THE SIXTH VOYAGE
"Scarcely had they finished their repast, when there appeared in the air at a considerable distance from us two great clouds. The captain whom I had hired to navigate my ship, said they were the male and female roc that belonged to the young one and pressed us to re-embark with all speed, to prevent the misfortune which he saw would otherwise befall us. We hastened on board, and set sail with all possible expedition.
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."
At these words, the African magician threw his arms about Aladdin's neck, and kissed him several times with tears in his eyes. Aladdin, who observed his tears, asked him what made him weep. "Alas! my son," cried the African magician with a sigh, "how can I forbear? I am your uncle; your worthy father was my own brother. I have been many years abroad, and now I am come home with the hopes of seeing him, you tell me he is dead. But it is some relief to my affliction, that I knew you at first sight, you are so like him." Then he asked Aladdin, putting his hand into his purse, where his mother lived, and as soon as he had informed him, gave him a handful of small money, saying: "Go, my son, to your mother, give my love to her, and tell her that I will visit her to-morrow, that I may have the satisfaction of seeing where my good brother lived so long."
The person to whom the African magician addressed himself took a pleasure in showing him the way to Aladdin's palace, and he got up and went thither instantly. When he came to the palace, and had examined it on all sides, he doubted not but that Aladdin had made use of the lamp to build it. Without attending to the inability of a poor tailor's son, he knew that none but the genies, the slaves of the lamp, could have performed such wonders; and piqued to the quick at Aladdin's happiness and splendour, he returned to the khan where he lodged.
"With your leave, mother," replied Aladdin, "I shall take care how I sell a lamp which may be so serviceable both to you and me. Have you not been an eye-witness of what it has procured us? and it shall still continue to furnish us with subsistence. My false and wicked uncle would not have taken so much pains, and undertaken so long a journey, if it had not been to get into his possession this wonderful lamp, which he preferred before all the gold and silver which he knew was in the halls. He knew too well the worth of this lamp, not to prefer it to so great a treasure; and since chance hath discovered the virtue of it to us, let us make a profitable use of it, without making any great show, and exciting the envy and jealousy of our neighbours. However, since the genies frighten you so much, I will take it out of your sight, and put it where I may find it when I want it. The ring I cannot resolve to part with; for without that you had never seen me again; and though I am alive now, perhaps, if it was gone, I might not be so some moments hence; therefore I hope you will give me leave to keep it, and to wear it always on my finger. Who knows what dangers you and I may be exposed to, which neither of us can foresee, and from which it may deliver us?" As Aladdin's arguments were just, his mother had nothing to say against them; she only replied, that he might do what he pleased; for her part, she would have nothing to do with genies, but would wash her hands of them.
When Aladdin's mother came from market, she was much surprised to see so many people and such vast riches. As soon as she had laid down her provisions, she was going to pull off her veil; but her son prevented her, and said: "Mother, let us lose no time; before the sultan and the divan rise, I would have you return to the palace with this present as the dowry demanded for the princess, that he may judge by my diligence of the ardent desire I have to procure myself the honour of this alliance." Without waiting for his mother's reply, Aladdin opened the street-door, and made the slaves walk out; each white slave followed by a black with a tray upon his head. When they were all out, the mother followed the last black slave; he shut the door, and then retired to his chamber, full of hopes that the sultan, after this present, which was such as he required, would receive him as his son-in-law.
Aladdin having left his chamber, supped with his mother, with the same tranquillity of mind as usual; and after supper talked of the princess's marriage as of an affair wherein he had not the least concern; he then retired to his own chamber again, but sat up waiting the execution of his orders to the genie.
Morgiana, while they were eating, made the necessary preparations for executing one of the boldest acts ever meditated, and had just determined, when Abdoollah came for the dessert of fruit, which she carried up, and as soon as he had taken the meat away, set upon the table; after that, she placed three glasses by Ali Baba, and going out, took Abdoollah with her to sup, and to give Ali Baba the more liberty of conversation with his guest.