"The sultan, impatient to know who I was, grew weary of waiting the return of his officers, and drew near to me. He gazed on me very earnestly, and observing that I did not cease weeping, without being able to return an answer to their questions, he forbade them troubling me any more; and directing his discourse to me: 'Madam,' said he, 'I conjure you to moderate your excessive affliction. I dare assure you that, if your misfortunes are capable of receiving any relief, you shall find it in my dominions. You shall live with the queen my mother, who will endeavour by her kindness to ease your affliction. I know not yet who you are, but I find I already take an interest in your welfare.'
The sultan, still counterfeiting the pronunciation of the black, said: "What you have now done is by no means sufficient for my cure; you have only removed a part of the evil; you must cut it up by the root." "My lovely black," resumed the queen, "what do you mean by the root?" "Wretched woman," replied the sultan, "understand you not that I allude to the town and its inhabitants, and the four islands, destroyed by thy enchantments? The fish every night at midnight raise their heads out of the lake, and cry for vengeance against thee and me. This is the true cause of the delay of my cure. Go speedily, restore things to their former state, and at thy return I will give thee my hand, and thou shalt help me to arise."
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 Aladdin'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 Aladdin'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."
Aladdin waited till the three months were completed, which the sultan had appointed for the consummation of the marriage between the Princess Badroulboudour and himself; and the next day sent his mother to the palace, to remind the sultan of his promise.
The next point was to ascertain where the lamp was; whether Aladdin 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 Aladdin'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 I defy Aladdin to prevent my carrying it off, thus making him sink to his original meanness, from which he has taken so high a flight."
"The grand vizier designed to carry me to the courts of the neighbouring sultans, to implore their assistance, and excite them to revenge my father's death; but Heaven did not concur in a resolution we thought so just. When we had been but a few days at sea, there arose such a furious storm, that our vessel, carried away by the violence of the winds and waves, was dashed in pieces against a rock. My governess, the grand vizier, and all that attended me, were swallowed up by the sea. I lost my senses; and whether I was thrown upon the coast, or whether Heaven wrought a miracle for my deliverance, I found myself on shore when my senses returned.
The good old woman was much embarrassed, when she found Aladdin persisting in so wild a design. "My son," said she again, "I am your mother, 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, I would do it with all my heart; and even then they would expect you should have some little estate, 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 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. How could so extraordinary a thought come into your head, as that I should go to the sultan and ask him to give his daughter in marriage to you? Suppose I had the impudence to present myself before the sultan, 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? I know there is no difficulty to those who go to petition for justice, which the sultan 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. But do you think you have merited the honour you would have me ask? What have you done to claim such a favour, either for your prince or country? 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. 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 what proportion could they bear to the favour you would ask? Therefore, reflect well, and consider that you aspire to an object which it is impossible for you to obtain."
Little excuse is needed, perhaps, for any fresh selection from the famous "Tales of a Thousand and One Nights," provided it be representative enough, and worthy enough, to enlist a new army of youthful readers. Of the two hundred and sixty-four bewildering, unparalleled stories, the true lover can hardly spare one, yet there must always be favourites, even among these. We have chosen some of the most delightful, in our opinion; some, too, that chanced to appeal particularly to the genius of the artist. If, enticed by our choice and the beauty of the pictures, we manage to attract a few thousand more true lovers to the fountain-book, we shall have served our humble turn. The only real danger lies in neglecting it, in rearing a child who does not know it and has never fallen under its spell.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to God, the Creator of Man; and He is the Lord of lords, and the Cause of causes. O thou, if thou know me not, I will acquaint thee with my name and my descent. I am Tedmur, the daughter of the King of the Amalekites. I possessed what none of the kings possessed, and ruled with justice, and acted impartially toward my subjects: I gave and bestowed, and I lived a long time in the enjoyment of happiness and an easy life, and possessing emancipated female and male slaves. Thus I did until the summoner of death came to my abode, and disasters occurred before me. And the case was this: Seven years in succession came upon us, during which no water descended on us from heaven, nor did any grass grow for us on the face of the earth. So we ate what food we had in our dwellings, and after that, we fell upon the beasts and ate them, and there remained nothing. Upon this, therefore, I caused the wealth to be brought, and meted it with a measure, and sent it by trusty men, who went about with it through all the districts, not leaving unvisited a single large city, to seek for some food. But they found it not; and they returned to us with the wealth, after a long absence. So thereupon we exposed to view our riches and our treasures, locked the gates of the fortresses in our city, and submitted ourselves to the decree of our Lord, committing our case to our Master; and thus we all died, as thou beholdest, and left what we had built and what we had treasured. This is our story: Whoso arriveth at our city, and entereth it, let him take of the wealth what he can, but not touch anything that is on my body; for it is the covering of my person. Therefore let him fear God, and not seize aught of it; for he would destroy himself. Peace be on you! I beg God, moreover, to save you from the evil of trials and sickness.
The sultan, greatly moved by the recital of this affecting story, and anxious to avenge the sufferings of the unfortunate prince, said to him: "Inform me whither this perfidious sorceress retires, and where may be found the vile wretch, who is entombed before his death." "My lord," replied the prince, "the Indian, as I have already told you, is lodged in the Palace of Tears, in a superb tomb constructed in the form of a dome: this palace joins the castle on the side in which the gate is placed. As to the queen, I cannot tell you precisely whither she retires, but every day at sunrise she goes to visit her charge, after having executed her bloody vengeance upon me; and you see I am not in a condition to defend myself. She carries to him the potion with which she has hitherto prevented his dying, and always complains of his never having spoken to her since he was wounded."