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Arabian Nights Stories-2

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Story No 44-1/4

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44-1 - Alee Baabaa and the Forty Thieves (1 of 4) : 
Alee Baabaa Discovers the Treasure

There lived two brothers, Kaasim and Alee Baabaa, in a town of Persia. Their father had died and they were very poor. Although their father had divided his wealth between them but it was not much. Kaasim married a widow who, soon after their marriage, became heiress of a large estate, a good shop, and a warehouse full of rich merchandise. Thus they started living like a rich man soon. Alee Baabaa, on the other hand, married a poor woman and lived in very bad conditions. He used to cut wood to maintain his family. He had three asses to carry the wood.

One day when he had cut the wood in the forest and was loading it on his asses, he saw dust flying around at a distance but coming towards him. A few moments later he saw that some horses were coming to his side only. Although people did not fear robbers there, still Alee Baabaa thought to save himself from those people. He climbed up on a large dense tree and hid himself behind its branches. He placed himself at such a point that he could see everything from there. This tree was standing at the bottom of a rock which was so high that nobody could climb it.

All those people came to the same rock near which Alee Baabaa was hiding behind the branches. He saw that all people were riding horses and were very well armed. They all dismounted there. Alee Baabaa counted them, they were 40 in number. They were the robbers and kept their things there. Everybody tied his horse, gave them some corn to eat, took his bag which looked heavy with some metal by its weight. One of them who looked like their leader, came nearer to the rock and said - "Open Sesame", and a door opened and all the robbers went in, the leader went after all had entered. The door got shut behind them. They stayed inside for some time and Alee Baabaa waited outside for them to come out. At last the door opened and those 40 robbers came out of the cave. The leader came out first and when all had come out he closed the door by saying "Shut Sesame". They all went away the way they came.

Alee Baabaa did not get down immediately lest they have forgotten anything. He waited for them for some time and when he had made sure that they would not come back now, he got down from the tree and thought to try those words himself whether they had the same effect or not. He stood before the gate and said - "Open Sesame", and the gate opened. He entered the cave. It was well alighted large space. The light was coming from the slit open at the top of the rock. There were many kinds of things there - merchandise, silk, brocade, carpets and gold and silver in great heaps. It seemed that the cave was occupied by the robbers a long time ago and its possession had been continuing for generations.

As he entered the cave, the door of the cave got closed. He took as much gold coins his three asses could carry, shut the door of the cave, arranged the gold coins on his asses, covered them with wood so that they are not seen by anybody and came back home. He shut the door of his home, offloaded the wood from the asses and took the bags inside the house carefully.

When his wife saw so much gold, she thought that her husband had stolen them from somewhere. She looked at her husband with a questioning look. Alee Baabaa said - "Be quiet, Don't be frightened, I have not robbed anybody." Then he told her everything in detail and asked her to keep it secret. His wife got very happy to hear all this and she wanted to count all the money, piece by piece; Alee Baabaa laughed at her and said - "You don't know what you are saying. They are so many that you will forget the count while counting them. You have never done so much counting. I will dig a hole and bury them there without wasting time." The wife said - "You are right, but we should know at least that how much we have. While you dig the hole, let me bring a small measure from the neighborhood to measure them." Alee Baabaa said - "Although there is no purpose of what you are doing, be sure to keep it secret and do what you want to do." 

Alee Baabaa's wife immediately ran to Kaasim's house and asked his wife to lend her her measure. Kaasim's wife became curious to know what she would measure with the measure since they were very poor and they had never even enough to eat; so she put some glue at the bottom of the measure. Alee Baabaa's wife brought it home, put it on the heap of the gold coins, measured it and emptied it, measure it and emptied it, till she measured them all. Alee Baabaa had finished his digging, so he carried the gold to bury and his wife took the measure back to Kaasim's house to show her punctuality. She was unaware of the fact that a piece of gold had got stuck at the bottom of the measure. She thanked Kaasim's wife and came back to her house.

As she left, Kaasim's wife looked at the bottom of the measure and surprisingly found a piece of gold stuck to it. She filled with envy - "What? Alee Baabaa has got so much gold that he had to measure it? And where from he has got it?" She was just impatient to tell all this to Kaasim. As Kaasim came back from the shop in the evening, she said to him - "You think yourself rich, but you are mistaken. Alee Baabaa is much richer than you. He does not count the money but measures it." At first Kaasim could not follow it, then his wife told him the whole story and showed him the gold coin as its proof. The coin was so old that he could not make out under which king's rule it was minted.

Kaasim was also very jealous with his brother that he could not sleep the whole night. He never treated Alee Baabaa as his brother after his marriage. As the morning broke, he went to his house and said - "You are hiding from me that you are very poor yet you measure the gold?" Alee Baabaa said - "What brother? What are you saying, say it clearly." Kaasim showed him the coin and asked him - "How many of them you have? My wife found this stuck to the measure you borrowed yesterday."

Alee Baabaa had understood that because of his wife's foolishness Kaasim and his wife had known that he had many gold coins, so he told him everything without hiding anything. He also told him that he found this cave only by chance and gave some money to keep it secret. Kaasim said to him - "Still I want to know that place and the sign to open and shut it, so that I can go there myself whenever I wish; otherwise I will tell this to police and you will not get more of it." Alee Baabaa told him everything. Now Kaasim did not need Alee Baabaa, so he went away and thought to bring treasure to his home before Alee Baabaa could bring it to his home.

Next day he rose early morning, set out to the forest with 10 mules laden with big chests. Soon he came to the place Alee Baabaa told him. He found the door of the cave also. He said "Open Sesame" and the door opened. He went in and the door got shut after him. What he saw inside the cave, he could not believe his eyes; there was so much in it. He collected as much gold as much he could carry on his 10 mules, and came to open the door; but instead of saying "Open Sesame" he said "Open Barley" and to his surprise the door did not open. He took the names of several other grains but was failed to open it.

Kaasim had never expected such accident, so as much he tried to remember the word "Sesame" he continued to forget it. He was so desperate to come out of the cave that he walked hastily up and down the cave.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 09/19/13