The Emperor buried me when he was young, and forgot all about me.
But his old nurse didn’t. When the Emperor’s third son went looking for a truly good horse, she told him to go and fetch a scrap from my old reins. She sprinkled them with incense, and instructed the young man to strike them violently against the pillars of the house.
Instantly, I was reconstituted. I stood before him wearing my saddle of gold and precious stones.
Then I spoke: “Sit firmly in the saddle, my lord, for we have a long way to go and no time to waste.”
We rode out to meet a twelve-headed dragon on the bridge at the border of the empire. We made it safely to other side of the bridge, and the lad looked back to his native land. For one moment he was wistful. Then he set his resolve on moving forward.
I asked him: “At what speed do you wish to go, my lord? Like the wind? Like thought? Like desire, or like a curse?”
The young man (whose name was Petru) looked around him in every direction. A desert spread out before us so vast that it made his hair stand on end. “We will ride at different speeds,” he said. “Not so fast as to grow tired nor so slow as to waste time.”
Horse Resurrected in The Fairy of the Dawn, Violet Fairy Book. Picture by Elaine Genest.