Ali Baba And The 40 Peeves

On the road …again!

Afghanistan to Zambia

Chronicles of a Footloose Forester

By Dick Pellek



Ali Baba And The 40 Peeves


Well, doesn’t that get your goat?  You have got to be kidding!  Why do they do that?  This doesn’t make any sense!  How dare he!  There are other ways to express our outrages, large or small, about people, their mannerisms, their inventions, creations, transgressions, and policies; all playing into an unwritten list of our own, personal pet peeves.  We all have pet peeves.  Maybe we just have not taken the time to sit down and contemplate what those irritations, resentments, and annoyances are.  Needless to say, everybody would come up with a list of their own.  A few notables in history have already recorded some things that bothered them. These are the pet peeves of an anonymous chronicler who goes under the pen name of Ali Baba.


Some people might discover the real identity of Ala Baba, but it does not matter. What has been discovered through forensic science, hovever; is quite shocking.  There were two main characters in folklore named Ali Baba, a good one and a wicked one.  The wicked one was actually the captain of a band of 40 thieves who kept as secret his diabolical nature, including using the alias Ali Baba, the good guy in town. 


Much to the dismay of devotees of ancient lore, it is easy to get the two confused.  The name Ali Baba was as common then as the name John Smith is today.  This tale is about the evil Ali Baba.



He is the doeppelganger of a long-ago legend in the folklore tales of old, when he and his 40 thieves terrorized rich merchants and despotic rulers who had acquired their treasures by taxing serfs, ambushing camel caravans laden with silk, pearls from the orient, and gold from the mines of King Solomon.  There may have also been a few caravans of frankincense and myrrh.  Who knows?  The scribes and tax collectors in those days didn’t keep very detailed records.  Which makes the partial list of Ali Baba’s 40 peeves all the more remarkable.  It is important to note that although Ali Baba mentioned 40 peeves, not all of them are known because some of the papyrus scrolls are apparently missing.


The name Ali Baba was not only a pseudonym for a marauding bandit in the Dark Ages, but he was not afraid to use that same moniker, that nom de guerre, as his nom de plume.  Little wonder that he was narcissistic enough to record his pet peeves on those papyrus scrolls.  


The partial list follows.  Note that even in ancient Persia, or wherever his secret cave was located, he had the presence of mind to list his peeves by number; otherwise we would not know that he had at least 40 peeves.  There may have been others, but scholars of ancient history have not been able to verify the correct number. The ones that have been preserved tell you all that you need to know about Ali Baba's personality and his personal peeves:

1.      Beggars who spit at you if you don’t give them a donation.

2.     Worshipers who pick their noses in the mosque.

3.     Camels who stick their noses into your tent when you are eating dinner.

4.     Each and every fellow thief who gets too close with their smelly feet.

5.      Troubadours who play loud music into my ears.

6.     Concubines with bad breath.

7.     Stepping in camel manure.

8.     Fake gemstones in our satchel of booty

9.     Being pestered by little kids who want to ride with us when we plunder.

10.  Finding a scorpion in my bed roll.

11.  Having to bivouac too closely to other thieves who snore loudly.

12.  Being pecked on my face by my favorite falcon.

13.  Getting wet in the rain before we can make camp at our hideaway.

14.  Dealing with dishonest thieves who are skimming from our treasure trove.




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