The Origin of Aladdin
To really understand the story of
The reason we have to go back to a French translation, though, is that according to record there’s no version of the “Aladdin” story in the original Arabic text; it’s thought that the story was added by the Syrian storyteller Youhenna Diab, who sold the tales to the French Antoine Galland.
What’s the Same?
The core difference between the films and the original story is that in the earliest versions, Aladdin was described as being “from one of the cities in China,” which shifts both the location of the tale and the ethnicity of the hero that fans know and love. There are plenty of narrative differences too. The Jafar character (Maghreb) poses as Aladdin’s uncle to trick the young boy and his mother into helping him, promising the poverty-stricken boy that he’ll become a rich merchant if he joins his “uncle” on the journey.
Another key change from the Disney version is that, in the classic folktale, Aladdin has a magical ring that includes a second, less powerful genie who plays a key role in the story, as though he can’t out magic the lamp genie he helps Aladdin outsmart the villainous man who tricked him and even acts as a friend and sometime spy for the young man, eventually saving his life. The lamp genie is just as powerful as the version we’re familiar with but far less humorous.
In the original version, Aladdin marries the daughter of the sultan quite early on. The conflict comes from trying to keep that power and happy ending after the genie makes all his wishes come true. With Aladdin and Princess Badroulbadour living well in a huge palace built by the lamp genie, Maghreb hears of the new status quo and heads to the city to wreak his revenge, eventually tricking Badroulbadour into giving him the lamp and using the genie to steal all of the riches that his faux nephew has “earned.
Aladdin is understandably unhappy. Utilizing the skills of his wife, he manages to trick the sorcerer into giving him the lamp back, regaining all of his wealth. This version also has a lot more murder; Aladdin kills the sorcerer Maghreb
No matter the differences,