How the Rabbit Lost His Tail
Elsie Spicer Eells
*Audio file at the end
How the Rabbit Lost His Tail
How the Rabbit Lost His Tail
Elsie Spicer Eells
*Audio file at the end
The Little Mermaid
~Hans Christian Andersen
Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep; so deep, indeed, that no cable could fathom it: many church steeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above. There dwell the Sea King and his subjects. We must not imagine that there is nothing at the bottom of the sea but bare yellow sand. No, indeed; the most singular flowers and plants grow there; the leaves and stems of which are so pliant, that the slightest agitation of the water causes them to stir as if they had life. Fishes, both large and small, glide between the branches, as birds fly among the trees here upon land. In the deepest spot of all, stands the castle of the Sea King. Its walls are built of coral, and the long, gothic windows are of the clearest amber. The roof is formed of shells, that open and close as the water flows over them. Their appearance is very beautiful, for in each lies a glittering pearl, which would be fit for the diadem of a queen.
The Sea King had been a widower for many years, and his aged mother kept house for him. She was a very wise woman, and exceedingly proud of her high birth; on that account she wore twelve oysters on her tail; while others, also of high rank, were only allowed to wear six. She was, however, deserving of very great praise, especially for her care of the little sea-princesses, her grand-daughters. They were six beautiful children; but the youngest was the prettiest of them all; her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea; but, like all the others, she had no feet, and her body ended in a fish’s tail. All day long they played in the great halls of the castle, or among the living flowers that grew out of the walls. The large amber windows were open, and the fish swam in, just as the swallows fly into our houses when we open the windows, excepting that the fishes swam up to the princesses, ate out of their hands, and allowed themselves to be stroked. Outside the castle there was a beautiful garden, in which grew bright red and dark blue flowers, and blossoms like flames of fire; the fruit glittered like gold, and the leaves and stems waved to and fro continually. The earth itself was the finest sand, but blue as the flame of burning sulphur. Over everything lay a peculiar blue radiance, as if it were surrounded by the air from above, through which the blue sky shone, instead of the dark depths of the sea. In calm weather the sun could be seen, looking like a purple flower, with the light streaming from the calyx. Each of the young princesses had a little plot of ground in the garden, where she might dig and plant as she pleased. One arranged her flower-bed into the form of a whale; another thought it better to make hers like the figure of a little mermaid; but that of the youngest was round like the sun, and contained flowers as red as his rays at sunset. She was a strange child, quiet and thoughtful; and while her sisters would be delighted with the wonderful things which they obtained from the wrecks of vessels, she cared for nothing but her pretty red flowers, like the sun, excepting a beautiful marble statue. It was the representation of a handsome boy, carved out of pure white stone, which had fallen to the bottom of the sea from a wreck. She planted by the statue a rose-colored weeping willow. It grew splendidly, and very soon hung its fresh branches over the statue, almost down to the blue sands. The shadow had a violet tint, and waved to and fro like the branches; it seemed as if the crown of the tree and the root were at play, and trying to kiss each other. Nothing gave her so much pleasure as to hear about the world above the sea. She made her old grandmother tell her all she knew of the ships and of the towns, the people and the animals. To her it seemed most wonderful and beautiful to hear that the flowers of the land should have fragrance, and not those below the sea; that the trees of the forest should be green; and that the fishes among the trees could sing so sweetly, that it was quite a pleasure to hear them. Her grandmother called the little birds fishes, or she would not have understood her; for she had never seen birds.
“When you have reached your fifteenth year,” said the grand-mother, “you will have permission to rise up out of the sea, to sit on the rocks in the moonlight, while the great ships are sailing by; and then you will see both forests and towns.”
In the following year, one of the sisters would be fifteen: but as each was a year younger than the other, the youngest would have to wait five years before her turn came to rise up from the bottom of the ocean, and see the earth as we do. However, each promised to tell the others what she saw on her first visit, and what she thought the most beautiful; for their grandmother could not tell them enough; there were so many things on which they wanted information. None of them longed so much for her turn to come as the youngest, she who had the longest time to wait, and who was so quiet and thoughtful. Many nights she stood by the open window, looking up through the dark blue water, and watching the fish as they splashed about with their fins and tails. She could see the moon and stars shining faintly; but through the water they looked larger than they do to our eyes. When something like a black cloud passed between her and them, she knew that it was either a whale swimming over her head, or a ship full of human beings, who never imagined that a pretty little mermaid was standing beneath them, holding out her white hands towards the keel of their ship.
As soon as the eldest was fifteen, she was allowed to rise to the surface of the ocean. When she came back, she had hundreds of things to talk about; but the most beautiful, she said, was to lie in the moonlight, on a sandbank, in the quiet sea, near the coast, and to gaze on a large town nearby, where the lights were twinkling like hundreds of stars; to listen to the sounds of the music, the noise of carriages, and the voices of human beings, and then to hear the merry bells peal out from the church steeples; and because she could not go near to all those wonderful things, she longed for them more than ever. Oh, did not the youngest sister listen eagerly to all these descriptions? and afterwards, when she stood at the open window looking up through the dark blue water, she thought of the great city, with all its bustle and noise, and even fancied she could hear the sound of the church bells, down in the depths of the sea.
In another year the second sister received permission to rise to the surface of the water, and to swim about where she pleased. She rose just as the sun was setting, and this, she said, was the most beautiful sight of all. The whole sky looked like gold, while violet and rose-colored clouds, which she could not describe, floated over her; and, still more rapidly than the clouds, flew a large flock of wild swans towards the setting sun, looking like a long white veil across the sea. She also swam towards the sun; but it sunk into the waves, and the rosy tints faded from the clouds and from the sea.
The third sister’s turn followed; she was the boldest of them all, and she swam up a broad river that emptied itself into the sea. On the banks she saw green hills covered with beautiful vines; palaces and castles peeped out from amid the proud trees of the forest; she heard the birds singing, and the rays of the sun were so powerful that she was obliged often to dive down under the water to cool her burning face. In a narrow creek she found a whole troop of little human children, quite naked, and sporting about in the water; she wanted to play with them, but they fled in a great fright; and then a little black animal came to the water; it was a dog, but she did not know that, for she had never before seen one. This animal barked at her so terribly that she became frightened, and rushed back to the open sea. But she said she should never forget the beautiful forest, the green hills, and the pretty little children who could swim in the water, although they had not fish’s tails.
The fourth sister was more timid; she remained in the midst of the sea, but she said it was quite as beautiful there as nearer the land. She could see for so many miles around her, and the sky above looked like a bell of glass. She had seen the ships, but at such a great distance that they looked like sea-gulls. The dolphins sported in the waves, and the great whales spouted water from their nostrils till it seemed as if a hundred fountains were playing in every direction.
The fifth sister’s birthday occurred in the winter; so when her turn came, she saw what the others had not seen the first time they went up. The sea looked quite green, and large icebergs were floating about, each like a pearl, she said, but larger and loftier than the churches built by men. They were of the most singular shapes, and glittered like diamonds. She had seated herself upon one of the largest, and let the wind play with her long hair, and she remarked that all the ships sailed by rapidly, and steered as far away as they could from the iceberg, as if they were afraid of it. Towards evening, as the sun went down, dark clouds covered the sky, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the red light glowed on the icebergs as they rocked and tossed on the heaving sea. On all the ships the sails were reefed with fear and trembling, while she sat calmly on the floating iceberg, watching the blue lightning, as it darted its forked flashes into the sea.
When first the sisters had permission to rise to the surface, they were each delighted with the new and beautiful sights they saw; but now, as grown-up girls, they could go when they pleased, and they had become indifferent about it. They wished themselves back again in the water, and after a month had passed they said it was much more beautiful down below, and pleasanter to be at home. Yet often, in the evening hours, the five sisters would twine their arms round each other, and rise to the surface, in a row. They had more beautiful voices than any human being could have; and before the approach of a storm, and when they expected a ship would be lost, they swam before the vessel, and sang sweetly of the delights to be found in the depths of the sea, and begging the sailors not to fear if they sank to the bottom. But the sailors could not understand the song, they took it for the howling of the storm. And these things were never to be beautiful for them; for if the ship sank, the men were drowned, and their dead bodies alone reached the palace of the Sea King.
When the sisters rose, arm-in-arm, through the water in this way, their youngest sister would stand quite alone, looking after them, ready to cry, only that the mermaids have no tears, and therefore they suffer more. “Oh, were I but fifteen years old,” said she: “I know that I shall love the world up there, and all the people who live in it.”
At last she reached her fifteenth year. “Well, now, you are grown up,” said the old dowager, her grandmother; “so you must let me adorn you like your other sisters;” and she placed a wreath of white lilies in her hair, and every flower leaf was half a pearl. Then the old lady ordered eight great oysters to attach themselves to the tail of the princess to show her high rank.
“But they hurt me so,” said the little mermaid.
“Pride must suffer pain,” replied the old lady. Oh, how gladly she would have shaken off all this grandeur, and laid aside the heavy wreath! The red flowers in her own garden would have suited her much better, but she could not help herself: so she said, “Farewell,” and rose as lightly as a bubble to the surface of the water. The sun had just set as she raised her head above the waves; but the clouds were tinted with crimson and gold, and through the glimmering twilight beamed the evening star in all its beauty. The sea was calm, and the air mild and fresh. A large ship, with three masts, lay becalmed on the water, with only one sail set; for not a breeze stiffed, and the sailors sat idle on deck or amongst the rigging. There was music and song on board; and, as darkness came on, a hundred colored lanterns were lighted, as if the flags of all nations waved in the air. The little mermaid swam close to the cabin windows; and now and then, as the waves lifted her up, she could look in through clear glass window-panes, and see a number of well-dressed people within. Among them was a young prince, the most beautiful of all, with large black eyes; he was sixteen years of age, and his birthday was being kept with much rejoicing. The sailors were dancing on deck, but when the prince came out of the cabin, more than a hundred rockets rose in the air, making it as bright as day. The little mermaid was so startled that she dived under water; and when she again stretched out her head, it appeared as if all the stars of heaven were falling around her, she had never seen such fireworks before. Great suns spurted fire about, splendid fireflies flew into the blue air, and everything was reflected in the clear, calm sea beneath. The ship itself was so brightly illuminated that all the people, and even the smallest rope, could be distinctly and plainly seen. And how handsome the young prince looked, as he pressed the hands of all present and smiled at them, while the music resounded through the clear night air.
It was very late; yet the little mermaid could not take her eyes from the ship, or from the beautiful prince. The colored lanterns had been extinguished, no more rockets rose in the air, and the cannon had ceased firing; but the sea became restless, and a moaning, grumbling sound could be heard beneath the waves: still the little mermaid remained by the cabin window, rocking up and down on the water, which enabled her to look in. After a while, the sails were quickly unfurled, and the noble ship continued her passage; but soon the waves rose higher, heavy clouds darkened the sky, and lightning appeared in the distance. A dreadful storm was approaching; once more the sails were reefed, and the great ship pursued her flying course over the raging sea. The waves rose mountains high, as if they would have overtopped the mast; but the ship dived like a swan between them, and then rose again on their lofty, foaming crests. To the little mermaid this appeared pleasant sport; not so to the sailors. At length the ship groaned and creaked; the thick planks gave way under the lashing of the sea as it broke over the deck; the mainmast snapped asunder like a reed; the ship lay over on her side; and the water rushed in. The little mermaid now perceived that the crew were in danger; even she herself was obliged to be careful to avoid the beams and planks of the wreck which lay scattered on the water. At one moment it was so pitch dark that she could not see a single object, but a flash of lightning revealed the whole scene; she could see every one who had been on board excepting the prince; when the ship parted, she had seen him sink into the deep waves, and she was glad, for she thought he would now be with her; and then she remembered that human beings could not live in the water, so that when he got down to her father’s palace he would be quite dead. But he must not die. So she swam about among the beams and planks which strewed the surface of the sea, forgetting that they could crush her to pieces. Then she dived deeply under the dark waters, rising and falling with the waves, till at length she managed to reach the young prince, who was fast losing the power of swimming in that stormy sea. His limbs were failing him, his beautiful eyes were closed, and he would have died had not the little mermaid come to his assistance. She held his head above the water, and let the waves drift them where they would.
In the morning the storm had ceased; but of the ship not a single fragment could be seen. The sun rose up red and glowing from the water, and its beams brought back the hue of health to the prince’s cheeks; but his eyes remained closed. The mermaid kissed his high, smooth forehead, and stroked back his wet hair; he seemed to her like the marble statue in her little garden, and she kissed him again, and wished that he might live.
Presently they came in sight of land; she saw lofty blue mountains, on which the white snow rested as if a flock of swans were lying upon them. Near the coast were beautiful green forests, and close by stood a large building, whether a church or a convent she could not tell. Orange and citron trees grew in the garden, and before the door stood lofty palms. The sea here formed a little bay, in which the water was quite still, but very deep; so she swam with the handsome prince to the beach, which was covered with fine, white sand, and there she laid him in the warm sunshine, taking care to raise his head higher than his body. Then bells sounded in the large white building, and a number of young girls came into the garden. The little mermaid swam out farther from the shore and placed herself between some high rocks that rose out of the water; then she covered her head and neck with the foam of the sea so that her little face might not be seen, and watched to see what would become of the poor prince. She did not wait long before she saw a young girl approach the spot where he lay. She seemed frightened at first, but only for a moment; then she fetched a number of people, and the mermaid saw that the prince came to life again, and smiled upon those who stood round him. But to her he sent no smile; he knew not that she had saved him. This made her very unhappy, and when he was led away into the great building, she dived down sorrowfully into the water, and returned to her father’s castle. She had always been silent and thoughtful, and now she was more so than ever. Her sisters asked her what she had seen during her first visit to the surface of the water; but she would tell them nothing. Many an evening and morning did she rise to the place where she had left the prince. She saw the fruits in the garden ripen till they were gathered, the snow on the tops of the mountains melt away; but she never saw the prince, and therefore she returned home, always more sorrowful than before. It was her only comfort to sit in her own little garden, and fling her arm round the beautiful marble statue which was like the prince; but she gave up tending her flowers, and they grew in wild confusion over the paths, twining their long leaves and stems round the branches of the trees, so that the whole place became dark and gloomy. At length she could bear it no longer, and told one of her sisters all about it. Then the others heard the secret, and very soon it became known to two mermaids whose intimate friend happened to know who the prince was. She had also seen the festival on board ship, and she told them where the prince came from, and where his palace stood.
“Come, little sister,” said the other princesses; then they entwined their arms and rose up in a long row to the surface of the water, close by the spot where they knew the prince’s palace stood. It was built of bright yellow shining stone, with long flights of marble steps, one of which reached quite down to the sea. Splendid gilded cupolas rose over the roof, and between the pillars that surrounded the whole building stood life-like statues of marble. Through the clear crystal of the lofty windows could be seen noble rooms, with costly silk curtains and hangings of tapestry; while the walls were covered with beautiful paintings which were a pleasure to look at. In the centre of the largest saloon a fountain threw its sparkling jets high up into the glass cupola of the ceiling, through which the sun shone down upon the water and upon the beautiful plants growing round the basin of the fountain. Now that she knew where he lived, she spent many an evening and many a night on the water near the palace. She would swim much nearer the shore than any of the others ventured to do; indeed once she went quite up the narrow channel under the marble balcony, which threw a broad shadow on the water. Here she would sit and watch the young prince, who thought himself quite alone in the bright moonlight. She saw him many times of an evening sailing in a pleasant boat, with music playing and flags waving. She peeped out from among the green rushes, and if the wind caught her long silvery-white veil, those who saw it believed it to be a swan, spreading out its wings. On many a night, too, when the fishermen, with their torches, were out at sea, she heard them relate so many good things about the doings of the young prince, that she was glad she had saved his life when he had been tossed about half-dead on the waves. And she remembered that his head had rested on her bosom, and how heartily she had kissed him; but he knew nothing of all this, and could not even dream of her. She grew more and more fond of human beings, and wished more and more to be able to wander about with those whose world seemed to be so much larger than her own. They could fly over the sea in ships, and mount the high hills which were far above the clouds; and the lands they possessed, their woods and their fields, stretched far away beyond the reach of her sight. There was so much that she wished to know, and her sisters were unable to answer all her questions. Then she applied to her old grandmother, who knew all about the upper world, which she very rightly called the lands above the sea.
“If human beings are not drowned,” asked the little mermaid, “can they live forever? do they never die as we do here in the sea?”
“Yes,” replied the old lady, “they must also die, and their term of life is even shorter than ours. We sometimes live to three hundred years, but when we cease to exist here we only become the foam on the surface of the water, and we have not even a grave down here of those we love. We have not immortal souls, we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soul which lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust. It rises up through the clear, pure air beyond the glittering stars. As we rise out of the water, and behold all the land of the earth, so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall never see.”
“Why have not we an immortal soul?” asked the little mermaid mournfully; “I would give gladly all the hundreds of years that I have to live, to be a human being only for one day, and to have the hope of knowing the happiness of that glorious world above the stars.”
“You must not think of that,” said the old woman; “we feel ourselves to be much happier and much better off than human beings.”
“So I shall die,” said the little mermaid, “and as the foam of the sea I shall be driven about never again to hear the music of the waves, or to see the pretty flowers nor the red sun. Is there anything I can do to win an immortal soul?”
“No,” said the old woman, “unless a man were to love you so much that you were more to him than his father or mother; and if all his thoughts and all his love were fixed upon you, and the priest placed his right hand in yours, and he promised to be true to you here and hereafter, then his soul would glide into your body and you would obtain a share in the future happiness of mankind. He would give a soul to you and retain his own as well; but this can never happen. Your fish’s tail, which amongst us is considered so beautiful, is thought on earth to be quite ugly; they do not know any better, and they think it necessary to have two stout props, which they call legs, in order to be handsome.”
Then the little mermaid sighed, and looked sorrowfully at her fish’s tail. “Let us be happy,” said the old lady, “and dart and spring about during the three hundred years that we have to live, which is really quite long enough; after that we can rest ourselves all the better. This evening we are going to have a court ball.”
It is one of those splendid sights which we can never see on earth. The walls and the ceiling of the large ball-room were of thick, but transparent crystal. May hundreds of colossal shells, some of a deep red, others of a grass green, stood on each side in rows, with blue fire in them, which lighted up the whole saloon, and shone through the walls, so that the sea was also illuminated. Innumerable fishes, great and small, swam past the crystal walls; on some of them the scales glowed with a purple brilliancy, and on others they shone like silver and gold. Through the halls flowed a broad stream, and in it danced the mermen and the mermaids to the music of their own sweet singing. No one on earth has such a lovely voice as theirs. The little mermaid sang more sweetly than them all. The whole court applauded her with hands and tails; and for a moment her heart felt quite gay, for she knew she had the loveliest voice of any on earth or in the sea. But she soon thought again of the world above her, for she could not forget the charming prince, nor her sorrow that she had not an immortal soul like his; therefore she crept away silently out of her father’s palace, and while everything within was gladness and song, she sat in her own little garden sorrowful and alone. Then she heard the bugle sounding through the water, and thought—“He is certainly sailing above, he on whom my wishes depend, and in whose hands I should like to place the happiness of my life. I will venture all for him, and to win an immortal soul, while my sisters are dancing in my father’s palace, I will go to the sea witch, of whom I have always been so much afraid, but she can give me counsel and help.”
And then the little mermaid went out from her garden, and took the road to the foaming whirlpools, behind which the sorceress lived. She had never been that way before: neither flowers nor grass grew there; nothing but bare, gray, sandy ground stretched out to the whirlpool, where the water, like foaming mill-wheels, whirled round everything that it seized, and cast it into the fathomless deep. Through the midst of these crushing whirlpools the little mermaid was obliged to pass, to reach the dominions of the sea witch; and also for a long distance the only road lay right across a quantity of warm, bubbling mire, called by the witch her turfmoor. Beyond this stood her house, in the centre of a strange forest, in which all the trees and flowers were polypi, half animals and half plants; they looked like serpents with a hundred heads growing out of the ground. The branches were long slimy arms, with fingers like flexible worms, moving limb after limb from the root to the top. All that could be reached in the sea they seized upon, and held fast, so that it never escaped from their clutches. The little mermaid was so alarmed at what she saw, that she stood still, and her heart beat with fear, and she was very nearly turning back; but she thought of the prince, and of the human soul for which she longed, and her courage returned. She fastened her long flowing hair round her head, so that the polypi might not seize hold of it. She laid her hands together across her bosom, and then she darted forward as a fish shoots through the water, between the supple arms and fingers of the ugly polypi, which were stretched out on each side of her. She saw that each held in its grasp something it had seized with its numerous little arms, as if they were iron bands. The white skeletons of human beings who had perished at sea, and had sunk down into the deep waters, skeletons of land animals, oars, rudders, and chests of ships were lying tightly grasped by their clinging arms; even a little mermaid, whom they had caught and strangled; and this seemed the most shocking of all to the little princess.
She now came to a space of marshy ground in the wood, where large, fat water-snakes were rolling in the mire, and showing their ugly, drab-colored bodies. In the midst of this spot stood a house, built with the bones of shipwrecked human beings. There sat the sea witch, allowing a toad to eat from her mouth, just as people sometimes feed a canary with a piece of sugar. She called the ugly water-snakes her little chickens, and allowed them to crawl all over her bosom.
“I know what you want,” said the sea witch; “it is very stupid of you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you to sorrow, my pretty princess. You want to get rid of your fish’s tail, and to have two supports instead of it, like human beings on earth, so that the young prince may fall in love with you, and that you may have an immortal soul.” And then the witch laughed so loud and disgustingly, that the toad and the snakes fell to the ground, and lay there wriggling about. “You are but just in time,” said the witch; “for after sunrise to-morrow I should not be able to help you till the end of another year. I will prepare a draught for you, with which you must swim to land tomorrow before sunrise, and sit down on the shore and drink it. Your tail will then disappear, and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you.”
“Yes, I will,” said the little princess in a trembling voice, as she thought of the prince and the immortal soul.
“But think again,” said the witch; “for when once your shape has become like a human being, you can no more be a mermaid. You will never return through the water to your sisters, or to your father’s palace again; and if you do not win the love of the prince, so that he is willing to forget his father and mother for your sake, and to love you with his whole soul, and allow the priest to join your hands that you may be man and wife, then you will never have an immortal soul. The first morning after he marries another your heart will break, and you will become foam on the crest of the waves.”
“I will do it,” said the little mermaid, and she became pale as death.
“But I must be paid also,” said the witch, “and it is not a trifle that I ask. You have the sweetest voice of any who dwell here in the depths of the sea, and you believe that you will be able to charm the prince with it also, but this voice you must give to me; the best thing you possess will I have for the price of my draught. My own blood must be mixed with it, that it may be as sharp as a two-edged sword.”
“But if you take away my voice,” said the little mermaid, “what is left for me?”
“Your beautiful form, your graceful walk, and your expressive eyes; surely with these you can enchain a man’s heart. Well, have you lost your courage? Put out your little tongue that I may cut it off as my payment; then you shall have the powerful draught.”
“It shall be,” said the little mermaid.
Then the witch placed her cauldron on the fire, to prepare the magic draught.
“Cleanliness is a good thing,” said she, scouring the vessel with snakes, which she had tied together in a large knot; then she pricked herself in the breast, and let the black blood drop into it. The steam that rose formed itself into such horrible shapes that no one could look at them without fear. Every moment the witch threw something else into the vessel, and when it began to boil, the sound was like the weeping of a crocodile. When at last the magic draught was ready, it looked like the clearest water. “There it is for you,” said the witch. Then she cut off the mermaid’s tongue, so that she became dumb, and would never again speak or sing. “If the polypi should seize hold of you as you return through the wood,” said the witch, “throw over them a few drops of the potion, and their fingers will be torn into a thousand pieces.” But the little mermaid had no occasion to do this, for the polypi sprang back in terror when they caught sight of the glittering draught, which shone in her hand like a twinkling star.
So she passed quickly through the wood and the marsh, and between the rushing whirlpools. She saw that in her father’s palace the torches in the ballroom were extinguished, and all within asleep; but she did not venture to go in to them, for now she was dumb and going to leave them forever, she felt as if her heart would break. She stole into the garden, took a flower from the flower-beds of each of her sisters, kissed her hand a thousand times towards the palace, and then rose up through the dark blue waters. The sun had not risen when she came in sight of the prince’s palace, and approached the beautiful marble steps, but the moon shone clear and bright. Then the little mermaid drank the magic draught, and it seemed as if a two-edged sword went through her delicate body: she fell into a swoon, and lay like one dead. When the sun arose and shone over the sea, she recovered, and felt a sharp pain; but just before her stood the handsome young prince. He fixed his coal-black eyes upon her so earnestly that she cast down her own, and then became aware that her fish’s tail was gone, and that she had as pretty a pair of white legs and tiny feet as any little maiden could have; but she had no clothes, so she wrapped herself in her long, thick hair. The prince asked her who she was, and where she came from, and she looked at him mildly and sorrowfully with her deep blue eyes; but she could not speak. Every step she took was as the witch had said it would be, she felt as if treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives; but she bore it willingly, and stepped as lightly by the prince’s side as a soap-bubble, so that he and all who saw her wondered at her graceful-swaying movements. She was very soon arrayed in costly robes of silk and muslin, and was the most beautiful creature in the palace; but she was dumb, and could neither speak nor sing.
Beautiful female slaves, dressed in silk and gold, stepped forward and sang before the prince and his royal parents: one sang better than all the others, and the prince clapped his hands and smiled at her. This was great sorrow to the little mermaid; she knew how much more sweetly she herself could sing once, and she thought, “Oh if he could only know that! I have given away my voice forever, to be with him.”
The slaves next performed some pretty fairy-like dances, to the sound of beautiful music. Then the little mermaid raised her lovely white arms, stood on the tips of her toes, and glided over the floor, and danced as no one yet had been able to dance. At each moment her beauty became more revealed, and her expressive eyes appealed more directly to the heart than the songs of the slaves. Every one was enchanted, especially the prince, who called her his little foundling; and she danced again quite readily, to please him, though each time her foot touched the floor it seemed as if she trod on sharp knives.
The prince said she should remain with him always, and she received permission to sleep at his door, on a velvet cushion. He had a page’s dress made for her, that she might accompany him on horseback. They rode together through the sweet-scented woods, where the green boughs touched their shoulders, and the little birds sang among the fresh leaves. She climbed with the prince to the tops of high mountains; and although her tender feet bled so that even her steps were marked, she only laughed, and followed him till they could see the clouds beneath them looking like a flock of birds travelling to distant lands. While at the prince’s palace, and when all the household were asleep, she would go and sit on the broad marble steps; for it eased her burning feet to bathe them in the cold sea-water; and then she thought of all those below in the deep.
Once during the night her sisters came up arm-in-arm, singing sorrowfully, as they floated on the water. She beckoned to them, and then they recognized her, and told her how she had grieved them. After that, they came to the same place every night; and once she saw in the distance her old grandmother, who had not been to the surface of the sea for many years, and the old Sea King, her father, with his crown on his head. They stretched out their hands towards her, but they did not venture so near the land as her sisters did.
As the days passed, she loved the prince more fondly, and he loved her as he would love a little child, but it never came into his head to make her his wife; yet, unless he married her, she could not receive an immortal soul; and, on the morning after his marriage with another, she would dissolve into the foam of the sea.
“Do you not love me the best of them all?” the eyes of the little mermaid seemed to say, when he took her in his arms, and kissed her fair forehead.
“Yes, you are dear to me,” said the prince; “for you have the best heart, and you are the most devoted to me; you are like a young maiden whom I once saw, but whom I shall never meet again. I was in a ship that was wrecked, and the waves cast me ashore near a holy temple, where several young maidens performed the service. The youngest of them found me on the shore, and saved my life. I saw her but twice, and she is the only one in the world whom I could love; but you are like her, and you have almost driven her image out of my mind. She belongs to the holy temple, and my good fortune has sent you to me instead of her; and we will never part.”
“Ah, he knows not that it was I who saved his life,” thought the little mermaid. “I carried him over the sea to the wood where the temple stands: I sat beneath the foam, and watched till the human beings came to help him. I saw the pretty maiden that he loves better than he loves me;” and the mermaid sighed deeply, but she could not shed tears. “He says the maiden belongs to the holy temple, therefore she will never return to the world. They will meet no more: while I am by his side, and see him every day. I will take care of him, and love him, and give up my life for his sake.”
Very soon it was said that the prince must marry, and that the beautiful daughter of a neighboring king would be his wife, for a fine ship was being fitted out. Although the prince gave out that he merely intended to pay a visit to the king, it was generally supposed that he really went to see his daughter. A great company were to go with him. The little mermaid smiled, and shook her head. She knew the prince’s thoughts better than any of the others.
“I must travel,” he had said to her; “I must see this beautiful princess; my parents desire it; but they will not oblige me to bring her home as my bride. I cannot love her; she is not like the beautiful maiden in the temple, whom you resemble. If I were forced to choose a bride, I would rather choose you, my dumb foundling, with those expressive eyes.” And then he kissed her rosy mouth, played with her long waving hair, and laid his head on her heart, while she dreamed of human happiness and an immortal soul. “You are not afraid of the sea, my dumb child,” said he, as they stood on the deck of the noble ship which was to carry them to the country of the neighboring king. And then he told her of storm and of calm, of strange fishes in the deep beneath them, and of what the divers had seen there; and she smiled at his descriptions, for she knew better than any one what wonders were at the bottom of the sea.
In the moonlight, when all on board were asleep, excepting the man at the helm, who was steering, she sat on the deck, gazing down through the clear water. She thought she could distinguish her father’s castle, and upon it her aged grandmother, with the silver crown on her head, looking through the rushing tide at the keel of the vessel. Then her sisters came up on the waves, and gazed at her mournfully, wringing their white hands. She beckoned to them, and smiled, and wanted to tell them how happy and well off she was; but the cabin-boy approached, and when her sisters dived down he thought it was only the foam of the sea which he saw.
The next morning the ship sailed into the harbor of a beautiful town belonging to the king whom the prince was going to visit. The church bells were ringing, and from the high towers sounded a flourish of trumpets; and soldiers, with flying colors and glittering bayonets, lined the rocks through which they passed. Every day was a festival; balls and entertainments followed one another.
But the princess had not yet appeared. People said that she was being brought up and educated in a religious house, where she was learning every royal virtue. At last she came. Then the little mermaid, who was very anxious to see whether she was really beautiful, was obliged to acknowledge that she had never seen a more perfect vision of beauty. Her skin was delicately fair, and beneath her long dark eye-lashes her laughing blue eyes shone with truth and purity.
“It was you,” said the prince, “who saved my life when I lay dead on the beach,” and he folded his blushing bride in his arms. “Oh, I am too happy,” said he to the little mermaid; “my fondest hopes are all fulfilled. You will rejoice at my happiness; for your devotion to me is great and sincere.”
The little mermaid kissed his hand, and felt as if her heart were already broken. His wedding morning would bring death to her, and she would change into the foam of the sea. All the church bells rung, and the heralds rode about the town proclaiming the betrothal. Perfumed oil was burning in costly silver lamps on every altar. The priests waved the censers, while the bride and bridegroom joined their hands and received the blessing of the bishop. The little mermaid, dressed in silk and gold, held up the bride’s train; but her ears heard nothing of the festive music, and her eyes saw not the holy ceremony; she thought of the night of death which was coming to her, and of all she had lost in the world. On the same evening the bride and bridegroom went on board ship; cannons were roaring, flags waving, and in the centre of the ship a costly tent of purple and gold had been erected. It contained elegant couches, for the reception of the bridal pair during the night. The ship, with swelling sails and a favorable wind, glided away smoothly and lightly over the calm sea. When it grew dark a number of colored lamps were lit, and the sailors danced merrily on the deck. The little mermaid could not help thinking of her first rising out of the sea, when she had seen similar festivities and joys; and she joined in the dance, poised herself in the air as a swallow when he pursues his prey, and all present cheered her with wonder. She had never danced so elegantly before. Her tender feet felt as if cut with sharp knives, but she cared not for it; a sharper pang had pierced through her heart. She knew this was the last evening she should ever see the prince, for whom she had forsaken her kindred and her home; she had given up her beautiful voice, and suffered unheard-of pain daily for him, while he knew nothing of it. This was the last evening that she would breathe the same air with him, or gaze on the starry sky and the deep sea; an eternal night, without a thought or a dream, awaited her: she had no soul and now she could never win one. All was joy and gayety on board ship till long after midnight; she laughed and danced with the rest, while the thoughts of death were in her heart. The prince kissed his beautiful bride, while she played with his raven hair, till they went arm-in-arm to rest in the splendid tent. Then all became still on board the ship; the helmsman, alone awake, stood at the helm. The little mermaid leaned her white arms on the edge of the vessel, and looked towards the east for the first blush of morning, for that first ray of dawn that would bring her death. She saw her sisters rising out of the flood: they were as pale as herself; but their long beautiful hair waved no more in the wind, and had been cut off.
“We have given our hair to the witch,” said they, “to obtain help for you, that you may not die to-night. She has given us a knife: here it is, see it is very sharp. Before the sun rises you must plunge it into the heart of the prince; when the warm blood falls upon your feet they will grow together again, and form into a fish’s tail, and you will be once more a mermaid, and return to us to live out your three hundred years before you die and change into the salt sea foam. Haste, then; he or you must die before sunrise. Our old grandmother moans so for you, that her white hair is falling off from sorrow, as ours fell under the witch’s scissors. Kill the prince and come back; hasten: do you not see the first red streaks in the sky? In a few minutes the sun will rise, and you must die.” And then they sighed deeply and mournfully, and sank down beneath the waves.
The little mermaid drew back the crimson curtain of the tent, and beheld the fair bride with her head resting on the prince’s breast. She bent down and kissed his fair brow, then looked at the sky on which the rosy dawn grew brighter and brighter; then she glanced at the sharp knife, and again fixed her eyes on the prince, who whispered the name of his bride in his dreams. She was in his thoughts, and the knife trembled in the hand of the little mermaid: then she flung it far away from her into the waves; the water turned red where it fell, and the drops that spurted up looked like blood. She cast one more lingering, half-fainting glance at the prince, and then threw herself from the ship into the sea, and thought her body was dissolving into foam. The sun rose above the waves, and his warm rays fell on the cold foam of the little mermaid, who did not feel as if she were dying. She saw the bright sun, and all around her floated hundreds of transparent beautiful beings; she could see through them the white sails of the ship, and the red clouds in the sky; their speech was melodious, but too ethereal to be heard by mortal ears, as they were also unseen by mortal eyes. The little mermaid perceived that she had a body like theirs, and that she continued to rise higher and higher out of the foam. “Where am I?” asked she, and her voice sounded ethereal, as the voice of those who were with her; no earthly music could imitate it.
“Among the daughters of the air,” answered one of them. “A mermaid has not an immortal soul, nor can she obtain one unless she wins the love of a human being. On the power of another hangs her eternal destiny. But the daughters of the air, although they do not possess an immortal soul, can, by their good deeds, procure one for themselves. We fly to warm countries, and cool the sultry air that destroys mankind with the pestilence. We carry the perfume of the flowers to spread health and restoration. After we have striven for three hundred years to all the good in our power, we receive an immortal soul and take part in the happiness of mankind. You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your whole heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds; and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.”
The little mermaid lifted her glorified eyes towards the sun, and felt them, for the first time, filling with tears. On the ship, in which she had left the prince, there were life and noise; she saw him and his beautiful bride searching for her; sorrowfully they gazed at the pearly foam, as if they knew she had thrown herself into the waves. Unseen she kissed the forehead of her bride, and fanned the prince, and then mounted with the other children of the air to a rosy cloud that floated through the aether.
“After three hundred years, thus shall we float into the kingdom of heaven,” said she. “And we may even get there sooner,” whispered one of her companions. “Unseen we can enter the houses of men, where there are children, and for every day on which we find a good child, who is the joy of his parents and deserves their love, our time of probation is shortened. The child does not know, when we fly through the room, that we smile with joy at his good conduct, for we can count one year less of our three hundred years. But when we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of sorrow, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial!”
Little Ida’s Flowers
~Hans Christian Andersen
My poor flowers are quite dead,” said little Ida, “they were so pretty yesterday evening, and now all the leaves are hanging down quite withered. What do they do that for,” she asked, of the student who sat on the sofa; she liked him very much, he could tell the most amusing stories, and cut out the prettiest pictures; hearts, and ladies dancing, castles with doors that opened, as well as flowers; he was a delightful student. “Why do the flowers look so faded to-day?” she asked again, and pointed to her nosegay, which was quite withered.
“Don’t you know what is the matter with them?” said the student. “The flowers were at a ball last night, and therefore, it is no wonder they hang their heads.”
“But flowers cannot dance?” cried little Ida.
“Yes indeed, they can,” replied the student. “When it grows dark, and everybody is asleep, they jump about quite merrily. They have a ball almost every night.”
“Can children go to these balls?”
“Yes,” said the student, “little daisies and lilies of the valley.”
“Where do the beautiful flowers dance?” asked little Ida.
“Have you not often seen the large castle outside the gates of the town, where the king lives in summer, and where the beautiful garden is full of flowers? And have you not fed the swans with bread when they swam towards you? Well, the flowers have capital balls there, believe me.”
“I was in the garden out there yesterday with my mother,” said Ida, “but all the leaves were off the trees, and there was not a single flower left. Where are they? I used to see so many in the summer.”
“They are in the castle,” replied the student. “You must know that as soon as the king and all the court are gone into the town, the flowers run out of the garden into the castle, and you should see how merry they are. The two most beautiful roses seat themselves on the throne, and are called the king and queen, then all the red cockscombs range themselves on each side, and bow, these are the lords-in-waiting. After that the pretty flowers come in, and there is a grand ball. The blue violets represent little naval cadets, and dance with hyacinths and crocuses which they call young ladies. The tulips and tiger-lilies are the old ladies who sit and watch the dancing, so that everything may be conducted with order and propriety.”
“But,” said little Ida, “is there no one there to hurt the flowers for dancing in the king’s castle?”
“No one knows anything about it,” said the student. “The old steward of the castle, who has to watch there at night, sometimes comes in; but he carries a great bunch of keys, and as soon as the flowers hear the keys rattle, they run and hide themselves behind the long curtains, and stand quite still, just peeping their heads out. Then the old steward says, ‘I smell flowers here,’ but he cannot see them.”
“Oh how capital,” said little Ida, clapping her hands. “Should I be able to see these flowers?”
“Yes,” said the student, “mind you think of it the next time you go out, no doubt you will see them, if you peep through the window. I did so to-day, and I saw a long yellow lily lying stretched out on the sofa. She was a court lady.”
“Can the flowers from the Botanical Gardens go to these balls?” asked Ida. “It is such a distance!”
“Oh yes,” said the student “whenever they like, for they can fly. Have you not seen those beautiful red, white. and yellow butterflies, that look like flowers? They were flowers once. They have flown off their stalks into the air, and flap their leaves as if they were little wings to make them fly. Then, if they behave well, they obtain permission to fly about during the day, instead of being obliged to sit still on their stems at home, and so in time their leaves become real wings. It may be, however, that the flowers in the Botanical Gardens have never been to the king’s palace, and, therefore, they know nothing of the merry doings at night, which take place there. I will tell you what to do, and the botanical professor, who lives close by here, will be so surprised. You know him very well, do you not? Well, next time you go into his garden, you must tell one of the flowers that there is going to be a grand ball at the castle, then that flower will tell all the others, and they will fly away to the castle as soon as possible. And when the professor walks into his garden, there will not be a single flower left. How he will wonder what has become of them!”
“But how can one flower tell another? Flowers cannot speak?”
“No, certainly not,” replied the student; “but they can make signs. Have you not often seen that when the wind blows they nod at one another, and rustle all their green leaves?”
“Can the professor understand the signs?” asked Ida.
“Yes, to be sure he can. He went one morning into his garden, and saw a stinging nettle making signs with its leaves to a beautiful red carnation. It was saying, ‘You are so pretty, I like you very much.’ But the professor did not approve of such nonsense, so he clapped his hands on the nettle to stop it. Then the leaves, which are its fingers, stung him so sharply that he has never ventured to touch a nettle since.”
“Oh how funny!” said Ida, and she laughed.
“How can anyone put such notions into a child’s head?” said a tiresome lawyer, who had come to pay a visit, and sat on the sofa. He did not like the student, and would grumble when he saw him cutting out droll or amusing pictures. Sometimes it would be a man hanging on a gibbet and holding a heart in his hand as if he had been stealing hearts. Sometimes it was an old witch riding through the air on a broom and carrying her husband on her nose. But the lawyer did not like such jokes, and he would say as he had just said, “How can anyone put such nonsense into a child’s head! what absurd fancies there are!”
But to little Ida, all these stories which the student told her about the flowers, seemed very droll, and she thought over them a great deal. The flowers did hang their heads, because they had been dancing all night, and were very tired, and most likely they were ill. Then she took them into the room where a number of toys lay on a pretty little table, and the whole of the table drawer besides was full of beautiful things. Her doll Sophy lay in the doll’s bed asleep, and little Ida said to her, “You must really get up Sophy, and be content to lie in the drawer to-night; the poor flowers are ill, and they must lie in your bed, then perhaps they will get well again.” So she took the doll out, who looked quite cross, and said not a single word, for she was angry at being turned out of her bed. Ida placed the flowers in the doll’s bed, and drew the quilt over them. Then she told them to lie quite still and be good, while she made some tea for them, so that they might be quite well and able to get up the next morning. And she drew the curtains close round the little bed, so that the sun might not shine in their eyes. During the whole evening she could not help thinking of what the student had told her. And before she went to bed herself, she was obliged to peep behind the curtains into the garden where all her mother’s beautiful flowers grew, hyacinths and tulips, and many others. Then she whispered to them quite softly, “I know you are going to a ball to-night.” But the flowers appeared as if they did not understand, and not a leaf moved; still Ida felt quite sure she knew all about it. She lay awake a long time after she was in bed, thinking how pretty it must be to see all the beautiful flowers dancing in the king’s garden. “I wonder if my flowers have really been there,” she said to herself, and then she fell asleep. In the night she awoke; she had been dreaming of the flowers and of the student, as well as of the tiresome lawyer who found fault with him. It was quite still in Ida’s bedroom; the night-lamp burnt on the table, and her father and mother were asleep. “I wonder if my flowers are still lying in Sophy’s bed,” she thought to herself; “how much I should like to know.” She raised herself a little, and glanced at the door of the room where all her flowers and playthings lay; it was partly open, and as she listened, it seemed as if some one in the room was playing the piano, but softly and more prettily than she had ever before heard it. “Now all the flowers are certainly dancing in there,” she thought, “oh how much I should like to see them,” but she did not dare move for fear of disturbing her father and mother. “If they would only come in here,” she thought; but they did not come, and the music continued to play so beautifully, and was so pretty, that she could resist no longer. She crept out of her little bed, went softly to the door and looked into the room. Oh what a splendid sight there was to be sure!
There was no night-lamp burning, but the room appeared quite light, for the moon shone through the window upon the floor, and made it almost like day. All the hyacinths and tulips stood in two long rows down the room, not a single flower remained in the window, and the flower-pots were all empty. The flowers were dancing gracefully on the floor, making turns and holding each other by their long green leaves as they swung round. At the piano sat a large yellow lily which little Ida was sure she had seen in the summer, for she remembered the student saying she was very much like Miss Lina, one of Ida’s friends. They all laughed at him then, but now it seemed to little Ida as if the tall, yellow flower was really like the young lady. She had just the same manners while playing, bending her long yellow face from side to side, and nodding in time to the beautiful music. Then she saw a large purple crocus jump into the middle of the table where the playthings stood, go up to the doll’s bedstead and draw back the curtains; there lay the sick flowers, but they got up directly, and nodded to the others as a sign that they wished to dance with them. The old rough doll, with the broken mouth, stood up and bowed to the pretty flowers. They did not look ill at all now, but jumped about and were very merry, yet none of them noticed little Ida. Presently it seemed as if something fell from the table. Ida looked that way, and saw a slight carnival rod jumping down among the flowers as if it belonged to them; it was, however, very smooth and neat, and a little wax doll with a broad brimmed hat on her head, like the one worn by the lawyer, sat upon it. The carnival rod hopped about among the flowers on its three red stilted feet, and stamped quite loud when it danced the Mazurka; the flowers could not perform this dance, they were too light to stamp in that manner. All at once the wax doll which rode on the carnival rod seemed to grow larger and taller, and it turned round and said to the paper flowers, “How can you put such things in a child’s head? they are all foolish fancies;” and then the doll was exactly like the lawyer with the broad brimmed hat, and looked as yellow and as cross as he did; but the paper dolls struck him on his thin legs, and he shrunk up again and became quite a little wax doll. This was very amusing, and Ida could not help laughing. The carnival rod went on dancing, and the lawyer was obliged to dance also. It was no use, he might make himself great and tall, or remain a little wax doll with a large black hat; still he must dance. Then at last the other flowers interceded for him, especially those who had lain in the doll’s bed, and the carnival rod gave up his dancing. At the same moment a loud knocking was heard in the drawer, where Ida’s doll Sophy lay with many other toys. Then the rough doll ran to the end of the table, laid himself flat down upon it, and began to pull the drawer out a little way.
Then Sophy raised himself, and looked round quite astonished, “There must be a ball here to-night,” said Sophy. “Why did not somebody tell me?”
“Will you dance with me?” said the rough doll.
“You are the right sort to dance with, certainly,” said she, turning her back upon him.
Then she seated herself on the edge of the drawer, and thought that perhaps one of the flowers would ask her to dance; but none of them came. Then she coughed, “Hem, hem, a-hem;” but for all that not one came. The shabby doll now danced quite alone, and not very badly, after all. As none of the flowers seemed to notice Sophy, she let herself down from the drawer to the floor, so as to make a very great noise. All the flowers came round her directly, and asked if she had hurt herself, especially those who had lain in her bed. But she was not hurt at all, and Ida’s flowers thanked her for the use of the nice bed, and were very kind to her. They led her into the middle of the room, where the moon shone, and danced with her, while all the other flowers formed a circle round them. Then Sophy was very happy, and said they might keep her bed; she did not mind lying in the drawer at all. But the flowers thanked her very much, and said,—
“We cannot live long. To-morrow morning we shall be quite dead; and you must tell little Ida to bury us in the garden, near to the grave of the canary; then, in the summer we shall wake up and be more beautiful than ever.”
“No, you must not die,” said Sophy, as she kissed the flowers.
Then the door of the room opened, and a number of beautiful flowers danced in. Ida could not imagine where they could come from, unless they were the flowers from the king’s garden. First came two lovely roses, with little golden crowns on their heads; these were the king and queen. Beautiful stocks and carnations followed, bowing to every one present. They had also music with them. Large poppies and peonies had pea-shells for instruments, and blew into them till they were quite red in the face. The bunches of blue hyacinths and the little white snowdrops jingled their bell-like flowers, as if they were real bells. Then came many more flowers: blue violets, purple heart’s-ease, daisies, and lilies of the valley, and they all danced together, and kissed each other. It was very beautiful to behold.
At last the flowers wished each other good-night. Then little Ida crept back into her bed again, and dreamt of all she had seen. When she arose the next morning, she went quickly to the little table, to see if the flowers were still there. She drew aside the curtains of the little bed. There they all lay, but quite faded; much more so than the day before. Sophy was lying in the drawer where Ida had placed her; but she looked very sleepy.
“Do you remember what the flowers told you to say to me?” said little Ida. But Sophy looked quite stupid, and said not a single word.
“You are not kind at all,” said Ida; “and yet they all danced with you.”
Then she took a little paper box, on which were painted beautiful birds, and laid the dead flowers in it.
“This shall be your pretty coffin,” she said; “and by and by, when my cousins come to visit me, they shall help me to bury you out in the garden; so that next summer you may grow up again more beautiful than ever.”
Her cousins were two good-tempered boys, whose names were James and Adolphus. Their father had given them each a bow and arrow, and they had brought them to show Ida. She told them about the poor flowers which were dead; and as soon as they obtained permission, they went with her to bury them. The two boys walked first, with their crossbows on their shoulders, and little Ida followed, carrying the pretty box containing the dead flowers. They dug a little grave in the garden. Ida kissed her flowers and then laid them, with the box, in the earth. James and Adolphus then fired their crossbows over the grave, as they had neither guns nor cannons.
A story about a test of skill
by Maalam Shaihua, tr. by R. Sutherland Rattray (1913)
A story, a story.
A certain chief begat children, three males. One day his councillors assembled. He said he himself wished to see the most skilled among them. There was a huge baobab tree (near) the entrance to the chief’s house. He said he wanted them to mount (their) horses, (and) come (and) show their skill, where this baobab tree was.
So they mounted their chargers, (and) went far away. The eldest galloped (and) came, (and) thrust that baobab with (his) spear. The spear went right through and he followed, passing through the hole made by the spear, with his horse. And he passed on.
The next to follow the eldest came on. When he was near to the baobab tree he lifted his horse (on the bit) and jumped the baobab.
When the youngest galloped, he came, (and) pulled up the whole baobab, roots and all, and came on waving it aloft at his father, and the place rang with applause.
Now I ask you who excelled among them. If you do not know, that is all.
Off with the rat’s head.
Aladdin (aka the Wonderful Lamp)
The Arabian Nights
Translated by Sir Richard Burton (1850)
It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that there dwelt in a city of the cities of China a man which was a tailor, withal a pauper, and he had one son, Aladdin hight. Now this boy had been from his babyhood a ne’er-do-well, a scapegrace. And when he reached his tenth year, his father inclined to teach him his own trade, and, for that he was overindigent to expend money upon his learning other work or craft or apprenticeship, he took the lad into his shop that he might be taught tailoring. But, as Aladdin was a scapegrace and a ne’er-do-well and wont to play at all times with the gutter boys of the quarter, he would not sit in the shop for a single day. Nay, he would await his father’s leaving it for some purpose, such as to meet a creditor, when he would run off at once and fare forth to the gardens with the other scapegraces and low companions, his fellows. Such was his case- counsel and castigation were of no avail, nor would he obey either parent in aught or learn any trade. And presently, for his sadness and, sorrowing because of his son’s vicious indolence, the tailor sickened and died.
Aladdin continued in his former ill courses, and when his mother saw that her spouse had deceased and that her son was a scapegrace and good for nothing at all, she sold the shop and whatso was to be found therein and fell to spinning cotton yarn. By this toilsome industry she fed herself and found food for her son Aladdin the scapegrace, who, seeing himself freed from bearing the severities of his sire, increased in idleness and low habits. Nor would he ever stay at home save at meal hours while his miserable wretched mother lived only by what her hands could spin until the youth had reached his fifteenth year. It befell one day of the days that as he was sitting about the quarter at play with the vagabond boys, behold, a dervish from the Maghrib, the Land of the Setting Sun, came up and stood gazing for solace upon the lads. And he looked hard at Aladdin and carefully considered his semblance, scarcely noticing his companions the while. Now this dervish was a Moorman from Inner Morocco, and he was a magician who could upheap by his magic hill upon hill, and he was also an adept in astrology. So after narrowly considering Aladdin, he said in himself, “Verily, this is the lad I need and to find whom I have left my natal land.” Presently he led one of the children apart and questioned him anent the scapegrace saying, “Whose son is he?” And he sought all information concerning his condition and whatso related to him.
After this he walked up to Aladdin, and drawing him aside, asked, “O my son, haply thou art the child of Such-a-one the tailor?” and the lad answered, “Yes, O my lord, but ’tis long since he died.” The Maghrabi, the magician, hearing these words, threw himself upon Aladdin and wound his arms around his neck and fell to bussing him, weeping the while with tears trickling a-down his cheeks. But when the lad saw the Moorman’s case, he was seized with surprise thereat and questioned him, saying, “What causeth thee weep, O my lord, and how camest thou to know my father?” “How canst thou, O my son,” replied the Moorman, in a soft voice saddened by emotion, “question me with such query after informing me that thy father and my brother is deceased? For that he was my brother german, and now I come from my adopted country and after long exile I rejoiced with exceeding joy in the hope of looking upon him once more and condoling with him over the past. And now thou hast announced to me his demise. But blood hideth not from blood, and it hath revealed to me that thou art my nephew, son of my brother, and I knew thee amongst all the lads, albeit thy father, when I parted from him, was yet unmarried.”
Then he again clasped Aladdin to his bosom, crying: “O my son, I have none to condole with now save thyself. And thou standest in stead of thy sire, thou being his issue and representative and ‘whoso leaveth issue dieth not,’ O my child!” So saying, the magician put hand to purse, and pulling out ten gold pieces, gave them to the lad, asking, “O my son, where is your house and where dwelleth she, thy mother and my brother’s widow?” Presently Aladdin arose with him and showed him the way to their home, and meanwhile quoth the wizard: “O my son, take these moneys and give them to thy mother, greeting her from me, and let her know that thine uncle, thy father’s brother, hath reappeared from his exile and that Inshallah- God willing- on the morrow I will visit her to salute her with the salaam and see the house wherein my brother was homed and look upon the place where he lieth buried.” Thereupon Aladdin kissed the Maghrabi’s hand, and after running in his joy at fullest speed to his mother’s dwelling entered to her clean contrariwise to his custom, inasmuch as he never came near her save at mealtimes only.
And when he found her, the lad exclaimed in his delight: “O my mother, I give thee glad tidings of mine uncle who hath returned from his exile, and who now sendeth me to salute thee.” “O my son,” she replied, “meseemeth thou mockest me! Who is this uncle, and how canst thou have an uncle in the bonds of life?” He rejoined: “How sayest thou, O my mother, that I have no living uncles nor kinsmen, when this man is my father’s own brother? Indeed he embraced me and bussed me, shedding tears the while, and bade me acquaint thee herewith.” She retorted, “O my son, well I wot thou haddest an uncle, but he is now dead, nor am I ware that thou hast other eme.”
The Moroccan magician fared forth next morning and fell to finding out Aladdin, for his heart no longer permitted him to part from the lad. And as he was to-ing and fro-ing about the city highways, he came face to face with him disporting himself, as was his wont, amongst the vagabonds and the scapegraces. So he drew near to him, and taking his hand, embraced him and bussed him. Then pulled out of his poke two dinars and said: “Hie thee to thy mother and give her these couple of ducats and tell her that thine uncle would eat the evening meal with you. So do thou take these two gold pieces and prepare for us a succulent supper. But before all things, show me once more the way to your home.” “On my head and mine eyes be it, O my uncle,” replied the lad and forewent him, pointing out the street leading to the house. Then the Moorman left him and went his ways and Aladdin ran home and, giving the news and the two sequins to his parent, said, “My uncle would sup with us.”
So she arose straightway and, going to the market street, bought all she required. Then, returning to her dwelling, she borrowed from the neighbors whatever was needed of pans and platters, and so forth, and when the meal was cooked and suppertime came she said to Aladdin: “O my child, the meat is ready, but peradventure thine uncle wotteth not the way to our dwelling. So do thou fare forth and meet him on the road.” He replied, “To hear is to obey,” and before the twain ended talking a knock was heard at the door. Aladdin went out and opened, when, behold, the Maghrabi, the magician, together with a eunuch carrying the wine and the dessert fruits. So the lad led them in and the slave went about his business. The Moorman on entering saluted his sister-in-law with the salaam, then began to shed tears and to question her, saying, “Where be the place whereon my brother went to sit?” She showed it to him, whereat he went up to it and prostrated himself in prayer and kissed the floor, crying: how scant is my satisfaction and how luckless is my lot, for that I have lost thee, O my brother, O vein of my eye!” And after such fashion he continued weeping and wailing till he swooned away for excess of sobbing and lamentation, wherefor Aladdin’s mother was certified of his soothfastness. So, coming up to him, she raised him from the floor and said, “What gain is there in slaying thyself?”
As soon as he was seated at his ease, and before the food trays were served up, he fell to talking with her and saying: “O wife of my brother, it must be a wonder to thee how in all thy days thou never sawest me nor learnst thou aught of me during the lifetime of my brother who hath found mercy. Now the reason is that forty years ago I left this town and exiled myself from my birthplace and wandered forth over all the lands of Al-Hind and Al-Sind and entered Egypt and settled for a long time in its magnificent city, which is one of the world wonders, till at last I fared to the regions of the setting sun and abode for a space of thirty years in the Moroccan interior. Now one day of the days, O wife of my brother, as I was sitting alone at home, I fell to thinking of mine own country and of my birthplace and of my brother (who hath found mercy). And my yearning to see him waxed excessive and I bewept and bewailed my strangerhood and distance from him. And at last my longings drave me homeward until I resolved upon traveling to the region which was the falling place of my head and my homestead, to the end that I might again see my brother. Then quoth I to myself: ‘O man, how long wilt thou wander like a wild Arab from thy place of birth and native stead? Moreover, thou hast one brother and no more, so up with thee and travel and look upon him ere thou die, for who wotteth the woes of the world and the changes of the days? ‘Twould be saddest regret an thou lie down to die without beholding thy brother. And Allah (laud be to the Lord!) hath vouchsafed thee ample wealth, and belike he may be straitened and in poor case, when thou wilt aid thy brother as well as see him.’
“So I arose at once and equipped me for wayfare and recited the fatihah. Then, whenas Friday prayers ended, I mounted and traveled to this town, after suffering manifold toils and travails which I patiently endured whilst the Lord (to Whom be honor and glory!) veiled me with the veil of His protection. So I entered, and whilst wandering about the streets the day before yesterday I beheld my brother’s son Aladdin disporting himself with the boys and, by God the Great, O wife of my brother, the moment I saw him this heart of mine went forth to him (for blood yearneth unto blood!), and my soul felt and informed me that he was my very nephew. So I forgot all my travails and troubles at once on sighting him, and I was like to fly for joy. But when he told me of the dear one’s departure to the ruth of Allah Almighty, I fainted for stress of distress and disappointment. Perchance, however, my nephew hath informed thee of the pains which prevailed upon me. But after a fashion I am consoled by the sight of Aladdin, the legacy bequeathed to us by him who hath found mercy for that ‘whoso leaveth issue is not wholly dead.'”
And when he looked at his sister-in-law, she wept at these his words, so he turned to the lad, that he might cause her to forget the mention of her mate, as a means of comforting her and also of completing his deceit, and asked him, saying: “O my son Aladdin, what hast thou learned in the way of work, and what is thy business? Say me, hast thou mastered any craft whereby to earn a livelihood for thyself and for thy mother?” The lad was abashed and put to shame and he hung down his head and bowed his brow groundward. But his parent spake out: “How, forsooth? By Allah, he knoweth nothing at all, a child so ungracious as this I never yet saw- no, never! All the day long he idleth away his time with the sons of the quarter, vagabonds like himself, and his father (O regret of me!) died not save of dolor for him. And I also am now in piteous plight. I spin cotton and toil at my distant night and day, that I may earn me a couple of scones of bread which we eat together. This is his condition, O my brother-in-law, and, by the life of thee, he cometh not near me save at mealtimes, and none other. Indeed, I am thinking to lock the house door, nor ever open to him again, but leave him to go and seek a livelihood whereby he can live, for that I am now grown a woman in years and have no longer strength to toil and go about for a maintenance after this fashion. O Allah, I am compelled to provide him with daily bread when I require to be provided!”
Hereat the Moorman turned to Aladdin and said: “Why is this, O son of my brother, thou goest about in such ungraciousness? ‘Tis a disgrace to thee and unsuitable for men like thyself. Thou art a youth of sense, O my son, and the child of honest folk, so ’tis for thee a shame that thy mother, a woman in years, should struggle to support thee. And now that thou hast grown to man’s estate, it becometh thee to devise thee some device whereby thou canst live, O my child. Look around thee and Alhamdolillah- praise be to Allah- in this our town are many teachers of all manner of crafts, and nowhere are they more numerous. So choose thee some calling which may please thee to the end that I stablish thee therein, and when thou growest up, O my son, thou shalt have some business whereby to live. Haply thy father’s industry may not be to thy liking, and if so it be, choose thee some other handicraft which suiteth thy fancy. Then let me know and I will aid thee with all I can, O my son.” But when the Maghrabi saw that Aladdin kept silence and made him no reply, he knew that the lad wanted none other occupation than a scapegrace life, so he said to him: “O son of my brother, let not my words seem hard and harsh to thee, for if despite all I say thou still dislike to learn a craft, I will open thee a merchant’s store furnished with costliest stuffs and thou shalt become famous amongst the folk and take and give and buy and sell and be well known in the city.”
Now when Aladdin heard the words of his uncle the Moorman, and the design of making him a khwajah- merchant and gentleman- he joyed exceedingly, knowing that such folk dress handsomely and fare delicately. So he looked at the Maghrabi smiling and drooping his head groundward and saying with the tongue of the case that he was content. The Maghrabi the magician, looked at Aladdin and saw him smiling whereby he understood that the lad was satisfied to become a trader. So he said to him: “Since thou art content that I open thee a merchant’s store and make thee a gentleman, do thou, O son of my brother, prove thyself a man and Inshallah- God willing- tomorrow I will take thee to the bazaar in the first place have a fine suit of clothes cut out for thee, such gear as merchants wear; and secondly, I will look after a store for thee and keep my word.”
Now Aladdin’s mother had somewhat doubted the Moroccan being her brother-in-law, but as soon as she heard his promise of opening a merchant’s store for her son and setting him up with stuffs and capital and so forth, the woman decided and determined in her mind that this Maghrabi was in very sooth her husband’s brother, seeing that no stranger man would do such goodly deed by her son. So she began directing the lad to the right road and teaching him to cast ignorance from out his head and to prove himself a man. Moreover, she bade him ever obey his excellent uncle as though he were his son, and to make up for the time he had wasted in frowardnes with his fellows. After this she arose and spread the table, then served up supper, so all sat down and fell to eating and drinking while the Maghrabi conversed with Aladdin upon matters of business and the like, rejoicing him to such degree that he enjoyed no sleep that night. But when the Moorman saw that the dark hours were passing by, and the wine was drunken, he arose and sped to his own stead. But ere going he agreed to return next morning and take Aladdin and look to his suit of merchant’s clothes being cut out for him.
And as soon as it was dawn, behold, the Maghrabi rapped at the door, which was opened by Aladdin’s mother. The Moorman, however, would not enter, but asked to take the lad with him to the market street. Accordingly Aladdin went forth to his uncle and, wishing him good morning, kissed his hand, and the Moroccan took him by the hand and fared with him to the bazaar. There he entered a clothier’s shop containing all kinds of clothes, and called for a suit of the most sumptuous, whereat the merchant brought him out his need, all wholly fashioned and ready sewn, and the Moorman said to the lad, “Choose, O my child, whatso pleaseth thee.” Aladdin rejoiced exceedingly, seeing that his uncle had given him his choice, so he picked out the suit most to his own liking and the Moroccan paid to the merchant the price thereof in ready money. Presently he led the lad to the hammam baths, where they bathed. Then they came out and drank sherbets, after which Aladdin arose and, donning his new dress in huge joy and delight, went up to his uncle and kissed his hand and thanked him for his favors.
The Maghrabi, the magician, after leaving the hammam with Aladdin, took him and trudged with him to the merchants’ bazaar, and having diverted him by showing the market and its sellings and buyings, and to him: “O my son, it besitteth thee to become familiar with the folk, especially with the merchants, so thou mayest learn of them merchant craft, seeing that the same hath now become thy calling.” Then he led him forth and showed him the city and its cathedral mosques, together with all the pleasant sights therein, and lastly made him enter a cook’s shop. Here dinner was served to them on platters of silver and they dined well and ate and drank their sufficiency, after which they went their ways. Presently the Moorman pointed out to Aladdin the pleasaunces and noble buildings, and went in with him to the Sultan’s palace and diverted him with displaying all the apartments, which were mighty fine and grand, and led him finally to the khan of stranger merchants, where he himself had his abode. Then the Moroccan invited sundry traders which were in the caravanserai, and they came and sat down to supper, when he notified to them that the youth was his nephew, Aladdin by name. And after they had eaten and drunken and night had fallen, he rose up, and taking the lad with him, led him back to his mother, who no sooner saw her boy as he were one of the merchants than her wits took flight and she waxed sad for very gladness.
Then she fell to thanking her false connection, the Moorman, for all his benefits and said to him: “O my brother-in-law, I can never say enough though I expressed my gratitude to thee during the rest of thy days and praised thee for the good deeds thou hast done by this my child.” Thereupon quoth the Moroccan: “O wife of my brother, deem this not mere kindness of me, for that the lad is mine own son, and ’tis incumbent on me to stand in the stead of my brother, his sire. So be thou fully satisfied!” And quoth she: “I pray Allah by the honor of the Hallows, the ancients and the moderns, that He preserve thee and cause thee continue, O my brother-in-law, and prolong for me thy life. So shalt thou be a wing overshadowing this orphan lad, and he shall ever be obedient to thine orders, nor shall he do aught save whatso thou biddest him thereunto.”
The Maghrabi replied: “O wife of my brother, Aladdin is now a man of sense and the son of goodly folk, and I hope to Allah that he will follow in the footsteps of his sire and cool thine eyes. But I regret that, tomorrow being Friday, I shall not be able to open his shop, as ’tis meeting day when all the merchants, after congregational prayer, go forth to the gardens and pleasaunces. On the Sabbath, however, Inshallah!- an it please the Creator- we will do our business. Meanwhile tomorrow I will come to thee betimes and take Aladdin for a pleasant stroll to the gardens and pleasaunces without the city, which haply he may hitherto not have beheld. There also he shall see the merchants and notables who go forth to amuse themselves, so shall he become acquainted with them and they with him.”
The Maghrabi went away and lay that night in his quarters, and early next morning he came to the tailor’s house and rapped at the door. Now Aladdin (for stress of his delight in the new dress he had donned and for the past day’s enjoyment in the hammam and in eating and drinking and gazing at the folk, expecting futhermore his uncle to come at dawn and carry him off on pleasuring to the gardens) had not slept a wink that night, nor-closed his eyelids, and would hardly believe it when day broke. But hearing the knock at the door, he went out at once in hot haste, like a spark of fire, and opened and saw his uncle, the magician, who embraced him and kissed him. Then, taking his hand, the Moorman said to him as they fared forth together, “O son of my brother, this day will I show thee a sight thou never sawest in all thy life,” and he began to make the lad laugh and cheer him with pleasant talk. So doing, they left the city gate, and the Moroccan took to promenading with Aladdin amongst the gardens and to pointing out for his pleasure the mighty fine pleasaunces and the marvelous high-builded pavilions. And whenever they stood to stare at a garth or a mansion or a palace, the Maghrabi would say to his companion, “Doth this please thee, O son of my brother?”
Aladdin was nigh to fly with delight at seeing sights he had never seen in all his born days, and they ceased not to stroll about and solace themselves until they waxed a-weary, then they entered a mighty grand garden which was near-hand, a place that the heart delighted and the sight belighted, for that its swift-running rills flowed amidst the flowers and the waters jetted from the jaws of lions molded in yellow brass like unto gold. So they took seat over against a lakelet and rested a little while, and Aladdin enjoyed himself with joy exceeding and fell to jesting with his uncle and making merry with him as though the magician were really his father’s brother.
Presently the Maghrabi arose, and loosing his girdle, drew forth from thereunder a bag full of victual, dried fruits and so forth, saying to Aladdin: “O my nephew, haply thou art become a-hungered, so come forward and eat what thou needest.” Accordingly the lad fell upon the food and the Moorman ate with him, and they were gladdened and cheered by rest and good cheer. Then quoth the magician: “Arise, O son of my brother, an thou be reposed, and let us stroll onward a little and reach the end of our walk.” Thereupon Aladdin arose and the Moroccan paced with him from garden to garden until they left all behind them and reached the base of a high and naked hill, when the lad, who during all his days had never issued from the city gate and never in his life had walked such a walk as this, said to the Maghrabi: “O uncle mine, whither are we wending? We have left the gardens behind us one and all and have reached the barren hill country. And if the way be still long, I have no strength left for walking. Indeed I am ready to fall with fatigue. There are no gardens before us, so let us hark back and return to town.” Said the magician: “No, O my son. This is right road, nor are the gardens ended, for we are going to look at one which hath ne’er its like amongst those of the kings, and all thou hast beheld are naught in comparison therewith. Then gird thy courage to walk. Thou art now a man, Alhamdolillah- praise be to Allah!”
Then the Maghrabi fell to soothing Aladdin with soft words and telling him wondrous tales, lies as well as truth, until they reached the site intended by the African magician, who had traveled from the sunset land to the regions of China for the sake thereof. And when they made the place, the Moorman said to Aladdin: “O son of my brother, sit thee down and take thy rest, for this is the spot we are now seeking and, Inshallah, soon will I divert thee by displaying marvel matters whose like not one in the world ever saw, nor hath any solaced himself with gazing upon that which thou art about to behold. But when thou art rested, arise and seek some wood chips and fuel sticks which be small and dry, wherewith we may kindle a fire. Then will I show thee, O son of my brother, matters beyond the range of matter.” Now when the lad heard these words, he longed to look upon what his uncle was about to do and, forgetting his fatigue, he rose forthright and fell to gathering small wood chips and dry sticks, and continued until the Moorman cried to him, “Enough, O son of my brother!”
Presently the magician brought out from his breast pocker a casket, which he opened, and drew from it all he needed of incense. Then he fumigated and conjured and adjured, muttering words none might understand. And the ground straightway clave asunder after thick gloom and quake of earth and bellowings of thunder. Hereat Aladdin was startled and so affrighted that he tried to fly, but when the African magician saw his design, he waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, for that without the lad his work would profit him naught, the hidden hoard which he sought to open being not to be opened save by means of Aladdin. So, noting this attempt to run away, the magician arose, and raising his hand, smote Aladdin on the head a buffet so sore that well-nigh his back teeth were knocked out, and he fell swooning to the ground. But after a time he revived by the magic of the magician, and cried, weeping the while: “O my uncle, what have I done that deserveth from thee such a blow as this?” Hereat the Maghrabi fell to soothing him, and said: “O my son, ’tis my intent to make thee a man. Therefore do thou not gainsay me, for that I am thine uncle and like unto thy father. Obey me, therefore, in all I bid thee, and shortly thou shalt forget all this travail and toil whenas thou shalt look upon the marvel matters I am about to show thee.”
And soon after the ground had cloven asunder before the Moroccan, it displayed a marble slab wherein was fixed a copper ring. The Maghrabi, striking a geomantic table, turned to Aladdin and said to him: “An thou do all I shall bid thee, indeed thou shalt become wealthier than any of the kings. And for this reason, O my son, I struck thee, because here lieth a hoard which is stored in thy name, and yet thou designedst to leave it and to levant. But now collect thy thoughts, and behold how I opened earth by my spells and adjurations. Under yon stone wherein the ring is set lieth the treasure wherewith I acquainted thee. So set thy hand upon the ring and raise the slab, for that none other amongst the folk, thyself excepted, hath power to open it, nor may any of mortal birth save thyself set foot within this enchanted treasury which hath been kept for thee. But ’tis needful that thou learn of me all wherewith I would charge thee, nor gainsay e’en a single syllable of my words. All this, O my child, is for thy good, the hoard being of immense value, whose like the kings of the world never accumulated, and do thou remember that ’tis for thee and me.”
So poor Aladdin forgot his fatigue and buffet and tear-shedding, and he was dumbed and dazed at the Maghrabi’s words and rejoiced that he was fated to become rich in such measure that not even the sultans would be richer than himself. Accordingly he cried: “O my uncle, bid me do all thou pleasest, for I will be obedient unto thy bidding.” The Maghrabi replied: “O my nephew, thou art to me as my own child and even dearer, for being my brother’s son and for my having none other kith and kin except thyself. And thou, O my child, art my heir and successor.” So saying, he went up to Aladdin and kissed him and said: “For whom do I intend these my labors? Indeed, each and every are for thy sake, O my son, to the end that I may leave thee a rich man and one of the very greatest. So gainsay me not in all I shall say to thee, and now go up to yonder ring and uplift it as I bade thee.” Aladdin answered: “O uncle mine, this ring is overheavy for me. I cannot raise it single-handed, so do thou also come forward and lend me strength and aidance toward uplifting it, for indeed I am young in years.” The Moorman replied: “O son of my brother, we shall find it impossible to do aught if I assist thee, and all our efforts would be in vain. But do thou set thy hand upon the ring and pull it up, and thou shalt raise the slab forthright, and in very sooth I told thee that none can touch it save thyself. But whilst haling at it cease not to pronounce thy name and the names of thy father and mother, so ’twill rise at once to thee, nor shalt thou feel its weight.”
Thereupon the lad mustered up strength and girt the loins of resolution and did as the Moroccan had bidden him, and hove up the slab with all ease when he pronounced his name and the names of his parents, even as the magician had bidden him. And as soon as the stone was raised he threw it aside, and there appeared before him a sardab, a souterrain, whereunto led a case of some twelve stairs, and the Maghrabi said: “O Aladdin, collect thy thoughts and do whatso I bid thee to the minutest detail, nor fail in aught thereof. Go down with all care into yonder vault until thou reach the bottom, and there shalt thou find a space divided into four halls, and in each of these thou shalt see four golden jars and others of virgin or and silver. Beware, however, lest thou take aught therefrom or touch them, nor allow thy gown or its skirts even to brush the jars or the walls. Leave them and fare forward until thou reach the fourth hall, without lingering for a single moment on the way. And if thou do aught contrary thereto, thou wilt at once be transformed and become a black stone. When reaching the fourth hall, thou wilt find therein a door, which do thou open, and pronouncing the names thou spakest over the slab, enter therethrough into a garden adorned everywhere with fruit-bearing trees. This thou must traverse by a path thou wilt see in front of thee measuring some fifty cubits long beyond which thou wilt come upon an open saloon, and herein a ladder of some thirty rungs. Thou shalt there find a lamp hanging from its ceiling, so mount the ladder and take that lamp and place it in thy breast pocket after pouring out its contents. Nor fear evil from it for thy clothes, because its contents are not common oil. And on return thou art allowed to pluck from the trees whoso thou pleasest, for all is thine so long as the lamp is in thy hand.”
Now when the Moorman ended his charge to Aladdin, he drew off a seal ring and put it upon the lad’s forefinger, saying: “O my son, verily this signet shall free thee from all hurt and fear which may threaten thee, but only on condition that thou bear in mind all I have told thee. So arise straightway and go down the stairs, strengthening thy purpose and girding the loins of resolution. Moreover, fear not, for thou art now a man and no longer a child. And in shortest time, O my son, thou shalt will thee immense riches and thou shalt become the wealthiest of the world.”
Accordingly, Aladdin arose and descended into the souterrain, where he found the four jars, each containing four jars of gold, and these he passed by as the Moroccan had bidden him, with the utmost care and caution. Thence he fared into the garden and walked along its length until he entered the saloon, where he mounted the ladder and took the lamp, which he extinguished, pouring out the oil which was therein, and placed it in his breast pocket. Presently, descending the ladder, he returned to the garden, where he fell to gazing at the trees, whereupon sat birds glorifying with loud voices their Great Creator. Now he had not observed them as he went in, but all these trees bare for fruitage costly gems. Moreover, each had its own kind of growth and jewels of its peculiar sort and these were of every color, green and white, yellow, red, and other such brilliant hues, and the radiance flashing from these gems paled the rays of the sun in forenoon sheen. Furthermore the size of each stone so far surpassed description that no King of the Kings of the World owned a single gem equal to the larger sort, nor could boast of even one half the size of the smaller kind of them. Aladdin walked amongst the trees and gazed upon them and other things which surprised the sight and bewildered the wits, and as he considered them, he saw that in lieu of common fruits the produce was of mighty fine jewels and precious stones, such as emeralds and diamonds, rubies, spinels, and balases, pearls and similar gems, astounding the mental vision of man.
And forasmuch as the lad had never beheld things like these during his born days, nor had reached those years of discretion which would teach him the worth of such valuables (he being still but a little lad), he fancied that all these jewels were of glass or crystal. So he collected them until he had filled his breast pockets, and began to certify himself if they were or were not common fruits, such as grapes, figs, and suchlike edibles. But seeing them of glassy substance, he, in his ignorance of precious stones and their prices, gathered into his breast pockets every kind of growth the trees afforded, and having failed of his purpose in finding them food, he said in his mind, “I will collect a portion of these glass fruits for playthings at home.” So he fell to plucking them in quantities and cramming them in his pokes and breast pockets till these were stuffed full. After which he picked others which he placed in his waist shawl and then, girding himself therewith, carried off all he availed to, purposing to place them in the house by way of ornaments and, as hath been mentioned, never imagining that they were other than glass.
Then he hurried his pace in fear of his uncle, the Maghrabi, until he had passed through the four halls and lastly on his return reached the souterrain, where he cast not a look at the jars of gold, albeit he was able and allowed to take of the contents on his way back. But when he came to the souterrain stairs and clomb the steps till naught remained but the last, and finding this higher than an the others, he was unable alone and unassisted, burthened moreover as he was, to mount it. So he said to the Maghrabi, “O my uncle, lend me thy hand and aid me to climb.” But the Moorman answered: “O my son, give me the lamp and lighten thy load. Belike ’tis that weighteth thee down.” The lad rejoined: “O my uncle, ’tis not the lamp downweigheth me at all, but do thou lend me a hand, and as soon as I reached ground I will give it to thee.” Hereat the Moroccan, the magician, whose only object was the lamp and none other, began to insist upon Aladdin giving it to him at once. But the lad (forasmuch as he had placed it at the bottom of his breast pocket and his other pouches, being full of gems, bulged outward) could not reach it with his fingers to hand it over, so the wizard after much vain persistency in requiring what his nephew was unable to give fell to raging with furious rage and to demanding the lamp, whilst Aladdin could not get at it. Yet had the lad promised truthfully that he would give it up as soon as he might reach ground, without lying thought or ill intent. But when the Moorman saw that he would not hand it over, he waxed wroth with wrath exceeding and cut off all his hopes of winning it. So he conjured and adjured and cast incense a-middlemost the fire, when forthright the slab made a cover of itself, and by the might of magic lidded the entrance. The earth buried the stone as it was aforetime, and Aladdin, unable to issue forth, remained underground.
Now the sorcerer was a stranger and, as we have mentioned, no uncle of Aladdin’s, and he had misrepresented himself and preferred a lying claim, to the end that he might obtain the lamp by means of the lad for whom this hoard had been upstored. So the accursed heaped the earth over him and left him to die of hunger. For this Maghrabi was an African of Afrikiyah proper, born in the inner Sunset Land, and from his earliest age upward he had been addicted to witchcraft and had studied and practiced every manner of occult science, for which unholy lore the city of Africa is notorious. And he ceased not to read and hear lectures until he had become a past master in all such knowledge. And of the abounding skill in spells and conjurations which he had acquired by the perusing and the lessoning of forty years, one day of the days he discovered by devilish inspiration that there lay in an extreme city of the cities of China, named Al-Kal’as, an immense hoard, the like whereof none of the kings in this world had ever accumulated. Moreover, that the most marvelous article in this enchanted treasure was a wonderful lamp, which whoso possessed could not possibly be surpassed by any man upon earth, either in high degree or in wealth and opulence, nor could the mightiest monarch of the universe attain to the all-sufficiency of this lamp with its might of magical means. When the Maghrabi assured himself by his science and saw that this hoard could be opened only by the presence of a lad named Aladdin, of pauper family and abiding in that very city, and learnt how taking it would be easy and without hardships, he straightway and without stay or delay equipped himself for a voyage to China (as we have already told), and be did what he did with Aladdin fancying that he would become Lord of the Lamp. But his attempt and his hopes were baffled and his work was clean wasted. Whereupon, determining to do the lad die, he heaped up the earth over him by gramarye to the end that the unfortunate might perish, reflecting that “The live man hath no murtherer.” Secondly, he did so with the design that, as Aladdin could not come forth from underground, he would also be impotent to bring out the lamp from the souterrain. So presently he wended his ways and retired to his own land, Africa, a sadder man and disappointed of all his expectations.
Such was the case with the wizard, but as regards Aladdin, when the earth was heaped over him, he began shouting to the Moorman, whom he believed to be his uncle, and praying him to lend a hand that he might issue from the souterrain and return to earth’s surface. But however loudly he cried, none was found to reply. At that moment he comprehended the sleight which the Moroccan had played upon him, and that the man was no uncle, but a liar and a wizard. Then the unhappy despaired of life, and learned to his sorrow that there was no escape for him, so he fell to beweeping with sore weeping the calamity had befallen him. And after a little while he stood up and descended the stairs to see if Allah Almighty had lightened his grief load by leaving a door of issue. So he turned him to the right and to the left, but he saw naught save darkness and four walls closed upon him, for that the magician had by his magic locked all the doors and had shut up even the garden wherethrough the lad erst had passed, lest it offer him the means of issuing out upon earth’s surface, and that he might surely die. Then Aladdin’s weeping waxed sorer and his wailing louder whenas he found all the doors fast shut, for he had thought to solace himself awhile in the garden. But when he felt that all were locked, he fell to shedding tears and lamenting like unto one who hath lost his every hope, and he returned to sit upon the stairs of the flight whereby he had entered the souterrain.
But it is a light matter for Allah (be He exalted and extolled!) whenas He designeth aught to say, “Be,” and it becometh, for that He createth joy in the midst of annoy. And on this wise it was with Aladdin. Whilst the Maghrabi, the magician, was sending him down into the souterrain, he set upon his finger by way of gift a seal ring and said: “Verily this signet shall save thee from every strait an thou fall into calamity and ill shifts of time, and it shall remove from thee all hurt and harm, and aid thee with a strong arm whereso thou mayest be set.” Now this was by Destiny of God the Great, that it might be the means of Aladdin’s escape. For whilst he sat wailing and weeping over his case and cast away all hope of life, and utter misery overwhelmed him, he rubbed his hands together for excess of sorrow, as is the wont of the woeful. Then, raising them in supplication to Allah, he cried, “I testify that there is no God save Thou alone, the Most Great, the Omnipotent, the All-conquering, Quickener of the dead, Creator of man’s need and Granter thereof, Resolver of his difficulties and duress and Bringer of joy, not of annoy. Thou art my sufficiency and Thou art the Truest of Trustees. And I bear my witness that Mohammed is Thy servant and Thine Apostle, and I supplicate Thee, O my God, by his favor with Thee to free me from this my foul plight.”
And whilst implored the Lord and was chafing his hands in the soreness of his sorrow for that had befallen him of calamity, his fingers chanced to rub the ring, when, lo and behold! forthright its familiar rose upright before him and cried: “Adsum! Thy slave between thy hands is come! Ask whatso thou wantest, for that I am the thrall of him on whose hand is the ring, the signet of my lord and master.” Hereat the lad looked at him and saw standing before him a Marid like unto an Ifrit of our lord Solomon’s Jinns. He trembled at the terrible sight, but, hearing the Slave of the Ring say, “Ask whatso thou wantest. Verily, I am thy thrall seeing that the signet of my lord be upon thy finger,” he recovered his spirits and remembered the Moorman’s saying when giving him the ring. So he rejoiced exceedingly and became brave and cried, “Ho, thou slave of the Lord of the Ring, I desire thee to set me upon the face of the earth.” And hardly had he spoken this speech when suddenly the ground clave asunder and he found himself at the door of the hoard and outside it in full view of the world. Now for three whole days he had been sitting in the darkness of the treasury underground, and when the sheen of day and the shine of sun smote his face he found himself unable to keep his eyes open; so he began to unclose the lids a little and to close them a little until his eyeballs regained force and got used to the light and were purged of the noisome murk. Withal he was astounded at finding himself without the hoard door whereby he had passed in when it was opened by the Maghrabi, the magician, especially as the adit had been lidded and the ground had been smoothed, showing no sign whatever of entrance.
Thereat his surprise increased until he fancied himself in another place, nor was his mind convinced that the stead was the same until he saw the spot whereupon they had kindled the fire of wood chips and dried sticks, and where the African wizard had conjured over the incense. Then he turned him rightward and leftward and sighted the gardens from afar and his eyes recognized the road whereby he had come. So he returned thanks to Allah Almighty, Who had restored him to the face of earth and had freed him from death after he had cut off all hopes of life. Presently he arose and walked along the way to the town, which now he knew well, until he entered the streets and passed on to his own home. Then he went in to his mother, and on seeing her, of the overwhelming stress of joy at his escape and the memory of past affright and the hardships he had borne and the pangs of hunger, he fell to the ground before his parent in a fainting fit. Now his mother had been passing sad since the time of his leaving her, and he found her moaning and crying about him. However, on sighting him enter the house she joyed with exceeding joy, but soon was overwhelmed with woe when he sank upon the ground swooning before her eyes. Still, she did not neglect the matter or treat it lightly, but at once hastened to sprinkle water upon his face, and after she asked of the neighbors some scents which she made him snuff up. And when he came round a little, he prayed her to bring him somewhat of food saying, “O my mother, ’tis now three days since I ate anything at all.” Thereupon she arose and brought him what she had by her, then, setting it before him, said: “Come forward, O my son. Eat and be cheered, and when thou shalt have rested, tell me what hath betided and affected thee, O my child. At this present I will not question thee, for thou art aweary in very deed.” Aladdin ate and drank and was cheered, and after he had rested and had recovered spirits he cried:
“Ah, O my mother, I have a sore grievance against thee for leaving me to that accursed wight who strave to compass my destruction and designed to take my life. Know thou that I beheld death with mine own eyes at the hand of this damned wretch, whom thou didst to be my uncle, and had not Almighty Allah rescued me from him, I and thou, O my mother, had been cozened by the excess of this accursed’s promises to work my welfare, and by the great show of affection which he manifested to us. Learn, O my mother, that this fellow is a sorcerer, a Moorman, an accursed, a liar, a traitor, a hypocrite, nor deem I that the devils under the earth are damnable as he. Allah abase him in his every book! Hear then, O my mother, what this abominable one did, and all that I shall tell thee will be soothfast and certain. See how the damned villain brake every promise he made, certifying that he would soon work all good with me. And do thou consider the fondness which he displayed to me and the deeds which he did by me, and all this only to win his wish, for his design was to destroy me. And Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord- for my deliverance. Listen and learn, O my mother, how this accursed entreated me.”
Then Aladdin informed his mother of all that had befallen him, weeping the for stress of gladness- how the Maghrabi had led him to a hill wherein was hidden the hoard and how he had conjured and fumigated, adding: “After which, O my mother, mighty fear gat hold of me when the hill split and the earth gaped before me by his wizardry. And I trembled with terror at the rolling of thunder in mine ears and the murk which fell upon us when he fumigated and muttered spells. Seeing these horrors, I in mine affright desiped to fly, but when he understood mine intent, he reviled me and smote me a buffet so sore that it caused me swoon. However, inasmuch as the treasury was to be opened only by means of me, O my mother, he could not descend therein himself, it being in my name and not in his. And for that he is an ill-omened magician, he understood that I was necessary to him and this was his need of me.” Aladdin acquainted his mother with all that had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the magician, and said:
“After he had buffeted me, he judged it advisable to soothe me in order that he might send me down into the enchanted treasury, and first he drew from his finger a ring, which he placed upon mine. So I descended and found four halls all full of gold and silver, which counted as naught, and the accursed had charged me not to touch aught thereof. Then I entered a mighty fine flower garden everywhere bedecked with tall trees whose foilage and fruitage bewildered the wits, for all, O my mother, were of varicolored glass, and lastly I reached the hall wherein hung this lamp. So I took it straightway and put it out and poured forth its contents.” And so saying, Aladdin drew the lamp from his breast pocket and showed it to his mother, together with the gems and jewels which he had brought from the garden. And there were two large bag pockets full of precious stones, whereof not one was to be found amongst the kings of the world. But the lad knew naught anent their worth, deeming them glass or crystal. And presently he resumed:
“After this, O mother mine, I reached the hoard door carrying the lamp and shouted to the accursed sorcerer which called himself my uncle to lend me a hand and hale me up, I being unable to mount of myself the last step for the overweight of my burthen. But he would not and said only, ‘First hand me the lamp!’ As, however, I had placed it at the bottom of my breast pocket and the other pouches bulged out beyond it, I was unable to get at it and said, ‘O my uncle, I cannot reach thee the lamp, but I will give it to thee when outside the treasury.’ His only need was the lamp, and he designed, O my mother, to snatch it from me and after that slay me, as indeed he did his best to do by heaping the earth over my head. Such then is what befell me from this foul sorcerer.” Hereupon Aladdin fell to abusing the magician in hot wrath and with a burning heart, and crying: “Wellaway! I take refuge from this damned wight, the forswearer the wrongdoer, the forswearer, the lost to all humanity, the archtraitor, the hyprocrite, the annihilator of ruth and mercy.” When Aladdin’s mother heard his words and what had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the magician, she said: “Yea, verily, O my son, he is a miscreant, a hypocrite who murthereth the folk by his magic. But ’twas the grace of Allah Almighty, O my child, that saved thee from the tricks and the treachery of this accursed sorcerer whom I deemed to be truly thine uncle.”
Then, as the lad had not slept a wink for three days and found himself nodding, he sought his natural rest, his mother doing on like wise, nor did he awake till about noon on the second day. As soon as he shook off slumber he called for somewhat of food, being sore a-hungered, but said his mother: “O my son, I have no victual for thee, inasmuch as yesterday thou atest all that was in the house. But wait patiently a while. I have spun a trifle of yarn which I will carry to the market street and sell it and buy with what it may be worth some victual for thee.” “O my mother,” said he, “keep your yarn and sell it not, but fetch me the lamp I brought hither that I may go vend it, and with its price purchase provaunt, for that I deem ’twill bring more money than the spinnings.” So Aladdin’s mother arose and fetched the lamp for her son, but while so doing she saw that it was dirty exceedingly, so that said: “O my son, here is the lamp, but ’tis very foul. After we shall have washed it and polished it ’twill sell better.” Then, taking a handful of sand, she began to rub therewith, but she had only begun when appeared to her one of the Jann, whose favor was frightful and whose bulk was horrible big, and he was gigantic as one of the Jababirah. And forthright he cried to her: “Say whatso thou wantest of me. Here am I, thy slave and slave to whoso holdeth the lamp, and not I alone, but all the Slaves of the Wonderful Lamp which thou hendest in hand.”
She quaked and terror was sore upon her when she looked at that frightful form, and her tongue being tied, she could not return aught reply, never having been accustomed to espy similar semblances. Now her son was standing afar off, and he had already seen the Jinni of the ring which he had rubbed within the treasury, so when he heard the slave speaking to his parent, he hastened forward, and snatching the lamp from her hand, said: “O Slave of the Lamp, I am a-hungered, and ’tis my desire that thou fetch me somewhat to eat, and let it be something toothsome beyond our means.” The Jinni disappeared for an eye twinkle and returned with a mighty fine tray and precious of price, for that ’twas all in virginal silver, and upon it stood twelve golden platters of meats manifold and dainties delicate, with bread snowier than snow; also two silvern cups and as many black jacks full of wine clear-strained and long-stored. And after setting all these before Aladdin, he vanished from vision.
Thereupon the lad went and sprinkled rose-water upon his mother’s face and caused her snuff up perfumes pure and pungent, and said to her when she revived: “Rise, O mother mine, and let us eat of these meats wherewith Almighty Allah hath eased our poverty.” But when she saw that mighty fine silvern tray she fell to marveling at the matter, and quoth she: “O my son, who be this generous, this beneficent one who hath abated our hunger pains and our penury? We are indeed under obligation to him, and meseemeth ’tis the Sultan who, hearing of our mean condition and our misery, hath sent us this food tray.” Quoth he: “O my mother, this be no time for questioning. Arouse thee and let us eat, for we are both a-famished.” Accordingly they sat down to the tray and fell to feeding, when Aladdin’s mother tasted meats whose like in all her time she had never touched. So they devoured them with sharpened appetites and all the capacity engendered by stress of hunger. And secondly, the food was such that marked the tables of the kings. But neither of them knew whether the tray was or was not valuable, for never in their born days had they looked upon aught like it.
As soon as they had finished the meal (withal leaving victual enough for supper and eke for the next day), they arose and washed their hands and sat at chat, when the mother turned to her son and said: “Tell me, O my child, what befell thee from the slave, the Jinni, now that Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord!- we have eaten our full of the good things wherewith He hath favored us and thou hast no pretext for saying to me, ‘I am a-hungered.”‘ So Aladdin related to her all that took place between him and the slave what while she had sunk upon the ground a-swoon for sore terror, and at this she, being seized with mighty great surprise, said: “‘Tis true, for the Jinns do present themselves before the sons of Adam, but I, O my son, never saw them in all my life, and meseemeth that this be the same who saved thee when thou wast within the enchanted hoard.” “This is not he, O my mother. This who appeared before thee is the Slave of the Lamp!” “Who may this be, O my son?” “This be a slave of sort and shape other than he. That was the familiar of the ring, and this his fellow thou sawest was the Slave of the Lamp thou hendest in hand.” And when his parent heard these words she cried: “There! there! So this accursed, who showed himself to me and went nigh unto killing me with affright, is attached to the lamp.” “Yes,” he replied, and she rejoined: “Now I conjure thee, O my son, by the milk wherewith I suckled thee, to throw away from thee this lamp and this ring, because they can cause us only extreme terror, and I especially can never a-bear a second glance at them. Moreover, all intercourse with them is unlawful, for that the Prophet (whom Allah save and assain!) warned us against them with threats.”
He replied: “Thy commands, O my mother, be upon my head and mine eyes, but as regards this saying thou saidest, ’tis impossible that I part or with lamp or with ring. Thou thyself hast seen what good the slave wrought us whenas we were famishing, and know, O my mother, that the Maghrabi, the liar, the magician, when sending me down into the hoard, sought nor the silver nor the gold wherewith the four halls were fulfilled, but charged me to bring him only the lamp (naught else), because in very deed he had learned its priceless value. And had he not been certified of it, he had never endured such toil and trouble, nor had he traveled from his own land to our land in search thereof, neither had he shut me up in the treasury when he despaired of the lamp which I would not hand to him. Therefore it besitteth us, O my mother, to keep this lamp and take all care thereof, nor disclose its mysteries to any, for this is now our means of livelihood and this it is shall enrich us. And likewise as regards the ring, I will never withdraw it from my finger, inasmuch as but for this thou hadst nevermore seen me on life- nay, I should have died within the hoard underground. How then can I possibly remove it from my finger? And who wotteth that which may betide me by the lapse of time, what trippings or calamities or injurious mishaps wherefrom this ring may deliver me? However, for regard to thy feelings I will stow away the lamp, nor ever suffer it to be seen of thee hereafter.” Now when his mother heard his words and pondered them, she knew they were true and said to him: “Do, O my son, whatso thou willest. For my part, I wish never to see them nor ever sight that frightful spectacle I erst saw.”
Aladdin and his mother continued eating of the meats brought them by the Jinni for two full told days till they were finished. But when he learned that nothing of food remained for them, he arose and took a platter of the platters which the slave had brought upon the tray. Now they were all of the finest gold, but the lad knew naught thereof, so he bore it to the bazaar and there, seeing a man which was a Jew, a viler than the Satans, offered it to him for sale. When the Jew espied it, he took the lad aside that none might see him, and he looked at the platter and considered it till he was certified that it was of gold refined. But he knew not whether Aladdin was acquainted with its value or he was in such matters a raw laddie, so he asked him, “For how much, O my lord, this platter?” and the other answered, “Thou wottest what be its worth.” The Jew debated with himself as to how much he should offer, because Aladdin had returned him a craftsmanlike reply, and he thought of the smallest valuation. At the same time he feared lest the lad, haply knowing its worth, should expect a considerable sum. So he said in his mind, “Belike the fellow is an ignoramus in such matters, nor is ware of the price of the platter.” Whereupon he pulled out of his pocket a dinar, and Aladdin eyed the gold piece lying in his palm and, hastily taking it, went his way, whereby the Jew was certified of his customer’s innocence of all such knowledge, and repented with entire repentance that he had given him a golden dinar in lieu of a copper carat, a bright-polished groat.
However, Aladdin made no delay, but went at once to the baker’s, where he bought him bread and changed the ducat. Then, going to his mother, he gave her the scones and the remaining small coin and said, “O my mother, hie thee and buy thee all we require.” So she arose and walked to the bazaar and laid in the necessary stock, after which they ate and were cheered. And whenever the price of the platter was expended, Aladdin would take another and carry it to the accursed Jew, who brought each and every at a pitiful price; and even this he would have minished but, seeing how he had paid a dinar for the first, he feared to offer a lesser sum, lest the lad go and sell to some rival in trade and thus he lose his usurious gains. Now when all the golden platters were sold, there remained only the silver tray whereupon they stood, and for that it was large and weighty, Aladdin brought the Jew to his house and produced the article when the buyer, seeing its size, gave him ten dinars, and these being accepted, went his ways.
Aladdin and his mother lived upon the sequins until they were spent, then he brought out the lamp and rubbed it, and straightway appeared the slave who had shown himself aforetime. And said the lad: “I desire that thou bring me a tray of food like unto that thou broughtest me erewhiles, for indeed I am famisht.” Accordingly, in the glance of an eye the slave produced a similar tray supporting twelve platters of the most sumptuous, furnished with requisite cates, and thereon stood clean bread and sundry glass bottles of strained wine. Now Aladdin’s mother had gone out when she knew he was about to rub the lamp, that she might not again look upon the Jinni; but after a while she returned, and when she sighted the tray covered with silvern platters and smelt the savor of the rich meats diffused over the house, she marveled and rejoiced. Thereupon quoth he: “Look, O my mother! Thou badest me throw away the lamp. See now its virtues,” and quoth she, “O my son, Allah increase his weal, but I would not look upon him.” Then the lad sat down with his parent to the tray and they ate and drank until they were satisfied, after which they removed what remained for use on the morrow.
As soon as the meats had been consumed, Aladdin arose and stowed away under his clothes a platter of the platters and went forth to find the Jew, purposing to sell it to him, but by fiat of Fate he passed by the shop of an ancient jeweler, an honest man and a pious who feared Allah. When the Sheikh saw the lad, he asked him, saying: “O my son, what dost thou want? For that times manifold have I seen thee passing hereby and having dealings with a Jewish man, and I have espied thee handing over to him sundry articles. Now also I fancy thou hast somewhat for sale and thou seekest him as a buyer thereof. But thou wottest not, O my child, that the Jews ever hold lawful to them the good of Moslems, the confessors of Allah Almighty’s unity, and always defraud them, especially this accursed Jew with whom thou hast relations and into whose hands thou hast fallen. If then, O my son, thou have aught thou wouldest sell, show the same to me and never fear, for I will give thee its full price, by the truth of Almighty Allah.”
Thereupon Aladdin brought out the platter, which when the ancient goldsmith saw, he took and weighed it in his scales and asked the lad, saying, “Was it the fellow of this thou soldest to the Jew?” “Yes, its fellow and its brother,” he answered, and quoth the old man, “What price did he pay thee?” Quoth the lad, “One dinar.” The ancient goldsmith, hearing from Aladdin how the Jew used to give only one dinar as the price of the platter, cried, “Ah! I take refuge from this accursed who cozeneth the servants of Allah Almighty!” Then, looking at the lad, he exclaimed: “O my son, verily yon tricksy Jew hath cheated thee and laughed at thee, this platter being pure silver and virginal. I have weighed it and found it worth seventy dinars, and, if thou please to take its value,-take it.” Thereupon the Sheikh counted out to him seventy gold pieces, which he accepted, and presently thanked him for his kindness in exposing the Jew’s rascality.
And after this, whenever the price of a platter was expended, he would bring another, and on such wise he and his mother were soon in better circumstances. Yet they ceased not to live after their olden fashion as middle-class folk, without spending on diet overmuch or squandering money. But Aladdin had now thrown off the ungraciousness of his boyhood. He shunned the society of scapegraces and he began to frequent good men and true, repairing daily to the market street of the merchants and there companying with the great and small of them, asking about matters of merchandise and learning the price of investments and so forth. He likewise frequented the bazaars of the goldsmiths and the jewelers, where he would sit and divert himself by inspecting their precious stones and by noting how jewels were sold and bought therein. Accordingly, he presently became ware that the tree truits wherewith he had filled his pockets what time he entered the enchanged treasury were neither glass nor crystal, but gems rich and rare, and he understood that he had acquired immense wealth such as the kings never can possess. He then considered all the precious stones which were in the jewelers’ quarter, but found that their biggest was not worth his smallest.
On this wise he ceased not every day repairing to the bazaar and making himself familiar with the folk and winning their loving will, and inquiring anent selling and buying, giving and taking, the dear and the cheap, until one day of the days when, after rising at dawn and donning his dress he went forth, as was his wont, to the jewelers’ bazaar and as he passed along it he heard the crier crying as follows: “By command of our magnificent master, the King of the Time and the Lord of the Age and the Tide, let all the folk lock up their shops and stores and retire within their houses, for that the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, designeth to visit the hammam. And whoso gainsayeth the order shall be punished with death penalty, and be his blood upon his own neck!” But when Aladdin heard the proclamation, he longed to look upon the King’s daughter and said in his mind, “Indeed all the lieges talk of her beauty and loveliness, and the end of my desires is to see her.” Then Aladdin fell to contriving some means whereby he might look upon the Princess Badr al-Budur, and at last judged best to take his station behind the hammam door, whence he might see her face as she entered. Accordingly, without stay or delay he repaired to the baths before she was expected and stood a-rear of the entrance, a place whereat none of the folk happened to be looking.
Now when the Sultan’s daughter had gone the rounds of the city and its main streets and had solaced herself by sight-seeing, she finally reached the hammam, and whilst entering she raised her veil and Aladdin saw her favor, he said: “In very truth her fashion magnifieth her Almighty Fashioner, and glory be to Him Who created her and adorned her with this beauty and loveliness.” His strength was struck down from the moment he saw her and his thoughts were distraught. His gaze was dazed, the love of her gat hold of the whole of his heart, and when he returned home to his mother, he was as one in ecstasy. His parent addressed him, but he neither replied nor denied, and, when she set before him the morning meal he continued in like case, so quoth she: “O my son, what is’t may have befallen thee? Say me, doth aught ail thee? Let me know what ill hath betided thee, for, unlike thy custom, thou speakest not when I bespeak thee.” Thereupon Aladdin (who used to think that all women resembled his mother and who, albeit he had heard of the charms of Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, yet knew not what “beauty” and “loveliness” might signify) turned to his parent and exclaimed, “Let me be!” However, she persisted in praying him to come forward and eat, so he did her bidding, but hardly touched food. After which he lay at full length on his bed all the night through in cogitation deep until morning morrowed.
The same was his condition during the next day, when his mother was perplexed for the case of her son and unable to learn what had happened to him. So, thinking that belike he might be ailing, she drew near him and asked him, saying: “O my son, an thou sense aught of pain or suchlike, let me know, that I may fare forth and fetch thee the physician. And today there be in this our city a leech from the land of the Arabs whom the Sultan hath sent to summon, and the bruit abroad reporteth him to be skillful exceedingly. So, an be thou ill, let me go and bring him to thee.” Aladdin, hearing his parent’s offer to summon the mediciner, said: “O my mother, I am well in body and on no wise ill. But I ever thought that all women resembled thee until yesterday, when I beheld the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, as she was faring for the baths.”
Then he related to her all and everything that had happened to him, adding: “Haply thou also hast heard the crier a-crying: ‘Let no man open shop or stand in street that the Lady Badr al-Budur may repair to the hammam without eye seeing her.’ But I have looked upon her even as she is, for she raised her veil at the door, and when I viewed her favor and beheld that noble work of the Creator, a sore fit of ecstasy, O my mother, fell upon me for love of her, and firm resolve to win her hath opened its way into every limb of me, nor is repose possible for me except I win her. Wherefor I purpose asking her to wife from the Sultan, her sire, in lawful wedlock.” When Aladdin’s mother heard her son’s words, she belittled his wits and cried: “O my child, the name of Allah upon thee! Meseemeth thou hast lost thy senses. But be thou rightly guided, O my son, nor be thou as the men Jinn-maddened!” He replied: “Nay, O mother of mine, I am not out of my mind, nor am I of the maniacs, nor shall this thy saying alter one jot of what is in my thoughts. For rest is impossible to me until I shall have won the dearling of my heart’s core, the beautiful Lady Badr al-Budur. And now I am resolved to ask her of her sire the Sultan.”
She rejoined: “O my son, by my life upon thee, speak not such speech, lest any overhear thee and say thou be insane. So cast away from thee such nonsense! Who shall undertake a matter like this, or make such request to the King? Indeed, I know not how, supposing thy speech to be soothfast, thou shalt manage to crave such grace of the Sultan, or through whom thou desirest to propose it.” He retorted: “Through whom shall I ask it, O my mother, when thou art present? And who is there fonder and more faithful to me than thyself? So my design is that thou thyself shalt proffer this my petition.” Quoth she: “O my son, Allah remove me far therefrom! What! Have I lost my wits, like thyself? Cast the thought away, and a long way, from thy heart. Remember whose son thou art, O my child, the orphan boy of a tailor, the poorest and meanest of the tailors toiling in this city; and I, thy mother, am also come of pauper folk and indigent. How then durst thou ask to wife the daughter of the Sultan, whose sire would not deign marry her with the sons of the kings and the sovereigns, except they were his peers in honor and grandeur and majesty, and were they but one degree lower, he would refuse his daughter to them.” Aladdin took patience until his parent had said her say, when quoth he: “O my mother, everything thou hast called to mind is known to me. Moreover, ’tis thoroughly well known to me that I am the child of pauper parents, withal do not these words of thee divert me from my design at all, at all. Nor the less do I hope of thee, an I be thy son and thou truly love me, that thou grant me this favor. Otherwise thou wilt destroy me, and present death hovereth over my head except I win my will of heart’s dearling. And I, O my mother, am in every case thy child.”
Hearing these words, his parent wept of her sorrow for him and said: “O my child! Yes, in very deed I am thy mother, nor have I any son or life’s blood of my liver except thyself, and the end of my wishes is to give thee a wife and rejoice in thee. But suppose that I would seek a bride of our likes and equals, her people will at once ask an thou have any land or garden, merchandise or handicraft, wherewith thou canst support her, and what is the reply I can return? Then, if I cannot possibly answer the poor like ourselves, how shall I be bold enough, O my son, to ask for the daughter of the Sultan of China land, who hath no peer or behind or before him? Therefore do thou weigh this matter in thy mind. Also who shall ask her to wife for the son of a snip? Well indeed I wot that my saying aught of this kind will but increase our misfortunes, for that it may be the cause of our incurring mortal danger from the Sultan- peradventure even death for thee and me.
“And, as concerneth myself, how shall I venture upon such rash deed and perilous, O my son? And in what way shall I ask the Sultan for his daughter to be thy wife, and indeed how ever shall I even get access to him? And should I succeed therein, what is to be my answer an they ask me touching thy means? Haply the King will hold me to be a madwoman. And lastly, suppose that I obtain audience of the Sultan, what offering is there I can submit to the King’s majesty? ‘Tis true, O my child, that the Sultan is mild and merciful, never rejecting any who approach him to require justice or ruth or protection, nor any who pray him for a present, for he is liberal and lavisheth favor upon near and far. But he dealeth his boons to those deserving them, to men who have done some derring-do in battle under his eyes or have rendered as civilians great service to his estate. But thou! Do thou tell me what feat thou hast performed in his presence or before the public that thou meritest from him such grace? And secondly, this boon thou ambitionest is not for one of our condition, nor is it possible that the King grant to thee the bourne of thine aspiration. For whoso goeth to the Sultan and craveth of him a favor, him it besitteth to take in hand somewhat that suiteth the royal majesty, as indeed I warned thee aforetime. How, then, shalt thou risk thyself to stand before the Sultan and ask his daughter in marriage when thou hast with thee naught to offer him of that which beseemeth his exalted station?”
Hereto Aladdin replied: “O my mother, thou speakest to the point and hast reminded me aright, and ’tis meet that I revolve in mind the whole of thy remindings. But, O my mother, the love of Princess Badr al-Budur hath entered into the core of my heart, nor can I rest without I win her. However, thou hast also recalled to me a matter which I forgot, and ’tis this emboldeneth me to ask his daughter of the King. Albeit thou, O my mother, declarest that I have no gift which I can submit to the Sultan, as is the wont of the world, yet in very sooth I have an offering and a present whose equal, O my mother, I hold none of the kings to possess- no, even aught like it. Because verily that which I deemed glass or crystal was nothing but precious stones, and I hold that all the kings of the world have never possessed anything like one of the smallest thereof. For by frequenting the jeweler folk I have learned that they are the costliest gems, and these are what I brought in my pockets from the hoard, whereupon, an thou please, compose thy mind.
“We have in our house a bowl of China porcelain, so arise thou and fetch it, that I may fill it with these jewels, which thou shalt carry as a gift to the King, and thou shalt stand in his presence and solicit him for my requirement. I am certified that by such means the matter will become easy to thee, and if thou be unwilling, O my mother, to strive for the winning of my wish as regards the Lady Badr al-Budur, know thou that surely I shall die. Nor do thou imagine that this gift is of aught save the costliest of stones, and be assured, O my mother, that in my many visits to the jewelers’ bazaar I have observed the merchants selling for sums man’s judgment may not determine jewels whose beauty is not worth one quarter-carat of what we possess, seeing which I was certified that ours are beyond all price. So arise, O my mother, as I bade thee, and bring me the porcelain bowl aforesaid, that I may arrange therein some of these gems, and we will see what semblance they show.”
So she brought him the china bowl, saying in herself, “I shall know what to do when I find out if the words of my child concerning these jewels be soothfast or not.” And she set it before her son, who pulled the stones out of his pockets and disposed them in the bowl, and ceased not arranging therein gems of sorts till such time as he had filled it. And when it was brimful, she could not fix her eyes firmly upon it; on the contrary, she winked and blinked for the dazzle of the stones and their radiance and excess of lightninglike glance, and her wits were bewildered thereat. Only she was not certified of their value being really of the enormous extent she had been told. Withal she reflected that possibly her son might have spoken aright when he declared that their like was not to be found with the kings. Then Aladdin turned to her and said: “Thou hast-seen, O my mother, that this present intended for the Sultan is magnificent, and I am certified that it will procure for thee high honor with him, and that he will receive thee with all respect. And now, O my mother, thou hast no excuse, so compose thy thoughts and arise. Take thou this bowl, and away with it to the palace.”
His mother rejoined: “O my son, ’tis true that the present is highpriced exceedingly and the costliest of the costly, also that according to thy word none owneth its like. But who would have the boldness to go and ask the Sultan for his daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur? I indeed dare not say to him, ‘I want thy daughter!’ when he shall ask me, ‘What is thy want?’ For know thou, O my son, that my tongue will be tied. And granting that Allah assist me and I embolden myself to say to him, ‘My wish is to become a connection of thine through the marriage of thy daughter the Lady Badr al-Budur, to my son Aladdin,’ they will surely decide at once that I am demented and will thrust me forth in disgrace and despised. I will not tell thee that I shall thereby fall into danger of death, for ’twill not be I only, but thou likewise. However, O my son, of my regard for thine inclination I needs must embolden myself and hie thither. Yet, O my. child, if the King receive me and honor me on account of the gift and inquire of me what thou desirest, and in reply I ask of him that which thou desirest in the matter of thy marriage with his daughter, how shall I answer him and he ask me, as is man’s wont, ‘What estates hast thou, and what income?’ And perchance, O my son, he will question me of this before questioning me of thee.”
Aladdin replied: “‘Tis not possible that the Sultan should make such demand what time he considereth the jewels and their magnificence, nor is it meet to think of such things as these, which may never occur. Now do thou but arise and set before him this present of precious stones and ask of him his daughter for me, and sit not yonder making much of the difficulty in thy fancy. Ere this thou hast learned, O mother mine, that the lamp which we possess hath become to us a stable income, and that whatso I want of it the same is supplied to me. And my hope is that by means thereof I shall learn how to answer the Sultan should he ask me of that thou sayest.” Then Aladdin and his mother fell to talking over the subject all that night long, and when morning morrowed, the dame arose and heartened her heart, especially as her son had expounded to her some little of the powers of the lamp and the virtues thereof; to wit, that it would supply all they required of it. Aladdin, however, seeing his parent take courage when he explained to her the workings of the lamp, feared lest she might tattle to the folk thereof, so he said to her: “O my mother, beware how thou talk to any of the properties of the lamp and its profit, as this is our one great good. Guard thy thoughts lest thou speak overmuch concerning it before others, whoso they be. Haply we shall lose it and lose the boon fortune we possess and the benefits we expect, for that ’tis of him.” His mother replied, “Fear not therefor, O my son,” and she arose and took the bowl full of jewels, which she wrapped up in a fine kerchief, and went forth betimes that she might reach the Divan ere it became crowded.
When she passed into the palace, the levee not being fully attended, she saw the wazirs and sundry of the lords of the land going into the presence room, and after a short time, when the Divan was made complete by the Ministers and high officials and chieftains and emirs and grandees, the Sultan appeared, and the wazirs made their obeisance and likewise did the nobles and the notables. The King seated himself upon the throne of his kingship, and all present at the levee stood before him with crossed arms awaiting his commandment to sit, and when they received it, each took his place according to his degree. Then the claimants came before the Sultan, who delivered sentence, after his wonted way, until the Divan was ended, when the King arose and withdrew into the palace and the others all went their ways. And when Aladdin’s mother saw the throne empty and the King passing into his harem, she also wended her ways and returned home. But as soon as her son espied her, bowl in hand, he thought that haply something untoward had befallen her, but he would not ask of aught until such time as she had set down the bowl, when she acquainted him with that had occurred and ended by adding: “Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord!- O my child, that I found courage enough and secured for myself standing place in the levee this day. And, albe’ I dreaded to bespeak the King yet (Inshallah!) on the morrow I will address him. Even today were many who, like myself, could not get audience of the Sultan. But be of good cheer, O my son, and tomorrow needs must I bespeak him for thy sake, and what happened not may happen.” When Aladdin heard his parent’s words, he joyed with excessive joy, and, although he expected the matter to be managed hour by hour, for excess of his love and longing to the Lady Badr al-Budur, yet he possessed his soul in patience.
They slept well that night, and betimes next morning the mother of Aladdin arose and went with her bowl to the King’s Court, which she found closed. So she asked the people and they told her that the Sultan did not hold a levee every day, but only thrice in the sennight, wherefor she determined to return home. And after this, whenever she saw the Court open she would stand before the King until the reception ended, and when it was shut she would go to make sure thereof, and this was the case for the whole month. The Sultan was wont to remark her presence at every levee, but on the last day when she took her station, as was her wont, before the Council, she allowed it to close, and lacked boldness to come forward and speak even a syllable. Now as the King, having risen, was making for his harem accompanied by the Grand Wazir, he turned to him and said: “O Wazir, during the last six or seven levee days I see yonder old woman present herself at every reception, and I also note that she always carrieth a something under her mantilla. Say me, hast thou, O Wazir, any knowledge of her and her intention?” “O my lord the Sultan,” said the other, “verily women be weakly of wits, and haply this goodwife cometh hither to complain before thee against her goodman or some of her people.” But this reply was far from satisfying the Sultan- nay, he bade the Wazir, in case she should come again, set her before him, and forthright the Minister placed hand on head and exclaimed, “To hear is to obey, O our lord the Sultan!”
Now one day of the days, when she did according to her custom, the Sultan cast his eyes upon her as she stood before him and said to his Grand Wazir: “This be the very woman whereof I spake to thee yesterday, so do thou straightway bring her before me, that I may see what be her suit and fulfill her need.” Accordingly the Minister at once introduced her, and when in the presence she saluted the King by kissing her finger tips and raising them to her brow, and, praying for the Sultan’s glory and continuance and the permanence of his prosperity, bussed ground before him. Thereupon quoth he: “O woman, for sundry days I have seen thee attend the levee sans a word said, so tell me an thou have any requirement I may grant.” She kissed ground a second time and after blessing him, answered: “Yea, verily, as thy head liveth, O King of the Age, I have a want. But first of all do thou deign grant me a promise of safety, that I may prefer my suit to the ears of our lord the Sultan, for haply thy Highness may find it a singular.” The King, wishing to know her need, and being a man of unusual mildness and clemency, gave his word for her immunity and bade forthwith dismiss all about him, remaining without other but the Grand Wazir. Then he turned toward his suppliant and said: “Inform me of thy suit. Thou hast the safeguard of Allah Almighty.” “O King of the Age,” replied she, “I also require of thee pardon,” and quoth he, “Allah pardon thee even as I do.”
Then quoth she: “O our lord the Sultan, I have a son, Aladdin hight, and he, one day of the days, having heard the crier commanding all men to shut shop and shun the streets for that the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, was going to the hammam, felt an uncontrollable longing to look upon her, and hid himself in a stead whence he could sight her right well, and that place was behind the door of the baths. When she entered, he beheld her and considered her as he wished, and but too well, for since the time he looked upon her, O King of the Age, unto this hour, life hath not been pleasant to him. And he hath required of me that I ask her to wife for him from thy Highness, nor could I drive this fancy from his mind, because love of her hath mastered his vitals and to such degree that he said to me, ‘Know thou, O mother mine, that an I win not my wish surely I shall die.’ Accordingly I hope that thy Highness will deign be mild and merciful and pardon this boldness on the part of me and my child and refrain to punish us therefor.”
When the Sultan heard her tale, he regarded her with kindness and, laughing aloud, asked her, “What may be that thou carriest, and what be in yonder kerchief?” And she, seeing the Sultan laugh in lieu of waxing wroth at her words, forthright opened the wrapper and set before him the bowl of jewels, whereby the audience hall was illumined as it were by lusters and candelabra. And he was dazed and amazed at the radiance of the rare gems, and he fell to marveling at their size and beauty and excellence and cried: “Never at all until this day saw I anything like these jewels for size and beauty and excellence, nor deem I that there be found in my Treasury a single one like them.” Then he turned to his Minister and asked: “What sayest thou, O Wazir? Tell me, hast thou seen in thy time such mighty fine jewels as these?” The other answered: “Never saw I such, O our lord the Sultan, nor do I think that there be in the treasures of my lord the Sultan the fellow of the least thereof.” The King resumed: “Now indeed whoso hath presented to me such jewels meriteth to become bridegroom to my daughter, Badr al-Budur, because, as far as I see, none is more deserving of her than he.” When the Wazir heard the Sultan’s words, he was tongue-tied with concern, and he grieved with sore grief, for the King had promised to give the Princess in marriage to his son. So after a little while he said: “O King of the Age, thy Highness deigned promise me that the Lady Badr al-Budur should be spouse to my son, so ’tis but right that thine Exalted Highness vouchsafe us a delay of three months, during which time, Inshallah! my child may obtain and present an offering yet costlier than this.” Accordingly the King, albeit he knew that such a thing could not be done, or by the Wazir or by the greatest of his grandees, yet of his grace and kindness granted him the required delay.
Then he turned to the old woman, Aladdin’s mother, and said: “Go to thy son and tell him I have pledged my word that my daughter shall be in his name. Only ’tis needful that I make the requisite preparations of nuptial furniture for her use, and ’tis only meet that he take patience for the next three months.” Receiving this reply, Aladdin’s mother thanked the Sultan and blessed him, then, going forth in hottest haste, as one flying for joy, she went home. And when her son saw her entering with a smiling face, he was gladdened at the sip of good news, especially because she had returned without delay, as on the past days, and had not brought back the bowl. Presently he asked her saying: “Inshallah, thou bearest me, O my mother, glad tidings, and peradventure the jewels and their value have wrought their work, and belike thou hast been kindly received by the King and he hath shown thee grace and hath given ear to thy request?” So she told him the whole tale, how the Sultan had entreated her well and had marveled at the extraordinary size of the gems and their surpassing water, as did also the Wazir, adding: “And he promised that his daughter should be thine. Only, O my child, the Wazir spake of a secret contract made with him by the Sultan before he pledged himself to me and, after speaking privily, the King put me off to the end of three months. Therefore I have become fearful lest the Wazir be evilly disposed to thee, and perchance he may attempt to change the Sultan’s mind.”
When Aladdin heard his mother’s words and how the Sultan had promised him his daughter, deferring, however, the wedding until after the third month, his mind was gladdened and he rejoiced exceedingly and said: Inasmuch as the King hath given his word after three months (well, it is a long time!), at all events my gladness is mighty great.” Then he thanked his parent, showing her how her good work had exceeded her toil and travail, and said to her: “By Allah, O my mother, hitherto I was as ’twere in my grave and therefrom thou hast withdrawn me. And I praise Allah Almighty because I am at this moment certified that no man in the world is happier than I, or more fortunate.” Then he took patience until two of the three months had gone by.
Now one day of the days his mother fared forth about sundown to the bazaar that she might buy somewhat of oil, and she found all the market shops fast shut and the whole city decorated, and the folk placing waxen tapers and flowers at their casements. And she beheld the soldiers and household troops and agas riding in procession, and flambeaux and lusters flaming and flaring, and she wondered at the marvelous sight and the glamour of the scene. So she went in to an ouman’s store which stood open still and bought her need of him and said: “By thy life, O uncle, tell me what be the tidings in town this day, that people have made all these decorations and every house and market street are adorned and the troops all stand on guard?” The oilman asked her, “O woman, I suppose thou art a stranger, and not one of this city?” and she answered, “Nay, I am thy townswoman.” He rejoined: “Thou a townswoman, and yet wottest not that this very night the son of the Grand Wazir goeth in to the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan! He is now in the hammam, and all this power of soldiery is on guard and standing under arms to await his coming forth, when they will bear him in bridal procession to the palace, where the Princess expecteth him.”
As the mother of Aladdin heard these words, she grieved and was distraught in thought and perplexed how to inform her son of this sorrowful event, well knowing that the poor youth was looking, hour by hour, to the end of the three months. But she returned straightway home to him, and when she entered she said, “O my son, I would give thee certain tidings, yet hard to me will be the sorrow they shall occasion thee.” He cried, “Let me know what be thy news,” and she replied: “Verily the Sultan hath broken his promise to thee in the matter of the Lady Badr al-Budur, and this very night the Grand Wazir’s son goeth in to her. And for some time, O my son, I have suspected that the Minister would change the King’s mind, even as I told thee how he had spoken privily to him before me.” Aladdin asked: “How learnedst thou that the Wazir’s son is this night to pay his first visit to the Princess?” So she told him the whole tale, how when going to buy oil she had found the city decorated and the eunuch officials and lords of the land with the troops under arms awaiting the bridegroom from the baths, and that the first visit was appointed for that very night.
Hearing this, Aladdin was seized with a fever of jealousy brought on by his grief. However, after a short while he remembered the lamp and, recovering his spirits, said: “By thy life, O my mother, do thou believe that the Wazir’s son will not enjoy her as thou thinkest. But now leave we this discourse, and arise thou and serve up supper, and after eating let me retire to my own chamber and all will be well and happy.” After he had supped Aladdin retired to his chamber and, locking the door, brought out the lamp and rubbed it, whenas forthright appeared to him its familiar, who said: “Ask whatso thou wantest, for I am thy slave and slave to him who holdeth the lamp in hand, I and all the Slaves of the Lamp.” He replied: “Hear me! I prayed the Sultan for his daughter to wife and he plighted her to me after three months, but he hath not kept his word- nay, he hath given her to the son of the Wazir, and this very night the bridegroom will go in to her. Therefore I command thee (an thou be a trusty servitor to the lamp), when thou shalt see bride and bridegroom bedded together this night, at once take them up and bear them hither abed. And this be what I want of thee.” The Marid replied, “Hearing and obeying, and if thou have other service but this, do thou demand of me all thou desirest.” Aladdin rejoined, “At the present time I require naught save that I bade thee do.”
Hereupon the slave disappeared and Aladdin returned to pass the rest of the evening with his mother. But at the hour when he knew that the servitor would be coming, he arose and retired to his chamber, and after a little while, behold, the Marid came, bring to him the newly wedded couple upon their bridal bed. Aladdin rejoiced to see them with exceeding joy, then he cried to the slave, “Carry yonder gallowsbird hence and lay him at full length in the privy.” His bidding was done straightway, but before leaving him, the slave blew upon the bridegroom a blast so cold that it shriveled him, and the plight of the Wazir’s son became piteous. Then the servitor, returning to Aladdin, said to him, “An thou require aught else, inform me thereof,” and said the other, “Return a-morn, that thou mayest restore them to their stead,” whereto, “I hear and obey,” quoth the Marid, and evanished.
Presently Aladdin arose, hardly believing that the affair had been such a success for him, but whenas he looked upon the Lady Badr al-Budur lying under his own roof, albeit he had long burned with her love, yet he preserved respect for her and said: “O Princess of fair ones, think not that I brought thee hither to minish thy honor. Heaven forfend! Nay, ’twas only to prevent the wrong man enjoying thee, for that thy sire, the Sultan, promised thee to me. So do thou rest in peace.” When the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, saw herself in that mean and darksome lodging, and heard Aladdin’s words, she was seized with fear and trembling and waxed clean distraught, nor could she return aught of reply. Presently the youth arose, and stripping off his outer dress, placed a scimitar between them and lay upon the bed beside the Princess. And he did no villain deed, for it sufficed him to prevent the consummation of her nuptials with the Wazir’s son. On the other hand, the Lady Badr al-Budur passed a night the evilest of all nights, nor in her born days had she seen a worse. And the same was the case with the Minister’s son, who lay in the chapel of ease and who dared not stir for the fear of the Jinni which overwhelmed him.
As soon as it was morning the slave appeared before Aladdin without the lamp being rubbed, and said to him: “O my lord, an thou require aught, command me therefor, that I may do it upon my head and mine eyes.” Said the other: “Go, take up and carry the bride and bridegroom to their own apartment.” So the servitor did his bidding in an eye glance and bore away the pair and placed them in the palace as whilom they were and without their seeing anyone. But both died of affright when they found themselves being transported from stead to stead. And the Marid had barely time to set them down and wend his ways ere the Sultan came on a visit of congratulation to his daughter. And when the Wazir’s son heard the doors thrown open, he sprang straightway from his couch and donned his dress, for he knew that none save the King could enter at that hour. Yet it was exceedingly hard for him to leave his bed, wherein he wished to warm himself a trifle after his cold night in the watercloset which he had lately left. The Sultan went in to his daughter, Badr al-Budur, and, kissing her between the eyes, gave her good morning and asked her of her bridegroom and whether she was pleased and satisfied with him. But she returned no reply whatever and looked at him with the eye of anger, and although he repeated his words again and again, she held her peace, nor bespake him with a single syllable.
So the King quitted her and, going to the Queen, informed her of what had taken place, between him and his daughter, and the mother, unwilling to leave the Sultan angered with their child, said to him: “O King of the Age, this be the custom of most newly married couples, at least during their first days of marriage, for that they are bashful and somewhat coy. So deign thou excuse her, and after a little while she will again become herself and speak with the folk as before, whereas now her shame, O King of the Age, keepeth her silent. However, ’tis my wish to fare forth and see her.” Thereupon the Queen arose and donned her dress, then, going to her daughter, wished her good morning and kissed her between the eyes. Yet would the Princess make no answer at all, whereat quoth the Queen to herself: “Doubtless some strange matter hath occurred to trouble her with such trouble as this.” So she asked her, saying: “O my daughter, what hath caused this thy case? Let me know what hath betided thee that when I come and give thee good morniing, thou hast not a word to say to me.” Thereat the Lady Badr al-Budur raised her head and said: “Pardon me, O my mother, ’twas my duty to meet thee with all respect and worship, seeing that thou hast honored me by this visit. However, I pray thee to hear the cause of this my condition and see how the night I have just spent hath been to me the evilest of the nights. Hardly had we lain down, O my mother, than one whose form I wot not uplifted our bed and transported it to a darksome place, fulsome and mean.”
Then the Princess related to the Queen Mother all that had befallen her that night- how they had taken away her bridegroom, leaving her lone and lonesome, and how after a while came another youth who lay beside her in lieu of her bridegroom, after placing his scimitar between her and himself. “And in the morning,” she continued, “he who carried us off returned and bore us straight back to our own stead. But at once when he arrived hither he left us, and suddenly my sire, the Sultan, entered at the hour and moment of our coming and I had nor heart nor tongue to speak him withal, for the stress of the terror and trembling which came upon me. Haply such lack of duty may have proved sore to him, so I hope, O my mother, that thou wilt acquaint him with the cause of this my condition, and pardon me for not answering him and blame me not, accept my excuses.”
When the Queen heard these words of Princess Badr al-Budur, she said to her: “O my child, compose thy thoughts. An thou tell such tale before any, haply shall he say, ‘Verily, the Sultan’s daughter hath lost her wits.’ And thou hast done right well in not choosing to recount thine adventure to thy father, and beware, and again I say beware, O my daughter, lest thou inform him thereof.” The Princess replied: “O my mother, I have spoken to thee like one sound in senses, nor have I lost my wits. This be what befell me, and if thou believe it not because coming from me, ask my bridegroom.” To which the Queen replied: “Rise up straightway, O my daughter, and banish from thy thoughts such fancies as these. And robe thyself and come forth to glance at the bridal feasts and festivities they are making in the city for the sake of thee and thy nuptials, and listen to the drumming and the singing and look at the decorations all intended to honor thy marriage, O my daughter.”
So saying, the Queen at once summoned the tirewoman, who dressed and prepared the Lady Badr al-Budur, and presently she went in to the Sultan and assured him that their daughter had suffered during all her wedding night from swevens and nightmare, and said to him, “Be not severe with her for not answering thee.” Then the Queen sent privily for the Wazir’s son and asked of the matter, saying, “Tell me, are these words of the Lady Badr al-Budur soothfast or not?” But he, in his fear of losing his bride out of hand, answered, “O my lady, I have no knowledge of that whereof thou speakest.” Accordingly the mother made sure that her daughter had seen visions and dreams. The marriage feasts lasted throughout that day with almes and singers and the smiting of all manner instruments of mirth and merriment, while the Queen and the Wazir and his son strave right strenuously to enhance the festivities that the Princess might enjoy herself. And that day they left nothing of what exciteth to pleasure unrepresented in her presence, to the end that she might forget what was in her thoughts and derive increase of joyance.
Yet did naught of this take any effect upon her- nay, she sat in silence, sad of thought, sore perplexed at what had befallen her during the last night. It is true that the Wazir’s son had suffered even more he had passed his sleeping hours lying in the watercloset. He, however had falsed the story and had cast out remembrance of the night, in the first place for his fear of losing his bride and with her the honor of a connection which brought him such excess of consideration and for which men envied him so much, and secondly, on account of the wondrous loveliness of the Lady Badr al-Budur and her marvelous beauty.
Aladdin also went forth that day and looked at the merrymakings, which extended throughout the city as well as the palace, and he fell a-laughing, especially when he heard the folk prating of the high honor which had accrued to the son of the Wazir and the prosperity of his fortunes in having become son-in-law to the Sultan, and the high consideration shown by the wedding fetes. And he said in his mind: “Indeed ye wot not, O ye miserables, what befell him last night, that ye envy him!” But after darkness fell and it was time for sleep, Aladdin arose and, retiring to his chamber, rubbed the lamp, whereupon the slave incontinently appeared and was bidden to bring him the Sultan’s daughter, together with her bridegroom, as on the past night, ere the Wazir’s son could abate her maidenhead. So the Marid without stay or delay evanished for a little while until the appointed time, when he returned carrying the bed whereon lay the Lady Badr al-Budur and the Wazir’s son. And he did with the bridegroom as he had done before; to wit, he took him and laid him at full length in the jakes and there left him dried-up for excess of fear and trembling. Then Aladdin arose and, placing the scimitar between himself and the Princess, lay down beside her, and when day broke the slave restored the pair to their own place, leaving Aladdin filled with delight at the state of the Minister’s son.
Now when the Sultan woke up a-morn, he resolved to visit his daughter and see if she would treat him as on the past day. So, shaking off his sleep, he sprang up and arrayed himself in his raiment, and going to the apartment of the Princess, bade open the door. Thereat the son of the Wazir arose forthright and came down from his bed and began donning his dress whilst his ribs were wrung with cold. For when the King entered the slave had but just brought him back. The Sultan, raising the arras, drew near his daughter as she lay abed and gave her good morning. Then, kissing her between the eyes, he asked her of her case. But he saw her looking sour and sad, and she answered him not at all only glowering at him as one in anger, and her plight was pitiable. Hereat the Sultan waxed wroth with her for that she would not reply, and he suspected that something evil had befallen her, whereupon he bared his blade and cried to her, brand in hand, saying: “What be this hath betided thee? Either acquaint me with what happened or this very moment I will take thy life! Is such conduct the token of honor and respect I expect of thee, that I address thee and thou answerest me not a word?”
When the Lady Badr al-Budur saw her sire in high dudgeon and the naked glaive in his grip, she was freed from her fear of the past, so she raised her head and said to him: “O my beloved father, be not wroth with me, nor be hasty in thy hot passion, for I am excusable in what thou shalt see of my case. So do thou lend an ear to what occurred to me, and well I wot that after hearing my account of what befell to me during these two last nights, thou wilt pardon me, and thy Highness will be softened to pitying me even as I claim of thee affection for thy child.” Then the Princess informed her father of all that had betided her, adding: “O my sire, an thou believe me not, ask my bridegroom and he will recount to thy Highness the whole adventure. Nor did I know either what they would do with him when they bore him away from my side or where they would place him.” When the Sultan heard his daughter’s words, he was saddened and his eyes brimmed with tears, then he sheathed his saber and kissed her, saying: “O my daughter, wherefore didst thou not tell me what happened on the past night, that I might have guarded thee from this torture and terror which visited thee a second time? But now ’tis no matter. Rise and cast out all such care, and tonight I will set a watch to ward thee, nor shall any mishap again make thee miserable.”
Then the Sultan returned to his palace and straightway bade summon the Grand Wazir and asked him as he stood before him in his service: “O Wazir, how dost thou look upon this matter? Haply thy son hath informed thee of what occurred to him and to my daughter.” The Minister replied, “O King of the Age, I have not seen my son or yesterday or today.” Hereat the Sultan told him all that had afflicted the Princess, adding: “‘Tis my desire that thou at once seek tidings of thy son concerning the facts of the case. Peradventure of her fear my daughter may not be fully aware of what really befell her, withal I hold all her words to be truthful.” So the Grand Wazir arose, and going forth, bade summon his son and asked him anent all his lord had told him whether it be true or untrue. The youth replied: “O my father the Wazir, Heaven forbid that the Lady Badr al-Budur speak falsely. Indeed all she said was sooth, and these two nights proved to us the evilest of our nights instead of being nights of pleasure and marriage joys. But what befell me was the greater evil, because instead of sleeping abed with my bride, I lay in the wardrobe, a black hole, frightful, noisome of stench, truly damnable, and my ribs were bursten with cold.” In fine, the young man told his father the whole tale, adding as he ended it: “O dear father mine, I implore thee to speak with the Sultan that he may set me free from this marriage. Yes, indeed ’tis a high honor for me to be the Sultan’s son-in-law, and especially the love of the Princess hath gotten hold of my vitals, but I have no strength left to endure a single night like unto these two last.”
The Wazir, hearing the words of his son, was saddened and sorrowful exceedingly, for it was his desire to advance and promote his child by making him son-in-law to the Sultan. So he became thoughtful and perplexed about the affair and the device whereby to manage it, and it was sore grievous for him to break off the marriage, it having been a rare enjoyment to him that he had fallen upon such high good fortune. Accordingly he said: “Take patience, O my son, until we see what may happen this night, when we will set watchmen to ward you. Nor do thou give up the exalted distinction which hath fallen to none save to thyself.” Then the Wazir left him and, returning to the sovereign, reported that all told to him by the Lady Badr al-Budur was a true tale. Whereupon quoth the Sultan, “Since the affair is on this wise, we require no delay,” and he at once ordered all the rejoicings to cease and the marriage to be broken off. This caused the folk and the citizens to marvel at the matter, especially when they saw the Grand Wazir and his son leaving the palace in pitiable plight for grief and stress of passion, and the people fell to asking, “What hath happened, and what is the cause of the wedding being made null and void?”
Nor did any know aught of the truth save Aladdin, the lover who claimed the Princess’s hand, and he laughed in his sleeve. But even after the marriage was dissolved, the Sultan forgot nor even recalled to mind his promise made to Aladdin’s mother, and the same was the case with the Grand Wazir, while neither had any inkling of whence befell them that which had befallen. So Aladdin patiently awaited the lapse of the three months after which the Sultan had pledged himself to give him to wife his daughter. But soon as ever the term came, he sent his mother to the Sultan for the purpose of requiring him to keep his covenant. So she went to the palace, and when the King appeared in the Divan and saw the old woman standing before him, he remembered his promise to her concerning the marriage after a term of three months, and he turned to the Minister and said: “O Wazir, this be the ancient dame who presented me with the jewels and to whom we pledged our word that when the three months had elapsed we would summon her to our presence before all others.” So the Minister went forth and fetched her, and when she went in to the Sultan’s presence she saluted him and prayed for his glory and permanence of prosperity. Hereat the King asked her if she needed aught, and she answered: “O King of the Age, the three months’ term thou assignedst to me is finished, and this is thy time to my son Aladdin with thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur.”
The Sultan was distraught at this demand, especially when he saw the old woman’s pauper condition, one of the meanest of her kind, and yet the offering she had brought to him was of the most magnificent, far beyond his power to pay the price. Accordingly he turned to the Grand Wazir and said: “What device is there with thee? In very sooth I did pass my word, yet meseemeth that they be pauper folk, and not persons of high condition.” The Grand Wazir, who was dying of envy and who was especially saddened by what had befallen his son, said to himself, “How shall one like this wed the King’s daughter and my son lose this highmost honor?” Accordingly he answered his sovereign, speaking privily: “O my lord, ’tis an easy matter to keep off a poor devil such as this, for he is not worthy that thy Highness give his daughter to a fellow whom none knoweth what he may be.” “By what means,” inquired the Sultan, “shall we put off the man when I pledged my promise, and the word of the kings is their bond?” Replied the Wazir: “O my lord, my rede is that thou demand of him forty platters made of pure sand gold and full of gems (such as the woman brought thee aforetime), with forty white slave girls to carry the platters and forty black eunuch slaves.” The King rejoined: “By Allah, O Wazir, thou hast spoken to the purpose, seeing that such thing is not possible, and by this way we shall be freed.”
Then quoth he to Aladdin’s mother: “Do thou go and tell thy son that I am a man of my word even as I plighted it to him, but on condition that he have power to pay the dower of my daughter. And that which I require of him is a settlement consisting of twoscore platters of virgin gold, all brimming with gems the like of those thou broughtest to me, and as many white handmaids to carry them and twoscore black eunuch slaves to serve and escort the bearers. An thy son avail hereto, I will marry him with my daughter.” Thereupon she returned home wagging her head and saying in her mind: “Whence can my poor boy procure these platters and such jewels? And granted that he return to the enchanted treasury and pluck them from the trees- which, however, I hold impossible- yet given that he bring them, whence shall he come by the girls and the blacks?” Nor did she leave communing with herself till she reached her home, where she found Aladdin awaiting her, and she lost no time in saying: “O my son, did I not tell thee never to fancy that thy power would extend to the Lady Badr al-Budur, and that such a matter is not possible to folk like ourselves?”
“Recount to me the news,” quoth he, so quoth she: “O my child, verily the Sultan received me with all honor according to his custom, and meseemeth his intentions toward us be friendly. But thine enemy is that accursed Wazir, for after I addressed the King in thy name as thou badest me say, ‘In very sooth the promised term is past,’ adding, “Twere well an thy Highness would deign issue commandment for the espousals of thy daughter the Lady Badr al-Budur to my son Aladdin,’ he turned to and addressed the Minister, who answered privily, after which the Sultan gave me his reply.” Then she enumerated the King’s demand and said: “O my son, he indeed expecteth of thee an instant reply, but I fancy that we have no answer for him.” When Aladdin heard these words, he laughed and said: “O my mother, thou affirmest that we have no answer and thou deemest the case difficult exceedingly, but compose thy thoughts and arise and bring me somewhat we may eat. And after we have dined, an the Compassionate be willing, thou shalt see my reply. Also the Sultan thinketh like thyself that he hath demanded a prodigious dower in order to divert me from his daughter, whereas the fact is that he hath required of me a matter far less than I expected. But do thou fare forth at once and purchase the provision and leave me to procure thee a reply.”
So she went out to fetch her needful from the bazaar and Aladdin retired to his chamber and, taking the lamp, rubbed it, when forthright appeared to him its slave and said, “Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest.” The other replied: “I have demanded of the Sultan his daughter to wife, and he hath required of me forty bowls of purest gold each weighing ten pounds and all to be filled with gems such as we find in the gardens of the hoard; furthermore, that they be borne on the heads of as many white handmaids, each attended by her black eunuch slave, also forty in full rate. So I desire that thou bring all these into my presence.” “Hearkening and obeying, O my lord,” quoth the slave and, disappearing for the space of an hour or so, presently returned bringing the platters and jewels, handmaids and eunuchs. Then, setting them before him, the Marid cried: “This be what thou demandest of me. Declare now an thou want any matter or service other than this.” Aladdin rejoined: “I have need of naught else, but an I do, I will summon thee and let thee know.”
The slave now disappeared, and after a little while, Aladdin’s mother returned home, and on entering the house, saw the blacks and the handmaids. Hereat she wondered and exclaimed, “All this proceedeth from the lamp which Allah perpetuate to my son!” But ere she doffed her mantilla Aladdin said to her: “O my mother, this be thy time. Before the Sultan enter his seraglio palace do thou carry to him what he required, and wend thou with it at once, so may he know that I avail to supply all he wanteth and yet more. Also that he is beguiled by his Grand wazir, and the twain imagined vainly that they would baffle me.” Then he arose forthright and opened the house door, when the handmaids and blackamoors paced forth in pairs, each girl with her eunuch besider her, until they crowded the quarter, Aladdin’s mother foregoing them. And when the folk of that ward sighted such mighty fine sight and marvelous spectacle, all stood at gaze and they considered the forms and figures of the handmaids, marveling at their beauty and loveliness, for each and every wore robes inwrought with gold and studded with jewels, no dress being worth less than a thousand dinars. They stared as intently at the bowls, and albeit these were covered with pieces of brocade, also orfrayed and dubbed with precious stones, yet the sheen outshot from them dulled the shine of sun.
Then Aladdin’s mother walked forward and all the handmaids and eunuchs paced behind her in the best of ordinance and disposition, and the citizens gathered to gaze at the beauty of the damsels, glorifying God the Most Great, until the train reached the palace and entered it accompanied by the tailor’s widow. Now when the agas and chamberlains and army officers beheld them, all were seized with surprise, notably by seeing the handmaids, who each and every would ravish the reason of an anchorite. And albeit the royal chamberlains and officials were men of family, the sons of grandees and emirs, yet they could not but especially wonder at the costly dresses of the girls and the platters borne upon their heads, nor could they gaze at them open-eyed by reason of the exceeding brilliance and radiance. Then the nabobs went in and reported to the King, who forthright bade admit them to the presence chamber, and Aladdin’s mother went in with them.
When they stood before the Sultan, all saluted him with every sign of respect and worship and prayed for his glory and prosperity. Then they set down from their heads the bowls at his feet and, having removed the brocade covers, rested with arms crossed behind them. The Sultan wondered with exceeding wonder, and was distraught by the beauty of the handmaids and their loveliness, which passed praise. And his wits were wildered when he considered the golden bowls brimful of gems which captured man’s vision, and he was perplexed at the marvel until he became like the dumb, unable to utter a syllable for the excess of his wonder. Also his sense was stupefied the more when he bethought him that within an hour or so all these treasures had been collected. Presently he commanded the slave girls to enter, with what loads they bore, the dower of the Princess, and when they had done his bidding, Aladdin’s mother came forward and said to the Sultan: “O my lord, this be not much wherewith to honor the Lady Badr al-Budur, for that she meriteth these things multiplied times manifold.”
Hereat the sovereign turned to the Minister and asked: “What sayest thou, O Wazir? Is not he who could produce such wealth in a time so brief, is he not, I say, worthy to become the Sultan’s son-in-law and take the King’s daughter to wife?” Then the Minister (although he marveled at these riches even more than did the Sultan), whose envy was killing him and growing greater hour by hour, seeing his liege lord satisfied with the moneys and the dower and yet being unable to fight against fact, made answer, “‘Tis not worthy of her.” Withal he fell to devising a device against the King, that he might withhold the Lady Badr al-Budur from Aladdin, and accordingly he continued: “O my liege, the treasures of the universe all of them are not worth a nail paring of thy daughter. Indeed thy Highness hath prized these things overmuch in comparison with her.”
When the King heard the words of his Grand Wazir, he knew that the speech was prompted by excess of envy, so, turning to the mother of Aladdin, he said: “O woman, go to thy son and tell him that I have accepted of him the dower and stand to my bargain, and that my daughter be his bride and he my son-in-law. Furthermore, bid him at once make act of presence that I may become familiar with him. He shall see naught from me save all honor and consideration, and this night shall be the beginning of the marriage festivities. Only, as I said to thee, let him come to me and tarry not.” Thereupon Aladdin’s mother returned home with the speed of the storm winds that she might hasten her utmost to congratulate her son, and she flew with joy at the thought that her boy was about to become son-in-law to the Sultan.
After her departure the King dismissed the Divan and, entering the palace of the Princess, bade them bring the bowls and the handmaids before him and before her, that she also might inspect them. But when the Lady Badr al-Budur considered the jewels, she waxed distraught and cried: “Meseemeth that in the treasuries of the world there be not found one jewel rivaling these jewels.” Then she looked at the handmaids and marveled at their beauty and loveliness, and knew that all this came from her new bridegroom, who had sent them in her service. So she was gladdened, albeit she had been grieved and saddened on account of her former husband, the Wazir’s son, and she rejoiced with exceeding joy when she gazed upon the damsels and their charms. Nor was her sire, the Sultan, less pleased and inspirited when he saw his daughter relieved of an her mourning and melancholy, and his own vanished at the sight of her enjoyment. Then he asked her: “O my daughter, do these things divert thee? Indeed I deem that this suitor of thine be more suitable to thee than the son of the Wazir, and right soon, Inshallah! O my daughter, thou shalt have fuller joy with him.”
Such was the case with the King, but as regards Aladdin, as soon as he saw his mother entering the house with face laughing for stress of joy he rejoiced at the sign of glad tidings and cried: “To Allah alone be lauds! Perfected is an I desired.” Rejoined his mother: “Be gladdened at my good news, O my son, and hearten thy heart and cool thine eyes for the winning of thy wish. The Sultan hath accepted thine offering- I mean the moneys and the dower of the Lady Badr al-Budur, who is now thine affianced bride. And this very night, O my child, is your marriage and thy first visit to her, for the King, that he might assure me of his word, hath proclaimed to the world thou art his son-in-law, and promised this night to be the night of going in. But he also said to me, ‘Let thy son come hither forthright that I may become familiar with him and receive him with all honor and worship.’ And now here am I, O my son, at the end of my labors. Happen whatso may happen, the rest is upon thy shoulders.”
Thereupon Aladdin arose and kissed his mother’s hand and thanked her, enhancing her kindly service. Then he left her and, entering his chamber, took the lamp and rubbed it, when, lo and behold! its slave appeared and cried: “Adsum! Ask whatso thou wantest.” The young man replied: “‘Tis my desire that thou take me to a hammam whose like is not in the world. Then fetch me a dress so costly and kingly that no royalty ever owned its fellow.” The Marid replied, “I hear and I obey,” and carried him to baths such as were never seen by the Kings of the Chosroes, for the building was all of alabaster and camelian, and it contained marvelous limnings which captured the sight, and the great hall was studded with precious stones. Not a soul was therein, but when Aladdin entered, one of the Jann in human shape washed him and bathed him to the best of his desire. Aladdin after having been washed and bathed, left the baths and went into the great hall, where he found that his old dress had been removed and replaced by a suit of the most precious and princely. Then he was served with sherbets and ambergrised coffee, and after drinking he arose and a party of black slaves came forward and clad him in the costliest of clothing, then perfumed and fumigated him. It is known that Aladdin was the son of a tailor, a pauper, yet now would none deem him to be such- nay, all would say: “This be the greatest that is of the progeny of the kings. Praise be to Him Who changeth and Who is not changed!”
Presently came the Jinni and, lifting him up, bore him to his home, and asked, “O my lord, tell me, hast thou aught of need?” He answered: “Yes, ’tis my desire that thou bring me eight and forty Mamelukes, of whom two dozen shall forego me and the rest follow me, the whole number with their war chargers and clothing and accouterments. And all upon them and their steeds must be of naught save of highest worth and the costliest, such as may not be found in treasuries of the kings. Then fetch me a stallion fit for the riding of the Chosroes and let his furniture, all thereof, be of gold crusted with the finest gems. Fetch me also eight and forty thousand dinars, that each white slave may carry a thousand gold pieces. ‘Tis now my intent to fare to the, Sultan, so delay thou not, for that without an these requisites whereof I bespake thee I may no visit him. Moreover, set before me a dozen slave girls unique in beauty and dight with the most magnificent dresses, that they wend with my mother to the royal palace, and let every handmaid be robed in raiment that befitteth Queen’s wearing.” The slave replied, “To hear is to obey,” and, disappearing for an eye twinkling, brought all he was bidden bring, and led by hand a stallion whose rival was not amongst the Arabian Arabs, and its saddlecloth was of splendid brocade gold-in-wrought.
Thereupon, without stay or delay, Aladdin sent for his mother and gave her the garments she should wear and committed to her charge the twelve slave girls forming her suite to the palace. Then he sent one of the Mamelukes whom the Jinni had brought to see if the Sultan had left the seraglio or not. The white slave went forth lighter than the lightning and, returned in like haste, said, “O my lord, the Sultan awaiteth thee!” Hereat Aladdin arose and took horse, his Mamelukes riding a-van and arear of him, and they were such that all must cry, “Laud to the Lord Who created them and clothed them with such beauty and loveliness!” And they scattered gold amongst the crowd in front of their master, who surpassed them all in comeliness and nor needest thou ask concerning the sons of the kings- praise be to the Bountiful, the Eternal! All this was of the virtues of the wonderful lamp, which whoso possessed, him it gifted with fairest favor and finest figure, with wealth and with wisdom. The folk admired Aladdin’s liberality and exceeding generosity, and all were distraught seeing his charms and elegance, his gravity and his good manners. They glorified the Creator for this noble creation, they blessed him each and every, and albeit they knew him for the son of Such-a-one, the tailor, yet no man envied him- nay, all owned that he deserved his great good fortune.
Now the Sultan had assembled the lords of the land and, informing them of the promise he had passed to Aladdin touching the marriage of his daughter, had bidden them await his approach and then go forth, one and all, to meet him and greet him. Hereupon the emirs and wazirs, the chamberlains, the nabobs and the army officers, took their stations expecting him at the palace gate. Aladdin would fain have dismounted at the outer entrance, but one of the nobles, whom the King had deputed for such duty, approached him and said, “O my lord, ’tis the royal command that thou enter riding thy steed, nor dismount except at the Divan door.” Then they all forewent him in a body and conducted him to the appointed place, where they crowded about him, these to hold his stirrup and those supporting him on either side whilst others took him by the hands and helped him dismount. After which all the emirs and nobles preceded him into the Divan and led him close up to the royal throne.
Thereupon the Sultan came down forthright from his seat of estate and, forbidding him to buss the carpet, embraced and kissed and seated him to the right of and beside himself. Aladdin did whatso is suitable in the case of the kings of salutation and offering of blessings, and said: “O our lord the Sultan, indeed the generosity of thy Highness demanded that thou deign vouchsafe to me the hand of thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur, albeit I undeserve the greatness of such gift, I being but the humblest of thy slaves. I pray Allah grant thee prosperity and perpetuance, but in very sooth, O King, my tongue is helpless to thank thee for the fullness of the favor, passing all measure, which thou hast bestowed upon me. And I hope of thy Highness that thou wilt give me a piece of ground fitted for a pavilion which shall besit thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur.” The Sultan was struck with admiration when he saw Aladdin in his princely suit and looked upon him and considered his beauty and loveliness, and noted the Mamelukes standing to serve him in their comeliness and seemlihed. And still his marvel grew when the mother of Aladdin approached him in costly raiment and sumptuous, clad as though she were a queen, and when he gazed upon the twelve handmaids standing before her with crossed arms and with all worship and reverence doing her service. He also considered the eloquence of Aladdin and his delicacy of speech, and he was astounded thereat, he and all his who were present at the levee.
Thereupon fire was kindled in the Grand Wazir’s heart for envy of Aladdin until he was like to die. And it was worse when the Sultan, after hearing the youth’s succession of prayers and seeing his high dignity of demeanor, respectful withal, and his eloquence and elegance of language, clasped him to his bosom and kissed him and cried, “Alas, O my son, that I have not enjoyed thy converse before this day!” He rejoiced in him with mighty great joy and straightway bade the music and the bands strike up. Then he arose and taking the yotith, led him into the palace, where supper had been prepared, and the eunuchs at once laid the tables. So the sovereign sat down and seated his son-in-law on his right side, and the wazirs and high officials and lords of the land took places each according to his degree, whereupon the bands played and a mighty fine marriage feast was dispread in the palace. The King now applied himself to making friendship with Aladdin and conversed with the youth, who answered him with all courtesy and eloquence, as though he had been bred in the palaces of the kings or he had lived with them his daily life. And the more the talk was prolonged between them, the more did the Sultan’s pleasure and delight increase, hearing his son-in-law’s readiness of reply and his sweet flow of language.
But after they had eaten and drunken and the trays were removed, the King bade summon the kazis and witnesses, who presently attended and knitted the knot and wrote out the contract writ between Aladdin and the Lady Badr al-Budur. And presently the bridegroom arose and would have fared forth, when his father-in-law withheld him and asked: “Whither away, O my child? The bride fetes have begun and the marriage is made and the tie is tied and the writ is written.” He replied: “O my lord the King, ’tis my desire to edify, for the Lady Badr al-Budur, a pavilion befitting her station and high degree, nor can I visit her before so doing. But, Inshallah! the building shall be finished within the shortest time, by the utmost endeavor of thy slave and by the kindly regard of thy Hihgness. And although I do (yes indeed!) long to enjoy the society of the Lady Badr al-Budur, yet ’tis incumbent of me first to serve her, and it becometh me to set about the work forthright.” “Look around thee, O my son,” replied the Sultan, “for what ground thou deemest suitable to thy design, and do thou take all things into thy hands. But I deem the best for thee will be yonder broad plain facing my palace, and if it please thee, build thy pavilion thereupon.” “And this,” answered Aladdin, “is the sum of my wishes, that I may be near-hand to thy Highness.
So saying, he farewelled the King and took horse, with his Mamelukes riding before him and behind him, and all the world blessed him and cried, “By Allah he is deserving,” until such time as he reached his home. Then he alighted from his stallion and repairing to his chamber, rubbed the lamp and behold, the slave stood before him and said, “Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest,” and Aladdin rejoined: “I require thee of a service grave and important which thou must do for me, and ’tis that thou build me with all urgency a pavillion fronting the palace of the Sultan. And it must be a marvel for it shall be provided with every requisite, such as royal furniture and so forth.” The slave replied, “To hear is to Obey,” and evanished, and before the next dawn brake returned to Aladdin and said: “O my lord, the pavilion is finished to the fullest of thy fancy, and if thou wouldst inspect it, arise forthright and fare with me.”
Accordingly he rose up, and the slave carried him in the space of an eye glance to the pavilion, which when looked upon it struck him with surprise at such building, all its stones being of jasper and alabaster, Sumaki marble and mosaicwork. Then the slave led him into the treasury, which was full of all manner of gold and silver and costly gems, not to be counted or computed, priced or estimated. Thence to another place, where Aladdin saw all requisites for the table, plates and dishes, spoons and ladles, basins and covers, cups and tasses, the whole of precious metal. Thence to the kitchen, where they found the kitcheners provided with their needs and cooking batteries, likewise golden and silvern. Thence to a warehouse piled up with chests full-packed of royal raiment, stuffs that captured the reason, such as gold-wrought brocades from India and China and kimcobs or orfrayed cloths. Thence to many apartments replete with appointments which beggar description. Thence to the stables containing coursers whose like was not to be met with amongst the kings of the universe. And lastly they went to the harness rooms all hung with housings, costly saddles, and other furniture, everywhere studded with pearls and precious stones. And all this was the work of one night.
Aladdin was wonder-struck and astounded by that magnificent display of wealth, which not even the mightiest monarch on earth could produce, and more so to see his pavilion fully provided with eunuchs and handmaids whose beauty would reduce a saint. Yet the Prime marvel of the pavilion was an upper kiosque or belvedere of four and twenty windows all made of emeralds and rubies and other gems, and one window remained unfinished at the requirement of Aladdin, that the Sultan might prove him impotent to complete it. When the youth had inspected the whole edifice, he was pleased and gladdened exceedingly. Then, turning to the slave, he said: “I require of thee still one thing which is yet wanting and whereof I had forgotten to tell thee.” “Ask, O my lord, thy want,” quoth the servitor, and quoth the other: “I demand of thee a carpet of the primest brocade all gold-inwrought which, when unrolled and outstretched, shall extend hence to the Sultan’s palace, in order that the Lady Badr al-Budur may, when coming hither, pace upon it and not tread common earth.” The slave departed for a short while and said on his return, “O my lord, verily that which thou demandest is here.” Then he took him and showed him a carpet, which wildered the wits, and it extended from palace to pavillion. And after this the servitor bore off Aladdin and set him down in his own home.
Now day was brightening, so the Sultan rose from his sleep and throwing open the casement, looked out and espied opposite his palace a palatial pavilion ready edified. Thereupon he fell to rubbing his eyes and opening them their widest and considering the scene, and he soon was certified that the new edifice was mighty fine, and grand enough to bewilder the wits. Moreover, with amazement as great he saw the carpet dispread between palace and pavilion. Like their lord, also the royal doorkeepers and the household, one and all, were dazed and amazed at the spectacle. Meanwhile the Wazir came in, and as he entered, espied the newly builded pavilion and the carpet, whereat he also wondered. And when he went in to the Sultan, the twain fell to talking on this marvelous matter with great surprise at a sight which distracted the gazer and attracted the heart. They said finally, “In very truth, of this pavilion we deem that none of the royalties could build its fellow,” and the King, turning to the Minister, asked him: “Hast thou seen now that Aladdin is worthy to be the husband of the Princess, my daughter? Hast thou looked upon and considered this right royal building, this magnificence of opulence, which thought of man cannot contain?” But the Wazir in his envy of Aladdin replied: “O King of the Age, indeed this foundation and this building and this opulence may not be save by means of magic, nor can any man in the world, be he the richest in good or the greatest in governance, avail to found and finish in a single night such edifice as this.” The Sultan rejoined: “I am surprised to see in thee how thou dost continually harp on evil opinion of Aladdin, but I hold that ’tis caused by thine envy and jealousy. Thou wast present when I gave him the ground at his own prayer for a place whereon he might build a pavilion wherein to lodge my daughter, and I myself favored him with a site for the same, and that too before thy very face. But however that be, shall one who could send me as dower for the Princess such store of such stones whereof the kings never obtained even a few, shall he, I say, be unable to edify an edifice like this?” When the Wazir heard the Sultan’s words, he knew that his lord loved Aladdin exceedingly, so his envy and malice increased. only, as he could do nothing against the youth, he sat silent, and impotent to return a reply.
But Aladdin, seeing that it was broad day and the appointed time had come for his repairing to the Place (where his wedding was being celebrated and the emirs and wazirs and grandees were gathered together about the Sultan to be present at the ceremony), arose and rubbed the lamp, and when its slave appeared and said, “O my lord, ask whatso thou wantest, for I stand before thee and at thy service,” said he: “I mean forthright to seek the palace, this day being my wedding festival, and I want thee to supply me with ten thousand dinars.” The slave evanished for an eye twinkling and returned bringing the moneys, when Aladdin took horse with his Mamelukes a-van and arear and passed on his way, scattering as he went gold pieces upon the lieges until all were fondly affected toward him and his dignity was enhanced. But when he drew near the palace, and the emirs and agas and army officers who were standing to await him noted his approach, they hastened straightway to the King and gave him the tidings thereof, whereupon the Sultan rose and met his son-in-law and, after embracing and kissing him, led him, still holding his hand, into his own apartment, where he sat down and seated him by his right side.
The city was all decorated and music rang through the palace and the singers sang until the King bade bring the noon meal, when the eunuchs and Mamelukes hastened to spread the tables and trays which are such as are served to the kings. Then the Sultan and Aladdin and the lords of the land and the grandees of the realm took their seats and ate and drank until they were satisfied. And it was a mighty fine wedding in city and palace, and the high nobles all rejoiced therein and the commons of the kingdom were equally gladdened, while the governors of provinces and nabobs of districts flocked from far regions to witness Aladdin’s marriage and its processions and festivities. The Sultan also marveled in his mind to look at Aladdin’s mother and recall to mind how she was wont to visit him in pauper plight while her son could command an this opulence and magnificence. And when the spectators who crowded the royal palace to enjoy the wedding feasts looked upon Aladdin’s pavilion and beauties of the building, they were seized with an immense surprise, that so vast an edifice as this could be reared on high during a single night, and they blessed the youth and cried: “Allah gladden him: By Allah, he deserveth all this! Allah bless his days!”
When dinner was done, Aladdin rose and, farewelling the Sultan, took horse with his Mamelukes and rode to his own pavilion, that he might prepare to receive therein his bride, the Lady Badr al-Budur. And as he passed, all the folk shouted their good wishes with one voice and their words were: “Allah gladden thee! Allah increase thy glory! Allah grant thee length of life!” while immense crowds of people gathered to swell the marriage procession, and they conducted him to his new home, he showering gold upon them during the whole time. When he reached his pavilion, he dismounted and walked in and sat him down on the divan, whilst his Mamelukes stood before him with arms afolded. Also after a short delay they brought him sherbets, and when these were drunk, he ordered his white slaves and handmaids and eunuchs and all who were in the pavilion to make ready for meeting the Lady Badr al-Budur. Moreover, as soon as midafternoon came and the air had cooled and the great heat of the sun was abated, the Sultan bade his army officers and emirs and wazirs go down into the maydan plain, whither he likewise rode. And Aladdin also took horse with his Mamelukes, he mounting a stallion whose like was not among the steeds of the, Arab al-Arba, and he showed his horsemanship in the hippodrome, and so played with the jarid that none could withstand him, while his bride sat gazing upon him from the latticed balcony of her bower and, seeing in him such beauty and cavalarice, she fell headlong in love of him and was like to fly for joy. And after they had ringed their horses on the maydan and each had displayed whatso he could of horsemanship, Aladdin proving himself the best man of all, they rode in a body to the Sultan’s palace and the youth also returned to his own pavilion.
But when it was evening, the wazirs and nobles took the bridegroom and, falling in, escorted him to the royal hamman (known as the Sultani), when he was bathed. and perfumed. As soon as he came out he donned a dress more magnificent than the former and took horse with the emirs and the soldier officers riding before him and forming a grand cortege, wherein four of the wazirs bore naked swords round about him. All the citizens and the strangers and the troops marched before him in ordered throng carrying wax candles and kettledrums and pipes and other instruments of mirth and merriment, until they conducted him to his pavilion. Here he alighted and, walking in, took his seat and seated the wazirs and emirs who had escorted him, and the Mamelukes brought sherbets and sugared drinks, which they also passed to the people who had followed in his train. It was a world of folk whose tale might not be told. Withal Aladdin bade his Mamelukes stand without the pavilion doors and shower gold upon the crowd.
When the Sultan returned from the maydan plain to his palace, he ordered the household, men as well as women, straightway to form a cavalcade for his daughter, with all ceremony, and bear her to her bridegroom’s pavilion. So the nobles and soldier officers who had followed and escorted the bridegroom at once mounted, and the handmaids and eunuchs went forth with wax candles and made a mighty fine procession for the Lady Badr al-Budur, and they paced on preceding her till they entered the pavilion of Aladdin, whose mother walked beside the bride. In front of the Princess also fared the wives of the wazirs and emirs, grandees and notables, and in attendance on her were the eight and forty slave girls presented to her aforetime by her bridegroom, each hending in hand a huge cierge scented with camphor and ambergris and set in a candlestick of gem-studded gold. And reaching Aladdin’s pavilion, they led her to her bower in the upper story and changed her robes and enthroned her. Then, as soon as the displaying was ended, they accompanied her to Aladdin’s apartments, and presently he paid her the first visit. Now his mother was with the bride, and when the bridegroom came up and did off her veil, the ancient dame fell to considering the beauty of the Princess and her loveliness, and she looked around at the pavilion, which was all litten up by gold and gems besides the manifold candelabra of precious metals encrusted with emeralds and jacinths, so she said in her mind: “Once upon a time I thought the Sultan’s palace mighty fine, but this pavilion is a thing apart. Nor do I deem that any of the greatest kings of Chosroes attained in his day to aught like thereof. Also am I certified that all the world could not build anything evening it.” Nor less did the Lady Badr al-Budur fall to gazing at the pavilion and marveling for its magnificence.
Then the tables were spread and they all ate and drank and were gladdened after which fourscore damsels came before them, each holding in hand an instrument of mirth and merriment. Then they deftly moved their finger tips and touched the strings, smiting them into song most musical most melancholy, till they rent the hearts of the hearers. Hereat the Princess increased in marvel, and quoth she to herself, “In all my life ne’er heard I songs like these,” till she forsook food, the better to listen. And at last Aladdin poured out for her wine and passed it to her with his own hand. So great joy and jubilee went round amongst them, and it was a notable night, such a one as Iskandar, Lord of the Two Horns, had never spent in his time. When they had finished eating and drinking and the tables were removed from before them, Aladdin arose and went in to his bride.
As soon as morning morrowed he left his bed, and the treasurer brought him a costly suit and a mighty fine, of the most sumptuous robes worn by the kings. Then, after drinking coffee flavored with ambergris, he ordered the horses be saddled and, mounting with his Mamelukes before and behind him, rode to the Sultan’s palace, and on his entering its court the eunuchs went in and reported his coming to their lord. When the Sultan heard of Aladdin’s approach, he rose up forthright to receive him and embraced and kissed him as though he were his own son. Then, seating him on his right, he blessed and prayed for him, as did the wazirs and emirs, the lords of the land and the grandees of the realm. Presently the King commanded bring the morning meal, which the attendants served up, and all broke their fast together, and when they had eaten and drunken their sufficiency and the tables were removed by the eunuchs, Aladdin turned to the Sultan and said: “O my lord, would thy Highness deign honor me this day at dinner in the house of the Lady Badr al-Budur, thy beloved daughter, and come accompanied by all thy Ministers and grandees of the reign?” The King replied (and he was delighted with his son-in-law), “Thou art surpassing in liberality, O my son!”
Then he gave orders to all invited and rode forth with them (Aladdin also riding beside him) till they reached the pavilion, and as he entered it and considered its construction, its architecture and its stonery, all jasper and camelian, his sight was dazed and his wits were amazed at such grandeur and magnificence of opulence. Then, turning to the Minister, he thus addressed him: “What sayest thou? Tell me, hast thou seen in all thy time aught like this amongst the mighties of earth’s monarchs for the abundance of gold and gems we are now beholding?” The Grand Wazir replied: “O my lord the King, this be a feat which cannot be accomplished by might of monarch amongst Adam’s sons, nor could the collected peoples of the universal world build a palace like unto this,- nay, even builders could not be found to make aught resembling it, save (as I said to thy Highness) by force of sorcery.” These words certified the King that his Minister spake not except in envy and jealousy of Aladdin, and would stablish in the royal mind that all this splendor was not made of man, but by means of magic and with the aid of the black art. So quoth he to him: “Suffice thee so much, O Wazir. Thou hast none other word to speak, and well I know what cause urgeth thee to say this say.”
Then Aladdin preceded the Sultan till he conducted him to the upper kiosque, where he saw its skylights, windows, and latticed casements and jalousies wholly made of emeralds and rubies and other costly gems, whereat his mind was perplexed and his wits were bewildered and his thoughts were distraught. Presently he took to strolling round the kiosque and solacing himself with these sights which captured the vision, till he chanced to cast a glance at the window which Aladdin by design had left unwrought and not finished like the rest. And when he noted its lack of completion, he cried, “Woe and wellaway for thee, O window, because of thine imperfection,” and, turning to his Minister, he asked, “Knowest thou the reason of leaving incomplete this window and its framework?” The Wazir said: “O my lord, I conceive that the want of finish in this window resulteth from thy Highness having pushed on Aladdin’s marriage, and he lacked the leisure to complete it.” Now at that time Aladdin had gone in to his bride, the Lady Badr al-Budur, to inform her of her father’s presence, and when he returned, the King asked him: “O my son, what is the reason why the window of this kiosque was not made perfect?” “O King of the Age, seeing the suddenness of my wedding,” answered he, “I failed to find artists for finishing it.” Quoth the Sultan, “I have a mind to complete it myself,” and quoth Aladdin: “Allah perpetuate thy glory, O thou the King. So shall thy memory endure in thy daughter’s pavilion.”
The Sultan forthright bade summon jewelers and goldsmiths, and ordered them he supplied from the treasury with all their needs of gold and gems and noble ores, and when they were gathered together, he commanded them to complete the work still wanting in the kiosque window. Meanwhile the Princess came forth to meet her sire, the Sultan, who noticed as she drew near her smiling face, so he embraced her and kissed her, then led her to the pavilion, and all entered in a body. Now this was the time of the noonday meal and one table had been spread for the sovereign, his daughter, and his son-in-law and a second for the wazirs, the lords of the land, the grandees of the realm, the chief officers of the host, the chamberlains and the nabobs. The King took seat between the Princess and her husband, and when he put forth his hand to the food and tasted it, he was struck with surprise by the flavor of the dishes and their savory and sumptuous cooking. Moreover, there stood before him the fourscore damsels, each and every saying to the full moon, “Rise that I may seat myself in thy stead!” All held instruments of mirth and merriment, and they tuned the same and deftly moved their finger tips and smote the srings into song most musical, most melodious, which expanded the mourner’s heart. Hereby the Sultan was gladdened, and time was good to him, and for high enjoyment he exclaimed, “In very sooth the thing is beyond the compass of King and Caesar.”
Then they fell to eating and drinking, and the cup went round until they had drunken enough, when sweetmeats and fruits of sorts and other such edibles were served, the dessert being laid out in a different salon, whither they removed and enjoyed of these pleasures their sufficiency. Presently the Sultan arose that he might see if the produce of his jewelers and goldsmiths favored that of the pavilion. So he went upstairs to them and inspected their work and how they had wrought, but he noted a mighty great difference, and his men were far from being able to make anything like the rest of Aladdin’s pavilion. They informed him how all the gems stored in the lesser Treasury had been brought to them and used by them, but that the whole had proved insufficient. Wherefor he bade open the greater Treasury, and gave the workmen all they wanted of him. Moreover, he allowed them, an it sufficed not, to take the jewels wherewith Aladdin had gifted him. They carried off the whole and pushed on their labors, but they found the gems fail them, albeit had they not finished half the part wanting to the kiosque window. Herewith the King commanded them to seize all the precious stones owned by the wazirs and grandees of the realm, but although they did his bidding, the supply still fell short of their requirements.
Next morning Aladdin arose to look at the jewelers’ work and remarked that they had not finished a moiety of what was wanting to the kiosque window. So he at once ordered them to undo all they had done and restore the jewels to their owners. Accordingly they pulled out the precious stones and sent the Sultan’s to the Sultan and the wazirs’ to the wazirs. Then the jewelers went to the King and told him of what Aladdin had bidden, so he asked them: “What said he to you, and what was his reason, and wherefore was he not content that the window be finished, and why did he undo the work ye wrought?” They answered, “O our lord, we know not at all, but he bade us deface whatso we had done.” Hereupon the Sultan at once called for his horse, and mounting, took the way pavillonward, when Aladdin, after dismissing the goldsmiths and jewelers had retired into his closet and had rubbed the lamp. Hereat straightway its servitor appeared to him and said: “Ask whatso thou wantest. Thy slave is between thy hands,” and said Aladdin, “‘Tis my desire that thou finish the window which was left unfinished.” The Marid replied, “On my head be it, and also upon mine eyes!” Then he vanished, and after a little while returned, saying, “O my lord, verily that thou commandedst me do is completed.” So Aladdin went upstairs to the kiosque and found the whole window in wholly finished state, and whilst he was he was still considering it, behold, a castrato came in to him and said: “O my lord, the Sultan hath ridden forth to visit thee and is passing through the pavilion gate.”
So Aladdin at once went down and received his father-in-law. The Sultan, on sighting his son-in-law, cried to him: “Wherefore, O my child, hast thou wrought on this wise and sufferedst not the jewelers to complete the kiosque window, leaving in the pavilion an unfinished place?” Aladdin replied: “O King of the Age, I left it not imperfect save for a design of mine own, nor was I incapable of perfecting it, nor could I purpose that thy Highness should honor me with visiting a pavilion wherein was aught of deficiency. And that thou mayest know I am not unable to make it perfect, let thy Highness deign walk upstairs with me and see if anything remain to be done therewith or not.” So the Sultan went up with him and, entering the kiosque, fell to looking right and left, but he saw no default at all in any of the windows- nay, he noted that all were perfect. So he marveled at the sight and embraced Aladdin and kissed him, saying: “O my son, what be this singular feat? Thou canst work in a single night what in months the jewelers could not do. By Allah, I deem thou hast nor brother nor rival in this world.” Quoth Aladdin: “Allah prolong thy life and preserve thee to perpetuity! Thy slave deserveth not this encomium.” And quoth the King: “By Allah, O my child, thou meritest all praise for a feat whereof all the artists of the world were incapable.” Then the Sultan came down and entered the apartments of his daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur, to take rest beside her, and he saw her joyous exceedingly at the glory and grandeur wherein she was. Then, after reposing awhile, he returned to his palace.
Now Aladdin was wont every day to thread the city streets with his Mamelukes riding a-van and arear of him showering rightward and leftward gold upon the folk, and all the world, stranger and neighbor, far and near, were fulfilled of his love for the excess of his liberality and generosity. Moreover, he increased the pensions of the poor Religious and the paupers, and he would distribute alms to them with his own hand, by which good deed he won high renown throughout the realm and most of the lords of the land and emirs would eat at his table, and men swore not at all save by his precious life. Nor did he leave faring to the chase and the maydan plain and the riding of horses and playing at javelin play in presence of the Sultan. And whenever the Lady Badr al-Budur beheld him disporting himself on the backs of steeds, she loved him much the more, and thought to herself that Allah had wrought her abundant good by causing to happen whatso happened with the son of the Wazir and by preserving her virginity intact for her true bridegroom, Aladdin. Aladdin won for himself day by day a fairer fame and a rarer report, while affection for him increased in the hearts of all the lieges and he waxed greater in the eyes of men.
Moreover, it chanced that in those days certain enemies took horse and attacked the Sultan, who armed and accoutered an army to repel them and made Aladdin commander thereof. So he marched with his men, nor ceased marching until he drew near the foe, whose forces were exceeding many, and presently when the action began, he bared his brand and charged home upon the enemy. Then battle and slaughter befell and violent was the hurly-burly, but at last Aladdin broke the hostile host and put all to flight, slaying the best part of them and pillaging their coin and cattle, property and possessions, and he despoiled them of spoils that could not be counted nor computed. Then he returned victorious after a noble victory and entered the capital, which had decorated herself in his honor, of her delight in him. And the Sultan went forth to meet him and giving him joy, embraced him and kissed him. And throughout the kingdom was held high festival with great joy and gladness. Presently the sovereign and his son-in-law repaired to the pavilion, where they were met by the Princess Badr al-Budur, who rejoiced in her husband and, after kissing him between the eyes, led him to her apartments. After a time the Sultan also came and they sat down while the slave girls brought them sherbets and confections, which they ate and drank. Then the Sultan commanded that the whole kingdom be decorated for the triumph of his son-in-law and his victory over the invader, and the subjects and soldiery and all the people knew only Allah in Heaven and Aladdin on earth, for that their love, won by his liberality, was increased by his noble horsemanship and his successful battling for the country and putting to flight the foe.
Such then was the high fortune of Aladdin, but as regards the Maghrabi, the magician, after returning to his native country he passed all this space of time in bewailing what he had borne of toil and travail to will the lamp, and mostly that his trouble had gone vain and that the morsel when almost touching his lips had flown from his grasp. He pondered all this and mourned and reviled Aladdin for the excess of his rage against him, and at times he would exclaim: “For this bastard’s death underground I am well satisfied, and hope only that some time or other I may obtain the lamp, seeing how ’tis yet safe.” Now one day of the days he struck a table of sand and dotted down the figures and carefully considered their consequence, then he transferred them to paper that he might study them and make sure of Aladdin’s destruction and the safety of the lamp preserved beneath the earth. Presently he firmly stablished the sequence of the figures, mothers as well as daughters, but still he saw not the lamp. Thereupon rage overrode him and he made another trial to be assured of Aladdin’s death, but he saw him not in the enchanted treasure.
Hereat his wrath still grew, and it waxed greater when he ascertained that the youth had issued from underground and was now upon earth’s surface alive and alert. Furthermore, that he had become owner of the lamp, for which he had himself endured such toil and travail and troubles as man may not bear save for so great an object. Accordingly quoth he to himself: “I have suffered sore pains and penalties which none else could have endured for the lamp’s sake in order that other than that I may carry it off, and this accursed hath taken it without difficulty. And who knoweth an he wot the virtues of the lamp, than whose owner none in the world should be wealthier? There is no help but that I work for his destruction.” He then struck another geomantic table and, examining the figures, saw that the lad had won for himself unmeasurable riches and had wedded the daughter of his King, so of his envy and jealousy he was fired with the flame of wrath, and rising without let or stay, he equipped himself and set forth for China land, where he arrived in due season.
Now when he had reached the King’s capital wherein was Aladdin, he alighted at one of the khans, and when he had rested from the weariness of wayfare, he donned his dress and went down to wander about the streets, where he never passed a group without hearing them prate about the pavilion and its grandeur and vaunt the beauty of Aladdin and his lovesomeness, his liberality and generosity, his fine manners and his good morals. Presently he entered an establishment wherein men were drinking a certain warm beverage, and going up to one of those who were loud in their lauds, he said to him, “O fair youth, who may be the man ye describe and commend?” “Apparently thou art a foreigner, O man,” answered the other, “and thou comest from a far country. But even this granted, how happeneth it thou hast not heard of the Emir Aladdin, whose renown, I fancy, hath filled the universe, and whose pavilion, known by report to far and near, is one of the wonders of the world? How, then, never came to thine ears aught of this or the name of Aladdin (whose glory and enjoyment Our Lord increase!) and his fame?” The Moorman replied: “The sum of my wishes is to look upon this pavilion, and if thou wouldest do me a favor, prithee guide me thereunto, for I am a foreigner.” The man rejoined, “To hear is to obey,” and, foregoing him, pointed out Aladdin’s pavilion, whereupon the Moroccan fell to considering it, and at once understood that it was the work of the lamp. So he cried: “Ah! Ah! needs must I dig a pit for this accursed, this son of a snip, who could not earn for himself even an evening meal. And if the Fates abet me, I will assuredly destroy his life and send his mother back to spinning at her wheel, e’en as she was wont erewhiles to do.”
So saying, he returned to his caravanserai in a sore state of grief and melancholy and regret bred by his envy and hate of Aladdin. He took his astrological gear and geomantic table to discover where might he the lamp, and he found that it was in the pavilion and not upon Aladdin’s person. So he rejoiced thereat with joy exceeding and exclaimed: “Now indeed ’twill he an easy task to take the life of this accursed and I see my way to getting the lamp.” Then he went to a coppersmith and said to him: “Do thou make me a set of lamps, and take from me their full price and more, only I would have thee hasten to finish them.” Replied the smith, “Hearing and obeying,” and fell a-working to keep his word. And when they were ready, the Moorman paid him what price he required, then, taking them, he carried them to the khan and set them in a basket. Presently he began wandering about the highways and market streets of the capital crying aloud: “Ho! Who will exchange old lamps for new lamps?” But when the folk heard him cry on this wise, they derided him and said, “Doubtless this man is Jinnmad, for that he goeth about offering new for old.” And a world followed him, and the children of the quarter caught him up from place to place, laughing at him the while, nor did he forbid them or care for their maltreatment. And he ceased not strolling about the streets till he came under Aladdin’s pavilion, where he shouted with his loudest voice, and the boys screamed at him: “A madman! A madman!”
Now Destiny had decreed that the Lady Badr al-Budur be sitting in her kiosque, whence she heard one crying like a crier, and the children bawling at him. Only she understood not what was going on, so she gave orders to one of her slave girls, saying, “Go thou and see who ’tis that crieth, and what be his cry.” The girl fared forth and looked on, when she beheld a man crying, “Ho! Who will exchange old lamps for new lamps?” and the little ones pursuing and laughing at him. And as loudly laughed the Princess when this strange case was told to her. Now Aladdin had carelessly left the lamp in his pavilion without hiding it and locking it up in his strongbox, and one of the slave girls who had seen it said: “O my lady, I think to have noticed in the apartment of my lord Aladdin an old lamp, so let us give it in change for a new lamp to this man, and see if his cry he truth or lie.” Whereupon the Princess said to the slave girl, “Bring the old lamp which thou saidst to have seen in thy lord’s apartment.”
Now the Lady Badr al-Budur knew naught of the lamp and of the specialities thereof which had raised Aladdin, her spouse, to such high degree and grandeur, and her only end and aim was to understand by experiment the mind of a man who would give in exchange the new for the old. So the handmaid fared forth and went up to Aladdin’s apartment and returned with the lamp to her lady, who, like all the others, knew nothing of the Maghrabi’s cunning tricks and his crafty device. Then the Princess bade an aga of the eunuchry go down and barter the old lamp for a new lamp. So he obeyed her bidding and, after taking a new lamp from the man, he returned and laid it before his lady, who looking at it and seeing that it was brand-new, fell to laughing at the Moorman’s wits.
But the Moroccan, when he held the article in hand and recognized it for the lamp of the enchanted treasury, at once placed it in his breast pocket and left all the other lamps to the folk who were bartering, of him. Then he went forth running till he was clear of the city, when he walked leisurely over the level grounds, and he took patience until night fell on him in desert ground, where was none other but himself. There he brought out the lamp, when suddenly appeared to him the Marid, who said: “Adsum! Thy slave between thy hands is come. Ask of me whatso thou wantest.” “‘Tis my desire,” the Moorman replied, “that thou upraise from its present place Aladdin’s pavilion, with its inmates and all that be therein, not forgetting myself, and set it down upon my own land, Africa. Thou knowest my town, and I want the building placed in the gardens hard by it.” The Marid slave replied: “Hearkening and obedience. Close thine eyes and open thine eyes, whenas thou shalt find thyself together with the pavilion in thine own country.” This was done, and in an eye twinkling the Moroccan and the pavilion, with all therein, were transported to the African land.
Such then was the work of the Maghrabi, the magician, but now let us return to the Sultan and his son-in-law. It was the custom of the King, because of his attachment to and his affection for his daughter, every morning when he had shaken off sleep to open the latticed casement and look out therefrom, that he might catch sight of her abode. So that day he arose and did as he was wont. But when he drew near the latticed casement of his palace and looked out at Aladdin’s pavilion, he saw naught- nay, the site was smooth as a well-trodden highway and like unto what it had been aforetime, and he could find nor edifice nor offices. So astonishment clothed him as with a garment, and his wits were wildered and he began to rub his eyes, lest they he dimmed or darkened, and to gaze intently. But at last he was certified that no trace of the pavilion remained, nor sign of its being, nor wist he the why and the wherefore of its disappearance. So his surprise increased and he smote hand upon hand and the tears trickled down his cheeks over his beard, for that he knew not what had become of his daughter.
Then he sent out officials forthright and summoned the Grand Wazir, who at once attended, and seeing him in this piteous plight, said: “Pardon, O King of the Age, may Allah avert from thee every ill! Wherefore art thou in such sorrow?” Exclaimed the sovereign, “Methinketh thou wettest not my case.” And quoth the Minister: “Oh no wise, O our lord. By Allah, I know of it nothing at all.” “Then,” resumed the Sultan, “’tis manifest thou hast not looked this day in the direction of Aladdin’s pavilion.” “True, O my lord,” quoth the Wazir. “It must still be locked and fast shut,” and quoth the King: “Forasmuch as thou hast no inkling of aught, arise and look out at the window and see Aladdin’s pavilion, whereof thou sayest ’tis locked and fast shut.” The Minister obeyed his bidding, but could not see anything, or pavilion or other place. So with mind and thoughts sore perplexed he returned to his liege lord, who asked him: “Hast now learned the reason of my distress, and noted yon locked-up palace and fast shut?” Answered the Wazir: “O King of the Age, erewhile I represented to thy Highness that this pavilion and these matters be all magical.” Hereat the Sultan, fired with wrath, cried, “Where be Aladdin?” and the Minister replied, “He hath gone a-hunting,” when the King commanded without stay or delay sundry of his agas and army officers to go and bring to him his son-in-law chained and with pinioned elbows.
So they fared forth until they found Aladdin, when they said to him: “O our lord Aladdin, excuse us, nor be thou wroth with us, for the King hath commanded that we carry thee before him pinioned and fettered, and we hope pardon from thee, because we are under the royal orders which we cannot gainsay.” Aladdin, hearing these words, was seized with surprise, and not knowing the reason of this, remained tonguetied for a time, after which he turned to them and asked: “O assembly, have you naught of knowledge concerning the motive of the royal mandate? Well I wot my soul to be innocent, and that I never sinned against King or against kingdom.” “O our lord,” answered they, “we have no inkling whatever.” So Aladdin alighted from his horse and said to them: “Do ye whatso the Sultan bade you do, for that the King’s command is upon the head and the eyes.” The agas, having bound Aladdin in bonds and pinioned his elbows behind his back, haled him in chains and carried him into the city. But when the lieges saw him pinioned and ironed, they understood that the Sultan purposed to strike off his head, and forasmuch as he was loved of them exceedingly, all gathered together and seized their weapons, then, swarming out of their houses, followed the soldiery to see what was to do. And when the troops arrived with Aladdin at the palace, they went in and informed the Sultan of this, whereat he forthright commanded the sworder to cut off the head of his son-in-law.
Now as soon as the subjects were aware of this order, they barricaded the gates and closed the doors of the palace and sent a message to the King saying: “At this very moment we will level thine abode over the heads of all it containeth, and over thine own, if the least hurt or harm befall Aladdin.” So the Wazir went in and reported to the Sultan: “O King of the Age, thy commandment is about to seal the roll of our lives, and ’twere more suitable that thou pardon thy son-in-law, lest there chance to us a sore mischance, for that the lieges do love him far more than they love us.” Now the Sworder had already dispread the carpet of blood and, having seated Aladdin thereon, had bandaged his eyes. Moreover, he had walked round him three several times awaiting the last orders of his lord, when the King looked out of the window and saw his subjects, who had suddenly attacked him, swarming up the walls intending to tear them down. So forthright he bade the Sworder stay his hand from Aladdin and commanded the crier fare forth to the crowd and cry aloud that he had pardoned his son-in-law and received him back into favor.
But when Aladdin found himself free and saw the Sultan seated on his throne, he went up to him and said: “O my lord, inasmuch as thy Highness hath favored me throughout my life, so of thy grace now deign let me know the how and the wherein I have sinned against thee.” “O traitor,” cried the King, “unto this present I knew not any sin of thine.” Then, turning to the Wazir, he said: “Take him and make him look out at the window, and after let him tell us where be his pavilion.” And when the royal order was obeyed, Aladdin saw the place level as a well-trodden road, even as it had been ere the base of the building was laid, nor was there the faintest trace of edifice. Hereat he was astonished and perplexed, knowing not what had occurred. But when he returned to the presence, the King asked him: “What is it thou hast seen? Where is thy pavilion, and where is my daughter, the core of my heart, my only child, than whom I have none other?” Aladdin answered, “O King of the Age, I wot naught thereof nor aught of what hath befallen,” and the Sultan rejoined: “Thou must know, O Aladdin, I have pardoned thee only that thou go forth and look into this affair and inquire for me concerning my daughter. Nor do thou ever show thyself in my presence except she be with thee, and if thou bring her not, by the life of my head I will cut off the head of thee.” The other replied: “To hear is to obey. Only vouchsafe me a delay and respite of some forty days, after which, an I produce her not, strike off my head and do with me whatso thou wishest.” The Sultan said to Aladdin: “Verily, I have granted thee thy request, a delay of forty days. But think not thou canst fly from my hand, for I would bring thee back even if thou wert above the clouds instead of being only upon earth’s surface.” Replied Aladdin: “O my lord the Sultan, as I said to thy Highness, an I fail to bring her within the term appointed, I will present myself for my head to he stricken off.”
Now when the folk and the lieges all saw Aladdin at liberty, they rejoiced with joy exceeding and were delighted for his release, but the shame of his treatment and bashfulness before his friends and the envious exultation of his foes had bowed down Aladdin’s head. So he went forth a wandering through the city ways, and he was perplexed concerning his case and knew not what had befallen him. He lingered about the capital for two days, in saddest state, wotting not what to do in order to find his wife and his pavilion, and during this time sundry of the folk privily brought him meat and drink. When the two days were done, he left the city to stray about the waste and open lands outlying the walls, without a notion as to whither he should wend. And he walked on aimlessly until the path led him beside a river, where, of the stress of sorrow that overwhelmed him, he abandoned himself to despair and thought of casting himself into the water. Being, however, a good Moslem who professed the unity of the Godhead, he feared Allah in his soul, and standing upon the margin, he prepared to perform the wuzu ablution.
But as he was bailing up the water in his right hand and rubbing his fingers, it so chanced that he also rubbed the ring. Hereat its Marid appeared, and said to him: “Adsum! Thy thrall between thy hands is come. Ask of me whatso thou wantest.” Seeing the Marid, Aladdin rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried: “O Slave, I desire of thee that thou bring before me my pavilion and therein my wife, the Lady Badr al-Budur, together with all and everything it containeth.” “O my lord,” replied the Marid, “’tis right hard upon me that thou demandest a service whereto I may not avail. This matter dependeth upon the Slave of the Lamp, nor dare I even attempt it.” Aladdin rejoined: “Forasmuch as the matter is beyond thy competence, I require it not of thee, but at least do thou take me up and set me down beside my pavilion in what land soever that may be.” The slave exclaimed, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord,” and uplifting him high in air, within the space of an eye glance set him down beside his pavilion in the land of Africa, and upon a spot facing his wife’s apartment.
Now this was at fall of night, yet one look enabled him to recognize his home, whereby his cark and care were cleared away and he recovered trust in Allah after cutting off all his hope to look upon his wife once more. Then he fell to pondering the secret and mysterious favors of the Lord (glorified he His omnipotence!), and how after despair had mastered him the ring had come to gladden him, and how when all his hopes were cut off, Allah had deigned bless him with the services of its slave. So he rejoiced and his melancholy left him. Then, as he had passed four days without sleep for the excess of his cark and care and sorrow and stress of thought, he drew near his pavilion and slept under a tree hard by the building, which (as we mentioned) had been set down amongst the gardens outlying the city of Africa. He slumbered till morning showed her face, and when awakened by the warbling of the small birds, he arose and went down to the bank of the river which flowed thereby into the city, and here he again washed hands and face and after finished his wuzu ablution. Then he prayed the dawn prayer, and when he had ended his orisons he returned and sat down under the windows of the Princess’s bower.
Now the Lady Badr al-Budur, of her exceeding sorrow for severance from her husband and her sire, the Sultan, and for the great mishap which had happened to her from the Maghrabi, the magician, the accursed, was wont to rise during the murk preceding dawn and to sit in tears, inasmuch as she could not sleep o’ nights and had forsworn meat and drink. Her favorite slave girl would enter her chamber at the hour of prayer salutation in order to dress her, and this time, by decree of Destiny, when she threw open the window to let her lady comfort and console herself by looking upon the trees and rills, and she herself peered out of the lattice, she caught sight of her master sitting below, and informed the Princess of this, saying: “O my lady! O my lady! Here’s my lord Aladdin seated at the foot of the wall!” So her mistress arose hurriedly and gazing from the casement, saw him, and her husband, raising his head, saw her, so she saluted him and he saluted her, both being like to fly for joy. Presently quoth she, “Up and come in to me by the private postern, for now the accursed is not here,” and she gave orders to the slave girl, who went down and opened for him. Then Aladdin passed through it and was met by his wife, when they embraced and exchanged kisses with all delight until they wept for overjoy.
After this they sat down, and Aladdin said to her: “O my lady, before all things ’tis my desire to ask thee a question. ‘Twas my wont to place an old copper lamp in such a part of my pavilion. What became of that same?” When the Princess heard these words, she sighed and cried, “O my dearling, ’twas that very lamp which garred us fall into this calamity!” Aladdin asked her, “How befell the affair?” and she answered by recounting to him all that passed, first and last, especially how they had given in exchange an old lamp for a new lamp, adding: “And next day we hardly saw one another at dawn before we found ourselves in this land, and he who deceived us and took the lamp by way of barter informed me that he had done the deed by might of his magic and by means of the lamp; that he is a Moorman from Africa; and that we are now in his native country.”
When the Lady Badr al-Budur ceased speaking, Aladdin resumed: “Tell me the intent of this accursed in thy respect, also what he sayeth to thee and what he his will of thee.” She replied: “Every day he cometh to visit me once and no more. He would woo me to his love, and he sueth that I take him to spouse in lieu of thee and that I forget thee and he consoled for the loss of thee. And he telleth me that the Sultan, my sire, hath cut off my husband’s head, adding that thou, the son of pauper parents, wast by him enriched. And he sootheth me with talk, but he never seeth aught from me save weeping and wailing, nor hath he heard from me one sugar-sweet word.” Quoth Aladdin: “Tell me where he hath placed the lamp, an thou know anything thereof,” and quoth she: “He beareth it about on his body alway, nor is it possible that he leave it for a single hour. Moreover, once when he related what I have now recounted to thee, he brought it out of his breast pocket and allowed me to look upon it.” When Aladdin heard these words, he joyed with exceeding joy and said: “O my lady, do thou lend ear to me. ‘Tis my design to go from thee forthright and to return only after doffing this my dress, so wonder not when thou see me changed, but direct one of thy women to stand by the private postern alway, and whenever she espy me coming, at once to open. And now I will devise a device whereby to slay this damned loon.”
Herewith he arose and, issuing from the pavilion door, walked till he met on the way a fellah, to whom he said, “O man, take my attire and give me thy garments.” But the peasant refused, so Aladdin stripped him of his dress perforce and donned it, leaving to the man his own rich gear by way of gift. Then he followed the highway leading to the neighboring city and entering it, went to the perfumers’ bazaar, where he bought of one some rarely potent bhang, the son of a minute, paying two dinars for two drachms thereof, and he returned in disguise by the same road till he reached the pavilion. Here the slave girl opened to him the private postern, wherethrough he went in to the Lady Badr al-Budur, and said: “Hear me! I desire of thee that thou dress and dight thyself in thy best and thou cast off all outer show and semblance of care. Also when the accursed, the Maghrabi, shall visit thee, do thou receive him with a ‘Welcome and fair welcome,’ and meet him with smiling face and invite him to come and sup with thee. Moreover, let him note that thou hast forgotten Aladdin, thy beloved, likewise thy father, and that thou hast learned to love him with exceeding love, displaying to him all manner joy and pleasure. Then ask him for wine, which must be red, and pledge him to his secret in a significant draught. And when thou hast given him two or three cups full and hast made him wax careless, then drop these drops into his cup and fill it up with wine. No sooner shall he drink of it than he will fall upon his back senseless as one dead.” Hearing these words, the Princess exclaimed: “‘Tis exceedingly sore to me that I do such deed, withal must I do it that we escape the defilement of this accursed who tortured me by severance from thee and from my sire. Lawful and right therefore is the slaughter of this accursed.”
Then Aladdin ate and drank with his wife what hindered his hunger, then, rising without stay or delay, fared forth the pavilion. So the Lady Badr al-Budur summoned the tirewoman, who robed and arrayed her in her finest raiment and adorned her and perfumed her. And as she was thus, behold, the accursed Maghrabi entered. He joyed much seeing her in such case and yet more when she confronted him, contrary to her custom, with a laughing face, and his love longing increased, and his desire to have her. Then she took him and, seating him beside her, said: “O my dearling, do thou (an thou be willing) come to me this night and let us sup together. Sufficient to me hath been my sorrow, for were I to sit mourning through a thousand years or even two thousand, Aladdin would not return to me from the tomb. And I depend upon thy say of yesterday; to wit, that my sire, the Sultan, slew him in his stress of sorrow for serverance from me.
“Nor wonder thou an I have changed this day from what I was yesterday, and the reason thereof is I have determined upon taking thee to friend and playfellow in lieu of and succession to Aladdin, for that now I have none other man but thyself. So I hope for thy presence this night, that we may sup together and we may carouse and drink somewhat of wine each with other, and especially ’tis my desire that thou cause me taste the wine of thy natal soil, the African land, because belike ’tis better than aught of the wine of China we drink. I have with me some wine, but ’tis the growth of my country and I vehemently wish to taste the wine produced by thine.”
When the Maghrabi saw the love lavisht upon him by the Lady Badr al-Budur, and noted her change from the sorrowful, melancholy woman she was wont to be, he thought that she had cut off her hope of Aladdin, and he joyed exceedingly and said to her: “I hear and obey, O my lady, whatso thou wishest and all thou biddest. I have at home a jar of our country wine, which I have carefully kept and stored deep in earth for a space of eight years, and I will now fare and fill from it our need and will return to thee in all haste.” But the Princess, that she might wheedle him the more and yet more, replied: “O my darling, go not thou, leaving me alone, but send one of the eunuchs to fill for us thereof, and do thou remain sitting beside me, that I may find in thee my consolation.” He rejoined: “O my lady, none wotteth where the jar be buried save myself, nor will I tarry from thee.” So saying, the Moorman went out, and after a short time he brought back as much wine as they wanted, whereupon quoth the Princess to him: “Thou hast been at pains and trouble to serve me, and I have suffered for thy sake, O my beloved.” Quoth he: “On no wise, O eyes of me. I hold myself enhonored by thy service.”
Then the Lady Badr al-Budur sat with him at table, and the twain fell to eating, and presently the Princess expressed a wish to drink, when the handmaid filled her a cup forthright and then crowned another for the Moroccan. So she drank to his long life and his secret wishes, and he also drank to her life. Then the Princess, who was unique in eloquence and delicacy of speech, fell to making a cup companion of him and beguiled him by addressing him in the sweetest terms of hidden meaning. This was done only that he might become more madly enamored of her, but the Maghrabi thought that it resulted from her true inclination for him, nor knew that it was a snare set up to slay him. So his longing for her increased, and he was dying of love for when he saw her address him in such tenderness of words and thoughts, and his head began to swim and an the world seemed as nothing in his eyes. But when they came to the last of the supper and the wine had mastered his brains and the Princess saw this in him, she said: “With us there be a custom throughout our country, but I know not an it be the usage of yours or not.” The Moorman replied, “And what may that be?” So she said to him: “At the end of supper each lover in turn taketh the cup of the beloved and drinketh it off.” And at once she crowned one with wine and bade the handmaid carry to him her cup, wherein the drink was blended with the bhang.
Now she had taught the slave girl what to do, and all the handmaids and eunuchs in the pavilion longed for the sorcerer’s slaughter and in that matter were one with the Princess. Accordingly the damsel handed him the cup and he, when he heard her words and saw her drinking from his cup and passing hers to him and noted all that show of love, fancied himself Iskandar, Lord of the Two Horns. Then said she to him, the while swaying gracefully to either side and putting her hand within his hand: “O my life, here is thy cup with me and my cup with thee, and on this wise do lovers drink from each other’s cups.” Then she bussed the brim and drained it to the dregs, and again she kissed its lip and offered it to him. Thereat he flew for joy and, meaning to do the like, raised her cup to his mouth and drank off the whole contents, without considering whether there was therein aught harmful or not. And forthright he rolled upon his back in deathlike condition and the cup dropped from his grasp, whereupon the Lady Badr al-Budur and the slave girls ran hurriedly and opened the pavilion door to their lord Aladdin, who, disguised as a fellah, entered therein.
He went up to the apartment of his wife, whom he found still sitting at table, and facing her lay the Maghrabi as one slaughtered. So he at once drew near to her and kissed her and thanked her for this. Then, rejoicing with joy exceeding, he turned to her and said: “Do thou with thy handmaids betake thyself to the inner rooms and leave me alone for the present, that I may take counsel touching mine affair.” The Princess hesitated not but went away at once, she and her women. Then Aladdin arose, and after locking the door upon them, walked up to the Moorman and put forth his hand to his breast pocket and thence drew the lamp, after which he unsheathed his sword and slew the villain. Presently he rubbed the lamp and the Marid slave appeared and said: “Adsum, O my lord! What is it thou wantest?” “I desire of thee,” said Aladdin, “that thou take up my pavilion from this country and transport it to the land of China and there set it down upon the site where it was whilom, fronting the palace of the Sultan.” The Marid replied, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord.”
Then Aladdin went and sat down with his wife and throwing his arms round her neck, kissed her and she kissed him, and they set in converse what while the Jinni transported the pavilion and all therein to the place appointed. Presently Aladdin bade the handmaids spread the table before him, and he and the Lady Badr al-Budur took seat thereat and fell to eating and drinking, in all joy and gladness, till they had their sufficiency, when, removing to the chamber of wine and cup converse, they sat there and caroused in fair companionship and each kissed other with all love liesse. The time had been long and longsome since they enjoyed aught of pleasure, so they ceased not doing, thus until the wine sun arose in their heads and sleep gat hold of them, at which time they went to their bed in all ease and comfort. Early on the next morning Aladdin woke and awoke his wife, and the slave girls came in and donned her dress and prepared her and adorned her whilst her husband arrayed himself in his costliest raiment, and the twain were ready to fly for joy at reunion after parting. Moreover, the Princess was especially joyous and gladsome because on that day she expected to see her beloved father.
Such was the case of Aladdin and the Lady Badr al-Budur, but as regards the Sultan, after he drove away his son-in-law he never ceased to sorrow for the loss of his daughter, and every hour of every day he would sit and weep for her as women weep, because she was his only child and he had none other to take to heart. And as he shook off sleep morning after morning he would hasten to the window and throw it open and peer in the direction where formerly stood Aladdin’s pavilion and pour forth tears until his eyes were dried up and their lids were ulcered. Now on that day he arose at dawn and, according to his custom, looked out, when lo and behold! he saw before him an edifice, so he rubbed his eyes and considered it curiously, when he became certified that it was the pavilion of his son-in-law. So he called for a horse without let or delay, and as soon as his beast was saddled, he mounted and made for the place, and Aladdin, when he saw his father-in-law approaching, went down and met him halfway, then, taking his hand, aided him to step upstairs to the apartment of his daughter. And the Princess, being as earnestly desirous to see her sire, descended and greeted him at the door of the staircase fronting the ground-floor hall. Thereupon the King folded her in his arms and kissed her, shedding tears of joy, and she did likewise, till at last Aladdin led them to the upper saloon, where they took seats and the Sultan fell to asking her case and what had betided her.
The Lady Badr al-Budur began to inform the Sultan of all which had befallen her, saying: “O my father, I recovered not life save yesterday when I saw my husband, and he it was who freed me from the thraldom of that Maghrabi, that magician, that accursed, than whom I believe there be none viler on the face of earth. And but for my beloved, I had never escaped him, nor hadst thou seen me during the rest of my days. But mighty sadness and sorrow gat about me, O my father, not only for losing thee but also for the loss of a husband under whose kindness I shall be all the length of my life, seeing that he freed me from that fulsome sorcerer.” Then the Princess began repeating to her sire everything that happened to her, and relating to him how the Moorman had tricked her in the guise of a lamp-seller who offered in exchange new for old, how she had given him the lamp whose worth she knew not, and how she had bartered it away only to laugh at the lampman’s folly.
“And next morning, O my father,” she continued, “we found ourselves and whatso the pavilion contained in Africa land, till such time as my husband came to us and devised a device whereby we escaped. And had it not been for Aladdin’s hastening to our aid, the accursed was determined to enjoy me perforce.” Then she told him of the bhang drops administered in wine to the African and concluded: “Then my husband returned to me, and how I know not, but we were shifted from Africa land to this place.” Aladdin in his turn recounted how, finding the wizard dead-drunken, he had sent away his wife and her women from the poluted place into the inner apartments; how he had taken the lamp from the sorcerer’s breast pocket, whereto he was directed by his wife; how he had slaughtered the villain; and finally how, making use of the lamp, he had summoned its slave and ordered him to transport the pavilion back to its proper site, ending his tale with: “And, if thy Highness have any doubt anent my words, arise with me and look upon the accursed magician.” The King did accordingly and, having considered the Moorman, bade the carcass be carried away forthright and burned and its ashes scattered in air.
Then he took to embracing Aladdin and, kissing him, said: “Pardon me, O my son, for that I was about to destroy thy life through the foul deeds of this damned enchanter, who cast thee into such pit of peril. And I may be excused, O my child, for what I did by thee, because I found myself forlorn of my daughter, my only one, who to me is dearer than my very kingdom. Thou knowest how the hearts of parents yearn unto their offspring, especially when like myself they have but one and none other to love.” And on this wise the Sultan took to excusing himself and kissing his son-in-law. Aladdin said to the Sultan: “O King of the time, thou didst naught to me contrary to Holy Law, and I also sinned not against thee, but all the trouble came from that Maghrabi, the impure, the magician.” Thereupon the Sultan bade the city be decorated, and they obeyed him and held high feast and festivities. He also commanded the crier to cry about the streets saying: “This day is a mighty great fate, wherein public rejoicings must be held throughout the realm, for a full month of thirty days, in honor of the Lady Badr al-Budur and her husband Aladdin’s return to their home.”
On this wise befell it with Aladdin and the Maghrabi, but withal the King’s son-in-law escaped not wholly from the accursed, albeit the body had been burnt and the ashes scattered in air. For the villain had a brother yet more villainous than himself, and a greater adept in necromancy, geomancy, and astromancy. And even as the old saw saith, “A bean and ’twas split,” so each one dwelt in his own quarter of the globe that he might fill it with his sorcery, his fraud, and his treason. Now one day of the days it fortuned that the Moorman’s brother would learn how it fared with him, so he brought out his sandboard and dotted it and produced the figures which, when he had considered and carefully studied them, gave him to know that the man he sought was dead and housed in the tomb. So he grieved and was certified of his disease, but he dotted a second time seeking to learn the manner of the death and where it bad taken place. So he found that the site was the China land and that the mode was the foulest of slaughter. Furthermore, that he who did him die was a young man Aladdin hight. Seeing this, he straightway arose and equipped himself for wayfare, then he set out and cut across the wilds and wolds and heights for the space of many a month until he reached China and the capital of the Sultan wherein was the slayer of his brother.
He alighted at the so-called strangers’ khan and, hiring himself a cell, took rest therein for a while, then he fared forth and wandered about the highways that he might discern some path which would aid him unto the winning of his ill-minded wish; to wit, of wreaking upon Aladdin blood revenge for his brother. Presently he entered a coffeehouse, a fine building which stood in the market place and which collected a throng of folk to play, some at the mankalah, others at the backgammon, and others at the chess and what not else. There he sat down and listened to those seated beside him, and they chanced to be conversing about an ancient dame and a holy, by name Fatimah, who dwelt away at her devotions in a hermitage without the town, and this she never entered save only two days each month. They mentioned also that she had performed many saintly miracles, which when the Maghrabi, the necromancer, heard he said in himself: “Now have I found that which I sought. Inshallah- God willing- by means of this crone will I will to my wish.”
The necromancer went up to the folk who were talking of the miracles performed by the devout old woman and said to one of them: “O my uncle, I heard you an chatting about the prodigies of a certain saintess named Fatimah. Who is she, and where may be her abode?” “Marvelous!” exclaimed the man. “How canst thou be in our city and yet never have heard about the miracles of the Lady Fatimah? Evidently, O thou poor fellow, thou art a foreigner, since the fastings of this devotee and her asceticism in worldly matters and the beauties of her piety never came to thine ears.” The Moorman rejoined: “‘Tis true, O my lord. Yes, I am a stranger, and came to this your city only yesternight. And I hope thou wilt inform me concerning the saintly miracles of this virtuous woman and where may be her wone, for that I have fallen into a calamity, and ’tis my wish to visit her and crave her prayers, so haply Allah (to Whom be honor and glory!) will, through her blessings, deliver me from mine evil.” Hereat the man recounted to him the marvels of Fatimah, the devotee, and her piety and the beauties of her worship, then, taking him by the hand, went with him without the city and showed him the way to her abode, a cavern upon a hillock’s head. The necromancer acknowledged his kindness in many words and, thanking him for his good offices, returned to his cell in the caravanserai.
Now by the fiat of Fate on the very next day Fatimah came down to the city, and the Maghrabi, the necromancer, happened to leave his hostelry a-morn, when he saw the folk swarming and crowding. Wherefore he went up to discover what was to do, and found the devotee standing a-middlemost the throng, and all who suffered from pain or sickness flocked to her soliciting a blessing, and praying for her prayers, and each and every she touched became whole of his illness. The Moroccan, the necromancer, followed her about until she returned to her antre. Then, awaiting till the evening evened, he arose and repaired to a vintner’s store, where he drank a cup of wine. After this he fared forth the city, and finding the devotee’s cavern, entered it and saw her lying prostrate with her back upon a strip of matting. So he came forward and mounted upon her belly, then he drew his dagger and shouted at her, and when she awoke and opened her eyes, she espied a Moorish man with an unsheathed poniard sitting upon her middle as though about to kill her.
She was troubled and sore terrified, but he said to her: “Hearken! And thou cry out or utter a word, I will slay thee at this very moment. Arise now and do all I bid thee.” Then he sware to her an oath that if she obeyed his orders, whatever they might be, he would not do her die. So saying, he rose up from off her and Fatimah also arose, when he said to her, “Give me thy gear and take thou my habit,” whereupon she gave him her clothing and head fillets, her face kerchief and her mantilla. Then quoth he, “‘Tis also requisite that thou anoint me with somewhat shall make the color of my face like unto thine.” Accordingly she went into the inner cavern, and bringing out a gallipot of ointment, spread somewhat thereof upon her palm and with it besmeared his face until its hue favored her own. Then she gave him her staff and, showing him how to walk and what to do when he entered the city, hung her rosary around his neck. Lastly she handed to him a mirror and said, “Now look! Thou differest from me in naught,” and he saw himself Fatimah’s counterpart as thou she had never gone or come. But after obtaining his every object he falsed his oath and asked for a cord, which she brought to him. Then he seized her and strangled her in the cavern, and presently, when she was dead, haled the corpse outside and threw it into a pit hard by and went back to sleep in her cavern. And when broke the day, he rose, and repairing to the town, took his stand under the walls of Aladdin’s pavilion.
Hereupon flocked the folk about him, all being certified that he was Fatimah, the devotee, and he fell to doing whatso she was wont to do. He laid hands on these in pain and recited for those a chapter of the Koran and made orisons for a third. Presently the thronging of the folk and the clamoring of the crowd were heard by the Lady Badr al-Budur, who said to her handmaidens. “Look what is to do, and what he the cause of this turmoil!” Thereupon the aga of the eunuchry fared forth to see what might be the matter and, presently returning, said: “O my lady, this clamor is caused by the Lady Fatimah, and if thou be pleased to command, I will bring her to thee. So shalt thou gain through her a blessing.” The Princess answered: “Go bring her, for since many a day I am always hearing of her miracles and her virtues, and I do long to see her and get a blessing by her intervention, for the folk recount her manifestations in many cases of difficulty.”
The aga went forth and brought in the Moroccan, the necromancer, habited in Fatimah’s clothing, and when the wizard stood before the Lady Badr al-Budur, he began at first sight to bless her with a string of prayers, nor did any one of those present doubt at all but that he was the devotee herself. The Princess arose and salaamed to him, then, seating him beside her, said: “O my Lady Fatimah, ’tis my desire that thou abide with me alway, so might I be blessed through thee, and also learn of thee the paths of worship and piety and follow thine example making for salvation.” Now all this was a foul deceit of the accursed African, and he designed furthermore to complete his guile, so he continued: “O my Lady, I am a poor woman and a religious that dwelleth in the desert, and the like of me deserveth not to abide in the palaces of the kings.” But the Princess replied: “Have no care whatever, O my Lady Fatimah. I will set apart for thee an apartment of my pavilion that thou mayest worship therein, and none shall ever come to trouble thee. Also thou shalt avail to worship Allah in my place better than in thy cavern.” The Moroccan rejoined: “Hearkening and obedience, O my lady. I will not oppose thine order, for that the commands of the children of the kings may not be gainsaid nor renounced. Only I hope of thee that my eating and my drinking and sitting may be within my own chamber, which shall be kept wholly private. Nor do I require or desire the delicacies of diet, but do thou favor me by sending thy handmaid every day with a bit of bread and a sup of water, and, when I feel fain of food, let me eat by myself in my own room.”
Now the accursed hereby purposed to avert the danger of haply raising his face kerchief at mealtimes, when his intent might be baffled by his beard and mustachios discovering him to be a man. The Princess replied: “O my Lady Fatimah, be of good heart, naught shall happen save what thou wishest. But now arise and let me show thee the apartment in the palace which I would prepare for thy sojourn with us.” The Lady Badr al-Budur arose, and taking the necromancer who had disguised himself as the devotee, ushered him in to the place which she had kindly promised him for a home, and said: “O my Lady Fatimah, here thou shalt dwell with every comfort about thee and in all privacy and repose, and the place shall be named after thy name.” Whereupon the Maghrabi acknowledged her kindness and prayed for her. Then the Princess showed him the jalousies and the jeweled kiosque with its four and twenty windows, and said to him, “What thinkest thou, O my Lady Fatimah, of this marvelous pavilion?” The Moorman replied: “By Allah, O my daughter, ’tis indeed passing fine and wondrous exceedingly, nor do I deem that its fellow is to be found in the whole universe. But alas for the lack of one thing which would enhance its beauty and decoration!” The Princess asked her: “O my Lady Fatimah, what lacketh it, and what be this thing would add to its adornment? Tell me thereof, inasmuch as I was wont to believe it wholly perfect.” The Moroccan answered: “O my lady, all it wanteth is that there he hanging from the middle of the dome the egg of a fowl called the roc, and were this done, the pavilion would lack its peer all the world over.” The Princess asked, “What he this bird, and where can we find her egg?” and the Moroccan answered, “O my lady, the roc is indeed a giant fowl which carrieth off camels and elephants in her pounces and flieth away with them, such is her stature and strength. Also this fowl is mostly found in Mount Kaf, and the architect who built this pavilion is able to bring thee one of her eggs.”
They then left such talk, as it was the hour for the noonday meal, and when the handmaid had spread the table, the Lady Badr alBudur sent down to invite the accursed African to eat with her. But he accepted not, and for a reason he would on no wise consent- nay, he rose and retired to the room which the Princess had assigned to him and whither the slave girls carried his dinner. Now when evening evened, Aladdin returned from the chase and met his wife, who salaamed to him, and he clasped her to his bosom and kissed her. Presently, looking at her face, he saw thereon a shade of sadness, and he noted that, contrary to her custom, she did not laugh, so he asked her: “What hath betided thee, O my dearling? Tell me, hath aught happened to trouble thy thoughts?” “Nothing whatever,” answered she. “But, O my beloved, I fancied that our pavilion lacked naught at all. However, O eyes of me, O Aladdin, were the dome of the upper story hung with an egg of the fowl called roc, there would be naught like it in the universe.” Her husband rejoined: “And for this trifle thou art saddened, when ’tis the easiest of all matters to me! So cheer thyself, and whatever thou wantest, ’tis enough thou inform me thereof, and I will bring it from the abysses of the earth in the quickest time and at the earliest hour.”
Aladdin, after refreshing the spirits of his Princess by promising her all she could desire, repaired straightway to his chamber and taking the lamp, rubbed it, when the Marid appeared without let or delay saying, “Ask whatso thou wantest.” Said the other: “I desire thee to fetch me an egg of the bird roc, and do thou hang it to the dome crown of this my pavilion.” But when the Marid heard these words, his face waxed fierce and he shouted with a mighty loud voice and a frightful, and cried: “O denier of kindly deeds, sufficeth it not for thee that I and all the Slaves of the Lamp are ever at thy service, but thou must also require me to bring thee our Liege Lady for thy pleasure, and hang her up at thy pavilion dome for the enjoyment of thee and thy wife? Now, by Allah, ye deserve, thou and she, that I reduce you to ashes this very moment and scatter you upon the air. But inasmuch as ye twain be ignorant of this matter, unknowing its inner from its outer significance, I will pardon you, for indeed ye are but innocents. The offense cometh from that accursed necromancer, brother to the Maghrabi, the magician, who abideth here representing himself to be Fatimah, the devotee, after assuming her dress and belongings and murthering her in the cavern. Indeed he came hither seeking to slay thee by way of blood revenge for his brother, and ’tis he who taught thy wife to require this matter of me.”
So saying, the Marid evanished. But when Aladdin heard these words, his wits fled his head and his joints trembled at the Marid’s terrible shout. But he empowered his purpose and, arising forthright, issued from his chamber and went into his wife’s. There he affected an ache of head, for that he knew how famous was Fatimah for the art and mystery of healing all such pains. And when the Lady Badr alBudur saw him sitting hand to head and complaining of unease, she asked him the cause and he answered, “I know of none other save that my head acheth exceedingly.” Hereupon she straightway bade summon Fatimah, that the devotee might impose her hand upon his head, and Aladdin asked her, “Who may this Fatimah be?” So she informed him that it was Fatimah, the devotee, to whom she had given a home in the pavilion. Meanwhile the slave girls had fared forth and summoned the Maghrabi, and when the accursed made act of presence, Aladdin rose up to him and, acting like one who knew naught of his purpose, salaamed to him as though he had been the real Fatimah and, kissing the hem of his sleeve, welcomed him and entreated him with honor, and said: “O my Lady Fatimah, I hope thou wilt bless me with a boon, for well I wot thy practice in the healing of pains. I have gotten a mighty ache in my head.” The Moorman, the accursed, could hardly believe that he heard such words, this being all that he desired. The necromancer, habited as Fatimah, the devotee, came up to Aladdin that he might place hand upon his head and heal his ache. So he imposed one hand and, putting forth the other under his gown, drew a dagger wherewith to slay him. But Aladdin watched him and, taking patience till he had wholly unsheathed the weapon, seized him with a forceful grip and, wrenching the dagger from his grasp, plunged it deep into his heart.
When the Lady Badr al-Budur saw him do on this wise, she shrieked and cried out: “What hath this virtuous and holy woman done that thou hast charged thy neck with the heavy burthen of her blood shed wrongfully? Hast thou no fear of Allah that thou killest Fatimah, this saintly woman, whose miracles are far-famed?” “No,” replied Aladdin, “I have not killed Fatimah. I have slain only Fatimah’s slayer, he that is the brother of the Maghrabi, the accursed, the magician, who carried thee off by his black art and transported my pavilion to the Africa land. And this damnable brother of his came to our city and wrought these wiles, murthering Fatimah and assuming her habit, only that he might avenge upon me his brother’s blood. And he also ’twas who taught thee to require of me a roc’s egg, that my death might result from such requirement. But an thou doubt my speech, come forward and consider the person I have slain.” Thereupon Aladdin drew aside the Moorman’s face kerchief and the Lady Badr al-Budur saw the semblance of a man with a full heard that well-nigh covered his features.
She at once knew the truth, and said to her husband, “O my beloved, twice have I cast thee into death risk!” But he rejoined: “No harm in that, O my lady. By the blessing of your loving eyes, I accept with all joy all things thou bringest me.” The Princess, hearing these words, hastened to fold him in her arms and kissed him, saying: “O my dearling, all this is for my love to thee and I knew naught thereof, but indeed I do not deem lightly of thine affection.” So Aladdin kissed her and strained her to his breast, and the love between them waxed but greater. At that moment the Sultan appeared, and they told him all that had happened, showing him the corpse of the Maghrabi, the necromancer, when the King commanded the body to be burned and the ashes scattered on air, even as had befallen the wizard’s brother.
And Aladdin abode with his wife, the Lady Badr al-Budur, in all pleasure and joyaunce of life, and thenceforward escaped every danger, and after a while, when the Sultan deceased, his son-in-law was seated upon the throne of the kingdom. And he commanded and dealt justice to the lieges so that all the folk loved him, and he lived with his wife in all solace and happiness until there came to him the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies.
How the Fox Fell a Victim to His Own Deceit
Tibetan Folk Tale
Retold by A.L. Shelton (1925)
“Between the official and his people is confidence if the head-man is skillful.” ~Tibetan Proverb.
ONCE upon a time, away up in the corner of the mountains, in a little cave, lived a tiger and her baby cub. She had brought for this baby, one day when she was out hunting, a little fox to be his playmate. The fox had a happy time and an easy one, for he didn’t have to work or hunt, but played all day and the mother tiger kept them all supplied with food. One day she went out to hunt and found a little calf, which she took home to be another playmate for her son. But the fox was much displeased and became very jealous of the calf because he thought they all loved the calf better than he and that only the food that was left over was given to him. As a matter of fact, they treated him just the same as ever, but his heart was wrong and he began to plan how he might be revenged on the calf. After a while, the mother tiger became very ill, and as she was about to die she called the calf and her son to her side and said, “Although you are not of the same father and mother, yet you are brothers. I don’t want you to ever quarrel, but to live happily here together, and if any one should tell you lies don’t pay any attention to them, but always be friends.” So saying, she died.
Now the fox saw his opportunity. Every morning the calf was in the habit of running and playing and jumping and shaking his horns in fun, bellowing and taking exercise, while the tiger preferred to lie and rest. So one morning while the calf was skipping around, the fox slipped up to the tiger and said, “Although the calf says he is your friend, have you any idea what he is thinking about, when he runs and jumps and shakes his horns in that manner? In his heart he hates you, and in that manner is gaining strength in order that he may be able to kill you.”
This, of course, made the tiger suspicious and very angry. So daily he watched the calf very closely and became sour and surly.
Then the fox went to the calf and said, “You know your mother told you and the tiger that you were to be brothers, but see, he is growing larger and stronger every day and his heart has changed and he is preparing to kill and eat you.”
The tiger and the calf were now enemies and watched each other with a great deal of suspicion and were very unhappy. Finally one day the calf said to the tiger, “Why do you want to kill me and eat me? I have done you no harm and love you just as your mother said I should.”
The tiger replied, “I love you just the same and never thought of doing such a thing until the fox said you were preparing to kill me.”
Then they realized that the fox had been trying to make them enemies, and they decided on a plan to get even with the fox. The tiger said, “I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll have a sham fight saying we hate each other and we’re going to fight it out and see who wins. Ask him to be present and while we’re in the midst of it, I’ll attack him.”
The day came and they began their fight. They maneuvered round and round and seemed to be fighting very fiercely until they came very near the fox, when the tiger made a jump, landed on him and killed him and sat down and had a feast of the carcass.
The Tiger and the Frog
Tibetan Folk Tales
Retold by A.L. Shelton (1925)
“The tall strong pine is a great help, for with its support the weak vine may climb as high.” ~Tibetan Proverb
Once upon a time, in the days when the world was young and all animals understood each other’s languages, an old, old tiger named Tsuden went out hunting for some food. As he was creeping quietly along the banks of a stream a frog saw him and was badly scared. He thought, “This tiger is coming to eat me up.” He climbed up on a little bunch of sod and when the tiger came near, called out, “Hello, where are you going?”
The tiger answered, “I am going up into the forest to hunt something to eat. I haven’t had any food for two or three days and I am very weak and hungry. I guess I’ll eat you up. You’re awfully small, but I can’t find anything else. Who are you, anyway?”
The frog replied, swelling up as big as he could, “I am the king of the frogs. I can jump any distance and can do anything. Here’s a river, let’s see who can jump across.”
The tiger answered, “All right,” and as he crouched ready to jump, the frog slipped up and
got hold of the end of his tail with his mouth, and when the tiger jumped he was thrown away up the bank across the river. After Tsuden got across he turned around and looked and looked into the river for the frog. But as the tiger turned, the frog let loose of his tail and said, “What are you looking for, old tiger, down there?”
The tiger whirled quickly, very much surprised to see the frog away up the bank behind him.
Said the frog, “Now I beat you in that test, let’s try another. Suppose we both vomit.” The tiger being empty could only throw up a little water, but the frog spit up some tiger hair. The tiger much astonished asked, “How do you happen to be able to do that?” The frog replied, “Oh, yesterday I killed a tiger and ate him, and these are just a few of the hairs that aren’t yet digested.”
The tiger began to think to himself, “He must be very strong. Yesterday he killed and ate a tiger, and now he has jumped farther than I did over the river. Guess I’d better slip away before he eats me.” Then he sidled away a little piece, quickly turned and began to run away as fast as he could, up the mountain.
He met a fox coming down who asked, “What’s the matter, why are you running away so fast?”
“Say,” the old tiger said, “I met the king of all the frogs, who is very strong. Why, he has been eating tigers and he jumped across the river and landed farther up the bank than I did.”
The fox laughed at him and said, “What, are you running away from that little frog? He is
THE FROG CLIMBED UP ON A LITTLE BUNCH OF SOD AND WHEN THE TIGER CAME NEAR, CALLED OUT: ”HELLO, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
Click to enlarge
THE FROG CLIMBED UP ON A LITTLE BUNCH OF SOD AND WHEN THE TIGER CAME NEAR, CALLED OUT: ”HELLO, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
nothing at all. I am only a little fox, but I could put my foot on him and kill him.”
The tiger answered, “I know what this frog can do, but if you think you can kill him, I’ll go back with you. I am afraid you will get frightened and run away, however, so we must tie our tails together.”
So they tied their tails fast in a lot of knots and went down to see the frog, who still sat on his piece of sod, looking as important as he could. He saw them coming and called out to the fox, “You’re a great fox. You haven’t paid your toll to the king to-day nor brought any meat either. Is that a dog you’ve got tied to your tail and are you bringing him for my dinner?”
Then the tiger was frightened, for he thought the fox was taking him to the king to be eaten. So he turned and ran and ran as fast as he could go, dragging the poor fox with him, and if they are not dead, they are still running to-day.
Mangita and Larina
Retold by John Maurice Miller (1904)
This is a tale told in the lake district of Luzon. At times of rain or in winter the waters of the Laguna de Bai rise and detach from the banks a peculiar vegetation that resembles lettuce. These plants, which float for months down the Pasig River, gave rise, no doubt, to the story.
Many years ago there lived on the banks of the Laguna de Bai a poor fisherman whose wife had died, leaving him two beautiful daughters named Mangita and Larina.
Mangita had hair as black as night and a dark skin. She was as good as she was beautiful, and was loved by all for her kindness. She helped her father mend the nets and make the torches to fish with at night, and her bright smile lit up the little nipa house like a ray of sunshine.
Larina was fair and had long golden hair of which she was very proud. She was different from her sister, and never helped with the work, but spent the day combing her hair and catching butterflies. She would catch a pretty butterfly, cruelly stick a pin through it, and fasten it in her hair. Then she would go down to the lake to see her reflection in the clear water, and would laugh to see the poor butterfly struggling in pain. The people disliked her for her cruelty, but they loved Mangita very much. This made Larina jealous, and the more Mangita was loved, the more her sister thought evil of her.
One day a poor old woman came to the nipa house and begged for a little rice to put in her bowl. Mangita was mending a net and Larina was combing her hair in the doorway. When Larina saw the old woman she spoke mockingly to her and gave her a push that made her fall and cut her head on a sharp rock; but Mangita sprang to help her, washed the blood away from her head, and filled her bowl with rice from the jar in the kitchen.
The poor woman thanked her and promised never to forget her kindness, but to her sister she spoke not a word. Larina did not care, however, but laughed at her and mocked her as she painfully made her way again down the road. When she had gone Mangita took Larina to task for her cruel treatment of a stranger; but, instead of doing any good, it only caused Larina to hate her sister all the more.
Some time afterwards the poor fisherman died. He had gone to the big city down the river to sell his fish, and had been attacked with a terrible sickness that was raging there.
The girls were now alone in the world.
Mangita carved pretty shells and earned enough to buy food, but, though she begged Larina to try to help, her sister would only idle away the time.
The terrible sickness now swept everywhere and poor Mangita, too, fell ill. She asked Larina to nurse her, but the latter was jealous of her and would do nothing to ease her pain. Mangita grew worse and worse, but finally, when it seemed as if she would soon die, the door opened and the old woman to whom she had been so kind came into the room. She had a bag of seeds in her hand, and taking one she gave it to Mangita, who soon showed signs of being better, but was so weak that she could not give thanks.
The old woman then gave the bag to Larina and told her to give a seed to her sister every hour until she returned. She then went away and left the girls alone.
Larina watched her sister, but did not give her a single seed. Instead, she hid them in her own long hair and paid no attention to Mangita’s moans of pain. The poor girl’s cries grew weaker and weaker, but not a seed would her cruel sister give her. In fact, Larina was so jealous that she wished her sister to die.
When at last the old woman returned, poor Mangita was at the point of death. The visitor bent over the sick girl and then asked her sister if she had given Mangita the seeds. Larina showed her the empty bag and said she had given them as directed. The old woman searched the house, but of course could not find the seeds. She then asked Larina again if she had given them to Mangita. Again the cruel girl said that she had done so.
Suddenly the room was filled with a blinding light, and when Larina could see once more, in place of the old woman stood a beautiful fairy holding the now well Mangita in her arms.
She pointed to Larina and said, “I am the poor woman who asked for rice. I wished to know your hearts. You were cruel and Mangita was kind, so she shall live with me in my island home in the lake. As for you, because you tried to do evil to your good sister, you shall sit at the bottom of the lake forever, combing out the seeds you have hidden in your hair.” Then, she clapped her hands and a number of elves appeared and carried the struggling Larina away.
“Come,” said the fairy to Mangita, and she carried her to her beautiful home, where she lives in peace and happiness.
As for Larina, she sits at the bottom of the lake and combs her hair. As she combs a seed out, another comes in, and every seed that is combed out becomes a green plant that floats out of the lake and down the Pasig.
And to this day people can see them, and know that Larina is being punished for her wickedness.
JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK
Hans Christian Andersen
THERE lived a poor widow, whose cottage stood in a country village, a long distance from London, for many years.
The widow had only a child named Jack, whom she gratified in everything; the consequence of her partiality was, that Jack paid little attention to anything she said; and he was heedless and extravagant. His follies were not owing to bad disposition, but to his mother never having chided him. As she was not wealthy, and he would not work, she was obliged to support herself and him by selling everything she had. At last nothing remained only a cow.
The widow, with tears in her eyes, could not help reproaching Jack. “Oh! you wicked boy,” said she, “by your prodigal course of life you have now brought us both to fall! Heedless, heedless boy! I have not money enough to buy a bit of bread for another day: nothing remains but my poor cow, and that must be sold, or we must starve!”
Jack was in a degree of tenderness for a few minutes, but soon over; and then becoming very hungry for want of food he teased his poor mother to let him sell the cow; to which at last she reluctantly consented.
As he proceeded on his journey he met a butcher, who inquired why he was driving the cow from home? Jack replied he was going to sell it. The butcher had some wonderful beans, of different colours, in his bag, which attracted Jack’s notice. This the butcher saw, who, knowing Jack’s easy temper, resolved to take advantage of it, and offered all the beans for the cow. The foolish boy thought it a great offer. The bargain was momently struck, and the cow exchanged for a few paltry beans. When Jack hastened home with the beans and told his mother and showed them to her, she kicked the beans away in a great passion. They flew in all directions, and were extended as far as the garden.
Early in the morning Jack arose from his bed, and seeing something strange from the window, he hastened downstairs into the garden, where he soon found that some of the beans had grown in root, and sprung up wonder. fully: the stalks grew in an immense thickness, and had so entwined, that they formed a ladder like a chain in view.
Looking upwards, he could not descry the top, it seemed to be lost in the clouds. He tried it, discovered it firm, and not to be shaken. A new idea immediately struck him: he would climb the bean-stalk, and see to whence it would lead. Full of this plan, which made him forget even his hunger, Jack hastened to communicate his intention to his mother.
He instantly set out, and after climbing for some hours, reached the top of the bean-stalk, fatigued and almost exhausted. Looking round, he was surprised to find himself in a strange country; it looked to be quite a barren desert not a tree, shrub, house, or living creature was to be seen.
Jack sat himself pensively upon a block of stone, and thought of his mother; his hunger attacked him, and now he appeared sorrowful for his disobedience in climbing the bean-stalk against her will; and concluded that he must now die for want of food.
However, he walked on, hoping to see a house where he might beg something to eat. Suddenly he observed a beautiful young female at some distance. She was dressed in an elegant manner, and had a small white wand in her hand, on the top of which was a peacock of pure gold. She approached and said: “I will reveal to you a story your mother dare not. But before I begin, I require a solemn promise on your part to do what I command. I am a fairy, and unless you perform exactly what I direct you to do, you will deprive me of the power to assist you; and there is little doubt but that you will die in the attempt.” Jack was rather frightened at this caution, but promised to follow her directions.
“Your father was a rich man, with a disposition greatly benevolent. It was his practice never to refuse relief to the deserving in his neighbourhood; but, on the contrary, to seek out the helpless and distressed. Not many miles from your father’s house lived a huge giant, who was the dread of the country around for cruelty and oppression. This creature was moreover of a very envious disposition, and disliked to hear others talked of for their goodness and humanity, and he vowed to do him a mischief, so that he might no longer hear his good actions made the subject of every one’s conversation. Your father was too good a man to fear evil from others; consequently it was not long before the cruel giant found an opportunity to put his wicked threats into practice; for hearing that your parents were about passing a few days with a friend at some distance from home, he caused your father to be waylaid and murdered, and your mother to be seized on their way homeward.
“At the time this happened, you were but a few months old. Your poor mother, almost dead with affright and horror, was borne away by the cruel giant’s emissaries to a dungeon under his house, in which she and her poor babe were both long confined as prisoners. Distracted at the absence of your parents, the servants went in them; but no tidings of either could be obtained. Meantime he caused a will to be found making over all your father’s property to him as your guardian, and as such he took open possession.
“After your mother had been some months the giant offered to restore her to liberty, on con she would solemnly swear that she would never divulge the story of her wrongs to any one. To put it out of power to do him any harm, should she break her oath, the giant had her put on ship-board, and taken to a distant country where he had her left with no more money for her support than what she obtained from the sale of a few had secreted in her dress.
“I was appointed your father’s guardian at his birth; but fairies have laws to which they are subject as well as mortals. A short time before the giant assassinated your father, I transgressed; my punishment was a suspension of my power for a limited time, an unfortunate circumstance as it entirely prevented my assisting your father, even when I most wished to do so. The day on which you met the butcher, as you went to sell your mother’s cow, my power was restored. It was I who secretly prompted you to take the beans in exchange for the cow. By my power the bean-stalk grew to so great a height, and formed a ladder. The giant lives in this country; you are the person appointed to punish him for all his wickedness. You will have dangers and difficulties to encounter, but you must persevere in avenging the death of your father, or you will not not prosper in any of your undertakings.
“As to the giant’s possessions, everything he has is yours, though you are deprived of it; you may take, therefore, what part of it you can. You must, however, be careful, for such is his love for gold, that the first loss he discovers will make him outrageous and very watchful for the future. But you must still pursue him; for it is only by stratagem that you can ever hope to overcome him, and become possessed of your rightful property, and the means of retributive justice overtaking him for his barbarous murder. One thing I desire is, do not let your mother know you are acquainted with your father’s history till you see me again.
“Go along the direct road; you will soon see the house where your cruel enemy lives. While you do as I order you, I will protect and guard you; but remember, if you disobey my commands, a dreadful punishment awaits you.”
As soon as she had concluded she disappeared, leaving Jack to follow his journey. He walked on till after sunset, when, to his great joy, he espied a large mansion. This pleasant sight revived his drooping spirits; he redoubled his speed, and reached it shortly. A well-looking woman’ stood at the door: he accosted her, begging she would give him a morsel of bread and a night’s lodging. She expressed the greatest surprise at seeing him; and said it was quite uncommon to see any strange creature. near their house, for it was mostly known that her husband was a very cruel and powerful giant, and one that would eat human flesh, if he could possibly get it.
This account terrified Jack greatly, but still, not forgetting the fairy’s protection, he hoped to elude the giant, and therefore he entreated the woman to take him in for one night only, and hide him where she thought proper. The good woman at last suffered herself to be persuaded, for her disposition was remarkably compassionate, and at last led him into the house.
First they passed an elegant hall, finely furnished; they then proceeded through several spacious rooms, all in the same style of grandeur, but they looked to be quite forsaken and desolate. A long gallery came next; it was very dark, just large enough to show that, instead of a wall each side, there was a grating of iron, which parted off a dismal dungeon, from whence issued the groans of several poor victims whom the cruel giant reserved in confinement for his voracious appetite. Poor Jack was in a dreadful fright at witnessing such a horrible scene, which caused him to fear that he would never see his mother, but be captured lastly for the giant’s meat; but still he recollected the fairy, and a gleam of hope forced itself into his heart.
The good woman then took Jack to a spacious kitchen, where a great fire was kept; she bade him sit down, and gave him plenty to eat and drink. In the meantime he had done his meal and enjoyed himself, but was disturbed by a hard knocking at the gate, so loud as to cause the house to shake. Jack was concealed in the oven, and the giant’s wife ran to let in her husband.
Jack heard him accost her in a voice like thunder, saying: “Wife! wife! I smell fresh meat!” “Oh! my dear,” replied she, “it is nothing but the people in the dungeon.” The giant seemed to believe her, and at last seated himself by the fireside, whilst the wife prepared supper.
By degrees Jack endeavoured to look at the monster through a small crevice. He was much surprised to see what an amazing quantity he devoured, and supposed he would never have done eating and drinking. After his supper was ended, a very curious hen was brought and placed on the table before him. Jack’s curiosity was so
great to see what would happen. He observed that it stood quiet before him, and every time the giant said: “Lay!” the hen laid an egg of solid gold. The giant amused himself a long time with his hen; meanwhile his wife went to bed. At length he fell asleep, and snored like the roaring of a cannon. Jack finding him still asleep at daybreak, crept softly from his hiding-place, seized the hen, and ran off with her as fast as his legs could possibly allow him.
Jack easily retraced his way to the bean-stalk, and descended it better and quicker than he expected. His mother was overjoyed to see him. “Now, mother,” said Jack, “I have brought you home that which will make you rich.” The hen produced as many golden eggs as they desired; they sold them, and soon became possessed of as much riches as they wanted.
For a few months Jack and his mother lived very happy, but he longed to pay the giant another visit. Early in the morning he again climbed the bean-stalk, and reached the giant’s mansion late in the evening: the woman was at the door as before. Jack told her a pitiful tale, and prayed for a night’s shelter. She told him that she had admitted a poor hungry boy once before, and the little ingrate had stolen one of the giant’s treasures, and ever since that she had been cruelly used. She however led him to the kitchen, gave him a supper, and put him in a lumber closet. Soon after the giant came in, took his supper, and ordered his wife to bring down his bags of gold and silver. Jack peeped out of his hiding-place, and observed the giant counting over his treasures, and after which he carefully put them in bags again, fell asleep, and snored as before. Jack crept quietly from his hiding-place, and approached the giant, when a little dog under the chair barked furiously. Contrary to his expectation, the giant slept on soundly, and the dog ceased. Jack seized the bags, reached the door in safety, and soon arrived at the bottom of the bean-stalk. When he reached his mother’s cottage, he found it quite deserted. Greatly surprised he ran into the village, and an old woman directed him to a house, where he found his mother apparently dying. On being informed of our hero’s safe return, his mother revived and soon recovered. Jack then presented two bags of gold and silver to her.
His mother discovered that something preyed upon his mind heavily, and endeavoured to discover the cause; but Jack knew too well what the consequence would be should he discover the cause of his melancholy to her. He did his utmost therefore to conquer the great desire which now forced itself upon him in spite of himself for another journey up the bean-stalk.
On the longest day Jack arose as soon as it was light, ascended the bean-stalk, and reached the top with some little trouble. He found the road, journey, etc., the same as on the former occasions. He arrived at the giant’s house in the evening, and found his wife standing as usual at the door. Jack now appeared a different character, and had disguised himself so completely that she did not appear to have any recollection of him. However, when he begged admittance, be found it very difficult to persuade her. At last he prevailed, was allowed to go in, and was concealed in the copper.
When the giant returned, he said, as usual: “Wife! wife! I smell fresh meat!” But jack felt quite composed, as he had said so before, and had soon been satisfied. However, the giant started up suddenly, and notwithstanding all his wife could say, he searched all round the room. Whilst this was going forward, Jack was much terrified, and ready to die with fear, wishing himself at home a thousand times; but when the giant approached the copper, and put his hand upon the lid, Jack thought his death was certain. Fortunately the giant ended his search there, without moving the lid, and seated himself quietly by the fireside.
When the giant’s supper was over, he commanded his wife to fetch down his harp. Jack peeped under the copper-lid, and soon saw the most beautiful one that could be imagined. It was put by the giant on the table, who said: “Play,” and it instantly played of its own accord. The music was uncommonly fine. Jack was delighted, and felt more anxious to get the harp into his possession than either of the former treasures.
The giant’s soul was not attuned to harmony, and the music soon lulled him into a sound sleep. Now, therefore, was the time to carry off the harp, as the giant appeared to be in a more profound sleep than usual. Jack soon made up his mind, got out of the copper, and seized the harp; which, however, being enchanted by a fairy, called out loudly: “Master, master!”
The giant awoke, stood up, and tried to pursue Jack; but he had drank so much that he could not stand. Jack ran as quick as he could. In a little time the giant recovered sufficiently to walk slowly, or rather to reel after him. Had he been sober, he must have overtaken Jack instantly; but as he then was, Jack contrived to be first at the top of the bean-stalk. The giant called to him all the way along the road in a voice like thunder, and was sometimes very near to him.
The moment Jack got down the bean-stalk, he called out for a hatchet: one was brought him directly. Just at that instant the giant began to descend, but Jack with his hatchet cut the bean-stalk close off at the root, and the giant fell headlong into the garden. The fall instantly killed him. Jack heartily begged his mother’s pardon for all the sorrow and affliction he had caused her, promising most faithfully to be dutiful and obedient to her in future. He proved as good as his word, and became a pattern of affectionate behaviour and attention to his parent.
Wolf and Seven Kids
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 4-5 Year Olds)
There was once upon a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and
loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day
she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called
all seven to her and said, dear children, I have to go into the
forest, be on your guard against the wolf, if he comes in, he will
devour you all – skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often
disguises himself, but you will know him at once by his rough voice
and his black feet. The kids said, dear mother, we will take good
care of ourselves, you may go away without any anxiety. Then the old
one bleated, and went on her way with an easy mind.
It was not long before some one knocked at the house-door and called,
open the door, dear children, your mother is here, and has brought
something back with her for each of you. But the little kids knew
that it was the wolf, by the rough voice. We will not open the door,
cried they, you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice,
but your voice is rough, you are the wolf. Then the wolf went away
to a shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this
and made his voice soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at the
door of the house, and called, open the door, dear children, your
mother is here and has brought something back with her for each of
you. But the wolf had laid his black paws against the window, and
the children saw them and cried, we will not open the door, our
mother has not black feet like you, you are the wolf. Then the wolf
ran to a baker and said, I have hurt my feet, rub some dough over
them for me. And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to
the miller and said, strew some white meal over my feet for me. The
miller thought to himself, the wolf wants to deceive someone, and
refused, but the wolf said, if you will not do it, I will devour you.
Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly,
this the way of mankind.
So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked
at it and said, open the door for me, children, your dear little
mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back
from the forest with her. The little kids cried, first show us your
paws that we may know if you are our dear little mother. Then he put
his paws in through the window, and when the kids saw that they were
white, they believed that all he said was true, and opened the door.
But who should come in but the wolf they were terrified and wanted to
hide themselves. One sprang under the table, the second into the
bed, the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth
into the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh
into the clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and used no great
ceremony, one after the other he swallowed them down his throat. The
youngest, who was in the clock-case, was the only one he did not
find. When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off,
laid himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and began
to sleep. Soon afterwards the old goat came home again from the
forest. Ah. What a sight she saw there. The house-door stood wide
open. The table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the
washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were
pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they were nowhere
to be found. She called them one after another by name, but no one
answered. At last, when she caame to the youngest, a soft voice
cried, dear mother, I am in the clock-case. She took the kid out,
and it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others.
Then you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.
At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with
her. When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree
and snored so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on
every side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his
gorged belly. Ah, heavens, she said, is it possible that my poor
children whom he has swallowed down for his supper, can be still
alive. Then the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle
and thread and the goat cut open the monster’s stomach, and hardly
had she make one cut, than one little kid thrust its head out, and
when she cut farther, all six sprang out one after another, and were
all still alive, and had suffered no injury whatever, for in his
greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole. What rejoicing
there was. They embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a sailor
at his wedding. The mother, however, said, now go and look for some
big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast’s stomach with them
while he is still asleep. Then the seven kids dragged the stones
thither with all speed, and put as many of them into his stomach as
they could get in, and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest
haste, so that he was not aware of anything and never once stirred.
When the wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his
legs, and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he
wanted to go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and move
about, the stones in his stomach knocked against each other and
rattled. Then cried he, what rumbles and tumbles against my poor
bones. I thought ’twas six kids, but it feels like big stones. And
when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, the
heavy stones made him fall in, and he had to drown miserably. When
the seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried
aloud, the wolf is dead. The wolf is dead, and danced for joy round
about the well with their mother.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
*Audio file at the end
In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king
whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful
that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever
it shone in her face. Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark
forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when
the day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and
sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she
took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this
ball was her favorite plaything.
Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball
did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it,
but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The
king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the
well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this
she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be
comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails
you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”
She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a
frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water. “Ah, old
water-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball,
which has fallen into the well.” “Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered
the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your
plaything up again?” “Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My
clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am
wearing.” The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your
pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me
and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your
little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of
your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise
me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up
“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring
me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does
talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and
croak. He can be no companion to any human being.”
But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the
water and sank down; and in a short while came swimmming up again
with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king’s
daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and
picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take
me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to
scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did
not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was
forced to go back into his well again.
The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and
all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate,
something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble
staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and
cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” She ran to
see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog
in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat
down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly
that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are
you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to
carry you away?” “Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting
“What does a frog want with you?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was
in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into
the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for
me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my
companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his
water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”
In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you
said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me.”
Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform.
Go and let him in.” She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped
in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and
cried, “Lift me up beside you.” She delayed, until at last the king
commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to
be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your
little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.” She did
this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The
frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked
her. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am
tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed
ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”
The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog
which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her
pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said, “He who
helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be
despised by you.” So she took hold of the frog with two fingers,
carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in
bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as
you, lift me up or I will tell your father.” At this she was terribly
angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the
wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he
fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful
eyes. He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and
husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked
witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but
herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.
Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a
carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white
ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden
chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant Faithful Henry.
Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a
frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart,
lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to
conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them
both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because
of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the
king’s son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken.
So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.”
“No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart,
which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and
imprisoned in the well.” Again and once again while they were on
their way something cracked, and each time the king’s son thought the
carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing
from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and
Listen to the audio from LibriVox here:
Spindle, Shuttle and Needle
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
There was once a girl whose father and mother died while
she was still a little child. All alone, in a small house at the
end of the village, dwelt her godmother, who supported herself
by spinning, weaving, and sewing. The old woman took the
forlorn child to live with her, kept her to her work, and educated
her in all that is good. When the girl was fifteen years old,
the old woman became ill, called the child to her bedside,
and said, dear daughter, I feel my end drawing near. I leave you
the little house, which will protect you from wind and weather, and
my spindle, shuttle, and needle, with which you can earn your
bread. Then she laid her hands on the girl’s head, blessed her,
and said, only preserve the love of God in your heart, and all will
go well with you. Thereupon she closed her eyes, and when she was
laid in the earth, the maiden followed the coffin, weeping
bitterly, and paid her the last mark of respect.
And now the maiden lived quite alone in the little house, and
was industrious, and spun, wove, and sewed, and the blessing of the
good old woman was on all that she did. It seemed as if the flax
in the room increased of its own accord, and whenever she wove a
piece of cloth or carpet, or had made a shirt, she at once found
a buyer who paid her amply for it, so that she was in want of
nothing, and even had something to share with others.
About this time, the son of the king was traveling about the
country looking for a bride. He was not to choose a poor one, and
did not want to have a rich one. So he said, she shall be my wife
who is the poorest, and at the same time the richest. When he came
to the village where the maiden dwelt, he inquired, as he did
wherever he went, who was the richest and also the poorest girl in
the place. They first named the richest. The poorest, they said,
was the girl who lived in the small house quite at the end of the
village. The rich girl was sitting in all her splendor before the
door of her house, and when the prince approached her, she got up,
went to meet him, and made him a low curtsy. He looked at her,
said nothing, and rode on. When he came to the house of the poor
girl, she was not standing at the door, but sitting in her little
room. He stopped his horse, and saw through the window, on which
the bright sun was shining, the girl sitting at her spinning-wheel,
busily spinning. She looked up, and when she saw that the prince
was looking in, she blushed all over her face, let her eyes fall,
and went on spinning. I do not know whether, just at that
moment, the thread was quite even, but she went on spinning until
the king’s son had ridden away again. Then she went to the
window, opened it, and said, it is so warm in this room, and she
looked after him as long as she could distinguish the white
feathers in his hat. Then she sat down to work again in her room
and went on with her spinning, and a saying which the old woman
had often repeated when she was sitting at her work, came into her mind, and she sang these
words to herself,
spindle, my spindle, haste, haste thee away,
and here to my house bring the wooer, I pray.
And what do you think happened. The spindle sprang out of her
hand in an instant, and out of the door, and when, in her
astonishment, she got up and looked after it, she saw that it was
dancing out merrily into the open country, and drawing a shining
gold thread after it. Before long, it had entirely vanished from
her sight. As she had now no spindle, the girl took the weaver’s
shuttle in her hand, sat down to her loom, and began to weave.
The spindle, however, danced continually onwards, and just as
the thread came to an end, reached the prince. What do I see, he
cried, the spindle certainly wants to show me the way, turned
his horse about, and rode back with the golden thread. The girl
however, was sitting at her work singing,
shuttle, my shuttle, weave well this day,
and guide the wooer to me, I pray.
Immediately the shuttle sprang out of her hand and out by the door.
Before the threshold, however, it began to weave a carpet which
was more beautiful than the eyes of man had ever yet beheld.
Lilies and roses blossomed on both sides of it, and on a golden
ground in the center green branches ascended, under which bounded
hares and rabbits, stags and deer stretched their heads in
between them, brightly-colored birds were sitting in the branches
above, they lacked nothing but the gift of song. The shuttle
leapt hither and thither, and everything seemed to grow of
its own accord.
As the shuttle had run away, the girl sat down to sew. She held
the needle in her hand and sang,
needle, my needle, sharp-pointed and fine,
prepare for the wooer this house of mine.
Then the needle leapt out of her fingers, and flew everywhere
about the room as quick as lightning. It was just as if
invisible spirits were working, it covered tables and benches
with green cloth in an instant, and the chairs with velvet, and hung the windows with silken
curtains. Hardly had the needle put in the last stitch than the
maiden saw through the window the white feathers of the prince,
whom the spindle had brought thither by the golden thread. He
alighted, stepped over the carpet into the house, and when he
entered the room, there stood the maiden in her poor garments, but
she shone out from within them like a rose surrounded by leaves.
You are the poorest and also the richest, said he to her. Come
with me, you shall be my bride. She did not speak, but she gave
him her hand. Then he gave her a kiss, led her forth, lifted her
on to his horse, and took her to the royal castle, where the
wedding was solemnized with great rejoicings. The spindle,
shuttle, and needle were preserved in the treasure-chamber,
and held in great honor.
Hut in the Forest
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
A poor wood-cutter lived with his wife and three daughters in
a little hut on the edge of a lonely forest. One morning as he
was about to go to his work, he said to his wife, let our
eldest daughter bring me my dinner into the forest, or I shall
never get my work done, and in order that she may not miss
her way, he added, I will take a bag of millet with me and strew
the seeds on the path. When, therefore, the sun was just above
the centre of the forest, the girl set out on her way with a
bowl of soup, but the field-sparrows, and wood-sparrows,
larks and finches, blackbirds and siskins had picked up the
millet long before, and the girl could not find the track.
Trusting to chance, she went on and on, until the sun sank and
night began to fall. The trees rustled in the darkness, the
owls hooted, and she began to be afraid. Then in the distance she
perceived a light which glimmered between the trees. There
ought to be some people living there, who can take me in for the
night, thought she, and went up to the light. It was not long before
she came to a house the windows of which were all lighted up. She
knocked, and a rough voice from inside cried, come in. The
girl stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked at the door of
the room. Just come in, cried the voice, and when she opened the
door, an old gray-haired man was sitting at the table, supporting
his face with both hands, and his white beard fell down over
the table almost as far as the ground. By the stove lay three
animals, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told her
story to the old man, and begged for shelter for the night. The
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.
Duks, answered the animals, and that must have meant, we are
willing, for the old man said, here you shall have shelter
and food, go to the fire, and cook us our supper. The girl
found in the kitchen abundance of everything, and cooked a
good supper, but had no thought of the animals. She carried
the full bowl to the table, seated herself by the gray-haired man,
ate and satisfied her hunger. When she had had enough, she said,
but now I am tired, where is there a bed in which I can lie down,
and sleep. The animals replied,
thou hast eaten with him,
thou hast drunk with him,
thou hast had no thought for us,
so find out for thyself where thou canst pass the
Then said the old man, just go upstairs, and you will find a
room with two beds, shake them up, and put white linen on them,
and then I, too, will come and lie down to sleep. The girl
went up, and when she had shaken the beds and put clean sheets
on, she lay down in one of them without waiting any longer for
the old man. After some time the gray-haired man came, held his
candle over the girl and shook his head. When he saw that she
had fallen into a sound sleep, he opened a trap-door, and let her
down into the cellar.
Late at night, the wood-cutter came home, and reproached his
wife for leaving him to hunger all day. It is not my fault,
she replied, the girl went out with your dinner, and must have
lost herself, but surely she will come back to-morrow. The
wood-cutter, however, arose before dawn to go into the forest, and
requested that the second daughter should take him his dinner
that day. I will take a bag with lentils, said he, the seeds
are larger than millet, the girl will see them better, and
can’t lose her way. At dinner-time, therefore, the girl took
out the food, but the lentils had disappeared. The birds of the
forest had picked them up as they had done the day before,
and had left none. The girl wandered about in the forest
until night, and then she too reached the house of the old man,
was told to go in, and begged for food and a bed. The man with
the white beard again asked the animals,
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.
The animals again replied ‘duks, and everything happened just
as it had happened the day before. The girl cooked a good meal,
ate and drank with the old man, and did not concern herself about
the animals, and when she inquired about her bed they answered,
thou hast eaten with him,
thou hast drunk with him,
thou hast had no thought for us,
so find out for thyself where thou canst pass
When she was asleep the old man came, looked at her, shook his
head, and let her down into the cellar.
On the third morning the wood-cutter said to his wife, send our
youngest child out with my dinner to-day, she has always been good
and obedient, and will stay in the right path, and not rove about
like her sisters, the wild bumble-bees. The mother did not
want to do it, and said, am I to lose my dearest child, as well.
Have no fear, he replied, the girl will not go astray. She is
too prudent and sensible. Besides I will take some peas with me,
strew them about. They are still larger than lentils, and will
show her the way. But when the girl went out with her basket on
her arm, the wood-pigeons had already got all the peas in their
crops, and she did not know which way she was to turn. She was
full of sorrow and never ceased to think how hungry her father
would be, and how her good mother would grieve, if she did
not go home. At length when it grew dark, she saw the light and
came to the house in the forest. She begged quite prettily to
be allowed to spend the night there, and the man with the white
beard again asked his animals,
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.
Duks, said they. Then the girl went to the stove where the
animals were lying, and petted the cock and hen, and stroked
their smooth feathers with her hand, and caressed the brindled
cow between her horns, and when, in obedience to the old man’s
orders, she had made ready some good soup, and the bowl was
placed upon the table, she said, am I to eat as much as I want,
and the good animals to have nothing. Outside is food in plenty,
I will look after them first. So she went and brought some
barley and stewed it for the cock and hen, and a whole armful
of sweet-smelling hay for the cow. I hope you will like it,
dear animals, said she, and you shall have a refreshing draught
in case you are thirsty. Then she fetched a bucketful of water,
and the cock and hen jumped on to the edge of it and dipped
their beaks in, and then held up their heads as the birds do when
they drink, and the brindled cow also took a hearty draught. When
the animals were fed, the girl seated herself at the table by
the old man, and ate what he had left. It was not long before
the cock and the hen began to thrust their heads beneath
their wings, and the eyes of the cow likewise began to blink.
Then said the girl, ought we not to go to bed.
My pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.
The animals answered, duks,
thou hast eaten with us,
thou hast drunk with us,
thou hast had kind thought for all of us,
we wish thee good-night.
Then the maiden went upstairs, shook the feather-beds, and laid
clean sheets on them, and when she had done it the old man came
and lay down in one of the beds, and his white beard reached down
to his feet. The girl lay down on the other, said her prayers,
and fell asleep.
She slept quietly till midnight, and then there was such a noise
in the house that she awoke. There was a sound of cracking and
splitting in every corner, and the doors sprang open, and beat
against the walls. The beams groaned as if they were being torn
out of their joints, it seemed as if the staircase were falling
down, and at length there was a crash as if the entire roof had
fallen in. When, however, all grew quiet once more, and the girl
was not hurt, she stayed quietly lying where she was, and fell
asleep again. But when she woke up in the morning with the
brilliancy of the sunshine, what did her eyes behold. She was
lying in a vast hall, and everything around her shone with royal
splendor. On the walls, golden flowers grew up on a ground of
green silk, the bed was of ivory, and the canopy of red velvet,
and on a chair close by, was a pair of slippers embroidered
with pearls. The girl believed that she was in a dream, but
three richly clad attendants came in, and asked what orders she
would like to give. If you will go, she replied, I will get up
at once and make ready some soup for the old man, and then I
will feed the pretty hen, and the pretty cock, and the pretty
brindled cow. She thought the old man was up already, and looked
round at his bed. He, however, was not lying in it, but a
And while she was looking at him, and becoming aware that he was
young and handsome, he awoke, sat up in bed, and said, I am
a king’s son, and was bewitched by a wicked witch, and made to
live in this forest, as an old gray-haired man. No one was
allowed to be with me but my three attendants in the form
of a cock, a hen, and a brindled cow. The spell was not to be
broken until a girl came to us whose heart was so good that she
showed herself full of love, not only towards mankind, but towards
animals – and that you have done, and by you at midnight we were
set free, and the old hut in the forest was changed back again
into my royal palace. And when they had arisen, the king’s son
ordered the three attendants to set out and fetch the father and
mother of the girl to the marriage feast. But where are my two
sisters, inquired the maiden. I have locked them in the cellar,
and to-morrow they shall be led into the forest, and shall live
as servants to a charcoal-burner, until they have grown kinder,
and do not leave poor animals to suffer hunger.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end
was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and
said, dear child, be good and pious, and then the
good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you
from heaven and be near you. Thereupon she closed her eyes and
departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother’s grave,
and wept, and she remained pious and good. When winter came
the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and by the time the
spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife.
The woman had brought with her into the house two daughters,
who were beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart.
Now began a bad time for the poor step-child. Is the stupid goose
to sit in the parlor with us, they said. He who wants to eat bread
must earn it. Out with the kitchen-wench. They took her pretty
clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave
her wooden shoes. Just look at the proud princess, how decked
out she is, they cried, and laughed, and led her into the kitchen.
There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up
before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash. Besides
this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury – they mocked her
and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was
forced to sit and pick them out again. In the evening when she had
worked till she was weary she had no bed to go to, but had to sleep
by the hearth in the cinders. And as on that account she always
looked dusty and dirty, they called her cinderella.
It happened that the father was once going to the fair, and he
asked his two step-daughters what he should bring back for them.
Beautiful dresses, said one, pearls and jewels, said the second.
“And you, cinderella, said he, what will you have.”
“Father break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat on your way home.”
So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls and jewels for his two step-daughters, and on his way home, as he was riding through a green thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and
knocked off his hat. Then he broke off the branch and took it with
him. When he reached home he gave his step-daughters the things
which they had wished for, and to cinderella he gave the branch
from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother’s
grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears
fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome
tree. Thrice a day cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and
prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if
cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she
had wished for.
It happened, however, that the king gave orders for a festival
which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young
girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose
himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were
to appear among the number, they were delighted, called cinderella
and said, comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our
buckles, for we are going to the wedding at the king’s palace.
Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to
go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow
her to do so. You go, cinderella, said she, covered in dust and
dirt as you are, and would go to the festival. You have no clothes
and shoes, and yet would dance. As, however, cinderella went on
asking, the step-mother said at last, I have emptied a dish of
lentils into the ashes for you, if you have picked them out again in
two hours, you shall go with us. The maiden went through the
back-door into the garden, and called, you tame pigeons, you
turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me
the good into the pot,
the bad into the crop.
Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and
afterwards the turtle-doves, and at last all the birds beneath the
sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes.
And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick,
pick, pick, and the rest began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and
gathered all the good grains into the dish. Hardly had one hour
passed before they had finished, and all flew out again. Then the
girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, and believed
that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival.
But the step-mother said, no, cinderella, you have no clothes and
you can not dance. You would only be laughed at. And as
cinderella wept at this, the step-mother said, if you can pick two
dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one hour, you shall go
with us. And she thought to herself, that she most certainly
cannot do again. When the step-mother had emptied the two
dishes of lentils amongst the ashes, the maiden went through the
back-door into the garden and cried, you tame pigeons, you
turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me
the good into the pot,
the bad into the crop.
Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen-window, and
afterwards the turtle-doves, and at length all the birds beneath the
sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the
ashes. And the doves nodded with their heads and began pick,
pick, pick, pick, and the others began also pick, pick, pick, pick,
and gathered all the good seeds into the dishes, and before half an
hour was over they had already finished, and all flew out again.
Then the maiden was delighted, and believed that she might now go
with them to the wedding. But the step-mother said, all this will
not help. You cannot go with us, for you have no clothes and can
not dance. We should be ashamed of you. On this she turned her
back on cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters.
As no one was now at home, cinderella went to her mother’s
grave beneath the hazel-tree, and cried –
shiver and quiver, little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and
slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress
with all speed, and went to the wedding. Her step-sisters and the
step-mother however did not know her, and thought she must be a
foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress.
They never once thought of cinderella, and believed that she was
sitting at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes. The
prince approached her, took her by the hand and danced with her.
He would dance with no other maiden, and never let loose of her
hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, this is my
She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home.
But the king’s son said, I will go with you and bear you company,
for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged.
She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the
pigeon-house. The king’s son waited until her father came, and
then he told him that the unknown maiden had leapt into the
pigeon-house. The old man thought, can it be cinderella. And
they had to bring him an axe and a pickaxe that he might hew
the pigeon-house to pieces, but no one was inside it. And when they
got home cinderella lay in her dirty clothes among the ashes, and
a dim little oil-lamp was burning on the mantle-piece, for
cinderella had jumped quickly down from the back of the pigeon-house
and had run to the little hazel-tree, and there she had taken off
her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had
taken them away again, and then she had seated herself in the
kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.
Next day when the festival began afresh, and her parents and
the step-sisters had gone once more, cinderella went to the
hazel-tree and said –
shiver and quiver, my little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
Then the bird threw down a much more beautiful dress than on
the preceding day. And when cinderella appeared at the wedding
in this dress, every one was astonished at her beauty. The king’s
son had waited until she came, and instantly took her by the hand
and danced with no one but her. When others came and invited
her, he said, this is my partner. When evening came she wished
to leave, and the king’s son followed her and wanted to see into
which house she went. But she sprang away from him, and into
the garden behind the house. Therein stood a beautiful tall tree on
which hung the most magnificent pears. She clambered so nimbly
between the branches like a squirrel that the king’s son did not
know where she was gone. He waited until her father came, and
said to him, the unknown maiden has escaped from me, and I
believe she has climbed up the pear-tree. The father thought,
can it be cinderella. And had an axe brought and cut the
tree down, but no one was on it. And when they got into the
kitchen, cinderella lay there among the ashes, as usual, for she
had jumped down on the other side of the tree, had taken the
beautiful dress to the bird on the little hazel-tree, and put on her
On the third day, when the parents and sisters had gone away,
cinderella went once more to her mother’s grave and said to the
little tree –
shiver and quiver, my little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
And now the bird threw down to her a dress which was more
splendid and magnificent than any she had yet had, and the
slippers were golden. And when she went to the festival in the
dress, no one knew how to speak for astonishment. The king’s son
danced with her only, and if any one invited her to dance, he said
this is my partner.
When evening came, cinderella wished to leave, and the king’s
son was anxious to go with her, but she escaped from him so quickly
that he could not follow her. The king’s son, however, had
employed a ruse, and had caused the whole staircase to be smeared
with pitch, and there, when she ran down, had the maiden’s left
slipper remained stuck. The king’s son picked it up, and it was
small and dainty, and all golden. Next morning, he went with it to
the father, and said to him, no one shall be my wife but she whose
foot this golden slipper fits. Then were the two sisters glad,
for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her
room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she
could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for
her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, cut the toe off,
when you are queen you will have no more need to go on foot. The
maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed
the pain, and went out to the king’s son. Then he took her on his
his horse as his bride and rode away with her. They were
obliged, however, to pass the grave, and there, on the hazel-tree,
sat the two pigeons and cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
there’s blood within the shoe,
the shoe it is too small for her,
the true bride waits for you.
Then he looked at her foot and saw how the blood was trickling
from it. He turned his horse round and took the false bride
home again, and said she was not the true one, and that the
other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her
chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was
too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said, cut a bit
off your heel, when you are queen you will have no more need
to go on foot. The maiden cut a bit off her heel, forced
her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the
king’s son. He took her on his horse as his bride, and rode away
with her, but when they passed by the hazel-tree, the two pigeons
sat on it and cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
there’s blood within the shoe,
the shoe it is too small for her,
the true bride waits for you.
He looked down at her foot and saw how the blood was running
out of her shoe, and how it had stained her white stocking quite
red. Then he turned his horse and took the false bride home
again. This also is not the right one, said he, have you no
other daughter. No, said the man, there is still a little
stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her, but
she cannot possibly be the bride. The king’s son said he was
to send her up to him, but the mother answered, oh, no, she is
much too dirty, she cannot show herself. But he absolutely
insisted on it, and cinderella had to be called. She first
washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed down
before the king’s son, who gave her the golden shoe. Then she
seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy
wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a
glove. And when she rose up and the king’s son looked at her
face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with
him and cried, that is the true bride. The step-mother and
the two sisters were horrified and became pale with rage, he,
however, took cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As
they passed by the hazel-tree, the two white doves cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
no blood is in the shoe,
the shoe is not too small for her,
the true bride rides with you,
and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and
placed themselves on cinderella’s shoulders, one on the right,
the other on the left, and remained sitting there.
When the wedding with the king’s son was to be celebrated, the
two false sisters came and wanted to get into favor with
cinderella and share her good fortune. When the betrothed
couple went to church, the elder was at the right side and the
younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from
each of them. Afterwards as they came back the elder was at
the left, and the younger at the right, and then the pigeons
pecked out the other eye from each. And thus, for their
wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness
all their days.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called
Dummling, and was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every occasion.
It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood,
and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a
bottle of wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or
When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who
bade him good-day, and said, do give me a piece of cake out of your
pocket, and let me have a draught of your wine, I am so hungry and
thirsty. But the clever son answered, if I give you my cake and
wine, I shall have none for myself, be off with you, and he left the
little man standing and went on.
But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long before he made
a false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm, so that he had to go
home and have it bound up. And this was the little grey man’s doing.
After this the second son went into the forest, and his mother gave
him, like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old
grey man met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a
drink of wine. But the second son, too, said sensibly enough, what I
give you will be taken away from myself, be off, and he left the
little man standing and went on. His punishment, however, was not
delayed, when he had made a few blows at the tree he struck himself
in the leg, so that he had to be carried home.
Then Dummling said, father, do let me go and cut wood. The father
answered, your brothers have hurt themselves with it, leave it alone,
you do not understand anything about it. But Dummling begged so long
that at last he said, just go then, you will get wiser by hurting
yourself. His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in
the cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.
When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise,
and greeting him, said, give me a piece of your cake and a drink out
of your bottle, I am so hungry and thirsty.
Dummling answered, I have only cinder-cake and sour beer, if that
pleases you, we will sit down and eat. So they sat down, and when
Dummling pulled out his cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and
the sour beer had become good wine. So they ate and drank, and after
that the little man said, since you have a good heart, and are
willing to divide what you have, I will give you good luck. There
stands an old tree, cut it down, and you will find something at the
roots. Then the little man took leave of him.
Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a
goose sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her
up, and taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would
stay the night. Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose
and were curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and
would have liked to have one of its golden feathers.
The eldest thought, I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a
feather, and as soon as Dummling had gone out she seized the goose by
the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.
The second came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a
feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she
was held fast.
At last the third also came with the like intent, and the others
screamed out, keep away, for goodness, sake keep away. But she did
not understand why she was to keep away. The others are there, she
thought, I may as well be there too, and ran to them, but as soon as
she had touched her sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So
they had to spend the night with the goose.
The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out,
without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on
to it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now
right, wherever his legs took him.
In the middle of the fields the parson met them, and when he saw the
procession he said, for shame, you good-for-nothing girls, why are
you running across the fields after this young man. Is that seemly?
At the same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull
her away, but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and
was himself obliged to run behind.
Before long the sexton came by and saw his master, the parson,
running behind three girls. He was astonished at this and called
out, hi, your reverence, whither away so quickly. Do not forget that
we have a christening to-day, and running after him he took him by
the sleeve, but was also held fast to it. Whilst the five were
trotting thus one behind the other, two laborers came with their hoes
from the fields, the parson called out to them and begged that they
would set him and the sexton free. But they had scarcely touched the
sexton when they were held fast, and now there were seven of them
running behind Dummling and the goose.
Soon afterwards he came to a city, where a king ruled who had a
daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. So he
had put forth a decree that whosoever should be able to make her
laugh should marry her. When Dummling heard this, he went with his
goose and all her train before the king’s daughter, and as soon as
she saw the seven people running on and on, one behind the other, she
began to laugh quite loudly, and as if she would never stop.
Thereupon Dummling asked to have her for his wife, but the king did
not like the son-in-law, and made all manner of excuses and said he
must first produce a man who could drink a cellarful of wine.
Dummling thought of the little grey man, who could certainly help
him, so he went into the forest, and in the same place where he had
felled the tree, he saw a man sitting, who had a very sorrowful face.
Dummling asked him what he was taking to heart so sorely, and he
answered, I have such a great thirst and cannot quench it, cold water
I cannot stand, a barrel of wine I have just emptied, but that to me
is like a drop on a hot stone.
There, I can help you, said Dummling, just come with me and you shall
He led him into the king’s cellar, and the man bent over the huge
barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day
was out he had emptied all the barrels. Then Dummling asked once
more for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow,
whom everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he
made a new condition, he must first find a man who could eat a whole
mountain of bread. Dummling did not think long, but went straight
into the forest, where in the same place there sat a man who was
tying up his body with a strap, and making an awful face, and saying,
I have eaten a whole ovenful of rolls, but what good is that when one
has such a hunger as I. My stomach remains empty, and I must tie
myself up if I am not to die of hunger.
At this Dummling was glad, and said, get up and come with me, you
shall eat yourself full. He led him to the king’s palace, where all
the flour in the whole kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a
huge mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood
before it, began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain
had vanished. Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride,
but the king again sought a way out, and ordered a ship which could
sail on land and on water. As soon as you come sailing back in it,
said he, you shall have my daughter for wife.
Dummling went straight into the forest, and there sat the little grey
man to whom he had given his cake. When he heard what Dummling
wanted, he said, since you have given me to eat and to drink, I will
give you the ship, and I do all this because you once were kind to
me. Then he gave him the ship which could sail on land and water,
and when the king saw that, he could no longer prevent him from
having his daughter. The wedding was celebrated, and after the
king’s death, Dummling inherited his kingdom and lived for a long
time contentedly with his wife.
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