The Aladdin story retold here is taken from The Arabian Nights, also known as One Thousand and One Nights. If Disney can butcher the original source material, so can I.
The Education of Aladdin
Once upon a time, in a Chinese country the author (of the original story, not me) cannot recall, there lived a useless layabout named Aladdin. This laziness was largely unforgivable, as neither Medium nor Twitter had come about as a service one could point at as addictive. His father Mustafa was a tailor, but his son showed exactly zero interest in learning the family business, preferring instead to play with the street children in whatever games the hopelessly unemployed engage in.
One day his father died, as fathers sadly do, and left Aladdin alone with his mother, whose answer to everything was to simply spin cotton cloth. Now, his mother was apparently not very bright, as when an African magician arrived in town claiming to be Aladdin’s uncle, she saw nothing strange about the claim. Presumably, she knew her husband’s kin but she’d never seen this African magician before. She only knew he was African because the narrator of the story, while forgetting what country his story took place in, explicitly mentions the magician was from Africa perhaps eighty times.
There is a casual racism found in the Arabian Nights; all the villains are black, if the villain isn’t a Christian or Jew. It elicits eye rolls at best and eye twitches at worst. But it is consistently racist and sectarian, with all the narratives being told by Muslims possessing a hearty, tribal hatred of non-Muslims and black people. So in these stories, whenever one encounters a character who is Christian, or Jewish, or from Africa, one can consider this foreshadowing as the character is due to become quite shady indeed. It isn’t right, but it is what it is in these stories. Racism is a relative affair, regardless of what critical race theorists would attempt to redefine it as to justify their own racism.
But, to get back on track, this definitely African magician in an indefinitely located Chinese kingdom begins to pile riches and favors upon Aladdin. He dresses the lazy, little street rat in silk and rents him a stall to set up as a merchant. He takes him all over town and introduces him to the best men of commerce, whom this magician somehow knows. He does this each day until Friday, when all the stalls are closed and commerce is paused with the sook (marketplace) instead reserved for entertainment and getting wasted.
But rather than hanging out and enjoying these amusements, the magician like your least favorite health-conscious friend, takes Aladdin on a hike a day’s walk from the city into the wilderness. As an extremely lazy lad, Aladdin has misgivings about journeying so far from his home, having never left the city in his entire life, but this strange relative from across the world had bought his trust. Making camp for the night, the magician dusts off a large stone with a ring attached to it, as a bull would have in its nose, or a serial killer would have in a trap door leading to their murder-dungeon.
After giving Aladdin a ring to put on his finger, he tells him to grasp the handle attached to the stone and to lift it up out of the ground. Skeptically, Aladdin obeys and pulls the stone up, revealing a cave beneath it. He explains the ring on Aladdin’s finger allowed him to open the cave and that he himself somehow could not have done so. But he had more for Aladdin to do; he must enter the cave and retrieve a lamp for him.
There were additional stipulations, as all magic caves have, of course. The cave had four chambers, two of which he must walk straight through without even his robe so much as touching the wall, otherwise he would immediately fall to the ground dead. Then he must waddle through a garden, utterly full of fruit of the most exotic kind, which he may take as much as he likes. Finally, in the last chamber will be the sought for lamp. He must take the lamp, which will be burning, douse it, empty the oil, and throw away the wick. He is told not to worry, as the oil somehow isn’t oil and the fire somehow isn’t fire.
Aladdin does all of this, including stuffing his robe, turban, sash, and everywhere else a piece of fruit can be stuffed. He takes the lamp and does as he was asked, holding it close to his chest. But when he attempts to crawl back out of the cave, his totally not forbidden fruit weighs him down like a politician experiencing an honest revelation on their death bed.
His utterly trustworthy uncle tells him to pass him the lamp and he’ll help him out. But Aladdin, whose stupidity works for him in this instance, complains the lamp isn’t hindering him, the fruit is, and he won’t hand over the lamp. His uncle demands he hand over the lamp before he helps him up and again Aladdin refuses, stubborn-yet-lazy as he is. In a stupid rage, the magician shuts the stone on him, sealing him in the cave, and flees back to Africa without either ring or lamp.
Aladdin in the meantime spends two or three whole days stranded in this dark cave, until he finally gets around to rubbing the ring he was given. Yes, the ring, not the lamp. A jinn pops out and says, “I obey. The fuck you want?” Aladdin, rather than losing his shit at the sight of a giant dude made of smoke demanding he tell him what to do, says, “I just kind of want out of here.” With a poof, he is transported above ground and the jinn vanishes like a health-conscious friend responsible for picking up the next round of drinks.
After making his way back to the city, his uncle who wasn’t really his uncle is nowhere to be found and his mother makes a fuss over dinner. She says she’ll sell a bolt of cloth and buy some food, but Aladdin tells her to sell the lamp he found, instead. He never once wonders why the magician wanted to get a hold of the lamp, but he figures they’ll get a better price for the dirty old lamp if they clean it up first, so the mother gives it a solid rub.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
And the mother feints straight away. Aladdin, by now a veteran of human-jinn affairs, demands food. The jinn provides a giant, silver bowl of wine and twelve silver plates full of food before vanishing back to wherever he came from. The mother and son eat well for days, in addition to making an income selling the silver plates and bowl. In yet another instance of boringly predictable racism, a local Jewish merchant rips him off.
But the plates and bowl of course cost Aladdin nothing and he begins to accrue some savings. Whenever he and his mother run out of food, he summons the jinn of the lamp with a poof, who says, “I obey. The fuck you want?” Aladdin always wants food and plates, which he begins to sell to a more honest and predictably Muslim merchant at a much higher price.
In this way, he becomes wealthy and mixes with the “best men" of the city; these men being merchants. He learns by observation the fruit he picked in the magic cave were not pieces of fruit at all, but gigantic and precious gems, rather than simply colored glass. I suspect he would have known this sooner if he’d attempted to eat any of them.
Aladdin the Creep
One day the Sultan of the city declared a curfew, under penalty of death as is always the case when one doesn’t adhere to the mildest whimsy of a Sultan in these stories. None were allowed to be in the streets and no business was to be conducted while the Princess Badr waddled down for her monthly bath in town. Aladdin, being a horny sort, arranged to catch a peek of the forbidden and presumably stank princess.
The custom in the city was for all women to be veiled when outside the home and as such, Aladdin had only seen his mother unveiled. In consequence, he assumed all women were old and haggard and had no desire for any woman, his elicit peekaboo with the princess notwithstanding. But when he sees a young lady unveiled for the first time, he loses his mind and determines to marry her immediately. One could say it was love at first sight, but love doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with it.
He conscripts his mother to petition his cause to the Sultan, offering him a bag full of the jewels he’d mistaken for fruit in return for his daughter; as if they were merely trading horses. The Sultan was pleased at the proposed bargain as a daughter is just meat but diamonds are a tyrant’s best friend. But his vizier was not pleased, having determined the princess was to marry his own son already. So he convinces the feeble minded tyrant to grant a three month extension, during which the vizier would have an opportunity to place a higher bid than Aladdin.
Two months go by and the Sultan changes his mind, promising the Princess to the vizier’s son. Aladdin gets wind of this and turns to the lamp, rubbing the jinn out from it once again. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
Aladdin states on the day of the wedding, when the Princess and her new husband have climbed into bed, the jinn is to transport them all, bed included, to his own home. The jinn does so, at which time Aladdin then orders the jinn to banish the Princess’s husband to the bathroom and to lock him in there until the morning. In the meantime, Aladdin lays down in bed with the Princess, placing a sword between them and somehow manages to sleep the uninterrupted sleep of the sociopath. The Princess of course, doesn’t enjoy her time at all.
In the morning, Aladdin summons the jinn again. “I obey. The fuck you want?” The jinn is instructed to return the husband, the Princess, and the bed all together back where he found them and to repeat the process the next night. Again, the husband is locked in the bathroom and Aladdin lays down in bed with the sword placed between himself and the Princess. And once again, they are all returned to the palace, bed included, in the morning, while Aladdin stays at home.
Through this absurd bit of magical creep, Aladdin inspires the husband to divorce his newly wed wife, opening her up for his own advances. When the next month passes, Aladdin’s mother is sent to the palace to remind the Sultan of his promise to hand over his daughter. But the Sultan doesn’t want to do so, any longer. So he demands a vast dowry in return, setting a price on his daughter so high he believes no one could match it; except of course, with the lamp and a surly jinn, Aladdin could afford any price.
The Sultan demands eighty slaves, forty black and forty white, presumably for a fairly serious game of chess while ignoring such feeble concepts as human rights and dignity. Each of these slaves must bear a solid gold bowl, filled to the brim with jewels. Aladdin rubs a jinn out of the lamp once again.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?” Aladdin relates what the fuck he want and the jinn makes it so, filling Aladdin’s house with slaves and riches intended for the Sultan’s greedy treasury.
Having purchased himself a Princess like a hog at the county fair, Aladdin and Badr are married. But Aladdin’s humble home simply won’t do, so with the Sultan’s permission he vows to build a new palace for himself and the Princess. As a lazy man, he relies again on his lamp.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
“Build me a palace to rival and surpass any other palace in the world.” The jinn nods and does so, erecting the palace overnight. By this time, the vizier begins to suspect, perhaps, a bit of witchcraft has been performed. But the idiot Sultan tells him to shut up and calls him stupid, as Aladdin can do no wrong.
As the years goes by, Aladdin becomes more and more respected by all who come across him, presumably without meeting a single one of them. Apparently wealth goes a long way towards character, but he truly achieves peak respect after taking command of the Sultan’s army and brutally putting down a peasant revolt in a matter of days. His status is assured and he once again has the jinn of the lamp to thank for it.
The African Magician’s Revenge
Peak respect comes with dangers of it’s own however, as anyone with a Twitter account knows full well. Tales of Aladdin reached so far as Africa, where a certain magician became aware he had not stranded Aladdin to die as he thought. He departed at once to the indefinitely named Chinese country where he had endeavored to obtain the lamp, knowing full well Aladdin had used it extensively yet lazily.
Upon arriving in the city, he learned the great Aladdin was out of town on a hunting trip and wouldn’t be back for days. So he devised a devilish plot and had a dozen lamps crafted, which he stuffed in a bag telling everyone he met on the street he would exchange these new lamps for any old, dirty lamp one could find.
The slaves and Princess of Aladdin’s palace had noted an old and dusty lamp on the mantel. Conspiring to do Aladdin a favor, the slaves of the palace exchange his dirty, tired old lamp with a clean and freshly crafted one. The magician steals away with the lamp and rubs out a splash of jinn.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
The magician demands Aladdin’s palace, himself, and all the contents therein to be transported to Africa. The jinn delivers and both Aladdin’s palace and his princess found themselves across the world in Africa, in the ownership of a vile magician.
The Sultan, despite being intensely stupid, does eventually notice a gigantic palace larger than his own was now missing. Finally believing his vizier regarding accusations of witchcraft, he demands Aladdin is brought to him in chains. The His Sultanship’s Secret Service heads out and drags Aladdin in chains as requested back to the Sultan, where he sentences him to death by beheading. A cult classic execution.
Aladdin only retains his head as the ever-observant yet mildly retarded vizier notices the people of the city tearing down the walls to the palace. Rather than be torn to pieces by his loving subjects' bare hands, the Sultan changes his mind about having Aladdin killed and instead demands he tell him where his daughter has gone. Aladdin obviously doesn’t have any idea, being only mildly less stupid than the Sultan himself, who in turn was only mildly stupider than the vizier.
He demands Aladdin get his shit together and figure out where his daughter is within a time limit of forty days. Aladdin, as already mentioned as being quite stupid, wanders the city knocking on doors inquiring of random people if they knew where his palace had run off to. They had no idea of course and Aladdin despaired until accidentally rubbing the ring on his finger in a failed attempt to drown himself.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
Aladdin had managed to completely forget the ring also possessed magic powers, he’d used it once before when he found himself buried alive. He demanded to be transported to his palace and in a moment he found himself staring at it on an African plain. He crept underneath the Princess’s window and told her to let him in through the harlot’s door, which was a secret passage allowing visitors at all hours of the night, apparently. When Aladdin had the palace built, presumably he had that built, too. He was stupid, but he was also horny. Together, they conspired to murder the magician and retrieve the lamp.
Putting poison in the man’s wine, the Princess Badr pretended to drink while encouraging the magician to drink deeply. Falling down, deader than a jogger on a mountain trail, the magician could not prevent Aladdin from retrieving the lamp. He gave it a solid rub and out drizzled the jinn.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
At his request, the Princess, Aladdin, and their palace were swept away, back to their unnamed country in China.
But they weren’t yet free of African magicians; the recently slain’s brother was also a magician and he had journeyed to Aladdin’s country to get his revenge. Upon his arrival, he murdered and assumed the identity of a local holy woman, which he used to worm his way into Aladdin’s palace and the Princess’s good graces.
As all women were required to be veiled in public, the Princess Badr sees nothing wrong with this hulking man masquerading as a woman. Over tea and crumpets, she asks him/her if anything in her palace of wonders is missing. The magician says there certainly was and that thing which was missing was none other than a roc’s giant egg, suspended from the palace ceiling. A roc being a giant bird, fiercely protective of their proportionately giant eggs.
Suspecting nothing, the Princess tells Aladdin, and Aladdin summons the jinn of the lamp.
Poof. “I obey. The fuck you want?”
“Jinn! I demand a roc’s egg be suspended from the ceiling and make it snappy!”
The jinn replied, “The fuck?! No. You know what? No. Fuck that. Not today, asshole. The roc is absurdly somehow my master and I won’t fucking do it. Not this time, nope. By the way, that bitch downstairs is trying to kill you. Bye! Asshole.” Poof.
Aladdin, in a rare moment of initiative and intelligence, takes a moment to stab the magician to death. With the magician now dead and no one else around with even an ounce of independent and critical thinking skills, Aladdin lived the rest of his life happy and content.
Oddly enough, the narrator of the story, who is obviously very drunk, mentions Aladdin is an excellent role model. A bizarre story without a single individual worth emulating in any way, except perhaps the Jewish fellow portrayed as a cheat; he was the only one in the story to have exhibited a single shred of shrewdness. Of course, the narrator would disagree, but fuck ‘em, they’re dead and can’t defend themselves, their casual racism, or their story anymore.