The Arabian Nights Entertainments
The Enchanted Horse
It was the Feast of the New Year, the oldest and most splendid of all the feasts in
the Kingdom of Persia, and the day had been spent by the king in the city of
Schiraz, taking part in the magnificent spectacles prepared by his subjects to do
honour to the festival. The sun was setting, and the monarch was about to give
his court the signal to retire, when suddenly an Indian appeared before his
throne, leading a horse richly harnessed, and looking in every respect exactly like
a real one.
"Sire," said he, prostrating himself as he spoke, "although I make my appearance
so late before your Highness, I can confidently assure you that none of the
wonders you have seen during the day can be compared to this horse, if you will
deign to cast your eyes upon him."
"I see nothing in it," replied the king, "except a clever imitation of a real one; and
any skilled workman might do as much."
"Sire," returned the Indian, "it is not of his outward form that I would speak, but of
the use that I can make of him. I have only to mount him, and to wish myself in
some special place, and no matter how distant it may be, in a very few moments
I shall find myself there. It is this, Sire, that makes the horse so marvellous, and if
your Highness will allow me, you can prove it for yourself."
The King of Persia, who was interested in every thing out of the common, and
had never before come across a horse with such qualities, bade the Indian
mount the animal, and show what he could do. In an instant the man had vaulted
on his back, and inquired where the monarch wished to send him.
"Do you see that mountain?" asked the king, pointing to a huge mass that
towered into the sky about three leagues from Schiraz; "go and bring me the leaf
of a palm that grows at the foot."
The words were hardly out of the king's mouth when the Indian turned a screw
placed in the horse's neck, close to the saddle, and the animal bounded like