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Excerpt from The book of the thousand nights and a night, translated from the Arabic by Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton ; reprinted from the original edition and edited by Leonard C. Smithers ; in twelve volumes (London : H. S. Nichols & Co., 1894)

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And Morgiana, after telling her story to her master, presently added: "This is the whole truth I have related to thee. For some days indeed have I had inkling of such matter, but withheld it from thee, deeming it inexpedient to risk the chance of its meeting the neighbors' ears. Now, however, there is no help but to tell thee thereof. One day as I came to the house door I espied thereon a white chalk mark, and on the next day a red sign beside the white. I knew not the intent wherewith the marks were made, nevertheless I set others upon the entrances of sundry neighbors, judging that some enemy had done this deed, whereby to encompass my master's destruction. Therefore I made the marks on all the other doors in such perfect conformity with those I found that it would be hard to distinguish amongst them. Judge now and see if these signs and all this villainy be not the work of the bandits of the forest, who marked our house that on such wise they might know it again. Of these forty thieves there yet remain two others concerning whose case I know naught, so beware of them, but chiefly of the third remaining robber, their captain, who fled hence alive. Take good heed and be thou cautious of him, for shouldst thou fall into his hands, he will in no wise spare thee, but will surely murther thee. I will do all that lieth in me to save from hurt and harm thy life and property, nor shall thy slave be found wanting in any service to my lord."

Hearing these words, Ali Baba rejoiced with exceeding joyance and said to her: "I am well pleased with thee for this thy conduct, and say me what wouldst thou have me do in thy behalf. I shall not fail to remember thy brave deed so long as breath in me remaineth." Quoth she: "It behooveth us before all things forthright to bury these bodies in the ground, that so the secret be not known to anyone." Hereupon Ali Baba took with him his slave boy Abdullah into the garden and there under a tree they dug for the corpses of the thieves a deep pit in size proportionate to its contents, and they dragged the bodies (having carried off their weapons) to the fosse and threw them in. Then, covering up the remains of the seven and thirty robbers, they made the ground appear level and clean as it wont to be. They also hid the leathern jars and the gear and arms, and presently Ali Baba sent the mules by ones and twos to the bazaar and sold them all with the able aid of his slave boy Abdullah. Thus the matter was hushed up, nor did it reach the ears of any. However, Ali Baba ceased not to be ill at ease, lest haply the captain or the surviving two robbers should wreak their vengeance on his head. He kept himself private with all caution, and took heed that none learn a word of what had happened and of the wealth which he had carried off from the bandits' cave.

Meanwhile the captain of the thieves, having escaped with his life, fled to the forest in hot wrath and sore irk of mind, and his senses were scattered and the color of his visage vanished like ascending smoke. Then he thought the matter over again and again, and at last he firmly resolved that he needs must take the life of Ali Baba, else he would lose all the treasure which his enemy, by knowledge of the magic words, would take away and turn to his own use. Furthermore, he determined that he would undertake the business singlehanded; and that after getting rid of Ali Baba, he would gather together another band of banditti and would pursue his career of brigandage, as indeed his forebears had done for many generations. So he lay down to rest that night, and rising early in the morning, donned a dress of suitable appearance, then, going to the city, alighted at a caravanserai, thinking to himself: "Doubtless the murther of so many men hath reached the wali's ears, and Ali Baba hath been seized and brought to justice, and his house is leveled and his good is confiscated. The townfolk must surely have heard tidings of these matters." So he straightway asked of the keeper of the khan, "What strange things have happened in the city during the last few days?" And the other told him all that he had seen and heard, but the captain could not learn a whit of that which most concerned him. Hereby he understood that Ali Baba was ware and wise, and that he had not only carried away such store of treasure, but he had also destroyed so many lives and withal had come off scatheless. Furthermore, that he himself must needs have all his wits alert not to fall into the hands of his foe and perish.

With this resolve the captain hired a shop in the bazaar, whither he bore whole bales of the finest stuffs and goodly merchandise from his forest treasure house, and presently he took his seat within the store and fell to doing merchant's business. By chance his place fronted the booth of the defunct Kasim, where his son, Ali Baba's nephew, now traded, and the captain, who called himself Khwajah Hasan, soon formed acquaintance and friendship with the shopkeepers around about him and treated all with profuse civilities. But he was especially gracious and cordial to the son of Kasim, a handsome youth and a well-dressed, and ofttimes he would sit and chat with him for a long while. A few days after, it chanced that Ali Baba, as he was sometimes wont to do, came to see his nephew, whom he found sitting in his shop. The captain saw and recognized him at sight, and one morning he asked the young man, saying, "Prithee tell me, who is he that ever and anon cometh to thee at thy place of sale?" Whereto the youth made answer, "He is my uncle, the brother of my father." Whereupon the captain showed him yet greater favor and affection, the better to deceive him for his own devices, and gave him presents and made him sit at meat with him and fed him with the daintiest of dishes.

Presently Ali Baba's nephew bethought him it was only right and proper that he also should invite the merchant to supper, but whereas his own house was small, and he was straitened for room and could not make a show of splendor, as did Khwajah Hasan, he took counsel with his uncle on the matter. Ali Baba replied to his nephew: "Thou sayest well. It behooveth thee to entreat thy friend in fairest fashion even as he hath entreated thee. On the morrow, which is Friday, shut thy shop, as do all merchants of repute. Then, after the early meal, take Khwajah Hasan to smell the air, and as thou walkest lead him hither unawares. Meanwhile I will give orders that Morgiana shall make ready for his coming the best of viands and all necessaries for a feast. Trouble not thyself on any wise, but leave the matter in my hands." Accordingly on the next day- to wit, Friday- the nephew of Ali Baba took Khwajah Hasan to walk about the garden, and as they were returning he led him by the street wherein his uncle dwelt. When they came to the house, the youth stopped at the door and knocking, said: "O my lord, this is my second home. My uncle hath heard much of thee and of thy goodness meward, and desireth with exceeding desire to see thee, so shouldst thou consent to enter and visit him, I shall be truly glad and thankful to thee." Albeit Khwajah Hasan rejoiced in heart that he had thus found means whereby he might have access to his enemy's house and household, and although he hoped soon to attain his end by treachery, yet he hesitated to enter in and stood to make his excuses and walk away.

But when the door was opened by the slave porter, Ali Baba's nephew seized his companion's hand and after abundant persuasion led him in, whereat he entered with great show of cheerfulness as though much pleased and honored. The housemaster received him with all favor and worship and asked him of his welfare, and said to him: "O my lord, I am obliged and thankful to thee for that thou hast shewn favor to the son of my brother, and I perceive that thou regardest him with an affection even fonder than my own." Khwajah Hasan replied with pleasant words and said: "Thy nephew vastly taketh my fancy and in him I am well pleased, for that although young in years yet he hath been endued by Allah with much of wisdom."

Thus they twain conversed with friendly conversation, and presently the guest rose to depart and said: "O my lord, thy slave must now farewell thee, but on some future day- Inshallah- he will again wait upon thee." Ali Baba, however, would not let him leave, and asked: "Whither wendest thou, O my friend? I would invite thee to my table, and I pray thee sit at meat with us and after hie thee home in peace. Perchance the dishes are not as delicate as those whereof thou art wont to eat, still deign grant me this request, I pray thee, and refresh thyself with my victual." Quoth Khwajah Hasan: "O lord, I am beholden to thee for thy gracious invitation, and with pleasure would I sit at meat with thee, but for a special reason must I needs excuse myself. Suffer me therefore to depart, for I may not tarry longer, nor accept thy gracious offer." Hereto the host made reply: "I pray thee, O my lord, tell me what may be the reason so urgent and weighty." And Khwajah Hasan answered: "The cause is this. I must not, by order of the physician who cured me lately of my complaint, eat aught of food prepared with salt." Quoth Ali Baba: "An this be all, deprive me not, I pray thee, of the honor thy company will confer upon me. As the meats are not yet cooked, I will forbid the kitchener to make use of any salt. Tarry here awhile, and I will return anon to thee." So saying, Ali Baba went in to Morgiana and bade her not put salt into any one of the dishes, and she, while busied with her cooking, fell to marveling greatly at such order and asked her master, "Who is he that eateth meat wherein is no salt?" He answered: "What to thee mattereth it who he may be? Only do thou my bidding." She rejoined: "'Tis well. All shall be as thou wishest." But in mind she wondered at the man who made such strange request, and desired much to look upon him.

Wherefore, when all the meats were ready for serving up, she helped the slave boy Abdullah to spread the table and set on the meal, and no sooner did she see Khwajah Hasan than she knew who he was, albeit he had disguised himself in the dress of a stranger merchant. Furthermore, when she eyed him attentively, she espied a dagger hidden under his robe. "So ho!" quoth she to herself. "This is the cause why the villain eateth not of salt, for that he seeketh an opportunity to slay my master, whose mortal enemy he is. Howbeit I will be beforehand with him and dispatch him ere he find a chance to harm my lord." Now when Ali Baba and Khwajah Hasan had eaten their sufficiency, the slave boy Abdullah brought Morgiana word to serve the dessert, and she cleared the table and set on fruit fresh and dried in salvers, then she placed by the side of Ali Baba a small tripod for three cups with a flagon of wine, and lastly she went off with the slave boy Abdullah into another room, as though she would herself eat supper. Then Khwajah Hasan- that is, the captain of the robbers- perceiving that the coast was clear, exulted mightily, saying to himself: "The time hath come for me to take full vengeance. With one thrust of my dagger I will dispatch this fellow, then escape across the garden and wend my ways. His nephew will not adventure to stay my hand, for an he do but move a finger or toe with that intent, another stab with settle his earthly account. Still must I wait awhile until the slave boy and the cookmaid shall have eaten and lain down to rest them in the kitchen."

Morgiana, however, watched him wistfully and divining his purpose, said in her mind: "I must not allow this villain advantage over my lord, but by some means I must make void his project and at once put an end to the life of him." Accordingly the trusty slave girl changed her dress with all haste and donned such clothes as dancers wear. She veiled her face with a costly kerchief, around her head she bound a fine turban, and about her middle she tied a waistcloth worked with gold and silver, wherein she stuck a dagger whose hilt was rich in filigree and jewelry. Thus disguised, she said to the slave boy Abdullah: "Take now thy tambourine, that we may play and sing and dance in honor of our master's guest." So he did her bidding and the twain went into the room, the lad playing and the lass following. Then, making a low congee, they asked leave to perform and disport and play, and Ali Baba gave permission, saying, "Dance now and do your best that this our guest may he mirthful and merry." Quoth Khwajah Hasan, "O my lord, thou dost indeed provide much pleasant entertainment."

Then the slave boy Abdullah, standing by, began to strike the tambourine whilst Morgiana rose up and showed her perfect art and pleased them vastly with graceful steps and sportive motion. And suddenly, drawing the poniard from her belt, she brandished it and paced from side to side, a spectacle which pleased them most of all. At times also she stood before them, now clapping the sharp-edged dagger under armpit and then setting it against her breast. Lastly she took the tambourine from the slave boy Abdullah, and still holding the poniard in her right, she went round for largess as is the custom amongst merrymakers. First she stood before Ali Baba, who threw a gold coin into the tambourine, and his nephew likewise put in an ashrafi. Then Khwajah Hasan, seeing her about to approach him, fell to pulling out his purse, when she heartened her heart, and quick as the blinding levin she plunged the dagger into his vitals, and forthwith the miscreant fell back stone-dead. Ali Baba was dismayed, and cried in his wrath: "O unhappy, what is this deed thou hast done to bring about my ruin?" But she replied: "Nay, O my lord, rather to save thee and not to cause thee harm have I slain this man. Loosen his garments and see what thou wilt discover thereunder." So Ali Baba searched the dead man's dress and found concealed therein a dagger.

Then said Morgiana: "This wretch was thy deadly enemy. Consider him well. He is none other than the oil merchant, the captain of the band of robbers. Whenas he came hither with intent to take thy life, he would not eat thy salt, and when thou toldest me that he wished not any in the meat, I suspected him, and at first sight I was assured that he would surely do thee die. Almighty Allah he praised, 'tis even as I thought." Then Ali Baba lavished upon her thanks and expressions of gratitude, saying, "Lo, these two times hast thou saved me from his hand," and falling upon her neck, he cried: "See, thou art free, and as reward for this thy fealty I have wedded thee to my nephew." Then, turning to the youth, he said: "Do as I bid thee and thou shalt prosper. I would that thou marry Morgiana, who is a model of duty and loyalty. Thou seest now yon Khwajah Hasan sought thy friendship only that he might find opportunity to take my life, but this maiden with her good sense and her wisdom hath slain him and saved us."

Ali Baba's nephew straightway consented to marry Morgiana. After which the three, raising the dead body, bore it forth with all heed and vigilance and privily buried it in the garden, and for many years no one know aught thereof. In due time Ali Baba married his brother's son to Morgiana with great pomp, and spread a bride feast in most sumptuous fashion for his friends and neighbors, and made merry with them and enjoyed singing and all manner of dancing and amusements. He prospered in every undertaking and Time smiled upon him and a new source of wealth was opened to him.

For fear of the thieves he had not once visited the jungle cave wherein lay the treasure since the day he had carried forth the corpse of his brother Kasim. But some time after, he mounted his hackney one morning and journeyed thither, with all care and caution, till finding no signs of man or horse, and reassured in his mind, he ventured to draw near the door. Then, alighting from his beast, he tied it up to a tree, and going to the entrance, pronounced the words which he had not forgotten, "Open, Sesame!" Hereat, as was its wont, the door flew open, and entering thereby he saw the goods and hoard of gold and silver untouched and lying as he had left them. So he felt assured that not one of all the thieves remained alive, and that save himself there was not a soul who knew the secret of the place. At once he bound in his saddlecloth a load of ashrafis such as his horse could bear and brought it home, and in after days he showed the hoard to his sons and sons' sons and taught them how the door could he caused to open and shut. Thus Ali Baba and his household lived all their lives in wealth and joyance in that city where erst he had been a pauper, and by the blessing of that secret treasure he rose to high degree and dignities.

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