Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves




Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves : A Persian folk tale retold by Walter McVitty

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Cassim’s wife was very curious to know what Ali Baba could possibly have that was worth measuring, so she placed some suet° on the bottom of the pan. When it was returned to her, she was astonished to find a piece of gold stuck to the suet. She became jealous and angry and said to her husband, “Your brother Ali Baba is so wealthy he does not just count his gold. He has to measure it, like grain! He pretends to be poor, but he must be richer than all of us."


When he saw the scales and the gold coin, Cassim, too, grew jealous and angry. He ran to his brother’s house and was just in time to see him putting the last of the gold into the hole. And so Ali Baba had to tell his brother the whole story.


Trembling with excitement, the greedy Cassim cried, “In the morning I will go to the cave myself - with ten donkeys. I will be richer than you!"


“Be careful, brother," warned Ali Baba. “If the forty thieves catch you, they will surely kill you."


Cassim soon found the rock and, saying the magic words, opened up the cave and fell upon its treasure. He piled the gold into sack after sack. But when the time came for him to leave, he could not remember the magic words.


“Open, Barley!" he cried in panic, but of course nothing happened. He tried again and again. “Open, Rye! Open, Caraway!" But it was no use. He was now a prisoner.


Later that day the forty thieves returned. When they saw the ten donkeys tied up outside the cave, they knew that someone had discovered their secret. With swords drawn, they rushed inside and killed Cassim without mercy and cut him into six parts.


“We will leave his body inside the cave," said the robber chief, “as a warning to anyone else who might be foolish enough to try to steal our treasure."


As the day wore on, Cassim’s wife, waiting at home, grew more and more worried. When her husband did not return that night, she ran weeping to Ali Baba to ask for his help.


In the morning he went to the cave, where he found the remains of Cassim’s body, which he brought back in a sack. When he arrived at his own house, he called for his servant Morgiana, an orphan who had been raised as a daughter by Ali Baba and his wife. She had grown into a brave and wise woman and knew how to solve problems of all kinds.


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