Public Domain Super Heroes


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Middle Eastern & Chinese Folklore

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Aladdin is an impoverished young ne'er-do-well in a Chinese town, who is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin's late father Qaseem, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his goodwill by apparently making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer's real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave of wonder. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer as protection. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a jinn, or "genie", appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful genie appears, who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp.

With the aid of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries Princess Badroulbadour, the Emperor's daughter (after magically foiling her marriage to the vizier's son). The genie builds Aladdin a wonderful palace – a far more magnificent one than that of the Emperor himself.

The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin's wife, who is unaware of the lamp's importance, by offering to exchange "new lamps for old." He orders the genie of the lamp to take the palace along with all its contents to his home in the Maghreb. Fortunately, Aladdin retains the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser genie. Although the genie of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the genie of the lamp, he is able to transport Aladdin to Maghreb, and help him recover his wife and the lamp and defeat the sorcerer.

The sorcerer's more powerful and evil brother tries to destroy Aladdin for killing his brother by disguising himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Badroulbadour falls for his disguise, and commands the "woman" to stay in her palace in case of any illnesses. Aladdin is warned of this danger by the genie of the lamp and slays the imposter. Everyone lives happily ever after, Aladdin eventually succeeding to his father-in-law's throne.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • One Thousand and One Nights (1710)
  • Aladdin (verse play), by Adam Oehlenschläger, 1805 (original, in Danish), 1808 (expanded version, in German). English translation Aladdin;or, The Wonderful Lamp:A Dramatic Poem—in Two Parts, translated by Theodore Martin, 1863. (Internet Archive)
  • Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp;Zein ul Asnam and the King of the Jinn:Two Stories Done into English from the Recently Discovered Arabic Text by John Payne, 1901. (Internet Archive)

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Fairy Tale Parade #4: The original tale.
  • Dell Junior Treasury #2: The original tale.
  • Jingle Jangle Comics #6: Aladdin frees the Genie after Bingo and Glum return his wife.

Other Comic Appearances of the Lamp

  • Pep Comics (1940 series) #37
  • Blue Beetle (1942 series) #23
  • Military Comics (1941 series) #30
  • Treasure Comics (1945 series) #3
  • Green Hornet Comics (1942 series) #28
  • Rocket Kelly (1945 series) #4

Public Domain Film Appearances

  • Aladdin and his Wonder Lamp (1906)
  • Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1917)
  • Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (1939)

See Also

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