There once lived a poor tailor, who
had a son called Aladdin, a careless, idle boy who
would do nothing but play all day long in the streets
with little idle boys like himself. This so grieved
the father that he died; yet, in spite of his mother’s
tears and prayers, Aladdin did not mend his ways.
One day, when he was playing in the streets as usual,
a stranger asked him his age, and if he were not the
son of Mustapha the tailor.
“I am, sir,” replied Aladdin;
“but he died a long while ago.”
On this the stranger, who was a famous
African magician, fell on his neck and kissed him,
saying: “I am your uncle, and knew you
from your likeness to my brother. Go to your
mother and tell her I am coming.”
Aladdin ran home, and told his mother
of his newly found uncle.
“Indeed, child,” she said,
“your father had a brother, but I always thought
he was dead.”
However, she prepared supper, and
bade Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine
and fruit. He presently fell down and kissed
the place where Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin’s
mother not to be surprised at not having seen him
before, as he had been forty years out of the country.
He then turned to Aladdin, and asked him his trade,
at which the boy hung his head, while his mother burst
into tears. On learning that Aladdin was idle
and would learn no trade, he offered to take a shop
for him and stock it with merchandise. Next day
he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes, and took
him all over the city, showing him the sights, and
brought him home at nightfall to his mother, who was
overjoyed to see her son so fine.
Next day the magician led Aladdin
into some beautiful gardens a long way outside the
city gates. They sat down by a fountain, and
the magician pulled a cake from his girdle, which
he divided between them. They then journeyed
onwards till they almost reached the mountains.
Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go back, but
the magician beguiled him with pleasant stories, and
led him on in spite of himself.
At last they came to two mountains
divided by a narrow valley.
“We will go no farther,”
said the false uncle. “I will show you
something wonderful; only do you gather up sticks while
I kindle a fire.”
When it was lit the magician threw
on it a powder he had about him, at the same time
saying some magical words. The earth trembled
a little and opened in front of them, disclosing a
square flat stone with a brass ring in the middle
to raise it by. Aladdin tried to run away, but
the magician caught him and gave him a blow that knocked
“What have I done, uncle?”
he said piteously; whereupon the magician said more
kindly: “Fear nothing, but obey me.
Beneath this stone lies a treasure which is to be
yours, and no one else may touch it, so you must do
exactly as I tell you.”
At the word treasure, Aladdin forgot
his fears, and grasped the ring as he was told, saying
the names of his father and grandfather. The
stone came up quite easily and some steps appeared.
“Go down,” said the magician;
“at the foot of those steps you will find an
open door leading into three large halls. Tuck
up your gown and go through them without touching
anything, or you will die instantly. These halls
lead into a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk
on till you come to a niche in a terrace where stands
a lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains
and bring it to me.”
He drew a ring from his finger and
gave it to Aladdin, bidding him prosper.
Aladdin found everything as the magician
had said, gathered some fruit off the trees, and,
having got the lamp, arrived at the mouth of the cave.
The magician cried out in a great hurry:
“Make haste and give me the
lamp.” This Aladdin refused to do until
he was out of the cave. The magician flew into
a terrible passion, and throwing some more powder
on the fire, he said something, and the stone rolled
back into its place.
The magician left Persia for ever,
which plainly showed that he was no uncle of Aladdin’s,
but a cunning magician who had read in his magic books
of a wonderful lamp, which would make him the most
powerful man in the world. Though he alone knew
where to find it, he could only receive it from the
hand of another. He had picked out the foolish
Aladdin for this purpose, intending to get the lamp
and kill him afterwards.
For two days Aladdin remained in the
dark, crying and lamenting. At last he clasped
his hands in prayer, and in so doing rubbed the ring,
which the magician had forgotten to take from him.
Immediately an enormous and frightful genie rose
out of the earth, saying:
“What wouldst thou with me?
I am the Slave of the Ring, and will obey thee in
Aladdin fearlessly replied:
“Deliver me from this place!” whereupon
the earth opened, and he found himself outside.
As soon as his eyes could bear the light he went
home, but fainted on the threshold. When he
came to himself he told his mother what had passed,
and showed her the lamp and the fruits he had gathered
in the garden, which were in reality precious stones.
He then asked for some food.
“Alas! child,” she said,
“I have nothing in the house, but I have spun
a little cotton and will go and sell it.”
Aladdin bade her keep her cotton,
for he would sell the lamp instead. As it was
very dirty she began to rub it, that it might fetch
a higher price. Instantly a hideous genie appeared,
and asked what she would have. She fainted away,
but Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly:
“Fetch me something to eat!”
The genie returned with a silver bowl,
twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver
cups, and two bottles of wine. Aladdin’s
mother, when she came to herself, said:
“Whence comes this splendid feast?”
“Ask not, but eat,” replied Aladdin.
So they sat at breakfast till it was
dinner-time, and Aladdin told his mother about the
lamp. She begged him to sell it, and have nothing
to do with devils.
“No,” said Aladdin, “since
chance has made us aware of its virtues, we will use
it and the ring likewise, which I shall always wear
on my finger.” When they had eaten all
the genie had brought, Aladdin sold one of the silver
plates, and so on till none were left. He then
had recourse to the genie, who gave him another set
of plates, and thus they lived for many years.
One day Aladdin heard an order from
the Sultan proclaimed that everyone was to stay at
home and close his shutters while the princess, his
daughter, went to and from the bath. Aladdin
was seized by a desire to see her face, which was
very difficult, as she always went veiled. He
hid himself behind the door of the bath, and peeped
through a chink. The princess lifted her veil
as she went in, and looked so beautiful that Aladdin
fell in love with her at first sight. He went
home so changed that his mother was frightened.
He told her he loved the princess so deeply that
he could not live without her, and meant to ask her
in marriage of her father. His mother, on hearing
this, burst out laughing, but Aladdin at last prevailed
upon her to go before the Sultan and carry his request.
She fetched a napkin and laid in it the magic fruits
from the enchanted garden, which sparkled and shone
like the most beautiful jewels. She took these
with her to please the Sultan, and set out, trusting
in the lamp. The grand-vizir and the lords
of council had just gone in as she entered the hall
and placed herself in front of the Sultan. He,
however, took no notice of her. She went every
day for a week, and stood in the same place.
When the council broke up on the sixth
day the Sultan said to his vizir: “I
see a certain woman in the audience-chamber every day
carrying something in a napkin. Call her next
time, that I may find out what she wants.”
Next day, at a sign from the vizir,
she went up to the foot of the throne, and remained
kneeling till the Sultan said to her: “Rise,
good woman, and tell me what you want.”
She hesitated, so the Sultan sent
away all but the vizir, and bade her speak freely,
promising to forgive her beforehand for anything she
might say. She then told him of her son’s
violent love for the princess.
“I prayed him to forget her,”
she said, “but in vain; he threatened to do
some desperate deed if I refused to go and ask your
Majesty for the hand of the princess. Now I
pray you to forgive not me alone, but my son Aladdin.”
The Sultan asked her kindly what she
had in the napkin, whereupon she unfolded the jewels
and presented them.
He was thunderstruck, and turning
to the vizir said: “What sayest thou?
Ought I not to bestow the princess on one who values
her at such a price?”
The vizir, who wanted her for
his own son, begged the Sultan to withhold her for
three months, in the course of which he hoped his son
would contrive to make him a richer present.
The Sultan granted this, and told Aladdin’s
mother that, though he consented to the marriage,
she must not appear before him again for three months.
Aladdin waited patiently for nearly
three months, but after two had elapsed his mother,
going into the city to buy oil, found everyone rejoicing,
and asked what was going on.
“Do you not know,” was
the answer, “that the son of the grand-vizir
is to marry the Sultan’s daughter to-night?”
Breathless, she ran and told Aladdin,
who was overwhelmed at first, but presently bethought
him of the lamp. He rubbed it, and the genie
appeared, saying: “What is thy will?”
Aladdin replied: “The
Sultan, as thou knowest, has broken his promise to
me, and the vizir’s son is to have the princess.
My command is that to-night you bring hither the
bride and bridegroom.”
“Master, I obey,” said the genie.
Aladdin then went to his chamber,
where, sure enough at midnight the genie transported
the bed containing the vizir’s son and the princess.
“Take this new-married man,”
he said, “and put him outside in the cold, and
return at daybreak.”
Whereupon the genie took the vizir’s
son out of bed, leaving Aladdin with the princess.
“Fear nothing,” Aladdin
said to her; “you are my wife, promised to me
by your unjust father, and no harm shall come to you.”
The princess was too frightened to
speak, and passed the most miserable night of her
life, while Aladdin lay down beside her and slept soundly.
At the appointed hour the genie fetched in the shivering
bridegroom, laid him in his place, and transported
the bed back to the palace.
Presently the Sultan came to wish
his daughter good-morning. The unhappy vizir’s
son jumped up and hid himself, while the princess would
not say a word, and was very sorrowful.
The Sultan sent her mother to her,
who said: “How comes it, child, that you
will not speak to your father? What has happened?”
The princess sighed deeply, and at
last told her mother how, during the night, the bed
had been carried into some strange house, and what
had passed there. Her mother did not believe
her in the least, but bade her rise and consider it
an idle dream.
The following night exactly the same
thing happened, and next morning, on the princess’s
refusing to speak, the Sultan threatened to cut off
her head. She then confessed all, bidding him
ask the vizir’s son if it were not so.
The Sultan told the vizir to ask his son, who
owned the truth, adding that, dearly as he loved the
princess, he had rather die than go through another
such fearful night, and wished to be separated from
her. His wish was granted, and there was an end
of feasting and rejoicing.
When the three months were over, Aladdin
sent his mother to remind the Sultan of his promise.
She stood in the same place as before, and the Sultan,
who had forgotten Aladdin, at once remembered him,
and sent for her. On seeing her poverty the
Sultan felt less inclined than ever to keep his word,
and asked the vizir’s advice, who counselled
him to set so high a value on the princess that no
man living could come up to it.
The Sultan then turned to Aladdin’s
mother, saying: “Good woman, a Sultan
must remember his promises, and I will remember mine,
but your son must first send me forty basins of gold
brimful of jewels, carried by forty black slaves,
led by as many white ones, splendidly dressed.
Tell him that I await his answer.” The
mother of Aladdin bowed low and went home, thinking
all was lost.
She gave Aladdin the message, adding:
“He may wait long enough for your answer!”
“Not so long, mother, as you
think,” her son replied “I would do a
great deal more than that for the princess.”
He summoned the genie, and in a few
moments the eighty slaves arrived, and filled up the
small house and garden.
Aladdin made them set out to the palace,
two and two, followed by his mother. They were
so richly dressed, with such splendid jewels in their
girdles, that everyone crowded to see them and the
basins of gold they carried on their heads.
They entered the palace, and, after
kneeling before the Sultan, stood in a half-circle
round the throne with their arms crossed, while Aladdin’s
mother presented them to the Sultan.
He hesitated no longer, but said:
“Good woman, return and tell your son that
I wait for him with open arms.”
She lost no time in telling Aladdin,
bidding him make haste. But Aladdin first called
“I want a scented bath,”
he said, “a richly embroidered habit, a horse
surpassing the Sultan’s, and twenty slaves to
attend me. Besides this, six slaves, beautifully
dressed, to wait on my mother; and lastly, ten thousand
pieces of gold in ten purses.”
No sooner said than done. Aladdin
mounted his horse and passed through the streets,
the slaves strewing gold as they went. Those
who had played with him in his childhood knew him
not, he had grown so handsome.
When the Sultan saw him he came down
from his throne, embraced him, and led him into a
hall where a feast was spread, intending to marry him
to the princess that very day.
But Aladdin refused, saying, “I
must build a palace fit for her,” and took his
Once home he said to the genie:
“Build me a palace of the finest marble, set
with jasper, agate, and other precious stones.
In the middle you shall build me a large hall with
a dome, its four walls of massy gold and silver, each
side having six windows, whose lattices, all except
one, which is to be left unfinished, must be set with
diamonds and rubies. There must be stables and
horses and grooms and slaves; go and see about it!”
The palace was finished by next day,
and the genie carried him there and showed him all
his orders faithfully carried out, even to the laying
of a velvet carpet from Aladdin’s palace to the
Sultan’s. Aladdin’s mother then dressed
herself carefully, and walked to the palace with her
slaves, while he followed her on horseback. The
Sultan sent musicians with trumpets and cymbals to
meet them, so that the air resounded with music and
cheers. She was taken to the princess, who saluted
her and treated her with great honour. At night
the princess said good-bye to her father, and set
out on the carpet for Aladdin’s palace, with
his mother at her side, and followed by the hundred
slaves. She was charmed at the sight of Aladdin,
who ran to receive her.
“Princess,” he said, “blame
your beauty for my boldness if I have displeased you.”
She told him that, having seen him,
she willingly obeyed her father in this matter.
After the wedding had taken place Aladdin led her
into the hall, where a feast was spread, and she supped
with him, after which they danced till midnight.
Next day Aladdin invited the Sultan
to see the palace. On entering the hall with
the four-and-twenty windows, with their rubies, diamonds,
and emeralds, he cried:
“It is a world’s wonder!
There is only one thing that surprises me. Was
it by accident that one window was left unfinished?”
“No, sir, by design,”
returned Aladdin. “I wished your Majesty
to have the glory of finishing this palace.”
The Sultan was pleased, and sent for
the best jewelers in the city. He showed them
the unfinished window, and bade them fit it up like
“Sir,” replied their spokesman,
“we cannot find jewels enough.”
The Sultan had his own fetched, which
they soon used, but to no purpose, for in a month’s
time the work was not half done. Aladdin, knowing
that their task was vain, bade them undo their work
and carry the jewels back, and the genie finished
the window at his command. The Sultan was surprised
to receive his jewels again and visited Aladdin, who
showed him the window finished. The Sultan embraced
him, the envious vizir meanwhile hinting that
it was the work of enchantment.
Aladdin had won the hearts of the
people by his gentle bearing. He was made captain
of the Sultan’s armies, and won several battles
for him, but remained modest and courteous as before,
and lived thus in peace and content for several years.
But far away in Africa the magician
remembered Aladdin, and by his magic arts discovered
that Aladdin, instead of perishing miserably in the
cave, had escaped, and had married a princess, with
whom he was living in great honour and wealth.
He knew that the poor tailor’s son could only
have accomplished this by means of the lamp, and travelled
night and day till he reached the capital of China,
bent on Aladdin’s ruin. As he passed through
the town he heard people talking everywhere about
a marvellous palace.
“Forgive my ignorance,”
he asked, “what is this palace you speak of?”
“Have you not heard of Prince
Aladdin’s palace,” was the reply, “the
greatest wonder of the world? I will direct you
if you have a mind to see it.”
The magician thanked him who spoke,
and having seen the palace knew that it had been raised
by the genie of the lamp, and became half mad with
rage. He determined to get hold of the lamp,
and again plunge Aladdin into the deepest poverty.
Unluckily, Aladdin had gone a-hunting
for eight days, which gave the magician plenty of
time. He bought a dozen copper lamps, put them
into a basket, and went to the palace, crying:
“New lamps for old!” followed by a jeering
The princess, sitting in the hall
of four-and-twenty windows, sent a slave to find out
what the noise was about, who came back laughing, so
that the princess scolded her.
“Madam,” replied the slave,
“who can help laughing to see an old fool offering
to exchange fine new lamps for old ones?”
Another slave, hearing this, said:
“There is an old one on the cornice there which
he can have.”
Now this was the magic lamp, which
Aladdin had left there, as he could not take it out
hunting with him. The princess, not knowing its
value, laughingly bade the slave take it and make
She went and said to the magician:
“Give me a new lamp for this.”
He snatched it and bade the slave
take her choice, amid the jeers of the crowd.
Little he cared, but left off crying his lamps, and
went out of the city gates to a lonely place, where
he remained till nightfall, when he pulled out the
lamp and rubbed it. The genie appeared, and
at the magician’s command carried him, together
with the palace and the princess in it, to a lonely
place in Africa.
Next morning the Sultan looked out
of the window towards Aladdin’s palace and rubbed
his eyes, for it was gone. He sent for the vizir,
and asked what had become of the palace. The
vizir looked out too, and was lost in astonishment.
He again put it down to enchantment, and this time
the Sultan believed him, and sent thirty men on horseback
to fetch Aladdin in chains. They met him riding
home, bound him, and forced him to go with them on
foot. The people, however, who loved him, followed,
armed, to see that he came to no harm. He was
carried before the Sultan, who ordered the executioner
to cut off his head. The executioner made Aladdin
kneel down, bandaged his eyes, and raised his scimitar
At that instant the vizir, who
saw that the crowd had forced their way into the courtyard
and were scaling the walls to rescue Aladdin, called
to the executioner to stay his hand. The people,
indeed, looked so threatening that the Sultan gave
way and ordered Aladdin to be unbound, and pardoned
him in the sight of the crowd.
Aladdin now begged to know what he had done.
“False wretch!” said the
Sultan, “come hither,” and showed him from
the window the place where his palace had stood.
Aladdin was so amazed that he could not say a word.
“Where is my palace and my daughter?”
demanded the Sultan. “For the first I
am not so deeply concerned, but my daughter I must
have, and you must find her or lose your head.”
Aladdin begged for forty days in which
to find her, promising if he failed to return and
suffer death at the Sultan’s pleasure.
His prayer was granted, and he went forth sadly from
the Sultan’s presence. For three days
he wandered about like a madman, asking everyone what
had become of his palace, but they only laughed and
pitied him. He came to the banks of a river,
and knelt down to say his prayers before throwing
himself in. In so doing he rubbed the magic ring
he still wore.
The genie he had seen in the cave
appeared, and asked his will.
“Save my life, genie,”
said Aladdin, “and bring my palace back.”
“That is not in my power,”
said the genie; “I am only the slave of the
ring; you must ask the slave of the lamp.”
“Even so,” said Aladdin
“but thou canst take me to the palace, and set
me down under my dear wife’s window.”
He at once found himself in Africa, under the window
of the princess, and fell asleep out of sheer weariness.
He was awakened by the singing of
the birds, and his heart was lighter. He saw
plainly that all his misfortunes were owing to the
loss of the lamp, and vainly wondered who had robbed
him of it.
That morning the princess rose earlier
than she had done since she had been carried into
Africa by the magician, whose company she was forced
to endure once a day. She, however, treated him
so harshly that he dared not live there altogether.
As she was dressing, one of her women looked out
and saw Aladdin. The princess ran and opened
the window, and at the noise she made Aladdin looked
up. She called to him to come to her, and great
was the joy of these lovers at seeing each other again.
After he had kissed her Aladdin said:
“I beg of you, Princess, in God’s name,
before we speak of anything else, for your own sake
and mine, tell me what has become of an old lamp I
left on the cornice in the hall of four-and-twenty
windows, when I went a-hunting.”
“Alas!” she said “I
am the innocent cause of our sorrows,” and told
him of the exchange of the lamp.
“Now I know,” cried Aladdin,
“that we have to thank the African magician
for this! Where is the lamp?”
“He carries it about with him,”
said the princess, “I know, for he pulled it
out of his breast to show me. He wishes me to
break my faith with you and marry him, saying that
you were beheaded by my father’s command.
He is forever speaking ill of you, but I only reply
by my tears. If I persist, I doubt not that
he will use violence.”
Aladdin comforted her, and left her
for a while. He changed clothes with the first
person he met in the town, and having bought a certain
powder returned to the princess, who let him in by
a little side door.
“Put on your most beautiful
dress,” he said to her, “and receive the
magician with smiles, leading him to believe that you
have forgotten me. Invite him to sup with you,
and say you wish to taste the wine of his country.
He will go for some, and while he is gone I will tell
you what to do.”
She listened carefully to Aladdin,
and when he left her arrayed herself gaily for the
first time since she left China. She put on a
girdle and head-dress of diamonds, and seeing in a
glass that she looked more beautiful than ever, received
the magician, saying to his great amazement:
“I have made up my mind that Aladdin is dead,
and that all my tears will not bring him back to me,
so I am resolved to mourn no more, and have therefore
invited you to sup with me; but I am tired of the
wines of China, and would fain taste those of Africa.”
The magician flew to his cellar, and
the princess put the powder Aladdin had given her
in her cup. When he returned she asked him to
drink her health in the wine of Africa, handing him
her cup in exchange for his as a sign she was reconciled
Before drinking the magician made
her a speech in praise of her beauty, but the princess
cut him short saying:
“Let me drink first, and you
shall say what you will afterwards.” She
set her cup to her lips and kept it there, while the
magician drained his to the dregs and fell back lifeless.
The princess then opened the door
to Aladdin, and flung her arms round his neck, but
Aladdin put her away, bidding her to leave him, as
he had more to do. He then went to the dead
magician, took the lamp out of his vest, and bade
the genie carry the palace and all in it back to China.
This was done, and the princess in her chamber only
felt two little shocks, and little thought she was
at home again.
The Sultan, who was sitting in his
closet, mourning for his lost daughter, happened to
look up, and rubbed his eyes, for there stood the
palace as before! He hastened thither, and Aladdin
received him in the hall of the four-and-twenty windows,
with the princess at his side. Aladdin told him
what had happened, and showed him the dead body of
the magician, that he might believe. A ten days’
feast was proclaimed, and it seemed as if Aladdin
might now live the rest of his life in peace; but
it was not to be.
The African magician had a younger
brother, who was, if possible, more wicked and more
cunning than himself. He travelled to China to
avenge his brother’s death, and went to visit
a pious woman called Fatima, thinking she might be
of use to him. He entered her cell and clapped
a dagger to her breast, telling her to rise and do
his bidding on pain of death. He changed clothes
with her, coloured his face like hers, put on her
veil and murdered her, that she might tell no tales.
Then he went towards the palace of Aladdin, and all
the people thinking he was the holy woman, gathered
round him, kissing his hands and begging his blessing.
When he got to the palace there was such a noise going
on round him that the princess bade her slave look
out of the window and ask what was the matter.
The slave said it was the holy woman, curing people
by her touch of their ailments, whereupon the princess,
who had long desired to see Fatima, sent for her.
On coming to the princess the magician offered up
a prayer for her health and prosperity. When
he had done the princess made him sit by her, and begged
him to stay with her always. The false Fatima,
who wished for nothing better, consented, but kept
his veil down for fear of discovery. The princess
showed him the hall, and asked him what he thought
“It is truly beautiful,”
said the false Fatima. “In my mind it wants
but one thing.”
“And what is that?” said the princess.
“If only a roc’s egg,”
replied he, “were hung up from the middle of
this dome, it would be the wonder of the world.”
After this the princess could think
of nothing but a roc’s egg, and when Aladdin
returned from hunting he found her in a very ill humour.
He begged to know what was amiss, and she told him
that all her pleasure in the hall was spoilt for the
want of a roc’s egg hanging from the dome.
“It that is all,” replied
Aladdin, “you shall soon be happy.”
He left her and rubbed the lamp, and
when the genie appeared commanded him to bring a roc’s
egg. The genie gave such a loud and terrible
shriek that the hall shook.
“Wretch!” he cried, “is
it not enough that I have done everything for you,
but you must command me to bring my master and hang
him up in the midst of this dome? You and your
wife and your palace deserve to be burnt to ashes;
but this request does not come from you, but from the
brother of the African magician whom you destroyed.
He is now in your palace disguised as the holy woman whom
he murdered. He it was who put that wish into
your wife’s head. Take care of yourself,
for he means to kill you.” So saying the
Aladdin went back to the princess,
saying his head ached, and requesting that the holy
Fatima should be fetched to lay her hands on it.
But when the magician came near, Aladdin, seizing
his dagger, pierced him to the heart.
“What have you done?”
cried the princess. “You have killed the
“Not so,” replied Aladdin,
“but a wicked magician,” and told her of
how she had been deceived.
After this Aladdin and his wife lived
in peace. He succeeded the Sultan when he died,
and reigned for many years, leaving behind him a long
line of kings.