"The grand vizier designed to carry me to the courts of the neighbouring sultans, to implore their assistance, and excite them to revenge my father's death; but Heaven did not concur in a resolution we thought so just. When we had been but a few days at sea, there arose such a furious storm, that our vessel, carried away by the violence of the winds and waves, was dashed in pieces against a rock. My governess, the grand vizier, and all that attended me, were swallowed up by the sea. I lost my senses; and whether I was thrown upon the coast, or whether Heaven wrought a miracle for my deliverance, I found myself on shore when my senses returned.
It would be a delightful task to any boy or girl to begin at the beginning and read the first English version of these famous stories, made from the collection of M. Galland, Professor of Arabic in the Royal College of Paris. The fact that they had passed from Arabic into French and from French into English did not prevent their instantaneous popularity. This was in 1704 or thereabouts, and the world was not so busy as it is nowadays, or young men would not have gathered in the middle of the night under M. Galland's window and cried: "O vous, qui savez de si jolis contes, et qui les racontez si bien, racontez nous en un!"
The widow returned home much more gratified than she had expected, since she had met with a favourable answer.
Aladdin returned home in the order he had come, amidst the acclamations of the people, who wished him all happiness and prosperity. As soon as he dismounted, he retired to his own chamber, took the lamp, and called the genie as before, who in the usual manner made him a tender of his service. "Genie," said Aladdin, "I have every reason to commend your exactness in executing hitherto punctually whatever I have demanded; but now, if you have any regard for the lamp, your protector, you must shew, if possible, more zeal and diligence than ever. I would have you build me, as soon as you can, a palace opposite, but at a proper distance from, the sultan's, fit to receive my spouse, the Princess Badroulboudour. I leave the choice of the materials to you, that is to say, porphyry, jasper, agate, lapis lazuli, or the finest marble of various colours, and also the architecture of the building. But I expect that on the terraced roof of this palace you will build me a large hall crowned with a dome, and having four equal fronts; and that instead of layers of bricks, the walls be formed of massy gold and silver, laid alternately: that each front shall contain six windows, the lattices of all of which (except one, which must be left unfinished) shall be so enriched in the most tasteful workmanship, with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, that they shall exceed anything of the kind ever seen in the world. I would have an inner and outer court in front of the palace, and a spacious garden; but above all things, take care that there be laid in a place which you shall point out to me, a treasure of gold and silver coin. Besides, the edifice must be well provided with kitchens and offices, storehouses, and rooms to keep choice furniture in, for every season of the year. I must have stables full of the finest horses, with their equerries and grooms, and hunting equipage. There must be officers to attend the kitchens and offices, and women slaves to wait on the princess. You understand what I mean; therefore go about it, and come and tell me when all is finished."
"It is an addition to my joy," answered the young prince, "to understand that my victory will save the lives of those unfortunate beings. Come with me, madam, to partake in the satisfaction of giving them their liberty." Having so said, they advanced toward the door of the dungeon, where Codadad, pitying them, and impatient to put an end to their sufferings, presently put one of the keys into the lock. The noise made all the unfortunate captives, who concluded it was the black coming, according to custom, to seize one of them to devour, redouble their cries and groans.
This only served to heighten their hatred. "Is it come to this," said they, "that the sultan, not satisfied with loving a stranger more than us, will have him to be our governor, and not allow us to act without his leave? This is not to be endured. We must rid ourselves of this foreigner." "Let us go together," said one of them, "and despatch him." "No, no," answered another; "we had better be cautious how we sacrifice ourselves. His death would render us odious to the sultan. Let us destroy him by some stratagem. We will ask his permission to hunt, and, when at a distance from the palace, proceed to some other city and stay there some time. The sultan will wonder at our absence, and perceiving we do not return, perhaps put the stranger to death, or at least will banish him from court, for suffering us to leave the palace."
After the ceremonies of his father's funeral rites and his own inauguration were over, the new sultan, as well from inclination as from duty, went out one evening attended by his grand vizier, disguised like himself, to observe what was transacting in the city. As he was passing through a street in that part of the town inhabited only by the meaner sort, he heard some people talking very loud; and going close to the house whence the noise proceeded, and looking through a crack in the door, perceived a light, and three sisters sitting on a sofa, conversing together after supper. By what the eldest said he presently understood the subject of their conversation was wishes: "for," said she, "since we are talking about wishes, mine shall be to have the sultan's baker for my husband, for then I shall eat my fill of that bread, which by way of excellence is called the sultan's; let us see if your tastes are as good as mine." "For my part," replied the second sister, "I wish I was wife to the sultan's chief cook, for then I should eat of the most excellent dishes; and as I am persuaded that the sultan's bread is common in the palace, I should not want any of that; therefore you see," addressing herself to her eldest sister, "that I have a better taste than you." The youngest sister, who was very beautiful, and had more charms and wit than the two elder, spoke in her turn: "For my part, sisters," said she, "I shall not limit my desires to such trifles, but take a higher flight; and since we are upon wishing, I wish to be the emperor's queen-consort. I would make him father of a prince, whose hair should be gold on one side of his head, and silver on the other; when he cried, the tears from his eyes should be pearls; and when he smiled, his vermilion lips should look like a rosebud fresh-blown."下载
When Bahman, Perviz, and all the gentlemen had mounted their horses, the princess waited for some of them to lead the way. The two princes paid that compliment to the gentlemen, and they again to the princess, who, finding that none of them would accept the honour, but that it was reserved for her, addressed herself to them and said: "Gentlemen, I expect that some of you should lead the way:" to which one who was nearest to her, in the name of the rest, replied: "Madam, were we ignorant of the respect due to your sex, yet after what you have done for us there is no deference we would not willingly pay you, notwithstanding your modesty; we entreat you no longer to deprive us of the happiness of following you."
The grand vizier freely told the sultan his thoughts, and said to him: "In my opinion, sir, there is an infallible way for your majesty to avoid a match so disproportionate, without giving Aladdin, were he known to your majesty, any cause of complaint; which is, to set so high a price upon the princess that, however rich he may be, he cannot comply with it. This is the only way to make him desist from so bold an undertaking."