Part 7 out of 8
and died as indigent as they were born. If I have not the success
I expect, you shall try if you will have better by the means you
Some days after this dispute, the two friends happened to walk
out together, and passing through the street where I was at work
at my trade of rope-making, which I learnt of my father, who
learnt of his, and he of his ancestors; and by my dress and
appearance, it was no hard matter for them to guess my poverty.
Saad, remembering Saadi's engagement, said, "If you have not
forgotten what you said to me, there is a man," pointing to me,
"whom I can remember a long time working at his trade of rope-
making, and in the same poverty: he is a worthy subject for your
liberality, and a proper person to make your experiment upon." "I
so well remember the conversation," replied Saadi, "that I have
ever since carried a sufficient sum about me for the purpose, but
only waited for an opportunity of our being together, that you
might be witness of the fact. Let us go to him, and know if he is
The two friends came to me, and I, seeing that they wished to
speak to me, left off work: they both accosted me with the common
salutation, and Saadi, wishing me peace, asked me my name.
I returned their salutation, and answered Saadi's question,
saying to him, "Sir, my name is Hassan; but by reason of my
trade, I am commonly known by the name of Hassan al Hubbaul."
"Hassan," replied Saadi, "as there is no occupation but what a
man may live by, I doubt not but yours produces enough for you to
live well upon; and I am amazed, that during the long time you
have worked at your trade, you have not saved enough to lay in a
good stock of hemp to extend your manufacture and employ more
hands, by the profit of whose work you would soon increase your
"Sir," replied I, "you will be no longer amazed that I have not
saved money and taken the way you mention to become rich, when
you come to know that, let me work as hard as I may from morning
till night, I can hardly get enough to keep my family in bread
and pulse. I have a wife and five children, not one of whom is
old enough to be of the least assistance to me. I must feed and
clothe them, and in our poor way of living, they still want many
necessaries, which they can ill do without And though hemp is not
very dear, I must have money to buy it. This is the first thing I
do with any money I receive for my work; otherwise I and my
family must starve.
"Now judge, sir," added I, "if it be possible that I should save
any thing for myself and family: it is enough that we are content
with the little God sends us, and that we have not the knowledge
or desire of more than we want, but can live as we have been
always bred up, and are not reduced to beg."
When I had given Saadi this account, he said to me, "Hassan, I am
not so much surprised as I was, for I comprehend what obliges you
to be content in your station. But if I should make you a present
of a purse of two hundred pieces of gold, would not you make a
good use of it? and do not you believe, that with such a sum you
could become soon as rich as the principal of your occupation?"
"Sir," replied I, "you seem to be so good a gentleman, that I am
persuaded you would not banter me, but that the offer you make me
is serious; and I dare say, without presuming too much upon
myself, that a considerably less sum would be sufficient to make
me not only as rich as the first of our trade, but that in time I
should be richer than all of them in this city together, though
Bagdad is so large and populous."
The generous Saadi showed me immediately that in what he said he
was serious. He pulled a purse out of his bosom, and putting it
into my hands, said, "Here, take this purse; you will find it
contains two hundred pieces of gold: I pray God bless you with
them, and give you grace to make the good use of them I desire;
and believe me, my friend Saad, whom you see here, and I shall
both take great pleasure in finding they may contribute towards
making you more happy than you now are."
When I had got the purse, the first thing I did was to put it
into my bosom; but the transport of my joy was so great, and I
was so much penetrated with gratitude, that my speech failed me
and I could give my benefactor no other tokens of my feelings
than by laying hold of the hem of his garment and kissing it; but
he drew it from me hastily, and he and his friend pursued their
As soon as they were gone, I returned to my work, and my first
thought was, what I should do with my purse to keep it safe. I
had in my poor house neither box nor cupboard to lock it up in,
nor any other place where I could be sure it would not be
discovered if I concealed it.
In this perplexity, as I had been used, like many poor people of
my condition, to put the little money I had in the folds of my
turban, I left my work, and went into the house, under pretence
of wrapping my turban up anew. I took such precautions that
neither my wife nor children saw what I was doing. But first I
laid aside ten pieces of gold for present necessaries, and
wrapped the rest up in the folds of the linen which went about my
The principal expense I was at that day was to lay in a good
stock of hemp, and afterwards, as my family had eaten no flesh
meat a long time, I went to the shambles, and bought something
As I was carrying home the meat I had bought, a famished vulture
flew upon me, and would have taken it away, if I had not held it
very fast; but, alas! I had better have parted with it than lost
my money; the faster I held my meat, the more the bird struggled
to get it, drawing me sometimes on one side, and sometimes on
another, but would not quit the prize; till unfortunately in my
efforts my turban fell on the ground.
The vulture immediately let go his hold, but seizing my turban,
flew away with it. I cried out so loud, that I alarmed all the
men, women, and children in the neighbourhood, who joined their
shouts and cries to make the vulture quit his hold; for by such
means these voracious birds are often frightened so as to quit
their prey. But our cries did not avail; he carried off my
turban, and we soon lost sight of him, and it would have been in
vain for me to fatigue myself with running after him.
I went home very melancholy at the loss of my money. I was
obliged to buy a new turban, which diminished the small remainder
of the ten pieces; for I had laid out several in hemp. The little
that was left was not sufficient to give me reason to indulge the
great hopes I had conceived.
But what troubled me most, was the little satisfaction I should
be able to give my benefactor for his ineffectual generosity,
when he should come to hear what a misfortune I had met with,
which he would perhaps regard as incredible, and consequently an
While the remainder of the ten pieces lasted, my little family
and I lived better than usual; but I soon relapsed into the same
poverty, and the same inability to extricate myself from
wretchedness. However, I never murmured nor repined; "God," said
I, "was pleased to give me riches when I least expelled them; he
has thought fit to take them from me again almost at the same
time, because it so pleased him, and they were at his disposal;
yet I will praise his name for all the benefits I have received,
as it was his good pleasure, and submit myself, as I have ever
done hitherto, to his will."
These were my sentiments, while my wife, from whom I could not
keep secret the loss I had sustained, was inconsolable. In my
trouble I had told my neighbours, that when I lost my turban I
lost a hundred and ninety pieces of gold; but as they knew my
poverty, and could not comprehend how I should have got so great
a sum by my work, they only laughed at me.
About six months after this misfortune, which I have related to
your majesty, the two friends walking through that part of the
town where I lived, the neighbourhood brought me to Saad's
recollection. "We are now," said he to Saadi, "not far from the
street where Hassan the ropemaker lives; let us call and see what
use he has made of the two hundred pieces of gold you gave him,
and whether they have enabled him to take any steps towards
bettering his fortune."
"With all my heart," replied Saadi; "I have been thinking of him
some days, and it will be a great pleasure and satisfaction to me
to have you with me, as a witness of the proof of my argument.
You will see undoubtedly a great alteration. I expect we shall
hardly know him again."
Just as Saadi said this, the two friends turned the corner of the
street, and Saad, who perceived me first at a distance, said to
his friend, "I believe you reckon without your host. I see
Hassan, but can discern no change in his person, for he is as
shabbily dressed as when we saw him before; the only difference
that I can perceive is, that his turban looks something better.
Observe him yourself, and see whether I am in the wrong."
As they drew nearer to me, Saadi saw me too, and found Saad was
in the right, but could not tell to what he should attribute the
little alteration he saw in my person; and was so much amazed,
that he could not speak when he came up to me. "Well, Hassan,"
said Saad, "we do not ask you how affairs go since we saw you
last; without doubt they are in a better train."
"Gentlemen," replied I, addressing myself to them both, "I have
the great mortification to tell you, that your desires, wishes,
and hopes, as well as mine, have not had the success you had
reason to expect, and I had promised myself; you will scarcely
believe the extraordinary adventure that has befallen me. I
assure you nevertheless, on the word of an honest man, and you
ought to believe me, for nothing is more true than what I am
going to tell you." I then related to them my adventure, with the
same circumstances I had the honour to tell your majesty.
Saadi rejected my assertion, and said, "Hassan, you joke, and
would deceive me; for what you say is a thing incredible. What
have vultures to do with turbans? They only search for something
to satisfy their hunger. You have done as all such people as
yourself generally do. If they have made any extraordinary gain,
or any good fortune happens to them, which they never expected,
they throw aside their work, take their pleasure, make merry,
while the money lasts; and when they have eaten and drunk it all
out, are reduced to the same necessity and want as before. You
would not be so miserable, but because you deserve it, and render
yourself unworthy of any service done to you."
"Sir," I replied, "I bear all these reproaches, and am ready to
bear as many more, if they were more severe, and all with the
greater patience because I do not think I deserve them. The thing
is so publicly known in this part of the town, that there is
nobody but can satisfy you of the truth of my assertions. If you
inquire, you will find that I do not impose upon you. I own, I
never heard of vultures flying away with turbans; but this has
actually happened to me, like many other things, which do not
fall out every day, and yet have actually happened."
Saad took my part, and told Saadi a great many as surprising
stories of vultures, some of which he affirmed he knew to be
true, insomuch that at last he pulled his purse out of his
vestband, and counted out two hundred pieces of gold into my
hand, which I put into my bosom for want of a purse.
When Saadi had presented me with this sum, he said, "Hassan, I
make you a present of these two hundred pieces; but take care to
put them in a safer place, that you may not lose them so
unfortunately as you have done the others, and employ them in
such a manner that they may procure you the advantages which the
others would have done." I told him that the obligation of this
his second kindness was much greater than I deserved, after what
had happened, and that I should be sure to make good use of his
advice. I would have said a great deal more, but he did not give
me time, for he went away, and continued his walk with his
As soon as they were gone, I left off work, and went home, but
finding neither my wife nor children within, I pulled out my
money, put ten pieces by, and wrapped up the rest in a clean
linen cloth, tying it fast with a knot; but then I was to
consider where I should hide this linen cloth that it might be
safe. After I had considered some time, I resolved to put it in
the bottom of an earthen vessel full of bran, which stood in a
corner, which I imagined neither my wife nor children would look
into. My wife came home soon after, and as I had but little hemp
in the house, I told her I should go out to buy some, without
saying any thing to her about the two friends.
While I was absent, a sandman, who sells scouring earth for the
hair and body, which women use in the baths, passed through our
street, and called, "Cleansing, ho!" My wife, who wanted some,
beckoned to him: but as she had no money, asked him if he would
make an exchange of some earth for some bran. The sandman asked
to see the bran. My wife shewed him the pot; the bargain was
made; she had the cleansing earth, with which she filled a dust
hole I had made to the house, and the sandman took the pot and
bran along with him.
Not long after I came home with as much hemp as I could carry,
and followed by five porters loaded also with hemp. After I had
satisfied them for their trouble, I sat down to rest myself; and
looking about me, could not see the pot of bran.
It is impossible for me to express to your majesty my surprise
and the effect it had on me at the moment. I asked my wife
hastily what was become of it; when she told me the bargain she
had made with the sandman, which she thought to be a very good
"Ah! unfortunate woman!" cried I, "you know not the injury you
have done me, yourself, and our children, by making that bargain,
which has ruined us for ever. You thought you only sold the bran,
but with the bran you have enriched the sandman with a hundred
and ninety pieces of gold, which Saadi with his friend came and
made me a second present of."
My wife was like one distracted, when she knew what a fault she
had committed through ignorance. She cried, beat her breast, and
tore her hair and clothes. "Unhappy wretch that I am," cried she,
"am I fit to live after so dreadful a mistake! Where shall I find
this sandman? I know him not, I never saw him in our street
before. Oh! husband," added she, "you were much to blame to be so
reserved in a matter of such importance This had never happened,
if you had communicated the secret to me." In short, I should
never finish my story were I to tell your majesty what her grief
made her say. You are not ignorant how eloquent women often are
in their afflictions.
"Wife," said I, "moderate your grief: by your weeping and howling
you will alarm the neighbourhood, and there is no reason they
should be informed of our misfortunes. They will only laugh at,
instead of pitying us. We had best bear our loss patiently, and
submit ourselves to the will of God, and bless him, for that out
of two hundred pieces of gold which he had given us, he has taken
back but a hundred and ninety, and left us ten, which, by the use
I shall make of them will be a great relief to us."
My wife at first did not relish my arguments; but as time softens
the greatest misfortunes, and makes them more supportable, she at
last grew easy, and had almost forgotten them. "It is true," said
I to her, "we live but poorly; but what have the rich which we
have not? Do not we breathe the same air, enjoy the same light
and the same warmth of the sun? Therefore what conveniences have
they more than we, that we should envy their happiness? They die
as well as we. In short, while we live in the fear of God, as we
should always do, the advantage they have over us is so very
inconsiderable, that we ought not to covet it."
I will not tire your majesty any longer with my moral
reflections. My wife and I comforted ourselves, and I pursued my
trade with as much alacrity as before these two mortifying
losses, which followed one another so quickly. The only thing
that troubled me sometimes was, how I should look Saadi in the
face when he should come and ask me how I had improved his two
hundred pieces of gold, and advanced my fortune by means of his
liberality. I saw no remedy but to resolve to submit to the
confusion I should feel, though it was by no fault of mine this
time, any more than before, that our misfortune had happened.
The two friends stayed away longer this time than the former,
though Saad had often spoken to Saadi, who always put it off;
for, said he, "The longer we stay away, the richer Hassan will
be, and I shall have the greater satisfaction."
Saad, who had not the same opinion of the effect of his friend's
generosity, replied, "You fancy then that your last present will
have been turned to a better account than the former. I would
advise you not to flatter yourself too much, for fear you may be
more sensibly mortified if it should prove otherwise." "Why,"
replied Saadi, "vultures do not fly away with turbans every day;
and Hassan will have been more cautious this time."
"I do not doubt it," replied Saad; "but," added he, "there are
other accidents that neither you nor I can think of; therefore, I
say again, moderate your expectations, and do not depend too much
on Hassan's success; for to tell you what I think, and what I
always thought (whether you like to hear it or not), I have a
secret presentiment that you will not have accomplished your
purpose, and that I shall succeed better in proving that a poor
man may sooner become rich by other means than money."
One day, when Saad and Saadi were disputing upon this subject,
Saad observed that enough had been said; "I am resolved,"
continued he, "to inform myself this very day what has passed; it
is a pleasing time for walking, let us not lose it, but go and
see which of us has lost the wager." I saw them at a distance,
was overcome with confusion, and was just going to leave my work,
to run and hide myself. However I refrained, appeared very
earnest at work, made as if I had not seen them, and never lifted
up my eyes till they were close to me and had saluted me, and
then I could not help myself. I hung down my head, told them my
last misfortune, with all the circumstances, and that I was as
poor as when they first saw me.
"After that," I added, "you may say that I ought to have hidden
my money in another place than in a pot of bran, which was
carried out of my house the same day: but that pot had stood
there many years, and had never been removed, whenever my wife
parted with the bran. Could I guess that a sandman should come by
that very day, my wife have no money, and would make such an
exchange? You may indeed allege, that I ought to have told my
wife of it; but I will never believe that such prudent persons,
as I am persuaded you are, would have given me that advice; and
if I had put my money anywhere else, what certainty could I have
had that it would be more secure?"
"I see, sir," said I, addressing myself to Saadi, "that it has
pleased God, whose ways are secret and impenetrable, that I
should not be enriched by your liberality, but that I must remain
poor: however, the obligation is the same as if it had wrought
the desired effect."
After these words I was silent; and Saadi replied, "Though I
would persuade myself, Hassan, that all you tell us is true, and
not owing to your debauchery or ill management, yet I must not be
extravagant, and ruin myself for the sake of an experiment. I do
not regret in the least the four hundred pieces of gold I gave
you to raise you in the world. I did it in duty to God, without
expecting any recompense but the pleasure of doing good. If any
thing makes me repent, it is, that I did not address myself to
another, who might have made a better use of my charity." Then
turning about to his friend, "Saad," continued he, "you may know
by what I have said that I do not entirely give up the cause. You
may now make your experiment, and let me see that there are ways,
besides giving money, to make a poor man's fortune. Let Hassan be
the man. I dare say, whatever you may give him he will not be
richer than he was with four hundred pieces of gold." Saad had a
piece of lead in his hand, which he shewed Saadi. "You saw me,"
said he, "take up this piece of lead, which I found on the
ground; I will give it Hassan, and you shall see what it is
Saadi, burst out laughing at Saad. "What is that bit of lead
worth," said he, "a farthing? What can Hassan do with that?" Saad
presented it to me, and said, "Take it, Hassan; let Saadi laugh,
you will tell us some news of the good luck it has brought you
one time or another." I thought Saad was in jest, and had a mind
to divert himself: however I took the lead, and thanked him. The
two friends pursued their walk, and I fell to work again.
At night when I pulled off my clothes to go to bed, the piece of
lead, which I had never thought of from the time he gave it me,
tumbled out of my pocket. I took it up, and laid it on the place
that was nearest me. The same night it happened that a fisherman,
a neighbour, mending his nets, found a piece of lead wanting; and
it being too late to buy any, as the shops were shut, and he must
either fish that night, or his family go without bread the next
day, he called to his wife and bade her inquire among the
neighbours for a piece. She went from door to door on both sides
of the street, but could not get any, and returned to tell her
husband her ill success. He asked her if she had been to several
of their neighbours, naming them, and among the rest my house.
"No indeed," said the wife, "I have not been there; that was too
far off, and if I had gone, do you think I should have found any?
I know by experience they never have any thing when one wants
it." "No matter," said the fisherman, "you are an idle hussy; you
must go there; for though you have been there a hundred times
before without getting any thing, you may chance to obtain what
we want now. You must go."
The fisherman's wife went out grumbling, came and knocked at my
door, and waked me out of a sound sleep. I asked her what she
wanted. "Hassan," said she, as loud as she could bawl, "my
husband wants a bit of lead to load his nets with; and if you
have a piece, desires you to give it him."
The piece of lead which Saad had given me was so fresh in my
memory, and had so lately dropped out of my clothes, that I could
not forget it. I told my neighbour I had some; and if she would
stay a moment my wife should give it to her. Accordingly, my
wife, who was wakened by the noise as well as myself, got up, and
groping about where I directed her, found the lead, opened the
door, and gave it to the fisherman's wife, who was so overjoyed
that she promised my wife, that in return for the kindness she
did her and her husband, she would answer for him we should have
the first cast of the nets.
The fisherman was so much rejoiced to see the lead, which he so
little expected, that he much approved his wife's promise. He
finished mending his nets, and went a-fishing two hours before
day, according to custom. At the first throw he caught but one
fish, about a yard long, and proportionable in thickness; but
afterwards had a great many successful casts; though of all the
fish he took none equalled the first in size.
When the fisherman had done fishing, he went home, where his
first care was to think of me. I was extremely surprised, when at
my work, to see him come to me with a large fish in his hand.
"Neighbour," said he, "my wife promised you last night, in return
for your kindness, whatever fish I should catch at my first
throw; and I approved her promise. It pleased God to send me no
more than this one for you, which, such as it is, I desire you to
accept. I wish it had been better. Had he sent me my net full,
they should all have been yours."
"Neighbour," said I, "the bit of lead which I sent you was such a
trifle, that it ought not to be valued at so high a rate:
neighbours should assist each other in their little wants. I have
done no more for you than I should have expected from you had I
been in your situation; therefore I would refuse your present, if
I were not persuaded you gave it me freely, and that I should
offend you; and since you will have it so, I take it, and return
you my hearty thanks."
After these civilities, I took the fish, and carried it home to
my wife. "Here," said I, "take this fish, which the fisherman our
neighbour has made me a present of, in return for the bit of lead
he sent to us for last night: I believe it is all we can expect
from the present Saad made me yesterday, promising me that it
would bring me good luck;" and then I told her what had passed
between the two friends.
My wife was much startled to see so large a fish. "What would you
have me do with it?" said she. "Our gridiron is only fit to broil
small fish; and we have not a pot big enough to boil it." "That
is your business," answered I; "dress it as you will, I shall
like it either way." I then went to my work again.
In gutting the fish, my wife found a large diamond, which, when
she washed it, she took for a piece of glass: indeed she had
heard talk of diamonds, but if she had ever seen or handled any
she would not have known how to distinguish them. She gave it to
the youngest of our children for a plaything, and his brothers
and sisters handed it about from one to another, to admire its
brightness and beauty.
At night when the lamp was lighted, and the children were still
playing with the diamond, they perceived that it gave a light,
when my wife, who was getting them their supper, stood between
them and the lamp; upon which they snatched it from one another
to try it; and the younger children fell a-crying, that the elder
would not let them have it long enough. But as a little matter
amuses children, and makes them squabble and fall out, my wife
and I took no notice of their noise, which presently ceased, when
the bigger ones supped with us, and my wife had given the younger
each their share.
After supper the children got together again, and began to make
the same noise. I then called to the eldest to know what was the
matter, who told me it was about a piece of glass, which gave a
light when his back was to the lamp. I bade him bring it to me,
made the experiment myself, and it appeared so extraordinary,
that I asked my wife what it was. She told me it was a piece of
glass, which she had found in gutting the fish.
I thought no more than herself but that it was a bit of glass,
but I was resolved to make a farther experiment of it; and
therefore bade my wife put the lamp in the chimney, which she
did, and still found that the supposed piece of glass gave so
great a light, that we might see to go to bed without the lamp.
So I put it out, and placed the bit of glass upon the chimney to
light us. "Look," said I, "this is another advantage that Saad's
piece of lead procures us: it will spare us the expense of oil."
When the children saw the lamp was put out, and the bit of glass
supplied the place, they cried out so loud, and made so great a
noise from astonishment, that it was enough to alarm the
neighbourhood; and before my wife and I could quiet them we were
forced to make a greater noise, nor could we silence them till we
had put them to bed; where after talking a long while in their
way about the wonderful light of a bit of glass, they fell
asleep. After they were asleep, my wife and I went to bed by
them; and next morning, without thinking any more of the glass, I
went to my work as usual; which ought not to seem strange for
such a man as I, who had never seen any diamonds, or if I had,
never attended to their value.
But before I proceed, I must tell your majesty that there was but
a very slight partition-wall between my house and my next
neighbour's, who was a very rich Jew, and a jeweller; and the
chamber that he and his wife lay in joined to ours. They were
both in bed, and the noise my children made awakened them.
The next morning the jeweller's wife came to mine to complain of
being disturbed out of their first sleep. "Good neighbour
Rachel," (which was the Jew's wife's name,) said my wife, "I am
very sorry for what happened, and hope you will excuse it: you
know it was caused by the children, and they will laugh and cry
for a trifle. Come in, and I will shew you what was the occasion
of the noise."
The Jewess went in with her, and my wife taking the diamond (for
such it really was, and a very extraordinary one) out of the
chimney, put it into her hands. "See here," said she, "it was
this piece of glass that caused all the noise;" and while the
Jewess, who understood all sorts of precious stones, was
examining the diamond with admiration, my wife told her how she
found it in the fish's belly, and what happened.
"Indeed, Ayesha," (which was my wife's name,) said the jeweller's
wife, giving her the diamond again, "I believe as you do it is a
piece of glass; but as it is more beautiful than common glass,
and I have just such another piece at home, I will buy it, if you
will sell it."
The children, who heard them talking of selling their plaything,
presently interrupted their conversation, crying and begging
their mother not to part with it, who, to quiet them, promised
she would not.
The Jewess being thus prevented in her intended swindling bargain
by my children, went away, but first whispered my wife, who
followed her to the door, if she had a mind to sell it, not to
shew it to anybody without acquainting her.
The Jew went out early in the morning to his shop in that part of
the town where the jewellers sell their goods. Thither his wife
followed, and told him the discovery she had made. She gave him
an account of the size and weight of the diamond as nearly as she
could guess, also of its beauty, water, and lustre, and
particularly of the light which it gave in the night according to
my wife's account, which was the more credible as she was
The Jew sent his wife immediately to treat, to offer her a trifle
at first, as she should think fit, and then to raise her price by
degrees; but be sure to bring it, cost what it would. Accordingly
his wife came again to mine privately, and asked her if she would
take twenty pieces of gold for the piece of glass she had shown
My wife, thinking the sum too considerable for a mere piece of
glass as she had thought it, would not make any bargain; but told
her, she could not part with it till she had spoken to me. In the
mean time I came from my work to dinner. As they were talking at
the door, my wife stopped me, and asked if I would sell the piece
of glass she had found in the fish's belly for twenty pieces of
gold, which our neighbour offered her. I returned no answer; but
reflected immediately on the assurance with which Saad, in giving
me the piece of lead, told me it would make my fortune. The
Jewess, fancying that the low price she had offered was the
reason I made no reply, said, "I will give you fifty, neighbour,
if that will do."
As soon as I found that she rose so suddenly from twenty to
fifty, I told her that I expected a great deal more. "Well,
neighbour," said she, "I will give you a hundred, and that is so
much, I know not whether my husband will approve my offering it."
At this new advance, I told her I would have a hundred thousand
pieces of gold for it; that I saw plainly that the diamond, for
such I now guessed it must be, was worth a great deal more, but
to oblige her and her husband, as they were neighbours, I would
limit myself to that price, which I was determined to have; and
if they refused to give it, other jewellers should have it, who
would give a great deal more.
The Jewess confirmed me in this resolution, by her eagerness to
conclude a bargain; and by coming up at several biddings to fifty
thousand pieces, which I refused. "I can offer you no more," said
she, "without my husband's consent. He will be at home at night;
and I would beg the favour of you to let him see it, which I
At night when the Jew came home, his wife told him what she had
done; that she had got no forwarder with my wife or me; that she
offered, and I had refused, fifty thousand pieces of gold; but
that I had promised to stay till night at her request. He
observed the time when I left off work, and came to me.
"Neighbour Hassan", said he, "I desire you would shew me the
diamond your wife shewed to mine." I brought him in, and shewed
it to him. As it was very dark, and my lamp was not lighted, he
knew instantly, by the light the diamond gave, and by the lustre
it cast in my hand, that his wife had given him a true account of
it. He looked at and admired it a long time. "Well, neighbour,"
said he, "my wife tells me she offered you fifty thousand pieces
of gold: I will give you twenty thousand more."
"Neighbour," said I, "your wife can tell you that I valued my
diamond at a hundred thousand pieces, and I will take nothing
less." He haggled a long time with me, in hopes that I would make
some abatement: but finding at last that I was positive, and for
fear that I should shew it to other jewellers, as I certainly
should have done, he would not leave me till the bargain was
concluded on my own terms. He told me that he had not so much
money at home, but would pay it all to me on the morrow, that
very instant fetched two bags of a thousand pieces each, as an
earnest; and the next day, though I do not know how he raised the
money, whether he borrowed it of his friends, or let some other
jewellers into partnership with him, he brought me the sum we had
agreed for at the time appointed, and I delivered to him the
Having thus sold my diamond, and being rich, infinitely beyond my
hopes, I thanked God for his bounty; and would have gone and
thrown myself at Saad's feet to express my gratitude, if I had
known where he lived; as also at Saadi's, to whom I was first
obliged, though his good intention had not the same success.
Afterwards I thought of the use I ought to make of so
considerable a sum. My wife, with the vanity natural to her sex,
proposed immediately to buy rich clothes for herself and
children; to purchase a house, and furnish it handsomely. I told
her we ought not to begin with such expenses; "for," said I,
"money should only be spent, so that it may produce a fund from
which we may draw without its failing. This I intend, and shall
I spent all that day and the next in going to the people of my
own trade, who worked as hard every day for their bread as I had
done; and giving them money beforehand, engaged them to work for
me in different sorts of rope-making, according to their skill
and ability, with a promise not to make them wait for their
money, but to pay them as soon as their work was done.
By this means I engrossed almost all the business of Bagdad, and
everybody was pleased with my exactness and punctual payment.
As so great a number of workmen produced, as your majesty may
judge, a large quantity of work, I hired warehouses in several
parts of the town to hold my goods, and appointed over each a
clerk, to sell both wholesale and retail; and by this economy
received considerable profit and income. Afterwards, to unite my
concerns in one spot, I bought a large house, which stood on a
great deal of ground, but was ruinous, pulled it down, and built
that your majesty saw yesterday, which, though it makes so great
an appearance, consists, for the most part, of warehouses for my
business, with apartments absolutely necessary for myself and
Some time after I had left my old mean habitation, and removed to
this, Saad and Saadi, who had scarcely thought of me from the
last time they had been with me, as they were one day walking
together, and passing by our street, resolved to call upon me:
but great was their surprise when they did not see me at work.
They asked what was become of me, and if I was alive or dead.
Their amazement was redoubled, when they were told I was become a
great manufacturer, and was no longer called plain Hassan, but
Khaujeh Hassan al Hubbaul, and that I had built in a street,
which was named to them, a house like a palace.
The two friends went directly to the street, and in the way, as
Saadi could not imagine that the bit of lead which Saad had given
me could have been the raising of my fortune, he said to him, "I
am overjoyed to have made Hassan's fortune: but I cannot forgive
the two lies he told me, to get four hundred pieces instead of
two; for I cannot attribute it to the piece of lead you gave
"So you think," replied Saad: "but so do not I. I do not see why
you should do Khaujeh Hassan so much injustice as to take him for
a liar. You must give me leave to believe that he told us the
truth, disguised nothing from us, that the piece of lead which I
gave him is the cause of his prosperity: and you will find he
will presently tell us so."
During their discourse the two friends came into the street where
I lived, asked whereabouts my house stood; and being shewn it,
could hardly believe it to be mine.
They knocked at the door, and my porter opened it; when Saadi,
fearing to be guilty of rudeness in taking the house of a
nobleman for that he was inquiring after, said to the porter, "We
are informed that this is the house of Khaujeh Hassan al Hubbaul:
tell us if we are mistaken." "You are very right, sir," said the
porter, opening the door wider; "it is the same; come in; he is
in the hall, and any of the slaves will point him out to you."
I had no sooner set my eyes upon the two friends, than I knew
them. I rose from my seat, ran to them, and would have kissed the
hem of their garments; but they would not suffer it, and embraced
me. I invited them to a sofa made to hold four persons, which was
placed full in view of my garden. I desired them to sit down, and
they would have me take the place of honour. I assured them I had
not forgotten that I was poor Hassan the ropemaker, nor the
obligations I had to them; but were this not the case, I knew the
respect due to them, and begged them not to expose me. They sat
down in the proper place, and I seated myself opposite to them.
Then Saadi, addressing himself to me, said, "Khaujeh Hassan, I
cannot express my joy to see you in the condition I wished you,
when I twice made you a present of two hundred pieces of gold,
for I mean not to upbraid you; though I am persuaded that those
four hundred pieces have made this wonderful change in your
fortune, which I behold with pleasure. One thing only vexes me,
which is, that you should twice disguise the truth from me,
pretending that your losses were the effect of misfortunes which
now seem to me more than ever incredible. Was it not because,
when we were together the last time, you had so little advanced
your small income with the four hundred pieces of gold, that you
were ashamed to own it? I am willing to believe this, and wait to
be confirmed in my opinion."
Saad heard this speech of Saadi's with impatience, not to say
indignation, which he shewed by casting down his eyes and shaking
his head: he did not, however, interrupt him. When he had done,
he said to him, "Forgive me, Saadi, if I anticipate Khaujeh
Hassan, before he answers you, to tell you, that I am vexed at
your prepossession against his sincerity, and that you still
persist in not believing the assurances he has already given you.
I have told you before, and I repeat it once more, that I believe
those two accidents which befell him, upon his bare assertion;
and whatever you may say, I am persuaded they are true; but let
him speak himself, and say which of us does him justice."
After this discourse of the two friends, I said, addressing
myself to them both, "Gentlemen, I should condemn myself to
perpetual silence, on the explanation you ask of me, if I were
not certain the dispute you have had on my account cannot break
that friendship which subsists between you; therefore I will
declare to you the truth, since you require it; and with the same
sincerity as before." I then told them every circumstance your
majesty has heard, without forgetting the least.
All my protestations had no effect on Saadi, to cure him of his
prejudice. "Khaujeh Hassan," replied he, "the adventure of the
fish, and diamond found in his belly, appears to me as incredible
as the vulture's flying away with your turban, and the exchange
of the scouring earth. Be it as it may, I am equally convinced
that you are no longer poor, but rich as I intended you should
be, by my means; and I rejoice sincerely."
As it grew late, they arose up to depart; when I stopped them,
and said, "Gentlemen, there is one favour I have to ask; I beg of
you not to refuse to do me the honour to stay and take a slight
supper with me, also a bed to-night, and to-morrow I will carry
you by water to a small country-house, which I bought for the
sake of the air, and we will return the same day on my horses."
"If Saad has no business that calls him elsewhere," said Saadi,
"I consent." Saad told him that nothing should prevent his
enjoying his company. We have only to send a slave to my house,
that we may not be waited for. I provided a slave; and while they
were giving him their orders, I went and ordered supper.
While it was getting ready, I shewed my benefactors my house, and
all my offices, which they thought very extensive considering my
fortune: I call them both benefactors without distinction,
because without Saadi, Saad would never have given me the piece
of lead; and without Saad, Saadi would not have given me the four
hundred pieces of gold. Then I brought them back again into the
hall, where they asked me several questions about my concerns;
and I gave them such answers as satisfied them.
During this conversation, my servants came to tell me that supper
was served up. I led them into another hall, where they admired
the manner in which it was lighted, the furniture, and the
entertainment I had provided. I regaled them also with a concert
of vocal and instrumental music during the repast, and afterwards
with a company of dancers, and other entertainments, endeavouring
as much as possible to shew them my gratitude.
The next morning, as we had agreed to set out early to enjoy the
fresh air, we repaired to the river-side by sun-rise, and went on
board a pleasure-boat well carpeted that waited for us; and in
less than an hour and a half, with six good rowers, and the
stream, we arrived at my country house.
When we went ashore, the two friends stopped to observe the
beauty of the architecture of my house, and to admire its
advantageous situation for prospects, which were neither too much
limited nor too extensive, but such as made it very agreeable. I
then conducted them into all the apartments, and shewed them the
out-houses and conveniences; with all which they were very well
Afterwards we walked in the gardens, where what they were most
struck with was a grove of orange and lemon trees, loaded with
fruit and flowers, which were planted at equal distances, and
watered by channels cut from a neighbouring stream. The close
shade, the fragrant smell which perfumed the air, the soft
murmurings of the water, the harmonious notes of an infinite
number of birds, and many other agreeable circumstances, struck
them in such a manner, that they frequently stopped to express
how much they were obliged to me for bringing them to so
delightful a place, and to congratulate me on my great
acquisitions, with other compliments. I led them to the end of
the grove, which was very long and broad, where I shewed them a
wood of large trees, which terminated my garden, and afterwards a
summer-house, open on all sides, shaded by a clump of palm-trees,
but not so as to injure the prospect; I then invited them to walk
in, and repose themselves on a sofa covered with carpets and
Two of my boys, whom I had sent into the country, with a tutor,
for the air, had gone just then into the wood, and seeing a nest
which was built in the branches of a lofty tree, they attempted
to get at it; but as they had neither strength nor skill to
accomplish their object, they shewed it to the slave who waited
on them, and bade him climb the tree for it. The slave, when he
came to it, was much surprised to find it composed of a turban:
however he took it, brought it down, and shewed it to my
children; and as he thought that I might like to see a nest that
was so uncommon, he gave it to the eldest boy to bring to me.
I saw the children at a distance, coming back to us, overjoyed to
have procured a nest. "Father," said the eldest, "we have found a
nest in a turban." The two friends and I were very much surprised
at the novelty; but I much more, when I recognized the turban to
be that which the vulture had flown away with. After I had
examined it well, and turned it about, I said to my guests,
"Gentlemen, have you memories good enough to remember the turban
I had on the day you did me the honour first to speak to me?" "I
do not think," said Saad, "that either my friend or I gave any
attention to it; but if the hundred and ninety pieces of gold are
in it, we cannot doubt of it."
"Sir," replied I, "there is no doubt but it is the same turban;
for besides that I know it perfectly well, I feel by the weight
it is too heavy to be any other, and you will perceive this if
you give yourself the trouble to take it in your hand." Then
after taking out the birds, and giving them to the children, I
put it into his hands, and he gave it to Saadi. "Indeed," said
Saadi, "I believe it to be your turban; which I shall, however,
be better convinced of when I see the hundred and ninety pieces
"Now, sir," added I, taking the turban again, "observe well
before I unwrap it, that it is of no very fresh date in the tree;
and the state in which you see it, and the nest so neatly made in
it, without having been touched by the hand of man, are
sufficient proofs that the vulture drops or laid it in the tree
upon the day it was seized; and that the branches hindered it
from falling to the ground. Excuse my making this remark, since
it concerns me so much to remove all suspicions of fraud." Saad
backed me in what I urged; and said, "Saadi, this regards you and
not me, for I am verily persuaded that Khaujeh Hassan does not
impose upon us."
While Saad was talking, I pulled off the linen cloth which was
wrapped about the cap of the turban, and took out the purse,
which Saadi knew to be the same he had given me. I emptied it on
the carpet before them, and said, "There, gentlemen, there is the
money, count it, and see if it be right;" which Saad did, and
found it to be one hundred and ninety pieces of gold. Then Saadi,
who could not deny so manifest a truth, addressing himself to me
said, "I agree, Khaujeh Hassan, that this money could not serve
to enrich you; but the other hundred and ninety pieces, which you
would make me believe you hid in a pot of bran, might." "Sir,"
answered I, "I have told you the truth in regard to both sums:
you would not have me retract, to make myself a liar."
"Khaujeh Hassan," said Saad, "leave Saadi to his own opinion; I
consent with all my heart that he believes you are obliged to him
for one part of your good fortune, by means of the last sum he
gave you, provided he will agree that I contributed to the other
half by the bit of lead, and will not pretend to dispute the
valuable diamond found in the fish's belly." "I agree to it,"
answered Saadi, "but still you must give me liberty to believe
that money is not to be amassed without money."
"What," replied Saad, "if chance should throw a diamond in my way
worth fifty thousand pieces of gold, and I should have that sum
given me for it, can it be said I got that sum by money?"
They disputed no farther at this time; we rose, and went into the
house, just as dinner was serving up. After dinner, I left my
guests together, to pass away the heat of the day more at their
liberty, and with great composure, while I went to give orders to
my housekeeper and gardener,
Afterwards I returned to them again, and we talked of indifferent
matters till it grew a little cooler; when we returned into the
garden for fresh air, and stayed till sun-set. We then mounted on
horseback, and got to Bagdad by moonlight, two hours after,
followed by one of my slaves.
It happened, I know not by what negligence of my servants, that
we were then out of grain for the horses, and the storehouses
were all shut up; when one of my slaves seeking about the
neighbourhood for some, met with a pot of bran in a shop; bought
the bran, and brought the pot along with him, promising to carry
it back again the next day. The slave emptied the bran, and
dividing it with his hands among the horses, felt a linen cloth
tied up, and very heavy; he brought the cloth to me in the
condition that he found it, and presented it to me, telling me,
that it might perhaps be the cloth he had often heard me talk of
among my friends.
Overjoyed, I said to my two benefactors, "Gentlemen, it has
pleased God that you should not part from me without being fully
convinced of the truth of what I have assured you. There are the
other hundred and ninety pieces of gold which you gave me,"
continued I, addressing myself to Saadi; "I know it well by the
cloth, which I tied up with my own hands;" and then I told out
the money before them. I ordered the pot to be brought to me,
knew it to be the same; and sent to my wife to ask if she
recognized it, ordering them to say nothing to her of what had
happened. She knew it immediately, and sent me word that it was
the same pot she had exchanged full of bran for the scouring-
Saadi readily submitted, renounced his incredulity; and said to
Saad, "I yield to you, and acknowledge that money is not always
the means of becoming rich."
When Saadi had spoken, I said to him, "I dare not propose to
return you the three hundred and eighty pieces of gold which it
hath pleased God should be found, to undeceive you as to the
opinion of my honesty. I am persuaded that you did not give them
to me with an intention that I should return them; but as I ought
to be content with what Providence has sent me from other
quarters, and I do not design to make use of them; if you approve
of my proposal, to-morrow I will give them to the poor, that God
may bless us both."
The two friends lay at my house that night also; and next day,
after embracing me, returned home, well pleased with the
reception I had given them, and to find I did not make an
improper use of the riches Heaven had blessed me with. I thanked
them both, and regarded the permission they gave me to cultivate
their friendship, and to visit them, as a great honour.
The caliph was so attentive to Khaujeh Hassan's story, that he
had not perceived the end of it, but by his silence. "Khaujeh
Hassan," said he, "I have not for a long time heard any thing
that has given me so much pleasure, as having been informed of
the wonderful ways by which God gave thee thy riches to make thee
happy in this world. Thou oughtest to continue to return him
thanks by the good use thou makest of his blessings. I am glad I
can tell thee, that the same diamond which made thy fortune is
now in my treasury; and I am happy to learn how it came there:
but because there may remain in Saadi some doubts on the
singularity of this diamond, which I esteem the most precious and
valuable jewel I possess, I would have you carry him with Saad to
my treasurer, who shall shew it them, to remove Saadi's unbelief,
and to let him see that money is not the only means of making a
poor man rich in a short time, without labour. I would also have
you tell the keeper of my treasury this story, that he may have
it put into writing, and that it may be kept with the diamond."
After these words the caliph signified to Khaujeh Hassan, Syed
Naomaun, and Baba Abdoollah, by bowing of his head, that he was
satisfied with them; they all took their leaves, by prostrating
themselves at the throne, and then retired.
THE STORY OF ALI BABA AND THE FORTY
ROBBERS DESTROYED BY A SLAVE.
In a town in Persia, there lived two brothers, one named Cassim,
the other Ali Baba. Their father left them scarcely any thing;
but as he had divided his little property equally between them,
it should seem their fortune ought to have been equal; but chance
Cassim married a wife who soon after became heiress to a large
sum, and a warehouse full of rich goods; so that he all at once
became one of the richest and most considerable merchants, and
lived at his ease.
Ali Baba on the other hand, who had married a woman as poor as
himself, lived in a very wretched habitation, and had no other
means to maintain his wife and children but his daily labour of
cutting wood, and bringing it upon three asses, which were his
whole substance, to town to sell.
One day, when Ali Baba was in the forest, and had just cut wood
enough to load his asses, he saw at a distance a great cloud of
dust, which seemed to be driven towards him: he observed it very
attentively, and distinguished soon after a body of horse. Though
there had been no rumour of robbers in that country, Ali Baba
began to think that they might prove such, and without
considering what might become of his asses, was resolved to save
himself. He climbed up a large, thick tree, whose branches, at a
little distance from the ground, were so close to one another
that there was but little space between them. He placed himself
in the middle, from whence he could see all that passed without
being discovered; and the tree stood at the base of a single
rock, so steep and craggy that nobody could climb up it.
The troop, who were all well mounted and armed, came to the foot
of this rock, and there dismounted. Ali Baba counted forty of
them, and, from their looks and equipage, was assured that they
were robbers. Nor was he mistaken in his opinion: for they were a
troop of banditti, who, without doing any harm to the
neighbourhood, robbed at a distance, and made that place their
rendezvous; but what confirmed him in his opinion was, that every
man unbridled his horse, tied him to some shrub, and hung about
his neck a bag of corn which they brought behind them. Then each
of them took his saddle wallet, which seemed to Ali Baba to be
full of gold and silver from its weight. One, who was the most
personable amongst them, and whom he took to be their captain,
came with his wallet on his back under the tree in which Ali Baba
was concealed, and making his way through some shrubs, pronounced
these words so distinctly, "Open, Sesame," that Ali Baba heard
him. As soon as the captain of the robbers had uttered these
words, a door opened in the rock; and after he had made all his
troop enter before him, he followed them, when the door shut
again of itself.
The robbers stayed some time within the rock, and Ali Baba, who
feared that some one, or all of them together, might come out and
catch him, if he should endeavour to make his escape, was obliged
to sit patiently in the tree. He was nevertheless tempted to get
down, mount one of their horses, and lead another, driving his
asses before him with all the haste he could to town; but the
uncertainty of the event made him choose the safest course.
At last the door opened again, and the forty robbers came out. As
the captain went in last, he came out first, and stood to see
them all pass by him; when Ali Baba heard him make the door close
by pronouncing these words, "Shut, Sesame." Every man went and
bridled his horse, fastened his wallet, and mounted again; and
when the captain saw them all ready, he put himself at their
head, and they returned the way they had come.
Ali Baba did not immediately quit his tree; for, said he to
himself, they may have forgotten something and may come back
again, and then I shall be taken. He followed them with his eyes
as far as he could see them; and afterwards stayed a considerable
time before he descended. Remembering the words the captain of
the robbers used to cause the door to open and shut, he had the
curiosity to try if his pronouncing them would have the same
effect. Accordingly, he went among the shrubs, and perceiving the
door concealed behind them, stood before it, and said, "Open,
Sesame." The door instantly flew wide open.
Ali Baba, who expected a dark dismal cavern, was surprised to see
it well lighted and spacious, in form of a vault, which received
the light from an opening at the top of the rock. He saw all
sorts of provisions, rich bales of silk, stuff, brocade, and
valuable carpeting, piled upon one another; gold and silver
ingots in great heaps, and money in bags. The sight of all these
riches made him suppose that this cave must have been occupied
for ages by robbers, who had succeeded one another.
Ali Baba did not stand long to consider what he should do, but
went immediately into the cave, and as soon as he had entered,
the door shut of itself. But this did not disturb him, because he
knew the secret to open it again. He never regarded the silver,
but made the best use of his time in carrying out as much of the
gold coin, which was in bags, at several times, as he thought his
three asses could carry. He collected his asses, which were
dispersed, and when he had loaded them with the bags, laid wood
over in such a manner that they could not be seen. When he had
done he stood before the door, and pronouncing the words, "Shut,
Sesame," the door closed after him, for it had shut of itself
while he was within, but remained open while he was out. He then
made the best of his way to town.
When Ali Baba got home, he drove his asses into a little yard,
shut the gates very carefully, threw off the wood that covered
the bags, carried them into his house, and ranged them in order
before his wife, who sat on a sofa.
His wife handled the bags, and finding them full of money,
suspected that her husband had been robbing, insomuch that she
could not help saying, "Ali Baba, have you been so unhappy as
to______." "Be quiet, wife," interrupted Ali Baba, "do not
frighten yourself, I am no robber, unless he may be one who
steals from robbers. You will no longer entertain an ill opinion
of me, when I shall tell you my good fortune." He then emptied
the bags, which raised such a great heap of gold, as dazzled his
wife's eyes; and when he had done, told her the whole adventure
from beginning to end; and, above all, recommended her to keep it
The wife, cured of her fears, rejoiced with her husband at their
good fortune, and would count all the gold, piece by piece.
"Wife," replied Ali Baba, "you do not know what you undertake,
when you pretend to count the money; you will never have done. I
will dig a hole, and bury it; there is no time to be lost". "You
are in the right, husband," replied she; "but let us know, as
nigh as possible, how much we have. I will borrow a small measure
in the neighbourhood, and measure it, while you dig the hole."
"What you are going to do is to no purpose, wife," said Ali Baba;
"if you would take my advice, you had better let it alone, but
keep the secret, and do what you please."
Away the wife ran to her brother-in-law Cassim, who lived just
by, but was not then at home; and addressing herself to his wife,
desired her to lend her a measure for a little while. Her sister-
in-law asked her, whether she would have a great or a small one?
The other asked for a small one. She bade her stay a little, and
she would readily fetch one.
The sister-in-law did so, but as she knew Ali Baba's poverty, she
was curious to know what sort of grain his wife wanted to
measure, and artfully putting some suet at the bottom of the
measure, brought it to her with an excuse, that she was sorry
that she had made her stay so long, but that she could not find
Ali Baba's wife went home, set the measure upon the heap of gold,
filled it and emptied it often upon the sofa, till she had done:
when she was very well satisfied to find the number of measures
amounted to so many as they did, and went to tell her husband,
who had almost finished digging the hole. While Ali Baba was
burying the gold, his wife, to shew her exactness and diligence
to her sister-in-law, carried the measure back again, but without
taking notice that a piece of gold had stuck to the bottom.
"Sister," said she, giving it to her again, "you see that I have
not kept your measure long; I am obliged to you for it, and
return it with thanks."
As soon as Ali Baba's wife was gone, Cassim's looked at the
bottom of the measure, and was in inexpressible surprise to find
a piece of gold stuck to it. Envy immediately possessed her
breast. "What!" said she, "has Ali Baba gold so plentiful as to
measure it? Where has that poor wretch got all this wealth?
"Cassim, her husband, was not at home, but at his counting-house,
which he left always in the evening. His wife waited for him, and
thought the time an age; so great was her impatience to tell him
the circumstance, at which she guessed he would be as much
surprised as herself.
When Cassim came home, his wife said to him, "Cassim, I know you
think yourself rich, but you are much mistaken; Ali Baba is
infinitely richer than you; he does not count his money but
measures it." Cassim desired her to explain the riddle, which she
did, by telling him the stratagem she had used to make the
discovery, and shewed him the piece of money, which was so old
that they could not tell in what prince's reign it was coined.
Cassim, instead of being pleased, conceived a base envy at his
brother's prosperity; he could not sleep all that night, and went
to him in the morning before sun-rise. Cassim, after he had
married the rich widow, had never treated Ali Baba as a brother,
but neglected him. "All Baba," said he, accosting him, "you are
very reserved in your affairs; you pretend to be miserably poor,
and yet you measure gold." "How, brother?" replied Ali Baba; "I
do not know what you mean: explain yourself." "Do not pretend
ignorance," replied Cassim, shewing him the piece of gold his
wife had given him. "How many of these pieces," added he, "have
you? My wife found this at the bottom of the measure you borrowed
By this discourse, Ali Baba perceived that Cassim and his wife,
through his own wife's folly, knew what they had so much reason
to conceal; but what was done could not be recalled; therefore,
without shewing the least surprise or trouble, he confessed all,
told his brother by what chance he had discovered this retreat of
the thieves, in what place it was; and offered him part of his
treasure to keep the secret. "I expect as much," replied Cassim
haughtily; "but I must know exactly where this treasure is, and
how I may visit it myself when I choose; otherwise I will go and
inform against you, and then you will not only get no more, but
will lose all you have, and I shall have a share for my
Ali Baba, more out of his natural good temper, than frightened by
the insulting menaces of his unnatural brother, told him all he
desired, and even the very words he was to use to gain admission
into the cave.
Cassim, who wanted no more of Ali Baba, left him, resolving to be
beforehand with him, and hoping to get all the treasure to
himself. He rose the next morning, long before the sun, and set
out for the forest with ten mules bearing great chests, which he
designed to fill; and followed the road which Ali Baba had
pointed out to him. He was not long before he reached the rock,
and found out the place by the tree, and other marks which his
brother had given him. When he reached the entrance of the
cavern, he pronounced the words, "Open, Sesame," the door
immediately opened, and when he was in, closed upon him. In
examining the cave, he was in great admiration to find much more
riches than he had apprehended from Ali Baba's relation. He was
so covetous, and greedy of wealth, that he could have spent the
whole day in feasting his eyes with so much treasure, if the
thought that he came to carry some away had not hindered him. He
laid as many bags of gold as he could carry at the door of the
cavern, but his thoughts were so full of the great riches he
should possess, that he could not think of the necessary word to
make it open, but instead of Sesame, said "Open, Barley," and was
much amazed to find that the door remained fast shut. He named
several sorts of grain, but still the door would not open.
Cassim had never expected such an incident, and was so alarmed at
the danger he was in, that the more he endeavoured to remember
the word Sesame, the more his memory was confounded, and he had
as much forgotten it as if he had never heard it mentioned. He
threw down the bags he had loaded himself with, and walked
distractedly up and down the cave, without having the least
regard to the riches that were round him.
About noon the robbers chanced to visit their cave, and at some
distance from it saw Cassim's mules straggling about the rock,
with great chests on their backs. Alarmed at this novelty, they
galloped full speed to the cave. They drove away the mules, which
Cassim had neglected to fasten, and they strayed through the
forest so far, that they were soon out of sight. The robbers
never gave themselves the trouble to pursue them, being more
concerned to know who they belonged to. And while some of them
searched about the rock, the captain and the rest went directly
to the door, with their naked sabres in their hands, and
pronouncing the proper words, it opened.
Cassim, who heard the noise of the horses' feet from the middle
of the cave, never doubted of the arrival of the robbers, and his
approaching death; but was resolved to make one effort to escape
from them. To this end he rushed to the door, and no sooner heard
the word Sesame, which he had forgotten, and saw the door open,
than he ran out and threw the leader down, but could not escape
the other robbers, who with their sabres soon deprived him of
The first care of the robbers after this was to examine the cave.
They found all the bags which Cassim had brought to the door, to
be ready to load his mules, and carried them again to their
places, without missing what Ali Baba had taken away before. Then
holding a council, and deliberating upon this occurrence, they
guessed that Cassim, when he was in, could not get out again; but
could not imagine how he had entered. It came into their heads
that he might have got down by the top of the cave; but the
aperture by which it received light was so high, and the rock so
inaccessible without, besides that nothing shewed that he had
done so, that they gave up this conjecture. That he came in at
the door they could not believe however, unless he had the secret
of making it open. In short, none of them could imagine which way
he had entered; for they were all persuaded nobody knew their
secret, little imagining that Ali Baba had watched them. It was a
matter of the greatest importance to them to secure their riches.
They agreed therefore to cut Cassim's body into four quarters, to
hang two on one side and two on the other, within the door of the
cave, to terrify any person who should attempt the same thing,
determining not to return to the cave till the stench of the body
was completely exhaled. They had no sooner taken this resolution
than they put it in execution, and when they had nothing more to
detain them, left the place of their hoards well closed. They
mounted their horses, went to beat the roads again, and to attack
the caravans they might meet.
In the mean time, Cassim's wife was very uneasy when night came,
and her husband was not returned. She ran to Ali Baba in alarm,
and said, "I believe, brother-in-law, that you know Cassim, your
brother, is gone to the forest, and upon what account; it is now
night, and he is not returned; I am afraid some misfortune has
happened to him." Ali Baba, who had expected that his brother,
after what he had said, would go to the forest, had declined
going himself that day, for fear of giving him any umbrage;
therefore told her, without any reflection upon her husband's
unhandsome behaviour, that she need not frighten herself, for
that certainly Cassim would not think it proper to come into the
town till the night should be pretty far advanced.
Cassim's wife, considering how much it concerned her husband to
keep the business secret, was the more easily persuaded to
believe her brother-in-law. She went home again, and waited
patiently till midnight. Then her fear redoubled, and her grief
was the more sensible because she was forced to keep it to
herself. She repented of her foolish curiosity, and cursed her
desire of penetrating into the affairs of her brother and sister-
in-law. She spent all the night in weeping; and as soon as it was
day, went to them, telling them, by her tears, the cause of her
Ali Baba did not wait for his sister-in-law to desire him to go
to see what was become of Cassim, but departed immediately with
his three asses, begging of her first to moderate her affliction.
He went to the forest, and when he came near the rock, having
seen neither his brother nor the mules in his way, was seriously
alarmed at finding some blood spilt near the door, which he took
for an ill omen; but when he had pronounced the word, and the
door had opened, he was struck with horror at the dismal sight of
his brother's quarters. He was not long in determining how he
should pay the last dues to his brother, but without adverting to
the little fraternal affection he had shown for him, went into
the cave, to find something to enshroud his remains, and having
loaded one of his asses with them, covered them over with wood.
The other two asses he loaded with bags of gold, covering them
with wood also as before; and then bidding the door shut, came
away; but was so cautious as to stop some time at the end of the
forest, that he might not go into the town before night. When he
came home, he drove the two asses loaded with gold into his
little yard, and left the care of unloading them to his wife,
while he led the other to his sister-in-law's house.
Ali Baba knocked at the door, which was opened by Morgiana, an
intelligent slave, fruitful in inventions to insure success in
the most difficult undertakings: and Ali Baba knew her to be
such. When he came into the court, he unloaded the ass, and
taking Morgiana aside, said to her, "The first thing I ask of you
is an inviolable secrecy, which you will find is necessary both
for your mistress's sake and mine. Your master's body is
contained in these two bundles, and our business is, to bury him
as if he had died a natural death. Go, tell your mistress I want
to speak with her; and mind what I have said to you."
Morgiana went to her mistress, and Ali Baba followed her. "Well,
brother," said she, with great impatience, "what news do you
bring me of my husband? I perceive no comfort in your
countenance." "Sister," answered Ali Baba, "I cannot satisfy your
inquiries unless you hear my story from the beginning to the end,
without speaking a word; for it is of as great importance to you
as to me to keep what has happened secret." "Alas!" said she,
"this preamble lets me know that my husband is not to be found;
but at the same time I know the necessity of the secrecy you
require, and I must constrain myself: say on, I will hear you."
Ali Baba then detailed the incidents of his journey, till he came
to the finding of Cassim's body. "Now," said he, "sister, I have
something to relate which will afflict you the more, because it
is perhaps what you so little expect; but it cannot now be
remedied; if my endeavours can comfort you, I offer to put that
which God hath sent me to what you have, and marry you: assuring
you that my wife will not be jealous, and that we shall live
happily together. If this proposal is agreeable to you, we mast
think of acting so as that my brother should appear to have died
a natural death. I think you may leave the management of the
business to Morgiana, and I will contribute all that lies in my
power to your consolation."
What could Cassim's widow do better than accept of this proposal?
For though her first husband had left behind him a plentiful
substance, his brother was now much richer, and by the discovery
of this treasure might be still more so. Instead, therefore, of
rejecting the offer, she regarded it as the sure means of
comfort; and drying up her tears, which had begun to flow
abundantly, and suppressing the outcries usual with women who
have lost their husbands, shewed Ali Baba that she approved of
his proposal. Ali Baba left the widow, recommended to Morgiana to
act her part well, and then returned home with his ass.
Morgiana went out at the same time to an apothecary, and asked
for a sort of lozenges, which he prepared, and were very
efficacious in the most dangerous disorders. The apothecary
inquired who was ill at her master's? She replied with a sigh,
"Her good master Cassim himself: that they knew not what his
disorder was, but that he could neither eat nor speak." After
these words, Morgiana carried the lozenges home with her, and the
next morning went to the same apothecary's again, and with tears
in her eyes, asked for an essence which they used to give to sick
people only when at the last extremity. "Alas!" said she, taking
it from the apothecary, "I am afraid that this remedy will have
no better effect than the lozenges; and that I shall lose my good
On the other hand, as Ali Baba and his wife were often seen to go
between Cassim's and their own house all that day, and to seem
melancholy, nobody was surprised in the evening to hear the
lamentable shrieks and cries of Cassim's wife and Morgiana, who
gave out every where that her master was dead.
The next morning, soon after day appeared, Morgiana, who knew a
certain old cobbler that opened his stall early, before other
people, went to him, and bidding him good morrow, put a piece of
gold into his hand. "Well," said Baba Mustapha, which was his
name, and who was a merry old fellow, looking at the gold, though
it was hardly day-light, and seeing what it was, "this is good
hansel: what must I do for it? I am ready."
"Baba Mustapha," said Morgiana, "you must take with you your
sewing tackle, and go with me; but I must tell you, I shall
blindfold you when you come to such a place."
Baba Mustapha seemed to hesitate a little at these words. "Oh!
oh!" replied he, "you would have me do something against my
conscience, or against my honour?" "God forbid!" said Morgiana,
putting another piece of gold into his hand, "that I should ask
any thing that is contrary to your honour; only come along with
me, and fear nothing."
Baba Mustapha went with Morgiana, who, after she had bound his
eyes with a handkerchief at the place she had mentioned, conveyed
him to her deceased master's house, and never unloosed his eyes
till he had entered the room where she had put the corpse
together. "Baba Mustapha," said she, "you must make haste and sew
these quarters together; and when you have done, I will give you
another piece of gold."
After Baba Mustapha had finished his task, she blindfolded him
again, gave him the third piece of gold as she had promised, and
recommending secrecy to him, carried him back to the place where
she first bound his eyes, pulled off the bandage, and let him go
home, but watched him that he returned towards his stall, till he
was quite out of sight, for fear he should have the curiosity to
return and dodge her; she then went home.
By the time Morgiana had warmed some water to wash the body, Ali
Baba came with incense to embalm it, after which it was sewn up
in a winding sheet. Not long after, the joiner, according to Ali
Baba's orders, brought the bier, which Morgiana received at the
door, and helped Ali Baba to put the body into it; when she went
to the mosque to inform the imaum that they were ready. The
people of the mosque, whose business it was to wash the dead,
offered to perform their duty, but she told them that it was done
Morgiana had scarcely got home before the imaum and the other
ministers of the mosque arrived. Four neighbours carried the
corpse on their shoulders to the burying-ground, following the
imaum, who recited some prayers. Morgiana, as a slave to the
deceased, followed the corpse, weeping, beating her breast, and
tearing her hair: and Ali Baba came after with some neighbours,
who often relieved the others in carrying the corpse to the
Cassim's wife stayed at home mourning, uttering lamentable cries
with the women of the neighbourhood, who came according to custom
during the funeral, and joining their lamentations with hers,
filled the quarter far and near with sorrow.
In this manner Cassim's melancholy death was concealed, and
hushed up between Ali Baba, his wife, Cassim's widow, and
Morgiana, with so much contrivance, that nobody in the city had
the least knowledge or suspicion of the cause of it.
Three or four days after the funeral, Ali Baba removed his few
goods openly to the widow's house; but the money he had taken
from the robbers he conveyed thither by night; soon after the
marriage with his sister-in-law was published, and as these
marriages are common, nobody was surprised.
As for Cassim's warehouse, Ali Baba gave it to his own eldest
son, promising that if he managed it well, he would soon give him
a fortune to marry very advantageously according to his
Let us now leave Ali Baba to enjoy the beginning of his good
fortune, and return to the forty robbers.
They came again at the appointed time to visit their retreat in
the forest; but great was their surprise to find Cassim's body
taken away, with some of their bags of gold. "We are certainly
discovered," said the captain, "and if we do not speedily apply
some remedy, shall gradually lose all the riches which our
ancestors and ourselves have, with so much pains and danger, been
so many years amassing together. All that we can think of the
loss which we have sustained is, that the thief whom we surprised
had the secret of opening the door, and we came luckily as he was
coming out: but his body being removed, and with it some of our
money, plainly shews that he had an accomplice; and as it is
likely that there were but two who had discovered our secret, and
one has been caught, we must look narrowly after the other. What
say you, my lads?"
All the robbers thought the captain's proposal so advisable, that
they unanimously approved of it, and agreed that they must lay
all other enterprises aside, to follow this closely, and not give
it up till they had succeeded.
"I expected no less," said the captain, "from your fidelity to
our cause: but, first of all, one of you who is bold, artful, and
enterprising, must go into the town, disguised as a traveller and
a stranger, to try if he can hear any talk of the strange death
of the man whom we have killed, as he deserved; and endeavour to
find out who he was, and where he lived. This is a matter of the
first importance for us to ascertain, that we may do nothing
which we may have reason to repent of, by discovering ourselves
in a country where we have lived so long unknown, and where we
have so much reason to continue: but to warn him who shall take
upon himself this commission, and to prevent our being deceived
by his giving us a false report, which may be the cause of our
ruin; I ask you all, if you do not think that in case of
treachery, or even error of judgment, he should suffer death?"
Without waiting for the suffrages of his companions, one of the
robbers started up, and said, "I submit to this condition, and
think it an honour to expose my life, by taking the commission
upon me; but remember, at least, if I do not succeed, that I
neither wanted courage nor good will to serve the troop."
After this robber had received great commendations from the
captain and his comrades, he disguised himself so that nobody
would take him for what he was; and taking his leave of the troop
that night, went into the town just at day-break; and walked up
and down, till accidentally he came to Baba Mustapha's stall,
which was always open before any of the shops.
Baba Mustapha was seated with an awl in his hand, just going to
work. The robber saluted him, bidding him good morrow; and
perceiving that he was old, said, "Honest man, you begin to work
very early: is it possible that one of your age can see so well?
I question, even if it were somewhat lighter, whether you could
see to stitch."
"Certainly," replied Baba Mustapha," you must be a stranger, and
do not know me; for old as I am, I have extraordinary good eyes;
and you will not doubt it when I tell you that I sewed a dead
body together in a place where I had not so much light as I have
The robber was overjoyed to think that he had addressed himself,
at his first coming into the town, to a man who in all
probability could give him the intelligence he wanted. "A dead
body!" replied he with affected amazement, to make him explain
himself. "What could you sew up a dead body for? You mean, you
sewed up his winding sheet." "No, no," answered Baba Mustapha, "I
perceive your meaning; you want to have me speak out, but you
shall know no more."
The robber wanted no farther assurance to be persuaded that he
had discovered what he sought. He pulled out a piece of gold, and
putting it into Baba Mustapha's hand, said to him, "I do not want
to learn your secret, though I can assure you I would not divulge
it, if you trusted me with it. The only thing which I desire of
you is, to do me the favour to shew me the house where You
stitched up the dead body."
"If I were disposed to do you that favour," replied Baba
Mustapha, holding the money in his hand, ready to return it, "I
assure you I cannot; and you may believe me, on my word. I was
taken to a certain place, where I was blinded, I was then led to
the house, and afterwards brought back again in the same manner;
you see, therefore, the impossibility of my doing what you
"Well," replied the robber, "you may, however, remember a little
of the way that you were led blindfolded. Come, let me blind your
eyes at the same place. We will walk together; perhaps you may
recognize some part; and as every body ought to be paid for their
trouble, there is another piece of gold for you; gratify me in
what I ask you." So saying, he put another piece of gold into his
The two pieces of gold were great temptations to Baba Mustapha.
He looked at them a long time in his hand, without saying a word,
thinking with himself what he should do; but at last he pulled
out his purse, and put them in. "I cannot assure you," said he to
the robber, "that I can remember the way exactly; but since you
desire, I will try what I can do." At these words Baba Mustapha
rose up, to the great joy of the robber, and without shutting his
shop, where he had nothing valuable to lose, he led the robber to
the place where Morgiana had bound his eyes. "It was here," said
Baba Mustapha, "I was blindfolded; and I turned as you see me."
The robber, who had his handkerchief ready, tied it over his
eyes, walked by him till he stopped, partly leading, and partly
guided by him. "I think," said Baba Mustapha, "I went no
farther," and he had now stopped directly at Cassim's house,
where Ali Baba then lived. The thief, before he pulled off the
band, marked the door with a piece of chalk, which he had ready
in his hand; and then asked him if he knew whose house that was?
to which Baba Mustapha replied, that as he did not live in that
neighbourhood he could not tell.
The robber, finding he could discover no more from Baba Mustapha,
thanked him for the trouble he had taken, and left him to go back
to his stall, while he returned to the forest, persuaded that he
should be very well received.
A little after the robber and Baba Mustapha had parted, Morgiana
went out of Ali Baba's house upon some errand, and upon her
return, seeing the mark the robber had made, stopped to observe
it. "What can be the meaning of this mark?" said she to herself;
"somebody intends my master no good: however, with whatever
intention it was done, it is advisable to guard against the
worst." Accordingly, she fetched a piece of chalk, and marked two
or three doors on each side, in the same manner, without saying a
word to her master or mistress.
In the mean time the thief rejoined his troop in the forest, and
recounted to them his success; expatiating upon his good fortune,
in meeting so soon with the only person who could inform him of
what he wanted to know. All the robbers listened to him with the
utmost satisfaction; when the captain, after commending his
diligence, addressing himself to them all, said, "Comrades, we
have no time to lose: let us set off well armed, without its
appearing who we are; but that we may not excite any suspicion,
let only one or two go into the town together, and join at our
rendezvous, which shall be the great square. In the mean time our
comrade, who brought us the good news, and I, will go and find
out the house, that we may consult what had best be done."
This speech and plan were approved of by all, and they were soon
ready. They filed off in parties of two each, after some interval
of time, and got into the town without being in the least
suspected. The captain and he who had visited the town in the
morning as spy, came in the last. He led the captain into the
street where he had marked Ali Baba's residence; and when they
came to the first of the houses which Morgiana had marked, he
pointed it out. But the captain observed that the next door was
chalked in the same manner, and in the same place; and shewing it
to his guide, asked him which house it was, that, or the first?
The guide was so confounded, that he knew not what answer to
make; but still more puzzled, when he and the captain saw five or
six houses similarly marked. He assured the captain, with an
oath, that he had marked but one, And could not tell who had
chalked the rest, so that he could not distinguish the house
which the cobbler had stopped at.
The captain, finding that their design had proved abortive, went
directly to the place of rendezvous, and told the first of his
troops whom he met that they had lost their labour, and must
return to their cave. He himself set them the example, and they
all returned as they had come.
When the troop was all got together, the captain told them the
reason of their returning; and presently the conductor was
declared by all worthy of death. He condemned himself,
acknowledging that he ought to have taken better precaution, and
prepared to receive the stroke from him who was appointed to cut
off his head.
But as the safety of the troop required that an injury should not
go unpunished, another of the gang, who promised himself that he
should succeed better, presented himself, and his offer being
accepted, he went and corrupted Baba Mustapha, as the other had
done; and being shewn the house, marked it in a place more remote
from sight, with red chalk.
Not long after Morgiana, whose eyes nothing could escape, went
out, and seeing the red chalk, and arguing with herself as she
had done before, marked the other neighbours' houses in the same
place and manner.
The robber, at his return to his company, valued himself much on
the precaution he had taken, which he looked upon as an
infallible way of distinguishing Ali Baba's house from the
others; and the captain and all of them thought it must succeed.
They conveyed themselves into the town with the same precaution
as before; but when the robber and his captain came to the
street, they found the same difficulty; at which the captain was
enraged, and the robber in as great confusion as his predecessor.
Thus the captain and his troop were forced to retire a second
time, and much more dissatisfied; while the robber, who had been
the author of the mistake, underwent the same punishment; which
he willingly submitted to.
The captain, having lost two brave fellows of his troop, was
afraid of diminishing it too much by pursuing this plan to get
information of the residence of their plunderer. He found by
their example that their heads were not so good as their hands on
such occasions; and therefore resolved to take upon himself the
Accordingly he went and addressed himself to Baba Mustapha, who
did him the same service he had done to the other robbers. He did
not set any particular mark on the house, but examined and
observed it so carefully, by passing often by it, that it was
impossible for him to mistake it.
The captain, well satisfied with his attempt, and informed of
what he wanted to know, returned to the forest; and when he came
into the cave, where the troop waited for him, said, "Now,
comrades, nothing can prevent our full revenge, as I am certain
of the house, and in my way hither I have thought how to put it
into execution, but if any one can form a better expedient, let
him communicate it." He then told them his contrivance; and as
they approved of it, ordered them to go into the villages about,
and buy nineteen mules, with thirty-eight large leather jars, one
full of oil, and the others empty.
In two or three days' time the robbers had purchased the mules
and jars, and as the mouths of the jars were rather too narrow
for his purpose, the captain caused them to be widened; and after
having put one of his men into each, with the weapons which he
thought fit, leaving open the seam which had been undone to leave
them room to breathe, he rubbed the jars on the outside with oil
from the full vessel.
Things being thus prepared, when the nineteen mules were loaded
with thirty-seven robbers in jars, and the jar of oil, the
captain, as their driver, set out with them, and reached the town
by the dusk of the evening, as he had intended. He led them
through the streets till he came to Ali Baba's, at whose door he
designed to have knocked; but was prevented by his sitting there
after supper to take a little fresh air. He stopped his mules,
addressed himself to him, and said, "I have brought some oil a
great way, to sell at to-morrow's market; and it is now so late
that I do not know where to lodge. If I should not be troublesome
to you, do me the favour to let me pass the night with you, and I
shall be very much obliged by your hospitality."
Though Ali Baba had seen the captain of the robbers in the
forest, and had heard him speak, it was impossible to know him in
the disguise of an oil-merchant. He told him he should be
welcome, and immediately opened his gates for the mules to go
into the yard. At the same time he called to a slave, and ordered
him, when the mules were unloaded, not only to put them into the
stable, but to give them fodder; and then went to Morgiana, to
bid her get a good supper for his guest.
He did more. To make his guest as welcome as possible, when he
saw the captain had unloaded his mules, and that they were put
into the stables as he had ordered, and he was looking for a
place to pass the night in the air, he brought him into the hall
where he received his company, telling him he would not suffer
him to be in the court. The captain excused himself on pretence
of not being troublesome; but really to have room to execute his
design, and it was not till after the most pressing importunity
that he yielded. Ali Baba, not content to keep company with the
man who had a design on his life till supper was ready, continued
talking with him till it was ended, and repeating his offer of
The captain rose up at the same time with his host; and while Ali
Baba went to speak to Morgiana he withdrew into the yard, under
pretence of looking at his mules. Ali Baba, after charging
Morgiana afresh to take care of his guest, said to her, "To-
morrow morning I design to go to the bath before day; take care
my bathing-linen be ready, give them to Abdoollah," which was the
slave's name, "and make me some good broth against I return."
After this he went to bed.
In the mean time the captain of the robbers went from the stable
to give his people orders what to do; and beginning at the first
jar, and so on to the last, said to each man: "As soon as I throw
some stones out of the chamber window where I lie, do not fail to
cut the jar open with the knife you have about you for the
purpose, and come out, and I will immediately join you." After
this he returned into the house, when Morgiana taking up a light,
conducted him to his chamber, where she left him; and he, to
avoid any suspicion, put the light out soon after, and laid
himself down in his clothes, that he might be the more ready to
Morgiana, remembering Ali Baba's orders, got his bathing-linen
ready, and ordered Abdoollah to set on the pot for the broth; but
while she was preparing it, the lamp went out, and there was no
more oil in the house, nor any candles. What to do she did not
know, for the broth must be made. Abdoollah seeing her very
uneasy, said, "Do not fret and teaze yourself, but go into the
yard, and take some oil out of one of the jars."
Morgiana thanked Abdoollah for his advice, took the oil-pot, and
went into the yard; when as she came nigh the first jar, the
robber within said softly, "Is it time?"
Though the robber spoke low, Morgiana was struck with the voice
the more, because the captain, when he unloaded the mules, had
taken the lids off this and all the other jars to give air to his
men, who were ill enough at their ease, almost wanting room to
As much surprised as Morgiana naturally was at finding a man in a
jar instead of the oil she wanted, many would have made such a
noise as to have given an alarm, which would have been attended
with fatal consequences; whereas Morgiana comprehending
immediately the importance of keeping silence, from the danger
Ali Baba, his family, and herself were in, and the necessity of
applying a speedy remedy without noise, conceived at once the
means, and collecting herself without shewing the least emotions,
answered, "Not yet, but presently." She went in this manner to
all the jars, giving the same answer, till she came to the jar of
By this means, Morgiana found that her master Ali Baba, who
thought that he had entertained an oil merchant, had admitted
thirty-eight robbers into his house, regarding this pretended
merchant as their captain. She made what haste she could to fill
her oil-pot, and returned into her kitchen; where, as soon as she
had lighted her lamp, she took a great kettle, went again to the
oil-jar, filled the kettle, set it on a large wood-fire, and as
soon as it boiled went and poured enough into every jar to stifle
and destroy the robber within.
When this action, worthy of the courage of Morgiana, was executed
without any noise, as she had projected, she returned into the
kitchen with the empty kettle; and having put out the great fire
she had made to boil the oil, and leaving just enough to make the
broth, put out the lamp also, and remained silent; resolving not
to go to rest till she had observed what might follow through a
window of the kitchen, which opened into the yard.
She had not waited long before the captain of the robbers got up,
opened the window, and finding no light, and hearing no noise, or
any one stirring in the house, gave the appointed signal, by
throwing little stones, several of which hit the jars, as he
doubted not by the sound they gave. He then listened, but not
hearing or perceiving any thing, whereby he could judge that his
companions stirred, he began to grow very uneasy, threw stones
again a second and also a third time, and could not comprehend
the reason that none of them should answer his signal. Much
alarmed, he went softly down into the yard, and going to the
first jar, whilst asking the robber whom he thought alive if he
was in readiness, smelt the hot boiled oil, which sent forth a
steam out of the jar. Hence he suspected that his plot to murder
Ali Baba and plunder his house was discovered. Examining all the
jars one after another, he found that all his gang were dead; and
by the oil he missed out of the last jar guessed the means and
manner of their death. Enraged to despair at having failed in his
design, he forced the lock of a door that led from the yard to
the garden, and climbing over the walls, made his escape.
When Morgiana heard no noise, and found, after waiting some time,
that the captain did not return, she concluded that he had chosen
rather to make his escape by the garden than the street-door,
which was double locked. Satisfied and pleased to have succeeded
so well, in saving her master and family, she went to bed.
Ali Baba rose before day, and, followed by his slave, went to the
baths, entirely ignorant of the important event which had
happened at home; for Morgiana had not thought it safe to wake
him before, for fear of losing her opportunity; and after her
successful exploit she thought it needless to disturb him.
When he returned from the baths, the sun was risen; he was very
much surprised to see the oil-jars, and that the merchant was not
gone with the mules. He asked Morgiana, who opened the door, and
had let all things stand as they were, that he might see them,
the reason of it? "My good master," answered she, "God preserve
you and all your family; you will be better informed of what you
wish to know when you have seen what I have to shew you, if you
will but give yourself the trouble to follow me."
As soon as Morgiana had shut the door, Ali Baba followed her;
when she requested him to look into the first jar and see if
there was any oil. Ali Baba did so, and seeing a man, started
back in alarm, and cried out. "Do not be afraid," said Morgiana,
"the man you see there can neither do you nor any body else any
harm. He is dead." "Ah, Morgiana!" said Ali Baba, "what is it you
shew me? Explain yourself." "I will," replied Morgiana; "moderate
your astonishment, and do not excite the curiosity of your
neighbours; for it is of great importance to keep this affair
secret. Look into all the other jars."
Ali Baba examined all the other jars, one after another: and when
he came to that which had the oil in, found it prodigiously sunk,
and stood for some time motionless, sometimes looking at the
jars, and sometimes at Morgiana, without saying a word, so great
was his surprise: at last, when he had recovered himself, he
said, "And what is become of the merchant?"
"Merchant!" answered she, "he is as much one as I am; I will tell
you who he is, and what is become of him; but you had better hear
the story in your own chamber; for it is time for your health
that you had your broth after your bathing."
While Ali Baba retired to his chamber, Morgiana went into the
kitchen to fetch the broth, but before he would drink it, he
first entreated her to satisfy his impatience, and tell him what
had happened, with all the circumstances; and she obeyed him.
"Last night, sir," said she, "when you were gone to bed, I got
your bathing- linens ready, and gave them to Abdoollah;
afterwards I set on the pot for the broth, but as I was preparing
the materials, the lamp, for want of oil, went out; and as there
was not a drop more in the house, I looked for a candle, but
could not find one: Abdoollah seeing me vexed, put me in mind of
the jars of oil which stood in the yard. I took the oil-pot, went
directly to the jar which stood nearest to me; and when I came to
it, heard a voice within, saying, ‘Is it time?' Without being
dismayed, and comprehending immediately the malicious intention
of the pretended oil-merchant, I answered, ‘Not yet, but
presently.' I then went to the next, when another voice asked me
the same question, and I returned the same answer; and so on,
till I came to the last, which I found full of oil; with which I
filled my pot.
"When I considered that there were thirty seven robbers in the
yard, who only waited for a signal to be given by the captain,
whom you took to be an oil-merchant, and entertained so
handsomely, I thought there was no time to be lost; I carried my
pot of oil into the kitchen, lighted the lamp, afterwards took
the biggest kettle I had, went and filled it full of oil, set it
on the fire to boil, and then poured as much into each jar as was
sufficient to prevent them from executing the pernicious design
they had meditated: after this I retired into the kitchen, and
put out the lamp; but before I went to bed, waited at the window
to know what measures the pretended merchant would take.
"After I had watched some time for the signal, he threw some
stones out of the window against the jars, but neither hearing
nor perceiving any body stirring, after throwing three times, he
came down, when I saw him go to every jar, after which, through
the darkness of the night, I lost sight of him. I waited some
time longer, and finding that he did not return, doubted not but
that, seeing he had missed his aim, he had made his escape over
the walls of the garden. Persuaded that the house was now safe, I
went to bed.
"This," said Morgiana, "is the account you asked of me; and I am
convinced it is the consequence of what I observed some days ago,
but did not think fit to acquaint you with: for when I came in
one morning early, I found our street door marked with white
chalk, and the next morning with red; upon which, both times,
without knowing what was the intention of those chalks, I marked
two or three neighbours' doors on each side in the same manner.
If you reflect on this, and what has since happened, you will
find it to be a plot of the robbers of the forest, of whose gang
there are two wanting, and now they are reduced to three: all
this shews that they had sworn your destruction, and it is proper
you should be upon your guard, while there is one of them alive:
for my part I shall neglect nothing necessary to your
preservation, as I am in duty bound."
When Morgiana had left off speaking, Ali Baba was so sensible of
the great service she had done him, that he said to her, "I will
not die without rewarding you as you deserve: I owe my life to
you, and for the first token of my acknowledgment, give you your
liberty from this moment, till I can complete your recompense as
I intend. I am persuaded with you, that the forty robbers have
laid snares for my destruction. God, by your means, has delivered
me from them as yet, and I hope will continue to preserve me from
their wicked designs, and by averting the danger which threatened
me, will deliver the world from their persecution and their
cursed race. All that we have to do is to bury the bodies of
these pests of mankind immediately, and with all the secrecy
imaginable, that nobody may suspect what is become of them. But
that labour Abdoollah and I will undertake."
Ali Baba's garden was very long, and shaded at the farther end by
a great number of large trees. Under these he and the slave dug a
trench, long and wide enough to hold all the robbers, and as the
earth was light, they were not long in doing it. Afterwards they
lifted the bodies out of the jars, took away their weapons,
carried them to the end of the garden, laid them in the trench,
and levelled the ground again. When this was done, Ali Baba hid
the jars and weapons; and as he had no occasion for the mules, he
sent them at different times to be sold in the market by his
While Ali Baba took these measures to prevent the public from
knowing how he came by his riches in so short a time, the captain
of the forty robbers returned to the forest with inconceivable
mortification; and in his agitation, or rather confusion, at his
ill success, so contrary to what he had promised himself, entered
the cave, not being able, all the way from the town, to come to
any resolution how to revenge himself of Ali Baba.
The loneliness of the gloomy cavern became frightful to him.
"Where are you, my brave lads," cried he, "old companions of my
watchings, inroads, and labour? What can I do without you? Did I
collect you only to lose you by so base a fate, and so unworthy
of your courage! Had you died with your sabres in your hands,
like brave men, my regret had been less! When shall I enlist so
gallant a troop again? And if I could, can I undertake it without
exposing so much gold and treasure to him who hath already
enriched himself out of it? I cannot, I ought not to think of it,
before I have taken away his life. I will undertake that alone
which I could not accomplish with your powerful assistance; and
when I have taken measures to secure this treasure from being
pillaged, I will provide for it new masters and successors after
me, who shall preserve and augment it to all posterity." This
resolution being taken, he was not at a loss how to execute his
purpose; but easy in his mind, and full of hopes, slept all that
night very quietly.
When he awoke early next morning, he dressed himself, agreeably
to the project he had formed, went to the town, and took a
lodging in a khan. As he expected what had happened at Ali Baba's
might make a great noise, he asked his host what news there was
in the city? Upon which the inn-keeper told him a great many
circumstances, which did not concern him in the least. He judged
by this, that the reason why Ali Baba kept his affairs so secret,
was for fear people should know where the treasure lay; and
because he knew his life would be sought on account of it. This
urged him the more to neglect nothing to rid himself of so
cautious an enemy.
The captain now assumed the character of a merchant, and conveyed
gradually a great many sorts of rich stuffs and fine linen to his
lodging from the cavern, but with all the necessary precautions
imaginable to conceal the place whence he brought them. In order
to dispose of the merchandizes, when he had amassed them
together, he took a warehouse, which happened to be opposite to
Cassim's, which Ali Baba's son had occupied since the death of
He took the name of Khaujeh Houssain, and as a new-comer, was,
according to custom, extremely civil and complaisant to all the
merchants his neighbours. Ali Baba's son was from his vicinity
one of the first to converse with Khaujeh Houssain, who strove to
cultivate his friendship more particularly, when, two or three
days after he was settled, he recognized Ali Baba, who came to