Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves by Janet Hardy-Gauld

Ali Baba finds a thieves' treasure cave, and he is suddenly rich. Then his brother Kasim visits the cave, and things go wrong. The forty thieves find Kasim there, kill him, and cut him into four pieces. What can Ali Baba do? He wants to bury his brother quietly. But how can he? Morgiana, his servant-girl, has the answer. But what can she do when the thieves find Ali Baba and want to kill him, too?

Janet Hardy-Gauld


Our story is about Ali Baba, a poor woodcutter in Persia. Ali Baba's brother is a rich merchant. His name is Kasim. One day, Ali Baba is working in the forest. Suddenly he hears some men. They are coming nearer.

He quickly goes behind a tree before the men arrive. There are forty of them! He sees some treasure in their bags. 'They're thieves,' he thinks. The thieves stand near some rocks. Their chief says, 'Open Sesame!' A door in the rock opens, and the men go into a cave. Later, the thieves come out. They say, 'Close Sesame!' and the door closes. 'Hmm. Interesting. What's in that cave?' Ali Baba thinks. 'I'd like to see.’


After the thieves leave, Ali Baba goes to the rocks. 'Open Sesame!' he says. The door opens, and he walks in. 'Wow!' he cries in the treasure cave. 'What beautiful things!’

He takes some gold coins and leaves. 'Close Sesame!' he says. The cave door closes behind him. Back home, Ali Baba tells everything to his wife and son, Morad. 'Look at these coins. We're rich!' he cries. 'How rich?’ his wife asks. She runs to Kasim's house. 'Can I borrow your scales? I want to weigh something,' she tells Kasim's wife.

'Of course,' Kasim's wife smiles. 'But what are you weighing?’ 'Oh, nothing important,' Ali Baba's wife answers her. Kasim's wife thinks, 'That's not true!' She quickly puts some wax on the scales. Later, Ali Baba's wife takes back the scales. Kasim' s wife finds a gold coin on the wax. 'They're weighing gold!' she thinks. 'They're richer than us!’ She tells Kasim. 'My brother's a poor woodcutter,' Kasim cries angrily. 'How can he have lots of gold? I must learn more.’


At Ali Baba's house, a young woman opens the door to Kasim. She's Morgiana, Ali Baba's new servant. Kasim asks his brother, 'Where's this gold coin from?' Ali Baba explains. Later, Kasim visits the cave. 'Open Sesame!' he says and goes in. 'It's my treasure now!' he cries. The cave door closes behind him.

'Open Salt!' he says when he wants to leave. But the cave door doesn't open. When the thieves arrive, they find Kasim. They kill him angrily. 'Cut his body into four pieces!' their chief, Arshad, says. 'Do more people know about our cave? This dead body can scare them, and stop their visits!’ Later, Ali Baba finds Kasim's body. He takes it back home. 'Perhaps the thieves can find and kill me now!' he says. 'Help! What can I do?'

'Kasim' s very ill, tell everybody,' Morgiana says. 'The cobbler, Baba Mustafa, can come and sew up Kasim's body. Then we can bury it.’ So Morgiana blindfolds Baba Mustafa. She brings him to Ali Baba's house. He sews up Kasim's body. Then Morgiana blindfolds him and takes him back home. After that, the family buries Kasim. 'Now the thieves can't find me,' Ali Baba thinks happily. 'Or can they?’


The next day, the thieves go back to the cave. 'Where's the dead body?' they ask. A friend of his knows about our treasure cave and has the body!' Arshad, their chief, says. 'We must find him at once.’ 'Go into town,' Arshad tells Najid, one of the thieves. 'Perhaps you can learn something about the dead man there.’

In town, Najid visits the cobbler's shop. Baba Mustafa is speaking to a friend. '...So she puts a blindfold on me, and we go to a house. And I sew up a dead body in four pieces there,' he says. Najid gives two gold coins to the cobbler. 'Take me to the dead man's house,' he says. Baba Mustafa is clever. He closes his eyes and remembers his steps. In the end, they arrive at Ali Baba's house.

'Here we are,' the cobbler says. Najid puts a white mark on the door. 'I must tell Arshad about this,' he thinks, and he leaves. Baba Mustafa walks slowly back to his shop. Soon after that, Morgiana comes out. She sees the mark on Ali Baba' s door. 'Hmm. Somebody wants to mark our house,' she thinks. 'Perhaps it's the thieves. What shall I do?'


Morgiana marks every door in the street. When Arshad arrives, he can't find Ali Baba's house. He visits the cobbler's shop, and gives three gold coins to Baba Mustafa.

The cobbler takes him to Ali Baba's house. Arshad looks carefully at it. He doesn't mark it. Morgiana is watching through the window. Later, Arshad comes back: in different clothes. He knocks on Ali Baba's door. 'I'm an oil merchant. I'm taking my oil to a town far away. Can I sleep here tonight?’ he says. Ali Baba is a good man. 'Of course,' he answers. 'Leave your oil jars behind my house and come in…’

Arshad leaves the forty jars behind the house. One jar has oil in, but there are thieves in thirty-nine of the jars. 'When I knock on the jars,' Arshad tells his men quietly, 'come out and kill Ali Baba!' Then he goes into the house. Later, Morgiana visits the jars. She needs oil for her lamp. 'Is it time?' the thieves ask. 'No. Wait!' she answers. She puts hot oil in the jars, and the thieves die suddenly. When Arshad comes and knocks on the jars, nobody answers him. 'Hey, my men are all dead!' he cries. He leaves very quickly.


Some weeks later, Arshad comes back to town. Now he's wearing the clothes of a rich gold merchant. Arshad opens a new shop. Ali Baba's son, Morad, has Kasim's old shop across the street. Arshad and Morad are soon friends. 'Father, can my new friend come for dinner?’ Morad asks Ali Baba one day. 'Of course,' Ali Baba says.

Ali Baba doesn't recognize Arshad when he comes to the house for dinner. But when clever Morgiana brings the dinner, she recognizes him at once. After dinner, Morgiana dances for them. Suddenly Arshad attacks Ali Baba with a knife.

Morgiana quickly attacks Arshad, and she kills him. After that, she explains everything. 'Morgiana, you're the cleverest servant in all Persia!' Ali Baba says. 'You must marry Morad, and have some treasure, too!' 'Thank you, Father!' Morad and Morgiana say. The two of them marry, and they move into the next house in the street. In time, they have many children, and they live there very happily for many years.

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