The Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Jean Marie Stine & Shahrazad
eBook Category: Fantasy/Classic Literature
eBook Description: The classic tale that inspired the hit Disney movie, The Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, presented complete and unabridged from the original Thousand and One Arabian Nights, is not a children's story, but a book-length fantasy novel of romance and wonder! If you love fantasy novels replete with sorcery and bravery, then you owe it to yourself to read The Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp in a delightful turn-of-the-century translation. Straight from the pages of the "Thousand and One Nights," Aladdin has been called "the first fantasy novel ever written down"--40,000 words of exotic adventure and breathless romance. Meet Aladdin, the boy in China who sends a genie to kidnap the princess on her wedding night. And meet the princess Bedr-el-Budar. Discover why Aladdin traded rubies for bread, why one room of Aladdin's palace was left unfinished, what happened the night of the princess' first marriage to the Wezir's son, why Aladdin's troubles were only beginning when he finally slew the evil sorcerer who schemed for the lamp, how the kidnapped princess kept the wizard at bay in her boudoir, what happens when you call upon a genie of the Lamp to obtain the egg of a rukh, and many other wonders of the story of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp that have been kept from you until now.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner, Published: 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2005
3 Reader Ratings:
Prepare to read one of the most read, most filmed tales ever told. The Disney version was only the most recent in a tradition that stretches back to the days of the silent cinema. A short list of feature-length films about the hapless, but ultimately triumphant lamp finder, must include Wonders of Aladdin (1961), Aladdin (1968), Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (1976), Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1982), Aladdin's Lamp (1982), Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (1983), Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (1985), and Disney's Aladdin (1996).
So you should know the story of Aladdin, right? The one about the boy in China. The one where he sends the genie to kidnap the princess on her wedding night, so her marriage to the wezir's son won't be consummated. The one where the heroine "undulates" her hips at the evil sorcerer until he is mesmerized by her appeal, then slips the poison in his drink? The one where...
What's that you say? You're still mulling over that statement about the story taking place in China. Didn't the story take place in Arabia? Well ... no! It was written in "Arabia" of course. But the teller set it in a far-off, exotic land--China. But, since all the storyteller knew about was the world was the world of the Middle East, the China of the Aladdin tale is ruled by Sultans and emirs and; and all the Chinese in the stories swear by the Prophet and pray to Allah while facing Mecca.
Here's another thing about Aladdin, it's not a short little kid's story. It's a full-length (40,000 words) epic fantasy novel with eight central characters, enough magic and wonders for a trilogy, and a cast of thousands. And it was intended for adults, not children--though doubtless many a kid was allowed to sit up late and listen wide-eyed as the tale was unfolded. The reason that most English-speaking readers tend to think of it as a children's story is that fantasy has always been devalued in the West, considered fit only for those with juvenile mentalities. So most Westernized versions of Aladdin's adventures were watered-down and simplified until they were transformed into a Hans Christian Anderson-type kiddy tale.
In the process, of course, one or two things got dropped or just a bit changed.
As for the story itself, that's from The Thousand and One Arabian Nights, isn't it? Er, well, again here the answer is ... no. Not exactly. The "Arabs" (as we once called the Muslim peoples of the Middle East) naturally didn't call it the "Arabian Nights"--any more than people in Boston say, "Let's catch the Boston Red Sox." They say, "the Red Sox." So, the official title of the work was actually closer to something like, The Thousand Nights and a Night. And to make things even trickier, Aladdin isn't even officially part of, The Thousand Nights and a Night. It, like "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," is simply a Middle Eastern folk story which is often included in compilations and translations because it is so similar to the other tales in tone and spirit.
To add to the confusion, many of the stories in The Thousand Nights and a Night aren't even from Arabia, but have been retold by Arab story tellers for Arab audiences of older folktales from India and Egypt. The stories they told originated as folk tales, anecdotes, or fables that were woven into the basic framework that became known as The Thousand and One Arabian Nights over hundreds of years. And that framework, the story of the princess Scheherazade and her life-saving gift for spinning a yarn, has become almost as famous as the Thousand Nights and a Night.
Scheherazade's own tale begins when the sultan Schahriar finds that his wife has been unfaithful and orders her beheaded. The sultan's anger encompasses his wife's entire sex, who he becomes convinced are faithless and undeserving to live. He decrees that he shall take a new wife each night and behead her at daybreak. He does so each night and dawn for several months. But a clever princess named Scheherazade concocts a scheme to save the rest of the kingdom's women from the sultan's depredations. She attracts his interest and agrees to marry Schahriar despite his decree that each wife must be put to death the morning following their wedding.
On the night after the wedding, Scheherazade arranges for the sultan to overhear her recounting a fascinating story to her sister. Just as she reaches the most exciting point, she stops and tells her sister that she must go to the sultan, and is sorry she won't be able to finish it before she is beheaded. The eavesdropping sultan is on such pins-and-needles to hear how the story's protagonist extricates himself from the predicament Scheherazade has left him in, that he suspends his own decree allows her to live a single day longer--so that he can hear the end of her tale. Scheherazade pulls the same trick on each of the thousand nights that follow, and each morning the sultan grants her one more day of life, until he falls so totally under Scheherazade's spell that he decides to spare Scheherazade's life and to take her only to be his queen as long as he or she may live.
Aladdin, however, was not one of the stories Scheherazade is supposed to have spun over those thousand and one nights to preserve her life. Instead, we must look upon it as one of he tales she told the sultan to enliven his nights--after he relented and spared her life. If so, you will soon find yourself as deeply under the story's spell as the sultan Schahriar did in those far-off days--as many years ago as there were nights in the tale.
Jean Marie Stine
July 30, 2001 * * * * I.
I HAVE heard, O King of the Age, that there dwelt in a city of China a poor tailor who had a son named Aladdin. This boy had been a scatterbrained scapegrace from his birth. When he had come to his tenth year his father wished to teach him a handicraft; and being too poor to afford to spend money on him for learning an art or craft or business, he took him into his own shop to learn his trade of tailoring. But Aladdin, being a careless boy, and always given to playing with the urchins of the street, would not stay in the shop a single day, but used to watch till his father went out on business or to meet a customer, and then would run off to the gardens along with his fellow-ragamuffins. Such was his case. He would neither obey his parents nor learn a trade; till his father, for very sorrow and grief over his son's misdoing, fell sick and died. But Aladdin went on in the same way. When his mother perceived that her husband was dead, and that her son was an idler of no use whatever, she sold the shop and all its contents, and took to spinning cotton to support herself and her good-for-nothing son.
Meanwhile, Aladdin, freed from the control of his father, grew more idle and disreputable, and would not stay at home except for meals, while his poor unfortunate mother subsisted by the spinning of her hands; and so it was, until he had come to his fifteenth year.
One day, as Aladdin was sitting in the street playing with the gutter-boys, a Moorish Darwish or Sorcerer came along, and stood looking at them, and began to scrutinize Aladdin and closely examine his appearance, apart from his companions. Now this Darwish was from the interior of Barbary, and was a sorcerer who could heap mountain on mountain by his spells, and who knew astrology. For this damnable Moorish sorcerer was from the land of Africa, from the inner Westland, and from his youth he had practiced sorcery and all magic arts (the City of Africa in Barbary is well known for all these mysteries), and he ceased not to study and learn from his childhood in the City of Africa until he had mastered all the sciences. One day, by his accomplished skill in sciences and knowledge, acquired in the course of forty years of sorcery and incantation, he discovered that in a remote city of China, called El-Kalas, there was buried a vast treasure the like of which not one of the Kings of this world had ever amassed, and among this treasure was a Wonderful Lamp, which whoso possessed, mortal man could not excel him in estate or in riches, nor could the mightiest King upon earth attain to the opulence of this Lamp and its power and its potency. When he discovered by his science and perceived that this treasure could only be obtained by means of a boy of the name of Aladdin, of poor family, which had once been exhalted but long had fallen into low estate, and belonging to that city, and understood how it could thus be taken easily and without trouble, he straightway and without hesitation prepared to journey to China, as we have said, imagining that he would gain possession of the Lamp.
When he had narrowly scrutinized Aladdin, he within himself: "Verily this is the youth I need, in quest of whom I left my native land." He took one the boys aside and asked him concerning Aladdin, whose son he was, and wanted to know all about him.
Afterward he went up to Aladdin and took him aside, and "Boy, art thou not the son of such a one, the tailor?" He answered: "Yes, O my master; but as to my father, he has long been dead." When the Moorish sorcerer heard this, he fell upon Aladdin, and embraced him and kissed him and wept till the tears ran down his cheeks. When Aladdin saw the state of the Moor, wonder seized upon him, and he asked him and said: "Why dost thou weep, O my master? and how knowest thou my father?"
The Moor replied in a low and broken voice: "My boy, how dost thou ask me this question after thou hast told me that thy father, my brother is dead? For thy father was my brother, and I have journeyed from my country, and I rejoiced greatly in the hope of seeing him again, after my long exile, and cheering him; and now thou hast told me he is dead. But our blood hideth not from me that thou art my brother's son, and I recognized thee amongst all the boys, although thy father was not yet married when I parted from him. Now, O my son, Aladdin, I have missed the obsequies, and been deprived of the delight of meeting thy father, my brother, whom I had looked to see again, after my long absence, before I die. Separation caused me this grief, and created man hath no remedy or subterfuge against the decrees of Allah the most High."
He took Aladdin and said to him: "O my son, there remaineth no comfort to me but in thee; thou standest in thy father's place, since thou art his successor, and 'whoso leaveth issue doth not die,' O my son." The sorcerer stretched forth his hand and took ten gold pieces, and gave them to Aladdin, saying to him: "O my son, where is thy house, and where is thy mother, my brother's widow?"
Aladdin showed him the way to their house, and the sorcerer said to him: "O my son, take this money, and give it to thy mother, and salute her from me, and tell her that thy uncle hath returned from his exile, and, Allah willing, will visit her to-morrow to greet her and to see the house where my brother lived and the place where he is buried."
Aladdin kissed the hand of the Moor, and went, running in his joy, to his mother's, and entered, contrary to his custom, for he was not wont to come home save at meal times. When he was come in he cried out in his joy: "O my mother, I bring thee good news of my uncle, who hath returned front his exile, and saluteth thee."
She said: "O my son, dost thou mock me? Who is this uncle of thine, and how hast thou an uncle at all"
Aladdin answered: "O my mother, how canst thou say that I have no uncles or kinsmen living, when this man is my uncle on my father's side, and he hath embraced and kissed me and wept over me, and told me to make this known to thee!"
She said: "O my son, I know indeed that thou didst have an uncle, but he is dead, and I know not any other that thou hast." * * * * II.
On the morrow the Moorish sorcerer went out to seek Aladdin, for his heart could not bear parting from him; and as he wandered in the streets of the city, he met him disporting himself as usual along with the other vagabonds, and, approaching, he took him by the hand and embraced and kissed him, and took from his purse ten gold pieces, and said: "Haste thee to thy mother and give her these gold pieces, and tell her, 'My uncle would fain sup with us; so take these pieces and make ready for us a good supper.' But first of all, show me again the way to your home."
Aladdin replied: "On the head and eye, O my uncle." He went before him and showed him the way home. The Moor left him and went his way; while Aladdin went home and told his mother, and gave her the gold pieces, and said his uncle would fain take supper with them.
She arose forthwith and went to the market and bought what she needed, and returning home she set about making ready for the supper. She borrowed from her neighbors what she needed of dishes and the rest, and when the time came for supper she said to her son: "Supper is ready, but perhaps thy uncle doth not know the way to the house. Go therefore, and meet him on the road."
He answered, "I hear and obey."
Whilst they were talking, a knock came at the door, and when Aladdin opened, behold, there was the Moorish wizard, with a eunuch carrying wine and fruit. Aladdin brought them in, and the eunuch departed; but the Moor entered and saluted the mother, and began weeping and asking her questions, as, "Where is the place where my brother sat?" When she showed him her husband's seat, he went to it and prostrated himself and kissed the ground, and cried: "Ah, how small is my satisfaction and how cruel my fate, since I have lost thee, O my brother, O apple of my eye!" He went on in this manner, weeping and wailing, until Aladdin's mother was assured that it was true, for verily he had swooned from the violence of his grief.
She raised him up from the around and said: "What benefit is there in killing thyself?" She comforted him, and seated him.
After he was seated and before the suppertray was served, the Moor began talking with her, and said: "O wife of my brother, let it not amaze thee that in all thy life thou hast neither seen me nor heard of me in the days of my departed brother; for it is forty years since I left this city and banished myself from my birthplace and wandered throughout the countries of India and China and Arabia, and came to Egypt and abode in its glorious capital, which is one of the wonders of the world, until at length I journeyed to the interior of the West and abode there for the space of thirty years. One day, O wife of my brother, I was sitting thinking of my native land and my birthplace and my blessed brother, and my longing to see him grew stronger, and I wept and wailed over my separation and distance from him. At last my yearning made me determine to journey to this country, which is the pillow of my head and my birthplace, for to see my brother. For I said to myself: 'O man, how long wilt thou abandon thy country and thy native place, when thou hast but one brother and no more? Rise and journey and see him ere thou die; for who can tell the calamities of this world and the chances of life? It would be a sore grief to die without seeing thy brother. Moreover, Allah (praised be his name!) hath given thee abundant wealth, and perchance thy brother may be in distress and poverty, and thou canst succor him as well as look upon him.' Therefore I arose and made ready for the journey, and recited the Fatihah, and when the Friday prayers were over, I departed and came to this city, after many troubles and difficulties, which I endured by the help of Allah. So I arrived here, and the day before yesterday, as I roamed about the streets, I perceived thy son Aladdin playing with the boys, and by Almighty God, O wife of my brother, hardly had I seen him, when my heart went out to him (for blood is loving to its like), and my heart told me that he was my brother's son. I forgot my troubles and anxieties as soon as I saw him, and could have flown for joy, until he told me of the death of him who is gathered to the mercy of Allah most High; whereat I swooned for heaviness of grief and regret. But Aladdin hath doubtless informed thee of my tribulation. Yet am I comforted in part by this child, who hath been bequeathed to us by the departed. Verily, 'he who leaveth issue doth not die.'"
When he saw that she wept at his words, he turned to Aladdin, to divert her from the thought of her husband; and to console her and perfect his deception, he said, "O my son Aladdin, what crafts has thou learned and what is thy trade? Hast thou learned a craft to support thee withal, thyself and thy mother?"
Aladdin was ashamed and hung down his head in confusion, and bent it toward the ground. But his mother cried: "What then! By Allah, he knoweth nothing at all; I never saw so heedless a child as this. All the day he idleth about with the boys of the street, vagabonds like himself, and his father (O my grief!) died only of grieving over him. I am now in woeful plight; I toil, and spin night and day to gain a couple of loaves of bread for us to eat together. This is his state, O brother-in-law; and by thy life he cometh not home save to meals, and never else. As for me, I am minded to lock the door of my house and open not to him, but let him go and seek his own living. I am an old woman, and I have not strength to work and struggle for a livelihood like this. By Allah, I have to support him with food, when it is I who ought to be supported."
The Moor turned to Aladdin and said: "O son of my brother, why dost thou continue in such gracelessness? It is shame upon thee and befitteth not men like thee. Thou art a person of sense, my boy, and the son of decent folk. It is a reproach to thee that thy mother, an aged woman, should toil for thy maintenance. That thou hast reached manhood, it behooveth thee to devise some way whereby thou mayest be able to support thyself. Look about, for Allah be praised, in this our city there are plenty of teachers of handicrafts; nowhere more. Choose a craft that pleaseth thee, for me to set thee up therein, so that as thou waxest older, my son, thy trade shall bring thee maintenance. If so be thy father's calling liketh thee not, choose another that thou preferrest. Tell me, and I will help thee as best I can, my son."
When he saw that Aladdin was silent and answered him never a word, he knew that he did not wish any calling at all, save idling, so he said: "O son of my brother, let not my advice be irksome to thee; for if, after all, thou like not to learn a trade, I will open for thee a merchant's shop of the richest stuffs, and thou shall be known among the people, and take and give and buy and sell and become a man of repute in the city."
When Aladdin heard his uncle's words, that he would make him a merchant trader, he rejoiced greatly, for he knew that merchants are well dressed and well fed. He looked smilingly at the Moor and inclined his head to signify his content.
When the Moorish wizard saw Aladdin smiling, he perceived that he was content to be made a merchant, and he said to him: "Since thou art satisfied that I make thee a merchant and open a shop for thee, O son of my brother, be a man. Allah willing, to-morrow I will take thee to the market to begin with, and get cut for thee an elegant dress such as merchants wear, and then find for thee a shop, and keep my promise to thee."
Now Aladdin's mother had been in doubt whether the Moor were indeed her brother-in-law; but when she heard his promise to her son to open a merchant's shop for him and furnish him with goods and wares and the rest, the woman decided in her mind that this Moor was verily her brother-in-law, since no, stranger would have acted thus to her son. She began to direct her son and bade him banish ignorance from his head and become a man, and ever obey his uncle like a son, and retrieve the time he had squandered in idling with his mates. She arose, and spread the table and served the supper, and they all sat down, and began to eat and drink; and the Moor discoursed to Aladdin on the affairs of business and the like, so that the boy did not sleep that night for joy. When he perceived that the night had fallen, the Moor arose and went to his abode and promised them to return on the morrow to take Aladdin to have his merchant's clothes made.