Ali Baba and The 40 Thieves

Ali Baba and The 40 Thieves : from the Thousand and One Nights

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Ali Baba sank to his knees, raised his arms and prayed, "I give Thee thanks, O Creator of heaven and earth, for bestowing on Thy servant this treasure the robbers have built up over many years."

Afterwards he took just a small part of the hoard, five or six bags of gold, and loaded them onto his donkey. He concealed them amongst the firewood and cautiously went back home. Now Ali Baba's wife was herself the daughter of a woodcutter, and she didn't know what color gold was or what, if anything, it smelled like. But when Ali Baba took out a handful to show her, she began to howl like a wild animal.

"Thief! Villain! Whatever have you done? Haven't you always said it was better for us to starve than to steal from others? They'll hang you now, that's for sure!"

"Calm down, woman!" Ali Baba said, and told her all that had happened that day. Then, although his wife was still upset, he sent her to his brother Kasim's house nearby to borrow some scales.

This Kasim was a real tightwad, and he listened suspiciously when his wife told him of his sister-in-law's request.

"What, lend him my scales? . . . when he can barely afford feed for his donkey day by day." "She says it's just to weigh beans, but I know what we can do," and Kasim's wife secretly smeared grease on the bottom of the pans before she took them out to Ali Baba's wife. In this way they hoped some of whatever had been weighed would be stuck there when the scales were returned.

When the pair examined them after they had been brought back, imagine their surprise. Instead of beans, what did they find but a gold piece! Kasim immediately hurried off to his brother's house and began bellowing.

"You miserable thief! Where did you steal this from? If you don't tell me right away, I'll drag you before the magistrates myself."

"Quiet down, Kasim. I've discovered some magic words that open up a cache of treasure. Here, take half these gold coins!"

"They'll do for now! But where's the rest hidden? And what are the magic words?"

Kasim couldn't wait, but set out for the robbers' cave at dawn with a string often donkeys. "Open, Sesame! . . . wow, look at the gold! And the silks and brocades! But wait! While I'm busy here, somebody might come along and see me. Close, Sesame! . . . good, it's shut again."

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