There was, in olden time, in Damascus of Syria, a king, named Abd-El-Melik the son of Marwan; and he was sitting, one day, having with him the great men of his empire, consisting of kings and sultans, when a discussion took place among them, respecting the traditions of former nations. They called to mind the stories of Solomon, son of David, and the dominion which God had bestowed upon him over mankind, and the genies, and the birds, and the wild beasts, and they said: "We have heard from those who were before us, that God bestowed not upon any one the power which He bestowed upon Solomon, so that he used to imprison the genies and the devils in bottles of brass, and pour molten lead over them, and seal a cover over them with his signet."
His son, who was called Aladdin, had been brought up in a very careless and idle manner, and by that means had contracted many vicious habits. He was obstinate, and disobedient to his father and mother, who, when he grew up, could not keep him within doors. He was in the habit of going out early in the morning, and would stay out all day, playing in the streets with idle children of his own age.
Hassan caused the work to be carried on with such diligence, and employed so many workmen, that the dome was soon finished. Within it was erected a tomb, which was covered with gold brocade. When all was completed, the sultan ordered prayers to be said, and appointed a day for the obsequies of his son.
"What!" cried the mother, "was your lamp then the occasion of that cursed genie's addressing himself rather to me than to you? Ah! my son, take it out of my sight, and put it where you please. I will never touch it. I had rather you would sell it, than run the hazard of being frightened to death again by touching it: and if you would take my advice, you would part also with the ring, and not have anything to do with genies, who, as our prophet has told us, are only devils."
The princess sent for the cage, and after she had related the circumstances to the Bird in the presence of her brothers, asked him what they should do in this perplexity. The Bird answered: "The princes, your brothers, must conform to the emperor's pleasure, and in their turn invite him to come and see your house."
The chief cook, who had never heard of such a dish, started back, and showed his thoughts by his looks; which the princess penetrating, said: "I see you take me to be mad to order such a dish, which one may say with certainty was never made. I know this as well as you; but I am not mad, and give you these orders with the most perfect recollection. You must invent and do the best you can, and bring me back what pearls are left." The cook could make no reply, but took the box and retired; and afterward the princess gave directions to all the domestics to have everything in order, both in the house and gardens, to receive the emperor.
When he was old enough to learn a trade, his father, not being able to put him out to any other, took him into his own shop, and taught him how to use his needle: but neither fair words nor the fear of chastisement were capable of fixing his lively genius. All his father's endeavours to keep him to his work were in vain; for no sooner was his back turned, than he was gone for that day. Mustapha chastised him, but Aladdin was incorrigible, and his father, to his great grief, was forced to abandon him to his idleness: and was so much troubled at not being able to reclaim him, that it threw him into a fit of sickness, of which he died in a few months.
Title: The Arabian Nights