The princess took up one of the cakes, and presenting her with it, said: "Eat, good mother, and make choice of what you like best; you had need to eat after coming so far." "Madam," replied the good woman, "I am not used to eat such delicacies, but will not refuse what God has sent me by so liberal a hand as yours."
The genie having thus promised to speak the truth, the fisherman said to him: "I wish to know if you were actually in this vessel: dare you swear it by the name of the great God?" "Yes," replied the genie, "I do swear by His great name that I was." "In good faith," answered the fisherman, "I cannot believe you; the vessel is not capable of holding one of your size, and how should it be possible that your whole body could lie in it?" "I swear to thee, notwithstanding," replied the genie, "that I was there just as you see me here. Is it possible that thou dost not believe me after the solemn oath I have taken?" "Truly not I," said the fisherman; "nor will I believe you, unless you go into the vessel 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; so that he may imagine time has removed your 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, 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 which you are accustomed to drink 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 backward."
The fisherman, instead of answering the genie, took the cover of lead, and having speedily replaced it on the vessel, "Genie," cried he, "now it is your turn to beg my favour, and to choose which way I shall put you to death; but it is better that I should throw you into the sea, whence I took you: and then I will build a house upon the shore, where I will reside and give notice to all fishermen who come to throw in their nets, to beware of such a wicked genie as you are, who have made an oath to kill him that shall set you at liberty."
Aladdin's mother listened with interest 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. He 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."
Some days after, when the Princes Bahman and Perviz had recovered from the fatigue of their journey, they resumed their former way of living; and as their usual diversion was hunting, they mounted their horses and went for the first time since their return, not to their own demesne, but two or three leagues from their house. As they pursued their sport, the emperor of Persia came in pursuit of game upon the same ground. When they perceived, by the number of horsemen in different places, that he would soon be up, they resolved to discontinue their chase, and retire to avoid encountering him; but in the very road they took they chanced to meet him in so narrow a way that they could not retreat without being seen. In their surprise they had only time to alight and prostrate themselves before the emperor, without lifting up their heads to look at him. The emperor, who saw they were as well mounted and dressed as if they had belonged to his court, had a curiosity to see their faces. He stopped and commanded them to rise. The princes rose up and stood before him with an easy and graceful air, accompanied with modest countenances. The emperor took some time to view them before he spoke, and after he had admired their good air and mien, asked them who they were and where they lived.下载
When two of the three months were passed, 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 were open, dressed with foliage, silks, and carpeting, every one striving to shew their zeal in the most distinguished manner according to their ability. The streets were crowded with officers in habits of ceremony, mounted on horses richly caparisoned, each attended by a great many footmen. Aladdin's mother asked the oil-merchant what was the meaning of all this preparation of public festivity? "Whence come you, good woman," said he, "that you do not know that the grand vizier's son is to marry the Princess Badroulboudour, 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 solemnised."
The hope of delivering himself from poverty prevailed with the fisherman. "I could listen to thee," said he, "were there any credit to be given to thy word; swear to me, by the great name of God, that thou wilt faithfully perform what thou promisest, and I will open the vessel; I do not believe thou wilt dare to break such an oath."
"If I were disposed to do you that favour," replied Baba Mustapha, holding the money in his hand, ready to return it, "I assure you I cannot. I was taken to a certain place, where I was blinded, I was then led to the house, and afterward brought back again in the same manner; you see, therefore, the impossibility of my doing what you desire."
"Madam," answered Codadad, "tell me who you are, and be not concerned for myself." "I am a lady of quality of Grand Cairo," replied the captive; "I was passing by this castle yesterday, on my way to Bagdad, and met with the black, who killed all my attendants, and brought me hither. I beg of you," she cried, "to make your escape: the black will soon return; he is gone out to pursue some travellers he espied at a distance on the plain. Lose no time, but fly."
"Madam," replied the good woman, "I should be unworthy the hospitality you have shown me if I should refuse to satisfy your curiosity on that point, and am glad to have the honour to tell you that these curiosities are all to be met with in the same spot on the confines of this kingdom, toward India. The road lies before your house, and whoever you send needs but follow it for twenty days, and on the twentieth only let him ask the first person he meets where the Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water are, and he will be informed." After saying this, she rose from her seat, took her leave, and went her way.
The ten young men were not in the hall when I entered; but came in soon after, attended by the sheikh. They seemed not at all surprised to see me, nor at the loss of my eye; but said: "We are sorry that we cannot congratulate you on your return, as we could wish; but we are not the cause of your misfortune." "I should do you wrong," I replied, "to lay it to your charge; I have only myself to accuse." "If," said they, "it be a subject of consolation to the afflicted to know that others share their sufferings, you have in us this alleviation of your misfortune. All that has happened to you we have also endured; we each of us tasted the same pleasures during a year; and we had still continued to enjoy them, had we not opened the golden door, when the princesses were absent. You have been no wiser than we, and have incurred the same punishment. We would gladly receive you into our company, to join with us in the penance to which we are bound, and the duration of which we know not. But we have already stated to you the reasons that render this impossible: depart, therefore, and proceed to the court of Bagdad, where you will meet with the person who is to decide your destiny." After they had explained to me the road I was to travel, I departed from them, with mournful heart and weeping eye, and, God having decreed me a safe journey hither, I arrived at Bagdad, after I had shaved my beard, and become a mendicant. Praise be to God, whose name be exalted, and whose purposes concerning me are as yet hid in darkness.