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Story No 45-1/2

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45-1 - The Enchanted Horse (1 of 2) :
The Flying Horse Takes the Prince Away

The Navarooz, the New Year's day, is a day for a great feast in Persia from the time of idolatry, but the rejoicing is the most extraordinary at the court only where Kings and strangers are invited from neighboring countries to show their wonders. On one of these feasts many entertainers came to Shiraaz entertained the King and were given merit for their entertainment. As the assembly was breaking up, an Indian appeared with a wooden horse looking so real that people mistook it for a real horse.

He greeted the King and said - "I want to show you something so wonderful which you have not seen so far." The King said - "I see nothing other than the horse and any workman can make it better than this one." The man said - "Sir it is not about its outer appearance I am talking about; I am talking about its use. It can fly in the air in a very short time. This is the wonder I am talking about and I want to show you this if you permit me to do so." The King was very adventurous so he told him that he would like to see it with his own eyes. The man mounted the horse and asked the King where he wanted him to go. About three leagues away there was a mountain which could be seen from the palace. King showed him that mountain and asked him to go there and since he would not be able to see him himself, so he asked him to bring back a branch of a palm tree which grew in the foothills of that mountain only.

The man turned a peg fit into the horse's neck and in an instant the horse rose and took the rider to the top of the mountain; and within 15 minutes the man came back carrying the branch of the palm tree in his hand. He gave that branch to the King. The King was very impressed and wanted that horse for himself, so he asked him if it was for sale. The man said - "I had no doubt in my mind that Your Majesty will put the price as soon as he will see this horse. I have a request which you may approve. In fact I have not bought this horse, but got it from its inventor by marrying my daughter to him. He requested me never to sell it, but if I parted with it then I should have something in exchange of it."

The King said - "I have a large kingdom, I can give you whatever you like." The man said - "Please forgive me, although I do not want to sell it, still I can give it to you if you marry your Princess to me." All the courtiers broke into laughter, but the King's son Firoz Shaah didn't like it, but the King didn't mind it,  and he was still undetermined about what to do. The Prince thinking lest his father agrees with the man, spoke to him - "Father, Think first logically then decide." The King said - "I appreciate your ideas but you are not considering its excellence; and if I will not buy it, he will give it to somebody else which will put me in an awkward situation, because I can afford it. I may make another agreement, but before I start bargaining with him, you try this horse yourself and give me your opinion about it."

The man helped the Prince to mount the horse and told him how to manipulate it. But the Prince mounted it without the man's assistance and turned the peg which he saw the man handling. Immediately the horse rose and started flying. The man got alarmed seeing this. He immediately prostrated before the King and said - "Your Majesty himself saw what happened, the Prince was in so much hurry that he did not hear my instructions fully. Now he does not know how to bring it back, therefore I ask a favor Your Majesty, that I should not be held responsible for any accident, if it happens."

The King got worried hearing this and asked him that why didn't he call him back if he saw him in danger? The man said - "Your Majesty himself saw the swiftness of the horse. Even if I called him he could not hear me, because he had already gone too far from us. But Sir, there is a room of hope, that if the Prince finds himself in a loss and check the horse here and there, he may find another peg to come back." But all this could not satisfy the King. He again said - "Lest the horse may fall on the rock or the sea." The man said - "I assure you for this that it will never fall down in the sea or on rock, and it will take the rider wherever he has in mind to go." The King said - "I am not satisfied with your answers. If my son does not return in three days time or I hear that he is safe and alive, I will cut your head." He asked his people to imprison the man.

In the meantime, the horse flew so high that the Prince could not make out any thing on the earth. He got confused and thought to come back to the same place where he came from. He twisted the peg in reverse order but the horse continuously rose higher and higher. He was not able to bring it back. Now he realized his mistake that he didn't listen to that man carefully. He immediately thought about the danger he was in but this did not deprive him with reason, so he again started looking for anything else. Soon he found another peg, smaller and less visible, behind its right ear. He turned the peg and noticed that he was descending with less speed than the one he went up.

Night had fallen on that part of the earth on which he was descending now. He was careful for not being descending in a river, desert or sea. At last the Prince dismounted the horse at midnight weary, tired and hungry. He found himself on the terrace of a magnificent palace. He saw a staircase going downward, so he climbed down those stairs and came into a big hall. He saw black servants and naked sabres sleeping near them. he thought that it should be the room of a guard for some Princess.

There was another room whose door was open. He went into that room and he saw a Princess sleeping on a bed. The Prince immediately fell in love with her, so he awoke her softly and the Princess immediately woke up. She asked him what the matter was. The Prince said - "I am in danger. Yesterday I was in Persia and now I am in a strange country." The Princess was the Princess of Bangaal, the eldest daughter of its King. She said - "You are not in a barbarous country. This is the kingdom of Bangaal, and the whole kingdom gives you the protection. I would wish to know that how have you come here from such a far country? And how did you enter my room without being seen by my guards? But I think first you need some refreshment." She called her maids and they took him to another room and gave him some nice food.

When the maids had finished their work, they came again to the Princess' room. The Princess asked them what did they think about the Prince. They said - "You are very fortunate that such an amiable Prince has come to you. If the King agrees, you marry him; because there is none like him in the whole kingdom of Bangaal." Next day, the Princess woke up early, got ready and sent her maids to check whether the Prince of Persia was up, and if he was then the Princess wanted to visit him. The Prince said - "As the Princess thinks fit." The Princess came there asked him about his adventure. The Prince told her everything from the beginning.

For two months the Prince lived there as a guest of the Princess of Bangaal as if he had nothing else to do except passing his time there. After that he asked her leave and promised her to come back to marry her. He said - "I am not a false lover." And if she is not offended, he would ask her father to marry her even now and take her to his country. The Princess consented. The only difficulty was that he did not know how to manage the horse well.

Next day, the Prince came on the terrace. He mounted the horse, let the Princess also sit behind him. He asked her to hold him tightly. He twisted the peg, the horse rose and in two hours time he found his kingdom. He dismounted from the horse not at the palace but a little far from the town. He kept the Princess in a beautiful apartment and asked her to wait for him till he informed his father of his coming back. He took a real horse and rode to his palace. When he was going on the streets, people were very happy to see him again.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 09/19/13