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Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves

1001 Nights – Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves - Open sesame!

The 1001 Nights fairy tales belong to an Arabian collection that first appeared around 900 BC. The beautiful Scheherazade told the Caliph of Baghdad these fascinating stories over 1001 nights and won the heart of the ruler this way.

Once upon a time there lived a poor woodcutter in Persia called Ali Baba. One day Ali Baba loaded up his donkey with wood, when he saw an enormous cloud of dust approaching in the distance. To be on the safe side he climbed up a tree next to a giant rock. The riders – forty heavily armed robbers – took a rest next to this rock. They unloaded bags from their horses that looked really heavy, as if they were full of gold and silver. Ali Baba watched as the captain of the robbers approached the rock and said "Open sesame!" A door opened in the rock and the forty men entered it. After a while they came out again. The captain then said "Close sesame!" The door closed and the robbers rode away.

No sooner had they gone when Ali Baba descended from the tree, went over to the rock and said "Open sesame!" And the door really did open. Ali Baba entered it and found a big cave full of silks, brocades, carpets, gold and silver. He took as much gold as his donkey could carry and rode home with it. Soon the robbers noticed that some of their booty was missing. One of the robbers went to the town and asked around. When he found out who had committed the robbery he told his captain. The captain then thought up a clever plan. The band procured themselves many donkeys and loaded them with large oil barrels. A robber slipped into each one of them – armed to the teeth. The captain disguised himself as a merchant and took the donkeys with the oil barrels into the town. When he got there he stopped in front of Ali Baba's house and asked for somewhere for himself and his donkeys to spend the night. As a good host, Ali Baba commanded his slave-girl, Morgiana, to cook a meal for his guest.

As Morgiana had run out of oil, she wanted to take some from one of the oil barrels. That is how she discovered that there was no oil. She was able to warn Ali Baba just in time and prevent the assault. Ali Baba showed his gratitude by granting Morgiana her freedom.