' MOTI' 147
buy him off nor soldiers enough to fight him—what was he to do ?
' If that is all, don't you trouble,' said Moti. ' Turn out your men, and I'll go with them, and we'll soon bring this robber to reason.'
The king began to revive at these hopeful words, and took Moti off to his stable where he bade him choose for himself any horse he liked. There were plenty of fine horses in the stalls, but to the king's astonishment Moti chose a poor little rat of a pony that was used to carry grass and water for the rest of the stable.
' But why do you choose that beast ? ' said the king.
' Well, you see, your majesty,' replied Moti, ' there are so many chances that I may fall off, and if I choose one of your fine big horses I shall have so far to fall that I shall probably break my leg or my arm, if not my neck, but if I fall off this little beast I can't hurt myself much.'
A very comical sight was Moti when he rode out to the war. The only weapon he carried was his staff, and to help him to keep his balance on horseback he had tied to each of his ankles a big stone that nearly touched the ground as he sat astride the Uttle pony. The rest of the king's cavalry were not very numerous, but they pranced along in armour on fine horses. Behind them came a great rabble of men on foot armed with all sorts of weapons, and last of all was the king with his attendants, very nervous and ill at ease. So the army started.
They had not very far to go, but Moti's little pony,
weighted with a heavy man and two big rocks, soon
began to lag behind the cavalry, and would have lagged
behind the infantry too, only they were not very anxious
to be too early in the fight, and hung back so as to
give Moti plenty of time. The young man jogged along
more and more slowly for some time, until at last,
getting impatient at the slowness of the pony, he gave