Magic words

A few days ago, I was looking for a story for one of my son’s school projects, when I chanced upon a collection of stories from The Arabian Nights. As I flipped through its pages, I saw the story of Alibaba and the forty thieves.

It brought a smile to my face, as I recalled a funny incident from when my son had just moved to Grade 1 from kindergarten.  

During an activity class in Grade 1, the children were asked to answer a picture quiz. My son gave his answers. 

When he got back in the evening, he told me about the picture quiz and then asked me, “Mom, what were the magic words that Alibaba uttered to open the magic cave?”

Courtesy –

I replied, “Open sesame.”

He smiled and said, “Oh no! I got that wrong.”

I asked him, “What did you write?”

He said, “I wrote that the magic words were PLEASE and THANK YOU.”

I couldn’t help laughing. He looked quite hurt. 

He said, “In kindergarten we were taught that the two magic words are – say ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’. So I thought that Alibaba had used these same magic words to open the cave.”

I was in splits. I tried to imagine Alibaba standing in front of the cave and saying, “Hello cave, Open please. Thank you!”

My son sees the joke now…and laughs with me when we remember it.


7 thoughts on “Magic words”

  1. Well, he’s not really wrong you know…and I hope the teacher didn’t mark him that way!! Here in the U.S. there is a new teaching system where the answers can not be up to interpretation but must be exactly what the system finds is correct down to the way the kids find the answers. In my opinion, this is stifling and even though your story was just meant to highlight something cute your son said, it kind of reminds me of this problem. Grrrr….now I’m mad again and still another month till school starts!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s very interesting Marissa…but again that certain answers cannot be up to interpretation while many others can be looked at in many different ways….I think a good balance btw the two is required


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