ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP - 5 books and stories free download online pdf in English



With this he arose and retired to his own chamber, where he brought out the Lamp. Then, having considered well the manner of his wish, he rubbed it. Immediately the Efrite stepped out of the unseen and stood before him, saying, “Thou hast invoked me: what is thy desire? I am the Slave of the Lamp in thy hand and am here to do thy bidding.” And Aladdin answered: “Know, O Slave of the Lamp, that the Sultan promised me his daughter for my wife, but he has broken his word, and this night she is to be united with the Grand Vizier’s son; wherefore I wish that, as soon as the pair retire, thou take them up, with the couch whereon they lie, and bring them hither to me.” “I hear and obey,” said the Slave of the Lamp, and immediately vanished.

Aladdin waited expectantly for some time, for he guessed that the moment would not be long delayed when the wedded pair would retire from the ceremonies. And his guess was right, for when he had waited a little longer, suddenly a cold blast of air swept through the chamber; the wall opened and there appeared the Efrite bearing in his arms the wedded pair upon the nuptial couch. They had been transported in the twinkling of an eye, and, when the Efrite had set the couch down at Aladdin’s feet, they were both stupefied with astonishment at this proceeding.

“Take that scurvy thief,” said Aladdin to the Efrite, pointing to the Vizier’s son, “and bind him and lodge him in the wood-closet for the night.” And the Efrite did so. He took up the Vizier’s son in one hand, and, reaching with the other for cords, drew them from the invisible and bound the miscreant securely. Then he placed him in the wood-closet and blew an icy blast upon him to comfort him. Returning to Aladdin he said, “It is done, O Master of the Lamp! Is there aught else thou dost desire?” “Naught but this,” replied Aladdin. “In the morning, when the Sultan is proceeding towards their chamber to wish them long life and happiness, convey them back thither in a state of sleep so that the Sultan’s knock at their door may wake them.” “I will obey,” said the Efrite, and, in a moment, the air closed over him and he was gone.

And Aladdin smiled to himself to think that this thing had been done. Then he turned to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, who was sitting weeping on the couch. “O lovely one,” said he, “weep not; for I would not hurt one hair of thy head, nor sully thine honour in any way. Know that I love thee too much to harm thee; but, since thy father the Sultan promised me thee, and has violated his word, I am determined that none other shall call thee his. Rest in peace, lovely lady; for neither am I thy husband nor the thief of thy husband’s honour. Wherefore, weep not, but rest in peace.”

So saying he took a sword that hung on the wall of his chamber, and, having placed it by her side in token of security, he stretched himself upon the couch so that they lay with the sword between them. Thus they passed the night. The Sultan’s daughter wept the long night through, and Aladdin could not close his eyes for thinking of his unfortunate rival’s condition in the wood-closet. Towards morning Bedr-el-Budur, utterly exhausted with weeping, fell asleep; and, as Aladdin gazed upon her, he saw that indeed her loveliness was rare; and, the more he gazed, the more he thought of the unhappy fate of the Vizier’s son. Never was a man so badly treated as to be bound fast on his wedding night and laid in a wood-cellar in deadly fear of the dreadful apparition that had placed him there.

In the morning, while Bedr-el-Budur still slept, the Slave of the Lamp appeared according to Aladdin’s command. “O my master,” he said, “the Sultan hath left his couch and is about to knock at the door of the bridal chamber. I am here to perform thy bidding on the instant.” “So be it,” answered Aladdin. “Convey them together on the couch back to their place.” And scarcely had he spoken when the Efrite vanished and reappeared with the Vizier’s son, whom he quickly unbound and laid upon[101] the couch beside the sleeping Bedr-el-Budur. Then, lifting the couch with the two upon it, he vanished, and Aladdin knew that, before the Sultan had knocked at the door of the bridal chamber, everything would be as it had been. Everything? No, not everything; for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur must awake as from a terrible nightmare; and, as for the Vizier’s son, would he sing a song to the Sultan about spending the night in the wood-closet? Aladdin pondered over this and decided that nothing less than a repetition of the affair would wring the truth from either of them.

At this moment the Sultan knocked at the door of the bridal chamber in the Palace, and the Vizier’s son, still cold from the wood-closet, arose and opened to him. The Sultan advanced to the couch, and kissed his daughter, and asked her if she was happy and content. By way of answer she glared at him in sullen silence, for she had not forgotten, in dreams or in waking, what had happened to her. The Sultan, not understanding what had befallen, and feeling annoyed, turned and left the chamber to lay the matter before the Queen, to whose ear their daughter’s tongue might the more easily be loosed. So he came to the Queen and told her how Bedr-el-Budur had received him, concluding his recital with the remark, “Thus it is; there is trouble behind the door of that bridal chamber.”

But the Queen smiled at his serious fears and answered him: “O my Lord the King, thou knowest little of the heart of a woman. When it is happiest, a trifle makes it sad; and, when it would send tears of laughter and joy to the eyes, it sometimes turns perverse against itself for very gladness, and sends tears of pain instead. Wherefore, be not angry with her, but let me go and see her. She will surely confide in me.”

So saying, she arose and robed herself, and went to the bridal chamber. At first sight of her daughter’s dejected attitude and pained expression she imagined that some lovers’ quarrel over a mere trifle had occurred; but when she kissed her, wishing her good morning, and Bedr-el-Budur answered no word to her salutation, she began to think that some grave trouble rested on her daughter’s mind. And it was not until she had coaxed her, and used every argument known to a mother, that she received an answer to her questions. “Be not angry with me, O my mother,” said Bedr-el-Budur at last, raising her sad, beautiful eyes, “but know that a terrible thing has happened,—a thing which I hardly dare tell thee lest thou think I have lost my reason. Scarcely had we retired, O my mother, when there suddenly appeared a huge black shape,—terrible, horrific in aspect; and this—I know not what nor who—lifted the couch whereon we lay and conveyed us in a flash to some dark and vile abode of the common people.” And then to her mother’s astonished ears she unfolded the tale of all that had happened during the night till, suddenly, in the morning, she awoke to find the monstrous shape replacing them in the bridal chamber at the moment her father the Sultan had knocked at the door. “And that, O my mother,” she concluded, “is why I could not answer my father, for I was so bewildered and stricken with unhappiness that I thought that I was mad; though, now I have thought about the affair from beginning to end, I know that I have my wits like any other.”

“Truly, O my daughter,” said the Queen with great concern, “if thou were to tell this story to thy father he would say thou wert mad. Wherefore, I counsel thee, child,[103] tell it to him not; neither to him nor to any other one.” “Nay, O my mother,” answered Bedr-el-Budur, “dost thou doubt me? I have told thee the plain truth, and, if thou doubt it, ask my husband if my tale be true or not.” But the Queen replied, “Sweep these fancies from thy mind, O my daughter; and arise and robe thyself to attend the rejoicings which this day have been prepared in the City in thine honour. For the whole people is in glad array, and the drums will beat and music will delight the ears of all; and the musicians will sing thy praises and all will wish thee long life and happiness.”

Leaving Bedr-el-Budur, then, with her tirewomen, the Queen sought the Sultan, and begged him not to be angry with their daughter, for she had been distressed with unhappy dreams. Then she sent for the Vizier’s son to come to her secretly, and, when he stood before her, she related to him what Bedr-el-Budur had told her, and asked him if it were true or if he knew aught of it. “Nay,” he answered, for he had thought the matter over and feared that the truth might rob him of his bride; besides, his acquaintance with the wood-closet seemed to him discreditable, and he felt little inclined to boast of it. “Nay, O my lady the Queen,” said he; “I know naught of these things beyond what thou hast told me.”

From this there was no doubt left in the Queen’s mind that her daughter had suffered from a nightmare so vivid that she had been unable easily to cast it from her. Nevertheless, she felt assured that, as the day wore on, with its gaieties and rejoicings, Bedr-el-Budur would be enabled to rid herself of these troublous imaginings of the night, and resume her former self.

two men in high pavillion

All that day the City was thrown into a state of the utmost festivity which the Sultan and the Queen busied themselves to augment, for to restore their daughter’s happiness was their chief concern. The Grand Vizier, who knew only that his daughter-in-law had been troubled by evil dreams, laid this not to his conscience in that he had persuaded the Sultan to break his pledge, but attempted rather to mend matters by adopting every means in his power to increase the universal gaiety. The drums beat, and music echoed through the City. Trumpeters went forth, fanfaring the beauty of Bedr-el-Budur; heralds proclaimed her graces in the streets and byways; singers extolled her charms; and the heavy burden of taxation was lifted from the people’s backs for one month, so that they might stand up for a little and see what a great man was the Grand Vizier in the Sultan’s eyes, and what a charming person his son must be to deserve the beautiful cause of these wonderful things. As for the Vizier’s son, he ceased not to pursue all manner of gaieties, thinking thereby to convince himself that the wood-closet was naught but an odious dream. But all this festivity and rejoicing failed to dispel Bedr-el-Budur’s gloom. Being of a sincere nature, she could not pretend like the Vizier’s son, nor could she love him the better for stoutly denying what was plain truth to them both.

And, as the City went about its gladness without restraint, Aladdin strolled forth from his mother’s house and viewed it all from the point of view of one who knows. When he surveyed the delighted rabble rejoicing over the happiness of bride and bridegroom he laughed within himself, saying, “Little they know!” But when he heard all men envying the great honour and distinction of the Grand Vizier’s[105] son, and praising him in that his excellent qualities had won the heart of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, he feared that he might die for laughing. “Verily, ye glad people,” he said within himself, “ye would envy him to distraction if ye only knew that he would far sooner rest in a wood-closet than on the bridal couch. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ye doubt me? Then come and peep into the wood-closet to-night, ye rabble! and see for yourselves what a happy bridegroom he makes of himself, the gallows-bird that he is!”

At eventime, when the wild rejoicing of the City had fatigued itself against replenishment by wine, Aladdin retired to his chamber and rubbed the Lamp. Immediately the Slave appeared and desired to know his wish. “O Slave of the Lamp,” said Aladdin, “do as thou didst last night. See to it that thou convey the bridal pair hither again as man and maid at the eleventh hour of their innocence.” The Slave of the Lamp vanished in a moment, and Aladdin sat for a long time; yet he was content, for he knew that the wily Efrite was but waiting his opportunity. At length the monster reappeared before him, bearing in his arms the bridal couch with the pair upon it, weeping and wringing their hands in excess of grief and terror. And, at Aladdin’s word the Slave took the Vizier’s son as before and put him to bed in the wood-closet, where he remained, bound fast in an icy chill. Then having dismissed the Efrite with injunctions to convey the pair back in the morning as he had done the day before, Aladdin placed the sword between Bedr-el-Budur and himself and composed himself to rest, regardless of her weeping and restlessness; for, he said to himself, “I am sufficiently rewarded for all my trouble. The Vizier’s son hath retired to the wood-closet. He careth not for this world’s joys—the[106] gallows-bird! And he leaves me his bride to protect in the hour of need. Verily he is of a trusting nature.” And Aladdin slept not nor stirred the whole night through; and it was as if Bedr-el-Budur’s sobbing and tribulation were cut off from him by the sword that lay between them. And when it was morning, and the Sultan was about to knock at the door of the bridal chamber in the palace, the Slave of the Lamp appeared and conveyed the bride and the bridegroom swiftly back to their place.

On being set down in the bridal chamber, dazed and bewildered, they had not returned to their proper senses when the knock came at the door. The Sultan had come to wish his daughter good-morning, and to see also if she would behave towards him as on the former occasion. The bridegroom arose, shivering with cold,—for he had but a moment since left the wood-closet,—and opened the door. He made way for the Sultan, who entered, and, approaching the couch, saluted Bedr-el-Budur with a kiss. But, when he asked her if she was not the happiest of women, she made no reply, but met his gaze with an angry stare. It was easy to see that she was perfectly miserable. But the Sultan did not look at it in that light, he saw only what he took for sullen obstinacy, and, flying into a passion, drew his sword, saying, “By Allah! tell me what ails thee, or thy head will not remain upon thy body.”

Then Bedr-el-Budur wept and supplicated him, and told him what had befallen on the second night as on the first, so that as she revealed it all his pity was aroused, and he sheathed his sword. “Thy words ring true, O my daughter!” he said. “But fear not, and be comforted; for at this moment I am minded to set a guard on this chamber so that[107] no such thing may happen a third time. For the present, peace be on thee!”

The Sultan repaired immediately to the Grand Vizier and told him all; and asked him whether he had received the same version of this matter from his son. But the Grand Vizier shook his head in the manner of one who might be lying and might not. “Then,” said the Sultan, “go at once and question him, for it may be that my daughter hath seen visions and dreamed dreams; albeit, I am unable to disbelieve the truth of her story.”

So the Grand Vizier went and enquired of his son, and presently returned to the Sultan in great perplexity of face, for his son, whatever he had admitted before, had now confessed to everything, even to the wood-closet. And, moreover, he had begged and implored his father to obtain his release from this most unhappy marriage, since it was better to be without a bride and sleep in peace than to have one and perish with cold in a wood-closet. Thus it was with the Vizier’s son.

“O King of the Age,” said the Grand Vizier, who could not see his way to conceal the truth, “my son telleth the same tale as thy daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Wherefore I beseech thee that thou set a guard this night, so that——” “Nay,” broke in the Sultan angrily; “it is an unhappy marriage and bodes no good. Thou didst persuade me that my promise to that woman in respect of her son was not binding, but these unhappy events and ill-omened affairs make me think thou wast mistaken. Abide not another night, for worse may happen. Go forth, O Vizier, and proclaim the marriage annulled. Bid the people cease to rejoice, and command all to go their own ways and comport themselves as if the marriage had not been.”

At this the Grand Vizier bowed his head and went forth exceeding wroth, and proclaimed the annulment of the marriage to all the people. Great was the wonder at this on every hand, for, among them all, none knew why, save one alone; and that one was Aladdin, the Master of the Lamp and of the Slave of the Lamp. He alone knew, and it was almost with regret that he decided the wood-closet need have no tenant that night.