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Author Topic: PC217: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part 2  (Read 15013 times)
Talia
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« on: July 18, 2012, 07:36:50 AM »

PodCastle 217: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part 2

Authorship uncertain.

Translated by Sir Richard Burton.

Read by Steve Anderson (of SGAcreative).

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.

Rated PG.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 10:09:10 AM by Talia » Logged
acpracht
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 03:57:53 PM »

Agree that this should be Morgiana and the Forty Thieves. Ali Baba, you dipwad...

Also... the first thief gets thwarted when he uses white chalk, so the second one goes, "Aha, versooth I knowest the solution. RED chalk!"

?

Made me smile.

Last comment: I think this might be the earliest example of why you should choose a hard-to-guess password.

Wouldn't have been a problem if the thieves went with "34BitBoppa52$#" instead of "Open Sesame."
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 10:43:55 PM »

Just to be clear-she poured boiling hot oil on 37 men hiding in 37 separate jars?

Does that image haunt anyone else? 37 cooling corpses in jars all waiting to be found.

...and not one of them made a peep when they died.
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 08:58:04 AM »

You picked a good splitting point between these two episodes, since the first one did really seem to star Ali Baba, and this one was all Morgiana.

As acpracht pointed out, these thieves do not be geniuses, apparently, what with their chalk markings.  I guess that's why the captain has the wherewithal and innovation to decide that he is just going to REMEMBER where the damned house is, rather than marking it.  Oy.  If you were the one marking the house, especially the second guy who marked the house, don't you think you'd at least note its color, shape, proximity to intersections, etc? 

And, yes, lisavilisa, I did find the image of Morgiana killing the 37 men haunting.  Kind of disturbingly hilarious in a very strange way.  I'm not sure that boiling oil is a real reliable way to kill someone.  To hurt someone, sure, but not kill.  And it would be the last thing that I would choose for a QUIET death.  Most likely the first man would scream to holy hell when he got scalded, and even if he died 36 other thieves would be out of their baskets in moments.

Another dumb thief moment--the first time someone walks by you say "Is it time yet?"  Kind of defeats the purpose of having a disguise as a barrel of oil if you talk at the slightest provocation.

I found her whole strategy throughout this half of the story disturbing and hilarious.  She discovers 37 murderers lurking outside.  She doesn't tell anyone, she just kills them all very methodically and nonchalantly.  When the survivor returns, she likewise doesn't tell anyone even though the man could very well have killed Alia Baba while she was cooking.  She just kills him when she has the chance.  And as a reward she gets an arrange marriage.  Awesome.  On the bright side, I bet he'll be very kind to her.  I wouldn't want to mess with that woman.

So... one thing I didn't get--why did the captain ask for no salt?  That ended up being what gave him away, and I understand that it's weird for him to ask for no salt in this time and place, but WHY then did he ask for no salt and give himself away?  I really don't get it.  Is it a cultural or religious cue that I'm missing here?

I do think it's a little bit hilarious that something that would be fairly common now put a person in clear suspicion then. 
Guest:  "Sorry, I can't have salt.  It aggravates my heart condition."
Host:  "That's it, I need to do a full body search on you.  I'm afraid you have a concealed knife with which you intend to stab me to death."

So.... what happened to the two remaining thieves?  I guess the captain didn't let them loose so they starved to death in open cages out in the forest?
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 05:46:15 PM »

Very definitely Morgiana and the 40 Thieves. Ali Baba's a bit of a thickie.

Actually, given that it sounds Celtic and not Arabic, Morgiana looks like another red flag involving the authenticity of the story.
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BruceMcBruce
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 07:37:19 PM »

So... one thing I didn't get--why did the captain ask for no salt?  That ended up being what gave him away, and I understand that it's weird for him to ask for no salt in this time and place, but WHY then did he ask for no salt and give himself away?  I really don't get it.  Is it a cultural or religious cue that I'm missing here?

My take on the salt thing was that the captain was just looking for an excuse not to eat there - he figured that the food would have already been spiced and marinated (have you ever tried Middle Eastern food? Delicious, but a sodium bombshell!), so "no salt" would mean that he couldn't eat anything. Ali Baba just responded with "No strange requirement is too much for my servants!". Morgiana was the only one that twigged to the fact that "no salt" is a strange requirement when you don't know about heart disease, so she got suspicious. Even she didn't realise it was the captain until she saw him.

On another note, the story really shows the different priorities in those times. Morgiana saves Ali Baba's life 4 times, and his reaction is "I set you free and make you your own human being, no longer a slave - and even better than that, I'll saddle you up with my idiot nephew, who brought a murderer into my house! Good luck!"

Loved the story, a classic tale where everyone knows the basics, but it was great to hear it in its entirety. Agree with everyone else that Morgiana was the star of this part.

We've had a couple of stories from Arabian nights now, what other classic story collections are there that Podcastle can pillage?  Smiley
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 08:00:53 PM »

We've had a couple of stories from Arabian nights now, what other classic story collections are there that Podcastle can pillage?  Smiley

The first two that come to me are from farther East, namely Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, and Kwaidan by the singular Lafcadio Hearn. However, it's more likely that Pseudopod would like these stories.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 02:12:04 AM by InfiniteMonkey » Logged
danooli
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 08:17:48 PM »

Holy cow, part two was...murderous!   Shocked  Yet, delightful?  I can't say I've ever been aware of this conclusion to Ali Baba's story, and agreed that it really is Morgianna's tale.  Surprising and morbidly fun!
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kibitzer
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 10:09:43 PM »

Last comment: I think this might be the earliest example of why you should choose a hard-to-guess password.
Wouldn't have been a problem if the thieves went with "34BitBoppa52$#" instead of "Open Sesame."

This made me, quite literally, laugh out loud! The first polemic against weak passwords!
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 10:13:52 PM »

Coincidentally, I suggested Lafcadio Hearn to Dave a number of months back - not because we necessarily *wouldn't* do him on Pseudopod, but he is more on the borderlands between our overlap...
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 11:33:14 PM »

So... one thing I didn't get--why did the captain ask for no salt?  That ended up being what gave him away, and I understand that it's weird for him to ask for no salt in this time and place, but WHY then did he ask for no salt and give himself away?  I really don't get it.  Is it a cultural or religious cue that I'm missing here?

My take on the salt thing was that the captain was just looking for an excuse not to eat there - he figured that the food would have already been spiced and marinated (have you ever tried Middle Eastern food? Delicious, but a sodium bombshell!), so "no salt" would mean that he couldn't eat anything. Ali Baba just responded with "No strange requirement is too much for my servants!". Morgiana was the only one that twigged to the fact that "no salt" is a strange requirement when you don't know about heart disease, so she got suspicious. Even she didn't realise it was the captain until she saw him.


Why didn't he want to eat at their house? I thought that was part of the plan.
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DKT
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 12:12:08 AM »

Coincidentally, I suggested Lafcadio Hearn to Dave a number of months back - not because we necessarily *wouldn't* do him on Pseudopod, but he is more on the borderlands between our overlap...

I was just thinking about that conversation Smiley
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 09:53:16 AM »

On another note, the story really shows the different priorities in those times. Morgiana saves Ali Baba's life 4 times, and his reaction is "I set you free and make you your own human being, no longer a slave - and even better than that, I'll saddle you up with my idiot nephew, who brought a murderer into my house! Good luck!"

It's not that much better for the nephew. Think of it from his perspective - all he knows about her is that she just bloodily murdered his friend in front of his eyes without apparent provocation. And now, he gets to marry her. Yay!
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hautdesert
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 03:46:11 PM »

I didn't know anything about Ali Baba's doubtful origins until this week.  But InfiniteMonkey's comment reminded me of something I read that reminded me of Ali Baba when I first read it.

Quote
And he took counsel, and in the council it was resolved that he should accept this, and this was all done by the advice of Branwen, and lest the country should be destroyed.  And this peace was made, and the house was built both vast and strong.  But the Irish planned a crafty device, and the craft was that they should put brackets on each side of the hundred pillars that were in the house, and should place a leathern bag on each bracket, and an armed man in every one of them.  Then Evnissyen came in before the host of the Island of the Mighty, and scanned the house with fierce and savage looks, and p. 54descried the leathern bags which were around the pillars.  “What is in this bag?” asked he of one of the Irish.  “Meal, good soul,” said he.  And Evnissyen felt about it until he came to the man’s head, and he squeezed the head until he felt his fingers meet together in the brain through the bone.  And he left that one and put his hand upon another, and asked what was therein?  “Meal,” said the Irishman.  So he did the like unto every one of them, until he had not left alive of all the two hundred men save one only; and when he came to him, he asked what was there?  “Meal, good soul,” said the Irishman.  And he felt about until he felt the head, and he squeezed that head as he had done the others.  And albeit he found that the head of this one was armed, he left him not until he had killed him.  And then he sang an Englyn,—

“There is in this bag a different sort of meal,
The ready combatant, when the assault is made
By his fellow warriors, prepared for battle.”

Three guesses where that came from.

Okay, it's from here.  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19976/19976-h/19976-h.htm

Kind of interesting, huh.  Though it doesn't necessarily say  much.  There are also Irish manuscripts with adaptations of parts of Homer in them. So stories and motifs could have traveled pretty far.  Still.  It's interesting.
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eytanz
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2012, 03:48:55 AM »

I really did enjoy the two episodes of Ali Baba. It was a weird listening experience, as I had no idea I have actually ever read anything that approached the original version (the last time I remember reading the Ali Baba story was in a children's story book when I was a pre-teen), but I found that once it started I actually remembered almost the entire story from beginning to end. So I guess that whatever book I read as a kid and forgot about was actually a pretty accurate translation (presumably a secondary translation of Burton into Hebrew, rather than a translation of whatever the original text was).

But it's a lot of fun as a story, and I'm really glad PC ran it.

I do hope that multi-episode stories remain very rare, though, for no other reason than I really do like the variety offered by Podcastle, and having multiple episodes devoted to the same story naturally reduces that on the week-to-week level.

(edited to correct a typo)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 03:18:21 PM by eytanz » Logged
Pirvonen
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2012, 02:28:48 PM »

While I am not categorically opposed to multi-episode miniseries, I would highly like both the count and the total number of episodes announced in the episode title, like "Part 1/2"; "Part 2/2". I want to have the full story available for my listening pleasure, and not have to wait another week for the final instalment.

Glad you chose a more-or-less complete version of the Ali Baba; we are all too used to bowdlerized, not to say disneyfied renditions of the classics. Good reading, too.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2012, 08:25:45 AM »

Morgianna and the Forty Thieves indeed! I agree with others that Ali Baba was pretty thick in this half, and it was pretty chilling the way that Morgianna calmly went about killing dozens of thieves in such a gruesome manner. There's no way that none of them would have been able to scream before dying, but I guess that whole falls in the same category as "silly thief, just remember the address!"

Actually, given that it sounds Celtic and not Arabic, Morgiana looks like another red flag involving the authenticity of the story.

This crossed my mind as well!

On another note, the story really shows the different priorities in those times. Morgiana saves Ali Baba's life 4 times, and his reaction is "I set you free and make you your own human being, no longer a slave - and even better than that, I'll saddle you up with my idiot nephew, who brought a murderer into my house! Good luck!"

It's not that much better for the nephew. Think of it from his perspective - all he knows about her is that she just bloodily murdered his friend in front of his eyes without apparent provocation. And now, he gets to marry her. Yay!

As did this  Roll Eyes
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2012, 08:37:00 AM »

So... one thing I didn't get--why did the captain ask for no salt?  That ended up being what gave him away, and I understand that it's weird for him to ask for no salt in this time and place, but WHY then did he ask for no salt and give himself away?  I really don't get it.  Is it a cultural or religious cue that I'm missing here?

My take on the salt thing was that the captain was just looking for an excuse not to eat there - he figured that the food would have already been spiced and marinated (have you ever tried Middle Eastern food? Delicious, but a sodium bombshell!), so "no salt" would mean that he couldn't eat anything. Ali Baba just responded with "No strange requirement is too much for my servants!". Morgiana was the only one that twigged to the fact that "no salt" is a strange requirement when you don't know about heart disease, so she got suspicious. Even she didn't realise it was the captain until she saw him.


Why didn't he want to eat at their house? I thought that was part of the plan.

Yeah me too.  I'm still confused.  Did he not want to eat because he was afraid he had been recognized and would be poisoned?  Or is this just an obscure Arabic religious/cultural detail that I'm unfamiliar with, but which would be obvious to the people at the time of the story.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2012, 09:50:45 AM »

Yeah me too.  I'm still confused.  Did he not want to eat because he was afraid he had been recognized and would be poisoned?  Or is this just an obscure Arabic religious/cultural detail that I'm unfamiliar with, but which would be obvious to the people at the time of the story.


I thought it was just because he didn't really want to have to stay for a long meal, he just wanted to get his murder on and get out. His reasoning was, they can't make me stay for a meal if I make it impossible for them to feed me...
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2012, 09:49:00 AM »

Yeah me too.  I'm still confused.  Did he not want to eat because he was afraid he had been recognized and would be poisoned?  Or is this just an obscure Arabic religious/cultural detail that I'm unfamiliar with, but which would be obvious to the people at the time of the story.


I thought it was just because he didn't really want to have to stay for a long meal, he just wanted to get his murder on and get out. His reasoning was, they can't make me stay for a meal if I make it impossible for them to feed me...

Haha.  "Who can think about food at a time like this!  I'm hungry for blood!"  In retrospect, I expect he feels pretty silly for giving himself away like that when he could've just eaten the meal, murdered Ali Baba, and been on his way (assuming Morgiana didn't come out of the kitchen and see him).  Hindsight is always 20/20, especially when stupid decisions get you dead.
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