The Adventures of Aladdin
Once upon a time there was a widow who had an only son named Aladdin. They were very poor and lived from day to day, although Aladdin did what he could to earn a few pennies, picking bananas in faraway places.
One day, while searching for wild figs in a grove some distance from the city, Aladdin met a mysterious stranger. This dark-eyed man was elegantly dressed with a finely-trimmed black beard and a splendid sapphire sparkled in his turban.
He spoke to Aladdin as follows:
“Hello, young man. Would you like to win a silver coin?
“A silver coin!” exclaimed Aladdin. “Sir, I would do anything for that.”
“Oh it doesn’t take much. Just go down into the cave under that stone you see there. The hole is too narrow for me. If you go down there, you’ll get your reward.
The stranger helped Aladdin lift the stone, for it was very heavy. The hole appeared and the boy, who was slim and agile, crawled into it. His feet touched the ground and he carefully descended a few steps. … he came to a large dark room. Only a flickering glow in the middle of the room, emanating from the dim flickering flame of an old oil lamp.
As Aladdin’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw a marvelous sight: trees dripping with glittering jewels, pots filled with gold, and caskets filled with priceless gems. Thousands of precious objects were piled up. It was a huge treasure!
Unable to believe his eyes, Aladdin was still in a daze when he heard a scream behind him.
“The lamp! Extinguish the flame and bring me the lamp! shouted the stranger.
Aladdin was surprised by this order and became suspicious, for he wondered why the stranger preferred an old lamp to such a treasure. Perhaps he was a sorcerer.
He decided to be on his guard. Picking up the lamp, he retraced his steps to the entrance.
“Give me the lamp,” the wizard urged impatiently. “Give it to me,” he continued shouting, reaching for it, but Aladdin cautiously stepped back and said:
“Let me out first…”
“Too bad for you,” then threw the stranger, and he pushed the stone back over the hole, not noticing, as he did so, that a ring had slipped from his finger.
Aladdin found himself in total darkness, terrified, wondering if the wizard would return. Searching for his way in the dark, he stepped on the ring. Slipping it onto his finger, he began to turn it nervously.
Suddenly! The room was flooded with pink light and a tall genie with clasped hands appeared sitting on a cloud.
“Aye, aye, my master,” said the genie.
Stunned, Aladin could only stammer :
“I want to go home!” In a flash, he was back inside his own house, though the door remained closed.
“How did you get in? Where did you come from?” cried his mother from the kitchen, as soon as she saw him.
Happy to have made it out, Aladdin told her about his adventures.
“Where is that silver coin?” asked his mother.
Aladdin raised his hand to his forehead. For all he had brought home was the old oil lamp.
“Oh, mother! I’m so sorry. This is all I have.”
“Well, let’s hope it works. It’s so dirty…” and the widow began to scrub the lamp.
Suddenly, another genie, much bigger than the previous one, appeared in his cloud of smoke.
“You have set me free, after centuries of being trapped in the lamp, waiting to be freed by someone who would rub it. Now I am your humble servant. Tell me your wishes.
And the genie bowed respectfully, awaiting orders from Aladdin and his mother.
They remained speechless for a good moment in front of this incredible appearance, then the genie said with a touch of impatience in his voice.
“I am here at your orders. Tell me what you want. Anything you want!” Aladdin swallowed, then said:
“Bring us… Bring …” His mother had not yet begun to cook dinner, so she continued disbelievingly, saying, “. . Bring a nice big meal.”
From that day on, the widow and her son had everything they could wish for: food, clothing and a beautiful home, for the genie of the lamp granted them everything they asked for.
Aladdin had grown into a tall, handsome young man and his mother thought it was time for him to find a wife.
One day, as he was leaving the market, Aladdin saw the Sultan’s daughter Halima in her sedan chair as she walked through the streets of the old city. He caught a brief glimpse of the princess, but it was enough to make him want to marry her. Aladdin told his mother of his love and she simply replied:
“I will ask the sultan for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He will not be able to refuse. Wait and see!”
And indeed, the sultan was easily convinced by a chest full of large diamonds and admitted the widow to an audience at the palace.
When he learned the reason for his coming, he told the widow that her son had to bring proof of his power and wealth. It was mainly an idea inspired by his great chamberlain, who had himself in mind to marry the daughter of the sultan, a black-eyed beauty.
If Aladdin wants to marry Halima,” said the sultan, “he must send me forty slaves tomorrow. Each slave must bring a box of precious stones. And forty Arab warriors must escort the treasure.”
Aladdin’s mother returned home sadly. The genie of the magic lamp had already done wonders, but nothing so gigantic.
Aladdin, when he heard the news, was not in the least worried. He picked up the lamp, rubbed it harder than ever and told the genie what he needed. The genie simply clapped his hands three times.
Forty slaves appeared as if by magic, carrying the precious stones, with their escort of forty Arab warriors. When he saw all this the next day, the sultan was quite surprised. He would never have imagined that such wealth could exist. Just as he was about to accept Aladdin as his daughter’s husband, the envious chamberlain asked a question.
“Where will they live?” He asked.
The sultan thought for a moment, then letting greed get the better of him, he told Aladdin to build a great and splendid palace for Halima. Aladdin went straight home to rub the marvelous lamp.
In what was once a desert, the genie built him a palace. The last obstacle was overcome.
The wedding took place with great celebrations and the sultan was particularly happy to have found such a rich and powerful son-in-law.
The news of Aladdin’s sudden wealth and fortune spread like wildfire, until… one day, a strange merchant stopped under the palace window.
“Your old lamps for new ones!” he shouted to the princess, standing on the balcony.
But Aladdin had always kept his secret to himself. Only his mother knew it and she had never told anyone. Halima, unfortunately, had been kept in the dark. And so, now, wanting to surprise Aladdin as well as make a good deal, she went to get the old oil lamp she had seen Aladdin put away and gave it to the merchant in exchange for a new one.
The fake merchant immediately began to rub and the genie was now in the service of the wizard who had retrieved his magic lamp.
In a second, he took away all of Aladdin’s possessions and magically sent the palace and the princess to an unknown land.
Aladdin and the Sultan were at the end of their rope. No one knew what had happened. Only Aladdin knew that it had something to do with the magic lamp. But as he cried over the lost genie of the lamp, he remembered the genie of the wizard’s ring. Slipping the ring onto his finger, Aladdin turned it around.
“Take me to the place where the sorcerer hid my wife,” he ordered the genie. In a flash, he found himself inside his own palace, and peeking out from behind a curtain, he saw the sorcerer and the princess, now his servant.
“Psst! Psst!” hissed Aladdin.
“Hush! Don’t let him hear us. Take this powder and put it in his tea. Trust me.” The powder quickly took effect and the wizard fell into a deep sleep.
Aladdin looked up and down the palace for the lamp, but it was nowhere to be found. But it had to be there. How else had the wizard moved the palace? As Aladdin looked at his sleeping enemy, he thought to look under the pillow. “The lamp! Finally,” Aladdin sighed, rubbing it hastily.
“Welcome back, Master!” cried the genie. “Why have you left me so long in the service of another?”
“Thank you my friend!” replied Aladdin. “I am glad to see you again. I missed you as well!
“At your service, Master!” the genie smiled.
“To begin with,” said Aladdin, “I beg you to capture this wicked sorcerer and take him so far away that no one will ever be able to find him again.”
The genie smiled approvingly, then nodded his head and suddenly the sorcerer disappeared.
Halima clutched Aladdin shakily and asked:
“What is going on? Who is this genie?
“Don’t worry, he’s a friend,” Aladdin reassured her, as he told his wife the whole story of his meeting with the sorcerer and the discovery of the magic lamp that had allowed him to marry her.
Happy to be safe and sound, the couple embraced tenderly.
Can we go back to our country?” asked the princess.
Aladdin looked at her with a smile.
“The magic that brought you here will take you back to your father’s palace, but this time with me by your side, forever.”
The sultan was almost sick with worry. His daughter had disappeared with the palace of his son-in-law, who had also disappeared. No one knew where they were, not even the wise men hastily called to the palace could guess what had happened. The jealous chamberlain kept repeating:
“I told you that Aladdin’s fortune could not last.”
Everyone had already lost hope of ever seeing the young princely couple again, at the same time Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp and said to the genie:
“Take my wife, myself and the palace back to their rightful place, as fast as you can.
“It’s as good as done!” the genie replied.
With a snap of his fingers, the palace rose into the air and sped off to the sultan’s kingdom, flying over the heads of his astonished subjects.
It landed softly in its place. Aladdn and Halima rushed to embrace the sultan.
Even today, in this distant land, one can still admire the traces of an ancient palace that people call the palace from the sky.
The Brothers Grimm version translated and adapted by Contesdefees.com.
Illustrations by Albert Robida
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