After this they departed, and they continued their journey until they arrived at a palace; whereupon the sheikh said: "Advance with us to this palace, which presenteth a lesson to him who will be admonished." So the Emeer Moosa advanced thither, together with the Sheikh Abd-Es-Samad and his chief companions, till they came to its entrance. And they found it open, and having lofty angles, and steps, among which were two wide steps of coloured marbles, the like of which hath not been seen: the ceilings and walls were decorated with gold and silver and minerals, and over the entrance was a slab, whereon was an inscription in ancient Greek; and the Sheikh Abd-Es-Samad said: "Shall I read it, O Emeer?" The emeer answered; "Advance and read." So he read it; and, lo, it was poetry; and it was this:
When the boy found himself so handsomely equipped, he returned his uncle thanks; who promised never to forsake him, but always to take him along with him; which he did to the most frequented places in the city, and particularly where the principal merchants kept their shops. When he brought him into the street where they sold the richest stuffs and finest linens, he said to Aladdin: "As you are soon to be a merchant, it is proper you should frequent these shops, and be acquainted with them." He then showed him the largest and finest mosques, carried him to the khans or inns where the merchants and travellers lodged, and afterward to the sultan's palace, where he had free access; and at last brought him to his own khan, where, meeting with some merchants he had become acquainted with since his arrival, he gave them a treat, to bring them and his pretended nephew acquainted.
"When I perceived that my remonstrance, instead of restoring her to a sense of duty, served only to increase her anguish, I ceased speaking and retired. She continued every day to visit her charge, and for two whole years abandoned herself to grief and despair.
"One of the blacks, who understood Arabic, hearing me speak thus, came toward me and said: 'Brother, be not surprised to see us; we are inhabitants of this country, and came hither to-day to water our fields. We observed something floating upon the water, and, perceiving your raft, one of us swam into the river and brought it hither, where we fastened it, as you see, until you should awake. Pray tell us your history, for it must be extraordinary; how did you venture yourself into this river, and whence did you come?' I begged of them first to give me something to eat, and then I would satisfy their curiosity. They gave me several sorts of food, and when I had satisfied my hunger, I related all that had befallen me, which they listened to with attentive surprise. As soon as I had finished, they told me, by the person who spoke Arabic and interpreted to them what I said, that it was one of the most wonderful stories they had ever heard, and that I must go along with them, and tell it to their king myself; it being too extraordinary to be related by any other than the person to whom the events had happened.
The princess opened the box, and when the princes saw that it was full of pearls, which, though small, were of great value, they asked her how she came to the knowledge of this treasure. "Brothers," said she, "come with me and I will tell you." The princess, as they returned to the house, gave them an account of her having consulted the Bird, as they had agreed she should, and the answer he had given her; the objection she had raised to preparing a dish of cucumbers stuffed full of pearls, and how he had told her where to find this box. The sister and brothers formed many conjectures to penetrate into what the Bird could mean by ordering them to prepare such a dish; but after much conversation, they agreed to follow his advice exactly.
Aladdin, who had never been so far before, began to find himself much tired, and said to the magician: "Where are we going, uncle? We have left the gardens a great way behind us, and I see nothing but mountains; if we go much farther, I do not know whether I shall be able to reach the town again!" "Never fear, nephew," said the false uncle; "I will shew you another garden which surpasses all we have yet seen; and when we come there, you will say that you would have been sorry to have been so nigh, and not seen it." Aladdin was soon persuaded; and the magician, to make the way seem shorter and less fatiguing, told him a great many stories.
And I found the recompense of all my past actions, for which I am pledged: for I was sinful!
The devout woman, instead of sitting on a sofa, would only sit upon the edge of one. The princess would not permit her to do so, but rising from her seat and taking her by the hand, obliged her to come and sit by her. The good woman, sensible of the civility, said: "Madam, I ought not to have so much respect shown me; but since you command, and are mistress of your own house, I will obey you." When she had seated herself, before they entered into any conversation, one of the princess's women brought a low stand of mother-of-pearl and ebony, with a china dish full of cakes upon it, and many others set round it full of fruits in season, and wet and dry sweetmeats.