Aladdin stood for a while upon the lofty pillared portico of the senator’s house, and with a mist in his eyes looked away and away to where the cause of all his troubles flowed like a ribbon of silver through the bright-colored land. Grown men, having, in their whole lives, suffered less than Aladdin was at that moment suffering, have considered themselves heartbroken. The little boy shivered and toiled down the steps, between the tall box hedges lining the path, and out into the road. A late rose leaning over the garden fence gave up her leaves in a pink shower as he passed, and at the same instant all the glass in a window of the house opposite fell out with a smash. These events seemed perfectly natural to Aladdin, but when people, talking at the tops of their voices and gesticulating, began to run out of houses and make down the hill toward the town, he remembered that, just as the rose-leaves fell and just as the glass came out of the window-frame, he had been conscious of a distant thudding boom, and a jarring of the ground under his feet. So he joined in the stream of his neighbors, and ran with them down the hill to see what had happened.
Aladdin remembered little of that breathless run, and one thing only stood ever afterward vivid among his recollections. All the people were headed eagerly in one direction, but at the corner of the street in which Aladdin lived, an awkish, half-grown girl, her face contorted with terror, struggled against the tugging of two younger companions and screamed in a terrible voice:
“I don’t wahnt to go! I don’t wahnt to go!”
But they dragged her along. That girl had no father, and her mother walked the streets. She would never have any beauty nor any grace; she was dirt of the dirt, dirty, but she had a heart of mercy and could not bear to look upon suffering.
“I don’t wahnt to go! I don’t wahnt to go!” and now the scream was a shudder.
Aladdin’s street was crowded to suffocation, and the front of the house where Aladdin lived was blown out, and men with grave faces were going about among the ruins looking for what was left of Aladdin’s father.
A much littler boy than Aladdin stood in the yard of the house. In his arms folded high he clutched a yellow cat, who licked his cheek with her rough tongue. The littler boy kept crying, “’Laddin, ’Laddin!”
Aladdin took the little boy and the yellow cat all into one embrace, and people turned away their heads.
In the ensuing two days Aladdin matured enormously, for though a kind neighbor took him in, together with his brother Jack and the yellow cat, he had suffered many things and already sniffed the wolf at the door. The kind neighbor was a widow lady, whose husband, having been a master carpenter of retentive habits, had left her independently rich. She owned the white-and-green house in which she lived, the plot