Adventures of Aladdin (3)

"Old lamps for new," he called to the princess, standing on the balcony.

Now, Aladdin had always kept his secret to himself. Only his mother knew it and she had never told a soul. Halima, alas, had been kept in the dark. And so, now, wanting to give Aladdin a surprise as well as make a good bargain, she fetched the old oil lamp she had seen Aladdin tuck away, and gave it to the merchant in exchange for a new one.


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The merchant quickly began to rub it and the genie was now at the service of the wizard who had got his magic lamp back. In a second he whisked away all Aladdin's possessions and magically sent the palace and the princess to an unknown land.

Aladdin and the Sultan were at their wits' end. Nobody knew what had happened. Only Aladdin knew it had something to do with the magic lamp. But as he wept over the lost genie of the lamp, he remembered the genie of the ring from the wizard's finger. Slipping the ring on his finger, Aladdin twisted it round and round.

"Take me to the place where the wizard has hidden my wife," he ordered the genie. In a flash, he found himself inside his own palace, and peeping from behind a curtain, he saw the wizard and the princess, now his servant.

"Psst! Psst!" hissed Aladdin.

"Aladdin! It's you !"

"Ssh. Don't let him hear you. Take this powder and put it into his tea. Trust me."

The powder quickly took effect and the wizard fell into a deep sleep. Aladdin hunted for the lamp high and low, but it was nowhere to be seen. But it had to be there. How, otherwise, had the wizard moved the palace? As Aladdin gazed at his sleeping enemy, he thought of peering underneath the pillow. "The lamp! At last," sighed Aladdin, hastily rubbing it.

"Welcome back, Master!" exclaimed the genie. "Why did you leave me at another's service for so long?"

"Welcome," replied Aladdin. "I'm glad to see you again. I've certainly missed you! It's just as well I have you by me again."

"At your command," smiled the genie.

"First, put this wicked wizard in chains and take him far away where he'll never be found again."

The genie grinned with pleasure, nodded his head, and the wizard vanished.

Halima clutched Aladdin in fear: "What's going on? Who is that genie?"

"Don't worry, everything is all right," Aladdin reassured her, as he told his wife the whole story of how he had met the wizard and found the magic lamp that had enabled him to marry her. Everything went back to normal and the happy pair hugged each other tenderly.

"Can we return to our own kingdom?" the princess asked timidly, thinking of her father, so far away. Aladdin glanced at her with a smile.

"The magic that brought you here will take you back, but with me at your side, forever."

The Sultan was almost ill with worry. His daughter had disappeared along with the palace, and then his son-in-law had vanished too. Nobody knew where they were, not even the wise men hastily called to the palace to divine what had happened. The jealous Chamberlain kept on repeating: "I told you Aladdin's fortune couldn't last."

Everyone had lost all hope of ever seeing the missing pair again, when far away, Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp and said to the genie, "Take my wife, myself and the palace back to our own land, as fast as you can."

"In a flash, Sire," replied the genie. At the snap of a finger, the palace rose into the air and sped over the Sultan's kingdom, above the heads of his astonished subjects. It gently floated down to earth and landed on its old site.

Aladdin and Halima rushed to embrace the Sultan. To this very day, in that distant country, you can still admire the traces of an ancient palace which folk call the palace that came from the skies.

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