Arabian Nights / Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Authored by:Folk tales
Chapter 1 / 5

Section 1

Cassim and Ali Baba, two brothers, lived in a Persian town. Cassim led an affluent life having a wealthy wife, while Ali Baba had to cut wood in a near-by forest and sell it in the market to sustain his wife and children.

Ali Baba was in a forest one day, when the dust rose into the air as a group of men on their horses rushed to the forest. To save himself frightened Ali Baba climbed a tree thinking he met robbers. He saw forty men as the troop came closer and alighted from their horses which they tied to trees once unbridled.

The words "Open, Sesame!" reached Ali Baba’s ears as their chief, as Ali Baba reckoned, headed towards some bushes.

The rocks showed a door which opened as the group enteredfollowed by their Chief, and then it quickly closed on its own. Ali Baba feared they might catch him if he got down, so he had to quietly remain on the tree until the men were inside for some time. Then the Forty Thieves finally came out through the reopened door. The Chief stood ahead of them so that everyone came out passing by him,after that he said "Shut, Sesame!" and the door got closed.

Once the whole troop led by the Chief were on the horseback again, they left the forest by the same way.

When was on the ground again, with the words "Open, Sesame!"Ali Baba opened the door hidden inside the bushes.

Although expecting to see a grey, gloomy place, he discovered a vault-like hollow made by hand, and the place was quite wide and well –illuminated from the light coming through the ceiling crevice. Silk and brocade-items were in huge bundles of goods, as well as loads of gold and silver, and leather purses full of money. The door closed once he entered. Instead of silver Ali Baba put only piles of gold into the bags, covered them with sticks and relied on the perseverance of his donkeys that were greasing open-air.

He headed to home once he closed the door by the words "Shut, Sesame!".

When his donkeys were inside the yard and after locking the gates, Ali Baba took the piles to his house and showed all the treasures to his wife. He ordered her not to utter a word, and afterwards he buried the gold.

His wife wanted to first measure it and, while Ali Baba was digging the hole, she ran to borrow a measure.

She borrowed it from Cassim’s wife and it intrigued the latter, as she knew Ali Baba’s family was poor. The woman put some fat piece at the bottom of the measure to discover what was the grain they were going to measure. Ali Baba’s wife was brimming with happiness, when after taking the measure, she kept on measuring the gold over and over again. But she did not notice that she also carried a piece of gold stuck to the measure’s bottom as she returned it. At the sight of it, Cassim’s wife almost fainted.


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