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L BORAK — the name is Arabic, and means The Lightning.
And this is the story which faithful Moslems tell of
the wondrous steed.
It was midnight, thirteen hundred years ago, and
Mohammed, the prophet, lay asleep in his house in the
ancient city of Mecca. Suddenly he was roused by
hearing a loud voice crying: "Up, up, thou sleeper!
Arise and make ready for thy journey!"
Mohammed leaped to his feet and looked about him.
Before him stood a creature of dazzling radiance whom
he took to be an angel. His face was white as the
purest marble, his hair was of gold and fell in
silk-like waves about his shoulders, his wings
reflected all the colors of the rainbow, and his robes
of spotless white were embroidered with gold and
thickly set with precious gems.
Mohammed was about to speak when he saw that the angel
was holding the reins of a steed the most marvelous
that any man ever beheld.
 It appeared to be a horse,
and yet it was not like a horse. Its limbs were slender
and long, its body was strong-built and finely formed,
its coat sleek and glossy, and its mane so long that it
almost swept the ground. Its color was white,
intermingled with golden-yellow, and there was a golden
star in its forehead. Folded over its back were wings
like those of an eagle, amid the plumes of which the
lightning gleamed and flashed. Its eyes were brighter
than coals of fire, its ears were sharp-pointed and
restless, its nostrils were wide, blood-red, and
steaming. It had the face of a man, although the cheeks
of a horse, and it spoke with a human voice in the
Mohammed had no sooner seen this wonderful steed than
he was filled with a desire to mount it. But when he
reached forth his hand and made ready to spring upon
its back, it reared high in the air, and would have
struck at the prophet with its golden hoofs had not the
angel restrained it.
"Be still, Borak!" cried the latter. "Do you not know
who this is whom you oppose? It is Mohammed, the son of
Abdallah, of one of the tribes of Arabia the Happy. He
is the prophet of Allah, and it is through his
intercession only that any creature can enter
 Al Borak at once became as gentle as a lamb, and her
eyes were filled with beseeching tears as she turned to
the prophet and said:
"O thou, the most honored of
mortals, I pray thee that thou wilt intercede for me!"
"Be assured that I will," answered Mohammed; "for never
was steed more worthy of paradise than thou art!"
Then Al Borak allowed the prophet to mount upon her
back, and, rising gently from the ground, she soared
aloft above the desert sands and mountains of Arabia.
The night was dark—the darkest that any man ever
knew; and it was so still that all nature seemed
sleeping and dead.
There was no sound anywhere of stirring wind or of
rippling water. No chirp of wakeful insect, no rustle
of creeping reptile, no baying of dogs, no howling of
wild beasts among the mountains, disturbed the solemn
hour. All Arabia was silent as the grave. And Al Borak,
with face directed northward, and at a speed which
outdistanced thought, sailed noiselessly through the
Only thrice did the steed alight upon the earth—first
upon Mount Sinai, then in the village of Bethlehem, and
finally at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem. There
Mohammed dismounted, and, fastening the steed to a ring
 was attached to one of the stones of the temple,
he left her and went in. But I need not speak of what
happened to him there, nor of his further journey, nor
of whom or what he saw; for those things have naught to
do with Al Borak.
When, at length, he returned to the gate of the temple,
he found the steed in the place where he had tethered
her, and, having remounted her, he was carried in an
instant back to Mecca and set down at his own door.
Then Al Borak, having bowed low in honor of the
prophet, unfolded her wings again and soared aloft into
the upper air, never again to be seen by mortal man.
The distance from Mecca to Jerusalem is about eight
hundred miles as the crow flies, or as Al Borak flew.
And yet, although Mohammed had not stopped at
Jerusalem, but had gone some millions of miles beyond,
the whole affair was accomplished in less time than you
can think of it.
It is easy to prove that this was so. In the first
hurry of setting out, a vase of water had been
overturned by the angel's wing; but Mohammed returned
in time to catch the falling vessel before its contents
could be spilled. Could anything have been quicker? Not
even thought or a flash of light could have outsped Al