ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP - 8 books and stories free download online pdf in English



“O my Lord,” said Aladdin to the Sultan when they had finished the repast, “I crave that thou wilt favour and honour me with thy presence, and that of thy Court, to dine with thy well-beloved daughter Bedr-el-Budur at her palace to-day. I entreat thy Felicity to refuse not my request.” And the Sultan answered with a charming smile, “O my son, thou art too generous; but who could refuse thee anything?” Accordingly, in due course, the Sultan commanded his suite, and all rode forth with him and Aladdin to Bedr-el-Budur’s palace.

Great was the Sultan’s wonder and admiration when he saw the architecture and masonry of the structure, for, even without, it was all of the rarest and most costly stone inwrought with gold and silver and fashioned with consummate skill; but when he entered and viewed the entrance hall his breath was snatched away from him, for he had never seen anything so magnificent in his life. At length, finding speech, he turned to the Grand Vizier and said, “Verily, this is the greatest wonder of all. Hast thou ever, from first to last, beheld a palace like this?” “O King of the Age,” replied the Vizier gravely, “there hath never been the like of this among the sons of men. It would take ten thousand workmen ten thousand days to construct it; wherefore, as I told thy Felicity, its completion in a single night is the work of sorcery.” At this the Sultan was not pleased. “Verily, O Vizier,” he replied, “thou hast an envious heart, and thou speakest foolishly with thy mouth.”

At this moment Aladdin approached the Sultan to conduct him through the rooms of the palace. And, as they went from one to another, the Sultan was simply astounded at the wealth of metal and precious stones on every hand, and at the workmanship thereof. As for the Vizier, he had said[129] all he had to say, and followed sullenly, nursing an evil heart. At length they came to the kiosk, which was a crowning work of jewel-clusters so rich and splendid that the treasuries of the earth must have been emptied to fill them. The Sultan nearly went from his wits in the effort to calculate the fabulous wealth of this apartment alone. His thought sped onward through thousands, millions, of gold pieces; and, losing itself in the thousands of millions, fell back staggering and distraught. For relief he turned this way and that, gazing upon the niches, which were the most precious and wonderful of all. And in this way he came at length to the niche that had been left incomplete. This gave him speech. “Alas!” he said, relieved to find a flaw, “this niche, at least, is imperfect.” Then, turning to Aladdin, he enquired the reason of it. “Yea, O my Lord,” answered Aladdin, “woe unto it; it is indeed unfinished, for the workmen clamoured to be allowed to prepare themselves for the wedding festivities and I had not the heart to say them nay. So they left it as thou seest it.” Then, while Aladdin stood by observing intently the effect of his words, the Sultan stroked his beard in contemplation. “O my son,” he said presently, “the thought has come to me to complete it myself.” “On the head and eye, O King!” cried Aladdin. “And may thy life be prolonged! If thou wilt honour me thus it will be a fitting perpetuation of thy memory in the palace of thy daughter.” At this, the Sultan, vastly pleased, summoned his jewellers and artificers, and, empowering them to draw on the Royal Treasury for all they might require, he commanded them to complete the niche.

Scarcely had the Sultan finished his directions in this matter when Bedr-el-Budur came to greet him. And his[130] heart leapt with joy at her radiant face when he looked upon her. Then, when she had confided to him how happy she was, Aladdin led them into the banqueting hall, where all was ready. One table was set apart for the Sultan and Bedr-el-Budur and Aladdin, and another for the Sultan’s suite. Then the Sultan seated himself between Aladdin and his daughter, and the meal proceeded. The viands were like ambrosia, and the wine like nectar; and the serving was done by eighty damsels, to each one of whom the moon might have curtseyed, saying, “Thy pardon, but I have stolen thy seat.” And some of these damsels took musical instruments and played and sang in a manner divine. The Sultan’s heart expanded, and he said, “Verily, this is a feast to which a king might aspire.”

When they had eaten and emptied their cups the Chief Memluk opened the way to another room, where the most delicious fruits and sweetmeats were set out against a wealth of delicate flowers and greenery. Here the whole assembly lingered long in perfect delight while, upon the soft carpets, the beauteous damsels danced to the sound of sweetest music. Never had any of them, including the Sultan himself, been so near to Paradise before. Even the Grand Vizier shed his envy for the moment and forgot himself to joy.

When the Sultan’s soul was well nigh weary with excess of enjoyment he rose, and, bethinking himself of the unfinished niche, repaired to the kiosk to see how his workmen had progressed with their task. And when he came to them and inspected their work he saw that they had completed only a small portion and that neither the execution nor the material, which was already exhausted, could compare with that of the other niches. Seeing this he bethought him[131] of his reserve Treasury and the jewels Aladdin had given him. Wherefore he commanded the workmen to draw upon these and continue their work. This they did, and, in due course, the Sultan returned to find that the work was still incomplete. Determined to carry out his design at whatever cost the Sultan commanded his officials to seize all the jewels they could lay their hands on in the kingdom. Even this was done, and lo, still the niche was unfinished.

It was not until late on a day thereafter that Aladdin found the jewellers and goldsmiths adding to the work the last stones at their command. “Hast thou jewels enough?” he asked of the chief artificer. “Nay, O my master,” he replied sadly. “We have used all the jewels in the Treasuries; yea, even in all the kingdom, and yet the work is only half finished.”

“Take it all away!” said Aladdin. “Restore the jewels to their rightful owners.” So they undid their work and returned the jewels to the Treasuries and to the people from whom they had been taken. And they went in to the Sultan and told him. Unable to learn from them the exact reason for this, the Sultan immediately called for his attendants and his horses and repaired to Aladdin’s palace.

Meanwhile, Aladdin himself, as soon as the workmen had left, retired to a private chamber; and, taking out the Lamp, rubbed it. “Ask what thou wilt,” said the Slave, appearing on the instant. “I desire thee to complete the niche which was left incomplete,” answered Aladdin. “I hear and obey,” said the Slave, and vanished. In a very short space of time he returned, saying, “O my master, the work is complete.” Then Aladdin arose and went to the kiosk, and found that the Slave had spoken[132] truly; the niche was finished. As he was examining it, a memluk came to him and informed him that the Sultan was at the gates. At this Aladdin hastened to meet him. “O my son,” cried the Sultan as Aladdin greeted him, “why didst thou not let my jewellers complete the niche in the kiosk? Wilt thou not have the palace whole?” And Aladdin answered him, “O my lord, I left it unfinished in order to raise a doubt in thy mind and then dispel it; for, if thy Felicity doubted my ability to finish it, a glance at the kiosk as it now stands will make the matter plain.” And he led the Sultan to the kiosk and showed him the completed niche.

The Sultan’s astonishment was now greater than ever, that Aladdin had accomplished in so short a space that which he himself could command neither workmen nor jewels sufficient to accomplish in many months. It filled him with wonder. He embraced Aladdin and kissed him, saying there was none like him in all the world. Then, when he had rested awhile with his daughter Bedr-el-Budur, who was full of joy and happiness, the Sultan returned to his own palace.

As the days passed by Aladdin’s fame went forth through all the land. It was his daily pleasure to ride through the City with his memluks, scattering gold among the people, and there was no kind of generosity or kindness that he did not practise. His hospitality drew the nobles and grandees to his table, and his name was exalted far and wide. In the chase and on the riding ground there was none could vie with Aladdin, and frequently Bedr-el-Budur, watching from a window in the palace, would glow with love and pride at the sight of his graceful and daring horsemanship in the[133] javelin joust. Then she would say within herself, “A lucky one am I to have escaped the Vizier’s son.”

Now it chanced that the Sultan’s enemies from distant parts invaded his territory and rode down against him. The Sultan assembled his armies for war and gave the chief command to Aladdin, whose skill and prowess had found great favour in his eyes. And Bedr-el-Budur wept when Aladdin went forth to the wars, but great was her delight when he returned victorious, having routed the enemy in a great battle with terrible slaughter. Many were the tales the soldiers told of Aladdin’s courage and strength, his daring when, at the head of his troops, he thundered down upon the enemy, sword in hand, and broke and dispersed them. A great triumph was held in the City, for Aladdin returned not only with victory, but with much plunder and many flocks and herds of which he had despoiled the enemy. And the Sultan rejoiced over Aladdin in that he had saved the realm and smitten his enemies; and Bedr-el-Budur wept upon his breast with delight that he had returned to her safe and sound and covered with glory. The City was illuminated, and everyone feasted and drank by order of the Sultan, and praised Aladdin by the dictate of their own hearts. So greatly was he magnified by the people of high and low degree that, if any swore, it was by Allah in Heaven and by Aladdin on earth. Such was his exalted position in the land.

Now the fame of Aladdin penetrated even to distant parts, so that his name was heard even in the land of the Moors, where the accursed Dervish dwelt. This sorcerer had not yet made an end of lamenting the loss of the Lamp just as it seemed about to pass into his hands. And, while he lamented,[134] he cursed Aladdin in his bitter rage, saying within himself, “’Tis well that ill-omened miscreant is dead and buried, for, if I have not the Lamp, it is at least safe, and one day I may come by it.” But when he heard the name “Aladdin,” and the fame attached to it, he muttered to himself, “Can this be he? And hath he risen to a high position through the Lamp and the Slave of the Lamp?” Then he rose and drew a table of magic signs in the sand in order to find if the Aladdin of Destiny were indeed alive upon the earth. And the figures gave him what he feared. Aladdin was alive and the Lamp was not in the cavern where by his magic he had first discovered it. At this a great fear struck him to the heart, and he wondered that he had lived to experience it, for he knew that at any moment Aladdin, by means of the Slave of the Lamp, might slay him for revenge. Wondering that this had not occurred to Aladdin’s mind he hastened to draw another table; by which he saw that Aladdin had acquired great possessions and had married the Sultan’s daughter. At this his rage mastered his fear and he cursed Aladdin with fury and envy. But, though his magic was great, it could not cope with that which slumbered in the Lamp, and his curses missed their mark, only to abide the time when they might circle back upon him. Meanwhile, in great haste, he arose and journeyed to the far land of Cathay, fearing every moment that Aladdin would bethink him of revenge by means of the Slave of the Lamp. Yet he arrived safely at the City of the Sultan and rested at an inn where he heard naught but praises of Aladdin’s generosity, his bravery in battle, his beautiful bride Bedr-el-Budur and his magnificent palace. This gave a biting edge to his envious wrath, and, when he went forth into the ways of the City and still heard groups[135] of people talking of Aladdin and the splendour of his state, he approached a young man, and, saluting him with feigned graciousness, said, “O my master, pray tell me, who is this great one that all extol?” And the young man replied, “Verily thou art a stranger in the City and from exceeding distant parts if thou hast not heard of Aladdin—whose glory be increased! His wonderful palace is the talk of the world.” “Yea,” answered the Dervish, “I am a stranger from very distant lands and there is nothing more to my desire than to see the palace, if thou wilt direct me.” “On the head and eye,” replied the youth; and, leading him through the City, he brought him to Aladdin’s Palace. Then, when the Dervish scrutinised the wonderful building, he knew it to be the work of the Slave of the Lamp. “By Allah!” he cried when the youth had left him, “I will be even with this accursed tailor’s son who got all this through me.”

He returned to the inn, and, taking his instruments of divination, soon learned that the Lamp was not on Aladdin’s person, but in the Palace. At this he was overjoyed, for he had a plan to get possession of it. Then he went out into the market and bought a great number of new lamps, which he put in a basket and took back to the inn. When evening was drawing nigh, he took the basket and went forth in the City—for such was his plan—crying, “New lamps for old! Who will exchange old lamps for new?” And the people hearing this, laughed among themselves, saying he was mad; and none brought an old lamp to him in exchange for a new one, for they all thought there was nothing to be gained out of a madman. But when the Dervish reached Aladdin’s palace he began to cry more lustily, “New lamps for old! Who will exchange old lamps for new?” And he took no[136] heed of the boys who mocked him and the people who thronged him.

woman sitting on window seat with man unconscious on floor

Now Fate so willed it that, as he came by, Bedr-el-Budur was sitting at a window of the kiosk; and, when she heard the tumult and saw the pedlar about whom it turned, she bade her maid go and see what was the matter. The girl went, and soon returned, saying, “O my lady, it is a poor pedlar who is asking old lamps for new ones; and the people are mocking him, for without a doubt he is mad.” “It seems proof enough,” answered Lady Bedr-el-Budur, laughing. “‘Old wine for new’ I could understand, but ‘old lamps for new’ is strange. Hast thou not an old lamp so that we might test him and see whether his cry be true or false?”

Now the damsel had seen an old lamp in Aladdin’s apartment, and hastened to acquaint her mistress with this. “Go and bring it!” said the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, who had no knowledge whatever of the Lamp and its wonderful virtues. So the maid went and brought the Lamp, little knowing what woe she was working Aladdin. Then the Lady Bedr-el-Budur called one of the memluks and handed him the Lamp, bidding him go down to the pedlar and exchange it for a new one. Presently he returned, bearing a new lamp, and, when the Princess took it and saw that it was a far better one than the old one, she laughed and said, “Verily this man is mad! A strange trade, and one that can bring him small profit. But his cry is true, therefore take him this gold to cover his losses.” And she gave the memluk ten gold pieces, and bad him hasten. But the memluk returned anon with the ten pieces, saying that the pedlar had disappeared, having left all his new lamps with[137] the people. The Lady Bedr-el-Budur wondered at this, but knew not, nor guessed the terrible consequences of her act.

As for the Dervish, as soon as he had got the Lamp, he recognised it. Placing it in his bosom, he left all else and ran, which to the people was only a further proof of his madness. On and on he ran, through the City and its outskirts, until he came to the desert, where at last he was alone. Then, and not till then, he took the Lamp from his bosom and rubbed it. In a flash appeared the Slave of the Lamp. “What is thy wish? I am the Slave of the Lamp which is in thy hands.” And the Dervish replied, “I desire thee to take the palace of Aladdin, with all it contains, and convey it to the land of the Moors in Africa, and set it down upon the open space within the gardens of my dwelling in that land. Take me also with it. I have spoken.” “O my master,” said the Slave, “in the twinkling of an eye it is done. If thou carest to close thine eyes for one moment, when thou openest them thou wilt find thyself within the palace, in thy garden in the land of the Moors.” And ere the Dervish could say, “I have closed my eye and opened it again,” he found that it was even so, as the Slave had said. The palace and all in it were in his own garden, in his own country, with the sun of Africa shining in upon him.