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Every night the sultan watched the stars
glitter from his bedroom window,
attempting to read his destiny.
But tonight was different.
He looked at the sky and laughed.
“Who needs to read destiny
when you can write it,” he thought.
“For years, I’ve wondered how the movement of the stars
这么多年 我一直在想 星星的运转
altered the trajectory of my life.
Now I’m the one who will put the stars in motion.”
He turned to look at his bed.
Resting on silk sheets
was an ancient genie’s lamp.
With excitement, he picked up the lamp
and examined the way it reflected the candle light.
His servants spent years finding the treasure,
and a few of them even lost their lives in the process.
He reflected the light towards the paintings on the marble wall,
grand and heroic images of himself.
“It’s a pawn’s destiny to sacrifice himself for the king,” the sultan thought.
He ran his hand along the sides of the lamp,
feeling its engravings.
Someone marked it with an ancient script,
so the sultan could only make out three words:
warning, knowledge, and power.
警示 知识 力量
He placed the lamp on the ground and spoke the magic words.
Eye for eye, And kiss for kiss,
Genie come out, And grant my wish.
Smoke poured out of the spout and filled up the room,
and amidst the fog, a genie appeared.
“Thank you for freeing me.”
He looked around.
“Marble palace, green robes made of silk,
magnificent turban—you are a sultan.”
“King Ali, ruler of the free world,
at your service.”
“White pants, pointy shoes, and a turban,
“白色裤子 尖头鞋 还有头巾
I must admit, I expected you to look less…human.”
“We take many forms,” said the genie.
He noticed a luxurious feast sitting on a table in the room.
“Now, what can I possibly give you
that you don’t already have?”
He looked at the sultan.
The king lifted his arms towards the walls.
“I have a palace full of gold, servants, and food.
I’m the most powerful man in the world,
but I fear I won’t live long enough to enjoy it all.
I wish for eternal life.”
“Life and death are out of my control,” said the genie.
“Those forces lie in the hands of higher beings.
But if it is your wish,
I can tell you how many grains of sand lie
in the hourglass of your life.”
“I wish to know,” said the king.
“Tell me how much time I have left
so I may use it wisely.”
The genie snapped,
and an hourglass appeared in the air.
“After six revolutions of this clock,
your life will end.”
But that means my life will be over before the sun comes up.
How can this be?”
The genie pointed towards the window.
Ali walked to the window and looked down at his kingdom.
Off in the distance,
he saw a small, flickering light.
“A riot is brewing,” said the genie.
“You are a powerful sultan,
but you have neglected your kingdom.
You look at the stars every night
but never think about the people under them.
While your palace gets taller,
your people shrink into poverty.
Instead of bringing them abundance,
you’ve taken from them.
You sit in your chamber and eat lavish feasts,
while your people walk the streets and beg for food.”
Ali turned and fell to his knees before the genie.
“I beg you to help me stop this.
Can my fate be changed?”
The genie floated off the ground.
“There’s still hope.
Fate is a river that does not stop flowing,
but its course can be changed.”
“Help me, please.
I wish to have the knowledge to change my fate.”
“Are you sure?” asked the genie.
He looked towards one of the king’s candles.
“Certain men learn a flame is hot only after it burns them.
Knowledge is not something I can just pass on.
Wisdom comes at a cost,
and the price is often pain.”
“Yes,” said the sultan, “I’ll do anything!”
“好” 苏丹说 “要我做什么都行！”
“As you wish,” said the genie.
He lifted his arms,
transporting himself and the king to a dark room.
The sultan floated off the ground
and felt his body being pulled.
“What’s going on?”
The genie ignored him,
lifting his arms higher and higher.
A green light swirled in the distance.
Ali’s vision blurred,
but he saw the light growing.
“What is that?”
The genie raised his arms higher,
and the swirl grew larger.
As the light got closer,
Ali felt his body being pulled harder towards it.
He could no longer see,
and he heard the sounds of blades rapidly spinning.
“This is it,” he thought,
“I’m going to tear in half.”
But the genie dropped his arms,
and the sultan disappeared into the green hole.
Ali found himself on a sunny island,
standing beside a strange fruit tree.
The tree had large leaves,
creating a nice shade.
The sultan screamed out for the genie
but heard nothing back.
He looked at the tree next to him
and grabbed a purple fruit.
After inspecting it,
he thought it was edible,
so he took a bite,
and his face lit up.
“I’ve never tasted such a perfect delicacy,” he thought.
Ali looked at the tree.
“You will be my new servant,” he said and laughed.
After a few big bites,
he finished the fruit and decided to rest in the shade.
“I didn’t think the genie would send me to paradise,”
he thought and smiled.
“I could stay here my whole life.”
He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
After some time passed,
a sharp pain woke Ali up.
He looked down at his arms
and saw they were red and blistered.
Looking up at the tree’s foliage,
he noticed sunlight leaking into the shade.
He repositioned his body to avoid the heat.
Ali was unsure how much time had passed:
the sun appeared to be in the same spot,
and the sky remained a pale red.
He felt his stomach grumbling,
so he got up and ate a fruit.
But a single fruit was not enough to satisfy his craving—
he ate another, and another, and another.
Finally pleased, he returned to the shade to sleep.
More time passed,
and an excruciating pain woke Ali up.
He looked down and saw blisters all over his body.
He looked up and confirmed that the tree’s foliage was thinner than before.
Ali struggled to get up,
popping some blisters on the way.
Even in extreme pain,
he craved more fruit.
He ate fruit after fruit from the tree
until it had none left.
He looked at the sky and noticed the sun had not moved.
“Maybe time doesn’t pass here,” he thought.
Desperate for food and shade,
he limped off to find another tree.
Across plains and over rolling hills,
he searched and searched
but couldn’t find another tree on the island.
He limped back to the only one
and tried to rest under it.
But Ali couldn’t sleep.
His burns tortured him,
and there wasn’t a spot in the shade to protect him from the sun.
The tree’s foliage was too thin.
He laid back,
and for the first time, he saw the tree thin.
It kept going until it died.
Burnt, starved, and dehydrated,
Ali stared out at the island,
closed his eyes,
and took a final breath.
He was jolted awake by a feeling of falling.
He analyzed his body and saw it was healthy again.
Surrounded by darkness,
he looked up and saw the genie.
“I don’t understand.
Why would you send me to an island with one tree?
You made the only thing I could eat irresistible,
and you punished me for eating it.”
“I did not punish you,” said the genie.
“I rewarded you with the sweetest fruit in existence.
I gave you food, sun, shade, and a friend.
我给了你食物 太阳 荫蔽 和一个朋友
You punished yourself with greed.”
Ali scowled: “Friend?
A sultan has no friends—only servants.”
The genie floated around Ali.
“Is that so?
I’ve met many sultans,
and most of them were like you—
a grown man playing dress-up.
You are an actor,
a parody of a sultan.
A palace, wealth, servants—
宫殿 财富 奴仆
these do not make a man a king.
A true king creates a kingdom wherever he is.
He can’t help it.
He possesses the spirit of a king,
so every thing he touches is esteemed and made richer.
He extends a hand to the fallen and raises them up.
His presence elevates the world around him.
And like an overflowing cup,
his goodness spills out of him and into the world.
So wherever he steps,
a kingdom blooms around him.
The real kingdom is where the king is,
and a true king is located in the mind,
not in appearances.”
Ali’s blood boiled,
but before he could say a word,
the genie continued.
“As a sultan,
your kingdom sheltered you from
the consequences of your actions.
When you failed to bring food, water, and jobs,
your people suffered instead of you.
When you used tax money to grow your palace,
your people were forced into the streets.
And when your temper got the best of you,
you declared war,
and your men paid the ultimate price on the battlefield,
while you sat comfortably on your throne.
But on my island, you cannot hide.
You will pay the price of every action.”
Ali opened his mouth to speak,
but the genie snapped his fingers
and sent the king back to the island.
Ali looked around and saw the tree alive again.
“I’ll show the genie a true sultan,” he thought.
他想 “我要向精灵证明 我是一个真正的苏丹”
Instead of eating fruit,
he searched for water.
After walking for some time,
he arrived at a beach.
The ocean sparkled like a starry night—
it was no ordinary body of water.
He admired the view for moments,
then remembered why he came.
He walked into the ocean,
cupped his hands, grabbed some water,
and brought it back to the tree.
He threw it on the soil,
and the tree immediately grew in size.
Exhausted, he decided to sleep in the shade.
When the king woke up,
he grabbed a fruit from the tree and bit into it,
but it wasn’t sweet like before.
He spit it up, threw the rest aside,
grabbed another fruit, and took a bite.
And again, he spit it up.
“What’s going on?
This one is worse than the last,” he thought,
throwing the fruit aside.
“Maybe they haven’t ripened yet.”
Ali rested under the tree and decided to sleep.
Every day he watered the tree,
and it grew taller,
but its fruit continued to spoil.
“Even though you bear no fruit for me,
I will continue to water you,” he said to the tree.
“But only because I am a virtuous sultan.”
Ali hoped the tree would bear sweet fruit,
but eventually it grew so tall he could no longer check.
The fruit were beyond his reach.
One day, on the verge of collapsing from dehydration,
Ali stood in front of the tree with water in his hands.
“My friend, why have you abandoned me?
I brought you water every day,
and you did not bear fruit for me once.
You’ve grown strong and mighty.
Your foliage covers the whole island,
and your fruit are the size of several men.
I beg you to give me just a taste.”
Ali heard nothing.
His heart rate quickened, and he gritted his teeth.
“I will not be your slave anymore.”
Desperate to quench his thirst,
he drank the magical water from his hands.
It was too salty to satisfy his needs,
but he swallowed it anyway to spite the tree.
He became disoriented,
falling to his hands and knees.
His eyes closed,
and his perception of himself expanded.
Ali was unsure where his body began and ended.
He heard voices off in the distance.
“Who’s there？” he yelled.
The speech grew louder.
It was his voice.
He heard his own words repeated to him.
A sultan has no friends—
It kept repeating and came from around him,
as if a group of people were approaching.
Friend? A sultan has no friends.
Ali gripped the dirt and yelled.
He opened his eyes,
and instead of the tree,
he saw himself standing there.
But his clone was strong and healthy,
like he used to be.
Now he was frail and weak.
His clone watched him on his knees and spoke.
A sultan has no friends—only servants.”
The clone laughed.
Ali gripped the dirt tightly and clenched his jaw.
He tried to get up and attack the clone,
but he was stuck in place.
The clone laughed harder.
Ali gripped the dirt tighter and tighter.
He grinded his teeth and scowled.
His blood pumped faster,
and just before he was about to yell,
He released the dirt,
and a weight lifted from his heart.
For the first time in his life,
he let go of his anger.
“You are a tyrant,” he said.
“In an effort to appear virtuous,
I enabled you.
My virtue was false,
because I rewarded your injustice.
You treated me poorly, and I allowed it.
Now my bad love for myself will become a bad love for you.
I am too weak to help you,
and you can’t live without me.
I’ve failed you once again.
Peace be upon you, brother.”
The clone stopped laughing and smiled.
“Peace be upon you,” he said and pointed towards the sky.
Ali looked up and saw a giant fruit falling towards him.
Once more, he was jolted awake by a feeling of falling.
Surrounded by darkness,
he stood in front of the genie.
Ali didn’t speak.
He knew what he had to do.
The genie snapped his fingers
and sent the sultan back to the island.
Ali made few mistakes this time.
When the tree bore toxic fruit,
he refused to water it.
“I won’t reward your selfishness,” he said and smiled.
“What’s truly good for you is good for me too.”
When the tree gave sweet fruit,
Ali returned the favour by watering it.
But when he became lazy and neglected the tree,
it produced bad fruit to teach him a lesson.
It wasn’t long before they took proper care of each other.
One day, after watering the tree,
the king had a sudden realization.
“My friend, we lived together for awhile,
and I never introduced myself.
Please forgive my bad manners.
I am Ali.
And though you can’t speak,
you are still worthy of a name too.
It must perfectly capture every thing you are,
so even though you won’t speak it,
you will embody in.
Only one name will do.”
Ali put his right palm against the tree.
“Henceforth, you are the Amicus tree.”
He smiled and then laid under the tree and slept.
After some time,
Ali awoke and noticed something strange growing on the tree.
Unlike the purple fruit, this thing was green.
Ali grabbed it and gave it a smell.
“Mmmm,” he thought, “smells like fresh apple.”
He had no reason to believe it was bad.
He took care of the tree,
and when it bore toxic fruit in the past,
they remained purple.
He bit into it and swallowed.
Ali became disoriented,
falling to his hands and knees.
His eyes stung and closed on their own.
“Not again,” he said.
But things were different this time.
He felt himself rising.
After a few seconds,
he managed to open his eyes,
and he saw it all from a bird’s-eye view:
the island, the tree, and himself.
看到了小岛 那棵树 还有他自己
The island was shaped like a person,
and it was surrounded by infinite stretches of water.
He, or she, held its hands behind its head
like a daydreaming swimmer.
Ali saw himself on his hands and knees before the Amicus tree.
He exhaled, and the tree inhaled.
The tree exhaled, and he inhaled.
Ali closed his eyes, as he felt himself falling.
Back in his body,
he felt a gentle push against his hand.
His eyes widened, and his jaw dropped.
Under his right palm was a flower—a rose.
He laughed and laid back with his hands behind his head.
他笑了笑 然后躺下 用手枕着脑袋
Tulips of all colours burst forth around his body.
Shocked, Ali leapt up and walked away.
He laughed again.
Orange marigolds sprouted beside his feet.
Ali started running.
With every step, orchids, sunflowers,
他跑到哪里 兰花 向日葵
lilies, and daffodils bloomed around him.
And for the first time, the sun moved.
The king kept running until the sun set.
When night came,
he sat with his back against the Amicus tree.
Under a full moon and glittering stars,
he admired the beauty of his flowers
and wondered what they were thinking.
Ali’s eyelids grew heavier,
and he heard a melody coming from the tree.
“Are those birds?” he thought.
The sweet sounds put him to sleep.
He woke up in a dark room.
It had been awhile since he saw the genie.
He looked at him and said, “I understand now.”
“It only took you three lives to learn,” said the genie and smiled.
He snapped his fingers,
sending them back to the sultan’s chamber.
Ali walked to the window and looked at his kingdom.
Instead of a small, flickering light,
he saw a mass of torches heading towards the palace.
The genie looked at the king.
“So, what is your final wish.”
Ali stared out the window.
“Genie, I realize now that
I have taken and taken from my people
without caring for them—
that’s why they are revolting.
The riot approaching my palace is a toxic fruit.
But perhaps this tree can still be watered.
And you, you give and give without taking.
你的话 你一直在给予 没有索取
You have given me enough.
I wish for you to be gone and be free.”
The genie smiled.
“Before I go, I will give you one last gift.
Although I cannot say the exact amount,
the total grains of sand in your hourglass have risen.
Tonight is not your night.”
With that, the genie snapped his fingers and vanished.
说完后 精灵打了个响指 消失在空中
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