The real Alladin

Aladdin, one of the world’s most famous stories, follows a young boy’s mundane life until he is tasked with finding a magical lamp housing a life-altering genie. This brings both positive and negative outcomes, driving personal growth and resilience. He battles a sorcerer for the lamp, encountering another genie, ironically in a ring given to him by the sorcerer. Amidst trials, he pursues his love for a royal princess.

While I read the story as a child, first encountered the story through the TV show ‘Alif Laila,’ which is actually a part of the Arabian Nights tales. The genie’s laughter upon emerging from the lamp frightened me back then, but I now understand that his laughter was due to being summoned to grant wishes which he would certainly be thrilled at.

Regrettably, when Disney brought the film to the big screen, the memory of the unleashed genie and his laughter during “Alif Laila” remained in my mind. Despite the gentle and comedic portrayal of the character voiced by (the late) Robin Williams, I still felt fear. Over the years, as I understood Aladdin’s circumstances and watched the two video-released sequels, my regret shifted from fear to a realization. I learned that Aladdin was not originally Arabic but Chinese, the sole Chinese story in Arabian Nights. I was fortunate to read the Chinese version, which felt more exotic. This trend of minor injustices continued when Disney created a live-action version 27 years after the original film, with Will Smith taking over from Williams as the Genie. Despite my admiration for Smith, I believe this was not the right role for him, and the film persisted in presenting itself as an Arabic tale much like the movie that inspired it.

But be that as it may, due to this year being the 30th Anniversary of Disney’s Aladdin, I firmly believe that the story I am about to recount, which is consistent across most Aladdin versions, should have been embraced by Disney. Being fond of China, one of my top nine countries that I associate with paradise, and as an individual with Asperger’s, I have longed to share this tale. Despite its centuries-old circulation, I strongly feel that this is how Disney should have portrayed Aladdin.

Aladdin was born in the heart of Southern China, in its versatile environmental weathers. He was the proud sonof a renowned city tailor, the venerable Mustapha, a devoted follower of the Islamic faith. Although Mustapha was celebrated for his courteous demeanour and unmatched tailoring skills, he led a modest life, toiling tirelessly to provide for his beloved wife and cherished son. Mustapha’s dream was to impart his craft to Aladdin, envisioning him as a skilled tailor in his own right. However, Aladdin possessed a predisposition for idleness, his days consumed by frolicking with his friends through the winding streets and, regrettably, dabbling in pilfering that which wasn’t rightfully his. A fateful day arrived when Mustapha was suddenly struck down by a merciless illness, leaving behind a void that only his grieving widow and young son could feel. “Oh, dear child, I wish you would help me sometimes” pleaded his mother, longing for his assistance in their time of need. Yet, Aladdin’s wayward inclinations remained unaltered, the path of a pilferer and loafer persisting without pause.


While Aladdin was plotting to steal some bread, an unexpected encounter disrupted his thieving intentions. A man, dressed elegantly, approached him and inquired, “Are you Aladdin?” Taken aback by the stranger’s knowledge, Aladdin responded, “Indeed, I am. But how do you…” The stranger cut in, introducing himself, “I am your uncle, Jafar. I’ve been seeking your father, a man I never had the chance to meet—much like you haven’t had the chance to know me, just as your mother did not. Regrettably, I’ve learned of his passing.” The man’s words came before Aladdin could finish his sentence. Jafar continued, “Your father and I were acquaintances had little to no connection. But, aligning with his wishes, I am eager to aid you and your mother.” Jafar handed Aladdin a pouch filled with gold coins and added, “Take this to your mother. I shall pay you both a visit soon.”

On that day, Aladdin returned to his home and shared his reconnection with his uncle with his mother. “Mother,” he began, “I’ve encountered my uncle who I never knew.” In reply, his mother’s voice carried a hint of scepticism, “My dear child, your father had no sibling.” Her words also held a trace of suspicion, “Since when did you embark on weaving tales about our own kin?” Yet, Aladdin quickly unveiled a pouch of gleaming gold coins, explaining that his uncle had entrusted them to him. This evidence quelled his mother’s doubts, for the coins had been presented in a bag, not clutched within Aladdin’s palms as pilfered possessions often would be. The money’s container spoke the truth of his story. When Aladdin convened with his friends the following day, Jafar once again approached him and uttered, “Here is additional coinage for both of you. Convey to your mother my intentions to join you for supper at your household this very evening.” Following Jafar’s instructions, Aladdin communicated the message, and as night descended, the widow employed the funds garnered from the stranger to procure provisions for their guest’s repast, as well as their own sustenance for that night.


When Jafar arrived that evening to dine, the widow said to her brother-in-law as they settled at the table, “It is quite astonishing to learn about your existence, given that my husband never once mentioned you.” Jafar replied, “Years have passed since I left home, and now, with the painful loss of your husband weighing heavily on my heart, I have returned, driven by my promise to your son. I aim to provide as much help as I can. “Turning his attention to his nephew, Jafar inquired, “Aladdin, what occupies your days in terms of work?” His mother chimed in before her son could answer, “He spends his time idly with his friends on the streets, with little ambition.” Jafar’s tone turned serious as he addressed his nephew, “My dear nephew, this turn of events does not sit well with me. I had hoped you might follow in your father’s footsteps and pursue the craft of tailoring. If your reasons for not doing so are rooted in uncertainty or a lack of interest, then it is time we sought out a suitable occupation for you.”


“Considering Aladdin’s resistance to work, where should we begin to motivate him?” Aladdin’s mother inquired, her fatigue battling her willingness to trust her supposed uncle. In response, he promptly replied, “I only request Aladdin to perform a simple task for me tomorrow. Upon completion, I shall provide him with a shop, enabling him to pursue any trade he desires.” As night fell, Jafar departed, a sinister grin adorning his face once he was far away from their house. “Once the boy meets my expectations, he and his mother will be of no further use to me!” Unbeknownst to them, Jafar was a malevolent sorcerer, harbouring ambitions of world domination and hoarding its riches, all while ensnaring individuals like Aladdin and his mother in his schemes.

The following day, early in the morning, Jafar led Aladdin on a lengthy walk as the daytime sun took the place of night and the moon from the sky. Before long, they reached the nearby mountains. Scaling a few inches upwards, they spotted a massive boulder that seemed to obstruct the entrance to a hole in the mountainside. Aladdin, needing to catch his breath, halted briefly, yet the magician prevented him from resting. Jafar aimed his fingers at the rock and uttered ‘Abracadabra.’ Miraculously, the boulder split in two, revealing a smaller opening.

Pointing to the hole, Jafar instructed Aladdin, “Step inside that opening. You willl discover a trove of jewellery you can claim for yourself. However, amidst all the riches, there is a golden lamp at the cave’s heart. Retrieve it and bring it to me.” With a forceful push, Jafar propelled Aladdin towards the hole. Overwhelmed by fear, Aladdin attempted to flee, but Jafar’s grip was unyielding. Finally, Aladdin fell to his knees, beseeching for mercy and release from this task. Jafar’s exasperation led him to remove a ring from his finger and place it in Aladdin’s hand. “If you are such a coward afraid, take this ring; it will aid you.” Believing he had gained Aladdin’s trust, Jafar guided him gently through the opening and down the stairs.

The magician’s words came true, revealing a cave filled with amazing jewels and treasures that sparkled brightly. Aladdin collected as many of them as his pockets could hold. Then, he set out on a quest to locate the lamp, which he eventually found. Holding the lamp in his arms, he could not help but admire its beauty before heading back to the cave’s entrance with it. Jafar, looking quite pleased, noticed Aladdin’s return and remarked, “Ah, I see you have found the lamp. Kindly hand it over to me.” Aladdin, caught off guard, replied, “Could you please assist me in getting out of here? I’m feeling quite scared. Once I’m out, I’ll give you the lamp.” Jafar’s contentment shifted to anger as he retorted, “Once I possess the lamp, I will ensure your escape. Trust me.” These words only heightened Aladdin’s anxiety, causing him to hesitate in giving the lamp to Jafar. He insisted on leaving the cave before surrendering it.

Upon hearing this, Jafar’s anger erupted like a blazing fire. He cried out, “Then stay confined within these walls!” Using the words ‘Abracadabra’ with a swift gesture, he magically closed the entrance before making his exit. Left by himself, Aladdin was overcome with intense fear, and his eyes welled up with tears. The cave, now sealed, grew colder as moments stretched into hours, and for a span of five long days, he found himself trapped there, his sorrow pouring out in tears. Amidst this ordeal, a determination arose within him – a pledge to transform into a better individual and aid his family once he managed to break free. He clung to the hope of making things right, yearning for an opportunity to reconcile and start anew.

By chance, while he was rubbing his hands to fight off the cold, something unexpected occurred. One day, as he rubbed the ring he was wearing, the very same ring that Jafar had given him, a remarkable thing happened. Suddenly, out of the ring, as if from a magical puff of smoke, a massive genie emerged. This genie declared, “I am the slave of the ring! Command me, and I shall obey!” Even though a new wave of fear rushed over him, as he had never before encountered a genie, Aladdin quickly pushed aside his worries upon his realization that the genie had no intention of causing harm. So, with newfound courage, Aladdin made his request, saying, “Please take me home right away!” The genie’s response was both loud and pleasant, booming with thunder yet soothing to the ears. “Your wish is my command, master!” he declared. In no time, Aladdin found himself back at his own house.

Upon his return, his mother greeted him with relief, saying, “Finally, you are back! I was worried something bad had happened to you. But where is your uncle?” Aladdin replied with a tone of disgust, “Let us not talk of him. He tried to harm me by giving me a dangerous task.” His mother shared her thoughts, “I always felt he had ill intentions.” Then, she provided her son with supper and a special drink before he went to bed.

When Aladdin woke up the next morning, he spent nearly the whole day sleeping due to his exhaustion from the recent frightful events. Later when he felt hungry, there was no food left in the house which his mother told him. Aladdin remembered the lamp and told his mother about how the magician thought it was valuable. “I shall go and sell it” but Aladdin’s statement was interrupted by his mother saying “No one will want to buy something as dirty as that. Before you take it anywhere, let me polish it for you” and no sooner had she started doing this than another genie emerged, ten times bigger than the previous one. Aladdin’s mother was terrified but thanks to her son having seen a genie before ran over to console her before she fainted as the genie spoke “I am the slave of the lamp! Command me and I will obey!”. Aladdin said at once “We wish for food and plenty of it!”. At once a giant platter appeared above the genie’s head which he took in his mighty hands and set upon the dining table before he vanished. Never before had Aladdin and his mother seen such a feast, one they could not have afforded under their circumstances; there was Peking duck, lobster, pork, savoury pastries, fruits and vegetables of all kinds and fragrant rice in addition to rich sweet wine. Aladdin and his mother enjoyed the feast. After their meal was over, it came to them as kind of a revelation that everything which held the meal that had been provided for them was made of gold. Aladdin also showed his mother the jewels and pearls he had found in the cave. This earned them a profit thanks to selling some of it and acquiring a good deal of money. Whenever they needed anything after it was used up, all they had to do was call on the lamp’s genie. This went on for 3-7 years by when Aladdin was no longer a boy but now a handsome young man.

One day, as he was out in the streets, Aladdin saw the Princess of the land, Jasmine as she rode by on her elephant. He was taken up by her and almost stood as if he had been turned to stone although once she was out of sight, his frozen distraction was absolved, and he wanted to marry her. As is known, every man has a difficulty in telling a woman how he feels about her regarding romance, and it is up to her whether or not she feels the same way about him in love or just wants to keep their relation at friendship rather than holy matrimony. Aladdin had never fallen in love before and felt that he had to marry the Princess at any cost, no matter what. But he did not know what to do. One night, at his sumptuous supper, Aladdin invited the genie to eat with him. His mother had already finished eating and so Aladdin and the genie had some time to spend together. After dining, Aladdin was fixed in deep thought. One represented by a face so deep in it that the genie who had been dining on pork rice and drinking wine could not help but realize this. “What are thou thinking about my master?” the genie asked upon finishing his meal. Aladdin looked surprised when the genie called him this and said “From now on, please don’t call me master”. “Why not master?” at which the genie’s responding question alarmed Aladdin and said “There you said it again. It’s fine you don’t have to call me master”.

“I am your humble servant” said the genie “but if I cannot address you as master, what do you want me to call you?”. He received a reply which seemed to give him a sense of someone seeing him more than just a djinn (as genies are normally called); “I am your friend as you are mine. You may just call me Aladdin”. “Very well Aladdin” came the lamp genie’s reply with a smile “I am happy to be your friend too. Now tell me why you are thinking so deep?”. Aladdin spoke of the woman who had captured his heart “I want to marry her but you know the usual issues that a man has in being open to a woman, one he has never met before. Some of my friends are in relationships others have not been which is attributed to their failure to find a woman and their stupidity in telling people who are married or seeing another person romantically that they wish they had what they do is non-logical although they realize their actions makes them seem strange so they are slowly giving it up and their resilience in them wanting to find people in their lives is strong. I wish I could help them, but I cannot. That is their journey, and I can only hope they find a companion to share their love with. But be that as it may I would be the happiest man in the world if I were to marry the princess Jasmine”. Aladdin’s statement was not a direct wish from his point of view, but the genie seemed to think it was. Yet this was something that was out of even his own reach as far as what he could do was concerned. He told Aladdin openly and in great honesty “I cannot kill anybody let alone make two people fall in love with each other, but I have faith as much as you that your other friends will have the companionships they seek. Regarding what you have told me, I can certainly make a suggestion”.


The next day, Aladdin’s mother went to visit the Emperor and she was taken into the palace. “To what do I owe this great honour?” said the Emperor. “My son loves your daughter very much” came her reply “and he sends you this gift” at which the entire court burst with laughter but immediately died down as she displayed the jewels that her son found in the cave from which the lamp came. “There are wonderful jewels!” said the astounded Emperor as he had one of his servants bring the gift over to him for him to hold. “Your son sounds like a well-meaning person and I actually know him because of his great generosity in helping people of all castes. His great deeds have spread as far as my kingdom which I am very touched by when I hear of his ever-growing kindness, He can certainly marry my daughter”. And so Aladdin and the Princess Jasmine were married and thanks to the genie of the lamp, Aladdin constructed a palace yet, he told his wife nothing of how it was created although she was aware of the lamp. It was near the Princess’s parents so it was an advantage as she could go and see them whenever she wished accompanied by their son-in-law.


However, Aladdin’s past troubles had not eluded him since they clearly remembered how he had failed them to a point where they sought revenge when they sought his help; Jafar was still angered about losing his lamp and had been tracking Aladdin for some time now when he leant of the young man having married the princess and guessed right away that Aladdin may have acquired the lamp in addition to having escaped from the cave. Quickly disguising himself as a lamp seller and using a few other lamps in his collection as seeming purchasable options he went around the streets saying “New lamps for old! New lamps for old!”. Many people seemed to want to buy them and they happily gave away their old ones for new ones. Jasmine had been watching from afar and seemed impressed that this man was making a good fortune with the lamps he sold. I know Aladdin is away right now but I have nothing to give this man anything even if I want to save for the lamp that Aladdin has. I can give it to this lamp seller and I will explain to Aladdin. I’m sure that will be fine with him. And with that she did so when he came to the palace.


Now the lamp was his and with sadistic glee Jafar rubbed it, summoning the genie at once. “I am the slave of the lamp!” The genie stated his usual, thundering opening phrase “What is your command?”. “Mighty genie, I order you to take the house of Aladdin and everything in it to Morocco!”. When the genie heard the command, he was aghast and could just remain where he was dumbfounded. “Mighty genie of the lamp, I order you to take the house of Aladdin and everything in it to Morocco!” the magician scowled again “No!” said the genie in thundering appalment as tears trickled down his face. “Why do you disobey me mighty genie of the lamp? I order you to take the house of Aladdin and everything in it to Morocco!”. “Aladdin is my friend and I will do no such thing!” the genie thundered again. Despite the inability to harm a genie any more than they could harm mankind, Jafar used a magic whip which seemed to bruise the lamp genie severely until finally he agreed to carry away Aladdin’s palace to where he had been commanded to.


When Aladdin returned from where he had been, he was shocked and surprised to find his palace and dear wife missing. Believing that the palace may have been moved somewhere by a traitor, he set out on his horse to find it, with no success. Meanwhile the Emperor found that Aladdin’s palace was nowhere near where it stood and ordered his men to find Aladdin. When they did, they pulled him from his horse and took him before the Emperor. “Where is my daughter and your home?” the Emperor said with forced calmness. “I do not know but I am trying to find out what happened” Aladdin responded to the Emperor’s question but before he could say anything else, his father-in-law insulted him, saying “You are nothing but a trickster and imposter! You married my daughter to gain a sense of fame and now with her and the palace gone, you are free to deceive again. You must die!” and Aladdin was thrown into prison with nothing to eat but five slices of bread, two pieces of cheese and a glass of water. The only light that shone through was a caged window whose design did not provide enough air.


After it was announced that Aladdin had been arrested for having abandoned and disowned both his home and wife, the people of the kingdom including Aladdin’s mother were horrified and began to protest that he be released for they knew that he was an innocent person and would never do a thing like what he had been accused of. “If my son is to die, then make my fate be the same as his!” Aladdin’s mother said but the Emperor said “The loss of your son is a further addition to that even if it does not mean you do not directly receive what he deserves” much to her heartbreak. Meanwhile in his prison, Aladdin suspected immediately that his old pretended uncle, the evil magician must be the culprit and his memories caused him to remember the ring that Jafar had given him. He saw an opportunity and rubbed the ring, causing the appearance of its genie who he had not seen in so long. “What is your desire master?” asked the genie after his stating title of being the slave of the lamp. “Please bring my palace and my wife back to me!” exclaimed Aladdin but was shocked when the genie replied “What you ask for is not within my power. Only the genie of the lamp can do that since he is the most powerful of all djinn”. “Then please take me to where my palace and wife is!” was Aladdin’s next command which was something grantable by the ring’s genie as he flew his master across the world. En route to where his palace and beloved wife were Aladdin thought to himself I may have to save Jasmine yes but I am not going back until I have found that cruel magician and confront him for ruining my life.

Soon they arrived in Morocco and Aladdin got into the palace through a window. Jasmine on seeing her husband cried like anything as he did when they hugged each other with joy. When they eased their reasonable sorrows, Jasmine told him everything as he told her the same and she expressed regret that she had given away the lamp without his knowledge let alone him his own regret in not telling her about the lamp’s truth. “He keeps telling me to forget you and marry him and when I refuse he beats me” which angered Aladdin. “Then tonight invite him to dinner” and with that, he put a bag of sleeping powder in her hand, saying to her “This will put him to bed so put it in his wine but not into your own cup”.


That night, Jafar was surprised that the Princess did not cry or refuse to marry him. “Have you yielded then Your Highness? Will you take my hand in marriage?”. “With great pleasure” was his answer much to his near maddened excitement which calmed when the Princess said “But first you have to do something for me”. “Anything my love!” shouted Jafar, his excitement escalating. “When I was with my former husband we used to drink from each other’s glasses. He would take the first sip of wine from mine and then I from his and as you have replaced him, I would like to do that with you too”. “Nothing would give me greater pleasure” said Jafar and since the wine was already ready, the two then sat down close to each other with their cups. The princess took her glass forward to Jafar’s lips and as soon as they came into contact with it and the liquid entered his throat, he seemed to enjoy it almost like a bee would nectar. Suddenly he felt dizzy and fell into a sound sleep. At that, Aladdin emerged and took the lamp from the magician’s pocket from where Jasmine told him it was.


At once he gave it a rub and summoning its genie said after the genie asked what was asked of him “Please take us and our home back to where it belongs!” and that is what happened as soon as the command was given. Back in China, the Emperor thinking Aladdin must have somehow escaped for the cell was empty began to order his men to search far and wide for his former son-in-law but his anger and sadness he rid himself of when he saw that the palace of his daughter and Aladdin were back where it was. “This is a miracle!” he said and he told Aladdin’s mother who had isolated herself and had been grieving for some time now “They have returned! Your son and my daughter have returned! Let us go and see them at once” and the excited parents immediately ran over to see their respective children. Upon entering, they saw Aladdin and Jasmine seated happily as husband and wife again and they told him everything as they pointed to the evil magician.


On hearing the entire story, the Emperor apologized to Aladdin as well as Aladdin’s mother from the depths of his heart and they both forgave him even when he did not ask. The Emperor then ordered his men to put Jafar in a large box which they burnt on a pyre. Following that with their troubles at an end, Aladdin’s reputation as a wonderful man continued as he and his wife continued to help people in need. The lamp was kept safe and much like it had been when he lived with his mother, Aladdin and Jasmine would take the help of its genie whenever they needed. When the King died around the same time as Aladdin’s mother of natural causes, Aladdin and his wife succeeded to the Throne, leaving behind them a long line of Kings and Queens.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.