Amina is a scary story for kids about a man named Sidi Nouman. He marries an arab girl named Amina whose face he has never seen and, after the wedding, he discovers, to his horror, that his wife is a ghoul. It is based on an ancient Arabian folk tale called “The Tale of Sidi Nouman” from A Thousand and One Nights.
There was a young man named Sidi Nouman who came from a wealthy Muslim family. He was about to get married, but he had never met his bride. According to the customs of the time, the marriage had been arranged by his parents. In fact, he had never even seen his bride’s face. The custom was that a woman would keep her face hidden behind a veil until after the wedding. All he knew about her was that her name was Amina.
When the wedding was over and Sidi went home with his new bride in his arms, he was quivering with anticipation. In the privacy of their bedroom, Amina removed her veil. Sidi was surprised and relieved to find that she was dazzlingly beautiful. Filled with joy, he took her in his arms and hugged her tightly. And so the honeymoon began.
However, the day after the wedding, Sidi Nouman and his new wife were sitting at the dining room table. The servants had laid the table with a variety of delicious foods. However, while Sidi was gobbling his dinner down, he noticed that his wife wasn’t eating a thing.
As he watched, she pulled a small metallic case from her pocket and set it opened it. She took out a long pin and used it to daintily pick up her rice, grain by grain. After only eating a few grains of rice, Amina put the pin back in its case and excused herself from the table.
Over the next few days, whenever they ate together, Sidi noticed that his wife barely ate at all. Sometimes, she would swallow a few crumbs of bread and then sit back, claiming she was full. Her strange behavior worried him to no end.
One night, when Amina thought he was fast asleep, she slithered softly out of bed. Sidi was only pretending to be asleep and when he heard his wife rising from their bed, he became suspicious. Keeping his eyes firmly shut, he listened as she dressed quietly and crept softly out of the room.
The moment she turned her back, he got up, put on his dressing gown and followed her. Glancing out the window, he saw her leave the house and walk down the street. He ran down to the front door and followed her by the eerie light of the moon, to a nearby graveyard.
It was the middle of the night and the cemetery was deserted. Sidi concealed himself in the shadows and peered over the graveyard wall. To his surprise, Amina made her way to the center of the cemetery where she was greeted a strange man who was sitting on a crumbling tombstone. Sidi was too far away to hear what they were saying.
Together, Amina and the man dug up a fresh grave and uncovered the coffin. Sidi watched in horror as they dragged out the decomposing body, cut it into several pieces and ate it, slavering and slobbering over their sickening feast. Watching from his hiding place, Sidi shuddered at the disgusting sight of his wife devouring the rancid flesh of a corpse.
When they had finished their graveside feast, Amina and the strange man casually tossed the moldering bones back into the grave and filled it in with earth. Sickened beyond belief, Sidi fled from the cemetery. He ran back home and jumped into bed, pretending to be asleep when his wife eventually returned. Amina undressed and slipped quietly back into bed, unaware that her wretched secret had been discovered.
Sidi Nouman couldn’t sleep a wink all night and, in the morning, he left the house before Amina woke up. He went to town to consult a fortune teller and seek her advice about what he should do. He told her about his marriage to Amina, her curious eating habits and the horrible sight he witnessed in the graveyard.
“Your wife is a ghoul,” said the fortune teller. “One of those foul demons that wander about the countryside, making their lairs in deserted buildings and springing out upon unwary travelers to eat their flesh. If they cannot find live prey, they will go to the cemeteries and feed upon the dead bodies.’’
“What can I do?” Sidi begged with tears in his eyes. “Please tell me.”
The fortune teller handed him a small bottle, filled with a murky liquid.
“Take this and go home immediately,” she said. “When the time is right, throw this potion in her eyes and then you shall see what you shall see…”
When Sidi returned to the house, it was time for dinner and his wife was there to greet him. They sat at the dining table and waited as the servants placed dishes of food in front of them.
As usual, Amina produced her little metal case, took out the pin and began picking up grains of rice, one by one, and placing them in her mouth.
“What’s the matter, Amina?” said Sidi quietly. “Is there something wrong with the food?”
“No, I’m just not that hungry,” she replied.
“Perhaps there is something else you would prefer to eat,” said Sidi with a sly smile. “After all, nothing tastes sweeter than the rotting flesh of a corpse…”
No sooner had he uttered those words than Amina flew into a violent rage. Her face became purple, her eyes looked like they were going to pop out of her head and she was gnashing her teeth in anger. She leaped across the table and furiously tried to grab Sidi, but he was too quick for her.
He opened the bottle and threw the potion in her eyes. Immediately, the lovely Amina turned black in the face, her skin began to smoke and the flesh shriveled from her bones. Sidi watched in terror as his beautiful wife’s face started melting. She fell to her knees and her body disintegrated before his very eyes.
When it was over, all that was left was a puddle of thick, dark sludge where Amina had once been.