2E. The Tale of the Portress

The rich portress is trapped into a marriage. However, she loves her husband upon seeing him. One day she wants to go to the bazar and he consents. A market seller doesn’t want to sell his things for money but a kiss. She is tricked and he bites her. When her husband finds out and initially wants to kill her, but in the end ‘just’ beats her. The portress goes to her home, but when she returns to her husband’s house, it desolated and in ruins. Shethen moves in with her half sister and this is the house where the porter came.

The portress has inherited a large some of money from her father. Later she marries a rich man but he dies after a year and she inherits even more money. One day an old lady comes along and tells her she´s got no money to buy clothes for her daughter’s wedding (for the ‘displaying’). She pities the woman and says she will come to her house (“hearing is consenting”). When she is at the house it has all been a trick by the old woman, because her brother loves her very much. The portress finds herself trapped but says “hearing is consenting”. But when she sees the man she falls in love. He makes her swear by the Koran that she would never look at any other man than himself nor incline her body or her heart to anyone. She does so.

One day the portress wants to go to the Bazar to buy things. Her husband consents. When she wants to buy some things at a market stand the seller doesn’t want to ask money for the things but a kiss. At first the portress declines, but the old lady keeps telling her it can’t do her that much wrong. Finally she gives in, but instead of a kiss, he bites her (a sign that he owns the lady). At home the portress tries to hide the wound but she doesn’t succeed. Her husband wants to have her killed, but after pleas of the old lady and he beats the portress and he sends her away instead of killing her.

She goes to her own house, but one day she returns to the house of her husband and finds it in ruins and doesn’t know why. She then meets her half-sister on her father’s side and enters her house. She then relates to the story of the porter, the three Kalandars and the two merchants.

Upon hearing these stories the Caliph asks how to contact the Ifritah. It is told to him (some of her hairs need to be burnt) and the Ifritah appears. He wants the sisters to be transformed back into people. She does because the Caliph is a Commander of the Faithful. She also tells the Caliph that the husband who beat the portress is his son. However, he cannot be blamed for his deed because he let her swear an oath. The son is called and he tells the whole story. They are rejoined in marriage and bestowed riches from the Caliph.

After this story, Dunyazad wants to have another story and the Kings consents.

From The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 01

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