[Go back to The Story of Amene]
The caliph was well pleased to be thus informed of what he desired to know; and publicly expressed his admiration of what he had heard.
The caliph having satisfied his curiosity, thought himself obliged to shew his generosity to the calender princes, and also to give the three ladies some proof of his bounty. He himself, without making use of his minister, the grand vizier, spoke to Zobeide. "Madam, did not this fairy, that shewed herself to you in the shape of a serpent, and imposed such a rigorous command upon you, tell you where her place of abode was? Or rather, did she not promise to see you, and restore those bitches to their natural shape?"
"Commander of the faithful," answered Zobeide, "I forgot to tell your majesty that the fairy left with me a bundle of hair, saying, that her presence would one day be of use to me; and then, if I only burnt two tufts of this hair, she would be with me in a moment, though she were beyond mount Caucasus." "Madam," demanded the caliph, "where is the bundle of hair?" She answered, "Ever since that time I have been so careful of it, that I always carry it about me." Upon which she pulled it out, opened the case which contained it, and shewed it to him. "Well then," said the caliph, "let us bring the fairy hither; you could not call her in a better time, for I long to see her."
Zobeide having consented, fire was brought in, and she threw the whole bundle of hair into it. The palace at that instant began to shake, and the fairy appeared before the caliph in the form of a lady very richly dressed.
"Commander of the faithful," said she to the prince, "you see I am ready to receive your commands. The lady who gave me this call by your order did me essential service. To evince my gratitude, I revenged her of her sisters' inhumanity, by changing them to bitches; but if your majesty commands me, I will restore them to their former shape."
"Generous fairy," replied the caliph, "you cannot do me a greater pleasure; vouchsafe them that favour, and I will find some means to comfort them for their hard penance. But besides, I have another boon to ask in favour of that lady, who has had such cruel usage from an unknown husband. As you undoubtedly know all things, oblige me with the name of this barbarous wretch, who could not be contented to exercise his outrageous and unmanly cruelty upon her person, but has also most unjustly taken from her all her substance. I only wonder how such an unjust and inhuman action could be performed under my authority, and even in my residence, without having come to my knowledge."
"To oblige your majesty," answered the fairy, "I will restore the two bitches to their former state, and I will so cure the lady of her scars, that it shall never appear she was so beaten; and I will also tell you who it was that abused her."
The caliph sent for the two bitches from Zobeide's house, and when they came, a glass of water was brought to the fairy by her desire. She pronounced over it some words which nobody understood; then throwing some part of it upon Amene, and the rest upon the bitches, the latter became two ladies of surprising beauty, and the scars that were upon Amene disappeared. After which the fairy said to the caliph, "Commander of the faithful, I must now discover to you the unknown husband you enquire after. He is very nearly related to yourself, for it is prince Amin, your eldest son, who falling passionately in love with this lady from the fame of her beauty, by stratagem had her brought to his house, where he married her. As to the blows he caused to be given her, he is in some measure excusable; for the lady his spouse had been a little too easy, and the excuses she had made were calculated to lead him to believe she was more faulty than she really was. This is all I can say to satisfy your curiosity." At these words she saluted the caliph, and vanished.
The prince being filled with admiration, and having much satisfaction in the changes that had happened through his means, acted in such a manner as will perpetuate his memory to all ages. First, he sent for his son Amin, told him that he was informed of his secret marriage, and how he had ill-treated Amene upon a very slight cause. Upon this the prince did not wait for his father's commands, but received her again immediately.
After which the caliph declared that he would give his own heart and hand to Zobeide, and offered the other three sisters to the calenders, sons of sultans, who accepted them for their brides with much joy. The caliph assigned each of them a magnificent palace in the city of Bagdad, promoted them to the highest dignities of his empire, and admitted them to his councils.
The chief Cauzee of Bagdad being called, with witnesses, wrote the contracts of marriage; and the caliph in promoting by his patronage the happiness of many persons who had suffered such incredible calamities, drew a thousand blessings upon himself.
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Scott, Jonathan (1754-1829). The Arabian Nights Entertainments. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1890. 4 Volumes. Project Gutenberg.
1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM