Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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 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 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. 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." He bowed. "White pants, pointy shoes, and a turban, 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." "Six hours? But that means my life will be over before the sun comes up. How can this be?" The genie pointed towards the window. "Look." 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!" "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. 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—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. Instead of eating fruit, he searched for water. After walking for some time, he arrived at a beach.