Chapter OnePrince Haraz
Almost a year had passed since Stanley Lambchop had gotten over being flat, which he had become when his big bulletin board had settled on him during the night. It had been a pleasant, restful time for all the Lambchops, as this particular evening was.
Dinner was over. In the living room, Mr. Lambchop looked up from his newspaper. "How nice this is, my dear," he said to Mrs. Lambchop, who was darning socks. "I am enjoying my paper and your company, and our boys are studying in their room."
"Let us hope they are," said Mrs. Lambchop. "So often, George, they find excuses not to work."
Mr. Lambchop chuckled. "They are imaginative," he said.
In their bedroom, Stanley and his younger brother, Arthur, were doing homework. They wore pajamas, and over his Arthur also wore his Mighty Man T-shirt, which helped him to concentrate.
On the desk between them was what they supposed to be a teapot--a round, rather squashed-down pot with a curving spout, and a knob on top for lifting. A wave had rolled it up onto the beach that summer, right to Stanley's feet; and since Mrs. Lambchop was very fond of old furniture and silverware, he had saved it as a gift for her birthday, now only a week away.
The pot was painted dark green, but streaks of brownish metal showed through. To see if polishing would make it shine, Stanley rubbed the knob with his pajama sleeve.
"Puff!" Black smoke came from the spout.
"Yipe!" said Arthur. "It's going to explode!"
"Teapots don't explode." Stanley rubbed again. "I just--"
"Puff! Puff! Puff!" They came rapidly now, joining to form a small cloud in the air above the desk.
"Look out!" Arthur shouted. "Double yipes!"
The blackcloud swirled, its blackness becoming a mixture of brown and blue, and began to lose its cloud shape. Arms appeared, and legs, and a head.
"Ready or not, here I come!" said a clear young voice.
Now the cloud was completely gone, and a slender, cheerful-looking boy hovered in the air above the desk. He wore a sort of decorated towel on his head, a loose blue shirt, and curious, flapping brown trousers, one leg of which had snagged on the pot's spout.
"Florts!" said the boy, shaking his leg. "Collibots! I got the puffs right, and the scary cloud, but- There!" Unsnagged, he floated down to the floor and bowed to Stanley and Arthur.
"Who rubbed?" he asked.
Neither of the brothers could speak.
"Well, someone did. Genies don't just drop in, you know." The boy bowed again. "How do you do? I am Prince Fawzi Mustafa Aslan Mirza Melek Namerd Haraz. Call me Prince Haraz."
Arthur gasped and dived under his bed.
"What"s the matter with him?" the genie asked. "And who are you, and where am I?"
"I'm Stanley Lambchop, and this is the United States of America," Stanley said. "That's Arthur under the bed."
"Not a very friendly welcome," said Prince Haraz. "Especially for someone who's been cooped up in a lamp." He rubbed the back of his neck. "Florts! One thousand years, with my knees right up against my chin. This is my first time out."
"I must have gone crazy," said Arthur from under the bed. "I am just going to lie here until a doctor comes."
"Actually, Prince Haraz, you're here by accident," Stanley said. "I didn't even know that pot was a lamp. Was it the rubbing? Those puffs of smoke, I mean, that turned into you?"
'Were you scared?" The genie laughed. "Just a few puffs, Ithought, and I'll "whoooosh" up the spout."
"Scaring me wasn't fair," said Arthur, staying under the bed. "I just live in this room because Stanley's my brother. It's his lamp, and he's the one who rubbed it."
"Then he's the one I grant wishes for," said Prince Haraz. "Too bad for you."
"I don't care," said Arthur, but he did.
"Can I wish for anything?" Stanley asked. "Anything at all?"
"Not if it's cruel or evil, or really nasty," said Prince Haraz. "I'm a lamp genie, you see, and we're the good kind. Not like those big jar genies. They're stinkers."
"Wish for something, Stanley." Arthur sounded suspicious. "Test him out."
"I'll be right back," Stanley said, and went into the living room.
"Hey!" he said to Mr. and Mrs. Lambchop. "Guess what?"
"Hay is for horses, Stanley, not people," Mr. Lambchop said from behind his newspaper. "Try to remember that."
"Excuse me," Stanley said. "But you'll never guess-"
"My guess is that you and Arthur have not yet finished your homework," said Mrs. Lambchop, looking up from her mending.
"We were doing it," said Stanley, talking very fast, "but I have this pot that turned out to be a lamp, and when I rubbed it, smoke came out, and then a genie, and he says I can wish for things, only I thought I should ask you first. Arthur got scared, so he's hiding under the bed."
Mr. Lambchop chuckled. "When your studying is done, my boy," he said. "But no treasure chests full of gold and diamonds, please. Think of the taxes we would pay!"
"There is your answer, Stanley...