THE FOURTH VOYAGE
In the meantime, the Emperor Kosrouschah, followed by all the lords of his court who were then present, went on foot to the door of the great mosque; and after he had taken the queen out of the strict confinement she had languished under for so many years, embracing her in the miserable condition to which she was then reduced, said to her with tears in his eyes: "I come to entreat your pardon for the injustice I have done you, and to make you the reparation I ought; which I have begun, by punishing the unnatural wretches who put the abominable cheat upon me; and I hope you will look upon it as complete, when I present to you two accomplished princes and a lovely princess, our children. Come and resume your former rank, with all the honours which are your due." All this was done and said before great crowds of people who flocked from all parts at the first news of what was passing, and immediately spread the joyful intelligence through the city.
"At these words, which were several times interrupted by her sighs, I lost all patience: and discovering myself, came up to her, and said, 'Madam, you have wept enough, it is time to give over this sorrow, which dishonours us both; you have too much forgotten what you owe to me and to yourself.' 'Sire,' said she, 'if you have any kindness or compassion for me left, I beseech you to put no restraint upon me; allow me to indulge my grief, which it is impossible for time to assuage.'
The sultan, as if he had awaked out of a deep sleep, and counterfeiting the pronunciation of the blacks, answered the queen with a grave tone: "There is no strength or power but in God alone, who is almighty." At these words the enchantress, who did not expect them, uttered a loud exclamation of joy. "My dear lord," cried she, "do I not deceive myself; is it certain that I hear you, and that you speak to me?" "Unhappy woman," said the sultan, "art thou worthy that I should answer thee?" "Alas!" replied the queen, "why do you reproach me thus?" "The cries," returned the sultan, "the groans and tears of thy husband, whom thou treatest every day with so much indignity and barbarity, prevent my sleeping night or day. Hadst thou disenchanted him, I should long since have been cured, and have recovered the use of my speech. This is the cause of my silence, of which you complain." "Well," said the enchantress, "to pacify you, I am ready to execute your commands; would you have me restore him?" "Yes," replied the sultan; "make haste to set him at liberty, that I be no longer disturbed by his lamentations." The enchantress went immediately out of the Palace of Tears; she took a cup of water, and pronounced some words over it, which caused it to boil, as if it had been on the fire. She afterward proceeded to the young king, and threw the water upon him, saying: "If the Creator of all things did form thee as thou art at present, or if He be angry with thee, do not change; but if thou art in that condition merely by virtue of my enchantments, resume thy natural shape, and become what thou wast before." She had scarcely spoken these words when the prince, finding himself restored to his former condition, rose up and returned thanks to God. The enchantress then said to him, "Get thee from this castle, and never return on pain of death." The young king, yielding to necessity, went away without replying a word, and retired to a remote place, where he patiently awaited the event of the design which the sultan had so happily begun. Meanwhile the enchantress returned to the Palace of Tears, and supposing that she still spoke to the black, said, "Dear love, I have done what you required; nothing now prevents your rising and giving me the satisfaction of which I have so long been deprived."
This plan greatly flattered Aladdin, 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 afterward we will think of opening a shop as I mentioned."
Though it was the sole aim of Khaujeh Houssain to introduce himself into Ali Baba's house, that he might kill him without hazarding his own life or making any noise; yet he excused himself, and offered to take his leave. But a slave having opened the door, Ali Baba's son took him obligingly by the hand, and in a manner forced him in.
At the year's end, when he found that they had not made any attempt to disturb him, he had the curiosity to make another journey, taking the necessary precautions for his safety. He mounted his horse, and when he came to the cave, and saw no footsteps of men or beasts, looked upon it as a good sign. He alighted, tied his horse to a tree, then approaching the entrance and pronouncing the words, Open, Sesame! the door opened. He entered the cavern, and by the condition he found things in, judged that nobody had been there since the false Khaujeh Houssain, when he had fetched the goods for his shop; that the gang of forty robbers was completely destroyed, and no longer doubted that he was the only person in the world who had the secret of opening the cave, so that all the treasure was at his sole disposal. Having brought with him a wallet, he put into it as much gold as his horse would carry, and returned to town.
"The motion was perceived on board the ship, and we were called upon to re-embark speedily, or we should all be lost; for what we took for an island proved to be the back of a sea monster. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook themselves to swimming; but for myself, I was still upon the back of the creature when he dived into the sea, and I had time only to catch hold of a piece of wood that we had brought out of the ship. Meanwhile, the captain, having received those on board who were in the sloop, and taken up some of those that swam, resolved to improve the favourable gale that had just risen, and hoisting his sails, pursued his voyage, so that it was impossible for me to recover the ship.
As soon as the emperor saw the dish of cucumbers set before him, thinking they were prepared in the best manner, he reached out his hand and took one; but when he cut it, was in extreme surprise to find it stuffed with pearls. "What novelty is this?" said he; "and with what design were these cucumbers stuffed thus with pearls, since pearls are not to be eaten?" He looked at his hosts to ask them the meaning when the Bird interrupting him, said: "Can your majesty be in such great astonishment at cucumbers stuffed with pearls, which you see with your own eyes, and yet so easily believe that the queen, your wife, gave birth to a dog, a cat, and a piece of wood?" "I believed those things," replied the emperor, "because the attendants assured me of the facts." "Those attendants, sir," replied the Bird, "were the queen's two sisters, who, envious of her happiness in being preferred by your majesty before them, to satisfy their envy and revenge, have abused your majesty's credulity. If you interrogate them, they will confess their crime. The two brothers and the sister whom you see before you are your own children, whom they exposed, and who were taken in by the intendant of your gardens, who provided nurses for them, and took care of their education."
As soon as Aladdin found that their provisions were expended, he took one of the dishes, and went to look for his Jew again; but passing by the shop of a goldsmith, 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 that nobody of prudence will have anything to do with him. 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."