Stories from the Thousand and One Nights. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Story of Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful Lamp: Paras. 124
I HAVE heard, O King of the Age, that there dwelt in a city of China a poor tailor who had a son named Ala-ed-Din. Now this boy had been a scatter-brained scapegrace from his birth. And 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 Ala-ed-Din, 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 sons misdoing, fell sick and died. But Ala-ed-Din went on in the same way. And 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, Ala-ed-Din, 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 Ala-ed-Din was sitting in the street playing with the gutter-boys, a Moorish Darwish came along, and stood looking at them, and began to scrutinise Ala-ed-Din 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 upon mountain by his spells, and who knew astrology. And when he had narrowly scrutinised Ala-ed-Din, he said within himself: Verily this is the youth I need, and in quest of whom I left my native land. And he took one of the boys aside and asked him concerning Ala-ed-Din, whose son he was, and wanted to know all about him. After which, he went up to Ala-ed-Din, and took him aside, and said: Boy, art thou not the son of such a one, the tailor? And 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 Ala-ed-Din, and embraced him and kissed him and wept till the tears ran down his cheeks. And when Ala-ed-Din 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? And 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 brothers son, and I recognized the amongst all the boys, although thy father was not yet married when I parted from him. And now, O my son, Ala-ed-Din, 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 God the most High. And he took Ala-ed-Din and said to him: O my son, there remaineth no comfort to me but in thee; thou standest in thy fathers place, since thou art his successor, and whoso leaveth issue doth not die, O my son. And the sorcerer stretched forth his hand and took ten gold pieces, and gave them to Ala-ed-Din, saying to him: O my son, where is thy house, and where is thy mother, my brothers widow? So Ala-ed-Din shewed 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, God willing, will visit her to-morrow to greet here and to see the house where my brother lived and the place where he is buried. So Ala-ed-Din kissed the hand of the Moor, and went, running in his joy, to his mothers, and entered, contrary to his custom, for he was not wont to come home save at meal times. And 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 from his exile, and saluteth thee. And she said: O my son, dost thou mock me? Who is this uncle of thine, and how hast thou an uncle at all? And Ala-ed-Din answered: O my mother, how canst thou say that I have no uncles or kinsmen living, when this man is my uncle on my fathers side, and he hath embraced and kissed me and wept over me, and told me to make this known to thee! And 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.
On the morrow the Moorish sorcerer went out to seek Ala-ed-Din, 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, shew me again the way to your home. And Ala-ed-Din replied: On the head and eye, O my uncle. And he went before him and shewed him the way home. So the Moor left him and went his way; while Ala-ed-Din went home and told his mother, and gave her the gold pieces, and said his uncle would fain take supper with them. So she arose forthwith and went to the market and bought what she needed, and returning home she set about making ready for the supper. And she borrowed from her neighbours 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. And he answered, I hear and obey. And whilst they were talking, a knock came at the door, and when Ala-ed-Din opened, behold, there was the Moorish wizard, with a eunuch carrying wine and fruit. And Ala-ed-Din 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? And when she shewed him her husbands 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! And he went on in this manner, weeping and wailing, until Ala-ed-Dins mother was assured that it was true, for verily he had swooned from the violence of his grief. And she raised him up from the ground and said: What benefit is there in killing thyself? And she comforted him, and seated him. And after he was seated and before the supper-tray 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. And 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? So rise and journey and see him ere thou die; for who can tell the calamities of this world and the chances of life? And it would be a sore grief to die without seeing thy brother. Moreover, God (praised be his name!) hath given thee abundant wealth, and perchance thy brother may be in distress and poverty, and thou canst succour 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 God. So I arrived here, and the day before yesterday, as soon as I roamed about the streets, I perceived thy son Ala-ed-Din 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 the was my brothers son. And I forgot my troubles and anxieties as I saw him, and could have flown for joy, until he told me of death of him who is gathered to the mercy of God most High; whereat I swooned for heaviness of grief and regret. But Ala-ed-Din 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.
And when he saw that she wept at his words, he turned to Ala-ed-Din, to divert her from the thought of her husband; and to console her and perfect his deception, he said. O my son Ala-ed-Din, what crafts has thou learned and what is thy trade? Hast thou learned a craft to support thee withal, thyself and thy mother? And Ala-ee-Din 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. And 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. And 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. And the Moor turned to Ala-ed-Din 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. And now that thou hast reached manhood, it behooveth thee to devise some way whereby thou mayest be able to support thyself. Look about, for God be praised, in this our city there are plenty of teachers of handicrafts; nowhere more. So 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 fathers calling liketh thee not, choose another that thou preferrest. Tell me, and I will help thee as best I can, my son. And when he saw that Ala-ed-Din 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 merchants shop of the richest stuffs, and thou shalt be known among the people, and take and give and buy and sell and become a man of repute in the city. And when Ala-ed-Din heard his uncles words, that he would make him a merchant trader, he rejoiced greatly, for he knew that merchants are well dressed and well fed. So he looked smilingly at the Moor and inclined his head to signify his content.
And when the Moorish wizard saw Ala-ed-Din 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, and, God 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 Ala-ed-Dins 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 merchants 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. And 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. Then 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 Ala-ed-Din on the affairs of business and the like, so that the boy did not sleep that night for joy. And 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 Ala-ed-Din to have his merchants clothes made.
The next day the Moor rapped at the door, and the mother of Ala-ed-Din arose and opened to him, but he would not enter, but only desired to take her son with him to the market. So Ala-ed-Din came forth to him and wished him good-day, and kissed his hand; and the Moor took him by the hand and went with him to the market, and entered a clothes-shop of all sorts of stuffs, and demanded a sumptuous suit of merchants style. So the dealer brought out what he required ready made. And the Moor said to Ala-ed-Din: Choose what pleaseth thee, my son. The boy rejoiced greatly when he understood that his uncle had given him his choice, and he picked out the suit he preferred; and the Moor paid the dealer the price on the spot. Then he took Ala-ed-Din to the Hammam, and they bathed, and came forth, and drank sherbet. And Ala-ed-Din arose and put on his new dress, rejoicing and preening; and he approached his uncle and thanked him, and kissed his hand, and acknowledged his kindness.
After the Moor had come forth from the bath with Ala-ed-Din and taken him to the market of the merchants, and delighted him with the buying and selling therein, he said to him: O son of my brother, it behooveth thee to become acquainted with the people, above all with the merchants, in order to learn their business, since it is now thy profession. And he took him and shewed him about the city and the mosques and all the sights of the place; and then led him to a cook-shop, where dinner was served to them on silver dishes; and they dined and ate and drank until they were satisfied and then they went their way. And the Moor pointed out the pleasure-grounds, and great buildings, and entered the Sultans palace, and shewed him all the beautiful large rooms. Then he took him to the Khan of the foreign merchants, where he had his lodging; and he invited some of the merchants in the Khan to supper; and when they sat down, he informed them that this was his brothers son, whose name was Ala-ed-Din. And when they had eaten and drunk and night had fallen, he arose and took Ala-ed-Din back to his mother. And when she saw her son, that he was one of the merchants, her reason departed for very joy, and she began to thank her brother-in-law for his goodness, saying: O my brother-in-law, I could not satisfy myself if I thanked thee all my life, and praised thee for the favour thou hast done to my son. And the Moor replied: O wife of my brother, it is no favour at all, for this is my son, and it is my duty to fill the place of my brother, his father. So let it suffice thee. And she said: I pray God, by his favoured ones, the saints of old and of latter days, to keep thee and prolong thy life to me, O my brother-in-law, so that thou mayest be a shield for this orphan youth, and he be ever obedient to thy command and do nothing save what thou orderest him to do. And the Moor replied: O wife of my brother, Ala-ed-Din is of mans estate and intelligent and of an honest stock, and please God he will follow his fathers way and refresh thine eye. I am sorry, however, that, to-morrow being Friday the day of worship, I shall not be able to open his shop for him, because on that day all the merchants after service repair to the gardens and walks. But on Saturday, God willing, we will accomplish our affair. And to-morrow I will come here and take Ala-ed-Din, and shew him the gardens and walks outside the city, which he may not perhaps have seen before, and point out to him the merchant folk and people of note who walk about and amuse themselves there, so that he may become acquainted with them and they with him.
So the Moor slept that night at his abode, and in the morning he came to the tailors house and rapped at the door. Now Ala-ed-Din, from excess of delight in his new dress, and what with the bathing and eating and drinking and sightseeing of the day before, and the expectation of his uncles coming on the morrow to take him to the gardens, had not slept that night, nor closed his eyes, nor scarcely believed the morning had come. So as soon as he heard the rap at the door he ran out like a flash of fire and opened the door and met his uncle, who embraced and kissed him, and took him by the hand. And as they went along he said: O son of my brother, to-day I will shew thee such a sight as thou never didst see in all thy life. And he made the boy laugh and entertained him with his talk. And they went out of the gate of the city and began meandering among the gardens: and the Moor pointed out the splendid pleasure-grounds and wondrous tall palaces. And so often as they looked upon a garden or mansion or palace. The Moor would pause and say: Doth this astonish thee, O son of my brother? And Ala-ed-Din well nigh flew with delight at seeing things he had never imagined in all his born days. And they ceased not to wander about and amuse themselves till they were weary. Then they entered a large garden hard by, whereat the heart became light and the eye bright, for its brooks trickled amid flowers, and fountains gushed form the jaws of brazen lions, which shone like gold. So they sat down by a lake and rested awhile; and Ala-ed-Din was full of happiness and began to make merry and jest with his uncle as though he were of a truth his fathers brother. Then the Moor arose, and loosening his girdle, took forth a wallet of food and fruit and so forth, saying: O son of my brother, thou art hungry; come then and eat thy fill. So Ala-ed-Din fell to eating and the Moor ate with him, and their souls were refreshed and made glad, and they reposed. And the Moor said: O son of my brother, if thou art rested, let us walk a spell and finish our stroll. So Ala-ed-Din arose, and the Moor led him from garden to garden till they had quitted all the gardens and come to a lofty hill. But Ala-ed-Din, who all his life had never gone beyond the city gates, or taken such a walk, said to the Moor: O my uncle, whither do we go? We have left all the gardens behind us, and come to the mountain, and if the way be far, I have not strength to walk longer; nay, I am all but fainting from tiredness. There are no more gardens ahead, so let us turn and go back to the city. But the Moor replied: Nay, my son; this is the road, and it is not yet an end of the gardens; for we are just going to look at one such as is not to be seen among Kings gardens, and all those thou hast seen are naught compared with it. So pluck up thy courage, for, God be praised, thou art now a grown man. And the Moor set to cheering Ala-ed-Din with encouraging words, and related wonderful tales, both true and false, until they came to the place which this Moorish sorcerer had fixed upon, and the which to find he had journeyed from the lands of the West to the countries of China. And when they arrived, he said to Ala-ed-Din: O son of my brother, sit down and rest, for this is the place we are seeking, and if it please God I will shew thee wonders the like of which no one in the world ever saw before, nor hath any one rejoiced in looking upon what thou art to see. When thou art rested, arise and find some faggots of wood and thin dry sticks to make a fire. Then will I shew thee, O son of my brother, a thing beyond description. And when Ala-ed-Din heard this, he longed to see what his uncle would do, and forgot his weariness and straightway arose and began to collect small faggots and dry sticks and gathered them together till the Moor cried, Enough, O son of my brother! Then the Moor drew from his pocket a box, and opened it, and took from it what incense he required, and he burnt it and muttered adjurations and said mysterious words. And straightway, amid murk and quaking and thunder, the earth opened, and Ala-ed-Din was alarmed and terrified at this, and would have fled. But when the sorcerer perceived his intention, he was wroth and furiously enraged thereat, for without Ala-ed-Din his design would come to naught, and the treasure he sought to unearth could not be obtained save by means of the boy. And so when he saw him thinking of flight he made for him, and raising his hand, he smote him on the head, so that his teeth were almost knocked out, and he swooned and fell to the ground. And after a while he came to, by the spells of the Moor, and fell a-crying, and said: O my uncle, what have I done to deserve such a blow from thee? So the Moor began to mollify him, and said: O my son, it is my intention to make a man of thee; so thwart me not, who am thine uncle, and, as it were, thy father. Obey me, rather, in all I tell thee, and shortly thou shalt forget all this toil and trouble when thou lookest upon marvellous things. Thereupon, when the earth had opened in front of the wizard, there appeared a marble slab, wherein was a ring of brass. And drawing geometric figures, the Moor said to Ala-ed-Din: If thou dost what I tell thee, thou wilt become richer than all the Kings put together; and for this cause struck I thee, O my son, because there is buried here a treasure which is deposited in thy name, and yet thou wast about to abandon it and flee. And now pull thy wits together and behold how I have cloven the earth by my spells and incantations.
Under that stone with the ring, he continued, is the Treasury whereof I told thee. Put forth thy hand to the ring and raise the stone, for no one in the world but thyself hath the power to open it, nor can any save thee set foot in this Treasury, which hath been reserved for thee alone. Wherefore thou must hearken to all that I bid thee, and not gainsay my words a jot. All this, O my son, is for thy good, since this treasure is immense. The Kings of the earth have never seen the like, and it is all for thee and for me.
So poor Ala-ed-Din forgot his tiredness and the beating and the tears, and was dazzled at the words of the Moor, and rejoiced to think that he would become so rich that Kings would not be wealthier than he. And he said: O my uncle, command me what thou wilt, and I will obey thy behest. And the Moor said to him: O son of my brother, thou art like my own child, and more, since thou art my brothers son, and I have none of kin save thee; and thou art my heir and successor, O my son. And he approached Ala-ed-Din and kissed him, saying: For whom should I design all these labours of mine, my child, except for thee, that I may leave thee a rich man, as rich as can be! Wherefore thwart me not in anything I tell thee, but go to that ring and lift it as I bade thee. And Ala-ed-Din said: O my uncle, this ring is too heavy for me; I cannot lift it alone; come and help me to raise it, for I am little in years. But the Moor replied: O my brothers son, we can accomplish nothing if I aid thee, and our labours would be vain; put then thy hand to the ring and lift it, and the stone will come up immediately. Did I not tell thee that none can move it but thyself? Repeat thy name and the names of thy father and mother, whilst thou pullest, and it will come up at once, and thou wilt not feel its weight. So Ala-ed-Din summoned his strength and plucked up his courage, and set to work as his uncle had bidden him, and lifted the stone with perfect ease, after saying the names of himself and his father and mother as the Moor had counselled him. So he lifted the slab and cast it on one side.
And when he had lifted the slab from the door of the Treasury, before him lay a passage entered by a descent of twelve steps. And the Moor said to him: Ala-ed-Din, pull thy wits together, and do exactly what I tell thee to the uttermost, and fail not a little from it. Descend carefully into yonder passage until thou reachest the end, and there shalt thou find a place divided into four chambers, and in each of these thou shalt see four golden jars and others of virgin gold and silver. Beware that thou touch them not nor take anything out of them, but leave them and go on to the fourth chamber, without even brushing them with thy clothes or loitering a single moment; for if thou do contrary to this thou wilt straightway be transformed and become a black stone. And when thou comest to the fourth chamber thou wilt find a door; then open the door, and repeating the names thou saidst over the slab, enter, and verily thou wilt pass thence into a garden full of fruit trees, whence thou wilt proceed by a path which thou wilt see in front of thee about fifty cubits long, and come upon an alcove1 in which is a ladder of about fifty steps, and thou shalt see, moreover, a Lamp suspended above the alcove. Take thou the Lamp, and pour out the oil therein, and put it in thy breast and be not afraid for thy clothes, since it is but common oil. And on thy return thou mayest pluck what thou pleasest from the trees, for all is thine so long as the Lamp continue in thy hand. And when he had ended, the Moor took a signet ring from his finger and put it on Ala-ed-Dins finger, and said: My son, this ring will guard thee from all peril and fear that may behest thee, so long as thou obeyest all that I have told thee. Arise, therefore, forthwith and descend and pluck up thy courage, and strengthen thy resolve and fear not, for thou art a man now, and no longer a child. And after this, my boy, thou shalt speedily become possessed of riches galore, till thou art the richest man in the world.
So Ala-ed-Din arose and went down into the cavern and found the four chambers and the four golden jars therein, and these he passed by with all care and precaution, as the Moor had told him, and he came to the garden and went through it till he found the alcove, and climbing the ladder, he took the Lamp and poured out the oil and put it in his bosom, and went down into the garden, where he began to marvel at the trees with the birds on their branches singing the praises of their glorious Creator. And though he had not noticed it when he entered, these trees were all covered with precious stones instead of fruit, and each tree was of a different kind and had different jewels, of all colours, green and white and yellow and red and other colours, and the brilliance of these jewels paled the suns rays at noontide. And the size of each stone surpassed description, so that none of the Kings of the world possessed any like the largest or half the size of the least of them. And Ala-ed-Din walked among the trees and gazed upon them and on these things which dazzled the sight and bewildered the mind, and as he examined them he perceived that instead of ordinary fruit the yield was of big jewels, emeralds and diamonds, and rubies and pearls, and other precious stones, such as to bewilder the understanding. But as he had never seen such things in his life, and had not reached mature years so as to know the value of such jewels (for he was still a little boy), he imagined that these jewels were all of glass or crystal. And he gathered pockets full of them, and began to examine whether they are ordinary fruit, like figs or grapes and other like eatables; but when he saw that they were of glass (knowing nothing of precious stones), he put some of each kind that grew on the trees into his pockets, and finding them of no use for food, he said in his mind: I will gather these glass fruits and play with them at home. So he began plucking them and stuffing them into his pockets until they were full; and then, when he had picked more and put them in his girdle, and girded it on, he carried off all he could, intending to use them for ornaments at home, since he imagined, as has been said, that they were only glass. Then he hastened his steps, for fear of his uncle, the Moor, and passed through the four chambers, and came to the cavern, without as much as looking at the jars of gold, notwithstanding that on his way back he was permitted to take of them. And when he came to the steps, and ascended them till none remained but the last one, which was higher than the others, he was unable to climb it by himself, without help, seeing that he was weighted. And he called to the Moor: O my uncle, give me thy hand and help me to get up. And the sorcerer replied: O my son, give me the Lamb, and lighten thyself; perhaps it is that which weigheth thee down. But he answered: O my uncle, the Lamp doth not weigh me down at all; give me only thy hand, and when I am up I will give thee the Lamp. But since he wizard wanted only the Lamp, and nought beside, he began to urge Ala-ed-Din to give it him, which, since it was at the bottom of his dress and the bags of precious stones bulged over it, he could not reach to give it him; so the Moor pressed him to give what he could not, and raged furiously, and persisted in demanding the Lamp, when Ala-ed-Din could not get at it to give it him.
And when Ala-ed-Din could not get at the Lamp to give it to his uncle, the Moor, the impostor, he became frantic at not gaining his desire, though Ala-ed-Din had promised to give it him without guile or deceit as soon as he got out of the cave. But when the Moor saw that Ala-ed-Din would not give him the Lamp, he was furiously enraged and gave up all hope of getting it. So he muttered incantations and threw incense into the fire, and immediately the slab shut of itself and by the power of magic became closed, the earth buried the stone as heretofore, and Ala-ed-Din remained under the ground unable to come forth. For this sorcerer, as we have related, was a stranger and no uncle of Ala-ed-Dins; but he misrepresented himself and asserted a lie, in order to gain possession of this Lamp by means of the youth.
So the accursed Moor heaped the earth over him and left him, for whose sake this treasure had been preserved, to die of hunger. For this damnable Moorish sorcerer was from the land of Africa, from the inner Westland, and from his youth he had practised 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. And 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. And when he discovered by his science and perceived that this treasure could only be obtained by means of a boy of the name of Ala-ed-Din, of poor family, 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, and did with Ala-ed-Din what he did, and imagined that he would gain possession of the Lamp. But his design and his hopes were frustrated and his labour was in vain. So he resolved to do Ala-ed-Din to death, and heaped the earth over him to the end that he might die, for the living hath no murderer. Moreover, he resolved upon this, in order that Ala-ed-Din, as he could not get out, should not be able to bring up the Lamp from below ground. Then he went his way and returned to the regions of Africa, dejected in spirit and disappointed of his aim. Thus was it with the sorcerer.
But as for Ala-ed-Din, when the earth was heaped over him, he began to call to his uncle, the Moor, whom he believed to be such, to stretch out his hand, that he might come forth from the vault to the face of the earth; and he shouted, and no one answered him. Then he understood the trick which the Moor had played upon him, and that he was no uncle at all, but a lying magician. So Ala-ed-Din despaired of his life, and perceived to his grief that there remained to him no escape to the earths surface, and he began to weep and bewail that which had befallen him. But after awhile he arose and descended to see if God Most High would provide him a door of escape. And he went, turning to right and left, and found nothing but darkness, and four doors shut against him; for the sorcerer by his magic had closed all the doors, and had even shut that of the garden through which Ala-ed-Din had passed, so that he might not find there a door by which to escape to the surface of the earth, and thus to hasten his death. And Ala-ed-Dins weeping increased and his wailing grew louder when he saw the doors all shut, and the garden also, where he had intended to console himself awhile; but he found everything closed, and he gave himself up to weeping and lamenting, like him who hath abandoned hope, and he returned and sat on the steps of the vault where he had first entered.
Thus he sat weeping and wailing and hopeless. But a small thing is it to God (extolled and exalted be he!) if he willeth a thing to say to it, Be, and it is. Thus doth he create joy in the midst of woe; and thus was it with Ala-ed-Din. When the Moorish sorcerer sent him to the vault, he gave him a ring and put it on his finger, saying, Verily this ring will guard thee from all danger if thou be in trouble and difficulties, and take away from thee all evils, and be thy helper wheresoever thou art. And this was by the decree of God Most High, that it should be the means of Ala-ed-Dins escape. For whilst he sat weeping and lamenting his case and abandoning his hope of life, overwhelmed with his misfortune, in his exceeding tribulation he began wringing his hands as the sorrowful are wont to do. And he raised his hands supplicating God, and saying: I testify that there is no God but thee alone, the mighty, the omnipotent, the all-conquering, the quickener of the dead, creator of needs and fulfiller thereof, who dispellest troubles and anxieties and turnest them into joy. Thou sufficest me, and thou art the best of protectors; and I testify that Mohammad is thy servant and apostle. O my God, by his favour with thee, release me from this calamity. And whilst he was supplicating God and wringing his hands from heaviness of grief at the calamity which had overtaken him, his hand happened to rub the ring, and, behold, immediately the Slave of the Ring appeared before him and cried: Here I am, thy slave, between thy hands. Ask what thou wilt, for I am the slave of him on whose hand is the ring, the ring of my master. And Ala-ed-Din looked up and saw a Marid like the Jinn of our Lord Suleyman, standing before him; and he was affrighted at the awful apparition, until he heard the Slave of the Ring say: Ask what thou wilt, for verily am I thy servant, because the ring of my master is on thy hand. So he recovered his spirit and called to mind the words of the Moor when he gave him the ring. And he rejoiced exceedingly and plucked up heart and said to him: O Slave of the Ring, I wish thee to convey me to the surface of the earth. And hardly had he spoken when, behold, the earth gaped open and he found himself at the door of the Treasury, outside, in face of the world. And when Ala-ed-Din saw himself thus in face of the world, after being three days under ground sitting in the dark Treasury, and the light of day and the sunshine smote his face and he could not open his eyes for it, he began to open his eyelids little by little till his eyes were stronger and became accustomed to the light and recovered from the gloom.
Then he perceived that he was on the surface of the earth, whereat he rejoiced greatly, and it astonished him that he should be outside the door of the Treasury which he had entered when the Moorish sorcerer opened it, and yet that the door should be shut and the earth made level so that there was no trace of an entrance at all. And he wondered more and more, and could not believe he was in the same place, till he saw the spot where they had lighted the fire of sticks and faggots, and the place where the sorcerer had muttered his incantations. Then turning right and left, he saw the gardens at a distance, and perceived the road, and he knew it was the same by which he had come. So he gave thanks to God Most High, who had brought him back to the earths surface and saved him from death after the hope of life had abandoned him. So he arose and walked on the road which he recognized till he came to the city, and entered, and repaired to his home, and went to his mother. And when he saw her, he swooned on the ground before her from exceeding joy at his escape and the recollection of the terror and toil and hunger he had endured. And his mother had been sorrowful since his departure, and had sat sobbing and weeping for him; so when she saw him come in she rejoiced over him with great joy, though grief seized her when she saw him fall swooning to the ground. But she did not give way to her anxiety in the predicament, but poured water on his face and borrowed from her neighbours aromatics for him to sniff. And when he was somewhat restored, he begged her to give him something to eat, saying to her: O my mother, it is now three days since I ate anything at all. And his mother arose and prepared for him what she had ready by her, and set it before him, saying: Come, my son, eat and refresh thyself, and when thou art restored, tell me what hath happened to thee and befallen thee, O my child; but I will not ask thee now, because thou art weary. So Ala-ed-Din ate and drank and became restored, and when he was better and had regained his spirits, he said to his mother: Ah, my mother, I have a heavy reckoning against thee for abandoning me to that devilish man who sought my ruin and desired to kill me. Know that I looked death in the face on account of the accursed reprobate whom thou didst acknowledge as my uncle; and had not God Most High delivered me from him, both I and thou, my mother, would have been imposed upon by the plenitude of this villains promises of the good he would do me, and the zeal of the love he displayed for me. But know, O mother, that this man is a sorcerer, a Moor, a liar, accursed, impostor, cheat, hypocrite. I hold the devils beneath the earth are not his match. May God condemn every record of his deeds! Listen, then, my mother, to what this devil didfor all I tell thee is really true. See how this accursed one brake every promise he made me to work me good; and look at the love he shewed me and how he acted; and all to attain his own ambition! And he would have killed meGod be thanked for my deliverance. Consider and hearken, O my mother, how this Man of the curse acted. Then Ala-ed-Din informed his mother all that had befallen himweeping for excess of joytelling her how, after he had left her, the Moor had led him to a mountain wherein was a treasure, and how he had muttered incantations and spells. And he added: After that, O my mother, he beat me till I fainted from soreness, and a great horror gat hold of me, when the mountain split asunder and the earth opened before me by his sorcery, and I trembled and was afeared at the roaring of the thunder which I heard and the darkness which fell around as he muttered his spells. And I would fain have fled from fear when I saw these awful sights. So when he saw that I was bent upon flight, he reviled me and beat me. But, since the Treasure could not be unearthed save by me, as it was in my name, and not his, and because this ill-omened sorcerer knew that it could only be opened by my means, and this was what he wanted me for: therefore, after beating me, he thought it better to mollify me in order to send me to open the Treasure and obtain his desire. And when he sent me, he gave me a ring and put it on my finger, after it had been on his own. So I descended into the Treasury, and found four chambers all full of gold and silver and the like, and all this was as nought, for that Devils own hand commanded me to touch nothing of it. Then I entered a great garden full of lofty trees, whose fruits confounded the reason, for all were of glass of delightful colours; and I came to the hall in which was this Lamp, and I took it forthwith and emptied it. And Ala-ed-Din took out the Lamp from his bosom, and shewed it to his mother, and in like manner the precious stones which he had brought from the garden, of which there were two large pockets full, of such as not one was to be met with among the Kings of the world. But Ala-ed-Din knew not their worth, but deemed them glass or crystal. And he continued: After getting the Lamp, O my mother, and arriving at the door of the Treasury, I called to the accursed Moor, who passed himself off as my uncle, to give me his hand and help me up, as I was overburdened with things and could not get up alone. But he would not give me his hand, but said: Hand up the Lamp that is with thee, and then I will give thee my hand and help thee out. But I had put the Lamp at the bottom of my pocket, and the bags stuck out above it, and I could not get it out to give it him, and I said: O my uncle, I cannot give thee the Lamp, but when I am up I will give it thee. But he did not mean to help me out, for he only wanted the Lamp; and his intention was to take it from me and heap the earth over me and destroy me, as he did his best to do. And this is what happened, O my mother, from this ill-omened sorcerer. And Ala-ed-Din told her all the story to the end thereof, and fell to cursing the Moor with all his might from out of his raging soul, saying: O my mother, woe to this damnable sorcerer, this ill-omened, vile, inhuman cheat and hypocrite, who contemneth all human kindness, and spurneth mercy and compassion!
When his mother heard her sons story and what the Moorish sorcerer had done to him, she said: Yea, my son, of a truth he is a miscreant and a hypocrite, a hypocrite who slays folk by his magic; and it was only the grace of God Most High, my son, that delivered thee from the wiles and spells of this accursed, whom I believed to be in truth thine uncle. And Ala-ed-Din, since he had not slept a wink for three days, and found himself nodding, sought his repose and went to sleep, and his mother likewise slept afterwards; and he did not wake up till near noon on the second day. As soon as he was awake he wanted something to eat, for he was hungry. And she said to him: O my son, I have nought to give thee, because thou didst eat yesterday all that there was in the house; but wait awhile; I have spun yarn which I will take to the market and sell and buy thee something to eat with the proceeds. To which Ala-ed-Din replied: Mother, keep thy yarn; sell it not, but give me the Lamp I brought, that I may go sell it, and buy therewith something to eat, for I think the lamp will fetch more than the yarn. So she arose and brought the lamp to her son, and she found it very dirty, and said: O my son, here is the Lamp, but verily it is dirty, and when we have cleaned and polished it it will sell for a greater price. So she went and took a handful of sand, and fell to rubbing the lamp therewith; but she had hardly begun to rub when there appeared before her one of the Jann, of terrible aspect and vast stature, as it were of the giants. And he said to her: Tell me what thou dost want of me; here am I, thy slave, and the slave of him who holdeth the Lamp; not I only, but all the slaves of the Wonderful Lamp which is in thy hand. But she trembled, and fear gat hold of her, and her tongue clave as she gazed upon that terrible form; and she could not answer, because she was not accustomed to seeing apparitions like that. So in her terror she could not make any reply to the Marid, but fell down overcome with alarm. But Ala-ed-Din her son was waiting hard by, and had seen the Efrit of the Ring which he had rubbed when in the Treasury; and hearing the speech of the Jinni to his mother, he hastened forward and seized the Lamp from her hand, saying: O Slave of the Lamp, I am hungry; and I wish thee to bring me something to eat, and let it be something good beyond imagination. So the Jinni vanished for a moment and brought him a magnificent tray of great price, made of pure silver, on which were twelve dishes of various foods and delicious dainties, and two cups of silver and flagons of clear old wine, and bread whiter than snow; and he set them before Ala-ed-Din and vanished. And Ala-ed-Din arose and sprinkled water on his mothers face and made her smell pungent perfumes, and she revived. Then he said: O my mother, come and eat of this food which God Most High hath provided for us. And when his mother saw the beautiful table, that it was of silver, she marvelled at this affair, and said: O my son, who is this generous benefactor that hath satisfied our hunger and lightened our poverty? Verily we are in his debt, and I am thinking that the Sultan, seeing our case and our poverty, sent this tray of food to us himself. O my mother, he answered, this is not a time for speculation; come, let us eat, for we are an-hungered. So they went and sat down to the tray and fell to eating, and Ala-ed-Dins mother tasted viands such as never in all her life had she eaten the like thereof. So they ate heartily with the utmost appetite from the violence of their hunger; moreover, the food was fit for Kings. But they knew not if the tray were precious or not, for they had never seen its like in their born days. And when they had done eating (but they left enough for supper and to last for the next day), they arose and washed their hands and sat down to talk, and Ala-ed-Dins mother turned to her son and said: O my son, tell me what took place with the Slave, the Jinni, now that God be praised, we have eaten and satisfied ourselves from his good things, and thou hast no excuse for saying to me, I am hungry. So, Ala-ed-Din told her all that had taken place between him and the Slave, while she was fallen in a swoon from affright. And sore amazement took hold upon her, and she said to him: It is true, for the Jinn do appear before the son of Adam, though I, O my child, in all my days have never seen them; and I am thinking that this is the same that appeared to thee in the Treasury. But he replied: It is not he, O my mother; this slave who appeared before thee is the Slave of the Lamp. And when she heard these words she said: How is that, my son? And he answered her: This slave is different in aspect from that; and that one was the Slave of the Ring, and this which thou sawest is the Slave of the Lamp which was in thy hand.
And when she heard this she said: Aha! that accursed, who appeared to me and nearly killed me with fright, belonged to the Lamp! Yes, he said, and she continued: I adjure thee, O my son, by the milk which thou didst suck from me cast away this Lamp and Ring, since they will cause us great fear, and as for me, I cannot bide a second time to look at them. And it is forbidden us to deal with them, since the Prophet (God bless and save him!) hath warned us against them And he said to her; O my mother, thy behests be on my head and my eye! Yet as to this behest which thou hast spoken, it is not possible for me to abandon either the Lamp or the Ring. Thyself hast seen what good they did us when we were an-hungered; and know, O my mother, that the Moor the liar, the sorcerer, when I was sent down to the Treasury, wanted nought of the gold and silver of which the four chambers were full, but commanded me only to bring him the Lamp, and nought besides, because he knew its great value, and unless he had known that this was immense, he had not toiled and laboured and journeyed from his own country to ours in search of it, nor would he have imprisoned me in the Treasury when he despaired of the Lamp, when I would not give it to him. Therefore, O my mother, it behooveth us to hold fast by this Lamp and take care of it, for it is our sustenance, and shall make us rich, and we must not publish it abroad to anyone. And as touching the Ring, in like manner I may not take it off my finger, since but for this ring thou hadst not seen me again alive, but I should have lain dead within the Treasury under the ground. Then how can I take it off my hand? And who knoweth what may befall me in life of troubles and perils and sore calamities, from which this Ring may deliver me? Only in deference to thy wishes I will conceal the Lamp, and never again constrain thee to look upon it. And when his mother had heard his words and had well weighed them, she perceived they were right, and said to him: O my son, do as thou wilt; for myself, I wish never to see them again, nor would I willingly witness once more the terrible sight which I have seen.
Ala-ed-Din and his mother continued eating of the viands which the Jinni had brought them, two days, and then they were done. So perceiving that nothing remained to them to eat, he arose, and took one of the plates which the slave had brought on the tray, which were of pure gold, though he knew it not; and he went with it to the market. And there met him a Jew, viler than the devils, and to him he offered the plate. And when the Jew saw it, he took Ala-ed-Din aside so that none should see, and examined the plate carefully and assured himself that it was of fine gold; and not knowing whether Ala-ed-Din was acquainted with its worth or was inexperienced in such things, he said to him: How much, O my master, is this dish? And Ala-ed-Din answered, Thou knowest its value. And the Jew considered how much he should bid for it, since Ala-ed-Din had answered him a business-like answer; so he thought to offer him a small price, and yet he feared that Ala-ed-Din might know the value of it and expect to receive a high price. So he said within himself: Perchance he is ignorant of it and knoweth not the value. Then he took from his pocket a dinar of gold and gave it him. And when Ala-ed-Din had looked at the piece of gold in his hand, he took it and quickly went away. So the Jew knew that the youth did not understand the value of the plate, so he repented with abject repentance that he had given him a dinar instead of a carat of a sixtieth. Ala-ed-Din meanwhile did not tarry, but went to the bakers and bought of him bread and changed the dinar and took and went to his mother and gave her the bread and the change of the gold, and said to her: O my mother, go and buy for us what we need. And she arose and went to the market and bought all they required, and they ate and were merry. And every time the price of a plate was exhausted, Ala-ed-Din took another and went with it to the Jew, and the accursed Hebrew bought it of him for a pitiful price; and he would have reduced the price further, but he was afraid, as he had given him a dinar the first time, that if he reduced it the youth would go away and sell to some one else, and he would thus lose his usurious gains. And Ala-ed-Din ceased not to sell plate after plate till all were sold, and there remained only the tray on which the plates were set; and as this was large and heavy, he went and brought the Jew to his house, and shewed him the tray, and when he saw its size he gave him ten dinars, which Ala-ed-Din took, and the Jew departed. And Ala-ed-Din and his mother subsisted on the ten dinars till they were done.
Then Ala-ed-Din arose and fetched the Lamp, and rubbed it, and there appeared before him the Slave who had appeared to him before. And the Jinni said to him: Command what thou wilt, O my master, for I am thy slave and the slave of him who possesseth the Lamp. And Ala-ed-Din answered: My desire is that thou bring me a tray of food like unto that which thou didst bring me before, for I am starving. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the Slave brought him a tray, like the one he came with before; and on it were twelve plates of the richest, and on them the proper viands; and on the tray were also bottles of clear wine and white bread. Now Ala-ed-Dins mother had gone forth when she knew that her son intended to rub the Lamp, that she might not look a second time upon the Jinni; and presently she came home and perceived this tray, covered with dishes of silver, and the odour of rich viands permeating her house; and she wondered and rejoiced. And Ala-ed-Din said to her: See, O my mother, thou didst tell me to cast away the Lamp; behold now its advantages! And she answered: O my son, God multiply his weal! but I would not look upon him. Then Ala-ed-Din and his mother sat down to the tray, and ate and drank till they were satisfied; and they put aside what was left for the morrow. And when the food they had was finished, Ala-ed-Din arose and took a plate of the plates of the tray under his garment and sallied forth in quest of the Jew to sell it to him; but by the decrees of destiny he passed by the shop of a jeweller, who was a just man and feared God. And when the jeweller sheykh saw Ala-ed-Din he questioned him, saying: O my son, what dost thou want? for I have seen thee often passing by, and thou wast dealing with a Jewish man, and I have seen thee making over to him various things, and I am thinking that thou hast something with thee now, and thou seekest him to buy it. But thou dost not know, O my son, that the property of the Muslims, who profess the Unity of God Most High, is fair spoil to the Jews, who always defraud them, and worst of all this damned Jew with whom thou hast dealt and into whose hands thou hast fallen. So if thou hast with thee, O my son, anything thou wishest to sell, shew it me, and fear not at all, for I will give thee its value by the truth of the Most High God. So Ala-ed-Din produced the plate before the sheykh, who when he had looked upon it, took it and weighed it in his balance, and questioned Ala-ed-Din and said: Didst thou sell the like of this to the Jew? And he answered, Yes, its like and its brother. And the other said: How much did he give thee for its price? And he answered, He gave me a dinar. And when the sheykh heard from Ala-ed-Din that the Jew had given him only a single dinar for the price of the plate, he exclaimed: Woe to this accursed who cheats the servants of the Most High God! And looking at Ala-ed-Din he said: O my son, verily this rascally Jew hath cheated thee and mocked at thee; for thy plate is of fine virgin silver; and I have weighed it and found its value to be seventy dinars. So if thou wilt take its price, take it. And the jeweller sheykh counted out to him seventy dinars, and Ala-ed-Din took them, and thanked him for his kindness in shewing him the Jews fraud. And whenever the price of a plate was gone, he went and brought another, so that he and his mother became well to do, though they ceased not to live as of old, as middle-class people, without excess or waste.
Ala-ed-Din had cast aside his gracelessness and shunned vagabonds, and chose for his companions upright men, and went every day to the market of the merchants and sat with the great and the small of them, and asked them concerning matters of business and the price of investments and the rest. And he would visit the market of the goldsmiths and jewellers; and there he would sit and divert himself with looking at the jewels and how they were bought and sold there. And thus he learned that the pockets full of fruit which he had gathered in the Treasury were not of glass or crystal, but were precious stones. And he knew that he had become possessed of vast riches such as Kings could never amass. And he examined all the stones that were in the market of the jewellers and found that their very biggest was not equal to his smallest. And he ceased not each day to saunter to the Bazar of the Jewellers and make acquaintance with the people, and obtain their good-will, and inquire of them concerning buying and selling and taking and giving and the dear and the cheap; till one day, after rising betimes and putting on his dress, he went as was his wont to the Bazar of the Jewellers, and as he passed he heard the herald calling thus: By command of the gracious patron, King of the Time, Lord of the Age and the Season: now let all the people close their stores and shops and enter in unto their houses, because Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, intendeth to visit the bath; and whoso disobeyeth the order, death is his penalty, and his blood be on his own head. And when Ala-ed-Din heard this proclamation, he longed to look upon the Sultans daughter, and said within himself: Verily all the folk talk of her beauty and loveliness, and the summit of my ambition is to behold her.
So Ala-ed-Din set himself to seek a way whereby he might attain to a sight of the daughter of the Sultan, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; and it seemed best to him to stand behind the door of the Hammam, so as to see her face when she came in. Accordingly, without any delay, he went to the bath before she was expected and stood behind the door, a place where no one could see him; and when the daughter of the Sultan drew near, after going about the city and its quarters and diverting herself thereby, she came to the bath, and on entering, lifted her veil and displayed her face, as it were a radiant sun or a pearl of great price; for she was as the poet sang:
Borders of kohl enhance the witchery of her glance,
Gardens of roses are her damask cheeks,
Black are her tresses as the gloomy night,
Illumined by the glory of her brow.
When the princess raised her veil from her face and Ala-ed-Din looked upon her, he said: Of a surety her make magnifieth the Mighty Maker, and extolled be he who made her and adorned her with such beauty and loveliness! His vigour became weak at the sight of her, and his thoughts became distraught, and his sight bewildered, and love of her got hold of his whole soul; and he went home and returned to his mother like one in a dream. And his mother spake to him, but he replied not yea or nay; and she set before him breakfast, but he remained in the same state. So she said to him: O my son, what hath befallen thee? Doth anything distress thee? Tell me what hath happened to thee, for thou, contrary to thy wont, repliest not when I speak to thee. Then Ala-ed-Din,who had believed that all women were like his mother, and though he had heard of the beauty of Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, yet knew not what this beauty and loveliness might mean,turned to his mother and said to her, Let me alone. But she urged him to come and eat; so he came and ate a little, and then lay on his bed pondering till morning dawned. And he ceased not from this state the next day, so that his mother was perplexed for her sons condition and could not find out what had come over him. And she believed he was seriously sick, and came and asked him, saying: O my son, if thou feel pain or anything of the kind, tell me, that I may go and bring thee a physician; and this very day there is in this city a doctor from the land of the Arabs whom the Sultan sent for, and the rumour goeth that he is very skillful. So if thou be sick, let me go and call him in.
When Ala-ed-Din heard that his mother wished to bring him a physician, he said to her: O my mother, I am well, and not sick at all. But I always believed that all women resembled thee, until yesterday I saw the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, going in to the bath. And he told her all that had betided him, and said: Perhaps thou didst also hear the herald calling: Let no man open his shop or stay in the streets, that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur may go to the Bath. But I did look upon her, even as she is, because she lifted her veil at the entering of the bath. And when I gazed on her form and saw that noble shape, there seized me, O my mother, a violent ecstasy of love for her, and a fixed resolve to win her possesseth every part of me; nor can I possibly rest until I gain her. And I intend, therefore, to demand her of the Sultan, her father, in lawful wedlock. And when his mother heard his words she feared for his reason, and said: O my son, Gods name be on thee! for it is plain thou hast lost thy reason, my son. But be guided, and be not as the insane. And he answered: O my mother, I have not lost my reason, nor am I mad, nor can thy words alter what is in my mind, for peace is impossible to me till I win the beloved of my heart, the lovely Lady Bedr-el-Budur. And I am determined to demand her of her father, the Sultan. And she said to him: O my son, by my life, say not so, lest any one hear thee and say thou art mad. Put away from thee this folly; for who should do a thing like this, to ask it of the Sultan? And I know not how thou wilt set to work to ask this favour of the Sultan, even if thy speech be true, or through whom thou wilt ask it. And he answered: Through whom, O my mother, should I make this request, when I have thee? And whom have I more trusty than thee? It is my wish that thou thyself ask this request. And she said: O my son, God preserve me from this! Have I lost my reason like thee? Cast away this thought from thy soul, and think whose son thou art, my son, the child of a tailor, of the poorest and meanest of the tailors to be found in this city; and I, too, thy mother, come of very poor folk. So how dost thou presume to ask in marriage a daughter of the Sultan, who would not deign to marry her to any of the Kings and Sultans, unless they were his equals in grandeur and honour and majesty; and were they less than he but a single degree he would not give them his daughter.