Ali Baba, wishing to return his kindness, invited him into his house and received him smiling, thanking him for his kindness to his son.
When the merchant was about to take his leave Ali Baba stopped him, saying, “Where are you going, sir, in such haste? Will you not stay and sup with me?”
The merchant refused, saying that he had a reason; and, on Ali Baba’s asking him what that was, he replied, “It is, sir, that I can eat no victuals that have any salt in them.”
“If that is all,” said Ali Baba, “let me tell you that there shall be no salt in either the meat or the bread that we eat to-night.”
He went to give this order to Morgiana, who was much surprised.
“Who is this man,” she said, “who eats no salt with his meat?”
“He is an honest man, Morgiana,” returned her master; “therefore do as I bid you.”
But she could not withstand a desire to see this strange man, so she helped Abdallah to carry up the dishes, and saw in a moment that Cogia Hassan was the robber Captain, and carried a dagger under his garment.
“I am not surprised,” she said to herself, “that this wicked man, who intends to kill my master, will eat no salt with him; but I will hinder his plans.”
She sent up the supper by Abdallah, while she made ready for one of the boldest acts that could be thought on. When the dessert had been served, Cogia Hassan was left alone with Ali Baba and his son, whom he thought to make drunk and then to murder them. Morgiana, meanwhile, put on a headdress like a dancing-girl’s, and clasped a girdle round her waist, from which hung a dagger with a silver hilt, and said to Abdallah, “Take your tabor, and let us go and divert our master and his guest.”
Abdallah took his tabor and played before Morgiana until they came to the door, where Abdallah stopped playing and Morgiana made a low courtesy.
“Come in, Morgiana,” said Ali Baba, “and let Cogia Hassan see what you can do”; and, turning to Cogia Hassan, he said, “She’s my slave and my housekeeper.”