultan. ‘When the secret door was
opened and I went up to the room of the twenty-four windows,” he said,
‘I saw the traitor stretched out dead on the sofa, thanks to the virulence
of the poison powder. As it was not proper for the princess to remain
there any longer, I begged her to go down to her apartments with her
slave girls and eunuchs. As soon as I was there alone, I extracted the
lamp from the magician’s clothing and made use of the same secret
password he used to remove the palace and kidnap the princess. By that
means the palace was restored to where it had formerly stood and I had
the happiness of bringing the princess back to your majesty, as you had
commanded me. I don’t want to impose upon your majesty but if you

would take the trouble to go up to the room, you would see the magician
punished as he deserves.’

The sultan, to convince himself that this was really true, got up and
Went to the room and when he saw the magician lying dead, his face
already turned livid thanks to the virulent effect of the poison, he
embraced Aladdin very warmly, saying: ‘My son, don’t think ill of me
for my conduct towards you -I was forced to it out of paternal love and
you must forgive me for being overzealous.’ ‘Sire,’ replied Aladdin, ‘I
have not the slightest cause for complaint against your majesty, since
you did only what you had to do. This magician, this wretch, this vilest
of men, he is the sole cause of my fall from favour. When your majesty
has the time, I will tell you about another wicked deed he did me, no
less foul than this, from which it is only by a particular favour of God
that I was saved.’ ‘I will indeed make time for this and soon, but let us
think only of rejoicing and have this odious object removed.’

Aladdin had the magician’s corpse taken away and gave orders that it
be thrown on to a dunghill for the birds and beasts to feed on. The
sultan, meanwhile, after having commanded that tambourines, drums,
trumpets and other musical instruments be played to announce the public
rejoicing, proclaimed a festival of ten days to celebrate the return of
Princess Badr and Aladdin with his palace. Thus was Aladdin faced for
a second time with almost inevitable death, yet managed to escape with
his life. But it was not the last time - there was to be a third occasion,
the circumstances of which we will now tell.

The magician had a younger brother who was no less skilled in the
magic arts; one may even say that he surpassed him in wickedness and
in the perniciousness of his schemes. They did not always live together
nor even stay in the same city, and often one was to be found in the east
and the other in the west. But every year they did not fail to inform each
other, by geomancy, in what part of the world and in what condition
they were, and whether one of them needed the assistance of the other.

Some time after the magician had failed in his attempt to destroy
Aladdin’s good fortune, his younger brother, who had not heard from
him for a year and who was not in Africa but in some far-off land,
Wanted to know in what part of the world his brother resided, how he
Was and what he was doing. Wherever he Went this brother always
carried with him his geomancy box, as had his elder brother. Taking the
box, he arranged the sand, made his throw, interpreted the figures and
finally made his divination. On examining each figure, he found that his

brother was no longer alive, that he had been poisoned and had died a
sudden death, and that this had happened in the capital city of a kingdom
in China, situated in such and such a place. He also learned that the man
who had poisoned him was someone of good descent who had married
a princess, a sultan’s daughter.

Having learned in this way of his brother’s sad fate, the magician
wasted no time in useless regret, which could not restore his brother to
life, but immediately resolving to avenge his death, he mounted a horse
and set off for China. He crossed plains, rivers, mountains and deserts,
and after a long and arduous journey, without stopping, he finally
reached China and shortly afterwards the capital city whose location he
had discovered by geomancy. Certain that this was the place and that
he had not mistaken one kingdom for another, he stopped and took up
lodgings there.

The day after his arrival, this magician went out into the city, not so
much to see its fine sights - to which he was quite indifferent - as to
begin to take the necessary steps to carry out his evil plan, and so he
entered the most frequented districts and listened to what- people were
saying. There, in a place where people went to spend the time playing
different kinds of games, some playing while others stood around chat-
ting, exchanging news and discussing the affairs of the day or their own,
he heard people talking of a woman recluse called Fatima, about her
virtue and piety and of the miracles she performed. Believing this woman
could be of some use to him for what he had in mind, he took one of
the men aside and asked him to tell him particularly who this holy
woman was and what sort of miracles she performed.

‘What!’ the man exclaimed. ‘Have you never seen or even heard of
her? She is the admiration of the whole city for her fasting, her austerity
and her exemplary conduct. Except for Mondays and Fridays, she never
leaves her little cell, and on the days she shows herself in the city she
does countless good deeds, and there is not a person with a headache
who is not cured by a touch of her hands.’

The magician wished to know no more on the subject, but only
asked the man where in the city the cell of this holy woman was to be found.
The man told him, whereupon - after having conceived and drawn up the
detestable plan which we will shortly reveal and after having made this
enquiry - so as to make quite sure, he observed this woman’s every step as
she went about the city, never leaving her out of his sight until evening
when he saw her return to her cell. When he had made a careful note of

the spot, he went back to one of the places we have mentioned where a
certain hot drink is drunk and where one can spend the whole night
should one so wish, especially during the days of great heat when the
people in such countries prefer to sleep on a mat rather than in a bed.

Towards midnight, the magician, after he had settled his small bill
with the owner of the place, left and went straight to the cell of this holy
woman, Fatima - the name by which she was known throughout the
city. He had no difficulty in opening the door, which was fastened only
with a latch, and entered, without making a sound, and closed it again.
Spotting Fatima in the moonlight, lying asleep on a sofa with only a
squalid mat on it, her head leaning against the wall of her cell, he went
up to her and, drawing out a dagger he wore at his side, woke her up.
When poor Fatima opened her eyes, she was very astonished to see a
man about to stab her. Pressing the dagger to her heart, ready to plunge
it in, he said to her: ‘If you cry out or make the slightest sound, I will
kill you. Get up and do as I say.”

Fatima, who had been sleeping fully dressed, got up trembling with
fear. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ said the magician. ‘All I want is your clothes.
Give them to me and take mine instead? They exchanged clothes and
after the magician had put hers on, he said to her: ‘Paint my face like
yours so that I look like you and so that the colour doesn’t come off.’
Seeing that she was still trembling, he said to her, in order to reassure
her and so that she might be readier to do what he wanted: ‘Don’t be
afraid, I say. I swear by God that I will spare your life.” Fatima let him
into _her cell and lit her lamp. Dipping a brush into a liquid in a certain
jar, she brushed his face with it, assuring him that the colour would not
change and that his face was now the same colour as hers. Then she put
her own headdress on his head and a veil, showing him how to conceal
his face with it when he went through the city. Finally, after she put
around his neck a large string of beads which hung down to the waist,
she placed in his hand the same stick she used to walk with. ‘Look,’ she
said to him, handing him a mirror, ‘you will see you couldn’t look more
like me.’ The magician looked just as he wanted to look, but he did not
keep the oath he had so solemnly sworn to the saintly woman. In order
to leave no trace of blood, he did not stab her but strangled her and
when he saw that she had given up the ghost, he dragged her corpse by
the feet to a cistern outside her cell and threw her into it.

Having committed this foul murder, the magician, disguised as Fatima,
spent the rest of the night in her cell. The next day, an hour or two after

sunrise, he left the cell, even though it was not a day when the holy
woman would go out, quite sure that no one would stop and question
him about it but ready with an answer if they did. One of the first things
he had done on his arrival in the city was to go and look for Aladdin’s
palace, and as it was there he intended to put his plan into action, he
Went directly to it.

As soon as people saw what they thought to be the holy woman, a
large crowd gathered around the magician, some asking for his prayers,
some kissing his hands - the more reserved among them kissing the edge
of his garment - and others, whether they had a headache or merely
wanted to be protected from one, bowing their heads for him to lay his
hands on them, all of which he did, mumbling a few words in the guise
of a prayer. In fact, he imitated the holy woman so well that everyone
believed it was really her. After frequent stops to satisfy such requests -
for while this sort of laying-on of hands did them no harm, nor did it do
them any good - he finally arrived in the square before Aladdin’s palace
where, the crowd being even greater, people were ever more eager to get
close to him. The strongest and most zealous forced their way through
to get to him and this caused such quarrels that they could be heard
from the palace, right from the room with the twenty-four windows
where Princess Badr was sitting.

The princess asked what all the noise was about and as no one could
tell her anything about it, she gave orders for someone to go and see and
report back to her. Without leaving the room, one of her slave girls
looked out through a screen and came back to tell her that the noise
came from the crowd of people who gathered around the saintly lady,
to be cured of headaches by the laying-on of her hands. Now the princess,
who had heard a lot about the holy woman and the good she did but
had never yet seen her, was curious to talk to her. When she expressed
something of her desire to the chief eunuch, who was present, he told
her that if she wished, he could easily have the woman brought in - she
had only to give the command. The princess agreed, and he immediately
chose four eunuchs and ordered them to fetch the so-called holy woman.
As soon as the crowd saw the eunuchs come out of the gates of
Aladdin’s palace and make for the disguised magician, they dispersed
and the magician, finding himself once more alone and seeing the eunuchs
coming for him, stepped towards them, delighted to see his deceit
was working so well. One of the eunuchs then said to him: ‘Holy lady,
the princess wants to see you; come, follow us,’ to which the pseudo

Fatima replied: ‘The princess does me a great honour; I am ready to obey
her,” and followed the eunuchs, who had already set out back to the

The magician, whose saintly dress concealed a wicked heart, was then
led into the room of the twenty-four windows. When he saw the princess,
he said to her: ‘May all your hopes and desires be fulf1lled,’ and he began
to launch into a long string of wishes and prayers for her health and
prosperity. Under the cloak of great piety, he used all the rhetorical skills
of the impostor and hypocrite he was to ingratiate himself into the
princess’s favour, which was all the more easy to achieve because the
princess, in her natural goodness of heart, believed everyone was as good
as she was, especially those who retreated from the world in order to
serve God.

When ‘Fatima’ had finished her long harangue, the princess thanked
her, saying: ‘Lady Fatima, I thank you for your prayers and good wishes;
I have great confidence in them and hope that God will fu1Hl them.
Come, sit yourself beside me.’ ‘Fatima’ took her seat with affected mod-
esty. ‘Holy lady,’ the princess went on, ‘there is something I ask you to
grant me - please don’t refuse it me - which is that you stay with me
and tell me about your life, so that I can learn by your good example
how I should serve God.” ‘Princess,’ replied ‘Fatima’, ‘I beg you not to
ask me something I can’t consent to, without being distracted from and
neglecting my prayers and devotions? ‘Don’t Worry about that,’ the
princess reassured her. ‘I have several rooms which are not occupied.
Choose the one you like and you shall perform all your devotions there
as freely as if you were in your cell.’

Now the magician’s only aim had been to enter Aladdin’s palace, for
he could more easily carry out there his pernicious plan under the
auspices and protection of the princess than if he had been forced to go
back and forth between the palace and the holy woman’s cell. Conse-
quently, he did not put up much resistance in accepting the princess’s
kind offer. ‘Princess,’ he said to her, ‘however much a poor wretched
woman like myself has resolved to renounce the pomp and grandeur of
this world, I dare not presume to resist the wishes and commands of so
pious and charitable a princess? In reply, Badr rose from her seat and
said to the magician: ‘Get up and come with me, and I will show you
the empty rooms I have, so that you may choose.’ The magician followed
the princess, and from among all the neat and well-furnished apartments
she showed him he chose the one which he thought looked the humblest,

saying hypocritically that it was too good for him and that he only chose
it to please her.

The princess wanted to take the villain back to the room with the
twenty-four windows to have him dine with her. The magician realized,
however, that to eat he would have to uncover his face, which he had
kept veiled until then, and he was afraid that the princess would then
recognize that he was not the holy woman Fatima she believed him to
be, and so he begged her earnestly to excuse him, telling her he only ate
bread and some dried fruit, and to allow him to eat his modest meal in
his room. She granted him his request, replying: ‘Holy lady, you are free
to do as you would do in your own cell. I will have some food brought
you, but remember I expect you as soon as you have finished your meal.’

After the princess had dined, ‘Fatima’ was informed of it by one of
her eunuchs and she went to rejoin her. ‘Holy lady,’ the princess said, ‘I
am delighted to have with me a holy lady like you, who will bring
blessings to this place. Incidentally, how do like this palace? But before
I show you round it, room by room, tell me first what you think of this
room in particular?

At this request, ‘Fatima’, who, in order better to perform her part,
had affected to keep her head lowered, looking to neither right nor left,
at last raised it and surveyed the room, from one end to the other; and
when she had reflected for a while, she said: ‘Princess, this room is truly
wonderful and so beautiful. Yet, as far as a recluse such as myself can
judge who does not know what the world thinks is beautiful, it seems to
me that there is something lacking.” ‘What is that, holy lady?’ asked the
princess, ‘Tell me, I beseech you. I myself thought, and I have heard
other people say the same, that it lacked nothing, but if there is anything
it does lack, I shall have that put right.’

‘Princess,’ the magician replied, with great guile, ‘forgive me for taking
the liberty but my advice, if it is of any importance, would be that if a
rukh's egg were to be suspended from the middle of the dome, there
would be no other room like this in the four quarters of the world and
your palace would be the wonder of the universe.’ ‘Holy lady, what sort
of bird is this ruche and where can one find a rukh’s egg?’ Badr asked.
‘Princess,’ replied ‘Fatima’, ‘this is a bird of prodigious size which lives
on the summit of Mount Qaf. The architect of your palace will be able
to find you one.’

After she had thanked the so-called holy woman for what she believed
to be her good advice, the princess conversed with her on other things,

but she did not forget the rukh’s egg, which she intended to mention to
Aladdin as soon as he returned from hunting. He had been gone for six
days and the magician, who was Well aware of this, had wanted to take
advantage of his absence, but Aladdin returned that same day, towards
evening, just after ‘Fatima’ had taken her leave of the princess to retire
to her room. As soon as he arrived, he went up to the princess’s apart-
ments, which she had just entered, and greeted and embraced her, but
she seemed a little cold in her welcome, so he said to her: ‘Dear princess,
you don’t seem to be as cheerful as usual. Has something happened
during my absence to displease you and cause you worry and dissatis-
faction? For God’s sake, don’t hide it from me; there’s nothing that were
it in my power I would not do to make it go away.’ ‘It’s nothing, really,’
replied Badr, ‘and I am so little bothered by it that I didn’t think it would
show on my face enough for you to notice. However, since, contrary to
my intentions, you have noticed a change in me, I won’t hide from you
the cause, which is of very little importance. Like you,’ she continued, ‘I
thought that our palace was the most superb, the most magnificent, the
most perfect in all the world. But I will tell you now about something
that occurred to me when I was looking carefully around the room of
the twenty-four windows. Don’t you agree that it would leave nothing
to be desired if a rukh’s egg were to be suspended from the middle of
the dome?’ ‘Princess,’ replied Aladdin, ‘it is enough that you should find
it lacks a rukh’s egg for me to agree with you. You shall see by the speed
with which I put this right how there is nothing I would not do out of
my love for you.’

Aladdin left the princess at once and went up to the room of the
twenty-four windows; there he pulled out the lamp, which he always
carried with him wherever he went, ever since the danger he had run
into through neglecting to take this precaution, and rubbed it. Immedi-
ately the jinni stood before him and Aladdin addressed him, saying:
‘Jinni, what this dome lacks is a rukh’s egg suspended from the middle
of its dome; so I command you, in the name of the lamp I am holding,
to repair this deficiency?’

No sooner had Aladdin uttered these words than the jinni uttered such
a terrible cry that the room shook and Aladdin staggered and nearly fell
down the stairs. ‘What, you miserable Wretch!’ cried the jinni in a voice
which would have made the most confident of men tremble. ‘Isn’t it
enough that I and my companions have done everything for you, but
you ask me, with an ingratitude that beggars belief, to bring you my

master and hang him from the middle of this dome? For this outrage
you, your wife and your palace, deserve to be reduced to cinders on the
spot. But it’s lucky you are not the author of the request and that it does
not come directly from you. The man really behind it all, let me tell you,
is the brother of your enemy, the African magician, whom you destroyed
as he deserved. This man is in your palace, disguised in the clothes of
the holy woman Fatima, whom he has killed. It’s he who suggested to
your wife to make the pernicious demand you have made of me. His
plan is to kill you - you must be on your guard.” And with these words,
he disappeared.

Aladdin did not miss a single of the jinn's final words; he had heard
about the holy woman Fatima and he knew all about how she supposedly
cured headaches. He returned to the princess’s apartments, saying noth-
ing about what had just happened to him, and sat down, telling her .that
he had been seized all of a sudden with a severe headache, upon which
he put his hand up to his forehead. The princess immediately gave orders
for the holy woman to be summoned and, while she was being fetched,
she told Aladdin how she had come to be in the palace where she had
given her a room.

‘Fatima’ arrived, and as soon as she appeared, Aladdin said to her:
‘Come in, holy lady, I am very glad to see you and very fortunate to find
you here. I’ve got a terrible headache which has just seized me and I ask
for your help, as I have faith in your prayers. I do hope you will not
refuse me the favour you grant to so many who suffer from this affliction.’
On saying this, he stood up and bowed his head, and ‘Fatima’ went up
to him, but with her hand clasping the dagger she had on her belt
underneath her dress. Aladdin, observing her, seized her hand before she
could draw it out and, stabbing her in the heart with his own dagger, he
threw her down on the floor, dead.

‘My dear husband, what have you done?’ shrieked the astonished
princess. ‘You have killed the holy woman!’ ‘No, my dear,’ replied
Aladdin calmly, ‘I have not killed Fatima but a scoundrel who would
have killed me if I hadn’t forestalled him. This evil fellow you see,’ he
said as he removed his veil, ‘is the one who strangled the real Fatima -
this is the person whom you thought you were mourning when you
accused me of killing her and who disguised himself in her clothes in
order to murder me. And for your further information, he was the
brother of the African magician, your kidnapper.’ Aladdin went on to
tell her how he had discovered all this, before having the corpse removed.

Thus was Aladdin delivered from the persecution of the two brothers
who were both magicians. A few years later, the sultan died of old age.
As he had left no male children, Princess Badr al-Budur, as the legitimate
heir, succeeded him and transferred to Aladdin the supreme power. They
reigned together for many years and were succeeded by their illustrious

‘Sire,’ said Shahrazad when she had finished the story of the adventures
which had happened through the medium of the wonderful lamp, ‘your
majesty will no doubt have seen in the person of the African magician a
man abandoned to an immoderate passion, desirous to possess great
treasures by wicked means, a man who discovered vast quantities of
them which he could not enjoy because he made himself unworthy of
them. In Aladdin, by contrast, your majesty sees a man of humble birth
rising to royalty itself by making use of those same treasures, which
came to him without him seeking them, but who used them only in so
far as he needed them for some purpose he had in mind. In the sultan he
will have learned how a good, just and fair-minded monarch faces many
a danger and runs the risk even of losing his throne when, by a gross
injustice and against all the laws of fairness, he dares, with unreasonable
haste, to condemn an innocent man without wanting to hear his pleas.
And finally, your majesty will hold in horror the abominations of those
two scoundrel magicians, one of whom sacrifices his life to gain treasure
and the other his life and his religion in order to avenge a scoundrel like
himself, both of whom receive due punishment for their wickedness.”