Aladdin: Trade

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin and his mother continued eating of the meats brought them by the Jinni for two full told days till they were finished; but when he learned that nothing of food remained for them, he arose and took a platter of the platters which the Slave had brought upon the tray. Now they were all of the finest gold but the lad knew naught thereof; so he bore it to the Bazar and there, seeing a man which was a Jew, a viler than the Satans, offered it to him for sale. When the Jew espied it he took the lad aside that none might see him, and he looked at the platter and considered it till he was certified that it was of gold refined. But he knew not whether Alaeddin was acquainted with its value or he was in such matters a raw laddie, so he asked him, “For how much, O my lord, this platter?” and the other answered, “Thou wottest what be its worth.” The Jew debated with himself as to how much he should offer, because Alaeddin had returned him a craftsman-like reply; and he thought of the smallest valuation; at the same time he feared lest the lad, haply knowing its worth, should expect a considerable sum. So he said in his mind, “Belike the fellow is an ignoramous in such matters nor is ware of the price of the platter.” Whereupon he pulled out of his pocket a diner, and Alaeddin eyed the gold piece lying in his palm and hastily taking it went his way; whereby the Jew was certified of his customer's innocence of all such knowledge, and repented with entire repentance that he had given him a golden diner in lieu of a copper carat, ‡117 a bright-polished groat. However, Alaeddin made no delay but went at once to the baker's where he bought him bread and changed the ducat; then, going to his mother, he gave her the scones and the remaining small coin and said, “O my mother, hie thee and buy thee all we require.” So she arose and walked to the Bazar and laid in the necessary stock; after which they ate and were cheered. And whenever the price of the platter was expended, Alaeddin would take another and carry it to the accursed Jew who bought each and every at a pitiful price; and even this he would have minished but, seeing how he had paid a diner for the first, he feared to offer a lesser sum, lest the lad go and sell to some rival in trade and thus lose his usurious gains. Now when all the golden platters were sold, there remained only the silver tray whereupon they stood; and, for that it was large and weighty, Alaeddin brought the Jew to his house and produced the article, when the buyer, seeing its size gave him ten dinars and these being accepted went his ways. Alaeddin and his mother lived upon the sequins until they were spent; then he brought out the Lamp and rubbed it and straightway appeared the Slave who had shown himself aforetime.

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Jinni, the Slave of the Lamp, on appearing to Alaeddin said, “Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest for I am thy Slave and the thrall of whoso hath the Lamp;” and said the lad, “I desire that thou bring me a tray of food like unto that thou broughtest me erewhiles, for indeed I am famisht.” Accordingly, in the glance of an eye the Slave produced a similar tray supporting twelve platters of the most sumptuous, furnished with requisite cates; and thereon stood clean bread and sundry glass bottles of strained wine. Now Alaeddin's mother had gone out when she knew he was about to rub the Lamp that she might not again look upon the Jinni; but after a while she returned and, when she sighted the tray covered with silvern ‡119 platters and smelt the savour of the rich meats diffused over the house, she marvelled and rejoiced. Thereupon Quoth he, “Look, O my mother! Thou badest me throw away the Lamp, see now its virtues;” and Quoth she, “O my son, Allah increase his ‡120 weal, but I would not look upon him.” Then the lad sat down with his parent to the tray and they ate and drank until they were satisfied; after which they removed what remained for use on the morrow. As soon as the meats had been consumed, Alaeddin arose and stowed away under his clothes a platter of the platters and went forth to find the Jew, purposing to sell it to him; but by fiat of Fate he passed by the shop of an ancient jeweller, an honest man and a pious who feared Allah. When the Shaykh saw the lad, he asked him saying, “O my son, what dost thou want? for that times manifold have I seen thee passing hereby and having dealings with a Jewish man; and I have espied thee handing over to him sundry articles; now also I fancy thou hast somewhat for sale and thou seekest him as a buyer thereof. But thou wottest not, O my child, that the Jews ever hold lawful to them the good of Moslems, ‡121 the Confessors of Allah Almighty's unity, and, always defraud them; especially this accursed Jew with whom thou hast relations and into whose hands thou hast fallen. If then, O my son, thou have aught thou wouldest sell show the same to me and never fear, for I will give thee its full price by the truth of Almighty Allah.” Thereupon Alaeddin brought out the platter which when the ancient goldsmith saw, he took and weighed it in his scales and asked the lad saying, “Was it the fellow of this thou soldest to the Jew?” “Yes, its fellow and its brother,” he answered, and Quoth the old man, “What price did he pay thee?” Quoth the lad, “One diner.”

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the ancient goldsmith, hearing from Alaeddin how the Jew used to give only one diner as the price of the platter, cried, “Ah! I take refuge from this Accursed who cozeneth the servants of Allah Almighty!” Then, looking at the lad, he exclaimed, “O my son, verily yon tricksy Jew hath cheated thee and laughed at thee, this platter being pure silver and virginal. I have weighed it and found it worth seventy diners; and, if thou please to take its value, take it.” Thereupon the Shaykh counted out to him seventy gold pieces, which he accepted and presently thanked him for his kindness in exposing the Jew's rascality. And after this, whenever the price of a platter was expended, he would bring another, and on such wise he and his mother were soon in better circumstances; yet they ceased not to live after their olden fashion as middle class folk without spending on diet overmuch or squandering money. But Alaeddin had now thrown off the ungraciousness of his boyhood; he shunned the society of scapegraces and he began to frequent good men and true, repairing daily to the market-street of the merchants and there companying with the great and the small of them, asking about matters of merchandise and learning the price of investments and so forth; he likewise frequented the Bazars of the Goldsmiths and the Jewellers where he would sit and divert himself by inspecting their precious stones and by noting how jewels were sold and bought therein. Accordingly, he presently became ware that the tree-fruits, wherewith he had filled his pockets what time he entered the Enchanted Treasury, were neither glass nor crystal but gems rich and rare; and he understood that he had acquired immense wealth such as the Kings never can possess. He then considered all the precious stones which were in the Jewellers' Quarter, but found that their biggest was not worth his smallest. On this wise he ceased not every day repairing to the Bazar and making himself familiar with the folk and winning their loving will; ‡124 and enquiring anent selling and buying, giving and taking, the dear and the cheap, until one day of the days when, after rising at dawn and donning his dress he went forth, as was his wont, to the Jewellers' Bazar; and, as he passed along it he heard the crier crying as follows: