When Bahman, Perviz, and all the gentlemen had mounted their horses, the princess waited for some of them to lead the way. The two princes paid that compliment to the gentlemen, and they again to the princess, who, finding that none of them would accept the honour, but that it was reserved for her, addressed herself to them and said: "Gentlemen, I expect that some of you should lead the way:" to which one who was nearest to her, in the name of the rest, replied: "Madam, were we ignorant of the respect due to your sex, yet after what you have done for us there is no deference we would not willingly pay you, notwithstanding your modesty; we entreat you no longer to deprive us of the happiness of following you."
The grand vizier, in executing the emperor's orders, would but just give the sisters time to dress themselves to appear before his majesty, without telling them the reason. He brought them to the palace, and presented them to the emperor, who said to them, "Do you remember the wishes you expressed last night, when you were all in so pleasant a mood? Speak the truth; I must know what they were." At these unexpected words of the emperor, the three sisters were much confounded. They cast down their eyes and blushed, and the colour which rose in the cheeks of the youngest quite captivated the emperor's heart. Modesty, and fear lest they might have offended by their conversation, kept them silent. The emperor, perceiving their confusion, said to encourage them, "Fear nothing, I did not send for you to distress you; and since I see that without my intending it, this is the effect of the question I asked, as I know the wish of each, I will relieve you from your fears. You," added he, "who wished to be my wife, shall have your desire this day; and you," continued he, addressing himself to the two elder sisters, "shall also be married to my chief baker and cook."
Bahman pulling a knife from his vestband, and presenting it to the princess in the sheath, said: "Take this knife, sister, and give yourself the trouble sometimes to pull it out of the sheath; while you see it clean as it is now, it will be a sign that I am alive; but if you find it stained with blood, then you may believe me dead and indulge me with your prayers."
The nearer the sultan approached Aladdin's palace, the more he was struck with its beauty, but was much more amazed when he entered it; and could not forbear breaking out into exclamations of approbation. But when he came into the hall, and cast his eyes on the windows, enriched with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, all large perfect stones, he was so much surprised, that he remained some time motionless. After he recovered himself, he said to his vizier; "Is it possible that there should be such a stately palace so near my own, and I be an utter stranger to it till now?" "Sir," replied the grand vizier, "your majesty may remember that the day before yesterday you gave Aladdin, whom you accepted for a son-in-law, leave to build a palace opposite your own, and that very day at sunset there was no palace on this spot, but yesterday I had the honour first to tell you that the palace was built and finished." "I remember," replied the sultan, "but never imagined that the palace was one of the wonders of the world; for where in all the world besides shall we find walls built of massy gold and silver, instead of brick, stone, or marble; and diamonds, rubies, and emeralds composing the windows!"
In the meantime, everything was prepared with the greatest magnificence in the sultan's palace to celebrate the princess's nuptials; and the evening was spent with all the usual ceremonies and great rejoicings.
When Aladdin found himself at liberty, he turned toward the balcony, and perceiving the sultan, raised his voice, and said to him in a moving manner: "I beg of your majesty to add one favour more to that which I have already received, which is, to let me know my crime?" "Your crime," answered the sultan; "perfidious wretch! Do you not know it? Come hither, and I will show it you." Aladdin went up, when the sultan, going before him without looking at him, said: "Follow me;" and then led him into his closet. When he came to the door, he said: "Go in; you ought to know whereabouts your palace stood: look round and tell me what is become of it?"