Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Ebony

Ebony is a kind of wood known for its shining black color. Because we already used B for Blue. Also, ebony sounds better!

And with this letter we return once again to the palace of Bahram Gur, the Persian King with the Seven Wise Princesses. After visiting the Turquoise Pavilion in B for Blue, we no visit the Black Pavilion of the Ebony Princess.
The Ebony Princess is from India. She tells a tale about a king who comes across a town during his travels, a town where everyone is dressed all in black, but no one is willing to tell him why. Finally, after spending a year there and gaining the trust of a butcher, he is show in secret to the ruins outside the city, from where he is transported to the realm of the fairies. There he falls in love (or, rather, desire) for the fairy queen, but is refused; when he finally tries to force himself on her, he gets kicked out, returns to the city, and dresses all in black in mourning for his stupidity (poetically called "unrequited love").

A less rape-y and more delightful tale, one of my favorites, is that of the Ebony Horse from the Arabian Nights. It is about a Persian magician that invents a mechanical flying horse, just to have it stolen by the king's son, who goes on all kinds of adventures before he learns how to steer the creature. I also included this tale under Technomancy in my book, Tales of Superhuman Powers (a collection of folktales with superpowers in them). A lot of fun to tell.

(Incidentally, the Ebony Horse is also a Magic: The Gathering card, from the time they did an Arabian Nights run)


  1. Good for the fairy queen throwing him out! the Ebony Horse sounds like fun if you don't care where you're going next. :)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
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  2. These are really interesting stories and freakin' shame on the King! Fairy Queen for the win!

  3. Loved the rhyming introduction to E! The story of Ebony princess and the ebony horse I had been read out to as kid! Thanks for rekindling those memories

  4. Wow!! A very interesting article!! Good on the Queen!

  5. I love your posts! The stories are fabulous and I love the color education! Feel free to come visit me at (I couldn't find a place here at your post to sign with my blog address so including it in my comment). Thanks for a great theme. I'm enjoying visiting everyday!

  6. Thank you for the beautiful integration of color and fairy tales.
    Never heard of the Ebony Horse.

    So nice to meet you through A to Z


  7. These are some wonderful stories. I like that "poetically called unrequited love" reference!

  8. I enjoyed this post. Your theme is very unique and fascinating. The Ebony Horse MTG card was a nice touch :)

    The Pedestrian Writer visiting from the A to Z blogging challenge

  9. Very interesting! I love folktales and fairy tales. They didn't try to be "politically correct" when those were written.

  10. Fairy tales inspire me in my writing, and I love folklore and mythology, so this post was very interesting to me. I especially found the tale of The Ebony Princess fascinating. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Glad to see that the idea of "unrequited love" has evolved to mean something more than just "unsuccessful date rape" over the centuries!

    The Ebony Horse intrigues me. Love the idea of an ancient flying horse machine.

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  12. Great stories thanks for writing and posting them for us to read.

  13. Love the stories! I've always thought of ebony as a more beautiful type of black. I don't know why; it just sounds regal to me.

  14. so glad I called in here on my A-Z exploration'

  15. Oh dear, the king was something of an idiot wasn't he. I like the idea of a mechanical flying horse :).
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
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  16. Good on the fairy queen! A mechanical horse sounds fascinating. And "ebony" does sound better than "black." :)

  17. Ebony conjures the idea of "richness" whereas black sounds harsh...
    And good for the fairy queen!