A Story From: Iraq
Read Time: ["10 to 15mins"]
For Ages: 8 to 10yrs.

How was a treasure stolen from a barrel of olives?
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"Ali Cogia and the Merchant of Baghdad" is based on "The Story of Ali Cogia, a Merchant of Bagdad," a story from The Arabia Nights' Entertainments by The Reverend George Flyer Townsend (Federick A. Stokes Company: New York, 1891), pp. 158-170.  Adapted by Elaine Lindy ©1998. All rights reserved.

A very similar story called "Ali Sundos" is sourced to Cairo (The Black Prince and Other Egyptian Folk Tales Doubleday & Company, Inc.: 1971).  At the time of the reign of Caliph Harun (or Haroun) al-Raschid, the territory of his caliphate stretched from Egypt, through the Arabian peninsula, north to Turkey and west to Iraq.


Under the reign of Caliph Haroun al-Raschid (c.764-809) the city of Baghdad, already a major capital of the Muslim world, reached its intellectual and economic peak. Scholars and artists from various parts of the empire and beyond flocked to Haroun al-Raschid's court to enjoy his patronage. The caliph was the hero of the Thousand and One Nights, a series of tales which portray the fabulous life in Baghdad in the ninth century. An able general, Haroun al-Raschid greatly extended his empire. He carried on diplomatic relations with China and with Charlemagne, emperor of the Franks. Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1258, and so thorough was the destruction wrought by them that hardly any traces remain of the city's former splendor.

See also A Turkish Judge for another story about the Caliph Haroun al-Raschid.  

To see the "Ali Cogia and the Merchant of Baghdad" Play script adapted from this story, click here https://www.storiestogrowby.org/play_script/ali-cogia-the-merchant-of-baghdad/