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The Adventures of Arab

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   Author:  Louis Slobodkin
Copyright Date:  1946
Publisher:  Vanguard
Pagination:  123, [5] p.
Dedication:  to Florence,
Michael and Larry's Mother

     In a far corner of the park there was once a fine old merry-go-round. It was an all-horse merry-go-round. That is to say, there were no swan boats, flowered sleds, or anything like that to ride on. Only horses! Beautiful prancing horses who not only went round and round with the music that came from the center of the merry-go-round! All these horses pranced round and round, up and down, round and round, and up and down.
     Now you can easily understand why all the children who came to the park every sunny day always had to ride on the merry-go-round at least once, and some twice—and I’ve heard of boys who had even three rides on the horses on the same day!
     Mr. Timothy was the old man who sold and collected tickets and took care of all the horses on the merry-go-round. The children never called the merry-go-round a merry-go-round. They would say as they walked through the park, “We’re going to ride on Mr. Timothy’s horses.” And that’s what they called the merry-go-round, Mr. Timothy’s horses.

     Mr. Timothy was a kindly man and he hated to see the children going home disappointed. One early spring day while the children were still going to school and it was too cold to come to the park, Mr. Timothy moved the twelve horses a little closer together on the merry-go-round and brought in a beautiful spirited horse and set him up in the empty space. And since my story is about that horse and not so much about all the others I’ll tell you his name. It was Arab. That was the name that was painted in fine scrolly gold letters on his bridle and his bright red saddle.
     Arab became the favorite with all the children. And, though they still waited in line to ride on the merry-go-round, they would not go home feeling too bad if they hadn’t had a chance to ride, because it was a joy just to look at Arab. He’d prance so gaily as he swung round and round! Arab seemed to go swifter, as he went round and round, than all the other horses, and he easily jumped twice as high as he went up and down.
     But Arab was not happy, and the only one who knew his secret was an old coach horse whose master, Mr. Bill, usually stopped and talked to Mr. Timothy in the early morning when children were just drinking their orange juice.
     The old coach horse naturally had old horse sense. He knew there was something different about Arab and, as he stood nibbling the grass along the path one morning, he heard a deep sigh like the sound the wind makes going through the treetops. The old horse lifted his head and looked toward the merry-go-round. Again he heard the sighing voice:
“Heavy is the burden, sad my lot.
  Mayhap it’s Fate ...”
     “And maybe it’s not,” said the old coach horse, completing the rhyme.
     Arab, for it was he who had begun the old Arabian poem, said in a low voice, “Salaam, Old One. How is it that you know Horse Arabic, the language of my homeland, and the poetry of its sages?” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Author’s dedication sketch
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To Brave George

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