Ali, the cairene merchant is belonging to the epic One thousand and one night stories that were collected for several hundred years in the middle ages.
This is a tale involving treasures and destinies. When the young Ali has wasted away his inheritance, he leaves his family in a safe place and embarks on a quest. Eventually, courage earns him not only one but two fortunes. Naturally, there's a king and a princess thrown in there, as well. Rather entertaining.
Theses stories give insight into the eastern culture in the middle ages. Even though most of it is fiction, the culture back then probably influenced the tales. It's interesting to discover fragments of how these countries looked like and functioned. The society seems to have been very harsh and unfair, especially towards women and slaves. They were often treated worse than animals. Another matter worth mentioning is the rich culture back then, which is fascinating since it consisted of many fragments that originated before the time of Islam, such as magic and mythical creatures.