A is for Ali Baba

Aubrey Beardsley's Ali Baba.

by Aubrey Beardsley

Ali Baba may be the most beloved character from The 1001 Arabian Nights, yet he was not part of the original 11th-century manuscript Alf Leyla Wa Leyla. His tale was added in the 18th century by French translator Antoine Galland who probably heard it told orally in Syria.
Though Ali Baba is the protagonist in the most familiar part of the story, the “Open, Sesame” episode, the true hero of the narrative is his slave Morgiana who saves her master’s life and reputation and is rewarded by marriage to his son. Neither slave nor son objected to the union!

Do you have a copy of this classic tale in your library? Try these:

Burton, Richard and Anonymous, 1001 Arabian Nights. Bibliolife 2009.

Kimmel, Eric, The Tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Holiday House 1996.

Mahdi, Muhsin and Husain Haddawy (translator), The Arabian Nights. Norton and Company 1990.

You can hear the complete “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” on my CD, 1001 Years of 1001 Nights. If your Texas library does not have a copy, email me the address and I will send them one.

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