You Don’t Know The Real Aladdin – The Original Text Revisited: Part 2

by Tito W. James

In my first article, I revisited the original Aladdin story from The Arabian Nights. So far, we’ve discovered that Aladdin was less of a dashing rogue and more of a lazy moron who just has extraordinary things happen to him. We’ll finish the story in this article, but you may wish we hadn’t.

The Villain Forgets That Aladdin Exists

After trapping Aladdin in a cave with a magic ring and lamp, each containing a powerful genie, the African Magician just plain forgot about Aladdin for several years. One day, the Magician checks his crystal ball to see how Aladdin’s doing. Aladdin is living the high life in China married to a princess and living in a castle built by slave labor. Seeing this, the Magician sets out for China to get his revenge upon Aladdin!

The Princess Is Gullible

Aladdin was on a hunting expedition and like an idiot left his magical lamp back at the palace. Aladdin neglected to hide the lamp in a safe place or tell his wife of its immeasurable value. So, when the Magician shows up at the palace disguised as a “traveling lamp salesman”, the Princess thinks it’s a good deal to trade one of the Magician’s new lamps for her husband’s old one. The Magician summons the lamp’s genie and wishes that he, the princess, and the castle be teleported to Africa.

The Ending Is Anti-Climactic

When Aladdin returns from his hunting trip, he’s shocked to see that his palace has disappeared. Aladdin starts asking people if they’ve seen a giant castle, as if he’d lost his dog or something. Aladdin is so bummed out he can’t find his palace that he tries to drown himself in a river. Fortunately, during his attempted suicide, Aladdin rubs his magic ring and the genie pops out.

Aladdin uses the genie of the ring to transport him to his palace’s new location in Africa. Now, instead of an epic battle between Aladdin and the Magician, each wielding genies, the Princess just poisons the Magician’s wine and takes the lamp. The end.

The Second Ending Is Even Worse

But wait! I haven’t told you about the Magician’s eviler younger brother, who was conveniently never mentioned until this point. The second Magician murders a holy woman and dons her cloths to disguise himself and enter Aladdin’s Palace.

The second Magician’s master plan is to insult the palace’s decor and insist that it’s not complete without having a Roc’s egg as a chandelier. A Roc is a giant eagle-like bird that can hunt an elephant as if it were a mouse.

Aladdin asks the genie of the lamp for a Roc’s egg and this is the first request that the genie refuses. Rocs are apparently holy beings superior to genies and it would be insulting to hang a Roc’s egg up like a trophy. The genie says that such a request would normally be punished with a fiery death but the genie knows that it isn’t really Aladdin who is asking, but the Magician’s brother in disguise. Once Aladdin hears this, he pulls out a dagger and slays the Magician’s brother. The end.

Closing Thoughts

I have joked among my friends that the original Aladdin is one of the worst stories in human history. After revisiting the tale, I’m left in awe of how awful it was. All the characters are two dimensional and make stupid decisions.

The premise of the story is ripe with creative potential, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Aladdin had unlimited power yet he doesn’t do anything interesting or creative with it. The biggest flaw with the original story is the inclusion of two genies and two evil magicians, but only having them show up one at a time and having no knowledge of each other.

Even so, I do think there’s narrative potential in a story about an impoverished kid given unlimited power. What a person wishes for is reflective of who they are as a person. Let’s just hope the lamp falls into the hands of someone more creative next time.

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