ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP - 3 books and stories free download online pdf in English



“Nay, nay, O my mother,” protested Aladdin; “it were wiser to keep them, for did not the Slave of the Ring deliver me from death? and has not the Slave of the Lamp brought us delicious food when we were hungry?” “That may be so,” replied his mother, “but hear my words, my son; no good thing can come of these dealings with accursèd spirits, and it were better for thee to have died in the cavern than to[80] invoke their aid.” And thus she pleaded with him to cast away the Ring and the Lamp, for she was sore afraid of the power of the Evil One. But Aladdin would not undertake to do this, although, in respect for her wishes, he agreed to conceal the objects so that she might never need to look upon them. He also agreed to invoke neither of the Efrites again, unless it were a case of dire necessity. And with this his mother had to rest content.

three women by water fountain pouring out of wall

Mother and son continued to live on the food that remained, until, in a few days, it was all gone. Then Aladdin took up one of the dishes from the tray, and, not knowing that it was of pure gold, went out to sell it and buy food with the proceeds. In the market he came to the shop of a Jew—a man of exceeding vile methods of buying and selling; and he showed the dish to him. This Jew, as soon as he saw the dish, knew it for pure gold and glanced sharply at Aladdin to find whether he knew its value. But Aladdin’s face told him nothing; so he enquired, “What price do you ask, O my master?” “Its value in the market,” returned Aladdin; and at this the Jew pondered, saying within himself, “If he knoweth the value, and I offer him too little, he will give me a bad name in the market; yet, if he knoweth not, I should be ruining myself by offering him too large a price. Perchance he knoweth not.” Then, preferring that others might call him a rogue rather than that the event might prove him a fool in his own eyes, he took a single gold piece from his pocket and handed it to Aladdin. On this and its issue, seeing quickly that Aladdin knew not the value of the thing—for he took the gold piece and walked away—the Jew repented him bitterly of his rash act, for he could have bought the dish for much less.

As for Aladdin, he hastened home and gave the gold piece to his mother, begging her to buy food with it. She did so, and they ate, and were comforted. And so, from day to day, they lived on the proceeds of one dish after another, which the unregenerate Hebrew bought at cheaper and cheaper prices, saying always that the metal was inferior and that the demand for such goods was not what it used to be. And, when at last the dishes were all sold, Aladdin summoned the Jew to the house to inspect the goblets and also the tray, which was too heavy for him to carry to the market. When the Jew saw how much silver there was in the tray and the goblets he forgot himself and offered ten gold pieces for them—at least a thirtieth part of their value. Aladdin took the gold pieces, and the Jew departed with the tray. So food was forthcoming for many more days; but at last the money was exhausted and there was now nothing left to sell. At this Aladdin, who, in deference to his mother’s wishes, had concealed the Lamp and the Ring against a necessitous occasion, brought forth the former and rubbed it, for so, he concluded, was the Slave invoked. His conclusion was right, for no sooner had he rubbed the Lamp than the Efrite suddenly appeared before him, immense and of terrible aspect.

“What is thy wish, O my master?” said the Efrite; “for I am the Slave of the Lamp and of him who holds it.” “My wish,” answered Aladdin, “is that you bring me another tray of food similar to the one you brought before.” Immediately the Efrite vanished, and, in a moment, appeared again, bearing a tray of food exactly similar to the one he had brought before. He set this down before Aladdin and then disappeared.

“Mother! Mother!” cried Aladdin in delight. “Come here and see what we have for supper.” When she hastened to him and saw the delicate food, and smelt the rich savours, she was pleased, although she knew that Aladdin had summoned the Efrite and commanded him to bring the tray. “Look at it, Mother!” cried Aladdin; “and thou wouldst have me cast away the Lamp by means of which we have gotten this repast!” “O my son,” answered she, “if the Slave of the Lamp be a devil then he is a good devil; but, for all that, I know I should swoon again at sight of him.”

And they ate and drank and were merry, the food lasting them some days. Then, just as a tidy housewife clears away the platter after a meal, so, when the food was all gone, Aladdin proceeded to dispose of the dishes as before. Taking one of them he went forth to find the Jew, but it chanced that on his way he passed the shop of a fair-dealing man—that is to say, not a Jew—who had no vile methods of buying and selling, but was just, and feared God. When this man saw Aladdin passing he called to him, and told him that he had frequently seen him selling things to the Jew, and warned him about it. “Thou knowest not how the Jew will trick thee,” he said, “for the goods of the faithful are fair spoil to the Jews; and it was ever so, and ever will be. If, therefore, thou hast aught to sell, I will give thee its full value, in the name of the Prophet.”

Then Aladdin shewed him the dish of gold and he took it, and weighed it on the scales. “Did you sell any of this kind to the Jew?” he asked. “Yes,” answered Aladdin, “many—all of them exactly the same.” “And what price did he pay you?” “A gold piece for the first, and afterwards less.” The merchant looked grieved and spat on the ground. “My son,” he said; “it is not meet that a servant of God should fall into the hands of the Jew. Woe unto him, accursèd! He hath cheated thee sore, for my balance tells me truly the weight of this dish, which is of pure gold; and its value is seventy pieces of gold. Here is the price if thou wouldst sell.”

He counted out seventy gold pieces and handed them to Aladdin, who took them and thanked the merchant heartily for his honest exposure of the Jew’s wickedness. And thereafter he brought the remaining dishes, and at last the tray, to that merchant, and received from him their full value; so that Aladdin and his mother were placed above want and in a comfortable position for people of their station in life.

During this time Aladdin had changed his ways greatly. He no longer consorted with the ragamuffins of the street but selected for his friends men of standing and integrity. His daily practice was to go to the market and converse with the merchants in a serious and business-like manner in the endeavour to learn their methods and the value of stuffs. And often he would watch the jewellers at their work, and the goods they handled; and, through knowledge thus acquired, he began to suspect that the jewel-fruit he had gathered in the garden of the cavern was not glass, as he had imagined, but real gems. By this and that, and by comparing and asking questions, he came at length to the certainty that he actually possessed the richest jewels in all the earth. The smallest among them was bigger and more sparkling by far than the largest and finest he could see in any jeweller’s shop.

One day, while his mind was engaged with this amazing thing, and while he was as usual studying the ways of the merchants in the bazaar and the varying quality of their[84] goods, a thing happened which was predestined to have far-reaching results on his life. He was in the jewellers’ market, taking note of things, when a herald came by, crying to all people: “Take heed! By command of the Sultan, King of the Age and Lord of the Earth, let all doors be closed, and let none come forth from shop or dwelling on pain of instant death, for the Sultan’s daughter, Bedr-el-Budur cometh to the bath! Take heed!”

Now, on hearing this, a great longing arose in Aladdin’s breast to look upon the face of Bedr-el-Budur, the Sultan’s daughter. “All people extol her loveliness,” he said to himself; “and I—even if I die for it—I will look upon her face; for something—I know not what—impels me to gaze on Bedr-el-Budur the beautiful.”

So, with this will, he speedily found the way. Hastening to the Hammam he secreted himself behind the door so that, unobserved himself, he might see her when she came in. And he had not long to wait, for, presently, the Sultan’s daughter arrived; and, as she entered, she lifted the veil from her face, so that Aladdin saw her features clearly.

What a wondrous beauty was there! The witchery of her eyes! The ivory of her skin! The jet of her glossy tresses! These, and the swaying of her graceful body as she walked, caused Aladdin’s heart to turn to water and then to spring wildly into flame. “What a creature is this Princess!” he said within himself. “I knew not that God had ever created such a soul of loveliness.” Then, suddenly, an overwhelming love for her took him by the heart, and gat hold of him utterly, so that he knew naught else for the very stress of it.

Like one walking in a dream Aladdin went home and sat him down in dejection of spirit. For a long time he answered[85] not his mother’s questions as to what ailed him, but continued like one who had beheld a vision so lovely that it had deprived him of his senses. At last, however, he looked up, and said, “O my mother, know that until to-day I had believed that all women were of thy fashion of face, but now I find they are not; for to-day I saw the Sultan’s daughter, and she is more beautiful than all others on earth.” And Aladdin told her how he had hidden behind the door of the Hammam, so that, when Bedr-el-Budur had entered and lifted her veil, he had seen her clearly; and how, on that, a great love had leapt up in his heart and filled him to the exclusion of all else. “And there is no rest for me,” he concluded, “until I win the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and make her my wife.”

At these daring words Aladdin’s mother regarded him sharply, with fear on her face. “Art thou mad, my son?” she cried. “For, if such an insane act is thine intention, then God save thee!” “Nay, O my mother,” he answered, “I am not mad. But, as I risked my life to see her, so will I risk it again to win her; for, without her, life is of no account to me. I will go to the Sultan and ask him to give me the lovely Bedr-el-Budur for my lawful wife.”

Seeing his determination his mother was sore afraid, and knew not what to do. For a long time she reasoned with him anxiously, pointing out what a scandal it would be for the son of a poor tailor to aspire to the Sultan’s daughter—the highest in the land, and one whom the Sultan would scarce bestow upon a King who was his equal. Aladdin listened very quietly, and then replied that his resolve was unshaken; and, though he admitted the truth of all she had said, he would nevertheless carry out his purpose, for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur was the only thing in the world to him,[86] and if he did not win her he would die. In vain she suggested that there were many of his own class he might marry; besides, to approach the Sultan on such a matter meant certain death; unless, indeed, the Sultan thought to bind him on an ass, with his face to the tail, and parade him through the city with the heralds shouting, “Behold the reward of presumption and the payment of impertinence!”

These arguments, and more, his mother put before him; but Aladdin shook his head at all of them, and remained firm in his determination. “And further, O my mother,” he said, “I wish now that thou go thyself to the Sultan and put my request to him, for am I not thy child? And is it not thy duty to perform this office for me?”

“O my son,” she cried in despair, “wilt thou bring me into thy madness? I, a poor woman of humble birth, to go in to the Sultan and demand the princess for my son! Why, if I were to go even to one of our equals and demand his daughter, I should immediately be asked what money and goods we possessed; and, if I could not give a ready reply on that matter to an equal, what reply, do you imagine, could I give the Sultan? Besides all this, O my son, how shall I even gain access to the Sultan’s presence for this purpose without bearing a rich gift to offer him? Out on thee, my son, for thy presumption! What hast thou done for thy country, or what are thy vast possessions that the Sultan should reward thee with his daughter?”

“Mother,” answered Aladdin, “thy words have served me well, for they have called to my recollection a thing which, through excess of love for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, I had forgotten. Thou sayest that thou canst not approach the Sultan without a rich gift. Then, O my mother, if I[87] place in thy hands an offering richer than any King in the world can make to any other, wilt thou carry out my desire?”

Thinking his words were wild as the wind, and that he could produce no such offering, his mother agreed; but, remembering the Slave of the Lamp, and what had already been done in that way, she stipulated with Aladdin that she would carry out his wish only on condition that it required no further invoking of the Efrite. Aladdin assured her on this and asked her to fetch him a china bowl. Wondering greatly she arose, and brought the bowl to him. Then Aladdin emptied into it all the sparkling jewels which he carried within his garments, and, when they were heaped together in the bowl they shone with a dazzling splendour. Liking well her amazement he explained to his mother how he had learned in the market place that what he had at first thought were mere glass were really the rarest of precious stones, the equal of the least of which could not be found in the treasuries of Kings. On hearing this, and at sight of the brilliant, flashing gems, his mother was dumbfounded, for she saw that this was indeed a treasure beyond all imagination, and worthy of the Sultan’s acceptance. But, as she had naught to say, Aladdin spoke for her, and held her to her promise.

“Thou seest, O my mother,” he said, “that this is an offering excelling all others. Now, therefore, according to thy promise, arise straightway and go to the Sultan, bearing these wondrous jewels. I am greatly mistaken if he accepteth not the gift.” “But, O my son,” answered she in dismay, “what can I say to him? The gift is fabulous indeed, but still more fabulous is the request thou desirest me to put to him. For, if I say I want his daughter for my son, he may be so angered at my impertinence that he will take the jewels and condemn me to death. And then he may search for thee, my son; and, when he hath found thee, and looked upon thy face, we shall assuredly die together.”

lady on balcony

Aladdin made a gesture of impatience at his mother’s view of the matter. “On my head and eye,” he said angrily, “though thou art my mother thou art verily lacking in sense. I put it to you: What man living, yea, even though he be the Sultan, would refuse to grant thy request when thou comest to him with the price of more than half his kingdom? Nay, my mother,—for such thou art,—thou art surely deficient in wisdom.” And he took up the bowl of glittering jewels and weighed the chances of them in his hand.

But his mother, silenced as she was with his shrewd words, was terrified at the prospect of her visit to the Sultan, and still went on raising difficulties. “Haply, O my son, he will be pleased to see me, because of the gift; but what if he say to me, ‘Who is this, thy son, who seeketh the hand of my daughter? What is his condition and state of life?’” “How can he ask thee that,” answered Aladdin, “when the jewels in the bowl are crying out my state and my condition? Such a thing will never happen, except in thy mind. Do thou now arise and go to him, for I will no longer listen to these fanciful excuses.” “Nay, nay, my son,” she cried, seeing there was no withdrawing from her promise; “I will go, but give me till the morning to strengthen and prepare myself.”