The Source
The Legend of the Bloody Shoulder Arabian
As told to Carole Deegan by a friend, horse master and scholar of the Howettat tribe.

Once upon a time many years ago in the desert of Arabia, there was a Bedouin warrior who owned a very special Arabian mare - a mare he rode into battle and to whom he entrusted his life.

There was a very special relationship, a bond of trust, love and mutual respect. Either would have given his life for the other, In fact, their bond of trust was so strong that the mare often "read her master's thoughts," doing exactly what he needed at exactly the right time, allowing them to win many battles and to be the envy of all Bedouin tribes.

Years passed and one day in a fierce battle the master was severely wounded, falling across the neck and shoulder of his beloved war mare. Although her master was unconscious and she was many miles from home, the mare balanced him across her shoulder, carefully carrying toward home. She... for days without food or water to return her master to his family.

When the courageous mare finally arrived at the encampment, she was exhausted and weak, and her master dead. As the family carefully removed the master's body, they saw that the mare's shoulder was heavily stained with his blood, leaving a distinct red mark on her shoulder. Although they had lost their leader, the Bedouin family was eternally grateful to the mare for delivering his body from the battle. They knew that the long journey had been difficult for the mare, and they were very concerned for her because she was heavily in foal.

As the days passed, the cherished mare received only the best food and care, and she was visited and admired not only by members of the master's tribe, but all the other tribes in the area.

Finally, the time of her foaling arrived, and there was a great concern for the cherished war mare. But when the long-awaited foal was born, he was vigorous and healthy and of exceptional quality. He also bore the identical "bloody shoulder" that his mother had from her master's blood.

It was then that the Bedouin tribe realized that Allah had rewarded this mare and their tribe for their courage, loyalty and faith and that the "bloody shoulder" was a reminder of his favor.

Since that time, hundreds of years have passed, but once in a great while there is a mare of exceptional beauty, quality and courage who foals a very special foal graced by God with the "bloody shoulder." The Bedouins have continued to believe this is a sign of Allah's favor. Who are we to disagree?

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