Ali Baba and The 40 Thieves

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

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Wildly Kasim ran around poking into everything, and gathering together more than he could possibly take away with him. But when he was ready to leave, suddenly the magic words wouldn't come to him.

"Open, Wheat! . . . no, that's wrong. Open, Barley! . . . that's not it either.

Open, Millet! . . . damn! Open, Peas! Open, Rice!"

He tried other words one after the other as they occurred to him, but the rock wouldn't budge. He had become really frantic when unexpectedly it opened and the band of robbers burst in. "K-k-kasim's my name. I'm not here to steal any of your hard-won treasure, you know. It's just that I was asked to ..."

"Who asked you?"

"My brother, Ali Baba. That's how I know the magic words."

"That's all we need to hear," and on the spot they hacked him to pieces.

The robber chief then sent two of his men off to town to locate the house of the man Ali Baba. But as it happened, Ali Baba had moved into a new house that very day, so the pair had to wander about a lot before at last finding it. One of them put a chalk mark on the door, and then they returned to report.

Now in Ali Baba's household there was a young girl named Morgiana who helped in the kitchen. When she was a small child she had been orphaned, and Ali Baba and his wife had taken her in and adopted her. Not only was she known for her kind-heartedness, but also her keen wit was reflected in her deep and sparkling jet-black eyes. This Morgiana was the one to notice the white mark when she got back from the market.

"Somehow this seems a bad omen. It's probably the work of some evil-doer that wishes us harm," she murmured to herself, and set about making exactly the same mark on every other door in the street.

That night the whole band of forty robbers swept into the street like a tempest. But since they couldn't find the right house, they swirled around like a black whirlwind before raging back to camp. There the furious chief pitilessly slew with his broad scimitar the pair who had misled them.

This time he himself went to locate Ali Baba's house. Then carefully he made his plans. First he had thirty-eight large earthen jars bought and one of them filled with olive oil. Next he had his men hide themselves one by one in the other thirty-seven and all of the jars covered with sacking.

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