THE STORY OF ALLA AD DEEN; OR, THE WONDERFUL LAMP.
In the capital of one of the large and rich provinces of the kingdom of China, the name of which I do not recollect, there lived a tailor, named Mustapha, who was so poor, that he could hardly, by his daily labour, maintain himself and his family, which consisted of a wife and son.
His son, who was called Alla ad Deen, had been brought up in a very careless and idle manner, and by that means had contracted many vicious habits. He was wicked, obstinate, and disobedient to his father and mother, who, when he grew up, could not keep him within doors. He was in the habit of going out early in the morning, and would stay out all day, playing in the streets and public places with idle children of his own age.
When he was old enough to learn a trade, his father not being able to put him out to any other, took him into his own shop, and taught him how to use his needle: but neither fair words nor the fear of chastisement were capable of fixing his lively genius. All his father's endeavours to keep him to his work were in vain; for no sooner was his back turned, than he was gone for that day. Mustapha chastised him, but Alla ad Deen was incorrigible, and his father, to his great grief, was forced to abandon him to his idleness: and was so much troubled at not being able to reclaim him, that it threw him into a fit of sickness, of which he died in a few months.
The mother, finding that her son would not follow his father's business, shut up the shop, sold off the implements of trade, and with the money she received for them, and what she could get by spinning cotton, thought to maintain herself and her son. Alla ad Deen, who was now no longer restrained by the fear of a father, and who cared so little for his mother, that whenever she chid him, he would abuse her, gave himself entirely over to his idle habits, and was never out of the streets from his companions. This course he followed till he was fifteen years old, without giving his mind to any useful pursuit, or the least reflection on what would become of him. In this situation, as he was one day playing according to custom in the street, with his vagabond associates, a stranger passing by stood to observe him.
This stranger was a sorcerer, called by the writer of this story, the African magician; he was a native of Africa, and had been but two days arrived from thence.
The African magician, who was a good physiognomist, observing in Alla ad Deen's countenance something absolutely necessary for the execution of the design he was engaged in, inquired artfully about his family, who he was, and what were his inclinations; and when he had learned all he desired to know, went up to him, and taking him aside from his comrades, said, "Child, was not your father called Mustapha the tailor?" "Yes, sir," answered the boy; "but he has been dead a long time."
At these words, the African magician threw his arms about Alla ad Deen's neck, and kissed him several times with tears in his eyes. Alla ad Deen, 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. I assure you it is a sensible grief to me to be deprived of the comfort I expected. But it is some relief to my affliction, that as far as I can remember him, I knew you at first sight, you are so like him; and I see I am not deceived." Then he asked Alla ad Deen, 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, if I have time, that I may have the satisfaction of seeing where my good brother lived so long, and ended his days."
As soon as the African magician left his newly-adopted nephew, Alla ad Deen ran to his mother, overjoyed at the money his uncle had given him. "Mother," said he, "have I an uncle?" "No, child," replied his mother, "you have no uncle by your father's side, or mine." "I am just now come," said Alla ad Deen, "from a man who says he is my uncle by my father's side, assuring me that he is his brother. He cried and kissed me when I told him my father was dead; and to shew you that what I tell you is truth," added he, pulling out the money, "see what he has given me. He charged me to give his love to you, and to tell you, if he has any time to-morrow, he will come and pay you a visit, that he may see the house my father lived and died in." "Indeed, child," replied the mother, "your father had a brother, but he has been dead a long time, and I never heard of another."
The mother and son talked no more then of the African magician; but the next day Alla ad Deen's uncle found him playing in another part of the town with other children, and embracing him as before, put two pieces of gold into his hand, and said to him, "Carry this, child, to your mother, tell her that I will come and see her tonight, and bid her get us something for supper; but first shew me the house where you live."
After Alla ad Deen had shewed the African magician the house, he carried the two pieces of gold to his mother, and when he had told her of his uncle's intention, she went out and bought provisions; and considering she wanted various utensils, borrowed them of her neighbours. She spent the whole day in preparing the supper; and at night when it was ready, said to her son, "Perhaps your uncle knows not how to find our house; go and bring him if you meet with him."
Though Alla ad Deen had shewed the magician the house, he was ready to go, when somebody knocked at the door, which he immediately opened: and the magician came in loaded with wine, and all sorts of fruits, which he brought for a dessert.
After the African magician had given what he brought into Alla ad Deen's hands, he saluted his mother, and desired her to shew him the place where his brother Mustapha used to sit on the sofa; and when she had so done, he fell down and kissed it several times, crying out with tears in his eyes, "My poor brother! How unhappy am I, not to have come soon enough to give you one last embrace." Alla ad Deen's mother desired him to sit down in the same place, but he declined. "No," said he, "I shall take care how I do that; but give me leave to sit opposite to it, that although I am deprived of the satisfaction of seeing the master of a family so dear to me, I may at least have the pleasure of beholding the place where he used to sit." The widow pressed him no farther, but left him at liberty to sit where he pleased.
When the magician had made choice of a place, and sat down, he began to enter into discourse with Alla ad Deen's mother. "My good sister," said he, "do not be surprised at your never having seen me all the time you have been married to my brother Mustapha of happy memory. I have been forty years absent from this country, which is my native place, as well as my late brother's; and during that time have travelled into the Indies, Persia, Arabia, Syria, and Egypt, have resided in the finest towns of those countries; and afterwards crossed over into Africa, where I made a longer stay. At last, as it is natural for a man, how distant soever it may be, to remember his native country, relations, and acquaintance, I was desirous to see mine again, and to embrace my dear brother; and finding I had strength enough to undertake so long a journey, I immediately made the necessary preparations, and set out. I will not tell you the length of time it took me, all the obstacles I met with, and what fatigues I have endured, to come hither; but nothing ever mortified and afflicted me so much, as hearing of my brother's death, for whom I always had a brotherly love and friendship. I observed his features in the face of my nephew, your son, and distinguished him among a number of children with whom he was at play; he can tell you how I received the most melancholy news that ever reached my ears. But God be praised for all things! It is a comfort for me to find, as it were, my brother in a son, who has his most remarkable features."
The African magician perceiving that the widow began to weep at the remembrance of her husband, changed the conversation, and turning towards her son, asked him his name. "I am called Alla ad Deen," said he. "Well, Alla ad Deen," replied the magician, "what business do you follow? Are you of any trade?"
At this question the youth hung down his head, and was not a little abashed when his mother answered, "Alla ad Deen is an idle fellow; his father, when alive, strove all he could to teach him his trade, but could not succeed; and since his death, notwithstanding all I can say to him, he does nothing but idle away his time in the streets, as you saw him, without considering he is no longer a child; and if you do not make him ashamed of it, I despair of his ever coming to any good. He knows that his father left him no fortune, and sees me endeavour to get bread by spinning cotton; for my part, I am resolved one of these days to turn him out of doors, and let him provide for himself."
After these words, Alla ad Deen's mother burst into tears; and the magician said, "This is not well, nephew; you must think of helping yourself, and getting your livelihood. There are many sorts of trades, consider if you have not an inclination to some of them; perhaps you did not like your father's, and would prefer another: come, do not disguise your sentiments from me; I will endeavour to help you." But finding that Alla ad Deen returned no answer, "If you have no mind," continued he, "to learn any handicraft, I will take a shop for you, furnish it with all sorts of fine stuffs and linens; and with the money you make of them lay in fresh goods, and then you will live in an honourable way. Consult your inclination, and tell me freely what you think of my proposal: you shall always find me ready to keep my word."
This plan greatly flattered Alla ad Deen, who hated work, but had sense enough to know that such shops were much frequented, and the owners respected. He told the magician he had a greater inclination to that business than to any other, and that he should be much obliged to him for his kindness. "Since this profession is agreeable to you," said the African magician, "I will carry you with me to-morrow, clothe you as handsomely as the best merchants in the city, and afterwards we will think of opening a shop as I mentioned."
The widow, who never till then could believe that the magician was her husband's brother, no longer doubted after his promises of kindness to her son. She thanked him for his good intentions; and after having exhorted Alla ad Deen to render himself worthy of his uncle's favour by good behaviour, served up supper, at which they talked of several indifferent matters; and then the magician, who saw that the night was pretty far advanced, took his leave, and retired.
He came again the next day, as he had promised, and took Alla ad Deen with him to a merchant, who sold all sorts of clothes for different ages and ranks ready made, and a variety of fine stuffs. He asked to see some that suited Alla ad Deen in size; and after choosing a suit for himself which he liked best, and rejecting others which he did not think handsome enough, he bade Alla ad Deen choose those he preferred. Alla ad Deen, charmed with the liberality of his new uncle, made choice of one, and the magician immediately paid for it.
When Alla ad Deen found himself so handsomely equipped, he returned his uncle thanks; who promised never to forsake him, but always to take him along with him; which he did to the most frequented places in the city, and particularly where the principal merchants kept their shops.
When he brought him into the street where they sold the richest stuffs, and finest linens, he said to Alla ad Deen, "As you are soon to be a merchant, it is proper you should frequent these shops, and be acquainted with them." He then shewed him the largest and finest mosques, carried him to the khans or inns where the merchants and travellers lodged, and afterwards to the sultan's palace, where he had free access; and at last brought him to his own khan, where meeting with some merchants he had become acquainted with since his arrival, he gave them a treat, to bring them and his pretended nephew acquainted.
This entertainment lasted till night, when Alla ad Deen would have taken leave of his uncle to go home; the magician would not let him go by himself, but conducted him to his mother, who, as soon as she saw him so well dressed, was transported with joy, and bestowed a thousand blessings upon the magician, for being at so great an expense upon her child. "Generous relation!" said she, "I know not how to thank you for your liberality! I know that my son is not deserving of your favours; and were he ever so grateful, and answered your good intentions, he would be unworthy of them. I thank you with all my soul, and wish you may live long enough to witness my son's gratitude, which he cannot better shew than by regulating his conduct by your good advice." "Alla ad Deen," replied the magician, "is a good boy, and I believe we shall do very well; but I am sorry for one thing, which is, that I cannot perform to-morrow what I promised, because, as it is Friday, the shops will be shut up, and therefore we cannot hire or furnish one, but must wait till Saturday. I will, however, call on him to-morrow and take him to walk in the gardens, where people of the best fashion generally resort. Perhaps he has never seen these amusements, he has only hitherto been among children; but now he must see men." The African magician took his leave of the mother and the son, and retired. Alla ad Deen, who was overjoyed to be so well clothed, anticipated the pleasure of walking in the gardens. He had never been out of the town, nor seen the environs, which were very beautiful and pleasant.
Alla ad Deen rose early the next morning, dressed himself, to be ready when his uncle called on him; and after he had waited some time, began to be impatient, and stood watching at the door; but as soon as he perceived him coming, he told his mother, took his leave of her, and ran to meet him.
The magician caressed Alla ad Deen, and said, "Come, my dear child, and I will shew you fine things." He then led him out at one of the gates of the city, to some magnificent houses, or rather palaces, to each of which belonged beautiful gardens, into which anybody might enter. At every building he came to, he asked Alla ad Deen if he did not think it fine; and the youth was ready to answer when any one presented itself, crying out, "Here is a finer house, uncle, than any we have seen yet." By this artifice, the cunning magician led Alla ad Deen some way into the country; and as he meant to carry him farther, to execute his design, he took an opportunity to sit down in one of the gardens on the brink of a fountain of clear water, which discharged itself by a lion's mouth of bronze into a basin, pretending to be tired. "Come, nephew," said he, "you must be weary as well as I; let us rest ourselves, and we shall be better able to pursue our walk."
After they had sat down, the magician pulled from his girdle a handkerchief with cakes and fruit, which he had provided, and laid them on the edge of the basin. He broke a cake in two, gave one half to Alla ad Deen, and ate the other himself; and in regard to the fruit, left him at liberty to take which sort he liked best. During this short repast, he exhorted his nephew to leave off keeping company with vagabonds, and seek that of wise and prudent men, to improve by their conversation. "For," said he, "you will soon be at man's estate, and you cannot too early begin to imitate their example." When they had eaten as much as they liked, they got up, and pursued their walk through gardens separated from one another only by small ditches, which marked out the limits without interrupting the communication; so great was the confidence the inhabitants reposed in each other. By this means, the African magician drew Alla ad Deen insensibly beyond the gardens, and crossed the country, till they nearly reached the mountains.
Alla ad Deen, who had never been so far before, began to find himself much tired with so long a walk, and said to the magician, "Where are we going, uncle? We have left the gardens a great way behind us, and I see nothing but mountains; if we go much further, I do not know whether I shall be able to reach the town again?" "Never fear, nephew," said the false uncle; "I will shew you another garden which surpasses all we have yet seen; it is not far off; and when we come there, you will say that you would have been sorry to have been so nigh, and not seen it." Alla ad Deen was soon persuaded; and the magician, to make the way seem shorter and less fatiguing, told him a great many stories.
At last they arrived between two mountains of moderate height, and equal size, divided by a narrow valley, which was the place where the magician intended to execute the design that had brought him from Africa to China. "We will go no farther now," said he to Alla ad Deen: "I will shew you here some extraordinary things, which, when you have seen, you will thank me for: but while I strike a light, gather up all the loose dry sticks you can see, to kindle a fire with."
Alla ad Deen found so many dried sticks, that before the magician had made a light, he had collected a great heap. The magician presently set them on fire, and when they were in a blaze, threw in some incense which raised a cloud of smoke. This he dispersed on each side, by pronouncing several magical words which Alla ad Deen did not understand.
At the same time the earth trembling, opened just before the magician, and uncovered a stone, laid horizontally, with a brass ring fixed into the middle. Alla ad Deen was so frightened at what he saw, that he would have run away; but the magician caught hold of him, abused him, and gave him such a box on the ear, that he knocked him down. Alla ad Deen got up trembling, and with tears in his eyes, said to the magician, "What have I done, uncle, to be treated in this severe manner?" "I have my reasons," answered the magician: "I am your uncle, I supply the place of your father, and you ought to make no reply. But, child," added he, softening, "do not be afraid; for I shall not ask any thing of you, but that you obey me punctually, if you would reap the advantages which I intend you." These fair promises calmed Alla ad Deen's fears and resentment; and when the magician saw that he was appeased, he said to him, "You see what I have done by virtue of my incense, and the words I pronounced. Know then, that under this stone there is hidden a treasure, destined to be yours, and which will make you richer than the greatest monarch in the world: no person but yourself is permitted to lift this stone, or enter the cave; so you must punctually execute what I may command, for it is a matter of great consequence both to you and me."
Alla ad Deen, amazed at all he saw and heard the magician say of the treasure which was to make him happy, forgot what was past, and rising, said, "Well, uncle, what is to be done? Command me, I am ready to obey." "I am overjoyed, child," said the African magician, embracing him; "take hold of the ring, and lift up that stone." "Indeed, uncle," replied Alla ad Deen, "I am not strong enough, you must help me." "You have no occasion for my assistance," answered the magician; "if I help you, we shall be able to do nothing; take hold of the ring, pronounce the names of your father and grandfather, then lift it up, and you will find it will come easily." Alla ad Deen did as the magician bade him, raised the stone with ease, and laid it on one side.
When the stone was pulled up, there appeared a cavity of about three or four feet deep, with a little door, and steps to go down lower. "Observe, my son," said the African magician, "what I direct. Descend into the cave, and when you are at the bottom of those steps you will find a door open, which will lead you into a spacious vault, divided into three great halls, in each of which you will see four large brass cisterns placed on each side, full of gold and silver; but take care you do not meddle with them. Before you enter the first hall, be sure to tuck up your vest, wrap it about you, and then pass through the second into the third without stopping. Above all things, have a care that you do not touch the walls, so much as with your clothes; for if you do, you will die instantly. At the end of the third hall, you will find a door which opens into a garden planted with fine trees loaded with fruit; walk directly across the garden by a path which will lead you to five steps that will bring you upon a terrace, where you will see a niche before you, and in that niche a lighted lamp. Take the lamp down, and extinguish it: when you have thrown away the wick, and poured out the liquor, put it in your vestband and bring it to me. Do not be afraid that the liquor will spoil your clothes, for it is not oil; and the lamp will be dry as soon as it is thrown out. If you should wish for any of the fruit of the garden, you may gather as much as you please."
After these words, the magician drew a ring off his finger, and put it on one of Alla ad Deen's, telling him that it was a preservative against all evil, while he should observe what he had prescribed to him. After this instruction he said, "Go down boldly, child, and we shall both be rich all our lives."
Alla ad Deen jumped into the cave, descended the steps, and found the three halls just as the African magician had described. He went through them with all the precaution the fear of death could inspire; crossed the garden without stopping, took down the lamp from the niche, threw out the wick and the liquor, and, as the magician had desired, put it in his vestband. But as he came down from the terrace, seeing it was perfectly dry, he stopped in the garden to observe the fruit, which he only had a glimpse of in crossing it. All the trees were loaded with extraordinary fruit, of different colours on each tree. Some bore fruit entirely white, and some clear and transparent as crystal; some pale red, and others deeper; some green, blue, and purple, and others yellow: in short, there was fruit of all colours. The white were pearls; the clear and transparent, diamonds; the deep red, rubies; the paler, rubies; the green, emeralds; the blue, turquoises; the purple, amethysts; and those that were of yellow cast, sapphires. Alla ad Deen was altogether ignorant of their worth, and would have preferred figs and grapes, or any other fruits. But though he took them only for coloured glass of little value, yet he was so pleased with the variety of the colours, and the beauty and extraordinary size of the seeming fruit, that he resolved to gather some of every sort; and accordingly filled the two new purses his uncle had bought for him with his clothes. Some he wrapped up in the skirts of his vest, which was of silk, large and wrapping, and crammed his bosom as full as it could hold.
Alla ad Deen, having thus loaded himself with riches he knew not the value of, returned through the three halls with the same precaution, made all the haste he could, that he might not make his uncle wait, and soon arrived at the mouth of the cave, where the African magician expected him with the utmost impatience. As soon as Alla ad Deen saw him, he cried out, "Pray, uncle, lend me your hand, to help me out." "Give me the lamp first," replied the magician; "it will be troublesome to you." "Indeed, uncle," answered Alla ad Deen, "I cannot now; it is not troublesome to me: but I will as soon as I am up." The African magician was so obstinate, that he would have the lamp before he would help him up; and Alla ad Deen, who had encumbered himself so much with his fruit that he could not well get at it, refused to give it to him till he was out of the cave. The African magician, provoked at this obstinate refusal, flew into a passion, threw a little of his incense into the fire, which he had taken care to keep in, and no sooner pronounced two magical words, than the stone which had closed the mouth of the cave moved into its place, with the earth over it in the same manner as it lay at the arrival of the magician and Alla ad Deen.
This action of the African magician's plainly shewed him to be neither Alla ad Deen's uncle, nor Mustapha the tailor's brother; but a true African. Africa is a country whose inhabitants delight most in magic of any in the whole world, and he had applied himself to it from his youth. After forty years' experience in enchantments, geomancy, fumigations, and reading of magic books, he had found out that there was in the world a wonderful lamp, the possession of which would render him more powerful than any monarch; and by a late operation of geomancy, he had discovered that this lamp lay concealed in a subterraneous place in the midst of China, in the situation already described. Fully persuaded of the truth of this discovery, he set out from the farthest part of Africa; and after a long and fatiguing journey, came to the town nearest to this treasure. But though he had a certain knowledge of the place where the lamp was, he was not permitted to take it himself, nor to enter the .subterraneous place, but must receive it from the hands of another person. For this reason he had addressed himself to Alla ad Deen, whom he looked upon as a young lad whose life was of no consequence, and fit to serve his purpose, resolving, as soon as he should get the lamp into his hands, to sacrifice him to his avarice and wickedness, by making the fumigation mentioned before, and repeating two magical words, the effect of which would remove the stone into its place, so that no witness would remain of the transaction.
The blow he had given Alla ad Deen was intended to make him obey the more readily, and give him the lamp as soon as he should ask for it. But his too great precipitation, and his fear lest somebody should come that way during their dispute, and discover what he wished to keep secret, produced an effect quite contrary to what he had proposed to himself.
When the African magician saw that all his hopes were frustrated forever, he returned the same day for Africa; but went quite round the town, and at some distance from it, lest some persons who had observed him walk out with the boy, on seeing him come back without him, should entertain any suspicions, and stop him.
According to all appearances, there was no prospects of Alla ad Deen being any more heard of. But the magician, when he had contrived his death, forgot the ring he had put upon his finger, which preserved him, though he knew not its virtue. It may seem astonishing that the loss of that, together with the lamp, did not drive the magician to despair; but magicians are so much used to misfortunes, and events contrary to their wishes, that they do not lay them to heart, but still feed themselves, to the end of life, with unsubstantial notions and chimeras.
The surprise of Alla ad Deen, who had never suspected this treachery from his pretended uncle, after all his caresses and what he had done for him, is more easily to be imagined than expressed. When he found himself buried alive, he cried, and called out to his uncle, to tell him he was ready to give him the lamp; but in vain, since his cries could not be heard. He descended to the bottom of the steps, with a design to get into the garden, but the door, which was opened before by enchantment, was now shut by the same means. He then redoubled his cries and tears, sat down on the steps, without any hopes of ever seeing light again, and in a melancholy certainty of passing from the present darkness into that of a speedy death.
Alla ad Deen remained in this state two days, without eating or drinking, and on the third looked upon death as inevitable. Clasping his hands with an entire resignation to the will of God, he said, "There is no strength or power but in the great and high God." In this action of joining his hands he rubbed the ring which the magician had put on his finger, and of which he knew not yet the virtue. Immediately a genie of enormous size and frightful aspect rose out of the earth, his head reaching the roof of the vault, and said to him, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all who may possess the ring on thy finger; I, and the other slaves of that ring."
At another time, Alla ad Deen, who had not been used to such appearances, would have been so frightened at the sight of so extraordinary a figure that he would not have been able to speak; but the danger he was in made him answer without hesitation, "Whoever thou art, deliver me from this place, if thou art able." He had no sooner spoken these words, than he found himself on the very spot where the magician had caused the earth to open.
It was some time before his eyes could bear the light, after being so long in total darkness: but after he had endeavoured by degrees to support it, and began to look about him, he was much surprised not to find the earth open, and could not comprehend how he had got so soon out of its bowels. There was nothing to be seen but the place where the fire had been, by which he could nearly judge the situation of the cave. Then turning himself towards the town, he perceived it at a distance in the midst of the gardens that surrounded it, and saw the way by which the magician had brought him. Returning God thanks to find himself once more in the world, he made the best of his way home. When he got within his mother's door, the joy to see her and his weakness for want of sustenance for three days made him faint, and he remained for a long time as dead. His mother, who had given him over for lost, seeing him in this condition, omitted nothing to bring him to himself. As soon as he recovered, the first words he spoke, were, "Pray, mother, give me something to eat, for I have not put a morsel of anything into my mouth these three days." His mother brought what she had, and set it before him. "My son," said she, "be not too eager, for it is dangerous; eat but little at a time, and take care of yourself. Besides, I would not have you talk; you will have time enough to tell me what has happened to you when you are recovered. It is a great comfort to me to see you again, after the affliction I have been in since Friday, and the pains I have taken to learn what was become of you."
Alla ad Deen took his mother's advice, and ate and drank moderately. When he had done, "Mother," said he to her, "I cannot help complaining of you, for abandoning me so easily to the discretion of a man who had a design to kill me. and who at this very moment thinks my death certain. You believed he was my uncle, as well as I; and what other thoughts could we entertain of a man who was so kind to me, and made such advantageous proffers? But I must tell you, mother, he is a rogue and a cheat, and only made me those promises to accomplish my death; but for what reason neither you nor I can guess. For my part, I can assure you, I never gave him any cause to justify the least ill treatment from him. You shall judge yourself, when you have heard all that passed from the time I left you, till he came to the execution of his wicked design."
Alla ad Deen then related to his mother all that had happened to him from the Friday, when the magician took him to see the palaces and gardens about the town, and what fell out in the way, till they came to the place between the two mountains where the great prodigy was to be performed; how, with incense which the magician threw into the fire, and some magical words which he pronounced, the earth opened, and discovered a cave, which led to an inestimable treasure. He forgot not the blow the magician had given him, in what manner he softened again, and engaged him by great promises, and putting a ring to his finger, to go down into the cave. He did not omit the least circumstance of what he saw in crossing the three halls and the garden, and his taking the lamp, which he pulled out of his bosom and shewed to his mother, as well as the transparent fruit of different colours, which he had gathered in the garden as he returned. But, though these fruits were precious stones, brilliant as the sun, and the reflection of a lamp which then lighted the room might have led them to think they were of great value, she was as ignorant of their worth as her son, and cared nothing for them. She had been bred in a low rank of life, and her husband's poverty prevented his being possessed of jewels, nor had she, her relations, or neighbours, ever seen any; so that we must not wonder that she regarded them as things of no value, and only pleasing to the eye by the variety of their colours.
Alla ad Deen put them behind one of the cushions of the sofa, and continued his story, telling his mother, that when he returned to the mouth of the cave, upon his refusal to give the magician the lamp till he should get out, the stone, by his throwing some incense into the fire, and using two or three magical words, shut him in, and the earth closed. He could not help bursting into tears at the representation of the miserable condition he was in, at finding himself buried alive in a dismal cave, till by the touching of his ring, the virtue of which he was till then an entire stranger to, he, properly speaking, came to life again. When he had finished his story, he said to his mother, "I need say no more, you know the rest. This is my adventure, and the danger I have been exposed to since you saw me."
Alla ad Deen's mother heard with so much patience as not to interrupt him this surprising and wonderful relation, notwithstanding it could be no small affliction to a mother, who loved her son tenderly: but yet in the most moving part which discovered the perfidy of the African magician, she could not help shewing, by marks of the greatest indignation, how much she detested him; and when her son had finished his story, she broke out into a thousand reproaches against that vile impostor. She called him perfidious traitor, barbarian, assassin, deceiver, magician, and an enemy and destroyer of mankind. "Without doubt, child," added she, "he is a magician, and they are plagues to the world, and by their enchantments and sorceries have commerce with the devil. Bless God for preserving you from his wicked designs; for your death would have been inevitable, if you had not called upon him, and implored his assistance." She said a great deal more against the magician's treachery; but finding that whilst she talked, Alla ad Deen, who had not slept for three days and nights, began to doze, she left him to his repose and retired.
Alla ad Deen, who had not closed his eyes while he was in the subterraneous abode, slept very soundly till late the next morning; when the first thing he said to his mother was that he wanted something to eat, and that she could not do him a greater kindness than to give him his breakfast. "Alas! child," said she, "I have not a bit of bread to give you, you ate up all the provisions I had in the house yesterday; but have a little patience, and it shall not be long before I will bring you some: I have a little cotton, which I have spun; I will go and sell it, buy bread, and something for our dinner." "Mother," replied Alla ad Deen, "keep your cotton for another time, and give me the lamp I brought home with me yesterday; I will go and sell it, and the money I shall get for it will serve both for breakfast and dinner, and perhaps supper too."
Alla ad Deen's mother took the lamp, and said to her son, "Here it is, but it is very dirty; if it was a little cleaner I believe it would bring something more." She took some fine sand and water to clean it; but had no sooner begun to rub it, than in an instant a hideous genie of gigantic size appeared before her, and said to her in a voice like thunder, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their hands; I and the other slaves of the lamp."
Alla ad Deen's mother, terrified at the sight of the genie, fainted; when Alla ad Deen, who had seen such a phantom in the cavern, snatched the lamp out of his mother's hand, and said to the genie boldly, "I am hungry, bring me something to eat." The genie disappeared immediately, and in an instant returned with a large silver tray, holding twelve covered dishes of the same metal, which contained the most delicious viands; six large white bread cakes on two plates, two flagons of wine, and two silver cups. All these he placed upon a carpet, and disappeared; this was done before Alla ad Deen's mother recovered from her swoon.
Alla ad Deen had fetched some water, and sprinkled it in her face, to recover her: whether that or the smell of the meat brought her to life again, it was not long before she came to herself. "Mother," said Alla ad Deen, "do not mind this; get up, and come and eat; here is what will put you in heart, and at the same time satisfy my extreme hunger: do not let such delicious meat get cold."
His mother was much surprised to see the great tray, twelve dishes, six loaves, the two flagons and cups, and to smell the savoury odour which exhaled from the dishes. "Child," said she, "to whom are we obliged for this great plenty and liberality? Has the sultan been made acquainted with our poverty, and had compassion on us?" "It is no matter, mother," said Alla ad Deen, "let us sit down and eat; for you have almost as much need of a good breakfast as myself; when we have done, I will tell you." Accordingly both mother and son sat down, and ate with the better relish as the table was so well furnished. But all the time Alla ad Deen's mother could not forbear looking at and admiring the tray and dishes, though she could not judge whether they were silver or any other metal, and the novelty more than the value attracted her attention.
The mother and son sat at breakfast till it was dinner-time, and then they thought it would be best to put the two meals together; yet after this they found they should have enough left for supper, and two meals for the next day.
When Alla ad Deen's mother had taken away and set by what was left, she went and sat down by her son on the sofa, saying, "I expect now that you should satisfy my impatience, and tell me exactly what passed between the genie and you while I was in a swoon;" which he readily complied with.
She was in as great amazement at what her son told her, as at the appearance of the genie; and said to him, "But, son, what have we to do with genii? I never heard that any of my acquaintance had ever seen one. How came that vile genie to address himself to me, and not to you, to whom he had appeared before in the cave?" "Mother," answered Alla ad Deen, "the genie you saw is not the one who appeared to me, though he resembles him in size; no, they had quite different persons and habits; they belong to different masters. If you remember, he that I first saw, called himself the slave of the ring on my finger; and this you saw, called himself the slave of the lamp you had in your hand: but I believe you did not hear him, for I think you fainted as soon as he began to speak."
"What!" cried the mother, "was your lamp then the occasion of that cursed genie addressing himself rather to me than to you?" Ah my son, take it out of my sight, and put it where you please. I will never touch it. I had rather you would sell it, than run the hazard of being frightened to death again by touching it: and if you would take my advice, you would part also with the ring, and not have any thing to do with genii, who, as our prophet has told us, are only devils."
"With your leave, mother," replied Alla ad Deen, "I shall now take care how I sell a lamp, which may be so serviceable both to you and me. Have not you been an eye-witness of what it has procured us? and it shall still continue to furnish us with subsistence and maintenance. You may suppose as I do, that my false and wicked uncle would not have taken so much pains, and undertaken so long and tedious 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, and which I have seen with my own eyes. 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 shew, and exciting the envy and jealousy of our neighbours. However, since the genii 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, 1 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 Alla ad Deen'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 genii, but would wash her hands of them, and never say anything more about them.
By the next night they had eaten all the provisions the genie had brought; and the next day Alla ad Deen, who could not bear the thoughts of hunger, putting one of the silver dishes under his vest, went out early to sell it, and addressing himself to a Jew whom he met in the streets, took him aside, and pulling out the plate, asked him if he would buy it. The cunning Jew took the dish, examined it, and as soon as he found that it was good silver, asked Alla ad Deen at how much he valued it. Alla ad Deen, who knew not its value, and never had been used to such traffic, told him he would trust to his judgment and honour. The Jew was somewhat confounded at this plain dealing; and doubting whether Alla ad Deen understood the material or the full value of what he offered to sell, took a piece of gold out of his purse and gave it him, though it was but the sixtieth part of the worth of the plate. Alla ad Deen, taking the money very eagerly, retired with so much haste, that the Jew, not content with the exorbitancy of his profit, was vexed he had not penetrated into his ignorance, and was going to run after him, to endeavour to get some change out of the piece of gold; but he ran so fast, and had got so far, that it would have been impossible for him to overtake him.
Before Alla ad Deen went home, he called at a baker's, bought some cakes of bread, changed his money, and on his return gave the rest to his mother, who went and purchased provisions enough to last them some time. After this manner they lived, till Alla ad Deen had sold the twelve dishes singly, as necessity pressed, to the Jew, for the same money; who, after the first time, durst not offer him less, for fear of losing so good a bargain. When he had sold the last dish, he had recourse to the tray, which weighed ten times as much as the dishes, and would have carried it to his old purchaser, but that it was too large and cumbersome; therefore he was obliged to bring him home with him to his mother's, where, after the Jew had examined the weight of the tray, he laid down ten pieces of gold, with which Alla ad Deen was very well satisfied.
They lived on these ten pieces in a frugal manner, and Alla ad Deen, though used to an idle life, had left off playing with young lads of his own age ever since his adventure with the African magician. He spent his time in walking about, and conversing with decent people, with whom he gradually got acquainted. Sometimes he would stop at the principal merchants' shops, where people of distinction met, and listen to their discourse, by which he gained some little knowledge of the world.
When all the money was spent, A]la ad Deen had recourse again to the lamp. He took it in his hand, looked for the part where his mother had rubbed it with the sand, rubbed it also, when the genie immediately appeared, and said, "What wouldst thou have?" I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their hands; I, and the other slaves of the lamp." "I am hungry," said Alla ad Deen, "bring me something to eat." The genie disappeared, and presently returned with a tray, the same number of covered dishes as before, set them down, and vanished.
Alla ad Deen's mother, knowing what her son was going to do, went out about some business, on purpose to avoid being in the way when the genie came; and when she returned, was almost as much surprised as before at the prodigious effect of the lamp. However, she sat down with her son, and when they had eaten as much as they liked, she set enough by to last them two or three days.
As soon as Alla ad Deen found that their provisions were expended, he took one of the dishes, and went to look for his Jew chapman; but passing by a goldsmith's shop, who had the character of a very fair and honest man, the goldsmith perceiving him, called to him, and said, "My lad, I have often observed you go by, loaded as you are at present, and talk with such a Jew, and then come back again empty handed. I imagine that you carry something which you sell to him; but perhaps you do not know that he is the greatest rogue even among the Jews, and is so well known, that nobody of prudence will have anything to do with him. What I tell you is for your own good. If you will shew me what you now carry, and it is to be sold, I will give you the full worth of it; or I will direct you to other merchants who will not cheat you."
The hopes of getting more money for his plate induced Alla ad Deen to pull it from under his vest, and shew it to the goldsmith, who at first sight saw that it was made of the finest silver, asked him if he had sold such as that to the Jew, when Alla ad Deen told him that he had sold him twelve such, for a piece of gold each. "What a villain!" cried the goldsmith; "but," added he, "my son, what is passed cannot be recalled. By shewing you the value of this plate, which is of the finest silver we use in our shops, I will let you see how much the Jew has cheated you."
The goldsmith took a pair of scales, weighed the dish, and after he had mentioned how much an ounce of fine silver cost, assured him that his plate would fetch by weight sixty pieces of gold, which he offered to pay down immediately. "If you dispute my honesty," said he, "you may go to any other of our trade, and if he gives you more, I will be bound to forfeit twice as much; for we gain only the fashion of the plate we buy, and that the fairest dealing Jews are not contented with."
Alla ad Deen thanked him for his fair dealing, so greatly to his advantage, took the gold, and never after went to any other person, but sold him all his dishes and the tray, and had as much for them as the weight came to.
Though Alla ad Deen and his mother had an inexhaustible treasure in their lamp, and might have had whatever they wished for, yet they lived with the same frugality as before, except that Alla ad Deen dressed better; as for his mother, she wore no clothes but what she earned by spinning cotton. After their manner of living, it may easily be supposed, that the money for which Alla ad Deen had sold the dishes and tray was sufficient to maintain them some time.
During this interval, Alla ad Deen frequented the shops of the principal merchants, where they sold cloth of gold and silver, linens, silk stuffs, and jewellery, and oftentimes joining in their conversation, acquired a knowledge of the world, and respectable demeanour. By his acquaintance among the jewellers, he came to know that the fruits which he had gathered when he took the lamp were, instead of coloured glass, stones of inestimable value; but he had the prudence not to mention this to any one, not even to his mother.
One day as Alla ad Deen was walking about the town, he heard an order proclaimed, commanding the people to shut up their shops and houses, and keep within doors, while the princess Buddir al Buddoor, the sultan's daughter, went to the baths and returned.
This proclamation inspired Alla ad Deen with eager curiosity to see the princess's face, which he could not do without admission into the house of some acquaintance, and then only through a window; which did not satisfy him, when he considered that the princess, when she went to the baths, would be closely veiled; but to gratify his curiosity, he presently thought of a scheme, which succeeded; it was to place himself behind the door of the bath, which was so situated that he could not fail of seeing her face.
Alla ad Deen had not waited long before the princess came, and he could see her plainly through a chink of the door without being discovered. She was attended by a great crowd of ladies, slaves and eunuchs, who walked on each side, and behind her. When she came within three or four paces of the door of the baths, she took off her veil, and gave Alla ad Deen an opportunity of a full view.
As soon as Alla ad Deen had seen the princess, his heart could not withstand those inclinations so charming an object always inspires. The princess was the most beautiful brunette in the world; her eyes were large, lively, and sparkling; her looks sweet and modest; her nose was of a just proportion and without a fault, her mouth small, her lips of a vermilion red and charmingly agreeable symmetry; in a word, all the features of her face were perfectly regular. It is not therefore surprising that Alla ad Deen, who had never before seen such a blaze of charms, was dazzled, and his senses ravished by such an assemblage. With all these perfections the princess had so fine a form, and so majestic an air, that the sight of her was sufficient to inspire love and admiration.
After the princess had passed by, and entered the baths, Alla ad Deen remained some time astonished, and in a kind of ecstacy, retracing and imprinting the idea of so charming an object deeply in his mind. But at last, considering that the princess was gone past him, and that when she returned from the bath her back would be towards him, and then veiled, he resolved to quit his hiding place and go home. He could not so far conceal his uneasiness but that his mother perceived it, was surprised to see him so much more thoughtful and melancholy than usual; and asked what had happened to make him so, or if he was ill? He returned her no answer, but sat carelessly down on the sofa, and remained silent, musing on the image of the charming Buddir al Buddoor. His mother, who was dressing supper, pressed him no more. When it was ready, she served it up, and perceiving that he gave no attention to it, urged him to eat, but had much ado to persuade him to change his place; which when he did, he ate much less than usual, all the time cast down his eyes, and observed so profound a silence, that she could not obtain a word in answer to all the questions she put, in order to find the reason of so extraordinary an alteration.
After supper, she asked him again why he was so melancholy, but could get no information, and he determined to go to bed rather than give her the least satisfaction. Without examining how he passed the night, his mind full as it was with the charms of the princess, I shall only observe that as he sat next day on the sofa, opposite his mother, as she was spinning cotton, he spoke to her in these words: "I perceive, mother, that my silence yesterday has much troubled you; I was not, nor am I sick, as I fancy you believed; but I assure you, that what I felt then, and now endure, is worse than any disease. I cannot explain what ails me; but doubt not what I am going to relate will inform you.
"It was not proclaimed in this quarter of the town, and therefore you could know nothing of it, that the sultan's daughter was yesterday to go to the baths. I heard this as I walked about the town, and an order was issued that all the shops should be shut up in her way thither, and everybody keep within doors, to leave the streets free for her and her attendants. As I was not then far from the bath, I had a great curiosity to see the princess's face; and as it occurred to me that the princess, when she came nigh the door of the bath, would pull her veil off, I resolved to conceal myself behind the door. You know the situation of the door, and may imagine that I must have had a full view of her. The princess threw off her veil, and I had the happiness of seeing her lovely face with the greatest security. This, mother, was the cause of my melancholy and silence yesterday; I love the princess with more violence than I can express; and as my passion increases every moment, I cannot live without the possession of the amiable Buddir al Buddoor, and am resolved to ask her in marriage of the sultan her father."
Alla ad Deen's mother listened with surprise to what her son told her; but when he talked of asking the princess in marriage, she could not help bursting out into a loud laugh. Alla ad Deen would have gone on with his rhapsody, but she interrupted him. "Alas! child," said she, "what are you thinking of? you must be mad to talk thus."
"I assure you, mother," replied Alla ad Deen, "that I am not mad, but in my right senses; I foresaw that you would reproach me with folly and extravagance; but I must tell you once more that I am resolved to demand the princess of the sultan in marriage, and your remonstrances shall not prevent me."
"Indeed, son," replied the mother seriously, "I cannot help telling you that you have forgotten yourself; and if you would put this resolution of yours in execution, I do not see whom you can prevail upon to venture to make the proposal for you." "You yourself," replied he immediately. "I go to the sultan!" answered the mother, amazed and surprised. "I shall be cautious how I engage in such an errand. Why, who are you, son," continued she, "that you can have the assurance to think of your sultan's daughter? Have you forgotten that your father was one of the poorest tailors in the capital, and that I am of no better extraction; and do not you know that sultans never marry their daughters but to princes, sons of sovereigns like themselves?"
"Mother," answered Alla ad Deen, "I have already told you that I foresaw all that you have said, or can say: and tell you again, that neither your discourse nor your remonstrances shall make me change my mind. I have told you that you must ask the princess in marriage for me: it is a favour I desire of you, and I beg of you not to refuse, unless you would rather see me in my grave, than by your compliance give me new life."
The good old woman was much embarrassed, when she found Alla ad Deen obstinately persisting in so wild a design. "My son," said she again, "I am your mother, who brought you into the world, and there is nothing that is reasonable but I would readily do for you. If I were to go and treat about your marriage with some neighbour's daughter, whose circumstances were equal with yours, I would do it with all my heart; and even then they would expect you should have some little estate or fortune, or be of some trade. When such poor folks as we are wish to marry, the first thing they ought to think of, is how to live. But without reflecting on the meanness of your birth, and the little merit and fortune you have to recommend you, you aim at the highest pitch of exaltation; and your pretensions are no less than to demand in marriage the daughter of your sovereign, who with one single word can crush you to pieces. I say nothing of what respects yourself. I leave you to reflect on what you have to do, if you have ever so little thought. I come now to consider what concerns myself. How could so extraordinary a thought come into your head, as that I should go to the sultan and make a proposal to him to give his daughter in marriage to you? Suppose I had, not to say the boldness, but the impudence to present myself before the sultan, and make so extravagant a request, to whom should I address myself to be introduced to his majesty? Do you not think the first person I should speak to would take me for a mad woman, and chastise me as I should deserve? Suppose, however, that there is no difficulty in presenting myself for an audience of the sultan, and I know there is none to those who go to petition for justice, which he distributes equally among his subjects; I know too that to those who ask a favour he grants it with pleasure when he sees it is deserved, and the persons are worthy of it. But is that your case? Do you think you have merited the honour you would have me ask for you? Are you worthy of it? What have you done to claim such a favour, either for your prince or country? How have you distinguished yourself? If you have done nothing to merit so high a distinction, nor are worthy of it, with what face shall I ask it? How can I open my mouth to make the proposal to the sultan? His majestic presence and the lustre of his court would absolutely confound me, who used even to tremble before my dear husband your father, when I asked him for any thing. There is another reason, my son, which you do not think of, which is that nobody ever goes to ask a favour of the sultan without a present. But what presents have you to make? And if you had any that were worthy of the least attention of so great a monarch, what proportion could they bear to the favour you would ask? Therefore, reflect well on what you are about, and consider, that you aspire to an object which it is impossible for you to obtain."
Alla ad Deen heard very calmly all that his mother could say to dissuade him from his design, and after he had weighed her representations in all points, replied: "I own, mother, it is great rashness in me to presume to carry my pretensions so far; and a great want of consideration to ask you with so much heat and precipitancy to go and make the proposal to the sultan, without first taking proper measures to procure a favourable reception, and therefore beg your pardon. But be not surprised that through the violence of my passion I did not at first see every measure necessary to procure me the happiness I seek. I love the princess, or rather I adore her, and shall always persevere in my design of marrying her. I am obliged to you for the hint you have given me, and look upon it as the first step I ought to take to procure the happy issue I promise myself.
"You say it is not customary to go to the sultan without a present, and that I have nothing worthy of his acceptance. As to the necessity of a present, I agree with you, and own that I never thought of it; but as to what you say that I have nothing fit to offer, do not you think, mother, that what I brought home with me the day on which I was delivered from an inevitable death, may be an acceptable present? I mean what you and I both took for coloured glass: but now I am undeceived, and can tell you that they are jewels of inestimable value, and fit for the greatest monarchs. I know the worth of them by frequenting the shops; and you may take my word that all the precious stones which I saw in the most capital jewellers' possessions were not to be compared to those we have, either for size or beauty, and yet they value theirs at an excessive price. In short, neither you nor I know the value of ours; but be it as it may, by the little experience I have, I am persuaded that they will be received very favourably by the sultan: you have a large porcelain dish fit to hold them; fetch it, and let us see how they will look, when we have arranged them according to their different colours."
Alla ad Deen's mother brought the china dish, when he took the jewels out of the two purses in which he had kept them, and placed them in order according to his fancy. But the brightness and lustre they emitted in the day-time, and the variety of the colours, so dazzled the eyes both of mother and son, that they were astonished beyond measure; for they had only seen them by the light of a lamp; and though the latter had beheld them pendant on the trees like fruit beautiful to the eye, yet as he was then but a boy, he looked on them only as glittering playthings.
After they had admired the beauty of the jewels some time, Alla ad Deen said to his mother, "Now you cannot excuse yourself from going to the sultan, under pretext of not having a present to make him, since here is one which will gain you a favourable reception."
Though the good widow, notwithstanding the beauty and lustre of the precious stones, did not believe them so valuable as her son estimated them, she thought such a present might nevertheless be agreeable to the sultan, but still she hesitated at the request. "My son," said she, "I cannot conceive that your present will have its desired effect, or that the sultan will look upon me with a favourable eye; I am sure, that if I attempt to deliver your strange message, I shall have no power to open my mouth; therefore I shall not only lose my labour, but the present, which you say is so invaluable, and shall return home again in confusion, to tell you that your hopes are frustrated. I have represented the consequence, and you ought to believe me; but," added she, "I will exert my best endeavour to please you, and wish I may have power to ask the sultan as you would have me; but certainly he will either laugh at me, send me back like a fool, or be in so great a rage, as to make us both the victims of his fury."
She used many other arguments to endeavour to make him change his mind; but the charms of the princess had made too great an impression on his heart for him to be dissuaded from his design. He persisted in importuning his mother to execute his resolution, and she, as much out of tenderness as for fear he should be guilty of greater extravagance, complied with his request.
As it was now late, and the time for admission to the palace was passed, it was put off till the next day. The mother and son talked of different matters the remaining part of the day; and Alla ad Deen strove to encourage her in the task she had undertaken; while she, notwithstanding all his arguments, could not persuade herself she should succeed; and it must be confessed she had reason enough to doubt. "Child," said she to Alla ad Deen, "if the sultan should receive me as favourably as I wish for your sake, should even hear my proposal with calmness, and after this scarcely-to-be-expected reception should think of asking me where lie your riches and your estate (for he will sooner inquire after these than your person), if, I say, he should ask me these questions, what answer would you have me return him?"
"Let us not be uneasy, mother," replied Alla ad Deen, "about what may never happen. First, let us see how the sultan receives, and what answer he gives you. If it should so fall out, that he desires to be informed of what you mention, I have thought of an answer, and am confident that the lamp which hath supported us so long will not fail me in time of need."
The tailor's widow could not say any thing against what her son then proposed; but reflected that the lamp might be capable of doing greater wonders than just providing victuals for them. This consideration satisfied her, and at the same time removed all the difficulties which might have prevented her from undertaking the service she had promised her son with the sultan. Alla ad Deen, who penetrated into his mother's thoughts, said to her, "Above all things, mother, be sure to keep secret our possession of the lamp, for thereon depends the success we have to expect;" and after this caution, Alla ad Deen and his mother parted to go to rest. But violent love, and the great prospect of so immense a fortune, had so much possessed the son's thoughts, that he could not repose himself so well as he could have wished. He rose before day-break, awakened his mother, pressing her to get herself dressed to go to the sultan's palace, and to get admittance, if possible, before the grand vizier, the other viziers, and the great officers of state went in to take their seats in the divan, where the sultan always assisted in person.
Alla ad Deen's mother took the china dish, in which they had put the jewels the day before, wrapped in two napkins, one finer than the other, which was tied at the four corners for more easy carriage, and set forward for the sultan's palace. When she came to the gates, the grand vizier, the other viziers and most distinguished lords of the court, were just gone in; but, notwithstanding the crowd of people who had business was great, she got into the divan, a spacious hall, the entrance into which was very magnificent. She placed herself just before the sultan, grand vizier, and the great lords, who sat in council, on his right and left hand. Several causes were called, according to their order, pleaded and adjudged, until the time the divan generally broke up, when the sultan rising, returned to his apartment, attended by the grand vizier; the other viziers and ministers of state then retired, as also did those whose business had called them thither; some pleased with gaining their causes, others dissatisfied at the sentences pronounced against them, and some in expectation of theirs being heard the next sitting.
Alla ad Deen's mother, seeing the sultan retire, and all the people depart, judged rightly that he would not sit again that day, and resolved to go home. When Alla ad Deen saw her return with the present designed for the sultan, he knew not what to think of her success, and in his fear lest she should bring him some ill news, had not courage to ask her any questions; but she, who had never set foot in the sultan's palace before, and knew not what was every day practised there, freed him from his embarrassment, and said to him, with a great deal of simplicity, "Son, I have seen the sultan, and am very well persuaded he has seen me too; for I placed myself just before him; but he was so much taken up with those who attended on all sides of him, that I pitied him, and wondered at his patience. At last I believe he was heartily tired, for he rose up suddenly, and would not hear a great many who were ready prepared to speak to him, but went away, at which I was well pleased, for indeed I began to lose all patience, and was extremely fatigued with staying so long. But there is no harm done; I will go again to-morrow; perhaps the sultan may not be so busy."
Though his passion was very violent, Alla ad Deen was forced to be satisfied with this delay, and to fortify himself with patience. He had at least the satisfaction to find that his mother had got over the greatest difficulty, which was to procure access to the sultan, and hoped that the example of those she saw speak to him would embolden her to acquit herself better of her commission when a favourable opportunity might offer to speak to him.
The next morning she repaired to the sultan's palace with the present, as early as the day before, but when she came there, she found the gates of the divan shut, and understood that the council sat but every other day, therefore she must come again the next. This news she carried to her son, whose only relief was to guard himself with patience. She went six times afterwards on the days appointed, placed herself always directly before the sultan, but with as little success as the first morning, and might have perhaps come a thousand times to as little purpose, if luckily the sultan himself had not taken particular notice of her: for only those who came with petitions approached the sultan, when each pleaded their cause in its turn, and Alla ad Deen's mother was not one of them.
On the sixth day, however, after the divan was broken up, when the sultan returned to his own apartment, he said to his grand vizier, "I have for some time observed a certain woman, who attends constantly every day that I give audience, with something wrapped up in a napkin: she always stands up from the beginning to the breaking up of the audience, and affects to place herself just before me. Do you know what she wants?"
"Sir," replied the grand vizier, who knew no more than the sultan what she wanted, but did not wish to seem uninformed, "your majesty knows that women often make complaints on trifles; perhaps she may come to complain to your majesty that somebody has sold her some bad flour, or some such trifling matter." The sultan was not satisfied with this answer, but replied, "If this woman comes to our next audience, do not fail to call her, that I may hear what she has to say." The grand vizier made answer by lowering his hand, and then lifting it up above his head, signifying his willingness to lose it if he failed.
By this time, the tailor's widow was so much used to go to audience, and stand before the sultan, that she did not think it any trouble, if she could but satisfy her son that she neglected nothing that lay in her power to please him: the next audience day she went to the divan, placed herself in front of the sultan as usual; and before the grand vizier had made his report of business, the sultan perceived her, and compassionating her for having waited so long, said to the vizier, "Before you enter upon any business, remember the woman I spoke to you about; bid her come near, and let us hear and dispatch her business first." The grand vizier immediately called the chief of the mace-bearers who stood ready to obey his commands; and pointing to her, bade him go to that woman, and tell her to come before the sultan.
The chief of the officers went to Alla ad Deen's mother, and at a sign he gave her, she followed him to the foot of the sultan's throne, where he left her, and retired to his place by the grand vizier. The old woman, after the example of others whom she saw salute the sultan, bowed her head down to the carpet, which covered the platform of the throne, and remained in that posture till the sultan bade her rise, which she had no sooner done, than he said to her, "Good woman, I have observed you to stand a long time, from the beginning to the rising of the divan; what business brings you here?"
After these words, Alla ad Deen's mother prostrated herself a second time; and when she arose, said, "Monarch of monarchs, before I tell your majesty the extraordinary and almost incredible business which brings me before your high throne, I beg of you to pardon the boldness or rather impudence of the demand I am going to make, which is so uncommon, that I tremble, and am ashamed to propose it to my sovereign." In order to give her the more freedom to explain herself, the sultan ordered all to quit the divan but the grand vizier, and then told her she might speak without restraint.
Alla ad Deen's mother, not content with this favour of the sultan's to save her the trouble and confusion of speaking before so many people, was notwithstanding for securing herself against his anger, which, from the proposal she was going to make, she was not a little apprehensive of; therefore resuming her discourse, she said, "I beg of your majesty, if you should think my demand the least injurious or offensive, to assure me first of your pardon and forgiveness." "Well," replied the sultan, "I will forgive you, be it what it may, and no hurt shall come to you: speak boldly."
When Alla ad Deen's mother had taken all these precautions, for fear of the sultan's anger, she told him faithfully how Alla ad Deen had seen the princess Buddir al Buddoor, the violent love that fatal sight had inspired him with, the declaration he had made to her of it when he came home, and what representations she had made "to dissuade him from a passion no less disrespectful," said she, "to your majesty, as sultan, than to the princess your daughter. But," continued she, "my son, instead of taking my advice and reflecting on his presumption, was so obstinate as to persevere, and to threaten me with some desperate act, if I refused to come and ask the princess in marriage of your majesty; and it was not without the greatest reluctance that I was led to accede to his request, for which I beg your majesty once more to pardon not only me, but also Alla ad Deen my son, for entertaining so rash a project as to aspire to so high an alliance."
The sultan hearkened to this discourse with mildness, and without shewing the least anger; but before he gave her any answer, asked her what she had brought tied up in the napkin. She took the china dish, which she had set down at the foot of the throne, before she prostrated herself before him; untied it, and presented it to the sultan.
The sultan's amazement and surprise were inexpressible, when he saw so many large, beautiful, and valuable jewels collected in the dish. He remained for some time motionless with admiration. At last, when he had recovered himself, he received the present from Alla ad Deen's mother's hand, crying out in a transport of joy, "How rich, how beautiful!" After he had admired and handled all the jewels, one after another, he turned to his grand vizier, and shewing him the dish, said, "Behold, admire, wonder, and confess that your eyes never beheld jewels so rich and beautiful before." The vizier was charmed. "Well," continued the sultan, "what sayst thou to such a present? Is it not worthy of the princess my daughter? And ought I not to bestow her on one who values her at so great price?"
These words put the grand vizier into extreme agitation. The sultan had some time before signified to him his intention of bestowing the princess on a son of his; therefore he was afraid, and not without grounds, that the sultan, dazzled by so rich and extraordinary a present, might change his mind. Therefore going to him, and whispering him in the ear, he said, "I cannot but own that the present is worthy of the princess; but I beg of your majesty to grant me three months before you come to a final resolution. I hope, before that time, my son, on whom you have had the goodness to look with a favourable eye, will be able to make a nobler present than Alla ad Deen, who is an entire stranger to Your majesty."
The sultan, though he was fully persuaded that it was not possible for the vizier to provide so considerable a present for his son to make the princess, yet as he had given him hopes, hearkened to him, and granted his request. Turning therefore to the old widow, he said to her, "Good woman, go home, and tell your son that I agree to the proposal you have made me; but I cannot marry the princess my daughter, till the paraphernalia I design for her be got ready, which cannot be finished these three months; but at the expiration of that time come again."
Alla ad Deen's mother returned home much more gratified than she had expected, since she had met with a favourable answer, instead of the refusal and confusion she had dreaded. From two circumstances Alla ad Deen, when he saw his mother returning, judged that she brought him good news; the one was, that she returned sooner than ordinary; and the other, the gaiety of her countenance. "Well, mother," said he, "may I entertain any hopes, or must I die with despair?" When she had pulled off her veil, and had seated herself on the sofa by him, she said to him, "Not to keep you long in suspense, son, I will begin by telling you, that instead of thinking of dying, you have every reason to be well satisfied." Then pursuing her discourse, she told him, that she had an audience before everybody else which made her come home so soon; the precautions she had taken lest she should have displeased the sultan, by making the proposal of marriage between him and the princess Buddir al Buddoor, and the condescending answer she had received from the sultan's own mouth; and that as far as she could judge, the present had wrought a powerful effect. "But when I least expected it," said she, "and he was going to give me an answer, and I fancied a favourable one, the grand vizier whispered him in the ear, and I was afraid might be some obstacle to his good intentions towards us, and so it happened, for the sultan desired me to come to audience again this day three months."
Alla ad Deen thought himself the most happy of all men at hearing this news, and thanked his mother for the pains she had taken in the affair, the good success of which was of so great importance to his peace. Though from his impatience to obtain the object of his passion, three months seemed an age, yet he disposed himself to wait with patience, relying on the sultan's word, which he looked upon to be irrevocable. But all that time he not only counted the hours, days, and weeks, but every moment. When two of the three months were past, his mother one evening going to light the lamp, and finding no oil in the house, went out to buy some, and when she came into the city, found a general rejoicing. The shops, instead of being shut up, were open, dressed with foliage, silks, and carpeting, every one striving to show their zeal in the most distinguished manner according to his ability. The streets were crowded with officers in habits of ceremony, mounted on horses richly caparisoned, each attended by a great many footmen. Alla ad Deen's mother asked the oil-merchant what was the meaning of all this preparation of public festivity." Whence came you, good woman," said he, "that you don't know that the grand vizier's son is to marry the princess Buddir al Buddoor, the sultan's daughter, to-night? She will presently return from the baths; and these officers whom you see are to assist at the cavalcade to the palace, where the ceremony is to be solemnized."
This was news enough for Alla ad Deen's mother. She ran till she was quite out of breath home to her son, who little suspected any such event. "Child," cried she, "you are undone! You depend upon the sultan's fine promises, but they will come to nothing." Alla ad Deen was alarmed at these words. "Mother," replied he, "how do you know the sultan has been guilty of a breach of promise?" "This night," answered the mother, "the grand vizier's son is to marry the princess Buddir al Buddoor." She then related how she had heard it; so that from all circumstances, he had no reason to doubt the truth of what she said.
At this account, Alla ad Deen was thunder-struck. Any other man would have sunk under the shock; but a sudden hope of disappointing his rival soon roused his spirits, and he bethought himself of the lamp, which had on every emergence been so useful to him; and without venting his rage in empty words against the sultan, the vizier, or his son, he only said, "Perhaps, mother, the vizier's son may not be so happy to-night as he promises himself: while I go into my chamber a moment, do you get supper ready." She accordingly went about it, but guessed that her son was going to make use of the lamp, to prevent, if possible, the consummation of the marriage.
When Alla ad Deen had got into his chamber, he took the lamp, rubbed it in the same place as before, when immediately the genie appeared, and said to him, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their possession; I and the other slaves of the lamp." "Hear me," said Alla ad Deen; "thou hast hitherto brought me whatever I wanted as to provisions; but now I have business of the greatest importance for thee to execute. I have demanded the princess Buddir al Buddoor in marriage of the sultan her father; he promised her to me, only requiring three months delay; but instead of keeping that promise, has this night married her to the grand vizier's son. What I ask of you is, that as soon as the bride and bridegroom are retired, you bring them both hither in their bed." "Master," replied the genie, "I will obey you. Have you any other commands?" "None at present," answered Alla ad Deen; the genie then disappeared.
Alla ad Deen 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, and left his mother to go to bed; but sat up waiting the execution of his orders to the genie.
In the meantime, everything was prepared with the greatest magnificence in the sultan's palace to celebrate the princess's nuptials; and the evening was spent with all the usual ceremonies and great rejoicings till midnight, when the grand vizier's son, on a signal given him by the chief of the princess's eunuchs, slipped away from the company, and was introduced by that officer into the princess's apartment, where the nuptial bed was prepared. He went to bed first, and in a little time after, the sultaness, accompanied by her own women, and those of the princess, brought the bride, who, according to the custom of new-married ladies, made great resistance. The sultaness herself helped to undress her, put her into bed by a kind of violence: and after having kissed her, and wished her good night, retired with the women to her own apartments.
No sooner was the door shut, than the genie, as the faithful slave of the lamp, and punctual in executing the command of those who possessed it, without giving the bridegroom the least time to caress his bride, to the great amazement of them both, took up the bed, and transported it in an instant into Alla ad Deen's chamber, where he set it down.
Alla ad Deen, who had waited impatiently for this moment, did not suffer the vizier's son to remain long in bed with the princess. "Take this new-married man," said he to the genie, "shut him up in the out-house, and come again tomorrow morning before day-break." The genie instantly forced the vizier's son out of bed, carried him whither Alla ad Deen had commanded him; and after he had breathed upon him, which prevented him stirring, left him there.
Passionate as was Alla ad Deen's love for the princess, he did not talk much to her when they were alone; but only said with a respectful air, "Fear nothing, adorable princess, you are here in safety; for, notwithstanding the violence of my passion, which your charms have kindled, it shall never exceed the bounds of the profound adoration I owe you. If I have been forced to come to this extremity, it is not with any intention of affronting you, but to prevent an unjust rival's possessing you, contrary to the sultan your father's promise in favour of myself."
The princess, who knew nothing of these particulars, gave very little attention to what Alla ad Deen could say. The fright and amazement of so surprising and unexpected an adventure had alarmed her so much that he could not get one word from her. However, he undressed himself, took the bridegroom's place, but lay with his back to the princess, putting a sabre between himself and her, to shew that he deserved to be put to death, if he attempted anything against her honour. Alla ad Deen, satisfied with having thus deprived his rival of the happiness he had flattered himself with, slept very soundly, though the princess Buddir al Buddoor never passed a night so ill in her life; and if we consider the condition in which the genie left the grand vizier's son, we may imagine that the new bridegroom spent it much worse.
Alla ad Deen had no occasion the next morning to rub the lamp to call the genie; who appeared at the hour appointed, just when he had done dressing himself, and said to him, "I am here, master, what are your commands?" "Go," said Alla ad Deen, "fetch the vizier's son out of the place where you left him, put him into his bed again, and carry it to the sultan's palace, from whence you brought it." The genie presently returned with the vizier's son. Alla ad Deen took up his sabre, the bridegroom was laid by the princess, and in an instant the nuptial-bed was transported into the same chamber of the palace from whence it had been brought. But we must observe, that all this time the genie never was visible either to the princess or the grand vizier's son. His hideous form would have made them die with fear. Neither did they hear any thing of the discourse between Alla ad Deen and him; they only perceived the motion of the bed, and their transportation from one place to another; which we may well imagine was enough to alarm them.
As soon as the genie had set down the nuptial bed in its proper place, the sultan tapped at the door to wish her good morning. The grand vizier's son, who was almost perished with cold, by standing in his thin under garment all night, and had not had time to warm himself in bed, no sooner heard the knocking at the door than he got out of bed, and ran into the robing-chamber, where he had undressed himself the night before.
The sultan having opened the door, went to the bed-side, kissed the princess between the eyes, according to custom, wishing her a good morrow, but was extremely surprised to see her so melancholy. She only cast at him a sorrowful look, expressive of great affliction or great dissatisfaction. He said a few words to her; but finding that he could not get a word from her, attributed it to her modesty, and retired. Nevertheless, he suspected that there was something extraordinary in this silence, and thereupon went immediately to the sultaness's apartment, told her in what a state he had found the princess, and how she had received him. "Sir," said the sultaness, "your majesty ought not to be surprised at this behaviour; new-married people have naturally a reserve about them; two or three days hence she will receive the sultan her father as she ought: but I will go and see her," added she; "I am much deceived if she receives me in the same manner."
As soon as the sultaness was dressed, she went to the princess's apartment, who was still in bed. She undrew the curtain, wished her good morrow, and kissed her. But how great was her surprise when she returned no answer; and looking more attentively at her, she perceived her to be much dejected, which made her judge that something had happened, which she did not understand "How comes it, child," said the sultaness, "that you do not return my caresses? Ought you to treat your mother after this manner? I am induced to believe something extraordinary has happened; come, tell me freely, and leave me no longer in a painful suspense."
At last the princess broke silence with a deep sigh, and said, "Alas! most honoured mother, forgive me if I have failed in the respect I owe you. My mind is so full of the extraordinary circumstances which have befallen me this night, that I have not yet recovered my amazement and alarm." She then told her, how the instant after she and her husband were together, the bed was transported into a dark dirty room, where he was taken from her and carried away, but where she knew not; and that she was left alone with a young man, who, after he had said something to her, which her fright did not suffer her to hear, laid himself in her husband's place, but first put his sabre between them; and in the morning her husband was brought to her again, when the bed was transported back to her own chamber in an instant. "All this," said she, "was but just done, when the sultan my father came into my chamber. I was so overwhelmed with grief, that I had not power to speak, and am afraid that he is offended at the manner in which I received the honour he did me; but I hope he will forgive me, when he knows my melancholy adventure, and the miserable state I am in at present."
The sultaness heard all the princess told her very patiently, but would not believe it. "You did well, child," said she, "not to speak of this to your father: take care not to mention it to anybody; for you will certainly be thought mad if you talk in this manner." "Madam," replied the princess, "I can assure you I am in my right senses; ask my husband, and he will tell you the same circumstances." "I will," said the sultaness, "but if he should talk in the same manner, I shall not be better persuaded of the truth. Come, rise, and throw off this idle fancy; it will be a strange event, if all the feasts and rejoicings in the kingdom should be interrupted by such a vision. Do not you hear the trumpets of congratulation, and concerts of the finest music? Cannot these inspire you with joy and pleasure, and make you forget the fancies of an imagination disturbed by what can have been only a dream?" At the same time the sultaness called the princess's women, and after she had seen her get up, and begin dressing, went to the sultan's apartment, told him that her daughter had got some odd notions in her head, but that there was nothing in them but idle phantasy.
She then sent for the vizier's son, to know of him something of what the princess had told her; but he, thinking himself highly honoured to be allied to the sultan, and not willing to lose the princess, denied what had happened. "That is enough," answered the sultaness, "I ask no more, I see you are wiser than my daughter."
The rejoicings lasted all that day in the palace, and the sultaness, who never left the princess, forgot nothing to divert her, and induce her to take part in the various diversions and shows; but she was so struck with the idea of what had happened to her in the night, that it was easy to see her thoughts were entirely taken up with it. Neither was the grand vizier's son in less tribulation, though his ambition made him disguise his feelings so well, that nobody doubted of his being a happy bridegroom.
Alla ad Deen, who was well acquainted with what passed in the palace, was sure the new-married couple were to sleep together again, notwithstanding the troublesome adventure of the night before; and therefore, having as great an inclination to disturb them, had recourse to his lamp, and when the genie appeared, and offered his service, he said to him, "The grand vizier's son and the princess Buddir al Buddoor are to sleep together again to-night: go, and as soon as they are in bed, bring the bed hither, as thou didst yesterday."
The genie obeyed as faithfully and exactly as the day before; the grand vizier's son passed the night as coldly and disagreeably, and the princess had the mortification again to have Alla ad Deen for her bed-fellow, with the sabre between them. The genie, according to orders, came the next morning, brought the bridegroom, laid him by his bride, and then carried the bed and new-married couple back again to the palace.
The sultan, after the reception the princess had given him, was very anxious to know how she had passed the second night, and therefore went into her chamber as early as the morning before. The grand vizier's son, more ashamed and mortified with the ill success of this last night, no sooner heard him coming, than he jumped out of bed, and ran hastily into the robing-chamber. The sultan went to the princess's bed-side, and after the same caresses he had given her the former morning, bade her good morrow. "Well daughter," said he, "are you in a better humour than yesterday?" Still the princess was silent, and the sultan perceiving her to be more troubled, and in greater confusion than before, doubted not that something very extraordinary was the cause; but provoked that his daughter should conceal it, he said to her in a rage, with his sabre in his hand, "Daughter, tell me what is the matter, or I will cut off your head immediately."
The princess, more frightened at the menaces and tone of the enraged sultan than at the sight of the drawn sabre, at last broke silence, and said with tears in her eyes, "My dear father and sultan, I ask your majesty's pardon if I have offended you, and hope, that out of your goodness and clemency you will have compassion on me, when I shall have told you in what a miserable condition I have spent this last night, as well as the preceding."
After this preamble, which appeased and affected the sultan, she told him what had happened to her in so moving a manner, that he, who loved her tenderly, was most sensibly grieved. She added, "If your majesty doubts the truth of this account, you may inform yourself from my husband, who, I am persuaded, will tell you the same thing."
The sultan immediately felt all the extreme uneasiness so surprising an adventure must have given the princess. "Daughter," said he, "you are much to blame for not telling me this yesterday, since it concerns me as much as yourself. I did not marry you with an intention to make you miserable, but that you might enjoy all the happiness you deserve and might hope for from a husband who to me seemed agreeable to you. Efface all these troublesome ideas from your memory; I will take care that you shall have no more disagreeable and insupportable nights."
As soon as the sultan had returned to his own apartment, he sent for the grand vizier: "Vizier," said he, "have you seen your son, and has he told you anything?" The vizier replied, "No." The sultan related all the circumstances of which the princess had informed him, and afterwards said, "I do not doubt but that my daughter has told me the truth; but nevertheless I should be glad to have it confirmed by your son, therefore go and ask him how it was."
The grand vizier went immediately to his son, communicated what the sultan had told him, and enjoined him to conceal nothing, but to relate the whole truth. "I will disguise nothing from you, father," replied the son, "for indeed all that the princess has stated is true; but what relates particularly to myself she knows nothing of. Since my marriage, I have passed two nights beyond imagination or expression disagreeable, not to mention the fright I was in at finding my bed lifted four times, transported from one place to another, without being able to guess how it was done. You may judge of the miserable condition I was in, passing two whole nights in nothing but my under vestments, standing in a kind of closet, unable to stir out of the place or to make the least movement, though I could not perceive any obstacle to prevent me. Yet I must tell you, that all this ill usage does not in the least lessen those sentiments of love, respect, and gratitude I entertain for the princess, and of which she is so deserving; but I must confess, that notwithstanding all the honour and splendour that attends marrying my sovereign's daughter, I would much rather die, than continue in so exalted an alliance if I must undergo nightly much longer what I have already endured. I do not doubt but that the princess entertains the same sentiments, and that she will readily agree to a separation, which is so necessary both for her repose and mine. Therefore, father, I beg, by the same tenderness which led you to procure me so great an honour, to obtain the sultan's consent that our marriage may be declared null and void."
Notwithstanding the grand vizier's ambition to have his son allied to the sultan, the firm resolution he saw he had formed to be separated from the princess made him not think it proper to propose to him to have patience for a few days, to see if this disappointment would not have an end; but he left him to give an account of what he had related to him, and without waiting till the sultan himself, whom he found disposed to it, spoke of setting aside the marriage, he begged of him to give his son leave to retire from the palace, alleging it was not just that the princess should be a moment longer exposed to so terrible a persecution upon his son's account.
The grand vizier found no great difficulty to obtain what he asked, as the sultan had determined already; orders were given to put a stop to all rejoicings in the palace and town, and expresses dispatched to all parts of his dominions to countermand them; and, in a short time, all rejoicings ceased.
This sudden and unexpected change gave rise both in the city and kingdom to various speculations and inquiries; but no other account could be given of it, except that both the vizier and his son went out of the palace very much dejected. Nobody but Alla ad Deen knew the secret. He rejoiced within himself at the happy success procured by his lamp, which now he had no more occasion to rub, to produce the genie to prevent the consummation of the marriage, as he had certain information it was broken off, and that his rival had left the palace. Neither the sultan nor the grand vizier, who had forgotten Alla ad Deen and his request, had the least thought that he had any concern in the enchantment which caused the dissolution of the marriage.
Alla ad Deen waited till the three months were completed, which the sultan had appointed for the consummation of the marriage between the princess Buddir al Buddoor and himself; and the next day sent his mother to the palace, to remind the sultan of his promise.
Alla ad Deen's mother went to the palace, and stood in the same place as before in the hall of audience. The sultan no sooner cast his eyes upon her than he knew her again, remembered her business, and how long he had put her off: therefore when the grand vizier was beginning to make his report, the sultan interrupted him, and said, "Vizier, I see the good woman who made me the present of jewels some months ago; forbear your report, till I have heard what she has to say." The vizier looking about the divan, perceived the tailor's widow, and sent the chief of the mace-bearers to conduct her to the sultan.
Alla ad Deen's mother came to the foot of the throne, prostrated herself as usual, and when she rose, the sultan asked her what she would have. Sir," said she, "I come to represent to your majesty, in the name of my son Alla ad Deen, that the three months, at the end of which you ordered me to come again, are expired; and to beg you to remember your promise."
The sultan, when he had fixed a time to answer the request of this good woman, little thought of hearing any more of a marriage, which he imagined must be very disagreeable to the princess, when he considered the meanness and poverty of her dress and appearance; but this summons for him to fulfill his promise was somewhat embarrassing; he declined giving an answer till he had consulted his vizier, and signified to trim the little inclination he had to conclude a match for his daughter with a stranger, whose rank he supposed to be very mean.
The grand vizier freely told the sultan his thoughts, and said to him, "In my opinion, sir, there is an infallible way for your majesty to avoid a match so disproportionable, without giving Alla ad Deen, were he known to your majesty, any cause of complaint; which is, to set so high a price upon the princess, that, however rich he may be, he cannot comply with. This is the only evasion to make him desist from so bold, not to say rash, an undertaking, which he never weighed before he engaged in it."
The sultan, approving of the grand vizier's advice, turned to the tailor's widow, and said to her, "Good woman, it is true sultans ought to abide by their word, and I am ready to keep mine, by making your son happy in marriage with the princess my daughter. But as I cannot marry her without some further valuable consideration from your son, you may tell him, I will fulfill my promise as soon as he shall send me forty trays of massive gold, full of the same sort of jewels you have already made me a present of, and carried by the like number of black slaves, who shall be led by as many young and handsome white slaves, all dressed magnificently. On these conditions I am ready to bestow the princess my daughter upon him; therefore, good woman, go and tell him so, and I will wait till you bring me his answer."
Alla ad Deen's mother prostrated herself a second time before the sultan's throne, and retired. In her way home, she laughed within herself at her son's foolish imagination. "Where," says she, "can he get so many large gold trays, and such precious stones to fill them? Must he go again to that subterraneous abode, the entrance into which is stopped up, and gather them off the trees? But where will he get so many such slaves as the sultan requires? It is altogether out of his power, and I believe he will not be much pleased with my embassy this time." When she came home, full of these thoughts, she said to her son, "Indeed, child, I would not have you think any farther of your marriage with the princess. The sultan received me very kindly, and I believe he was well inclined to you; but if I am not much deceived the grand vizier has made him change his mind, as you will guess from what I have to tell you. After I had represented to his majesty that the three months were expired, and begged of him to remember his promise, I observed that he whispered with his grand vizier before he gave me his answer." She then gave her son an exact account of what the sultan had said to her, and the conditions on which he consented to the match. Afterwards she said to him, "The sultan expects your answer immediately; but," continued she, laughing, "I believe he may wait long enough."
"Not so long, mother, as you imagine," replied Alla ad Deen: "the sultan is mistaken, if he thinks by this exorbitant demand to prevent my entertaining thoughts of the princess. I expected greater difficulties, and that he would have set a higher price upon her incomparable charms. I am very well pleased; his demand is but a trifle to what I could have done for her. But while I think of satisfying his request, go and get something for our dinner, and leave the rest to me."
As soon as his mother was gone out to market, Alla ad Deen took the lamp, and rubbing it, the genie appeared, and offered his service as usual. "The sultan," said Alla ad Deen to him, "gives me the princess his daughter in marriage; but demands first forty large trays of massive gold, full of the fruits of the garden from whence I took this lamp; and these he expects to have carried by as many black slaves, each preceded by a young handsome white slave, richly clothed. Go, and fetch me this present as soon as possible, that I may send it to him before the divan breaks up."
The genie told him his command should be immediately obeyed, and disappeared.
In a little time afterwards the genie returned with forty black slaves, each bearing on his head a heavy tray of pure gold, full of pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and every sort of precious stones, all larger and more beautiful than those presented to the sultan. Each tray was covered with silver tissue, embroidered with flowers of gold; these, together with the white slaves, quite filled the house, which was but a small one, the little court before it, and a small garden behind. The genie asked if he had any other commands, and Alla ad Deen telling him that he wanted nothing farther, he disappeared.
When Alla ad Deen'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 he 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 and exactness of the ardent and sincere desire I have to procure myself the honour of this alliance." Without waiting for his mother's reply, Alla ad Deen 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.
The first white slave who went out made all the people who were going by stop; and before they were all clear of the house, the streets were crowded with spectators, who ran to see so extraordinary and magnificent a procession. The dress of each slave was so rich, both for the stuff and the jewels, that those who were dealers in them valued each at no less than a million of money; besides the neatness and propriety of the dress, the noble air, fine shape and proportion of each slave were unparalleled; their grave walk at an equal distance from each other, the lustre of the jewels curiously set in their girdles of gold, in beautiful symmetry, and the egrets of precious stones in their turbans, which were of an unusual but elegant taste, put the spectators into such great admiration, that they could not avoid gazing at them, and following them with their eyes as far as possible; but the streets were so crowded with people, that none could move out of the spot they stood on. As they had to pass through several streets to the palace, a great part of the city had an opportunity of seeing them. As soon as the first of these slaves arrived at the palace gate, the porters formed themselves into order, taking him for a prince from the richness and magnificence of his habit, and were going to kiss the hem of his garment; but the slave, who was instructed by the genie, prevented them, and said, "We are only slaves, our master will appear at a proper time."
The first slave, followed by the rest, advanced into the second court, which was very spacious, and in which the sultan's household was ranged during the sitting of the divan. The magnificence of the officers, who stood at the head of their troops, was considerably eclipsed by the slaves who bore Alla ad Deen's present, of which they themselves made a part. Nothing was ever seen so beautiful and brilliant in the sultan's palace; and all the lustre of the lords of his court was not to be compared to them.
As the sultan, who had been informed of their march, and approach to the palace, had given orders for them to be admitted, they met with no obstacle, but went into the divan in regular order, one part filing to the right, and the other to the left. After they were all entered, and had formed a semicircle before the sultan's throne, the black slaves laid the golden trays on the carpet, prostrated themselves, touching the carpet with their foreheads, and at the same time the white slaves did the same. When they rose, the black slaves uncovered the trays, and then all stood with their arms crossed over their breasts.
In the meantime Alla ad Deen's mother advanced to the foot of the throne, and having paid her respects, said to the sultan, "Sir, my son is sensible this present, which he has sent your majesty, is much below the princess Buddir al Buddoor's worth; but hopes, nevertheless, that your majesty will accept of it, and make it agreeable to the princess, and with the greater confidence since he has endeavoured to conform to the conditions you were pleased to impose."
The sultan was not able to give the least attention to this compliment. The moment he cast his eyes on the forty trays, full of the most precious, brilliant, and beautiful jewels he had ever seen, and the fourscore slaves, who appeared by the elegance of their persons, and the richness and magnificence of their dress, like so many princes, he was so struck, that he could not recover from his admiration. Instead of answering the compliment of Alla ad Deen's mother, he addressed himself to the grand vizier, who could not any more than the sultan comprehend from whence such a profusion of richness could come. "Well, vizier," said he aloud, "who do you think it can be that has sent me so extraordinary a present, and neither of us know? Do you think him worthy of the princess Buddir al Buddoor, my daughter?"
The vizier, notwithstanding his envy and grief to see a stranger preferred to be the sultan's son-in-law before his son, durst not disguise his sentiments. It was too visible that Alla ad Deen's present was more than sufficient to merit his being received into royal alliance; therefore, consulting his master's feelings, he returned this answer: "I am so far from having any thoughts that the person who has made your majesty so noble a present is unworthy of the honour you would do him, that I should say he deserved much more, if I was not persuaded that the greatest treasure in the world ought not to be put in competition with the princess your majesty's daughter." This speech was applauded by all the lords who were then in council.
The sultan made no longer hesitation, nor thought of informing himself whether Alla ad Deen was endowed with all the qualifications requisite in one who aspired to be his son-in-law. The sight alone of such immense riches, and Alla ad Deen's quickness in satisfying his demand, without starting the least difficulty at the exorbitant conditions he had imposed, easily persuaded him, that he could want nothing to render him accomplished, and such as he desired. Therefore, to send Alla ad Deen's mother back with all the satisfaction she could desire, he said to her, "My good lady, go and tell your son that I wait with open arms to embrace him, and the more haste he makes to come and receive the princess my daughter from my hands, the greater pleasure he will do me."
As soon as the tailor's widow had retired, overjoyed as a woman in her condition must have been, to see her son raised beyond all expectations to such exalted fortune, the sultan put an end to the audience; and rising from his throne, ordered that the princess's eunuchs should come and carry the trays into their mistress's apartment, whither he went himself to examine them with her at his leisure. The fourscore slaves were conducted in to the palace; and the sultan, telling the princess of their magnificent appearance, ordered them to be brought before her apartment, that she might see through the lattices he had not exaggerated in his account of them.
In the meantime Alla ad Deen's mother got home, and shewed in her air and countenance the good news she brought her son "My son," said she to him, "you have now all the reason in the world to be pleased: you are, contrary to my expectations, arrived at the height of your desires. Not to keep you too long in suspense, the sultan, with the approbation of the whole court, has declared that you are worthy to possess the princess Buddir al Buddoor, waits to embrace you and conclude your marriage; therefore, you must think of making some preparations for your interview, which may answer the high opinion he has formed of your person; and after the wonders I have seen you do, I am persuaded nothing can be wanting. But I must not forget to tell you the sultan waits for you with great impatience, therefore lose no time in paying your respects."
Alla ad Deen, enraptured with this news, and full of the object which possessed his soul, made his mother very little reply, but retired to his chamber. There, after he had rubbed his lamp, which had never failed him in whatever he wished for, the obedient genie appeared. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "I want to bathe immediately, and you must afterwards provide me the richest and most magnificent habit ever worn by a monarch." No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the genie rendered him, as well as himself, invisible, and transported him into a hummum of the finest marble of all sorts of colours; where he was undressed, without seeing by whom, in a magnificent and spacious hall. From the hall he was led to the bath, which was of a moderate heat, and he was there rubbed and washed with various scented waters. After he had passed through several degrees of heat, he came out, quite a different man from what he was before. His skin was clear white and red, his body lightsome and free; and when he returned into the hall, he found, instead of his own, a suit, the magnificence of which astonished him. The genie helped him to dress, and when he had done, transported him back to his own chamber, where he asked him if he had any other commands. "Yes," answered Alla ad Deen, "I expect you to bring me as soon as possible a charger, that surpasses in beauty and goodness the best in the sultan's stables, with a saddle, bridle, and other caparisons worth a million of money. I want also twenty slaves, as richly clothed as those who carried the present to the sultan, to walk by my side and follow me, and twenty more to go before me in two ranks. Besides these, bring my mother six women slaves to attend her, as richly dressed at least as any of the princess Buddir al Buddoor's, each carrying a complete dress fit for any sultaness. I want also ten thousand pieces of gold in ten purses; go, and make haste."
As soon as Alla ad Deen had given these orders, the genie disappeared, but presently returned with the horse, the forty slaves, ten of whom carried each a purse containing ten thousand pieces of gold, and six women slaves, each carrying on her head a different dress for Alla ad Deen's mother, wrapped up in a piece of silver tissue, and presented them all to Alla ad Deen.
Of the ten purses Alla ad Deen took four, which he gave to his mother, telling her, those were to supply her with necessaries; the other six he left in the hands of the slaves who brought them, with an order to throw them by handfuls among the people as they went to the sultan's palace. The six slaves who carried the purses he ordered likewise to march before him, three on the right hand and three on the left. Afterwards he presented the six women slaves to his mother, telling her they were her slaves, and that the dresses they had brought were for her use.
When Alla ad Deen had thus settled matters, he told the genie he would call for him when he wanted him, and thereupon the genie disappeared. Alla ad Deen's thoughts now were only upon answering, as soon as possible, the desire the sultan had shown to see him. He dispatched one of the forty slaves to the palace, with an order to address himself to the chief of the porters, to know when he might have the honour to come and throw himself at the sultan's feet. The slave soon acquitted himself of his commission, and brought for answer, that the sultan waited for him with impatience.
Alla ad Deen immediately mounted his charger, and began his march, in the order we have already described; and though he never was on horseback before, appeared with such extraordinary grace, that the most experienced horseman would not have taken him for a novice. The streets through which he was to pass were almost instantly filled with an innumerable concourse of people, who made the air echo with acclamations, especially every time the six slaves who carried the purses threw handfuls of gold among the populace. Neither did these acclamations and shouts of joy come from those alone who scrambled for the money, but from a superior rank of people, who could not forbear applauding Alla ad Deen's generosity. Not only those who knew him when he played in the streets like a vagabond did not recollect him, but those who saw him but a little while before hardly recognised him, so much were his features altered: such were the effects of the lamp, as to procure by degrees to those who possessed it perfections suitable to the rank to which the right use of it advanced them. Much more attention was paid to Alla ad Deen's person than to the pomp and magnificence of his attendants, as a similar show had been seen the day before when the slaves walked in procession with the present to the sultan. Nevertheless the horse was much admired by good judges, who knew how to discern his beauties, without being dazzled by the jewels and richness of the furniture. When the report was everywhere spread, that the sultan was going to give the princess in marriage to Alla ad Deen, nobody regarded his birth, nor envied his good fortune, so worthy he seemed of it in the public opinion.
When he arrived at the palace, everything was prepared for his reception; and when he came to the gate of the second court, he would have alighted from his horse, agreeably to the custom observed by the grand vizier, the commander in chief of the empire, and governors of provinces of the first rank; but the chief of the mace-bearers who waited on him by the sultan's order prevented him, and attended him to the grand hall of audience, where he helped him to dismount; though Alla ad Deen endeavoured to prevent him, but could not prevail. The officers formed themselves into two ranks at the entrance of the hall. The chief put Alla ad Deen on his right hand, and through the midst of them led him to the sultan's throne.
As soon as the sultan perceived Alla ad Deen, he was no less surprised to see him more richly and magnificently habited than ever he had been himself, than struck at his good mien, fine shape, and a certain air of unexpected dignity, very different from the meanness of his mother's late appearance.
But, notwithstanding, his amazement and surprise did not hinder him from rising off his throne, and descending two or three steps, quick enough to prevent Alla ad Deen's throwing himself at his feet. He embraced him with all the demonstrations of joy at his arrival. After this civility Alla ad Deen would have thrown himself at his feet again; but he held him fast by the hand, and obliged him to sit close to the throne.
Alla ad Deen then addressed the sultan, saying, "I receive the honour which your majesty out of your great condescension is pleased to confer; but permit me to assure you, that I have not forgotten that I am your slave; that I know the greatness of your power, and that I am not in sensible how much my birth is below the splendour and lustre of the high rank to which I am raised. If any way," continued he, "I could have merited so favourable a reception, I confess I owe it merely to the boldness which chance inspired in me to raise my eyes, thoughts, and desires to the divine princess, who is the object of my wishes. I ask your majesty's pardon for my rashness, but I cannot dissemble, that I should die with grief were I to lose my hopes of seeing them accomplished."
"My son," answered the sultan, embracing him a second time, "you would wrong me to doubt for a moment of my sincerity: your life from this moment is too dear to me not to preserve it, by presenting you with the remedy which is at my disposal. I prefer the pleasure of seeing and hearing you before all your treasure added to my own."
After these words, the sultan gave a signal, and immediately the air echoed with the sound of trumpets, hautboys, and other musical instruments: and at the same time the sultan led Alla ad Deen into a magnificent hall, where was laid out a most splendid collation. The sultan and Alla ad Deen ate by themselves, while the grand vizier and the great lords of the court, according to their dignity and rank, sat at different tables. The conversation turned on different subjects; but all the while the sultan took so much pleasure in looking at his intended son-in-law, that he hardly ever took his eyes off him; and throughout the whole of their conversation Alla ad Deen showed so much good sense, as confirmed the sultan in the high opinion he had formed of him.
After the feast, the sultan sent for the chief judge of his capital, and ordered him to draw up immediately a contract of marriage between the princess Buddir al Buddoor his daughter and Alla ad Deen. In the mean time the sultan and he entered into another conversation on various subjects, in the presence of the grand vizier and the lords of the court, who all admired the solidity of his wit, the great ease and freedom wherewith he delivered himself, the justness of his remarks, and his energy in expressing them.
When the judge had drawn up the contract in all the requisite forms, the sultan asked Alla ad Deen if he would stay in the palace, and solemnize the ceremonies of marriage that day. To which he answered, "Sir, though great is my impatience to enjoy your majesty's goodness, yet I beg of you to give me leave to defer it till I have built a palace fit to receive the princess; therefore I petition you to grant me a convenient spot of ground near your palace, that I may the more frequently pay my respects, and I will take care to have it finished with all diligence." "Son," said the sultan, "take what ground you think proper, there is space enough on every quarter round my palace; but consider, I cannot see you too soon united with my daughter, which alone is wanting to complete my happiness." After these words he embraced Alla ad Deen again, who took his leave with as much politeness as if he had been bred up and had always lived at court.
Alla ad Deen returned home in the order he had come, amidst the acclamations of the people, who wished him all happiness and prosperity. As soon as he dismounted, he retired to his own chamber, took the lamp, and called the genie as before, who in the usual manner made him a tender of his service. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "I have every reason to commend your exactness in executing hitherto punctually whatever I have demanded; but now if you have any regard for the lamp your protector, you must show, if possible, more zeal and diligence than ever. I would have you build me, as soon as you can, a palace opposite, but at a proper distance from the sultan's, fit to receive my spouse the princess Buddir al Buddoor. I leave the choice of the materials to you, that is to say, porphyry, jasper, agate, lapis lazuli, or the finest marble of various colours, and also the architecture of the building. But I expect that on the terraced roof of this palace you will build me a large hall crowned with a dome, and having four equal fronts; and that instead of layers of bricks, the walls be formed of massive gold and silver, laid alternately; that each front shall contain six windows, the lattices of all which, except one, which must be left unfinished, shall be so enriched in the most tasteful workmanship, with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, that they shall exceed every thing of the kind ever seen in the world. I would have an inner and outer court in front of the palace, and a spacious garden; but above all things, take care that there be laid in a place which you shall point out to me a treasure of gold and silver coin. Besides, the edifice must be well provided with kitchens and offices, storehouses, and rooms to keep choice furniture in, for every season of the year. I must have stables full of the finest horses, with their equerries and grooms, and hunting equipage. There must be officers to attend the kitchens and offices, and women slaves to wait on the princess. You understand what I mean; therefore go about it, and come and tell me when all is finished."
By the time Alla ad Deen had instructed the genie resetting the building of his palace, the sun was set. The next morning, before break of day, our bridegroom, whose love for the princess would not let him sleep, was up, when the genie presented himself, and said, "Sir, your palace is finished, come and see how you like it." Alla ad Deen had no sooner signified his consent, than the genie transported him thither in an instant, and he found it so much beyond his expectation, that he could not enough admire it. The genie led him through all the apartments, where he met with nothing but what was rich and magnificent, with officers and slaves, all habited according to their rank and the services to which they were appointed. The genie then showed him the treasury, which was opened by a treasurer, where Alla ad Deen saw heaps of purses, of different sizes, piled up to the top of the ceiling, and disposed in most excellent order. The genie assured him of the treasurer's fidelity, and thence led him to the stables, where he showed him some of the finest horses in the world, and the grooms busy in dressing them; from thence they went to the store-houses, which were filled with all things necessary, both for food and ornament.
When Alla ad Deen had examined the palace from top to bottom, and particularly the hall with the four-and-twenty windows, and found it much beyond whatever he could have imagined, he said, "Genie, no one can be better satisfied than I am; and indeed I should be much to blame if I found any fault. There is only one thing wanting which I forgot to mention; that is, to lay from the sultan's palace to the door of the apartment designed for the princess, a carpet of fine velvet for her to walk upon." The genie immediately disappeared, and Alla ad Deen saw what he desired executed in an instant. The genie then returned, and carried him home before the gates of the sultan's palace were opened.
When the porters, who had always been used to an open prospect, came to open the gates, they were amazed to find it obstructed, and to see a carpet of velvet spread from the grand entrance. They did not immediately look how far it extended; but when they could discern Alla ad Deen's palace distinctly, their surprise was increased. The news of so extraordinary a wonder was presently spread through the palace. The grand vizier, who arrived soon after the gates were open, being no less amazed than others at this novelty, ran and acquainted the sultan, but endeavoured to make him believe it to be all enchantment. "Vizier," replied the sultan, "why will you have it to be enchantment? You know as well as I that it must be Alla ad Deen's palace, which I gave him leave to build, for the reception of my daughter. After the proof we have had of his riches, can we think it strange, that he should raise a palace in so short a time? He wished to surprise us, and let us see what wonders are to be done with money in only one night. Confess sincerely that the enchantment you talk of proceeds from a little envy on account of your son's disappointment." The hour of going to council put an end to the conversation.
When Alla ad Deen had been conveyed home, and had dismissed the genie, he found his mother up, and dressing herself in one of those suits which had been brought her. By the time the sultan rose from the council, Alla ad Deen had prepared his mother to go to the palace with her slaves, and desired her, if she saw the sultan, to tell him she should do herself the honour to attend the princess towards evening to her palace. Accordingly she went; but though she and the women slaves who followed her were all dressed like sultanesses, yet the crowd was not near so great as the preceding day, because they were all veiled, and had each an upper garment on agreeable to the richness and magnificence of their habits. Alla ad Deen mounted his horse, and took leave of his paternal house forever, taking care not to forget his wonderful lamp, by the assistance of which he had reaped such advantages, and arrived at the utmost height of his wishes, and went to the palace in the same pomp as the day before.
As soon as the porters of the sultan's palace saw Alla ad Deen's mother, they went and informed the sultan, who immediately ordered the bands of trumpets, cymbals, drums, fifes and hautboys, placed in different parts of the palace, to play, so that the air resounded with concerts which inspired the whole city with joy: the merchants began to adorn their shops and houses with fine carpets and silks, and to prepare illuminations against night. The artisans of every description left their work, and the populace repaired to the great space between the royal palace and that of Alla ad Deen; which last drew all their attention, not only because it was new to them, but because there was no comparison between the two buildings. But their amazement was to comprehend by what unheard-of miracle so magnificent a palace could have been so soon erected, it being apparent to all that there were no prepared materials, or any foundations laid the day before.
Alla ad Deen's mother was received in the palace with honour, and introduced into the princess Buddir al Buddoor's apartment by the chief of the eunuchs. As soon as the princess saw her, she rose, saluted, and desired her to sit down on a sofa; and while her women finished dressing and adorning her with the jewels which Alla ad Deen had presented to her, a collation was served up. At the same time the sultan, who wished to be as much with his daughter as possible before he parted with her, came in and paid the old lady great respect. Alla ad Deen's mother had talked to the sultan in public, but he had never seen her with her veil off, as she was then; and though she was somewhat advanced in years, she had the remains of a good face, which showed what she had been in her youth. The sultan, who had always seen her dressed very meanly, not to say poorly, was surprised to find her as richly and magnificently attired as the princess his daughter. This made him think Alla ad Deen equally prudent and wise in whatever he undertook.
When it was night, the princess took her leave of the sultan her father: their adieus were tender, and accompanied with tears. They embraced each other several times, and at last the princess left her own apartment for Alla ad Deen's palace, with his mother on her left hand carried in a superb litter, followed by a hundred women slaves, dressed with surprising magnificence. All the bands of music, which had played from the time Alla ad Deen's mother arrived, being joined together, led the procession, followed by a hundred state ushers, and the like number of black eunuchs, in two files, with their officers at their head. Four hundred of the sultan's young pages carried flambeaux on each side, which, together with the illuminations of the sultan's and Alla ad Deen's palaces, made it as light as day.
In this order the princess proceeded in her litter on the carpet, which was spread from the sultan's palace, preceded by bands of musicians, who, as they advanced, joining with those on the terraces of Alla ad Deen's palace, formed a concert, which increased the joyful sensations not only of the crowd assembled in the great square, but of the metropolis and its environs.
At length the princess arrived at the new palace. Alla ad Deen ran with all imaginable joy to receive her at the grand entrance. His mother had taken care to point him out to the princess, in the midst of the officers who surrounded him, and she was charmed with his person. "Adorable princess," said Alla ad Deen, accosting her, and saluting her respectfully, as soon as she had entered her apartment, "if I have the misfortune to have displeased you by my boldness in aspiring to the possession of so lovely a princess, and my sultan's daughter, I must tell you, that you ought to blame your bright eyes and charms, not me." "Prince (as I may now call you)," answered the princess, "I am obedient to the will of my father; and it is enough for me to have seen you to tell you that I obey without reluctance."
Alla ad Deen, charmed with so agreeable and satisfactory an answer, would not keep the princess standing; but took her by the hand, which he kissed with the greatest demonstration of joy, and led her into a large hall, illuminated with an infinite number of wax candles, where, by the care of the genie, a noble feast was served up. The dishes were of massive gold, and contained the most delicate viands. The vases, basins, and goblets, were gold also, and of exquisite workmanship, and all the other ornaments and embellishments of the hall were answerable to this display. The princess, dazzled to see so much riches collected in one place, said to Alla ad Deen, "I thought, prince, that nothing in the world was so beautiful as the sultan my father's palace, but the sight of this hall alone is sufficient to show I was deceived."
Alla ad Deen led the princess to the place appointed for her, and as soon as she and his mother were seated, a band of the most harmonious instruments, accompanied with the voices of beautiful ladies, began a concert, which lasted without intermission to the end of the repast. The princess was so charmed, that she declared she had never heard anything like it in the sultan her father's court; but she knew not that these musicians were fairies chosen by the genie, the slave of the lamp.
When the supper was ended, there entered a company of female dancers, who performed, according to the custom of the country, several figure dances, singing at the same time verses in praise of the bride and bridegroom. About midnight Alla ad Deen's mother conducted the bride to the nuptial apartment, and he soon after retired.
The next morning when Alla ad Deen left the bridal chamber, his attendants presented themselves to dress him, and brought him another habit as rich and magnificent as that worn the day before. He then ordered one of the horses appointed for his use to be got ready, mounted him, and went in the midst of a large troop of slaves to the sultan's palace. The sultan received him with the same honours as before, embraced him, placed him on the throne near him, and ordered a collation. Alla ad Deen said, "I beg your majesty will dispense with my eating with you to-day; I came to entreat you to take a repast in the princess's palace, attended by your grand vizier, and all the lords of your court." The sultan consented with pleasure, rose up immediately, and, preceded by the principal officers of his palace, and followed by all the great lords of his court, accompanied Alla ad Deen.
The nearer the sultan approached Alla ad Deen's palace, the more he was struck with its beauty, but was much more amazed when he entered it; and could not forbear breaking out into exclamations of approbation. But when he came into the hall, and cast his eyes on the windows, enriched with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, all large perfect stones, he was so much surprised, that he remained some time motionless. After he recovered himself, he said to his vizier, "Is it possible that there should be such a stately palace so near my own, and I be an utter stranger to it till now?" "Sir," replied the grand vizier, "your majesty may remember that the day before yesterday you gave Alla ad Deen, whom you accepted for your son-in-law, leave to build a palace opposite your own, and that very day at sunset there was no palace on this spot, but yesterday I had the honour first to tell you that the palace was built and finished." "I remember," replied the sultan, "but never imagined that the palace was one of the wonders of the world; for where in all the world besides shall we find walls built of massive gold and silver, instead of brick, stone, or marble; and diamonds, rubies, and emeralds composing the windows!"
The sultan would examine and admire the beauty of all the windows, and counting them, found that there were but three-and-twenty so richly adorned, and he was greatly astonished that the twenty-fourth was left imperfect. "Vizier," said he, for that minister made a point of never leaving him, "I am surprised that a hall of this magnificence should be left thus imperfect." "Sir," replied the grand vizier, "without doubt Alla ad Deen only wanted time to finish this window like the rest; for it is not to be supposed but that he has sufficient jewels for the purpose, or that he will not complete it the first opportunity."
Alla ad Deen, who had left the sultan to go and give some orders, returned just as the vizier had finished his remark. "Son," said the sultan to him, "this hall is the most worthy of admiration of any in the world; there is only one thing that surprises me, which is to find one of the windows unfinished. Is it from the forgetfulness or negligence of the workmen, or want of time, that they have not put the finishing stroke to so beautiful a piece of architecture?" "Sir," answered Alla ad Deen, "it was for none of these reasons that your majesty sees it in this state. The omission was by design, it was by my orders that the workmen left it thus, since I wished that your majesty should have the glory of finishing this hall, and of course the palace." "If you did it with this intention," replied the sultan, "I take it kindly, and will give orders about it immediately." He accordingly sent for the most considerable jewellers and goldsmiths in his capital.
Alla ad Deen then conducted the sultan into the saloon where he had regaled his bride the preceding night. The princess entered immediately afterwards, and received the sultan her father with an air that showed how happy she was with her marriage. Two tables were immediately spread with the most delicious meats, all served up in gold dishes. The sultan, princess, Alla ad Deen, his mother, and the grand vizier, sat down at the first, and all the lords of the court at the second, which was very long. The sultan was much pleased with the cookery, and owned he had never eaten anything more excellent. He said the same of the wines, which were delicious; but what he most of all admired, were four large sideboards, profusely furnished with large flagons, basins, and cups, all of massive gold, set with jewels. He was besides charmed with several bands of music, which were ranged along the hall, and formed most agreeable concerts.
When the sultan rose from table, he was informed that the jewellers and goldsmiths attended; upon which he returned to the hall, and showed them the window which was unfinished. "I sent for you," said he, "to fit up this window in as great perfection as the rest; examine them well and make all the dispatch you can."
The jewellers and goldsmiths examined the three-and-twenty windows with great attention, and after they had consulted together, to know what each could furnish, they returned, and presented themselves before the sultan, whose principal jeweller, undertaking to speak for the rest, said, "Sir, we are all willing to exert our utmost care and industry to obey your majesty; but among us all we cannot furnish jewels enough for so great a work." "I have more than are necessary," said the sultan; "come to my palace, and you shall choose what may answer your purpose."
When the sultan returned to his palace, he ordered his jewels to be brought out, and the jewellers took a great quantity, particularly those Alla ad Deen had made him a present of, which they soon used, without making any greet advance in their work. They came again several times for more, and in a month's time had not finished half their work. In short, they used all the jewels the sultan had, and borrowed of the vizier, but yet the work was not half done.
A]]a ad Deen, who knew that all the sultan's endeavours to make this window like the rest were in vain, sent for the jewellers and goldsmiths, and not only commanded them to desist from their work, but ordered them to undo what they had begun, and to carry all their jewels back to the sultan and to the vizier. They undid in a few hours what they had been six weeks about, and retired, leaving Alla ad Deen alone in the hall. He took the lamp which he carried about him, rubbed it, and presently the genie appeared. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "I ordered thee to leave one of the four-and-twenty windows of this hall imperfect, and thus hast executed my commands punctually; now I would have thee make it like the rest." The genie immediately disappeared. Alla ad Deen went out of the hall, and returning soon after, found the window, as he wished it to be, like the others.
In the meantime, the jewellers and goldsmiths repaired to the palace, and were introduced into the sultan's presence; where the chief jeweller, presenting the precious stones which he had brought back, said, in the name of all the rest, "Your majesty knows how long we have been upon the work you were pleased to set us about, in which we used all imaginable industry. It was far advanced, when prince Alla ad Deen commanded us not only to leave off, but to undo what we had already begun, and bring your majesty your jewels back." The sultan asked them if Alla ad Deen had given them any reason for so doing, and they answering that he had given them none, he ordered a horse to be brought, which he mounted, and rode to his son-in law's palace, with some few attendants on foot. When he came there, he alighted at the stair-case, which led up to the hall with the twenty-four windows, and went directly up to it, without giving previous notice to Alla ad Deen; but it happened that at that very juncture Alla ad Deen was opportunely there, and had just time to receive him at the door.
The sultan, without giving Alla ad Deen time to complain obligingly of his not having given notice, that he might have acquitted himself with the more becoming respect, said to him, "Son, I come myself to know the reason why you commanded the jewellers to desist from work, and take to pieces what they had done."
Alla ad Deen disguised the true reason, which was, that the sultan was not rich enough in jewels to be at so great an expense, but said, "I beg of you now to see if any thing is wanting."
The sultan went directly to the window which was left imperfect, and when he found it like the rest, fancied that he was mistaken, examined the two windows on each side, and afterwards all the four-and-twenty; but when he was convinced that the window which several workmen had been so long about was finished in so short a time, he embraced Alla ad Deen, and kissed him between his eyes. "My son," said he, "what a man you are to do such surprising things always in the twinkling of an eye; there is not your fellow in the world; the more I know, the more I admire you."
Alla ad Deen received these praises from the sultan with modesty, and replied in these words: "Sir, it is a great honour to me to deserve your majesty's good-will and approbation, and I assure you, I shall study to deserve them more."
The sultan returned to his palace, but would not let Alla ad Deen attend him. When he came there, he found his grand vizier waiting, to whom he related the wonder he had witnessed, with the utmost admiration, and in such terms as left the minister no room to doubt but that the facet was as the sultan related it; though he was the more confirmed in his belief, that Alla ad Deen's palace was the effect of enchantment, as he had told the sultan the first moment he saw it. He was going to repeat the observation, but the sultan interrupted him, and said, "You told me so once before; I see, vizier, you have not forgotten your son's espousals to my daughter." The frank vizier plainly saw how much the sultan was prepossessed, therefore avoided disputes and let him remain in his own opinion. The sultan as soon as he rose every morning went into the closet, to look at Alla ad Deen's palace, and would go many times in a day to contemplate and admire it.
Alla ad Deen did not confine himself in his palace; but took care to shew himself once or twice a week in the town, by going sometimes to one mosque, and sometimes to another, to prayers, or to visit the grand vizier, who affected to pay his court to him on certain days, or to do the principal lords of the court the honour to return their visits after he had regaled them at his palace. Every time he went out, he caused two slaves, who walked by the side of his horse, to throw handfuls of money among the people as he passed through the streets and squares, which were generally on those occasions crowded. Besides, no one came to his palace gates to ask alms, but returned satisfied with his liberality. In short, he so divided his time, that not a week passed but he went either once or twice a hunting, sometimes in the environs of the city, sometimes farther off; at which time the villages through which he passed felt the effects of his generosity, which gained him the love and blessings of the people: and it was common for them to swear by his head. Thus, without giving the ]east umbrage to the sultan, to whom he paid all imaginable respect, Alla ad Deen, by his affable behaviour and liberality, had won the affections of the people, and was more beloved than the sultan himself. With all these good qualities he shewed a courage and a zeal for the public good which could not be sufficiently applauded. He gave sufficient proofs of both in a revolt on the borders of the kingdom; for he no sooner understood that the sultan was levying an army to disperse the rebels than he begged the command of it, which he found not difficult to obtain. As soon as he was empowered, he marched with so much expedition, that the sultan heard of the defeat of the rebels before he had received an account of his arrival in the army. And though this action rendered his name famous throughout the kingdom, it made no alteration in his disposition; but he was as affable after his victory as before.
Alla ad Deen had conducted himself in this manner several years, when the African magician, who undesignedly had been the instrument of raising him to so high a pitch of prosperity, recalled him to his recollection in Africa, whither, after his expedition, he had returned. And though he was almost persuaded that Alla ad Deen must have died miserably in the subterraneous abode where he had left him, yet he had the curiosity to inform himself about his end with certainty; and as he was a great geomancer, he took out of a cupboard a square covered box, which he used in his geomantic observations: then sat himself down on the sofa, set it before him, and uncovered it. After he had prepared and levelled the sand which was in it, with an intention to discover whether or no Alla ad Deen had died in the subterraneous abode, he cast the points, drew the figures, and formed a horoscope, by which, when he came to examine it, he found that Alla ad Deen, instead of dying in the cave, had made his escape, lived splendidly, was in possession of the wonderful lamp, had married a princess, and was much honoured and respected.
The magician no sooner understood by the rules of his diabolical art, that Alla ad Deen had arrived to this height of good fortune, than his face became inflamed with anger, and he cried out in a rage, "This sorry tailor's son has discovered the secret and virtue of the lamp! I believed his death to be certain; but find that he enjoys the fruit of my labour and study! I will, however, prevent his enjoying it long, or perish in the attempt." He was not a great while deliberating on what he should do, but the next morning mounted a barb, set forwards, and never stopped but to refresh himself and horse, till he arrived at the capital of China. He alighted, took up his lodging in a khan, and stayed there the remainder of the day and the night, to refresh himself after so long a journey.
The next day, his first object was to inquire what people said of Alla ad Deen; and, taking a walk through the town, he went to the most public and frequented places, where persons of the best distinction met to drink a certain warm liquor, which he had drunk often during his former visit.
As soon as he had seated himself, he was presented with a cup of it, which he took; but listening at the same time to the discourse of the company on each side of him, he heard them talking of Alla ad Deen's palace. When he had drunk off his liquor, he joined them, and taking this opportunity, inquired particularly of what palace they spoke with so much commendation. "From whence come you?" said the person to whom he addressed himself; "you must certainly be a stranger not to have seen or heard talk of Prince Alla ad Deen's palace" (for he was called so after his marriage with the princess). "I do not say," continued the man, "that it is one of the wonders of the world, but that it is the only wonder of the world; since nothing so grand, rich, and magnificent was ever beheld. Certainly you must have come from a great distance, or some obscure corner, not to have heard of it, for it must have been talked of all over the world. Go and see it, and then judge whether I have told you more than the truth." "Forgive my ignorance," replied the African magician; "I arrived here but yesterday, and came from the farthest part of Africa, where the fame of this palace had not reached when I came away. The business which brought me hither was so urgent, that my sole objets was to arrive as soon as I could, without stopping anywhere, or making any acquaintance. But I will not fail to go and see it; my impatience is so great, I will go immediately and satisfy my curiosity, if you will do me the favour to shew me the way thither."
The person to whom the African magician addressed himself took a pleasure in shewing him the way to Alla ad Deen'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 Alla ad Deen 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 genii, the slaves of the lamp, the attaining of which he had missed, could have performed such wonders; and piqued to the quick at Alla ad Deen's happiness and splendour, he returned to the khan where he lodged.
The next point was to ascertain where the lamp was; whether Alla ad Deen carried it about with him, or where he kept it; and this he was to discover by an operation of geomancy. As soon as he entered his lodging, he took his square box of sand, which he always carried with him when he travelled, and after he had performed some operations, he found that the lamp was in Alla ad Deen's palace, and so great was his joy at the discovery that he could hardly contain himself. "Well," said he, "I shall have the lamp, and defy Alla ad Deen's preventing my carrying it off, and making him sink to his original meanness, from which he has taken so high a flight."
It was Alla ad Deen's misfortune at that time to be absent in the chase for eight days, and only three were expired, which the magician came to know by this means. After he had performed the magical operation, which gave him so much joy, he went to the superintendent of the khan, entered into conversation with him on indifferent subjects, and among the rest, told him he had been to see Alla ad Deen's palace; and after exaggerating on all that he had seen most worthy of observation, added, "But my curiosity leads me farther, and I shall not be satisfied till I have seen the person to whom this wonderful edifice belongs." "That will be no difficult matter," replied the master of the khan, "there is not a day passes but he gives an opportunity when he is in town, but at present he is not at the palace, and has been gone these three days on a hunting-match, which will last eight.
The magician wanted to know no more; he took his leave of the superintendent of the khan, and returning to his own chamber, said to himself, "This is an opportunity I ought by no means to neglect, but must make the best use of it." To that end, he went to a coppersmith, and asked for a dozen copper lamps: the master of the shop told him he had not so many by him, but if he would have patience till the next day, he would have them ready. The magician appointed his time, and desired him to take care that they should be handsome and well polished. After promising to pay him well, he returned to his inn.
The next day the magician called for the twelve lamps, paid the man his full price, put them into a basket which he bought on purpose, and with the basket hanging on his arm, went directly to Alla ad Deen's palace: as he approached he began crying, "Who will change old lamps for new ones?" As he went along, a crowd of children collected, who hooted, and thought him, as did all who chanced to be passing by, a madman or a fool, to offer to change new lamps for old ones.
The African magician regarded not their scoffs, hootings, or all they could say to him, but still continued crying, "Who will change old lamps for new?" He repeated this so often, walking backwards and forwards in front of the palace, that the princess, who was then in the hall with the four-and-twenty windows, hearing a man cry something, and not being able to distinguish his words, owing to the hooting of the children and increasing mob about him, sent one of her women slaves to know what he cried.
The slave was not long before she returned, and ran into the hall, laughing so heartily, that the princess could not forbear herself. "Well, giggler," said the princess, "will you tell me what you laugh at?" "Madam," answered the slave, laughing still, "who can forbear laughing, to see a fool with a basket on his arm, full of fine new lamps, ask to change them for old ones; the children and mob, crowding about him so that he can hardly stir, make all the noise they can in derision of him."
Another female slave hearing this, said, "Now you speak of lamps, I know not whether the princess may have observed it, but there is an old one upon a shelf of the prince's robing-room, and whoever owns it will not be sorry to find a new one in its stead. If the princess chooses, she may have the pleasure of trying if this fool is so silly as to give a new lamp for an old one, without taking any thing for the exchange."
The lamp this slave spoke of was the wonderful lamp, which Alla ad Deen had laid upon the shelf before he departed for the chase; this he had done several times before; but neither the princess, the slaves, nor the eunuchs, had ever taken notice of it. At all other times except when hunting he carried it about his person.
The princess, who knew not the value of this lamp, and the interest that Alla ad Deen, not to mention herself, had to keep it safe, entered into the pleasantry, and commanded a eunuch to take it, and make the exchange. The eunuch obeyed, went out of the hall, and no sooner got to the palace gates than he saw the African magician, called to him, and shewing him the old lamp, said, "Give me a new lamp for this."
The magician never doubted but this was the lamp he wanted. There could be no other such in this palace, where every utensil was gold or silver. He snatched it eagerly out of the eunuch's hand, and thrusting it as far as he could into his breast, offered him his basket, and bade him choose which he liked best. The eunuch picked out one, and carried it to the princess; but the exchange was no sooner made than the place rung with the shouts of the children, deriding the magician's folly.
The African magician gave everybody leave to laugh as much as they pleased; he stayed not long near the palace, but made the best of his way, without crying any longer, "New lamps for old ones." His end was answered, and by his silence he got rid of the children and the mob.
As soon as he was out of the square between the two palaces, he hastened down the streets which were the least frequented; and having no more occasion for his lamps or basket, set all down in an alley where nobody saw him: then going down another street or two, he walked till he came to one of the city gates, and pursuing his way through the suburbs, which were very extensive, at length reached a lonely spot, where he stopped for a time to execute the design he had in contemplation, never caring for his horse which he had left at the khan, but thinking himself perfectly compensated by the treasure he had acquired.
In this place the African magician passed the remainder of the day, till the darkest time of night, when he pulled the lamp out of his breast and rubbed it. At that summons the genie appeared, and said, "What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their hands; both I and the other slaves of the lamp." "I command thee," replied the magician, "to transport me immediately and the palace which thou and the other slaves of the lamp have built in this city, with all the people in it, to Africa." The genie made no reply, but with the assistance of the other genii, the slaves of the lamp immediately transported him and the palace entire, to the spot whither he was desired to convey it.
As soon as the sultan rose the next morning, according to custom, he went into his closet, to have the pleasure of contemplating and admiring Alla ad Deen's palace; but when he first looked that way, and instead of a palace saw an empty space such as it was before the palace was built, he thought he was mistaken, and rubbed his eyes; but when he looked again, he still saw nothing more the second time than the first, though the weather was fine, the sky clear, and the dawn advancing had made all objects very distinct. He looked again in front, to the right and left, but beheld nothing more than he had formerly been used to see from his window. His amazement was so great, that he stood for some time turning his eyes to the spot where the palace had stood, but where it was no longer to be seen. He could not comprehend how so large a palace as Alla ad Deen's, which he had seen plainly every day for some years, and but the day before, should vanish so soon, and not leave the least remains behind. "Certainly," said he to himself, "I am not mistaken; it stood there: if it had fallen, the materials would have lain in heaps; and if it had been swallowed up by an earthquake, there would be some mark left." At last, though he was convinced that no palace stood now opposite his own, he could not help staying some time at his window, to see whether he might not be mistaken. At last he retired to his apartment, not without looking behind him before he quitted the spot ordered the grand vizier to be sent for with expedition, and in the meantime sat down, his mind agitated by so many different conjectures that he knew not what to resolve.
The grand vizier did not make the sultan wait long for him, but came with so much precipitation, that neither he nor his attendants, as they passed, missed Alla ad Deen's palace; neither did the porters, when they opened the palace gates observe any alteration.
When he came into the sultan's presence, he said to him, '"The haste in which your majesty sent for me makes me believe something extraordinary has happened, since you know that this is a day of public audience, and I should not have failed of attending at the usual time." "Indeed," said the sultan, "it is something very extraordinary, as you say, and you will allow it to be so: tell me what is become of Alla ad Deen's palace?" "His palace!" replied the grand vizier, in amazement, "I thought as I passed it stood in its usual place; such substantial buildings are not so easily removed." "Go into my closet," said the sultan, "and tell me if you can see it."
The grand vizier went into the closet, where he was struck with no less amazement than the sultan had been. When he was well assured that there was not the least appearance of this palace, he returned to the sultan. "Well," said the sultan, :have you seen Alla ad Deen's palace?" "No," answered the vizier; "but your majesty may remember that I had the honour to tell you, that palace, which was the subject of your admiration, with all its immense riches, was only the work of magic and a magician; but your majesty would not pay the least attention to what I said."
The sultan, who could not deny what the grand vizier had represented to him, flew into the greater passion: "Where is that impostor, that wicked wretch," said he, "that I may have his head taken off immediately?" "Sir," replied the grand vizier, "it is some days since he came to take his leave of your majesty, on pretence of hunting; he ought to be sent for, to know what is become of his palace, since he cannot be ignorant of what has been transacted." "That is too great an indulgence," replied the sultan: "command a detachment of horse to bring him to me loaded with chains." The grand vizier gave orders for a detachment, and instructed the officer who commanded them how they were to act, that Alla ad Deen might not escape. The detachment pursued their orders; and about five or six leagues from the town met him returning from the chase. The officer advanced respectfully, and informed him the sultan was so impatient to see him, that he had sent his party to accompany him home.
Alla ad Deen had not the least suspicion of the true reason of their meeting him; but when he came within half a league of the city, the detachment surrounded him, when the officer addressed himself to him, and said, "Prince, it is with great regret that I declare to you the sultan's order to arrest you, and to carry you before him as a criminal: I beg of you not to take it ill that we acquit ourselves of our duty, and to forgive us."
Alla ad Deen, who felt himself innocent, was much surprised at this declaration, and asked the officer if he knew what crime he was accused of; who replied, he did not. Then Alla ad Deen, finding that his retinue was much interior to this detachment, alighted off his horse, and said to the officers, "Execute your orders; I am not conscious that I have committed any offence against the sultan's person or government." A heavy chain was immediately put about his neck, and fastened round his body, so that both his arms were pinioned down; the officer then put himself at the head of the detachment, and one of the troopers taking hold of the end of the chain and proceeding after the officer, led Alla ad Deen, who was obliged to follow him on foot, into the city.
When this detachment entered the suburbs, the people, who saw Alla ad Deen thus led as a state criminal, never doubted but that his head was to be cut off; and as he was generally beloved, some took sabres and other arms; and those who had none gathered stones, and followed the escort. The last division faced about to disperse them; but their numbers presently increased so much, that the soldiery began to think it would be well if they could get into the sultan's palace before Alla ad Deen was rescued; to prevent which, according to the different extent of the streets, they took care to cover the ground by extending or closing. In this manner they with much difficulty arrived at the palace square, and there drew up in a line, till their officer and troopers with Alla ad Deen had got within the gates, which were immediately shut.
Alla ad Deen was carried before the sultan, who waited for him, attended by the grand vizier, in a balcony; and as soon as he saw him, he ordered the executioner, who waited there for the purpose, to strike off his head without hearing him or giving him leave to clear himself.
As soon as the executioner had taken off the chain that was fastened about Alla ad Deen's neck and body, and laid down a skin stained with the blood of the many he had executed, he made the supposed criminal kneel down, and tied a bandage over his eyes. Then drawing his sabre, took his aim by flourishing it three times in the air, waiting for the sultan's giving the signal to strike.
At that instant the grand vizier perceiving that the populace had forced the guard of horse, crowded the great square before the palace, and were scaling the walls in several places, and beginning to pull them down to force their way in; he said to the sultan, before he gave the signal, "I beg of your majesty to consider what you are going to do, since you will hazard your palace being destroyed; and who knows what fatal consequence may follow?" "My palace forced!" replied the sultan; "who can have that audacity?" "Sir," answered the grand vizier, "if your majesty will but cast your eyes towards the great square, and on the palace walls, you will perceive the truth of what I say."
The sultan was so much alarmed when he saw so great a crowd, and how enraged they were, that he ordered the executioner to put his sabre ;immediately into the scabbard, to unbind Alla ad Deen, and at the same time commanded the porters to declare to the people that the sultan had pardoned him, and that they might retire.
Those who had already got upon the walls, and were witnesses of what had passed, abandoned their design and got quickly down, overjoyed that they had saved the life of a man they dearly loved, and published the news amongst the rest, which was presently confirmed by the mace-bearers from the top of the terraces. The justice which the sultan had done to Alla ad Deen soon disarmed the populace of their rage; the tumult abated, and the mob dispersed.
When Alla ad Deen found himself at liberty, he turned towards the balcony, and perceiving the sultan, raised his voice, and said to him in a moving manner, "I beg of your majesty to add one favour more to that which I have already received, which is, to let me know my crime?" "Your crime," answered the sultan; "perfidious wretch! Do you not know it? Come hither, and I will shew it you."
Alla ad Deen went up, when the sultan, going before him without looking at him, said, "Follow me;" and then led him into his closet. When he came to the door, he said, "Go in; you ought to know whereabouts your palace stood: look round and tell me what is become of it?"
Alla ad Deen looked, but saw nothing. He perceived the spot upon which his palace had stood; but not being able to divine how it had disappeared, was thrown into such great confusion and amazement, that he could not return one word of answer.
The sultan growing impatient, demanded of him again, "Where is your palace, and what is become of my daughter?" Alla ad Deen, breaking silence, replied, "Sir, I perceive and own that the palace which I have built is not in its place, but is vanished; neither can I tell your majesty where it may be, but can assure you I had no concern in its removal."
"I am not so much concerned about your palace," replied the sultan, "I value my daughter ten thousand times more, and would have you find her out, otherwise I will cause your head to be struck off, and no consideration shall divert me from my purpose."
"I beg of your majesty," answered Alla ad Deen, "to grant me forty days to make my inquiries; and if in that time I have not the success I wish, I will offer my head at the foot of your throne, to be disposed of at your pleasure." "I give you the forty days you ask," said the sultan; "but think not to abuse the favour I shew you, by imagining you shall escape my resentment; for I will find you out in whatsoever part of the world you may conceal yourself."
Alla ad Deen went out of the sultan's presence with great humiliation, and in a condition worthy of pity. He crossed the courts of the palace, hanging down his head, and in such great confusion, that he durst not lift up his eyes. The principal officers of the court, who had all professed themselves his friends, and whom he had never disobliged, instead of going up to him to comfort him, and offer him a retreat in their houses, turned their backs to avoid seeing him. But had they accosted him with a word of comfort or offer of service, they would have no more known Alla ad Deen. He did not know himself, and was no longer in his senses, as plainly appeared by his asking everybody he met, and at every house, if they had seen his palace, or could tell him any news of it.
These questions made the generality believe that Alla ad Deen was mad. Some laughed at him, but people of sense and humanity, particularly those who had had any connection of business or friendship with him, really pitied him. For three days he rambled about the city in this manner, without coming to any resolution, or eating anything but what some compassionate people forced him to take out of charity.
At last, as he could no longer in his unhappy condition stay in a city where he had lately been next to the sultan, he took the road to the country; and after he had traversed several fields in wild uncertainty, at the approach of night came to the bank of a river. There, possessed by his despair, he said to himself, "Where shall I seek my palace? In what province, country, or part of the world, shall I find that and my dear princess, whom the sultan expects from me? I shall never succeed; I had better free myself at once from fruitless endeavours, and such bitter grief as preys upon me." He was just going to throw himself into the river, but, as a good Moosulmaun, true to his religion, he thought he should not do it without first saying his prayers. Going to prepare himself, he went to the river's brink, in order to perform the usual ablutions. The place being steep and slippery, from the water beating against it, he slid down, and had certainly fallen into the river, but for a little rock which projected about two feet out of the earth. Happily also for him he still had on the ring which the African magician had put on his finger before he went down into the subterraneous abode to fetch the precious lamp. In slipping down the bank he rubbed the ring so hard by holding on the rock, that immediately the same genie appeared whom he had seen in the cave where the magician had left him. "What wouldst thou have?" said the genie. "I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those that have that ring on their finger; both I and the other slaves of the ring."
Alla ad Deen, agreeably surprised at an apparition he so little expected in his present calamity, replied, "Save my life, genie, a second time, either by shewing me to the place where the palace I caused to be built now stands, or immediately transporting it back where it first stood." "What you command me," answered the genie, "is not wholly in my power; I am only the slave of the ring; you must address yourself to the slave of the lamp." "If that be the case," replied Alla ad Deen, "I command thee, by the power of the ring, to transport me to the spot where my palace stands, in what part of the world soever it may be, and set me down under the window of the princess Buddir al Buddoor." These words were no sooner out of his mouth, than the genie transported him into Africa, to the midst of a large plain, where his palace stood, at no great distance from a city, and placing him exactly under the window of the princess's apartment, left him. All this was done almost in an instant.
Alla ad Deen, notwithstanding the darkness of the night, knew his palace and the princess Buddir al Buddoor's apartment again; but as the night was far advanced, and all was quiet in the palace, he retired to some distance, and sat down at the foot of a large tree. There, full of hopes, and reflecting on his happiness, for which he was indebted to chance, he found himself in a much more comfortable situation than when he was arrested and carried before the sultan; being now delivered from the immediate danger of losing his life. He amused himself for some time with these agreeable thoughts; but not having slept for two days, was not able to resist the drowsiness which came upon him, but fell fast asleep.
The next morning, as soon as day appeared, Alla ad Deen was agreeably awakened by the singing not only of the birds which had roosted in the tree under which he had passed the night, but also of those which frequented the thick groves of the palace garden. When he cast his eyes on that wonderful edifice, he felt inexpressible joy at thinking he might possibly soon be master of it again, and once more possess his dear princess Buddir al Buddoor. Pleased with these hopes, he immediately arose, went towards the princess's apartment, and walked some time under her window in expectation of her rising, that he might see her. During this expectation, he began to consider with himself whence the cause of his misfortune had proceeded; and after mature reflection, no longer doubted that it was owing to having trusted the lamp out of his sight. He accused himself of negligence in letting it be a moment away from him. But what puzzled him most was, that he could not imagine who had been so envious of his happiness. He would soon have guessed this, if he had known that both he and his palace were in Africa, the very name of which would soon have made him remember the magician his declared enemy; but the genie, the slave of the ring, had not made the least mention of the name of the country, nor had Alla ad Deen inquired.
The princess rose earlier that morning than she had done since her transportation into Africa by the magician, whose presence she was forced to support once a day, because he was master of the palace; but she had always treated him so harshly that he dared not reside in it. As she was dressing, one of the women looking through the window, perceived Alla ad Deen, and instantly told her mistress. The princess, who could not believe the joyful tidings, hastened herself to the window, and seeing Alla ad Deen, immediately opened it. The noise of opening the window made Alla ad Deen turn his head that way, and perceiving the princess he saluted her with an air that expressed his joy. "To lose no time," said she to him, "I have sent to have the private door opened for you; enter, and come up."
The private door, which was just under the princess's apartment, was soon opened, and Alla ad Deen conducted up into the chamber. It is impossible to express the joy of both at seeing each other, after so cruel a separation. After embracing and shedding tears of joy, they sat down, and Alla ad Deen said, "I beg of you, princess, in God's name, before we talk of anything else, to tell me, both for your own sake, the sultan your father's, and mine, what is become of an old lamp which I left upon a shelf in my robing-chamber, when I departed for the chase."
"Alas! dear husband," answered the princess, "I was afraid our misfortune might be owing to that lamp: and what grieves me most is, that I have been the cause of it." "Princess," replied Alla ad Deen, "do not blame yourself, since it was entirely my fault, for I ought to have taken more care of it. But let us now think only of repairing the loss; tell me what has happened, and into whose hands it has fallen."
The princess then related how she had changed the old lamp for a new one, which she ordered to be fetched, that he might see it, and how the next morning she found herself in the unknown country they were then in, which she was told was Africa, by the traitor, who had transported her thither by his magic art.
"Princess," said Alla ad Deen, interrupting her, "you have informed me who the traitor is, by telling me we are in Africa. He is the most perfidious of men; but this is neither a time nor place to give you a full account of his villanies. I desire you only to tell me what he has done with the lamp, and where he has put it?" "He carries it carefully wrapped up in his bosom," said the princess; "and this I can assure you, because he pulled it out before me, and shewed it to me in triumph."
"Princess," said Alla ad Deen, "do not be displeased that I trouble you with so many questions, since they are equally important to us both. But to come to what most particularly concerns me; tell me, I conjure you, how so wicked and perfidious a man treats you?" "Since I have been here," replied the princess, "he repairs once every day to see me; and I am persuaded the little satisfaction he receives from his visits makes him come no oftener. All his addresses tend to persuade me to break that faith I have pledged to you, and to take him for my husband; giving me to understand, I need not entertain hopes of ever seeing you again, for that you were dead, having had your head struck off by the sultan my father's order. He added, to justify himself, that you were an ungrateful wretch; that your good fortune was owing to him, and a great many other things of that nature which I forbear to repeat: but as he received no other answer from me but grievous complaints and tears, he was always forced to retire with as little satisfaction as he came. I doubt not his intention is to allow me time to overcome my grief, in hopes that afterwards I may change my sentiments; and if I persevere in an obstinate refusal, to use violence. But my dear husband's presence removes all my apprehensions."
"I am confident my attempts to punish the magician will not be in vain," replied Alla ad Deen, "since my princess's fears are removed, and I think I have found the means to deliver you from both your enemy and mine; to execute this design, it is necessary for me to go to the town. I shall return by noon, will then communicate my design, and what must be done by you to ensure success. But that you may not be surprised, I think it proper to acquaint you, that I shall change my apparel, and beg of you to give orders that I may not wait long at the private door, but that it may be opened at the first knock;" all which the princess promised to observe.
When Alla ad Deen was out of the palace, he looked round him on all sides, and perceiving a peasant going into the country, hastened after him; and when he had overtaken him, made a proposal to him to change habits, which the man agreed to. When they had made the exchange, the countryman went about his business, and Alla ad Deen to the city. After traversing several streets, he came to that part of the town where all descriptions of merchants and artisans had their particular streets, according to their trades. He went into that of the druggists; and going into one of the largest and best furnished shops, asked the druggist if he had a certain powder which he named.
The druggist, judging Alla ad Deen by his habit to be very poor, and that he had not money enough to pay for it, told him he had it, but that it was very dear; upon which Alla ad Deen penetrated his thoughts, pulled out his purse, and shewing him some gold, asked for half a dram of the powder; which the druggist weighed, wrapped up in paper, and gave him, telling him the price was a piece of gold. Alla ad Deen put the money into his hand, and staying no longer in the town than just to get a little refreshment, returned to the palace, where he waited not long at the private door. When he came into the princess's apartment, he said to her, "Princess, perhaps the aversion you tell me you have for your ravisher may be an objection to your executing what I am going to propose; but permit me to say it is proper that you should at this juncture dissemble a little, and do violence to your inclinations, if you would deliver yourself from him, and give my lord the sultan your father the satisfaction of seeing you again. "If you will take my advice," continued he, "dress yourself this moment in one of your richest habits, and when the African magician comes, make no difficulty to give him the best reception; receive him with a cheerful countenance, so that he may imagine time has removed your affliction and disgust at his addresses. In your conversation, let him understand that you strive to forget me; and that he may be the more fully convinced of your sincerity, invite him to sup with you, and tell him you should be glad to taste of some of the best wines of his country. He will presently go to fetch you some. During his absence, put into one of the cups you are accustomed to drink out of this powder, and setting it by, charge the slave you may order that night to attend you, on a signal you shall agree upon, to bring that cup to you. When the magician and you have eaten and drunk as much as you choose, let her bring you the cup, and then change cups with him. He will esteem it so great a favour that he will not refuse, but eagerly quaff it off; but no sooner will he have drunk, than you will see him fall backwards. If you have any reluctance to drink out of his cup, you may pretend only to do it, without fear of being discovered; for the effect of the powder is so quick, that he will not have time to know whether you drink or not."
When Alla ad Deen had finished, "I own," answered the princess, "I shall do myself great violence in consenting to make the magician such advances as I see are absolutely necessary; but what cannot one resolve to do against a cruel enemy? I will therefore follow your advice, since both my repose and yours depend upon it. "After the princess had agreed to the measures proposed by Alla ad Deen, he took his leave, and went and spent the rest of the day in the neighbourhood of the palace till it was night, and he might safely return to the private door.
The princess, who had remained inconsolable at being separated not only from her husband, whom she had loved from the first moment, and still continued to love more out of inclination than duty, but also from the sultan her father, who had always showed the most tender and paternal affection for her, had, ever since their cruel separation, lived in great neglect of her person. She had almost forgotten the neatness so becoming persons of her sex and quality, particularly after the first time the magician paid her a visit; and she had understood by some of the women, who knew him again, that it was he who had taken the old lamp in exchange for a new one, which rendered the sight of him more abhorred. However, the opportunity of taking the revenge he deserved made her resolve to gratify Alla ad Deen. As soon, therefore, as he was gone, she sat down to dress, and was attired by her women to the best advantage in the richest habit of her wardrobe. Her girdle was of the finest and largest diamonds set in gold, her necklace of pearls, six on a side, so well proportioned to that in the middle, which was the largest ever seen, and invaluable, that the greatest sultanesses would have been proud to have been adorned with only two of the smallest. Her bracelets, which were of diamonds and rubies intermixed, corresponded admirably to the richness of the girdle and necklace.
When the princess Buddir al Buddoor was completely dressed, she consulted her glass and women upon her adjustment; and when she found she wanted no charms to flatter the foolish passion of the African magician, she sat down on a sofa expecting his arrival.
The magician came at the usual hour, and as soon as he entered the great hall where the princess waited to receive him, she rose with an enchanting grace and smile, and pointed with her hand to the most honourable place, waiting till he sat down, that she might sit at the same time which was a civility she had never shown him before.
The African magician, dazzled more with the lustre of the princess's eyes than the glittering of the jewels with which she was adorned, was much surprised. The smiling and graceful air with which she received him, so opposite to her former behaviour, quite fascinated his heart.
When he was seated, the princess, to free him from his embarrassment, broke silence first, locking at him all the time in such a manner as to make him believe that he was not so odious to her as she had given him to understand hitherto and said, "You are doubtless amazed to find me so much altered to-day; but your surprise will not be so great when I acquaint you, that I am naturally of a disposition so opposite to melancholy and grief, sorrow and uneasiness, that I always strive to put them as far away as possible when I find the subject of them is past. I have reflected on what you told me of Alla ad Deen's fate, and know my father's temper so well, that I am persuaded with you he could not escape the terrible effects of the sultan's rage; therefore, should I continue to lament him all my life, my tears cannot recall him. For this reason, since I have paid all the duties decency requires of me to his memory, now he is in the grave I think I ought to endeavour to comfort myself. These are the motives of the change you see in me; I am resolved to banish melancholy entirely; and, persuaded that you will bear me company tonight, I have ordered a supper to be prepared; but as I have no wines but those of China, I have a great desire to taste of the produce of Africa, and doubt not your procuring some of the best."
The African magician, who had looked upon the happiness of getting so soon and so easily into the princess Buddir al Buddoor's good graces as impossible, could not think of words expressive enough to testify how sensible he was of her favours: but to put an end the sooner to a conversation which would have embarrassed him, if he had engaged farther in it, he turned it upon the wines of Africa, and said, "Of all the advantages Africa can boast, that of producing the most excellent wines is one of the principal. I have a vessel of seven years old, which has never been broached; and it is indeed not praising it too much to say it is the finest wine in the world. If my princess," added he, "will give me leave, I will go and fetch two bottles, and return again immediately." "I should be sorry to give you that trouble," replied the princess; "you had better send for them." "It is necessary I should go myself," answered the African magician; "for nobody but myself knows where the key of the cellar is laid, or has the secret to unlock the door." "If it be so," said the princess, "make haste back; for the longer you stay, the greater will be my impatience, and we shall sit down to supper as soon as you return."
The African magician, full of hopes of his expected happiness, rather flew than ran, and returned quickly with the wine. The princess, not doubting but he would make haste, put with her own hand the powder Alla ad Deen had given her into the cup set apart for that purpose. They sat down at the table opposite to each other, the magician's back towards the sideboard. The princess presented him with the best at the table, and said to him, "If you please, I will entertain you with a concert of vocal and instrumental music; but, as we are only two, I think conversation maybe more agreeable." This the magician took as a new favour.
After they had eaten some time, the princess called for some wine, drank the magician's health, and afterwards said to him, "Indeed you had a full right to commend your wine, since I never tasted any so delicious." "Charming princess," said he, holding in his hand the cup which had been presented to him," my wine becomes more exquisite by your approbation." "Then drink my health," replied the princess; "you will find I understand wines." He drank the princess's health, and returning the cup, said, "I think myself fortunate, princess, that I reserved this wine for so happy an occasion; and own I never before drank any in every respect so excellent."
When they had each drunk two or three cups more, the princess, who had completely charmed the African magician by her civility and obliging behaviour, gave the signal to the slave who served them with wine, bidding her bring the cup which had been filled for her, and at the same time bring the magician a full goblet. When they both had their cups in their hands, she said to him, "I know not how you express your loves in these parts when drinking together? With us in China the lover and his mistress reciprocally exchange cups, and drink each other's health." At the same time she presented to him the cup which was in her hand, and held out her hand to receive his. He hastened to make the exchange with the more pleasure, because he looked upon this favour as the most certain token of an entire conquest over the princess, which raised his rapture to the highest pitch. Before he drank, he said to her, with the cup in his hand, "Indeed, princess, we Africans are not so refined in the art of love as you Chinese: and your instructing me in a lesson I was ignorant of, informs me how sensible I ought to be of the favour done me. I shall never, lovely princess, forget my recovering, by drinking out of your cup, that life, which your cruelty, had it continued, must have made me despair of."
The princess, who began to be tired with this impertinent declaration of the African magician, interrupted him, and said, "Let us drink first, and then say what you will afterwards;" at the same time she set the cup to her lips, while the African magician, who was eager to get his wine off first, drank up the very last drop. In finishing it, he had reclined his head back to shew his eagerness, and remained some time in that state. The princess kept the cup at her lips, till she saw his eyes turn in his head, when he fell backwards lifeless on the sofa.
The princess had no occasion to order the private door to be opened to Alla ad Deen; for her women were so disposed from the great hall to the foot of the staircase, that the word was no sooner given that the African magician was fallen backwards, than the door was immediately opened.
As soon as Alla ad Deen entered the hall, he saw the magician stretched backwards on the sofa. The princess rose from her seat, and ran overjoyed to embrace him; but he stopped her, and said, "Princess, it is not yet time; oblige me by retiring to your apartment; and let me be left alone a moment, while I endeavour to transport you back to China as speedily as you were brought from thence."
When the princess, her women and eunuchs, were gone out of the hall, Alla ad Deen shut the door, and going directly to the dead body of the magician, opened his vest, took out the lamp, which was carefully wrapped up, as the princess had told him, and unfolding and rubbing it, the genie immediately appeared. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "I have called to command thee, on the part of thy good mistress this lamp, to transport this palace instantly into China, to the place from whence it was brought hither." The genie bowed his head in token of obedience, and disappeared. Immediately the palace was transported into China, and its removal was only felt by two little shocks, the one when it was lifted up, the other when it was set down, and both in a very short interval of time.
Alla ad Deen went to the princess's apartment, and embracing her, said, "I can assure you, princess, that your joy and mine will be complete tomorrow morning." The princess, guessing that Alla ad Deen must be hungry, ordered the dishes, served up in the great hall, to be brought down. The princess and Alla ad Deen ate as much as they thought fit, and drank of the African magician's old wine; during which time their conversation could not be otherwise than satisfactory, and then they retired to their own chamber.
>From the time of the transportation of Alla ad Deen's palace, the princess's father had been inconsolable for the loss of her. He could take no rest, and instead of avoiding what might continue his affliction, he indulged it without restraint. Before the disaster he used to go every morning into his closet to please himself with viewing the palace, he went now many times in the day to renew his tears, and plunge himself into the deepest melancholy, by the idea of no more seeing that which once gave him so much pleasure, and reflecting how he had lost what was most dear to him in this world.
The very morning of the return of Alla ad Deen's palace, the sultan went, by break of day, into his closet to indulge his sorrows. Absorbed in himself, and in a pensive mood, he cast his eyes towards the spot, expecting only to see an open space; but perceiving the vacancy filled up, he at first imagined the appearance to be the effect of a fog; looking more attentively, he was convinced beyond the power of doubt it was his son-in-law's palace. Joy and gladness succeeded to sorrow and grief. He returned immediately into his apartment, and ordered a horse to be saddled and brought to him without delay, which he mounted that instant, thinking he could not make haste enough to the palace.
Alla ad Deen, who foresaw what would happen, rose that morning by day-break, put on one of the most magnificent habits his wardrobe afforded, and went up into the hall of twenty-four windows, from whence he perceived the sultan approaching, and got down soon enough to receive him at the foot of the great staircase, and to help him to dismount. "Alla ad Deen," said the sultan, "I cannot speak to you till I have seen and embraced my daughter."
He led the sultan into the princess's apartment. The happy father embraced her with his face bathed in tears of joy; and the princess, on her side, shewed him all the testimonies of the extreme pleasure the sight of him afforded her.
The sultan was some time before he could open his lips, so great was his surprise and joy to find his daughter again, after he had given her up for lost; and the princess, upon seeing her father, let fall tears of rapture and affection.
At last the sultan broke silence, and said, "1 would believe, daughter, your joy to see me makes you seem as little changed as if no misfortune had befallen you; yet I cannot be persuaded but that you have suffered much alarm; for a large palace cannot be so suddenly transported as yours has been, without causing great fright and apprehension I would have you tell me all that has happened, and conceal nothing from me."
The princess, who took great pleasure in giving the sultan the satisfaction he demanded, said, "If I appear so little altered, I beg of your majesty to consider that I received new life yesterday morning by the presence of my dear husband and deliverer Alla ad Deen, whom I looked upon and bewailed as lost to me; and the happiness of seeing and embracing of whom has almost recovered me to my former state of health. My greatest suffering was only to find myself forced from your majesty and my dear husband; not only from the love I bore my husband, but from the uneasiness I laboured under through fear that he, though innocent, might feel the effects of your anger, to which I knew he was left exposed. I suffered but little from the insolence of the wretch who had carried me off; for having secured the ascendant over him, I always put a stop to his disagreeable overtures, and was as little constrained as I am at present.
"As to what relates to my transportation, Alla ad Deen had no concern in it; I was myself the innocent cause of it." To persuade the sultan of the truth of what she said, she gave him a full account of how the African magician had disguised himself, and offered to change new lamps for old ones; how she had amused herself in making that exchange, being entirely ignorant of the secret and importance of the wonderful lamp; how the palace and herself were carried away and transported into Africa, with the African magician, who was recognised by two of her women and the eunuch who made the exchange of the lamp, when he had the audacity, after the success of his daring enterprise, to propose himself for her husband; how he persecuted her till Alla ad Deen's arrival; how they had concerted measures to get the lamp from him again, and the success they had fortunately met with by her dissimulation in inviting him to supper, and giving him the cup with the powder prepared for him. "For the rest," added she, "I leave it to Alla ad Deen to recount."
Alla ad Deen had not much to tell the sultan, but only said, "When the private door was opened I went up into the great hall, where I found the magician lying dead on the sofa, and as I thought it not proper for the princess to stay there any longer, I desired her to go down into her own apartment, with her women and eunuchs. As soon as I was alone, and had taken the lamp out of the magician's breast, I made use of the same secret he had done, to remove the palace, and carry off the princess; and by that means the palace was re-conveyed to the place where it stood before; and I have the happiness to restore the princess to your majesty, as you commanded me. But that your majesty may not think that I impose upon you, if you will give yourself the trouble to go up into the hall, you may see the magician punished as he deserved."
The sultan, to be assured of the truth, rose instantly, and went into the hall, where, when he saw the African magician dead, and his face already livid by the strength of the poison, he embraced Alla ad Deen with great tenderness, and said, "My son, be not displeased at my proceedings against you; they arose from my paternal love; and therefore you ought to forgive the excesses to which it hurried me." "Sir," replied Alla ad Deen, "I have not the least reason to complain of your majesty's conduct, since you did nothing but what your duty required. This infamous magician, the basest of men, was the sole cause of my misfortune. When your majesty has leisure, I will give you an account of another villanous action he was guilty of towards me, which was no less black and base than this, from which I was preserved by the providence of God in a very miraculous way." "I will take an opportunity, and that very shortly," replied the sultan, "to hear it; but in the mean time let us think only of rejoicing, and the removal of this odious object."
Alla ad Deen ordered the magician's corpse to be removed and thrown upon a dunghill, for birds and beasts to prey upon. In the mean time, the sultan commanded the drums, trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments of music to announce his joy to the public, and a festival of ten days to be proclaimed for the return of the princess and Alla ad Deen.
Thus Alla ad Deen escaped once more the almost inevitable danger of losing his life; but this was not the last, since he ran as great a hazard a third time.
The African magician had a younger brother, who was equally skilful as a necromancer, and even surpassed him in villany and pernicious designs. As they did not live together, or in the same city, but oftentimes when one was in the east, the other was in the west, they failed not every year to inform themselves, by their art, each where the other resided, and whether they stood in need of one another's assistance.
Some time after the African magician had failed in his enterprise against Alla ad Deen, his younger brother, who had heard no tidings of him, and was not in Africa, but in a distant country, had the wish to know in what part of the world he sojourned, the state of his health, and what he was doing; and as he, as well as his brother, always carried a geomantic square instrument about him, he prepared the sand, cast the points, and drew the figures. On examining the planetary mansions, he found that his brother was no longer living, but had been poisoned; and by another observation, that he was in the capital of the kingdom of China; also that the person who had poisoned him was of mean birth, though married to a princess, a sultan's daughter.
When the magician had informed himself of his brother's fate, he lost no time in useless regret, which could not restore him to life; but resolving immediately to revenge his death, departed for China; where, after crossing plains, rivers, mountains, deserts, and a long tract of country without delay, he arrived after incredible fatigues.
When he came to the capital of China, he took a lodging. The next day he walked through the town, not so much to observe the beauties, which were indifferent to him, as to take proper measures to execute his pernicious designs. He introduced himself into the most frequented places, where he listened to everybody's discourse. In a place where people resort to divert themselves with games of various kinds, and where some were conversing, while others played, he heard some persons talk of the virtue and piety of a woman called Fatima, who was retired from the world, and of the miracles she wrought. As he fancied that this woman might be serviceable to him in the project he had conceived, he took one of the company aside, and requested to be informed more particularly who that holy woman was, and what sort of miracles she performed.
"What!" said the person whom he addressed, "have you never seen or heard of her? She is the admiration of the whole town, for her fasting, her austerities, and her exemplary life. Except Mondays and Fridays, she never stirs out of her little cell; and on those days on which she comes into the town she does an infinite deal of good; for there is not a person that has the headache but is cured by her laying her hand upon them."
The magician wanted no further information. He only asked the person in what part of the town this holy woman's cell was situated. After he had informed himself on this head, he determined on the detestable design of murdering her and assuming her character. With this view he watched all her steps the first day she went out after he had made this inquiry, without losing sight of her till evening, when he saw her re-enter her cell. When he had fully observed the place, he went to one of those houses where they sell a certain hot liquor, and where any person may pass the night, particularly in the great heats, when the people of that country prefer lying on a mat to a bed. About midnight, after the magician had satisfied the master of the house for what little he had called for, he went out, and proceeded directly to the cell of Fatima. He had no difficulty to open the door, which was only fastened with a latch, and he shut it again after he had entered, without any noise. When he entered the cell, he perceived Fatima by moonlight lying in the air on a sofa covered only by an old mat, with her head leaning against the wall. He awakened her, and clapped a dagger to her breast.
The pious Fatima opening her eyes, was much surprised to see a man with a dagger at her breast ready to stab her, and who said to her, "If you cry out, or make the least noise, I will kill you; but get up, and do as I shall direct you."
Fatima, who had lain down in her habit, got up, trembling with fear. "Do not be so much frightened," said the magician; "I only want your habit, give it me and take mine." Accordingly Fatima and he changed clothes. He then said to her, "Colour my face, that I may be like you;" but perceiving that the poor creature could not help trembling, to encourage her he said, "I tell you again you need not fear anything: I swear by the name of God I will not take away your life." Fatima lighted her lamp, led him into the cell, and dipping a soft brush in a certain liquor, rubbed it over his face, assured him the colour would not change, and that his face was of the same hue as her own: after which, she put her own head-dress on his head, also a veil, with which she shewed him how to hide his face as he passed through the town. After this, she put a long string of beads about his neck, which hung down to the middle of his body, and giving him the stick she used to walk with in his hand, brought him a looking-glass, and bade him look if he was not as like her as possible. The magician found himself disguised as he wished to be; but he did not keep the oath he so solemnly swore to the good Fatima; but instead of stabbing her, for fear the blood might discover him, he strangled her; and when he found she was dead, threw her body into a cistern just by the cell.
The magician, thus disguised like the holy woman Fatima, spent the remainder of the night in the cell. The next morning, two hours after sunrise, though it was not a day the holy woman used to go out on, he crept out of the cell, being well persuaded that nobody would ask him any questions; or, if they should, he had an answer ready for them. As one of the first things he did after his arrival was to find out Alla ad Deen's palace, where he was to complete his designs, he went directly thither.
As soon as the people saw the holy woman, as they imagined him to be, they presently gathered about him in a great crowd. Some begged his blessing, others kissed his hand, and others, more reserved, only the hem of his garment; while others, whether their heads ached, or they wished to be preserved against that disorder, stooped for him to lay his hands upon them; which he did, muttering some words in form of prayer; and, in short, counterfeited so well, that everybody took him for the holy woman.
After frequently stopping to satisfy people of this description, who received neither good nor harm from this imposition of hands, he came at last to the square before Alla ad Deen's palace. The crowd was so great that the eagerness to get at him increased in proportion. Those who were the most zealous and strong forced their way through the crowd. There were such quarrels, and so great a noise, that the princess, who was in the hall of four-and-twenty windows, heard it, and asked what was the matter; but nobody being able to give her an answer, she ordered them to inquire and inform her. One of her women looked out of a window, and then told her it was a great crowd of people collected about the holy woman to be cured of the headache by the imposition of her hands.
The princess, who had long heard of this holy woman, but had never seen her, was very desirous to have some conversation with her, which the chief of the eunuchs perceiving, told her it was an easy matter to bring her to her, if she desired and commanded it; and the princess expressing her wishes, he immediately sent four eunuchs for the pretended holy woman.
As soon as the crowd saw the eunuchs, they made way, and the magician perceiving also that they were coming for him, advanced to meet them, overjoyed to find his plot proceeded so well. "Holy woman," said one of the eunuchs, "the princess wants to see you, and has sent us for you." "The princess does me too great an honour," replied the false Fatima; "I am ready to obey her command," and at the same time followed the eunuchs to the palace.
When the magician, who under a holy garment disguised a wicked heart, was introduced into the great hall, and perceived the princess, he began a prayer, which contained a long enumeration of vows and good wishes for the princess's health and prosperity, and that she might have every thing she desired. He then displayed all his hypocritical rhetoric, to insinuate himself into the princess's favour under the cloak of piety, which it was no hard matter for him to do; for as the princess herself was naturally good, she was easily persuaded that all the world were like her, especially those who made profession of serving God in solitude.
When the pretended Fatima had finished his long harangue, the princess said to him, "I thank you, good mother, for your prayers: I have great confidence in them, and hope God will hear them. Come, and sit by me." The false Fatima sat down with affected modesty: the princess then resuming her discourse, said, "My good mother, I have one thing to request, which you must not refuse me; it is to stay with me, that you may edify me with your way of living; and that I may learn from your good example how to serve God." "Princess," said the counterfeit Fatima, "I beg of you not to ask what I cannot consent to, without neglecting my prayers and devotion." "That shall be no hinderance to you," answered the princess; "I have a great many apartments unoccupied; you shall choose which you like best, and have as much liberty to perform your devotions as if you were in your own cell."
The magician, who desired nothing more than to introduce himself into the palace, where it would be a much easier matter for him to execute his designs, under the favour and protection of the princess, than if he had been forced to come and go from the cell to the palace, did not urge much to excuse himself from accepting the obliging offer which the princess made him. "Princess," said he, "whatever resolution a poor wretched woman as I am may have made me renounce the pomp and grandeur of this world, I dare not presume to oppose the will and commands of so pious and charitable a princess."
Upon this the princess, rising up, said, "Come with me, I will shew you what vacant apartments I have, that you may make choice of that you like best." The magician followed the princess, and of all the apartments she shewed him, made choice of that which was the worst furnished, saying it was too good for him, and that he only accepted of it to please her.
Afterwards the princess would have brought him back again into the great hall to make him dine with her; but he considering that he should then be obliged to shew his face, which he had always taken care to conceal; and fearing that the princess should find out that he was not Fatima, he begged of her earnestly to excuse him, telling her that he never ate anything but bread and dried fruits, and desiring to eat that slight repast in his own apartment. The princess granted his request, saying, "You may be as free here, good mother, as if you were in your own cell: I will order you a dinner, but remember I expect you as soon as you have finished your repast."
After the princess had dined, and the false Fatima had been informed by one of the eunuchs that she was risen from table, he failed not to wait upon her. "My good mother," said the princess, "I am overjoyed to have the company of so holy a woman as yourself, who will confer a blessing upon this palace. But now I am speaking of the palace, pray how do you like it? And before I shew it all to you, tell me first what you think of this hall."
Upon this question, the counterfeit Fatima, who, to act his part the better, affected to hang down his head, without so much as ever once lifting it, at last looked up, and surveyed the hall from one end to the other. When he had examined it well, he said to the princess, "As far as such a solitary being as I am, who am unacquainted with what the world calls beautiful, can judge, this hall is truly admirable and most beautiful; there wants but one thing." "What is that, good mother?" demanded the princess; "tell me, I conjure you. For my part, I always believed, and have heard say, it wanted nothing; but if it does, it shall be supplied."
"Princess," said the false Fatima, with great dissimulation, "forgive me the liberty I have taken; but my opinion is, if it can be of any importance, that if a roe's egg were hung up in the middle of the dome, this hall would have no parallel in the four quarters of the world, and your palace would be the wonder of the unit verse."
"My good mother," said the princess, "what bird is a roe, and where may one get an egg?" "Princess," replied the pretended Fatima, "it is a bird of prodigious size, which inhabits the summit of mount Caucasus; the architect who built your palace can get you one."
After the princess had thanked the false Fatima for what she believed her good advice, she conversed with her upon other matters; but could not forget the roe's egg, which she resolved to request of Alla ad Deen when he returned from hunting. He had been gone six days, which the magician knew, and therefore took advantage of his absence; but he returned that evening after the false Fatima had taken leave of the princess, and retired to his apartment. As soon as he arrived, he went directly to the princess's apartment, saluted and embraced her, but she seemed to receive him coldly. "My princess," said he, "I think you are not so cheerful as you used to be; has any thing happened during my absence, which has displeased you, or given you any trouble or dissatisfaction In the name of God, do not conceal it from me; I will leave nothing undone that is in my power to please you." "It is a trifling matter," replied the princess, "which gives me so little concern that I could not have thought you could have perceived it in my countenance; but since you have unexpectedly discovered some alteration, I will no longer disguise a matter of so little consequence from you."
"I always believed," continued the princess," that our palace was the most superb, magnificent, and complete in the world: but I will tell you now what I find fault with, upon examining the hall of four-and-twenty windows. Do not you think with me, that it would be complete if a roe's egg were hung up in the midst of the dome?" "Princess," replied Alla ad Deen, "it is enough that you think there wants such an ornament; you shall see by the diligence used to supply that deficiency, that there is nothing which I would not do for your sake."
Alla ad Deen left the princess Buddir al Buddoor that moment, and went up into the hall of four-and-twenty windows, where pulling out of his bosom the lamp, which, after the danger he had been exposed to, he always carried about him, he rubbed it; upon which the genie immediately appeared. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "there wants a roe's egg to be hung up in the midst of the dome; I command thee, in the name of this lamp, to repair the deficiency." Alla ad Deen had no sooner pronounced these words, than the genie gave so loud and terrible a cry, that the hall shook, and Alla ad Deen could scarcely stand upright. "What! wretch," said the genie, in a voice that would have made the most undaunted man tremble, "is it not enough that I and my companions have done every thing for you, but you, by an unheard-of ingratitude, must command me to bring my master, and hang him up in the midst of this dome? This attempt deserves that you, your wife, and your palace, should be immediately reduced to ashes: but you are happy that this request does not come from yourself. Know then, that the true author is the brother of the African magician, your enemy, whom you have destroyed as he deserved. He is now in your palace, disguised in the habit of the holy woman Fatima, whom he has murdered; and it is he who has suggested to your wife to make this pernicious demand. His design is to kill you, therefore take care of yourself." After these words, the genie disappeared.
Alla ad Deen lost not a word of what the genie had said. He had heard talk of the holy woman Fatima, and how she pretended to cure the headache. He returned to the princess's apartment, and without mentioning a word of what had happened, sat down, and complained of a great pain which had suddenly seized his head; upon which the princess ordered the holy woman to be called, and then told him how she had invited her to the palace, and that she had appointed her an apartment.
When the pretended Fatima came, Alla ad Deen said, "Come hither, good mother; I am glad to see you here at so fortunate a time; I am tormented with a violent pain in my head, and request your assistance, by the confidence I have in your good prayers, and hope you will not refuse me that favour which you do to so many persons afflicted with this complaint." So saying, he arose, but held down his head. The counterfeit Fatima advanced towards him, with his hand all the time on a dagger concealed in his girdle under his gown; which Alla ad Deen observing, he seized his hand before he had drawn it, pierced him to the heart with his own dagger, and then pushed him down on the floor.
"My dear husband, what have you done?" cried the princess in surprise. "You have killed the holy woman." "No, my princess," answered Alla ad Deen, with emotion, "I have not killed Fatima, but a villain, who would have assassinated me, if I had not prevented him. This wicked wretch," added he, uncovering his face, "has strangled Fatima, whom you accuse me of killing, and disguised himself in her clothes with intent to murder me: but that you may know him better, he is brother to the African magician." Alla ad Deen then informed her how he came to know these particulars, and afterwards ordered the dead body to be taken away.
Thus was Alla ad Deen delivered from the persecution of two brothers, who were magicians. Within a few years afterwards, the sultan died in a good old age, and as he left no male children, the princess Buddir al Buddoor, as lawful heir of the throne, succeeded him, and communicating the power to Alla ad Deen, they reigned together many years, and left a numerous and illustrious posterity.