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."
While she was thus bewailing herself, the grand vizier entered, and asked her if the fish were ready. She told him all that had occurred, which we may easily imagine astonished him; but without speaking a word of it to the sultan he invented an excuse that satisfied him, and sending immediately for the fisherman bid him bring four more such fish, for a misfortune had befallen the others, so that they were not fit to be carried to the royal table. The fisherman, without saying anything of what the genie had told him, told the vizier he had a great way to go for them, in order to excuse himself from bringing them that day, but said that he would certainly bring them on the morrow.
The princess, who began to be tired with his declarations, interrupted him and said: "Let us drink first, and then say what you will afterward:" at the same time she set the cup to her lips, while the African magician, who was eager to get his wine off first, drank up the very last drop. In finishing it, he leaned his head back to show his eagerness, and remained some time in that state. The princess kept the cup at her lips till she saw his eyes turn in his head, when he fell backward lifeless on the sofa. The princess had no occasion to order the private door to be opened to Aladdin; for her women were so disposed from the great hall to the foot of the staircase, that the word was no sooner given that the magician was fallen, than the door was immediately opened. As soon as Aladdin entered the hall, he saw the magician stretched backward on the sofa. The princess rose from her seat, and ran overjoyed to embrace him; but he stopped her and said: "Princess, it is not yet time; let me be left alone a moment, while I endeavour to transport you back to China as speedily as you were brought from thence." When the princess, her women and eunuchs, were gone out of the hall, Aladdin shut the door, and, going directly to the dead body of the magician, opened his vest, took out the lamp which was carefully wrapped up, as the princess had told him, and unfolding and rubbing it, the genie immediately appeared. "Genie," said Aladdin, "I have called to command thee, on the part of thy good mistress, this lamp, to transport this palace instantly into China, to the place from whence it was brought hither." The genie bowed his head in token of obedience, and disappeared. Immediately the palace was transported into China, and its removal was only felt by two little shocks, the one when it was lifted up, the other when it was set down, and both in a very short interval of time.
The monarch's amazement and surprise were inexpressible, when he saw so many large, beautiful, and valuable jewels collected in the dish. He remained for some time motionless with admiration. At last, when he had recovered himself, he received the present, crying out in a transport of joy: "How rich, how beautiful!" After he had admired and handled all the jewels, one after another, he turned to his grand vizier, and shewing him the dish, said: "Behold, admire, wonder, and confess that your eyes never beheld jewels so rich and beautiful before." The vizier was charmed. "Well," continued the sultan, "what sayest thou to such a present? Is it not worthy of the princess, my daughter? And ought I not to bestow her on one who values her at so great price?"
"I am that unfortunate princess; my father was rather grieved than pleased at my birth; but he submitted to the will of God, and caused me to be educated with all possible care, being resolved, since he had no son, to teach me the art of ruling, that I might supply his place after his death.
"I took the king of Serendib's letter and went to present myself at the gate of the Commander of the Faithful, followed by the beautiful slave, and such of my own family as carried the gifts. I stated the reason of my coming, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the caliph. I made my reverence, and, after a short speech, gave him the letter and present. When he had read what the king of Serendib wrote to him, he asked me if the prince were really so rich and potent as he represented himself in his letter. I prostrated myself a second time, and rising again, said: 'Commander of the Faithful, I can assure your majesty he doth not exceed the truth. Nothing is more worthy of admiration than the magnificence of his palace. When the prince appears in public he has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and marches betwixt two ranks of his ministers, favourites, and other people of his court; before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind the throne there is another, who stands upright, with a column of gold, on the top of which is an emerald half a foot long and an inch thick; before him march a guard of one thousand men, clad in cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned.
"I shrieked in a dreadful manner at the sight of what he had done, and had certainly cast myself into the sea also, but that the pirate held me. He saw my design, and therefore bound me with cords to the main-mast, then hoisting sail, made toward the land, and got ashore. He unbound me and led me to a little town, where he bought camels, tents, and slaves, and then set out for Grand Cairo, designing, as he still said, to present me to his friend, according to his promise.
The genie laughed at his fear, and answered: "Fisherman, be not afraid, I only did it to divert myself, and to see if you would be alarmed at it; but to convince you that I am in earnest, take your nets and follow me." As he spoke these words, he walked before the fisherman, who having taken up his nets, followed him, but with some distrust. They passed by the town, and came to the top of a mountain, from whence they descended into a vast plain, which brought them to a lake that lay betwixt four hills.
The Emeer Moosa, when he heard these words, again wept and was admonished by what he witnessed. He then said to his companions: "Bring the sacks, and fill them with part of these riches and these vessels and rarities and jewels." And thereupon, Talib, the son of Sahl, said to the Emeer Moosa: "O Emeer, shall we leave this damsel with the things that are upon her? They are things that have no equal, nor is the like of them at any time found, and they are more than the riches thou hast taken, and will be the best present by which thou mayest ingratiate thyself with the Prince of the Faithful." But the emeer replied: "Heardest thou not that which the damsel hath given as a charge, in the inscription upon this tablet? Moreover, and especially, she hath given it as a charge offered in confidence, and we are not of the people of treachery." The Vizier Talib, however, said: "And on account of these words wilt thou leave these riches and these jewels, when she is dead? What then should she do with these things, which are the ornaments of the world, and the decoration of the living? With a garment of cotton might this damsel be covered, and we are more worthy of the things than she." Then he drew near to the steps, and ascended them until he reached the spot between the two slaves, when, lo, one of these two smote him upon his back, and the other smote him with the sword that was in his hand, and struck off his head, and he fell down dead. So the Emeer Moosa said: "May God not regard with mercy thy resting-place! There was, in these riches, a sufficiency; and covetousness doth dishonour the person in whom it existeth!" He thereupon gave orders for the entry of the troops, who accordingly entered, and they loaded the camels with part of those riches and minerals; after which the Emeer Moosa commanded them to close the gate as it was before.
I am the son of Sheddad, who held dominion over mankind and each tract of the whole earth.