Origin of the Arab Horse

Origin of the Arab Horse
by Abdelkader El Djezairi, translated by Eugene Dumas

Letter to General E. Dumas, reproduced in his 1857 The Horses of the Sahara, and later quoted in the Popular Science.

—— Origin of the Arab Horse.—Letter of the Emir Abd-el-Kader, from "The Horses of the Sahara," by General E. Dumas, 1857:

"Praise be to the one God!

"To him who remains ever the same amid the revolutions of this world:

"To our friend General Dumas.

"Peace be with you, through the mercy and blessing of Allah, on the part of the writer of this letter, on that of his mother, his children, their mother, of all the members of his family and of all his associates.

"To proceed: I have read your questions, I address to you my answers.

"You ask me for information as to the origin of the Arab horse. You are like unto a fissure in a land dried up by the sun, and which no amount of rain, however abundant, will ever be able to satisfy.

"Nevertheless, to quench, if possible, your thirst (for knowledge), I will this time go back to the very head of the fountain. The stream is there always the freshest and most pure.

"Know, then, that among us it is admitted that Allah created the horse out of the wind, as he created Adam out of mud.

"This can not be questioned. Several prophets—peace be with them!—have proclaimed what follows:

"When Allah willed to create the horse, he said to the south wind:

"'I will that a creature should proceed from thee—condense thyself!' and the wind condensed itself. Then came the angel Gabriel, and he took a handful of this matter and presented it to Allah, who formed of it a dark bay or a dark chestnut horse (koummite—red mingled with black), saying:

"'I have called thee horse (frass); I have created the Arab, and I have bestowed Upon thee the color koummite. I have attached good fortune to the hair that falls between thy eyes. Thou shalt be the lord (sid) of all other animals. Men shall follow thee wheresoever thou goest. Good for pursuit as for flight, thou shalt fly without wings. Upon thy back shall riches repose, and through thy means shall wealth come.'

"Then he signed him with the sign of glory and of good fortune (ghora, a star in the middle of the forehead)." <section end="horse">

—— Carlyle on Liberty-Caroline Fox, in her "Memories of Old Friends," gives a vivid sketch of her last meeting with Carlyle, whose "look and most of his talk were so dreary," at Mentone. After railing "at the accursed train, with its devilish howls and yells, driving one distracted," Carlyle went on: "Oh! this cry for liberty! liberty! which is just liberty to do the devil's work, instead of binding him with ten thousand bands just going the way of France and America, and that sort of places. Why, it is all going down-hill as fast as it can go, and of no significance to me I have done with it. I can take no interest in it at all, nor feel any sort of hope for the country. It is not the liberty to keep the ten commandments that they are crying out for that used to be enough for the genuine man but liberty to carry out their own prosperity, as they call it. And so there is no longer anything genuine to be found. It is all shoddy. Go into any shop you will, and ask for any article, and ye'll find it all one enormous lie. The country is going to perdition at a frightful pace. I give it about fifty years yet to accomplish its fall."