The original story of Aladdin is a Middle-Eastern folk tale. It concerns an impoverished young man named Aladdin. He is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin's late father and convinces Aladdin and his mother of his goodness by making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. His real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave.
A sorcerer of the Maghreb comes to Aladdin as a paternal uncle who wishes to help the impoverished youth and his mother. The sorcerer purports to set Aladdin up as a businessman. His actual goal is to coax the youth to perform a dangerous task. Translator John Payne faithfully copies the original version of this and another tale in English. Listeners will enjoy the familiar exoticism and romance in these stories while learning whimsical details that have been lost or distorted in other translations. Narrator Bernard Cetaro Clark recounts the tales. His voice is fast-paced and introspective. His nuanced performance unearths subtle complexities of theme, ironic undercurrents, and advanced moral schisms. The sophistication of the original text is recovered from decades of cartoonish simplification.
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- Leslie G