Balazar and the Little Horse [1]



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Simon E. Phipp
Created On 20 April 2000
Last Updated On 20 April 2000
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2000

Balazar and his two brothers followed the Emperor's Son into Votankiland where they watched the new farmers settle the land. All went well until the farmers discovered that a thief had been stealing their wheat from the fields. The Emperor's Son ordered Balazar's eldest brother to watch the fields, but his love of ale meant that he drank as he waited and soon fell asleep. In the morning, the farmers found that more wheat had been taken, but Balazar's eldest brother said he had seen nothing. The next night, Balazar's elder brother took watch, but he was a glutton and feasted as he waited, soon falling asleep. Once again, the farmers despaired for all their wheat was being eaten, so the Emperor's Son ordered Balazar to watch the fields. Neither a drunkard nor a glutton, Balazar kept watch and saw a beautiful golden-eyed white mare, shining like starlight, leap into the fields and eat the fresh wheat. Balazar jumped onto her back and she fled, running through woods, along rivers and over hills, but Balazar never let go. Eventually, the mare stopped and promised Balazar that if he let her go, she would give him three foals, the third of which would serve him forever and that she would no longer steal the farmer's wheat. Balazar agreed and dismounted. The mare rolled in a shallow pond and produced a pale, golden-eyed colt, then she rolled in the dew and produced another golden-eyed colt, finally she rolled in the dark earth and gave Balazar a small, shaggy pony [2]. As Balazar returned to the field, the three horses grew to full size.

Balazar's two brothers saw the horses and demanded the golden-eyes as gifts as they were his elders. They then gave the horses to the Emperor's Son as a gift, but the horses soon escaped and ran back to Balazar. The Emperor's Son called Balazar to him and asked him for the horses, in return for which he would make Balazar Master of his Horses. Balazar agreed, but his brothers were jealous and plotted his downfall. They told the Emperor's Son that Balazar had said that nothing was beyond him, why he could even bring the Emperor's Son the Golden Sow with the Silver Tusks [3]. The Emperor's Son called Balazar to him and ordered him to bring the Golden Sow with the Silver Tusks or forfeit his life.

Balazar did not know what to do, but the little pony spoke to him and told him to collect bags of golden wheat and silver barley and twenty silken nooses and ride him to the South. This Balazar did and rode to the far coast where the Golden Sow with the Silver Tusks lived, the little pony rode across hills and rivers, through forests and over mountains until he reached the Southern Coast. They stopped in an oaken forest where the Sow with the Golden Bristles and Silver Tusks came to eat each morning. The little pony said to scatter the wheat in one place and the barley in another and lie in wait, for the Sow would eat the wheat and her sucklings would eat the barley, so he could capture the sucklings and tame the Sow. This Balazar did, and as the pony had said, the Sow went to eat the wheat and the sucklings came to eat the barley. Balazar caught each of the sucklings and tied them to the little pony with the silken nooses. When the Sow saw him, she bellowed a challenge and ran towards him, but Balazar mounted the little pony and rode back to Votankiland where he locked the Sow and the sucklings in a sty. When the Emperor's Son returned, Balazar gave him the Sow with the Golden Bristles and Silver Tusks, but gave one of the sucklings to each of the clans of the Votanki, some of which kept the sucklings and raised pigs afterwards, others released the sucklings into the woods of Votankiland where they have hunted boars ever since.

Balazar's brothers were even more jealous and told the Emperor's Son that Balazar had said that capturing the Sow with the Golden Bristles and the Silver Tusks was a simple task that a child could do and that he could capture the Fiery mare with the Seven manes and her seven flesh-eating stallions that lived in a green valley between the Crystal Hills in the mountains that lie between Pent and Valind's Glacier. The Emperor's Son called Balazar to him and said that if he did not bring the Mare with the Seven manes and the Seven flesh-eating stallions then he would feed Balazar to the crows.

Balazar came to the little pony and told him what the Emperor's Son had said. The little pony said to find the skin of a horse, a silken bridle and a 12 stone hammer from Greatway. This Balazar did and he mounted the little pony and they rode across the lands of the Votanki and the plains of Pent until they reached the mountains and found the Crystal Hills. The little pony then asked Balazar to dress him in the horse skin and wait while he approached the mare. Once the mare attacked him, he said to strike her between the eyes to stun her, then to lead her away with the silken bridle. This Balazar did and when the mare attacked the little pony, Balazar struck her between the eyes and stunned her, then put the silken bridle on her and led her away. The Seven flesh-eating stallions saw her and chased after her, but when she seemed docile, they calmed down and followed her. Later that day, Balazar gave the Mare with the Seven manes and her Seven flesh-eating Stallions to the Emperor's Son as a gift.

Balazar's brothers were now furious and told the Emperor's Son that Balazar had said he was tired of childish tasks and he could bring the Queen of Beasts [4], daughter of the Earth King to the Emperor's Son as a bride. The Emperor's Son called Balazar to him and said that he had desired the Queen of Beasts, daughter of the Earth King for many years and that if Balazar did not bring her to him then his body would be feeding the pigs in the field.

Balazar told the little pony what the Emperor's Son had said, and the little pony told him to bring a silken tent, a silken tablecloth and cushions embroidered with gold, golden tentpoles, all kinds of sweetmeats and a silken rope. Balazar did this and rode the little pony to the wilds of Votankiland where the Queen of Beasts ran naked. He set up the tent, arranged the sweetmeats and cushions on the tablecloth and lay beside the tent, looking through a little hole. When the Queen of Beasts saw the tent, she ran inside and began to feast, but Balazar was so taken with her beauty that he sat in stunned silence, watching her every movement, and forgot to use the silken rope, so the Queen of Beasts left unmolested. The little pony told him not to despair but to put the tent in a different place and try again the next day, but if he failed this time, the trick would not work again. Once again, Balazar set up the tent, the cushions and the sweetmeats and waited for the Queen of Beasts to appear. Once she started to feast, he was stunned again, but the little pony kicked him in the rear and he burst into the tent and overpowered her, binding her with the silken rope. As they wrestled, Balazar felt himself fall in love with her, but he returned to the Emperor's Son as promised.

When the Emperor's Son saw the Queen of beasts, he was overcome with lust and drooled on his chin. The Queen of Beasts said that she was the daughter of the Earth King and would not marry a grey-haired dotard, unless he grew young again. "How is such a thing possible?" said the Emperor's Son, and the Queen of Beasts said to prepare three large tubs in the street, one of boiling milk, one of boiling water and one of ice-cold water, then to bathe naked in the milk, the boiling water and the cold water, then he would be young again. The tubs were prepared and the Emperor's Son was about to bathe, when Balazar's brothers warned him to beware of Balazar's tricks and said for him to try the tubs, lest he be scalded. The Emperor's Son agreed and called Balazar to him and ordered him to bathe first. As Balazar undressed, the little pony said not to fear and ran three times around each tub, nine times in all. Balazar bathed in the tub of boiling milk and his skin became as fair as starlight and beautiful to behold. He then bathed in the boiling water and all his tiredness and cares left him. Finally, he bathed in the ice-cold water and emerged glowing like an angel and nobody had seen fairer. The Emperor's Son cried out and leapt into the boiling milk and was scalded to death.

Balazar married the Queen of Beasts, daughter of the Earth King, and she gave him three children, two hot-blooded sons and a cold-blooded daughter.

Notes

[1] This is loosely based on the Russina folktale "The Little Humpbacked Horse"

[2] The small, shaggy pony is the natural Votanki horse, found in the Elder Wilds.

[3]] A daughter of Mralot in the south, this is the source of the idol obtained by Balazar.

[4] Genert's daughter and Earth Nymph, Rigitania.

[End]