Tonight we read the story of The Magic Horse in Tenggren’s Golden Tales from the Arabian Nights.
My son had many questions about the magic flying horse in this story. He wanted to know why the flying horse had no wings. I said that I was not sure why the flying horse had no wings but that it made sense that a flying horse would have wings. My son wanted to know how the horse was flying – if it was from magic or powers from Allah (s). My son said that magic is fake so the flying must come from real power even though the flying horse came from a magician. My son could not understand how a horse could fly from fake magic. I said this was a good question. My son asked if Allah (s) and his prophets, saints and shaykhs can do real magic and I said yes of a sort but that this is rare now and not in the open.
My son wanted to know why the king in the story thought that the horse was a toy. I explained that when the horse was not flying it looked just like a toy wood horse.
Scene: in the story the magical horse landed on the roof of the palace.
The magician that brought the magic horse to the king wanted to marry the princess but she did not like the magician. My son asked why she did not like him and I explained that the magician had an angry face. My son asked why the magician wanted to marry the princess. I said probably because she was rich and beautiful.
In the story the prince wanted to save his sister from the magician so the magician sent the prince away on the flying horse. My son wanted to know why the magician wanted the prince to go away. I said that I was not sure but the prince was smart and maybe the magician was afraid that the prince would ruin his scheme to marry the princess.
When the prince took off on the magic horse my son was very concerned about how the prince and the horse were going to come back down again. He was relieved when the prince figured out how to bring the horse down.
When the prince flew away the king got upset and put the magician in prison and my son wanted to know why. I said the king was worried because the prince did not come back. After we learned that the prince arrived at a palace and agreeed to fight for the hand of the princess he finds there but then he and the princess fly away on the horse before anyone gets hurt. My son wanted to know why the prince agreed to fight for her. I said that he wanted to marry the princess so he had to prove he was worthy of her. My son wanted to know if the prince would die if he lost the fight and I said yes he probably would. I asked my son if it was brave of the prince to fight for the princess and he said yes.
My son wanted to know why the king and father of the princess had funny clothes and I said that they were his pajamas.
Please share your ideas for teaching children about the literature of the Muslim world.