“he suddenly noticed a Large Brass Lamp hanging from a chain to the ceiling of the entrance hall, so he leaped into the air and caught it” (Langley, 131).
When Silver Bud went to investigate the noise in the tenth chapter, she discovered that the Princes had arrived.
We finally learn what Silver Bud’s been doing all this time, which in the circumstances isn’t much in terms of physical adventuring. For though the narrator “cannot paint a carefree picture”, it is affirmed that “her faith in Abu Ali never faltered” (125).
This reminds me of Sīta from the Ramayana, as well as an original character in an Aladdin fanfic, Quest 3: Azrak’s Legacy. In both stories, a female character is imprisoned in an impenetrable and hard to find local. While Silver Bud’s location is hardly difficult to find, she’s just as stuck. Even she tried to escape, her father probably has guards to caught her.
Additionally, in both stories there is an emphasis on the female character’s steadfast faith in their romantic male love interest. Not only in releasing them from their confinement, but also in their man’s ability to achieve the impossible.
Both these sentiments fit Silver Bud’s situation. When she first met Abu Ali she commented on his gallantry, so she likely believes he is capable of getting the Three Tail Feathers of a Phoenix Bird. And she clearly imprisoned against her will. The one difference is that it’s her father doing it, instead of an evil magician or romantic rival.
Of course, in Silver Bud’s case, the Princes are right on Sulkpot’s heels, driving her to “even deeper foreboding than before” (125). As soon as her father lets them into her room, they are correlated to animals (to whom I apologize). Rubdub “brayed” and Tintac “crowed” to make sure she understood they were back and they had achieved their goal – and Abu Ali’s (126). Which meant they had the Magic Carpet and the Tail Feathers.
When Sulkpot says that the Princes “‘fulfilled Abu Ali’s task'”, I was just No, you did not! They’re obviously lying (126). Also when Rubdub makes a point to mention the ” ‘extinct Phoenix Bird'”, I wondered if the birds were going to show up, just to prove that the Princes have no idea what they’re talking about and are liars (126).
Naturally, Silver Bud doesn’t believe them. But that doesn’t stop Sulkpot from saying she has to pick between them. His method for doing that? Have her “‘choose between the Carpet and the Feathers, without knowing who brought which!'”
Even Jasmine, while subjected to marrying a prince, wasn’t forced to choose randomly between two options she hates. Her father the Sultan at least recognized he wanted her to be happy with her suitor.
Silver Bud’s response to this is what I would expect:
“‘I shall make no decision until Abu Ali returns!’ returned Silver Bud resolutely, and to show that the subject was now closed, she walked proudly into the far corner of the room” (126).
But this barely sinks in when Tintac informs Silver Bud that “Abu Ali was eaten by the Dragons last Tuesday” (126). Him and Rubdub go on to list as many acronyms as possible: R.I.P., P.T.O., R.S.V.P., M.Y.O.B.. And yeah, they’re lying some more. Sulkpot even planned it with them. All so Silver Bud will give up Abu Ali and choose one of them or choose a “real” prince. Ugh.
This ploy of faking the death of the male love interest occurs in the Ramayana and Aladdin fanfic. In both, the one who is keeping them prisoner creates an elaborate illusionary set-up to give the impression that the man is dead.
In the Aladdin fanfic, an actual image is used and extended to give the impression he stabbed himself and died. In the Ramayana, Ravana – the demon king who abducted Sīta and wants to marry her – produces an illusionary head of her husband Rama, claiming he killed him in battle, which is currently going on at the same.
Both women are instantly horrified and crushed. For Azul it makes her more determined to fight back, while Sīta’s despair is waylaid when a female demon explains how it was a trick. But Silver Bud completely rejects their ploy. (It may have worked better if they had used some fake physical evidence.)
After some false praise for Abu Ali from the Princes and Sulkpot, they immediately want to know,
“‘Which of us conquering heroes do you fancy, ma’am?’ asked Ping Foo bewitchingly.
‘Neither!’ said Silver Bud coldly.
‘What?‘ exclaimed Tintac Ping Foo in genuine surprise.
‘Because I don’t believe you!’ answered Silver Bud. ‘And you have a nose like a hockey puck!'” (127).
I’m surprise Tintac is surprised she doesn’t like either of them (or at least not him). It’s not like you were nice to her, but then that’s part of why you’re dislikable. Tintac may be amusing in a story, but no one would want to spend their life with him (or I wouldn’t anyway).
Meanwhile, the Mouse tunnels her way up into the dungeon with some polite assistance from the Prison Mice. (Hurrah!). As she tells Abu Ali how the Magic Carpet is locked up with Silver Bud, he hits on an idea. They’ll use the Carpet to escape. I’m all for this. Let the Carpet do something good and useful. Also, let the poor thing fly.
Then Abu Ali tells the Mouse that her “‘place is at Silver Bud’s side; she is now friendless and alone!'” (129). I’m for this, too. I love both their characters so yes, definitely meet. And then the Mouse tells Abu Ali that “‘I’m proud of you!'” and it gave me feelings! (129).
Probably because of the Disney cut song /Broadway song “Proud of Your Boy”.
There’s a long action scene of Abu Ali escaping and he makes it to Silver Bud’s room. She, him, and the Mouse all get on the Carpet and I thought they were gonna make it (even though the chapter title mentioned how “Abu Ali…Was Nearly Able to Win the Day“). But then this happens:
“Oh, reader; gentle reader! How can I bring myself to tell you! The window wasn’t wide enough!” (133). emphasis mine
WHAT! So the Carpet just wriggles in the air, trying to simultaneously push through the window and the stone. Abu Ali is captured again and things are even worst than before. How is that a thing?
I can’t decide what I think of this little snag in the plot. On one hand, it’s totally unexpected and raises the stakes even higher. On the other, a lot of time was spent on Abu Ali’s escape, so I was really pumped for them to escape and then nothing happened.
I can’t decide if that good writing (cause I care and now I’m more anxious because my expectations were smashed) or disorderly writing (cause there’s an entire set up that has no payoff).
Although, the payoff may actually be the raised stakes.
Silver Bud: “‘Because I don’t believe you! And you have the nose of a hockey puck!” (127).
Langley, Noel. The Land of Green Ginger. Jeffrey, NH: David R. Godine Publisher, 1975. Print.