“Alas!” said Mustapha sadly, “I can do nothing with this idle boy.”
And he grew so sad about it, that at last he fell ill and died.
Then the poor widow was obliged to sell the little workshop, and try to make enough money for herself and Aladdin by spinning.
Now it happened that one day when Aladdin was playing as usual with the idle street boys, a tall, dark, old man stood watching him, and when the game was finished he made a sign to Aladdin to come to him.
“What is thy name, my boy?” asked this old man, who, though he appeared so kind, was really an African Magician.
“My name is Aladdin,” answered the boy, wondering who this stranger could be.
“And what is thy father’s name?” asked the Magician.
“My father was Mustapha the tailor, but he has been dead a long time now,” answered Aladdin.
“Alas!” cried the wicked old Magician, pretending to weep, “he was my brother, and thou must be my nephew. I am thy long-lost uncle!” and he threw his arms round Aladdin’s neck and embraced him.
“Tell thy dear mother that I will come and see her this very day,” he cried, “and give her this small present.” And he placed in Aladdin’s hands five gold pieces.
Aladdin ran home in great haste to tell his mother the story of the long-lost uncle.
“It must be a mistake,” she said, “thou hast no uncle.”
But when she saw the gold she began to think that this stranger must be a relation, and so she prepared a grand supper to welcome him when he came.
They had not long to wait before the African Magician appeared, bringing with him all sorts of fruits and delicious sweets for desert.
“Tell me about my poor brother,” he said, as he embraced Aladdin and his mother. “Show me exactly where he used to sit.”
Then the widow pointed to a seat on the sofa, and the Magician knelt down and began to kiss the place and weep over it.
The poor widow was quite touched, and began to believe that this really must be her husband’s brother, especially when he began to show the kindest interest in Aladdin.
“What is thy trade?” he asked the boy.
“Alas!” said the widow, “he will do nothing but play in the streets.”
Aladdin hung his head with shame as his uncle gravely shook his head.
“He must begin work at once,” he said. “How would it please thee to have a shop of thy own? I could buy one for thee, and stock it with silks and rich stuffs.”
Aladdin danced with joy at the very idea, and next day set out with his supposed uncle, who bought him a splendid suit of clothes, and took him all over the city to show him the sights.
The day after, the Magician again took Aladdin out with him, but this time they went outside the city, through beautiful gardens, into the open country. They walked so far that Aladdin began to grow weary, but the Magician gave him a cake and some delicious fruit and told him such wonderful tales that he scarcely noticed how far they had gone. At last they came to a deep valley between two mountains, and there the Magician paused.