Fairy Stories Menu - Fairy Stories Japanese Menu

Learn English with Fairy Stories:

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

There once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called
Aladdin, a careless, idle boy who would do nothing but
play ball all day long in the streets with little idle boys like
himself. This so grieved the father that he died; yet, in
spite of his mother's tears and prayers, Aladdin did not
mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the
streets as usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he
was not the son of Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir,"
replied Aladdin; "but he died a long while ago." On this
the stranger, who was a famous African magician, fell on
his neck and kissed him, saying, "I am your uncle, and
knew you from your likeness to my brother. Go to your
mother and tell her I am coming." Aladdin ran home and
told his mother of his newly found uncle. "Indeed, child,"
she said, "your father had a brother, but I always thought
he was dead." However, she prepared supper, and bade
Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine and
fruit. He presently fell down and kissed the place where
Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin's mother not to be
surprised at not having seen him before, as he had been
forty years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin,
and asked him his trade, at which the boy hung his
head, while his mother burst into tears. On learning that
Aladdin was idle and would learn no trade, he offered to
take a shop for him and stock it with merchandise. Next
day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and took him
all over the city, showing him the sights, and brought him
home at nightfall to his mother, who was overjoyed to see
her son so fine.

The next day the magician led Aladdin into some
beautiful gardens a long way outside the city gates. They
sat down by a fountain and the magician pulled a cake
from his girdle, which he divided between them. They
then journeyed onward till they almost reached the
mountains. Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go
back, but the magician beguiled him with pleasant
stories, and led him on in spite of himself. At last they
came to two mountains divided by a narrow valley. "We
will go no farther," said the false uncle. "I will show you
something wonderful; only do you gather up sticks while
I kindle a fire." When it was lit the magician threw on
it a powder he had about him, at the same time saying
some magical words. The earth trembled a little and
opened in front of them, disclosing a square flat stone with
a brass ring in the middle to raise it by. Aladdin tried to
run away, but the magician caught him and gave him a
blow that knocked him down. "What have I done, uncle?"
he said piteously; whereupon the magician said more
kindly: "Fear nothing, but obey me. Beneath this stone
lies a treasure which is to be yours, and no one else may
touch it, so you must do exactly as I tell you." At the
word treasure Aladdin forgot his fears, and grasped the
ring as he was told, saying the names of his father and
grandfather. The stone came up quite easily, and some
steps appeared. "Go down," said the magician; "at the
foot of those steps you will find an open door leading into
three large halls. Tuck up your gown and go through
them without touching anything, or you will die instantly.
These halls lead into a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk on
until you come to a niche in a terrace where stands a
lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it to
me." He drew a ring from his finger and gave it to
Aladdin, bidding him prosper.

Aladdin found everything as the magician had said,
gathered some fruit off the trees, and, having got the
lamp, arrived at the mouth of the cave. The magician
cried out in a great hurry: "Make haste and give me the
lamp." This Aladdin refused to do until he was out of the
cave. The magician flew into a terrible passion, and
throwing some more powder on to the fire, he said something,
and the stone rolled back into its place.

The magician left Persia for ever, which plainly showed
that he was no uncle of Aladdin's, but a cunning magician,
who had read in his magic books of a wonderful lamp,
which would make him the most powerful man in the
world. Though he alone knew where to find it, he could
only receive it from the hand of another. He had picked
out the foolish Aladdin for this purpose, intending to get
the lamp and kill him afterward.

For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and
lamenting. At last he clasped his hands in prayer, and
in so doing rubbed the ring, which the magician had
forgotten to take from him. Immediately an enormous and
frightful genie rose out of the earth, saying: "What
wouldst thou with me? I am the Slave of the Ring, and
will obey thee in all things." Aladdin fearlessly replied:
"Deliver me from this place!" whereupon the earth
opened, and he found himself outside. As soon as his eyes
could bear the light he went home, but fainted on the
threshold. When he came to himself he told his mother
what had passed, and showed her the lamp and the fruits
he had gathered in the garden, which were, in reality,
precious stones. He then asked for some food. "Alas!
child," she said, "I have nothing in the house, but I have
spun a little cotton and will go and sell it." Aladdin bade
her keep her cotton, for he would sell the lamp instead.
As it was very dirty she began to rub it, that it might
fetch a higher price. Instantly a hideous genie appeared,
and asked what she would have. She fainted away, but
Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly: "Fetch me
something to eat!" The genie returned with a silver bowl,
twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver cups,
and two bottles of wine. Aladdin's mother, when she
came to herself, said: "Whence comes this splendid feast?"
"Ask not, but eat," replied Aladdin. So they sat at
breakfast till it was dinner-time, and Aladdin told his
mother about the lamp. She begged him to sell it, and
have nothing to do with devils. "No," said Aladdin,
"since chance hath made us aware of its virtues, we will
use it, and the ring likewise, which I shall always wear on
my finger." When they had eaten all the genie had
brought, Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on
until none were left. He then had recourse to the genie,
who gave him another set of plates, and thus they lived
for many years.

One day Aladdin heard an order from the Sultan
proclaimed that everyone was to stay at home and close his
shutters while the Princess, his daughter, went to and
from the bath. Aladdin was seized by a desire to see her
face, which was very difficult, as she always went veiled.
He hid himself behind the door of the bath, and peeped
through a chink. The Princess lifted her veil as she went
in, and looked so beautiful that Aladdin fell in love with
her at first sight. He went home so changed that his
mother was frightened. He told her he loved the Princess
so deeply that he could not live without her, and meant
to ask her in marriage of her father. His mother, on hearing
this, burst out laughing, but Aladdin at last prevailed
upon her to go before the Sultan and carry his request.
She fetched a napkin and laid in it the magic fruits from
the enchanted garden, which sparkled and shone like the
most beautiful jewels. She took these with her to please
the Sultan, and set out, trusting in the lamp. The Grand
Vizier and the lords of council had just gone in as she
entered the hall and placed herself in front of the Sultan.
He, however, took no notice of her. She went every day
for a week, and stood in the same place. When the council
broke up on the sixth day the Sultan said to his Vizier:
"I see a certain woman in the audience-chamber every
day carrying something in a napkin. Call her next time,
that I may find out what she wants." Next day, at a sign
from the Vizier, she went up to the foot of the throne and
remained kneeling till the Sultan said to her: "Rise, good
woman, and tell me what you want." She hesitated, so
the Sultan sent away all but the Vizier, and bade her
speak frankly, promising to forgive her beforehand for
anything she might say. She then told him of her son's
violent love for the Princess. "I prayed him to forget
her," she said, "but in vain; he threatened to do some
desperate deed if I refused to go and ask your Majesty for
the hand of the Princess. Now I pray you to forgive not
me alone, but my son Aladdin." The Sultan asked her
kindly what she had in the napkin, whereupon she unfolded
the jewels and presented them. He was thunderstruck,
and turning to the Vizier said: "What sayest
thou? Ought I not to bestow the Princess on one who
values her at such a price?" The Vizier, who wanted her
for his own son, begged the Sultan to withhold her for
three months, in the course of which he hoped his son
would contrive to make him a richer present. The Sultan
granted this, and told Aladdin's mother that, though he
consented to the marriage, she must not appear before
him again for three months.

Aladdin waited patiently for nearly three months, but
after two had elapsed his mother, going into the city to
buy oil, found every one rejoicing, and asked what was
going on. "Do you not know," was the answer, "that the
son of the Grand Vizier is to marry the Sultan's daughter
to-night?" Breathless, she ran and told Aladdin, who was
overwhelmed at first, but presently bethought him of the
lamp. He rubbed it, and the genie appeared, saying,
"What is thy will?" Aladdin replied: "The Sultan, as
thou knowest, has broken his promise to me, and the
Vizier's son is to have the Princess. My command is that
to-night you bring hither the bride and bridegroom."
"Master, I obey," said the genie. Aladdin then went to
his chamber, where, sure enough, at midnight the genie
transported the bed containing the Vizier's son and the
Princess. "Take this new-married man," he said, "and
put him outside in the cold, and return at daybreak."
Whereupon the genie took the Vizier's son out of bed,
leaving Aladdin with the Princess. "Fear nothing,"
Aladdin said to her; "you are my wife, promised to me by
your unjust father, and no harm shall come to you." The
Princess was too frightened to speak, and passed the most
miserable night of her life, while Aladdin lay down beside
her and slept soundly. At the appointed hour the genie
fetched in the shivering bridegroom, laid him in his place,
and transported the bed back to the palace.

Presently the Sultan came to wish his daughter
good-morning. The unhappy Vizier's son jumped up and hid
himself, while the Princess would not say a word, and
was very sorrowful. The Sultan sent her mother to her,
who said: "How comes it, child, that you will not speak
to your father? What has happened?" The Princess sighed
deeply, and at last told her mother how, during the night,
the bed had been carried into some strange house, and
what had passed there. Her mother did not believe her in
the least, but bade her rise and consider it an idle dream.

The following night exactly the same thing happened,
and next morning, on the Princess's refusal to speak, the
Sultan threatened to cut off her head. She then confessed
all, bidding him to ask the Vizier's son if it were not so.
The Sultan told the Vizier to ask his son, who owned the
truth, adding that, dearly as he loved the Princess, he had
rather die than go through another such fearful night, and
wished to be separated from her. His wish was granted,
and there was an end to feasting and rejoicing.

When the three months were over, Aladdin sent his
mother to remind the Sultan of his promise. She stood
in the same place as before, and the Sultan, who had
forgotten Aladdin, at once remembered him, and sent for
her. On seeing her poverty the Sultan felt less inclined
than ever to keep his word, and asked his Vizier's advice,
who counselled him to set so high a value on the Princess
that no man living could come up to it. The Sultan then
turned to Aladdin's mother, saying: "Good woman, a
Sultan must remember his promises, and I will remember
mine, but your son must first send me forty basins of gold
brimful of jewels, carried by forty black slaves, led by as
many white ones, splendidly dressed. Tell him that I
await his answer." The mother of Aladdin bowed low and
went home, thinking all was lost. She gave Aladdin the
message, adding: "He may wait long enough for your
answer!" "Not so long, mother, as you think," her son
replied. "I would do a great deal more than that for the
Princess." He summoned the genie, and in a few moments
the eighty slaves arrived, and filled up the small
house and garden. Aladdin made them set out to the
palace, two and two, followed by his mother. They were
so richly dressed, with such splendid jewels in their
girdles, that everyone crowded to see them and the basins of
gold they carried on their heads. They entered the palace,
and, after kneeling before the Sultan, stood in a half-circle
round the throne with their arms crossed, while Aladdin's
mother presented them to the Sultan. He hesitated no
longer, but said: "Good woman, return and tell your son
that I wait for him with open arms." She lost no time in
telling Aladdin, bidding him make haste. But Aladdin
first called the genie. "I want a scented bath," he said,
"a richly embroidered habit, a horse surpassing the Sultan's,
and twenty slaves to attend me. Besides this, six
slaves, beautifully dressed, to wait on my mother; and
lastly, ten thousand pieces of gold in ten purses." No
sooner said than done. Aladdin mounted his horse and
passed through the streets, the slaves strewing gold as
they went. Those who had played with him in his
childhood knew him not, he had grown so handsome. When
the Sultan saw him he came down from his throne,
embraced him, and led him into a hall where a feast was
spread, intending to marry him to the Princess that very
day. But Aladdin refused, saying, "I must build a palace
fit for her," and took his leave. Once home, he said to the
genie: "Build me a palace of the finest marble, set with
jasper, agate, and other precious stones. In the middle
you shall build me a large hall with a dome, its four walls
of massy gold and silver, each having six windows, whose
lattices, all except one which is to be left unfinished, must
be set with diamonds and rubies. There must be stables
and horses and grooms and slaves; go and see about it!"

The palace was finished by the next day, and the genie
carried him there and showed him all his orders faithfully
carried out, even to the laying of a velvet carpet from
Aladdin's palace to the Sultan's. Aladdin's mother then
dressed herself carefully, and walked to the palace with
her slaves, while he followed her on horseback. The Sultan
sent musicians with trumpets and cymbals to meet them,
so that the air resounded with music and cheers. She was
taken to the Princess, who saluted her and treated her
with great honor. At night the Princess said good-by to
her father, and set out on the carpet for Aladdin's palace,
with his mother at her side, and followed by the hundred
slaves. She was charmed at the sight of Aladdin, who ran
to receive her. "Princess," he said, "blame your beauty
for my boldness if I have displeased you." She told him
that, having seen him, she willingly obeyed her father in
this matter. After the wedding had taken place Aladdin
led her into the hall, where a feast was spread, and she
supped with him, after which they danced till midnight.
Next day Aladdin invited the Sultan to see the palace.
On entering the hall with the four-and-twenty windows,
with their rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, he cried: "It
is a world's wonder! There is only one thing that
surprises me. Was it by accident that one window was left
unfinished?" "No, sir, by design," returned Aladdin. "I
wished your Majesty to have the glory of finishing this
palace." The Sultan was pleased, and sent for the best
jewelers in the city. He showed them the unfinished
window, and bade them fit it up like the others. "Sir,"
replied their spokesman, "we cannot find jewels enough."
The Sultan had his own fetched, which they soon used,
but to no purpose, for in a month's time the work was
not half done. Aladdin, knowing that their task was vain,
bade them undo their work and carry the jewels back, and
the genie finished the window at his command. The Sultan
was surprised to receive his jewels again, and visited
Aladdin, who showed him the window finished. The Sultan
embraced him, the envious Vizier meanwhile hinting
that it was the work of enchantment.

Aladdin had won the hearts of the people by his gentle
bearing. He was made captain of the Sultan's armies, and
won several battles for him, but remained modest and
courteous as before, and lived thus in peace and content
for several years.

But far away in Africa the magician remembered Aladdin,
and by his magic arts discovered that Aladdin, instead
of perishing miserably in the cave, had escaped, and
had married a princess, with whom he was living in great
honor and wealth. He knew that the poor tailor's son
could only have accomplished this by means of the lamp,
and traveled night and day until he reached the capital
of China, bent on Aladdin's ruin. As he passed through
the town he heard people talking everywhere about a
marvellous palace. "Forgive my ignorance," he asked,
"what is this palace you speak Of?" "Have you not heard
of Prince Aladdin's palace," was the reply, "the greatest
wonder of the world? I will direct you if you have a mind
to see it." The magician thanked him who spoke, and
having seen the palace, knew that it had been raised
by the Genie of the Lamp, and became half mad with
rage. He determined to get hold of the lamp, and again
plunge Aladdin into the deepest poverty.

Unluckily, Aladdin had gone a-hunting for eight days,
which gave the magician plenty of time. He bought a
dozen copper lamps, put them into a basket, and went to
the palace, crying: "New lamps for old!" followed by a
jeering crowd. The Princess, sitting in the hall of
four-and-twenty windows, sent a slave to find out what the
noise was about, who came back laughing, so that the
Princess scolded her. "Madam," replied the slave, "who
can help laughing to see an old fool offering to exchange
fine new lamps for old ones?" Another slave, hearing this,
said: "There is an old one on the cornice there which he
can have." Now this was the magic lamp, which Aladdin
had left there, as he could not take it out hunting with
him. The Princess, not knowing its value, laughingly
bade the slave take it and make the exchange. She went
and said to the magician: "Give me a new lamp for this."
He snatched it and bade the slave take her choice, amid
the jeers of the crowd. Little he cared, but left off crying
his lamps, and went out of the city gates to a lonely place,
where he remained till nightfall, when he pulled out the
lamp and rubbed it. The genie appeared, and at the
magician's command carried him, together with the
palace and the Princess in it, to a lonely place in Africa.

Next morning the Sultan looked out of the window
toward Aladdin's palace and rubbed his eyes, for it was
gone. He sent for the Vizier and asked what had become
of the palace. The Vizier looked out too, and was lost in
astonishment. He again put it down to enchantment, and
this time the Sultan believed him, and sent thirty men on
horseback to fetch Aladdin in chains. They met him riding
home, bound him, and forced him to go with them
on foot. The people, however, who loved him, followed,
armed, to see that he came to no harm. He was carried
before the Sultan, who ordered the executioner to cut off
his head. The executioner made Aladdin kneel down,
bandaged his eyes, and raised his scimitar to strike. At
that instant the Vizier, who saw that the crowd had forced
their way into the courtyard and were scaling the walls to
rescue Aladdin, called to the executioner to stay his hand.
The people, indeed, looked so threatening that the Sultan
gave way and ordered Aladdin to be unbound, and
pardoned him in the sight of the crowd. Aladdin now
begged to know what he had done. "False wretch!" said
the Sultan, "come thither," and showed him from the
window the place where his palace had stood. Aladdin
was so amazed that he could not say a word. "Where is
my palace and my daughter?" demanded the Sultan. "For
the first I am not so deeply concerned, but my daughter
I must have, and you must find her or lose your head."
Aladdin begged for forty days in which to find her,
promising, if he failed, to return and suffer death at the
Sultan's pleasure. His prayer was granted, and he went
forth sadly from the Sultan's presence. For three days he
wandered about like a madman, asking everyone what
had become of his palace, but they only laughed and
pitied him. He came to the banks of a river, and knelt
down to say his prayers before throwing himself in. In
so doing he rubbed the magic ring he still wore. The
genie he had seen in the cave appeared, and asked his
will. "Save my life, genie," said Aladdin, "bring my
palace back." "That is not in my power," said the genie;
"I am only the Slave of the Ring; you must ask him of the
lamp." "Even so," said Aladdin, "but thou canst take
me to the palace, and set me down under my dear wife's
window." He at once found himself in Africa, under the
window of the Princess, and fell asleep out of sheer

He was awakened by the singing of the birds, and his
heart was lighter. He saw plainly that all his misfortunes
were owing to the loss of the lamp, and vainly wondered
who had robbed him of it.

That morning the Princess rose earlier than she had
done since she had been carried into Africa by the
magician, whose company she was forced to endure once a
day. She, however, treated him so harshly that he dared
not live there altogether. As she was dressing, one of her
women looked out and saw Aladdin. The Princess ran
and opened the window, and at the noise she made Aladdin
looked up. She called to him to come to her, and
great was the joy of these lovers at seeing each other again.
After he had kissed her Aladdin said: "I beg of you,
Princess, in God's name, before we speak of anything else,
for your own sake and mine, tell me that has become of an
old lamp I left on the cornice in the hall of four-and-twenty
windows, when I went a-hunting." "Alas!" she
said, "I am the innocent cause of our sorrows," and told
him of the exchange of the lamp. "Now I know," cried
Aladdin, "that we have to thank the African magician for
this! Where is the lamp?" "He carries it about with him,"
said the Princess. "I know, for he pulled it out of his
breast to show me. He wishes me to break my faith with
you and marry him, saying that you were beheaded by
my father's command. He is for ever speaking ill of you
but I only reply by my tears. If I persist, I doubt not but
he will use violence." Aladdin comforted her, and left her
for a while. He changed clothes with the first person he
met in the town, and having bought a certain powder,
returned to the Princess, who let him in by a little side
door. "Put on your most beautiful dress," he said to her
"and receive the magician with smiles, leading him to
believe that you have forgotten me. Invite him to sup with
you, and say you wish to taste the wine of his country.
He will go for some and while he is gone I will tell you
what to do." She listened carefully to Aladdin and when
he left she arrayed herself gaily for the first time since she
left China. She put on a girdle and head-dress of
diamonds, and, seeing in a glass that she was more beautiful
than ever, received the magician, saying, to his great
amazement: "I have made up my mind that Aladdin is
dead, and that all my tears will not bring him back to me,
so I am resolved to mourn no more, and have therefore
invited you to sup with me; but I am tired of the wines
of China, and would fain taste those of Africa." The
magician flew to his cellar, and the Princess put the powder
Aladdin had given her in her cup. When he returned
she asked him to drink her health in the wine of Africa,
handing him her cup in exchange for his, as a sign she was
reconciled to him. Before drinking the magician made
her a speech in praise of her beauty, but the Princess cut
him short, saying: "Let us drink first, and you shall say
what you will afterward." She set her cup to her lips and
kept it there, while the magician drained his to the dregs
and fell back lifeless. The Princess then opened the door
to Aladdin, and flung her arms round his neck; but Aladdin
put her away, bidding her leave him, as he had more
to do. He then went to the dead magician, took the lamp
out of his vest, and bade the genie carry the palace and
all in it back to China. This was done, and the Princess
in her chamber only felt two little shocks, and little
thought she was at home again.

The Sultan, who was sitting in his closet, mourning for
his lost daughter, happened to look up, and rubbed his
eyes, for there stood the palace as before! He hastened
thither, and Aladdin received him in the hall of the
four-and-twenty windows, with the Princess at his side.
Aladdin told him what had happened, and showed him the
dead body of the magician, that he might believe. A ten
days' feast was proclaimed, and it seemed as if Aladdin
might now live the rest of his life in peace; but it was not
to be.

The African magician had a younger brother, who was,
if possible, more wicked and more cunning than himself.
He traveled to China to avenge his brother's death, and
went to visit a pious woman called Fatima, thinking she
might be of use to him. He entered her cell and clapped
a dagger to her breast, telling her to rise and do his
bidding on pain of death. He changed clothes with her,
colored his face like hers, put on her veil, and murdered
her, that she might tell no tales. Then he went toward
the palace of Aladdin, and all the people, thinking he was
the holy woman, gathered round him, kissing his hands
and begging his blessing. When he got to the palace there
was such a noise going on round him that the Princess
bade her slave look out of the window and ask what was
the matter. The slave said it was the holy woman, curing
people by her touch of their ailments, whereupon the
Princess, who had long desired to see Fatima, sent for her.
On coming to the Princess the magician offered up a
prayer for her health and prosperity. When he had done
the Princess made him sit by her, and begged him to stay
with her always. The false Fatima, who wished for nothing
better, consented, but kept his veil down for fear of
discovery. The Princess showed him the hall, and asked
him what he thought of it. "It is truly beautiful," said
the false Fatima. "In my mind it wants but one thing."
"And what is that?" said the Princess. "If only a roc's
egg," replied he, "were hung up from the middle of this
dome, it would be the wonder of the world."

After this the Princess could think of nothing but the
roc's egg, and when Aladdin returned from hunting he
found her in a very ill humor. He begged to know what
was amiss, and she told him that all her pleasure in the
hall was spoiled for the want of a roc's egg hanging from
the dome. "If that is all," replied Aladdin, "you shall
soon be happy." He left her and rubbed the lamp, and
when the genie appeared commanded him to bring a roc's
egg. The genie gave such a loud and terrible shriek that
the hall shook. "Wretch!" he cried, "is it not enough
that I have done everything for you, but you must command
me to bring my master and hang him up in the
midst of this dome? You and your wife and your palace
deserve to be burnt to ashes, but that this request does
not come from you, but from the brother of the African
magician, whom you destroyed. He is now in your palace
disguised as the holy woman--whom he murdered. He it
was who put that wish into your wife's head. Take care
of yourself, for he means to kill you." So saying, the
genie disappeared.

Aladdin went back to the Princess, saying his head
ached, and requesting that the holy Fatima should be
fetched to lay her hands on it. But when the magician
came near, Aladdin, seizing his dagger, pierced him to the
heart. "What have you done?" cried the Princess. "You
have killed the holy woman!" "Not so," replied Aladdin,
"but a wicked magician," and told her of how she had
been deceived.

After this Aladdin and his wife lived in peace. He
succeeded the Sultan when he died, and reigned for many
years, leaving behind him a long line of kings.

If you like this story, please tell your friends.

Sign up to get my top tips, games & hints via email!

Copyright (C) 1999/2023 by Richard Graham www.GenkiEnglish.com
Main Menu -|- Buy the Set -|- Contact Me