Many people are familiar with Walter Farley’s series The Black Stallion. Perhaps even reading the first book in this children’s series, the question was raised: how did the Black come to be on the ship in the first place? Written with his third child Steven, Walter explores the origin of the young black stallion named Shêtan.
Bred for great things, it seems that the Arab sheik who has bred Shêtan has to work hard to keep him. Not only is a rival tribe out to secure him, but a wealthy Arab that now lives in Europe sees the value in owning him – however that may come about. And so starts a battle to capture and keep the young black stallion. This horse appears to be far superior to any of his paddock mates.
Set in the high mountains of Arabia, Shêtan finds his usual life of eating, drinking, playing and sleeping with paddock mates rudely interrupted one day. A raiding party is there to secure the black colt. Wary of humans, Shêtan runs until he can do so no longer. It is then that he turns on the men who are trying to secure him.
A pawn in a battle between two strong sheiks, young Rashid finds himself suddenly abandoned. This is even though he was taken on to track the horse. Knowing if he is found by those that cared for Shêtan, that he will be killed, Rashid escapes on foot. He believes all he can do is head for his home in the desert. And so starts a long, lonely journey.
The Young Black Stallion is told from the point of view of Rashid and Shêtan as they work to survive on their own in the wilderness of Arabia. A battle to get away from those chasing him and to find enough food to survive leads Shêtan many miles. Eager to get home – but not to be spied by those who left him for dead – Rashid has to often retrace his steps and find another way out of the mountains.
The Young Black Stallion is an interesting read that throws a new element into the Black’s life before he knew Alec Ramsay. It also highlights the incredible bond that develops between the boy and the stallion, considering his previous handling. This book is the start to the young black stallion series by Steven Farley.