My lamp went out so I have gone into the yard to get oil from a pot. As I am leaning over the jar, I hear a voice from inside the jar, whispering, “Is it time?”

I stifle a gasp. Then I understand. The oil merchant who is staying with us is a robber, and his band of thieves are all here, hidden in the thirty-eight jars that stand in the yard. They’re awaiting their master’s command.

“Not time yet, but presently,” I reply in a male voice. Then I visit each jar, whispering, “Not time yet, but presently.”

Presently you will die.

The Slave Morgiana in The Forty Thieves, Blue Fairy Book. Illustration by Lilian Govey.