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Many moons ago a great king sentenced his innocent wife to death, but every night she tells the king a story, leaving the tale unfinished until the next night so that the king would spare her life to hear the ending. This lasted for one thousand and one Arabian nights, until the king finally released her. This is just one of those tales ‌


Look out for more

The Adventures of Prince Camar and Princess Badoura Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp Gulnare of the Sea Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor The Enchanted Horse The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree and the Golden Water The Merchant and the Jinni The Tale of Zubaidah and the Three Qalandars The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad The Three Princes, the Princess and the Jinni Pari Banou The Fisherman and the Jinni The King’s Jester


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Published in Great Britain in 2016 by Harpendore Publishing Ltd 34 Priory Road, Richmond TW9 3DF, United Kingdom The name Harpendore® is a registered trade mark of Harpendore Publishing Ltd Text by Kelley Townley copyright © Harpendore Publishing Ltd 2016 Illustrations and cover illustration by Anja Gram copyright © Harpendore Publishing Ltd 2016 Arabian Nights Adventures™, names, characters and related indicia are copyright and trademark Harpendore Publishing Ltd, 2016™ All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Harpendore Publishing or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organisation. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to Harpendore Publishing at the address above. You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose the same condition on any acquirer. A Catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-1-911030-03-4 (paperback)

Designed by Anne-Lise Jacobsen www.behance.net/annelisejacobsen

www.harpendore.co.uk


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here once lived in a town of Persia two brothers, one named Kassem and the other Ali Baba. Their father was not a rich man but when he died he divided his small wealth equally between them. Ali Baba was a simple woodcutter and was very grateful for this gift which he used to marry his childhood sweetheart, Morgiana, and set up home with her. Kassem, however, was cross. As the eldest son he thought he should have inherited all of his father’s wealth. Money and a luxurious life

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meant more to Kassem than anything else and so he set out to marry one of the richest women in town. She was not known for her grace or kindness and so they suited each other well. Their wedding was an extravagant affair with many guests and a great feast, but it lacked the charm of Ali Baba’s simple wedding in the woods. But everybody is different and in this way everyone was content with their lives. As a woodcutter, Ali Baba spent many happy hours out in the woods with his three mules who carried the load. All day he would wander through the trees, humming a jolly tune while collecting his wood. He knew the forest better than any man alive.

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One day, as Ali Baba stopped to sharpen his axe, he heard people approaching. It was rare to see anyone in the woods. Ali Baba worried they might be up to no good, so he set his mules loose to wander and hid himself up a tree. Ali Baba was quick and nimble. He climbed way up into the branches out of sight as the group appeared below. It was clear to see they were a large group of men on horseback – and not just any men, but dangerous-looking men with curved blades and bloodsoaked clothes. They looked unwashed and unkempt and had bulging saddlebags whose gaps twinkled in the sunlight. ‘Bandits!’ Ali Baba thought with

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horror. ‘Dirty rotten thieves!’ It was a good thing he had hidden himself. Not that he had anything worth stealing, of course, but men like that might just kill him for the fun of it!


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Ali Baba counted forty men in total, and it was clear they were planning something special as the horses slowed and their chatter stopped. They looked around suspiciously as they approached the solid rock of the mountainside. There was a clear leader of the group, the biggest of the


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

men with an ugly, gnarly beard who the other men called Hadi. He stepped forward to face the rock and said the words ‘Open Sesame!’ To Ali Baba’s utter amazement the stone rolled back to reveal an entrance to a cave and the men and their horses quickly rode inside. The stone then slid back again leaving Ali Baba up his tree with his mouth hanging open in shock. Had he really seen the side of a mountain open up like a door? Ali Baba desperately wanted to climb down, find his mules and hurry away as quickly as possible, but he was so scared that the evil men might reappear and catch him that he remained rooted to the spot. All afternoon he waited and then finally the rock rolled back and the

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forty thieves spilled back out, quietly and secretively with their saddlebags emptied. ‘That is where they store their stolen goods,’ thought Ali Baba. ‘It must be a treasure trove in there!’ The bearded leader, Hadi, silently nodded to the men and then they all rode their separate ways. Hadi was the last to leave. He tilted his head as if he could tell someone was watching him, but Ali Baba was too well hidden. Still, it was a long time after all the men had left that Ali Baba felt brave enough to come down. It was near dark now and Ali Baba had trouble finding his three mules who had enjoyed their time loose in the forest. ‘Wretched beasts,’ mumbled Ali

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Baba as he affectionately tickled his favourite mule between the ears. ‘Morgiana will be cross with me for not taking any wood to market today. We are poor enough as it is without losing a day’s wages because I was hiding in a tree!’ The mule nosed Ali Baba and seemed to him to be looking at the rock where the thieves’ secret den was. ‘I bet there is a lot of money in there,’ said Ali Baba. ‘So much that they wouldn’t even notice a coin or two missing …’ Ali Baba wasn’t a courageous man but he was a moral one. Why should he suffer the loss of a day’s pay while hiding from men who simply took what they wanted from others? Why

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shouldn’t he, Ali Baba, take what he wanted from these rotten robbers? It would serve them right after all! Cautiously, Ali Baba approached the rock where the men had entered and ran his hands over it. It certainly seemed very solid; there was no disguised doorway. Maybe he had dreamed the whole thing? Wait, hadn’t the bandits’ leader, Hadi, said something to make it open? ‘Open Sesame,’ said Ali Baba, and without hesitation the rock slid back to reveal the entrance. ‘You stay here,’ Ali Baba told his mules with nervous excitement. ‘I’ll just be a minute.’ Ali Baba slowly entered the thieves’ cave and stared in wonder as he was greeted by the most dazzling sight.

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The cavern was filled to the brim with stolen treasures: rich bales of silk, brocade and carpeting, gold and silver ingots and trinkets in great heaps, and plenty of coins in numerous sacks. Truly these thieves were not struggling poor folk but career criminals that must come from a long line of proud


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

bandits – their fathers’ fathers must have begun such a hoard. Why did they continue to gather such riches unless they liked the life of a scoundrel? Ali Baba shuddered: these were bad men indeed. He would take a few coins and at least be able to feed himself and his family for a few weeks.


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Ali Baba turned to leave, the three coins he had plucked light in his pocket. ‘If the robbers wouldn’t miss three coins, then surely they wouldn’t miss six,’ he thought. ‘Or even nine!’ By the time he had finished, the goldstruck Ali Baba had loaded as many gold coins as his three mules could possibly carry. Then with a burst of guilt he led them away to the safety of his own house, making sure that he had covered his tracks and that the treasure would not be missed. When he returned home his wife, Morgiana, was both angry and relieved. ‘Where have you been? You are late!’ she fretted. ‘Are you hurt? If you are

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not hurt I shall beat you until you are for making me worry so!’ Ali Baba smiled and kissed her. ‘Worry not, for I have some good news!’ And he handed his wife one of the gold coins. She went quite pale with shock. ‘Good lord!’ she cried. ‘We shall eat like sultans this week! However did you get it? You didn’t do anything bad I hope?’ Ali Baba told his wife the whole story. She was fearful at first, but Ali Baba reassured her that although this looked like an awful lot of treasure, so much of it remained that it would never be missed. As long as they kept it a secret they need never worry about being found out.

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‘But whatever shall we do with all this money?’ she asked. ‘People will wonder where it came from.’ Ali Baba agreed. ‘We will hide it and spend it bit by bit only on the things we need.’ Morgiana was a very organised woman though and said, ‘We’ll need to know how much we have, to keep track of it.’ And so they set about the task of counting it. After the first bag, and with five still to go, Ali Baba quickly grew bored. ‘This is taking too long. We can’t have it lying out in the open like this. We must bury it soon.’ ‘Should I run and borrow some scales from your brother’s house so we could

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weigh the money instead of counting it?’ said Morgiana. Ali Baba liked any idea that would make the task go quicker and so Morgiana set off for Kassem’s house in town. Kassem and his wife, Rana, lived in a row of very wealthy, large houses, all with a surrounding wall and a big front gate as well as an inner courtyard. ‘Good evening, sister-in-law,’ Morgiana greeted Rana. ‘I have come to ask to borrow a set of scales, if you please.’ Rana looked her sister-in-law up and down. She despised how vulgar and poor Ali Baba and his wife were, but could never refuse a request from family.

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‘I suppose so, but what could you possibly have so much of that requires weighing it with scales?’ she asked callously. Suddenly Morgiana felt that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all, but it was too late now. ‘We wish to weigh our grain to make sure we have enough for winter,’ she lied. Like Ali Baba, Morgiana was a kind and honest person and the devious Rana could tell instantly a poorly delivered lie when she heard one, so when she went to fetch the scales she covered the bottom in soft wax so that whatever Ali Baba and Morgiana were weighing some of it would stick to the base and Rana would be able to see

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what it was. ‘Here you are, dearest sister-in-law,’ smiled Rana. ‘Thank you and many blessings on your house,’ said Morgiana, happy to be on her way. Even with the scales it took Ali Baba and Morgiana all night to weigh the coins. It was with bleary eyes that Morgiana returned the scales the next day, too tired to notice a single gold coin that had become stuck in the wax in the base of the device. ‘Husband!’ screeched Rana after Morgiana had gone. ‘Come here at once!’ ‘What is it, woman?’ Kassem moaned. ‘I am busy.’ ‘Look at what your brother and his

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wife are hiding from us!’ And she shoved the gold coin at her husband. ‘They have so many of these that they needed scales to count it! Scales I say!’ ‘But how could this be so?’ wondered Kassem. ‘Ali Baba has no money.’ ‘Maybe your rotten father had more money than you thought,’ said Rana. ‘Maybe he gave more than half to Ali Baba. You need to go see your brother and find out!’ And so even though Kassem and his wife had more money than they needed already, Kassem stomped over to Ali Baba’s house to demand to know where the money had come from. Ali Baba was always pleased to see his brother and welcomed him into his


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

house. Kassem looked around at the simple wood hut. Surely his brother didn’t really have any money? ‘Rana wants to know … er, I mean, I want to know where this coin came from. Are you holding out on us?’ he demanded of his brother. Ali Baba was very surprised to see Kassem with one of the coins, but it meant he could share his amazing tale with his brother; surely if


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

there was one person in the whole world that Ali Baba could trust with this tale it would be his brother? And so he told him, in glorious detail, all about his thrilling brush with the thieves and their enormous treasure trove. Kassem listened in wonder, his eyes wide open in delight at the illustrious tale. ‘And all you have to do is say “Open Barley”?’ ‘Sesame. Open Sesame. And there’s the treasure. Amazing, isn’t it?’ exclaimed Ali Baba. ‘And now Morgiana and I will never fear hunger in winter again!’ ‘Amazing,’ mumbled Kassem, but he was already thinking about how many mules it would take to bring all the

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treasure out of the cave. ‘Take as many as you can!’ said Rana when Kassem told her about it later that day. ‘Buy more at the market! Then bring that treasure back to me,’ she said greedily. So before dawn the next day Kassem led a troop of twelve mules out into the woods. He did not know the woods as well as Ali Baba but his brother had described the area well – here was the tree where Ali Baba had hidden, here were the axe marks where Ali Baba had sharpened his axe, and here too were hoof-prints of forty riders. It had to be here. Kassem tied up his mules and stood before the rock face. ‘Open Barley!’ he said.

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The Arabian Nights tales are some of the most enduringly entertaining stories ever written. Compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age, numerous tales depict legends, sorcery and magic intermingled with real people, places and events. Some tales are framed within other tales while others are perfectly self-contained. The result is a superb collection of richly layered narratives; whether adventure, historical, tragic, comic or romantic, they have delighted audiences for centuries. Arabian Nights Adventures is a wonderful collection of children’s books that brings this rich heritage to life. Instead of a vast compendium of stories, each book in the series is devoted to a single tale from The Nights. The best tales have been selected. There are traditional favourites such as Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, and less well-known gems such as Gulnare of the Sea, The Enchanted Horse, The Merchant and the Jinni and more. Kelley Townley provides masterful contemporary renderings of these ancient treasures while Anja Gram’s illustrations are full of the spice, wit and magic of the stories themselves. The series style is


fresh and vibrant and the print inside is clear and beautifully typeset. When placed on bookshelves the distinctive spines reveal a wonderful image that grows as new stories are added: a design made specially for one thousand and one nights’ tales! And with the highest of editorial standards and attention to detail, this series will delight readers everywhere and bring the Islamic Golden Age gloriously to life.

Kelley Townley trained as a teacher and gained her MA in creative writing with distinction from Bath Spa University. She may be found either writing children’s stories – happily losing herself in the dream world of the human imagination – or plotting new ways to engage readers, which are the same things really. Kelley lives near Bath with her family, the writer’s obligatory cats and an ever growing number of woodlice.

Anja Gram has illustrated numerous children’s books and magazines. Her highly distinctive style captivates and endears readers around the world. She lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.


1

The Adventures of Prince Camar and Princess Badoura

2

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp ISBN 978-1-911030-01-0

3

Gulnare of the Sea

ISBN 978-1-911030-02-7

4

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

ISBN 978-1-911030-03-4

5

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor

ISBN 978-1-911030-04-1

6

The Enchanted Horse

ISBN 978-1-911030-05-8

7

The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree ISBN 978-1-911030-06-5 and the Golden Water

8

The Merchant and the Jinni

ISBN 978-1-911030-07-2

9

The Tale of Zubaidah and the Three Qalandars

ISBN 978-1-911030-08-9

Adventures of Harun 10 The al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

ISBN 978-1-911030-09-6

Three Princes, the Princess 11 The and the Jinni Pari Banou

ISBN 978-1-911030-10-2

12 The Fisherman and the Jinni

ISBN 978-1-911030-11-9

13 The King’s Jester

ISBN 978-1-911030-12-6

ISBN 978-1-911030-00-3


The complete Arabian Nights Adventures series and individual titles are available from leading bookstores or may be ordered direct from the publisher: Harpendore Publishing Limited 34 Priory Road, Richmond TW9 3DF, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)20 3667 3600 Email: enquiries@harpendore.co.uk Website: www.harpendore.co.uk TO ORDER: Please quote title, author and ISBN, your full name and the address where the order is to be sent. Contact us for the latest prices (including postage and packing) and availability information. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to: ‘Harpendore Publishing Limited’ All our titles may also be purchased online via our website at www.harpendore.co.uk For a complete list of titles and the latest catalogue visit www.harpendore.co.uk


One day while Ali Baba is collecting wood in the forest he overhears the password to a cave where thieves have hidden their treasure. For the simple woodcutter it’s a dream come true, or is it? The thieves soon find out that someone else knows about the cave. And they go looking for the culprit! A brilliant edition of one of the great classic tales of all time. But beware – this one is not for the squeamish!

Look out for more Arabian Nights Adventures www.harpendore.co.uk

ISBN 978-1-911030-03-4

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Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (preview)  

Book 4 from the Arabian Nights Adventures series

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (preview)  

Book 4 from the Arabian Nights Adventures series

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