Dark and Beautiful: Saudi Arabia - Origins of the Magic Carpet Stories©
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
Join us as we discover the origins of the magic carpet - it's weaver made a wish before it sent the Magic Carpet on its journey - with "the wings of an Arabian stallion" to circle the Earth.
A Bedouin story states that Allah created the Arabian horse from the south wind and exclaimed, "I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle. On thy back, I set a rich spoil and a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth... I give thee flight without wings." Other versions of the story claim Allah said to the South Wind: "I want to make a creature out of you. Condense." Then from the material condensed from the wind, he made a kamayt-colored animal (a bay or burnt chestnut) and said: "I call you Horse; I make you Arabian and I give you the chestnut color of the ant; I have hung happiness from the forelock which hangs between your eyes; you shall be the Lord of the other animals. Men shall follow you wherever you go; you shall be as good for flight as for pursuit; you shall fly without wings; riches shall be on your back and fortune shall come through your meditation."1
The weaver, Kirti lived in the desert with her aunt and uncle who were part of a Bedouin tribe near the Southern Arabian desert. In the mornings, she would stand outside her family's tent and watch the sun rise in soft pink and orange hues over the desert. The silence broken only by the creaking of a rusty water well visible off in the distance. Her younger brother arrived with the water, singing the entire way. Kirti took the water bucket from her brother Ahib and slowly filled her own basin with the clear, cool liquid that came from deep beneath the desert sand. Their horses neighed quietly from the other side of the tent. Kirti's aunt and uncle were horse breeders who had been breeding Arabian horses for as long as they could remember. They kept a few mares in their tents with them, and the stallions were put out to pasture at night except for one. Kirti's family kept their black Arabian stallion Sattar inside their tent near the mares.
Kirti was a skilled weaver of carpets, tents, saddlebags, and tapestries of all kinds. Kirti had been weaving since she was ten. Her grandmother taught her the way of the loom before she passed away, and Kirti had learned the rest on her own. Her own Bedouin people and others from outside tribes often commissioned her to weave for them. Kirti was asked to weave anything from a carpet for a new father-in-law, a saddle blanket for a prized mare, or a special tapestry to hang inside the royal tent. Kirti's specialty were tapestries woven from silk and the wool she obtained from the sheep her family traded with neighboring tribes. Kirti had weaved all the saddlebags for her family's Arabian horses in matching reds and yellows, like the desert sunset.
One night under her tent Kirti dreamed of her future fiancée. He was riding a black Arabian stallion in the starry night sky, surrounded by thousands of stars, infinite galaxies, and all the constellations of the universe. The next morning when Kirti woke up she started to weave a new carpet. Kirti wove ribbons of silver stars among sparks of gold stardust. She tried to remember her dream from the night before, but her fingers automatically did most of the work on the weaving loom. After a short while, Kirti took a break from her weaving and stepped back to get a better look at her tapestry. She looked down and saw a glistening trail in the shape of a winding path through the stars, planets and stardust. Powdery, silver stars glistened on a dark, royal blue night sky, and a million different galaxies shimmered off in the distance. Kirti imagined where the starry path might lead. She saw that her horse and rider were somewhere in the night sky along the path of star dust, not too far from the constellation Sagittarius.
Kirti was determined that she find her horse and rider before she was too old to marry. She would send her carpet on a journey to circle the Earth on the wings of an Arabian stallion in the hopes of finding her handsome fiancée. Maybe her new carpet would bring her fiancée back to her on the wind and the night. With just a soft whisper of a prayer, Kirti sprinkled crushed sage and lavender for good luck over the loom. Next, Kirti began weaving different colors onto the loom. She used madder root for desert reds and oranges, light pinks and brilliant burgundies, turmeric for yellow sand dunes, dried limes for green oases, pomegranate skins for purple sunsets, and indigo for the deepest blues. She picked wool from a neighboring tribe dyed a burnt red to represent the traveler's journey through life. Yellow was for the sun to light the way, and purple she only used for the end of the day. Kirti chose green for all life on Earth, and blue was for the night sky.
Kirti lay the carpet across the broad, black back of the Arabian stallion known as Sattar. Black streaks could be seen on the outer edges where the blue of the carpet blended in with the muscular waves of the stallion's black back. The carpet's fringed edges decorated the Arabian horse's black back in silvery streaks resembling tassels. Kirti carefully arranged the carpet and smoothed it down across the stallion's back. She wasn't quite finished with her weaving, but there wasn't much daylight left. She pulled it off the horse and carried it back into the weaving tent.
It was time for the next piece of the story to be woven into the fabric of the carpet that would lay across the Arabian horse's broad, black back in middle of the desert night sky. Kirti continued to weave her memory of her dream from the night before on the loom. She started with a piece of white silk that she used to weave a single, bright, streak of shiny, white lightning running in a crooked v-shape down the middle of the carpet. Kirti wasn't sure what the streak of lightning meant, but it cut a pretty picture on the carpet as it lay across the horse's broad back. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and tried to remember her dream, but the only memory she had was fear. The black horse neighed off in the distance and the carpet shifted slightly on the weaving loom. Kirti needed to make tea for the morning meal, so she put the weaving loom back in its corner and hurried off in the direction of the kitchen.
When Kirti finally finished her weaving late one midsummer's night, she left her weaving loom and ran to find Sattar before daylight. She needed to place the carpet on the black horse's back before dawn, or the magic spell for peace, love, happiness and her future fiancée she had woven would be broken. The stallion was usually inside his own tent with the mares or else he was outside roaming the desert night. Tonight, he was nowhere to be found.
The weaver stepped out into the clear, crisp, midnight air and whistled for the horse long and low, a special whistle she had had created just for the stallion. She waited a minute and whistled again. Long and low the whistle filled the night air and she heard the sound of hooves pounding off in the distance. The weaver walked farther away from the weaving tent and saw a black horse galloping towards her at full speed. She whistled again, this time for the horse to slow down. The black stallion did slow down, but just barely. The weaver wondered if Sattar knew something she didn't. She had meant to place her magic carpet on the black horse's back for him to try on and perhaps be used as a saddle blanket by the horse's Royal Owner. She had gifted the Magic Carpet with a special wish for its Royal Owner: Peace, Love, Happiness. The weaver carried the carpet in her broad, tired hands, fully expecting the stallion to come to a pounding halt within inches of her outstretched hands like he did most mornings when she called him in to feed.
This time however, the stallion did not slow down. The stallion didn't even stop. The weaver was barely able to place the carpet atop the stallion's broad back before he lifted his proud head, shook his mane, and started pawing the ground with one hoof. Once she saw that the carpet was placed on his back, the weaver stepped back to admire her handiwork. "Beautiful!" The weaver exclaimed. She thought she had never woven such a beautiful tapestry in her entire life as this Magic Carpet when suddenly the carpet shifted with the wind and the movement of the stallion's back.
The images and scenes she had woven into the carpet started to come to life on the horse's back. "Wait Sattar! Wait! The scenes are changing! My carpet isn't supposed to look like this! Wait!" The horse ignored the carpet's weaver and with a look of defiance, pawed the ground again and took off at a fast gallop, heading back towards the mountains, the same direction from whence he'd come. His eyes were wide and bright and his nostrils flared as the Arabian Stallion left the weaver far behind, standing alone awaiting the dawn. Later that day, the stallion's owner discovered his prized stallion missing and placed the weaver under indentured servitude until the horse's return.
Off in the distance, a single forked bolt of lightning struck in the stallion's path and the horse disappeared. The weaver kept a watchful eye on events from the flames of her fire. A rider armed with a bow and arrow mounted the horse, it was the Archer, Sagittarius. The carpet shifted under the weight of its rider and the images on the horse's back came to life. Sagittarius was woven into the fabric near the horse's flank. The archer sprang to life with another flash of lightning and his arrow was aimed across the galaxy, directly at the Heart of Scorpio.
The Archer's arrow was transformed into the strength, power, and brilliance of lightning. The Archer was searching for his daughter, a small star in the night sky, last seen orbiting the Black Hole in the center of the galaxy. The Archer's little girl was named Cassiopeia, or Cassie, as she was sometimes called. Her little star wasn't part of a constellation, but had broken free and orbited the Black Hole approximately once every sixteen years. Cassie had gone missing and her father was concerned. For this reason, Sagittarius used his arrow as a lightning bolt in an attempt to find his long, lost daughter. The Archer's arrow found its mark in the Heart of Scorpio.
Lightning struck and the weaver added another log to keep the fire burning.