The Story Of Zobeide
The following story is one of the strangest that ever was heard. Two black dogs long dwelt with me in my house, and were very affectionately disposed towards me. These two black dogs and myself were sisters, and I shall acquaint you by what strange accident they came to be metamorphosed. After our father’s death, the estate that he left was equally divided among us. My two sisters and myself stayed with our mother, who was still alive, and when she died she left each of us a thousand sequins. As soon as we received our portions, the two elder (for I am the youngest), being married, followed their husbands and left me alone. Some time after, my eldest sister’s husband sold all that he had, and with that money and my sister’s portion they both went into Africa, where her husband, by riotous living, spent all; and finding himself reduced to poverty, he found a pretext for divorcing my sister, and sent her away.
She returned to this city, and, having suffered incredible hardships by the way, came to me in so lamentable a condition that it would have moved the hardest heart to compassion. I received her with all the tenderness she could expect, and on my inquiring into the cause of her sad condition, she told me with tears how inhumanly her husband had dealt with her. I was so much concerned at her misfortune that it drew tears from my eyes: I clothed her with my own apparel, and spoke to her thus: ‘Sister, you are the elder, and I esteem you as my mother: during your absence, God has blessed the portion that fell to my share, and the employment I follow of feeding and bringing up silk-worms. Assure yourself that there is nothing I have but is at your service, and as much at your disposal as my own.’
We lived very comfortably together for some months; and one day as we were discoursing together about our third sister, and wondering we heard no news of her, she came home in as bad a condition as the elder; her husband had treated her after the same manner: and I received her likewise with the same affection as I had done the other.
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