The Prince and the Dark Horse


There was once a young prince who, having reached the age of majority, left home to live on a grand estate given to him by his father. He was told that if he ever needed help he was to put a light in the uppermost tower window, and his father would send a special horse and carriage to carry him to safety.
However, his father also warned him that an evil wizard, an enemy of the kingdom, lived not too far from his new home. The prince was told to be wary when setting his signal, for this wizard would also see this light and might himself send his own horse and carriage to carry the prince off to who knows what kind of danger.


Of course, this frightened the young ruler-to-be. After all, how would he be able to tell the difference? His father assured him there was a foolproof measure. Each time, before entering the rescue carriage, he was to closely examine the horse pulling it. A light-colored horse would always take him to safety, but a dark horse would always take him to danger.
As one might imagine, many of the ordeals that come with the ruling life befell the prince, each one causing him to put a light in the window. And for many months, because he was in such a rush to escape his castle when he felt in danger, he failed to heed his father’s warning; time and time again he neglected to examine the horse that came to get him. As a result he often found himself on one painful wild ride after another where, too late, he realized his inattentiveness was causing him as much distress as the condition he was trying to escape.
Eventually, he found the presence of mind-before he would get into the carriage that had come for him-to see if the horse pulling it had been sent by the evil wizard or by his father.


Reflection Questions
  • When you feel scared or distressed, who or what is your ‘dark horse’?
  • What usually happens to you (internally or externally) when you go with that ‘dark horse’?
  • Imagine that every time you instead choose to go with the ‘white horse.’ How might your life look and feel differently?


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