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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the unparalleled value of an arab horse

From a 19th-c collection of horse anecdotes comes this noble, soulful story of an Arabian horse and the owner who could not part with her:

* * *
So strong is the attachment that the Arab sometimes forms for his horse, that death alone can separate them. The whole property of a native of the desert consisted of a beautiful mare, which the French consul, it is said, wished to purchase for his master, Louis XIV. The Arab, pressed by want, long hesitated, but at length consented to part with her for a very high price, which he named. The Consul receiving authority to close with the terms, immediately informed the owner. The Arab, who had scarcely a rag to cover him, arrived, mounted on his mare: he alighted, and looking first at the gold, and then at his faithful and much valued servant, heaved a deep sigh. " To whom is it," exclaimed he in an agony, " that I am going to yield thee up! To Europeans, who will tie thee close, who will beat thee, who will render thee miserable! Return with me, my beauty! my jewel! and rejoice the hearts of my children!" With these words, he sprang on her back, and was out of sight almost in a moment.

So tender is the Arab of his horse, that he will seldom beat or spur him ; and in consequence of this humane treatment, the animal considers itself as one of the family, and will allow the children to play round it, and to fondle it like a dog.
* * *
That flavor of Western patronization is inescapable when you're reading in the time period. Still, I find this tale moves me greatly. Found in The Wonders of the Horse: recorded in anecdotes, and interspersed with poetry (New York: Mahlon Day, 1836), p. 102.


Katnip Lounge said...

I think you might enjoy the works of Henry Rider Haggard--he wrote "King Solomon's Mines", and much, much more. I just downloaded an omnibus onto my Kindle and it's like a pound of chocolate, his writing is so good.
What made me think of this is the prose in today's post!

curator said...

Really! Didn't he write "SHE Who Must Be Obeyed"? And you like your Kindle? I'm starting to work on creating eBooks and heard making Kindle eBooks was certainly doable.