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sultan? His majestic presence and the luster of his court would absolutely confound me, who used even to tremble before my late husband your father, when I asked him for anything. There is another reason, my son, which you do not think of, which is that nobody ever goes to ask a favor of the sultan without a present. But what presents have you to make? And if you had any that were worthy of the least attention of so great a monarch, what proportion could they bear to the favor you would ask? Therefore, reflect well on what you are about, and consider, that you aspire to an object which it is impossible for you to obtain."

Aladdin heard very calmly all that his mother could say to dissuade him from his design, and after he had weighed her representations in all points, replied: "I own, mother, it is great rashness in me to presume to carry my pretensions so far; and a great want of consideration to ask you with so much heat and precipitancy to go and make the proposal to the sultan, without first taking proper measures to procure a favorable reception, and therefore beg your pardon. But be not surprised that through the violence of my passion I did not at first see every measure necessary to procure me the happiness I seek. I love the princess, or rather I adore her, and shall always persevere in my design of marrying her. I am obliged to you for the hint you have given me, and look upon it as the first step I ought to take to procure the happy issue I promise myself.

"You say it is not customary to go to the sultan without a present, and that I have nothing worthy of his acceptance. As to the necessity of a present, I agree with you, and own that I never thought of it; but as to what you say that I have nothing fit to offer, do not you think, mother, that what I brought home with me the day on which I was delivered from an inevitable death, may be an acceptable present? I mean what you and I both took for colored glass: but now I am undeceived, and can tell you that they are jewels of inestimable value, and fit for the greatest monarch. I know the worth of them by frequenting the shops; and you may take my word that all the precious stones which I saw in the most capital jeweler's possession were not to be compared to those we have, either for size or beauty, and yet they value theirs at an excessive price. In short, neither you nor I know the value of ours; but be it as it may, by the little experience I have, I am persuaded that they will be received very favorably by the sultan: you have a large porcelain dish fit to hold them; fetch it, and let us see how they will look, when we have arranged them according to their different colors."

Aladdin's mother brought the china dish, when he took the jewels out of the two purses in which he had kept them, and placed them in order according to his fancy. But the brightness and luster they emitted in the daytime, and the variety of the colors, so dazzled the eyes both of mother and son, that they were astonished beyond measure; for they had only seen them by the light of a lamp; and though the latter had beheld them pendant on the trees like fruit beautiful to the eye, yet as he was then but a boy, he looked on them only as glittering playthings.

After they had admired the beauty of the jewels some time, Aladdin said to his mother, "Now you cannot excuse yourself from going to the sultan, under pretext of not having a present to make him, since here is one which will gain you a favorable reception."

Though the good widow, notwithstanding the beauty and luster of the precious stones, did not believe them so valuable as her son estimated them, she thought such a present might nevertheless be agreeable to the sultan, but still she hesitated at the request. "My son," said she, "I cannot conceive that your present will have its desired effect, or that the sultan will look upon me with a favorable eye; I am sure, that if I attempt to deliver your strange message, I shall have no power to open my mouth; therefore I shall not only lose my labor, but the present, which you say is so invaluable, and shall return home again in confusion, to tell you that your hopes are frustrated. I have represented the consequence, and you ought to believe me; but," added she, "I will exert my best endeavor to please you, and wish I may have power to ask the sultan as you would have me; but certainly he would either laugh at me, and send me back like a fool, or be in so great a rage as to make us both the victims of his fury."

She used many other arguments to endeavor to make him change his mind; but the charms of the princess had made too great an impression on his heart for him to be dissuaded from his design. He persisted in importuning his mother to execute his resolution, and she, as much out of tenderness as for fear he should be guilty of greater extravagance, complied with his request.

As it was now late, and the time for admission to the palace was passed, it was put off till the next day. The mother and son talked of different matters the remaining part of the day; and Aladdin strove to encourage her in the task she had undertaken; while she, notwithstanding all his arguments, could not persuade herself she should succeed; and it must be confessed she had reason enough to doubt. "Child," said she to Aladdin, "if the sultan should receive me favorably, as I wish for your sake, should even hear my proposal with calmness, and after this scarcely-to-be-expected reception should think of asking me where lie your riches and your estate (for he will sooner inquire after these than your person), if, I say, he should ask me these questions, what answer would you have me return him?"

"Let us not be uneasy, mother," replied Aladdin, "about what may never happen. First, let us see how the sultan receives, and what answer he gives you. If it should so fall out, that he desires to be informed of what you mention, I have thought of an answer, and am confident that the lamp which hath supported us so long will not fail me in time of need."

The tailor's widow could not say anything against what her son then proposed; but reflected that the lamp might be capable of doing greater wonders than just providing victuals for them. This consideration satisfied her, and at the same time removed all the difficulties which might have prevented her from undertaking the service she had promised her son with the sultan; Aladdin, who penetrated into his mother's thoughts, said to her, "Above all things, mother, be sure to keep secret our possession of the lamp, for thereon depends the success we have to expect"; and after this caution, Aladdin and his mother parted to go to rest. But violent love, and the great prospect of so immense a fortune, had so much possessed the son's thoughts, that he could not repose himself so well as he could have wished. He rose before daybreak, awakened his mother, pressing her to get herself dressed to go to the sultan's palace, and to get admittance, if possible, before the grand vizier, the other viziers, and the great officers of state went in to take their seats in the divan, where the sultan always assisted in person.

Aladdin's mother took the china dish, in which they had put the jewels the day before, wrapped in two napkins, one finer than the other, which was tied at the four corners for more easy carriage, and set forwards for the sultan's palace. When she came to the gates, the grand vizier, the other viziers, and most distinguished lords of the court were just gone in; but, notwithstanding the crowd of people who had business was great, she got into the divan, a spacious hall, the entrance into which was very magnificent. She placed herself just before the sultan, grand vizier, and the great lords, who sat in council, on his right and left hand. Several causes were called, according to their order, pleaded and adjudged, until the time the divan generally broke up, when the sultan rising, returned to his apartment, attended by the grand vizier; the other viziers and ministers of state then retired, as also did all those whose business had called them thither; some pleased with gaining their causes, others dissatisfied at the sentences pronounced against them, and some in expectation of theirs being heard the next sitting.

Aladdin's mother, seeing the sultan retire, and all the people depart, judged rightly that he would not sit again that day, and resolved to go home. When Aladdin saw her return with the present designed for the sultan, he knew not what to think of her success, and in his fear lest she should bring him some ill news, had not courage to ask her any questions; but she, who had never set foot into the sultan's palace before, and knew not what was every day practiced there, freed him from his embarrassment, and said to him, with a great deal of simplicity, "Son, I have seen the sultan, and am very well persuaded he has seen me too; for I placed myself just before him; but he was so much taken up with those who attended on all sides of him, that I pitied him, and wondered at his patience. At last I believe he was heartily tired, for he rose up suddenly, and would not hear a great many who were ready prepared to speak to him, but went away, at which I was well pleased, for indeed I began to lose all patience, and was extremely fatigued with staying so long. But there is no harm done; I will go again tomorrow; perhaps the sultan may not be so busy."

Though his passion was very violent, Aladdin was forced to be satisfied with this delay, and to fortify himself with patience. He had at least the satisfaction to find that his mother had got over the greatest difficulty, which was to procure access to the sultan, and hoped that the example of those she saw speak to him would embolden her to acquit herself better of her commission when a favorable opportunity might offer to speak to him.

The next morning she repaired to the sultan's palace with the present, as early as the day before, but when she came there, she found the gates of the divan shut, and understood that the council sat but every other day, therefore she must come again the next. This news she carried to her son, whose only relief was to guard himself with patience. She went six times afterwards on the days appointed, placed herself always directly before the sultan, but with as little success as the first morning, and might have perhaps come a thousand times to as little purpose, if luckily the sultan himself had not taken particular notice of her: for only those who came with petitions approached the sultan, when each pleaded their cause in its turn, and Aladdin's mother was not one of them.

On the sixth day, however, after the divan was broken up, when the sultan returned to his own apartment, he said to his grand vizier, "I have for some time observed a certain woman, who attends constantly every day that I give audience, with something wrapped up in a napkin: she always stands up from the beginning to the breaking up of the audience, and affects to place herself just before me. Do you know what she wants?"

"Sir," replied the grand vizier, who knew no more than the sultan what she wanted, but did not wish to seem uninformed, "your Majesty knows that women often make complaints on trifles; perhaps she may come to complain to your Majesty, that somebody has sold her some bad flour, or some such trifling matter." The sultan was not satisfied with this answer, but replied, "If this woman comes to our next audience, do not fail to call her, that I may hear what she has to say." The grand vizier made answer by lowering his hand, and then lifting it up above his head, signifying his willingness to lose it if he failed.

By this time, the tailor's widow was so much used to go to audience, and stand before the sultan, that she did not think it any trouble, if she could but satisfy her son that she neglected nothing that lay in her power to please him: the next audience day she went to the divan, placed herself in front of the sultan as usual; and before the grand vizier had made his report of business, the sultan perceived her, and compassionating her for having waited so long, said to the vizier, "Before you enter upon any business, remember the woman I spoke to you


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