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COMMENT The Arabian Nights tale of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves has been told over the centuries, such that it is impossible for anyone growing up not to know who Ali Baba is.

Therefore there is no point for me to tell Ali Baba’s side of the story. As the focus has always been on Ali Baba, I will try to give it a different slant.

No one knows the names of the bandits, but there were 40 of them, all equally cruel and merciless.

They stole lots of money from the big merchants, including Ali Baba’s father, and to make sure that their riches were never found or were confiscated by the caliph of the day, they had to find a suitable place to hide away their gold coins, gold chains, diamond rings and all sorts of expensive jewellery...

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