THE ENCHANTED HORSE 361
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 lightning up into the air, and was soon beyond the sight even of the sharpest eyes. In a quarter of an hour the Indian was seen returning, bearing in his hand the palm, and, guiding his horse to the foot of the throne, he dismounted, and laid the leaf before the king.
Now the monarch had no sooner proved the astonishing speed of which the horse was capable than he longed to possess it himself, and indeed, so sure was he that the Indian would be quite ready to sell it, that he looked upon it as his own already.
'I never guessed from his mere outside how valuable an animal he was,' he remarked to the Indian, ' and I am grateful to you for having shown me my error,' said he. If you will sell it, name your own price.'
' Sire,' replied the Indian, ' I never doubted that a sovereign so wise and accomplished as your Highness would do justice to my horse, when he once knew its power; and I even went so far as to think it probable that you might wish to possess it. Greatly as I prize it, I will yield it up to your Highness on one condition. The horse was not constructed by me, but it was given me by the inventor, in exchange for my only daughter, who made me take a solemn oath that I would never part with it, except for some object of equal value.'
• Name anything you like,' cried the monarch, interrupting him. ' My kingdom is large, and filled with fair