Aladdin and the lamp
Far off in a beautiful city in China a ragged urchin called Aladdin
used to play in the street. His father, a poor tailor, tried to make him
work, but Aladdin was lazy and disobedient and refused even to help in
his father's shop. One day a wealthy stranger came to the city. He
noticed Aladdin in the street and thought, "That lad looks as though he
has no purpose in life. It will not matter if I use him, then kill him."
The stranger quickly found out that Aladdin's father was dead. He called
Aladdin over to him.
"Greetings, nephew," he said, "I am your father's brother. I have
returned to China only to find my clear brother, Mustapha, is dead. Take
this money and tell your mother I shall visit her." Aladdin's mother was
puzzled when Aladdin told her the stranger's message. "You have no
uncle," she said. The next day the stranger came to their house and
talked about how he had loved his brother and offered to buy a fine shop
where Aladdin could sell beautiful things to the rich people in the
city. He gave Aladdin some new clothes and in a short while Aladdin's
mother began to believe this man was a relation.
The stranger now invited Aladdin to go with him to the rich part of
the city. Together they walked through beautiful gardens and parks where
Aladdin had never been before. At last the stranger showed Aladdin a
flat stone with an iron ring set into it. "Lift this stone for me,
nephew," he said, "and go into the cavern below. Walk through three
caves where you will see gold and silver stored. Do not touch it.
You will then pass through a garden full of wonderful fruit and
beyond the trees you will find a lamp. Pour out the oil and bring the
lamp to me. Pick some of the fruit on your return if you wish."
Aladdin lifted the stone and saw some steps leading down into a cave.
He was frightened to go down, but the stranger placed a gold ring with a
great green emerald on his finger.
"Take this ring as a gift," he said, "but you must go or I shall not
buy you a shop." Now the stranger was in fact a magician. He had read
about a lamp with magical powers and he had travelled far to find it. He
knew the magic would not work for him unless the lamp was fetched from
the cavern and handed to him by someone else. After Aladdin had brought
him the lamp the magician planned to shut him in the cave to die.
Down in the cavern Aladdin found all as he had been told. He hurried
through the rooms filled with silver and gold, and passed through the
garden where the trees were hung with shimmering fruit of all colours.
At the far end stood an old lamp. Aladdin took it, poured out the
oil, and then picked some of the dazzling fruit from the trees as the
magician had suggested. To his surprise they were all made from stones.
Aladdin took as many as he could carry and returned to the steps. "Give
me the lamp," demanded the magician as soon as Aladdin came into sight.
"Get me out of here," Aladdin gasped. He was terrified of the great
burning spirit of the genie glowing in the cavern. Before he knew what
had happened he was standing on the ground above the entrance to the
cavern. Of the stone slab there was no sign.
Aladdin set off for home and collapsed with hunger as he entered the
house. His mother was overjoyed to see him. She gave him all the scraps
of food she had and when she said she had no more Aladdin suggested
selling the lamp to buy some food. "I'll get a better price for it, if
it's clean," she thought, and she rubbed the lamp with a cloth. In a
flash the genie appeared. Aladdin's mother fainted in horror but Aladdin
seized the lamp. When the genie saw him with the lamp it said:
"I am the genie of the lamp. What can I do for you, master?"
"Get me some food," ordered Aladdin.
By the time his mother had recovered there were twelve silver dishes
of food and twelve silver cups on the table. Aladdin and his mother ate
as they had never eaten before. They had enough for several days, and
then Aladdin began to sell the silver dishes and cups. He and his mother
lived comfortably in this way for some time.
Then it happened that Aladdin saw the Sultan's daughter, Princess
Badroulboudoir. Aladdin loved her at first sight and sent his mother to
the Sultan's court to ask the Sultan permission for the princess to
marry him. He told her to take as a gift the stone fruits he had brought
from the cave. It was several days before Aladdin's mother could speak
to the Sultan, but at last she was able to give him the stone fruits.
The sultan was truly amazed. "Your son has such fine jewels he would
make a good husband for my daughter, I am sure," he told Aladdin's
mother. Aladdin's mother returned in three months, the Sultan asked her:
"Can your son send me 40 golden bowls full of jewels like the ones he
sent before only this time carried by forty servants?" Aladdin rubbed
the lamp once more and before long 40 servants each carrying a gold bowl
filled with sparkling jewels were assembled in the courtyard of their
little house. Aladdin took care always to keep the wonderful lamp safe.
One day the princess gave it to an old beggar who was the magician in
disguise, but that story will have to be kept for another time.