Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3
by Henry Parker | 1910 | 406,533 words
This folk-tale entitled “the speaking horse” is gathered from oral sources sources, tracing its origin to ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka). These tales are often found to contain similarities from stories from Buddhism and Hinduism. This is the story nr. 27 from the collection “stories told by the cultivating caste and vaeddas”.
Story 27 - The Speaking Horse
THERE was once a certain King who was greatly wanting in common sense, and in his kingdom there was a Panditaya who was extremely wise. The King had a very beautiful white horse of which he was very proud. The Panditaya was respected and revered by all, but for the King little or no respect was felt, on account of his foolish conduct. He observed this, and became jealous of the Panditaya’s popularity, so he determined to destroy him.
One day he sent for him. The Panditaya came and prostrated himself before the King, who said,
“I hear that you are extremely learned and wise. I require you to teach my white horse to speak. I will allow you one week to consider the matter, at the end of which time you must give me a reply, and if you cannot do it your head will be cut off.”
The Panditaya replied,
“It is good, O Great King,” 
and went home in very low spirits.
He lived with a beautiful daughter,. a grown-up girl. When he returned she observed that he was melancholy, and asked the reason, on which the Panditaya informed her of the King’s command, and said that it was impossible to teach a horse to speak, and that he must place his affairs in order, in preparation for his death.
“Do as I tell you,” she said,
“and your life will be saved. When you go to the King on the appointed day, and he asks you if you are able to teach his horse to speak, you must answer,
‘I can do it, but it is a work that will occupy a long time. I shall require seven years’ time for it. You must also allow me to keep the horse by me and ride it, while you will provide food for it.’
The King will agree to this, and in the meantime who knows what may happen ?”
The Panditaya accepted this wise advice. He appeared before the King at the end of the week, and prostrated himself.
The King asked him,
“Are you able to teach my white horse to speak ?”
“Maharajani,” he replied,
“I am able.”
He then explained that it would be a very difficult work, and would occupy a long time ; and that he would require seven years for it, and must have the horse by him all the time, and use it, while the King would provide food for it.
The King was delighted at the idea of getting his horse taught to speak, and at once agreed to these conditions. So the Panditaya took away the horse, and kept it at the King's expense.
Before the seven years had elapsed the King had died, and the horse remained with the Panditaya.
E. G. Goonewardene, Esqre.
Footnotes and references:
Sadhu Maharajani. 100