The Forty Thieves

I have been wondering about the forty thieves in the tale of Ali Baba. As far as I am aware, we do not know their names, as we do the names of the seven dwarves in the story of Snow White. Admittedly, I have not done a lot of research. Knud Padde – of whom more, much more, later – has done such research, however, and in a privately-printed monograph he supplies us with this list:

  1. Corky – a hireling thief, a chump, a talc-powdered wastrel.
  2. Mutcho – greasy, vindictive, base.
  3. Ibster – looms terrible in dreams, licks ice cream cones.
  4. Guff – the boffin of the gang, and sniper, and Tippi Hedren penpal,
  5. Spoors – great galumphing fool, Oppidan, thimble-fumbler.
  6. Waxy – waxy.
  7. Geraldo – of monstrous girth, of lively demeanour, of hand-stitched tunics.
  8. Carsten – polishes off raisins, swigs tap water, goes shod in clogs.
  9. Fang – inhabits palatial apartments with his wolf and his minuets.
  10. Sudbury – exists on a higher plane, thumps things, distressed.
  11. Oswin – suffers fools gladly, hung out to dry.
  12. Bantock – dustpan and brush man, Hotspur, clackety rhythm.
  13. Mort – hedger, was a water-bailiff, albino.
  14. Chippy – wanting eggs.
  15. Hardcastle – fevered brow, distorted spine, curly ringlets.
  16. Aptod – when first he flew he blundered into branches of dark trees.
  17. Shopworn – lacks the common touch, hoist by petards, a darling.
  18. Urbane – urbane yet ditzy, polka-dotted, ruminant.
  19. Dobbin – pumped gas back in Montana, unbridled savagery, lacks depth.
  20. Inky – several contradictory reports, buff-coloured envelope, chalk dust.
  21. Hig – shallow, potted, wet.
  22. Anglepoise – Jesuit upbringing, weather station, tarred with broad brush.
  23. Snapper – bolt upright, sprained ankles, Maoist.
  24. Boomer – booming voice, bloody nose, best before dusk.
  25. Chepstow – owls nest in his hair, he plays the piccolo, he eats mashed potato.
  26. Zigzoo – champs at bits, stinks of Jarlsberger, often with conifers.
  27. Delmore – lurid, spiteful, mechanical.
  28. Esher – flabby, subject to fits, member of Tuesday Weld Fan Club.
  29. Jetboy – likely to be found upon rotating things in park playgrounds.
  30. Casement – proudly lumpen, secretly engaged to a flapper, podcaster.
  31. Uck – abnormal alignment of head upon neck, neck grubby, hair unwashed.
  32. Fig – a stone’s throw from the sea, green about the gills, hot to trot.
  33. Straubenzee – sings the songs his mother taught him in that Darmstadt nursery.
  34. Fogbound – clatters to and fro, goes haywire, made of cement.
  35. Wailywaily – hidden behind shutters, brilliantine in his hair, indiscreet.
  36. Burgess – over by the ice rink, underneath the arches, powered by batteries.
  37. Mudguard – guards mud.
  38. Pepinstow – thunderous hooves, brilliant plumage, exquisite table manners.
  39. Dixon – marimba, clutching at straws, gin slings and blood oranges.
  40. Quangocrat – double helpings of sausage-shaped dough snacks.

One thought on “The Forty Thieves

  1. This list would make excellent trading cards. Each might have a fortieth of a large picture on the back, encouraging tots to collect them all.

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