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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Desert Prince

If you are reading this blog, I strongly suspect you have read this book:
Just a look at the cover brings a lump to my throat. I remember that I didn't quite get the story when I was small, not understanding why people couldn't see the worth of the little stallion; I don't think I even realized that he was, in fact, an Arabian. I was also confused by the part when Sham is banished to the moor after "beating up" Hobgoblin. I knew that was bad of him, but I didn't grasp what had really happened, i.e. that he had bred a mare when he wasn't supposed to (a precocious reader, I hadn't been told the "facts of life" yet when I first picked up this book).

What I did understand and felt deeply was the unbreakable bond between Agba, the mute "horse boy," and Sham. How I longed to be entrusted with the care of my own horse who I would also adore to the end of its life!

"... and the little brown horse boy who loved him."

This memorized final line from "King of the Wind" says it all to me, right there. That one, and the last line of "Black Gold," just Tear. Me. Up. Yes, still, at my advanced age. Want to see me cry? Make me read a horse or a dog story, even one that I've already read a dozen times.

This afternoon I stumbled across an article on the Sports Illustrated website that just blew me away. I don't even remember what I was Googling - something horse-related, obviously - and along came this absolute gem from 1961. Apparently there are many versions of the "true story" behind "King of the Wind," but this one has to be the most beautiful. For your reading pleasure, here is the magnificent tale, as related by a truly gifted writer:
A portrait of "Scham"
A little more Googling turned up this also-fascinating post:

I am especially touched to see the Godolphin Arabian's final resting place:
I prefer Maurice Druon's version, though. As SI says, leave it to a Frenchman to tell the story with the "special accent of romantic love!"


  1. That was my favorite book growing up. I loved all of Maguerite Henry's books but King of the Wind the most.

  2. I loved that book as well, although I was more into the Black Stallion series.

  3. I loved her books! King of the Wind was good but my favorite had to be the Justin Morgan one.


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