Arabian Nights Wiki

Aladdin's mother is a poor widow living in China, very disappointed by her son's laziness. She appears in the story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. She knows that her husband never had any brothers, but is won over by the magician's gifts and flattery. She is frightened by the genie of the lamp. When Aladdin tells her that he is in love with the princess, she bursts out laughing. However, he convinces her to go to the Sultan and ask for the princess's hand in marriage, taking gifts of precious jewels. She waits in the audience-chamber every day for a week before being able to speak to him. The Sultan is nearly convinced by the priceless jewels, but it takes a few months and additional gifts before Aladdin is finally able to wed the princess. His mother is last mentioned meeting with the Princess and accompanying her to Aladdin's palace.


  • In pantomimes, she is a washerwoman. The character is a pantomime dame, played by a man. One early version had her name as Ching Mustapha; in later editions, the name Widow Twankey became popular, Twankay being a pun for a cheap blend of China tea.
  • In the "fairy opera" performed at Drury Lane in 1826, with music by Henry R. Bishop, Aladdin's mother was named Zeenab.