Aladdin and the Lamp

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The Project Gutenberg Etext of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp


There once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called Aladdin,
a careless, idle boy who would do nothing but play all day long in
the streets with little idle boys like himself. This so grieved the
father that he died; yet, in spite of his mother's tears and prayers,
Aladdin did not mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the
streets as usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he was not
the son of Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir," replied Aladdin;
"but he died a long while ago." On this the stranger, who was
a famous African magician, fell on his neck and kissed him saying:
"I am your uncle, and knew you from your likeness to my brother.
Go to your mother and tell her I am coming." Aladdin ran home
and told his mother of his newly found uncle. "Indeed, child," she
said, "your father had a brother, but I always thought he was dead."
However, she prepared supper, and bade Aladdin seek his uncle,
who came laden with wine and fruit. He fell down and kissed the
place where Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin's mother not to
be surprised at not having seen him before, as he had been forty
years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin, and asked
him his trade, at which the boy hung his head, while his mother
burst into tears. On learning that Aladdin was idle and would
learn no trade, he offered to take a shop for him and stock it with
merchandise. Next day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and
took him all over the city, showing him the sights, and brought him home
at nightfall to his mother, who was overjoyed to see her son so fine.

Next day the magician led Aladdin into some beautiful gardens a
long way outside the city gates. They sat down by a fountain and
the magician pulled a cake from his girdle, which he divided
between them. Then they journeyed onwards till they almost reached
the mountains. Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go back,
but the magician beguiled him with pleasant stories and lead him
on in spite of himself. At last they came to two mountains
divided by a narrow valley. "We will go no farther," said
his uncle. "I will show you something wonderful; only do you
gather up sticks while I kindle a fire." When it was lit the
magician threw on it a powder he had about him, at the same time
saying some magical words. The earth trembled a little in front
of them, disclosing a square flat stone with a brass ring in the
middle to raise it by. Aladdin tried to run away, but the
magician caught him and gave him a blow that knocked him down.
"What have I done, uncle?" he said piteously; whereupon the
magician said more kindly: "Fear nothing, but obey me. Beneath
this stone lies a treasure which is to be yours, and no one else
may touch it, so you must do exactly as I tell you." At the word
treasure Aladdin forgot his fears, and grasped the ring as he was
told, saying the names of his father and grandfather. The stone
came up quite easily, and some steps appeared. "Go down," said
the magician; "at the foot of those steps you will find an open
door leading into three large halls. Tuck up your gown and go
through them without touching anything, or you will die instantly.
These halls lead into a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk on till
you come to niche in a terrace where stands a lighted lamp. Pour
out the oil it contains, and bring it me." He drew a ring from
his finger and gave it to Aladdin, bidding him prosper.

Aladdin found everything as the magician had said, gathered some
fruit off the trees, and, having got the lamp, arrived at the
mouth of the cave. The magician cried out in a great hurry:
"Make haste and give me the lamp." This Aladdin refused to do until
he was out of the cave. The magician flew into a terrible passion,
and throwing some more powder on to the fire, he said something,
and the stone rolled back into its place.

The man left the country, which plainly showed that he was no
uncle of Aladdin's but a cunning magician, who had read in his
magic books of a wonderful lamp, which would make him the most
powerful man in the world. Though he alone knew where to find it,
he could only receive it from the hand of another. He had picked
out the foolish Aladdin for this purpose, intending to get the
lamp and kill him afterwards.

For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and lamenting.
At last he clasped his hands in prayer, and in so doing rubbed
the ring, which the magician had forgotten to take from him.
Immediately an enormous and frightful genie rose out of the earth,
saying: "What wouldst thou with me? I am the Slave of the Ring,
and will obey thee in all things." Aladdin fearlessly replied,
"Deliver me from this place!" whereupon the earth opened, and he
found himself outside. As soon as his eyes could bear the light
he went home, but fainted on the threshold. When he came to
himself he told his mother what had passed, and showed her the
lamp and the fruits he had gathered in the garden, which were in
reality precious stones. He then asked for some food. "Alas!
child," she said, "I have nothing in the house, but I have spun a
little cotton and will go sell it." Aladdin bade her keep her
cotton, for he would sell the lamp instead. As it was very dirty,
she began to rub it, that it might fetch a higher price.
Instantly a hideous genie appeared, and asked what she would have.
She fainted away, but Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly:
"Fetch me something to eat!" The genie returned with a silver
bowl, twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver cups,
and two bottles of wine. Aladdin's mother, when she came to herself,
said: "Whence comes this splendid feast?" "Ask not, but eat,"
replied Aladdin. So they sat at breakfast till it was dinner-time,
and Aladdin told his mother about the lamp. She begged him to sell it,
and have nothing to do with devils. "No," said Aladdin, "since chance
hath made us aware of its virtues, we will use it, and the ring likewise,
which I shall always wear on my finger." When they had eaten all the
genie had brought, Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on
until none were left. He then had recourse to the genie, who gave him
another set of plates, and thus they lived many years.