Aladdin: Recount


It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin, issuing from the Treasury, opened his eyes after a short space of time and saw himself upon earth's surface, the which rejoiced him exceedingly, and withal he was astounded at finding himself without the Hoard-door whereby he had passed in when it was opened by the Maghrabi, the Magician; especially as the adit had been lidded and the ground had been smoothed, showing no sign whatever of entrance. Thereat his surprise increased until he fancied himself in another place, nor was his mind convinced that the stead was the same until he saw the spot whereupon they had kindled the fire of wood-chips and dried sticks, and where the African Wizard had conjured over the incense. Then he turned him rightwards and leftwards and sighted the gardens from afar and his eyes recognized the road whereby he had come. So he returned thanks to Allah Almighty who had restored him to the face of earth and had freed him from death after he had cut off all hopes of life. Presently he arose and walked along the way to the town, which now he well knew, until he entered the streets and passed on to his own home. Then he went in to his mother and on seeing her, of the overwhelming stress of joy at his escape and the memory of past affright and the hardships he had borne and the pangs of hunger, he fell to the ground before his parent in a fainting-fit. Now his mother had been passing sad since the time of his leaving her and he found her moaning and crying about him; however on sighting him enter the house she joyed with exceeding joy, but soon was overwhelmed with woe when he sank upon the ground swooning before her eyes. Still, ‡102 she did not neglect the matter or treat it lightly, but at once hastened to sprinkle water upon his face and after she asked of the neighbours some scents which she made him snuff up. And when he came round a little, he prayed her to bring him somewhat of food saying, “O my mother 'tis now three days since I ate anything at all.” Thereupon she arose and brought him what she had by her; then, setting it before him, said, “Come forward, O my son; eat and be cheered ‡103 and, when thou shalt have rested, tell me what hath betided and affected thee, O my child; at this present I will not question thee for thou art aweary in very deed.”

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin ate and drank and was cheered and after he had rested and had recovered spirits he cried, “Ah, O my mother, I have a sore grievance against thee for leaving me to that accursed wight who strave to compass my destruction and designed to take my life. ‡104 Know that I beheld Death with mine own eyes at the hand of this damned wretch, whom thou didst certify to be my uncle; and, had not Almighty Allah rescued me from him, I and thou, O my mother, had been cozened by the excess of this Accursed's promises to work my welfare, and by the great show of affection which he manifested to us. Learn, O my mother, that this fellow is a sorcerer, a Moorman, an accursed, a liar, a traitor, a hypocrite; ‡105 nor deem I that the devils under the earth are damnable as he. Allah abase him in his every book! Hear then, O my mother, what this abominable one did, and all I shall tell thee will be soothfast and certain. See how the damned villain brake every promise he made, certifying that he would soon work all good with me; and do thou consider the fondness which he displayed to me and the deeds which he did by me; and all this only to win his wish, for his design was to destroy me; and Alhamdolillah—laud to the Lord—for my deliverance. Listen and learn, O my mother, how this Accursed entreated me.” Then Alaeddin informed his mother of all that had befallen him (weeping the while for stress of gladness); how the Maghrabi had led him to a hill wherein was hidden the Hoard and how he had conjured and fumigated, adding, ‡106 “After which, O my mother, mighty fear get hold of me when the hill split and the earth gaped before me by his wizardry; and I trembled with terror at the rolling of thunder in mine ears and the murk which fell upon us when he fumigated and muttered spells. Seeing these horrors I in mine affright designed to fly; but, when he understood mine intent he reviled me and smote me a buffet so sore that it caused me to swoon. However, inasmuch as the Treasury was to be opened only by means of me, O my mother, he could not descend therein himself, it being in my name and not in his; and, for that he is an ill-omened magician, he understood that I was necessary to him and this was his need of me.”

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin acquainted his mother with all that had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the Magician, and said, “After he had buffetted me, he judged it advisable to soothe me in order that he might send me down into the Enchanted Treasury; and first he drew from his finger a Ring which he placed upon mine. So I descended and found four halls all full of gold and silver which counted as naught, and the Accursed had charged me not to touch aught thereof. Then I entered a mighty fine flower-garden everywhere bedecked with tall trees whose foliage and fruitage bewildered the wits, for all, O my mother, were of vari-coloured glass, and lastly I reached the Hall wherein hung this Lamp. So I took it straightway and put it out ‡107 and poured forth its contents.” And so saying Alaeddin drew the Lamp from his breast-pocket and showed it to his mother, together with the gems and jewels which he had brought from the garden; and there were two large bag-pockets full of precious stones, whereof not one was to be found amongst the kings of the world. But the lad knew naught anent their worth deeming them glass or crystal; and presently he resumed, “After this, O mother mine, I reached the Hoard-door carrying the Lamp and shouted to the accursed Sorcerer, which called himself my uncle, to lend me a hand and hale me up, I being unable to mount of myself the last step for the over weight of my burthen. But he would not and said only, ‘First hand me the Lamp!’ As, however, I had placed it at the bottom of my breast-pocket and the other pouches bulged out beyond it, I was unable to get at it and said, ‘O my uncle, I cannot reach thee the Lamp, but I will give it to thee when outside the Treasury.’ His only need was the Lamp and he designed, O my mother, to snatch it from me and after that slay me, as indeed he did his best to do by heaping the earth over my head. Such then is what befel me from this foul Sorcerer.” Hereupon Alaeddin fell to abusing the Magician in hot wrath and with a burning heart and crying, “Well-away! I take refuge from this damned wight, the ill-omened, the wrongdoer, the for-swearer, the lost to all humanity, the arch-traitor, the hypocrite, the annihilator of ruth and mercy.”

The Jinni

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when Alaeddin's mother heard his words and what had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the Magician, she said, “Yea, verily, O my son, he is a miscreant, a hypocrite who murthereth the folk by his magic; but ‘twas the grace of Allah Almighty, O my child, that saved thee from the tricks and the treachery of this accursed Sorcerer whom I deemed to be truly thine uncle.” ‡108 Then, as the lad had not slept a wink for three days and found himself nodding, he sought his natural rest, his mother doing on like wise; nor did he awake till about noon on the second day. As soon as he shook off slumber he called for somewhat of food being sore anhungered, but said his mother, “O my son, I have no victual for thee inasmuch as yesterday thou atest all that was in the house. But wait patiently a while: I have spun a trifle of yarn which I will carry to the market-street and sell it and buy with what it may be worth some victual for thee.” “O my mother,” said he, “keep your yarn and sell it not; but fetch me the Lamp I brought hither that I may go vend it and with its price purchase provaunt, for that I deem ‘twill bring more money than the spinnings.” So Alaeddin's mother arose and fetched the Lamp for her son; but, while so doing, she saw that it was dirty exceedingly; so she said, “O my son, here is the Lamp, but 'tis very foul: after we shall have washed it and polished it ‘twill sell better.” Then, taking a handful of sand she began to rub therewith, but she had only begun when appeared to her one of the Jánn whose favour was frightful and whose bulk was horrible big, and he was gigantic as one of the Jabábirah. ‡109 And forthright he cried to her, “Say whatso thou wantest of me? Here am I, thy Slave and Slave to whoso holdeth the Lamp; and not I alone, but all the Slaves of the Wonderful Lamp which thou hendest in hand.” She quaked and terror was sore upon her when she looked at that frightful form and her tongue being tied she could not return aught reply, never having been accustomed to espy similar semblances.

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin's mother could not of her terror return a reply to the Márid; nay she fell to the ground oppressed by her affright. Now her son was standing afar off and he had already seen the Jinní of the Ring which he had rubbed within the Treasury; so when he heard the Slave speaking to his parent, he hastened forwards and snatching the Lamp from her hand, said, “O Slave of the Lamp, I am unhungered and 'tis my desire that thou fetch me somewhat to eat and let it be something toothsome beyond our means.” The Jinni disappeared for an eye-twinkle and returned with a mighty fine tray and precious of price, for that ‘twas all in virginal silver and upon it stood twelve golden platters of meats manifold and dainties delicate, with bread snowier than snow; also two silvern cups and as many black jacks full of wine clear-strained and long-stored. And after setting all these before Alaeddin, he evanished from vision. Thereupon the lad went and sprinkled rose water upon his mother's face and caused her snuff up perfumes pure and pungent and said to her when she revived, “Rise, O mother mine, and let us eat of these meats wherewith Almighty Allah hath eased our poverty.” But when she saw that mighty fine silvern tray she fell to marvelling at the matter and Quoth she, “O my son, who be this generous, this beneficent one who hath abated our hunger-pains and our penury? We are indeed under obligation to him and, meseemeth, 'tis the Sultan who, hearing of our mean condition and our misery, hath sent us this food tray.” Quoth he, “O my mother, this be no time for questioning: arouse thee and let us eat for we are both a-famished.” Accordingly, they sat down to the tray and fell to feeding when Alaeddin's mother tasted meats whose like in all her time she had never touched; so they devoured them with sharpened appetites and all the capacity engendered by stress of hunger; and, secondly, the food was such that marked the tables of the Kings. But neither of them knew whether the tray was or was not valuable, for never in their born days had they looked upon aught like it. As soon as they had finished the meal (withal leaving victual enough for supper and eke for the next day), they arose and washed their hands and sat at chat, when the mother turned to her son and said, “Tell me, O my child, what befel thee from the Slave, the Jinní, now that Alhamdolillah—laud to the Lord!—we have eaten our full of the good things wherewith He hath favoured us and thou hast no pretext for saying to me, ‘I am anhungered.’” So Alaeddin related to her all that took place between him and the Slave what while she had sunk upon the ground aswoon for sore terror; and at this she, being seized with mighty great surprise, said, “'tis true; for the Jinns do present themselves before the Sons of Adam but I, O my son, never saw them in all my life and meseemeth that this be the same who saved thee when thou west within the Enchanted Hoard.” “This is not he, O my mother: this who appeared before thee is the Slave of the Lamp!” “Who may this be, O my son?” “This be a Slave of sort and shape other than he; that was the Familiar of the Ring and this his fellow thou sawest was the Slave of the Lamp thou hentest in hand.”

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin said, “Verily, O my mother, the Jinni who appeared to thee was the Slave of the Lamp.” And when his parent heard these words she cried, “There! there! so this Accursed, who showed himself to me and went nigh unto killing me with affright, is attached to the Lamp.” “Yes,” he replied, and she rejoined, “Now I conjure thee, O my son, by the milk wherewith I suckled thee, to throw away from thee this Lamp and this Ring; because they can cause us only extreme terror and I especially can never abear a second glance at them. Moreover all intercourse with them is unlawful, for that the Prophet (whom Allah save and assain!) warned us against them with threats.” He replied, “Thy commands, O my mother, be upon my head ‡114 and mine eyes; but, as regards this saying thou saidest, 'tis impossible that I part or with Lamp or with Ring. Thou thyself hast seen what good the Slave wrought us whenas we were famishing; and know, O my mother, that the Maghrabi, the liar, the Magician, when sending me down into the Hoard, sought nor the silver nor the gold wherewith the four halls were fulfilled, but charged me to bring him only the Lamp (naught else), because in very deed he had learned its priceless value; and, had he not been certified of it, he had never endured such toil and trouble nor had he travelled from his own land to our land in search thereof; neither had he shut me up in the Treasury when he despaired of the Lamp which I would not hand to him. Therefore it besitteth us, O my mother, to keep this Lamp and take all care thereof nor disclose its mysteries to any; for this is now our means of livelihood and this it is shall enrich us. And likewise as regards the Ring, I will never withdraw it from my finger inasmuch as but for this thou hadst nevermore seen me on life nay I should have died within the Hoard underground. How then can I possibly remove it from my finger? And who wotteth that which may betide me by the lapse of Time, what trippings or calamities or injurious mishaps wherefrom this Ring may deliver me? However, for regard to thy feelings I will stow away the Lamp nor ever suffer it to be seen of thee hereafter.” Now when his mother heard his words and pondered them she knew they were true and said to him, “Do, O my son, whatso thou wiliest for my part I wish never to see them nor ever sight that frightful spectacle I erst saw.”