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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Let's Not Flee

A young lad worked at a palace. Over time, he fell in love with the princess. The princess, too, began to adore him. Tired of sneaking around and hiding, the princess asked him to run away with her one day. He declined, saying he was a mere servant and did not have the means to support her. She offered to support him instead on the condition he agrees.

Instead, he told her that he did not have a mule, let alone a horse, to ride on. The Princess told him that a mare had given birth in the royal stables. She suggested stealing one of the horses and fleeing. Out of excuses that he was making with a heavy heart and madly in love with a princess, the boy knew running away with her was the only way. He agreed to her suggestion.

Soon, they left under cover of the night. They rode and rode till the young horse began to take breaks. It kept lifting up one of its hind legs. The couple dismounted and gave it some time to rest.

The boy asked the princess, “What is wrong with the horse?”

“Nothing,” she replied. “His grandma had this habit of raising either of her hind legs. I assume he got it from her,” the princess told him.

After a while, they mounted again. The horse carried them obediently and quickly for a while, till it started taking breaks again. This time, it began to lift either one of his front legs. Unable to ride, the pair got off the horse once again.

“Now, what’s wrong with it? Why is it acting this way?” asked the young lad.

“His grandfather used to do this when we rode him,” the princess replied casually.

After the horse's rest, as they mounted again, ready to ride, the young lad said, “No, wait, stop.”

The Princess listened and looked at him inquisitively. “What happened?” she asked.

“Oh dear Princess, this horse has taken after its ancestors in its habits. We’re humans! What if we run today and tomorrow, and our children, or their children, do the same? How would we feel? Let me take you back home.”

The Princess nodded in agreement, and they returned to her palace.


Commentary: The narrator suggested that this tale be called a Zaantkaar. Zaantkaar is both, a fable, or someone who is known for being wise, known as "Danishwar" in Urdu.

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