Aladdin and other stories from the Arabian Nights
Adapted by John Escott
Sheherezade and the King
There was once a king called Shahriah. He
was a happy man … until one day he came home
and heard that his wife was in love with one of his
servants. ‘Put them both in prison!’ said the king, angrily.
But he soon became lonely.Then he had an idea. ‘Find me
a new wife every day,’ he told his vizir (his chief servant),
‘then, the morning after our wedding, put her in prison
before she can stop loving me.’
Every day, for three terrible years, the poor vizir obeyed
the king’s orders. ‘What can I do? I can’t disobey him. I
don’t want to go to prison,’ said the vizir to Sheherezade,
‘Father, give me to the king tomorrow,’ said
Sheherezade. ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ve got a plan.’
The next day Sheherezade became the king’s wife.That
night, Sheherezade asked the king, ‘Husband, do you like
‘Of course,’ answered the king.
‘Then I’ll tell you one,’ said Sheherezade.
Sheherezade was clever. She didn’t finish the story that
night. She stopped when the morning sun began to shine
through the window.
‘You must finish the story tonight, Sheherezade,’ said the
king. ‘I want to hear the end.’
After that, Sheherezade began a new story every night.
And each morning the king said,‘You must finish it
tonight, Sheherezade. I want to hear the end.’
And here are three of those stories …
Aladdin and the Lamp
Long ago, a man called Mustafa lived in China. He
worked very hard, while his son, Aladdin, played in the
streets all day.Then Mustafa died.
One day, a stranger spoke to Aladdin. ‘I’m your uncle,’ said
the man. ‘Mustafa was my brother.’ But this wasn’t true.The
stranger wasn’t Aladdin’s uncle. He was a bad magician.
Aladdin took the stranger home. ‘Mustafa never spoke
about a brother,’ Aladdin’s mother said to the stranger.
‘I travelled around for forty years,’ said the magician.
He told them about his adventures in other countries.
‘And tomorrow I’m going to show you something
wonderful, Aladdin,’ he said.
The next day, he took Aladdin a long way from the city.
‘Make a fire,’ said the magician. His voice was cold and
hard, and Aladdin was afraid.
The magician dropped something on the fire. A big flat
stone appeared by magic.
‘Move the stone!’ the magician ordered. ‘There are steps
under it. Go down the steps. At the bottom of the steps,
you will find a wall with a hole in it.There’s an old lamp
in the hole. Bring it to me!’
It was a magic lamp, but the magician was afraid to look
for it himself.
‘Wear this,’ said the magician. He put a ring on Aladdin’s
Aladdin moved the stone and went down the steps. He
found the lamp, and started to climb back up the steps.
The magician was at the top of the steps.‘When the boy
gives me the lamp,’ he said to himself, ‘I’m going to shut
him in the hole!’
Aladdin heard him. ‘Help me climb up!’ cried Aladdin.
‘Then you can have the lamp.’
‘Give it to me now!’ the magician shouted. ‘I must have it!’
‘No!’ said Aladdin.
The magician got very angry. By magic, he moved the
big, flat stone across the hole, and flew far away to
‘Help!’ shouted Aladdin. But nobody came. He looked at
the ring on his finger. ‘It’s very dirty,’ he thought. He
rubbed it – and suddenly a genie appeared!
‘I’m the Genie of the Ring,’ he said. ‘Can I help you?’
‘Take me home,’ said Aladdin.
And in a moment, he was home! He told his mother the
story and showed her the lamp. ‘It’s dirty,’ she said, and
began to rub it. Another genie appeared – much bigger
than the Genie of the Ring.
‘I’m the Genie of the Lamp,’ he said. ‘What can I do for
Aladdin said, ‘Bring us some food!’
The Genie disappeared, then came back with plates of
‘Wonderful!’ cried Aladdin.
At first, everything was wonderful. But soon Aladdin’s
mother said, ‘Go and bury that lamp and ring in the
garden.We were happy without their magic.We can be
happy without magic again.’
So Aladdin buried the lamp and the ring in the garden.
Five years passed.Then, one day, he saw the king’s
daughter and immediately fell in love with her. He hurried
home to get the magic lamp and magic ring out of the
garden. He rubbed the lamp.
‘Bring me some jewels,’ he told the Genie of the Lamp.
By magic, a plate of shining jewels appeared.
Aladdin sent his mother to the palace with the jewels.
‘These are from my son, Aladdin,’ she told the king.‘He
wants to marry your daughter.’
‘What wonderful jewels!’ thought the king. He was a
greedy man.‘Your son must send me more jewels,’ he said.
‘Then he can marry my daughter.’
With the Genie’s help, Aladdin sent more plates of jewels
to the palace. Now the king was happy.
Aladdin asked the Genie to give him a palace.Then
Aladdin married the princess. He kept the lamp in the
palace. But he didn’t tell the princess that it was a magic
The bad magician heard about the wonderful
palace of Prince Aladdin and his wife. ‘That boy has got
my lamp, and I want it!’ he thought.
The next morning, he stood outside the palace with
a box of new lamps.‘New lamps for old!’ he cried.
People brought him their old lamps, and he gave them new ones.
When the princess heard about this, she
thought to herself, ‘I’ll give him Aladdin’s lamp. It’s very old and
dirty.’ She took it to the magician.
As soon as the magician had the magic lamp, he rubbed it
and the genie appeared.
‘Take Aladdin’s palace to Africa – and take me there, too!’ ordered
Aladdin came home. He found his wife and his palace
gone. ‘This is the magician’s work!’ he said.Tired and
unhappy, he sat down by the river and cried. He began to
rub his eyes with his hands – and rubbed the magic ring!
The genie appeared.
‘Bring back my wife and palace!’ cried Aladdin.
‘Only the Genie of the Lamp can do that,’ said the genie.
‘Then take me to my wife,’ said Aladdin.
Suddenly, he was in Africa, outside his palace.The princess
looked out of the window and saw Aladdin. She told him
about the lamp.‘The magician carries it everywhere,’ she
‘Then listen … ,’ said Aladdin.
That evening the princess put something in the magician’s
drink. Soon he was asleep.The princess quickly got the
lamp, and Aladdin rubbed it.The genie appeared.
‘Take us and our palace back to China, but leave the
magician here,’ ordered Aladdin.
Before an eye could open and close, Aladdin and his
princess flew back to China in their palace.
And there they lived happily together for many, many
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Aladdin and other stories from the Arabian Nights