While Ali Baba took these measures to prevent the public from knowing how he came by his riches in so short a time, the captain of the forty robbers returned to the forest with inconceivable mortification; and in his confusion at his ill success, so contrary to what he had promised himself, entered the cave, not being able, all the way from the town, to come to any resolution how to revenge himself of Ali Baba.
THE TALKING BIRD, THE SINGING TREE, AND THE GOLDEN WATER
The first thing the emperor did when he arrived at his palace was to conduct the princes into the principal apartments, who praised without affectation the beauty and symmetry of the rooms, and the richness of the furniture and ornaments. Afterward a magnificent repast was served up, and the emperor made them sit with him, which they at first refused; but finding it was his pleasure, they obeyed.
So he turned the pin twelve times; whereupon the gate opened immediately, with a noise like thunder; and the sheikh entered. He was a learned man, acquainted with all languages and characters. And he walked on until he entered a long passage, whence he descended some steps, and he found a place with handsome wooden benches, on which were people dead, and over their heads were elegant shields, and keen swords, and strung bows, and notched arrows. And behind the next gate were a bar of iron, and barricades of wood, and locks of delicate fabric, and strong apparatus. Upon this, the sheikh said within himself: "Perhaps the keys are with these people." Then he looked, and, lo, there was a sheikh who appeared to be the oldest of them, and he was upon a high wooden bench among the dead men. So Abd-Es-Samad said: "May not the keys of the city be with this sheikh! Perhaps he was the gate-keeper of the city, and these were under his authority." He therefore drew near to him, and lifted up his garments, and, lo, the keys were hung to his waist. At the sight of them, Abd-Es-Samad rejoiced exceedingly; and he took the keys, opened the locks, and pulled the gate and the barricades and other apparatus, which opened and the gate also opened, with a noise like thunder. Upon this the sheikh exclaimed: "God is most great!" and the people made the same exclamation with him, rejoicing at the event. The Emeer Moosa also rejoiced at the safety of Abd-Es-Samad, and at the opening of the gate of the city; the people thanked him for that which he had done, and all the troops hastened to enter the gate. But the Emeer Moosa cried out to them, saying to them: "O people, if all of us enter, we shall not be secure from accident. Half shall enter, and half shall remain behind."
Though Aladdin and his mother had an inexhaustible treasure in their lamp, and might have had whatever they wished for, yet they lived with the same frugality as before, except that Aladdin dressed better; as for his mother, she wore no clothes but what she earned by spinning cotton. After their manner of living, it may easily be supposed that the money for which Aladdin had sold the dishes and tray was sufficient to maintain them for some time.
The two princes, seeing night approach, prostrated themselves at the emperor's feet; and having first thanked him for the favours and honours he had heaped upon them, asked his permission to retire; which was granted by the emperor, who, in dismissing them, said: "I give you leave to go; but remember, you will be always welcome, and the oftener you come the greater pleasure you will do me."
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 favourable reception."
"Madam," replied the devout woman, "the first of these three things is the Talking Bird, so singular a creature, that it draws round it all the songsters of the neighbourhood which come to accompany its voice. The second is the Singing Tree, the leaves of which are so many mouths which form an harmonious concert of different voices and never cease. The third is the Golden Water, a single drop of which being poured into a vessel properly prepared, it increases so as to fill it immediately, and rises up in the middle like a fountain, which continually plays, and yet the basin never overflows."
The emperor stooped to raise her, and after he had gazed some time on her beauty, struck with her fine person and dignified air, he said: "The brothers are worthy of the sister, and she worthy of them; since, if I may judge of her understanding by her person, I am not amazed that the brothers would do nothing without their sister's consent; but," added he, "I hope to be better acquainted with you, my daughter, after I have seen the house."