Aladdin: A Brother

Three Fellahin, by Charles Gleyre, 1835.
sueth variant spelling of sue. To woo, beseech.
pastern ?
Fellah A peasant or agricultural laborer in an Arab country, such as Syria or Egypt.
Bhang a drug made of cannabis. Bhang

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Lady Badr al-Budur ceased speaking, Alaeddin resumed, “Tell me the intent of this Accursed in thy respect, also what he sayeth to thee and what be his will of thee?” She replied, “Every day he cometh to visit me once and no more: he would woo me to his love and he sueth that I take him to spouse in lieu of thee and that I forget thee and be consoled for the loss of thee. And he telleth me that the Sultan my sire hath cut off my husband's head, adding that thou, the son of pauper parents, wast by him enriched. And he sootheth me with talk, but he never seeth aught from me save weeping and wailing; nor hath he heard from me one sugar-sweet word.” ‡202 Quoth Alaeddin, “Tell me where he hath placed the Lamp an thou know anything thereof:” and Quoth she, “He beareth it about on his body alway, nor is it possible that he leave it for a single hour; moreover once when he related what I have now recounted to thee, he brought it out of his breast-pocket and allowed me to look upon it.” When Alaeddin heard these words, he joyed with exceeding joy and said, “O my lady, do thou lend ear to me. 'tis my design to go from thee forthright and to return only after doffing this my dress; so wonder not when thou see me changed, but direct one of thy women to stand by the private pastern alway and, whenever she espy me coming, at once to open. And now I will devise a device whereby to slay this damned loon.” Herewith he arose and, issuing from the pavilion door, walked till he met on the way a Fellah to whom he said, “O man, take my attire and give me thy garments.” But the peasant refused, so Alaeddin stripped him of his dress perforce ‡203 and donned it, leaving to the man his own rich gear by way of gift. Then he followed the highway leading to the neighbouring city and entering it went to the Perfumers' Bazar where he bought of one some rarely potent Bhang, the son of a minute, ‡204 paying two dinars for two drachms thereof and he returned in disguise by the same road till he reached the pavilion. Here the slave-girl opened to him the private pastern wherethrough he went in to the Lady Badr al-Budur.

dress and dight dight = dress; prepare. (archaic)
tirewoman A lady's maid.
natal of relating to one's birth or birth place.

That when Alaeddin went in disguised to his wife he said, “Hear me! I desire of thee that thou dress and dight thyself in thy best and thou cast off all outer show and semblance of care; also when the Accursed, the Maghrabi, shall visit thee, do thou receive him with a ‘Welcome and fair welcome,’ and meet him with smiling face and invite him to come and sup with thee. Moreover, let him note that thou hast forgotten Alaeddin thy beloved, likewise thy father; and that thou hast learned to love him with exceeding love, displaying to him all manner joy and pleasure. Then ask him for wine which must be red and pledge him to his secret in a significant draught; and, when thou hast given him two to three cups full and hast made him wax careless, then drop these drops into his cup and fill it up with wine: no sooner shall he drink of it than he will fall upon his back senseless as one dead.” Hearing these words, the Princess exclaimed, “'Tis exceedingly sore to me that I do such deed; ‡205 withal must I do it that we escape the defilement of this Accursed who tortured me by severance from thee and from my sire. Lawful and right therefore is the slaughter of this Accursed.” Then Alaeddin ate and drank with his wife what hindered his hunger; then, rising without stay or delay, fared forth the pavilion. So the Lady Badr al-Budur summoned the tirewoman who robed and arrayed her in her finest raiment and adorned her and perfumed her; and, as she was thus, behold, the accursed Maghrabi entered. He joyed much seeing her in such case and yet more when she confronted him, contrary to her custom, with a laughing face; and his love-longing increased and his desire to have her. Then she took him and, seating him beside her, said, “O my dearling, do thou (an thou be willing) come to me this night and let us sup together. Sufficient to me hath been my sorrow for, were I to sit mourning through a thousand years or even two thousand, Alaeddin would not return to me from the tomb; and I depend upon thy say of yesterday, to wit, that my sire the Sultan slew him in his stress of sorrow for severance from me. Nor wonder thou an I have changed this day from what I was yesterday; and the reason thereof is I have determined upon taking thee to friend and playfellow in lieu of and succession to Alaeddin, for that now I have none other man but thyself. So I hope for thy presence this night, that we may sup together and we may carouse and drink somewhat of wine each with other; and especially 'tis my desire that thou cause me taste the wine of thy natal soil, the African land, because belike 'tis better than aught of the wine of China we drink: I have with me some wine but 'tis the growth of my country and I vehemently wish to taste the wine produced by thine.”.

eight years apparently, wine aging is practiced at the time of this story.

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Maghrabi saw the love lavisht upon him by the Lady Badr al-Budur, and noted her change from the sorrowful, melancholy woman she was wont to be, he thought that she had cut off her hope of Alaeddin and he joyed exceedingly and said to her, “I hear and obey, O my lady, whatso thou wishest and all thou biddest. I have at home a jar of our country wine, which I have carefully kept and stored deep in earth for a space of eight years; and I will now fare and fill from it our need and will return to thee in all haste.” But the Princess, that she might wheedle him the more and yet more, replied “O my darling, go not thou, leaving me alone, but send one of the eunuchs to fill for us thereof and do thou remain sitting beside me, that I may find in thee my consolation.” He rejoined, “O my lady, none wotteth where the jar be buried save myself nor will I tarry from thee.” So saying, the Moorman went out and after a short time he brought back as much wine as they wanted whereupon Quoth the Princess to him, “Thou hast been at pains and trouble to serve me and I have suffered for thy sake, O my beloved.” Quoth he, “On no wise, O eyes of me; I hold myself enhonoured by thy service.” Then the Lady Badr al-Budur sat with him at table, and the twain fell to eating and presently the Princess expressed a wish to drink, when the handmaid filled her a cup forthright and then crowned another for the Maroccan. So she drank to his long life and his secret wishes and he also drank to her life; then the Princess, who was unique in eloquence and delicacy of speech, fell to making a cup companion of him and beguiled him by addressing him in the sweetest terms full of hidden meaning. This was done only that he might become more madly enamoured of her, but the Maghrabi thought that it resulted from her true inclination for him; nor knew that it was a snare set up to slay him. So his longing for her increased, and he was dying of love for her when he saw her address him in such tenderness of words and thoughts, and his head began to swim and all the world seemed as nothing in his eyes. But when they came to the last of the supper and the wine had mastered his brains and the Princess saw this in him, she said, “With us there be a custom throughout our country, but I know not an it be the usage of yours or not.” The Moorman replied, “And what may that be?” So she said to him, “At the end of supper each lover in turn taketh the cup of the beloved and drinketh it off;” and at once she crowned one with wine and bade the handmaid carry to him her cup wherein the drink was blended with the Bhang. Now she had taught the slave-girl what to do and all the handmaids and eunuchs in the pavilion longed for the Sorcerer's slaughter and in that matter were one with the Princess. Accordingly the damsel handed him the cup and he, when he heard her words and saw her drinking from his cup and passing hers to him noted all that show of love, fancied himself Iskander, Lord of the Two Horns. Then said she to him, the while swaying gracefully to either side and putting her hand within his hand, “O my life, here is thy cup with me and my cup with thee, and on this wise ‡206 do lovers drink from each other's cups.” Then she bussed the brim and drained it to the dregs and again she kissed its lip and offered it to him. Thereat he hew for joy and meaning to do the like, raised her cup to his mouth and drank off the whole contents, without considering whether there was therein aught harmful or not. And forthright he rolled upon his back in deathlike condition and the cup dropped from his grasp, whereupon the Lady Badr al-Budur and the slave-girls ran hurriedly and opened the pavilion door to their lord Alaeddin who, disguised as a Fellah, entered therein.

whilome former; formerly.

Alaeddin entering his pavilion, went up to the apartment of his wife, whom he found still sitting at table; and facing her lay the Maghrabi as one slaughtered; so he at once drew near to her and kissed her and thanked her for this. Then rejoicing with joy exceeding he turned to her and said “Do thou with thy handmaids betake thyself to the inner-rooms and leave me alone for the present that I may take counsel touching mine affair.” The Princess hesitated not but went away at once, she and her women; then Alaeddin arose and after locking the door upon them, walked up to the Moorman and put forth his hand to his breast-pocket and thence drew the Lamp; after which he unsheathed his sword and slew the villain. ‡207 Presently he rubbed the Lamp and the Marid-slave appeared and said, “Adsum, O my lord, what is it thou wantest?” “I desire of thee,” said Alaeddin, “that thou take up my pavilion from this country and transport it to the land of China and there set it down upon the site where it was whilome, fronting the palace of the Sultan.” The Marid replied, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord.” The Alaeddin went and sat down with his wife and throwing his arms round her neck kissed her and she kissed him, and they sat in converse, what while the Jinni transported the pavilion and all therein to the place appointed. Presently Alaeddin bade the handmaids spread the table before him and he and the Lady Badr al-Budur took seat thereat and fell to eating and drinking, in all joy and gladness, till they had their sufficiency when, removing to the chamber of wine and cup-converse, they sat there and caroused in fair companionship and each kissed other with all love-liesse. The time had been long and longsome since they enjoyed aught of pleasure; so they ceased not doing thus until the wine-sun arose in their heads and sleep get hold of them, at which time they went to their bed in all ease and comfort. ‡208 Early on the next morning Alaeddin woke and awoke his wife, and the slave-girls came in and donned her dress and prepared her and adorned her whilst her husband arrayed himself in his costliest raiment and the twain were ready to fly for joy at reunion after parting. Moreover the Princess was especially joyous and gladsome because on that day she expected to see her beloved father.

The Sultan

let To retard; to hinder; to impede; to oppose. (or as noun). (Archaic)

Such was the case of Alaeddin and the Lady Badr al-Budur; but as regards the Sultan, after he drove away his son-in-law he never ceased to sorrow for the loss of his daughter; and every hour of every day he would sit and weep for her as women weep, because she was his only child and he had none other to take to heart. And as he shook off sleep, morning after morning, he would hasten to the window and throw it open and peer in the direction where formerly stood Alaeddin's pavilion and pour forth tears until his eyes were dried up and their lids were ulcered. Now on that day he arose at dawn and, according to his custom, looked out when, lo and behold! he saw before him an edifice; so he rubbed his eyes and considered it curiously when he became certified that it was the pavilion of his son-in-law. So he called for a horse ‡209 without let or delay; and as soon as his beast was saddled, he mounted and made for the place; and Alaeddin, when he saw his father-in-law approaching, went down and met him half way: then, taking his hand, aided him to step upstairs to the apartment of his daughter. And the Princess, being as earnestly desirous to see her sire, descended and greeted him at the door of the staircase fronting the ground-floor hall. Thereupon the King folded her in his arms and kissed her, shedding tears of joy; and she did likewise till at last Alaeddin led them to the upper saloon where they took seats and the Sultan fell to asking her case and what had betided her.

thraldom thrall. One, such as a slave or serf, who is held in bondage.
anent regarding; concerning.

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Lady Badr al-Budur began to inform the Sultan of all which had befallen her, saying, “O my father, I recovered not life save yesterday when I saw my husband, and he it was who freed me from the thraldom of that Maghrabi, that Magician, that Accursed, than whom I believe there be none viler on the face of earth; and, but for my beloved, I had never escaped him nor hadst thou seen me during the rest of my days. But mighty sadness and sorrow get about me, O my father, not only for losing thee but also for the loss of a husband, under whose kindness I shall be all the length of my life, seeing that he freed me from that fulsome sorcerer.” Then the Princess began repeating to her sire every thing that happened to her, and relating to him how the Moorman had tricked her in the guise of a lamp-seller who offered in exchange new for old; how she had given him the Lamp whose worth she knew not, and how she had bartered it away only to laugh at the lampman's folly. “And next morning, O my father,” she continued, “we found ourselves and whatso the pavilion contained in Africa-land, till such time as my husband came to us and devised a device whereby we escaped: and, had it not been for Alaeddin's hastening to our aid, the Accursed was determined to enjoy me perforce.” Then she told him of the Bhang-drops administered in wine to the African and concluded, “Then my husband returned to me and how I know not, but we were shifted from Africa land to this place.” Alaeddin in his turn recounted how, finding the wizard dead drunken, he had sent away his wife and her women from the polluted place into the inner apartments; how he had taken the Lamp from the Sorcerer's breast-pocket whereto he was directed by his wife; how he had slaughtered the villain and, finally how, making use of the Lamp, he had summoned its Slave and ordered him to transport the pavilion back to its proper site, ending his tale with, “And, if thy Highness have any doubt anent my words, arise with me and look upon the accursed Magician.” The King did accordingly and, having considered the Moorman, bade the carcase be carried away forthright and burned and its ashes scattered in air. Then he took to embracing Alaeddin and kissing him said, “Pardon me, O my son, for that I was about to destroy thy life through the foul deeds of this damned enchanter, who cast thee into such pit of peril; and I may be excused, O my child, for what I did by thee, because I found myself forlorn of my daughter; my only one, who to me is dearer than my very kingdom. Thou knowest how the hearts of parents yearn unto their offspring, especially when like myself they have but one and none other to love.” And on this wise the Sultan took to excusing himself and kissing his son-in-law.

The Magician's Brother

saw saying.

Alaeddin said to the Sultan, “O King of the Time, thou didst naught to me contrary to Holy Law, and I also sinned not against thee; but all the trouble came from that Maghrabi, the impure, the Magician.” Thereupon the Sultan bade the city be decorated and they obeyed him and held high feast and festivities. He also commanded the crier to cry about the streets saying, “This day is a mighty great fête, wherein public rejoicings must be held throughout the realm, for a full month of thirty days, in honour of the Lady Badr al-Budur and her husband Alaeddin's return to their home.” On this wise befel it with Alaeddin and the Maghrabi; but withal the King's son-in-law escaped not wholly from the Accursed, albeit the body had been burnt and the ashes scattered in air. For the villain had a brother yet more villainous than himself, and a greater adept in necromancy, geomancy and astromancy; and, even as the old saw saith “A bean and ‘twas split;” ‡210 so each one dwelt in his own quarter of the globe that he might fill it with his sorcery, his fraud and his treason. ‡211

mankalah a strategic board game of Arabic origin involving pebbles on rows of holes. Mancala
backgammon Backgammon

Now, one day of the days it fortuned that the Moorman's brother would learn how it fared with him, so he brought out his sandboard and dotted it and produced the figures which, when he had considered and carefully studied them, gave him to know that the man he sought was dead and housed in the tomb. So he grieved and was certified of his decease, but he dotted a second time seeking to learn the manner of the death and where it had taken place; so he found that the site was the China-land and that the mode was the foulest of slaughter; furthermore, that he who did him die was a young man Alaeddin hight. Seeing this he straightway arose and equipped himself for wayfare; then he set out and cut across the wilds and words and heights for the space of many a month until he reached China and the capital of the Sultan wherein was the slayer of his brother. He alighted at the so-called Strangers' Khan and, hiring himself a cell, took rest therein for a while; then he fared forth and wandered about the highways that he might discern some path which would aid him unto the winning of his ill-minded wish, to wit, of wreaking upon Alaeddin blood-revenge for his brother. ‡212 Presently he entered a coffee-house, a fine building which stood in the market-place and which collected a throng of folk to play, some at the mankalah, ‡213 others at the backgammon ‡214 and others at the chess and what not else. There he sat down and listened to those seated beside him and they chanced to be conversing about an ancient dame and a holy, by name Fatimah, ‡215 who dwelt alway at her devotions in a hermitage without the town, and this she never entered save only two days each month. They mentioned also that she had performed many saintly miracles ‡216 which, when the Maghrabi, the Necromancer, heard he said in himself, “Now have I found that which I sought: Inshallah—God willing—by means of this crone will I win to my wish.”

  1. The Pauper's Son
  2. The Enchanted Treasury
  3. The Lamp
  4. Recount
  5. Trade
  6. Princess Badr al-Budur
  7. Proposal
  8. The Marriage
  9. A Challenge
  10. The Pavilion
  11. The Unfinished Window
  12. The Magician
  13. Moving of the Pavilion
  14. A Brother
  15. the Fatimah
Aladdin