A long time ago, in Persia, a poor boy called Aladdin was playing with his friends in the streets of his city. A stranger came up to him and asked him if he was not the son of Mustapha the Tailor. “I am, sir” replied Aladdin; “but he died a long while ago.” When the stranger heard this, he embraced Aladdin saying, “My boy – I am your long lost uncle.” Aladdin ran home and told his mother all about this newly found relative, and she prepared supper for them all.
The next day, the uncle led Aladdin out far beyond the city gates. They journeyed onwards until late afternoon, but Aladdin did not feel tiered because his uncle told him so many interesting stories. Eventually they reached the foot of a mountain.
“We will go no farther,” said the false uncle – for in truth he was not Aladdin’s relative, but an African magician in disguise. “I will show you something wonderful”; he said. The magician lit a fire and threw some powder on it while saying some magical words. The earth trembled a little and a large bolder rolled to one side. Aladdin saw a flight of steps leading down into a dark cave. The opening was just large enough for a boy to pass through, but plainly the magician, who was rather fat, would not have managed to enter the cave himself. “Go down”, commanded the magician, “at the foot of those steps you will find an open door leading into three large halls. Pass through them without touching anything, or you will die instantly. These halls lead into a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk on until you come to table upon which stands a lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it to me.”
Aladdin was afraid to disobey the magician, and went down the stares into the cave On the ground he found a ring, and despite the magician’s order not to touch anything, he picked it up and slipped it onto his finger. He did not die. Then he passed through the garden where he picked fruit from the trees. Later on, he found the lamp, just as the magician had said, and he went back up the stares to the mouth of the cave. The magician cried out: “Make haste and give me the lamp.” But Aladdin saw through his trick and understood that as soon as he handed over the lamp, the magician would replace the stone and he would be shut inside the cave, never to leave. And so Aladdin called out, “Let me out first, and only then will I give you the lamp”. The magician flew into a terrible rage, and throwing some more powder on to the fire, he said some more magic words, and the stone rolled back into its place.
For two days Aladdin remained trapped inside the cave. At last he clasped his hands in prayer, and in so doing rubbed the ring that he had picked off the ground. 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 all things.” Aladdin fearlessly replied: “Deliver me from this place!” whereupon the earth opened, and he found himself back at home. “Alas! child,” said his mother when she noticed him, “I have nothing to eat in the house. We will go hungry tonight.” Aladdin soothed her saying he would sell the lamp to get some money for food. As it was very dirty his mother 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: “Where did you get this splendid feast?” “Ask not, but eat,” replied Aladdin.
One day the Sultan who ruled the city ordered 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 looked so beautiful that Aladdin fell in love with her at first sight. He went home and told his mother that he loved the Princess so deeply that he could not live without her. His mother burst out laughing, but Aladdin at last persuaded her to go to the Sultan and request his daughter’s hand in marriage for her son. 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. After waiting several days at the Palace, she was admitted to see the him. She threw herself down foot of the thrown and waited for several minutes until the Sultan said to her: “Old woman, and tell me what you want.” She hesitated, then told him o