In his palace sat the formidable Khan Girey, angry and sad. What is sad about Girey, what is he thinking about? He does not think about the war with Russia, he is not afraid of the machinations of enemies, and his wives are loyal to him, they are guarded by a faithful and evil eunuch. The sad Girey goes to the abode of his wives, where the slaves sing a song for the glory of the beautiful Zarema, the beauty of the harem. But Zarema herself, pale and sad, does not listen to praise and is sad, because Girey stopped loving her; he fell in love with a young Mary, a recent inhabitant of a harem, who came here from her native Poland, where she was the decoration of her parents’ house and an enviable bride for many rich nobles who were looking for her hands.
The Tartar hordes that raced
There comes a sweet Crimean night, the palace fades away, the harem sleeps, but only one of the wives of Girey sleeps. She gets up and stealthily walks past the sleeping eunuch. Here she opens the door and finds herself in a room where before the face of the Blessed Virgin burns a lamp and there is an unbreakable silence. Something long forgotten moved in Zarema’s chest. She sees the sleeping princess and kneels down in front of her with entreaty. Waking up Maria asks Zarema why she was here a late guest. Zarema tells her her sad story. She does not remember how she was in Giray’s palace, but enjoyed his love unchallenged until Maria appeared in the harem. Zarema begs Maria to return her heart to Girey, his betrayal will kill her. She is threatening Mary…
Spilling his confession, Zarema disappears, leaving Maria in embarrassment and in her dreams of death, which is dearer to her than concubine Giray’s concubine.
Maria’s wishes came true, and she repaired, but Girey did not return to Zarema.