King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian


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The legendary history of thoroughbred heritage is artfully depicted alongside a tale of remarkable friendship between a boy and his horse in this classic story that won the Newbery Medal, now in a gorgeous hardcover gift edition.

He was named “Sham” for the sun, this golden-red stallion born in the Sultan of Morocco’s stone stables. Upon his heel was a small white spot, the symbol of speed. But on his chest was the symbol of misfortune. Although he was swift as the desert winds, Sham’s pedigree would be scorned all his life by cruel masters and owners.

This is the classic story of Sham and his friend, the stable boy Agba. Their adventures take them from the sands of the Sahara to the royal courts of France, and finally to the green pastures and stately homes of England. For Sham was the renowned Godolphin Arabian, whose blood flows through the veins of almost every superior thoroughbred. Sham’s speed—like his story—has become legendary.

This beloved story from Newbery Award–winning author Marguerite Henry features the original text and illustrations in a gorgeous collectible hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416927860
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 12/26/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 85,215
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Marguerite Henry was the beloved author of such classic horse stories as King of the Wind; Misty of Chincoteague; and Stormy, Misty’s Foal, all of which are available in Aladdin paperback editions.

Wesley Dennis was best known for his illustrations in collaboration with author Marguerite Henry. They published sixteen books together.

Read an Excerpt


That same fair summer's day, Sham was lying in his stall at the Red Lion. He no longer needed to be shackled. No one feared him anymore. He was too weak to kick and charge.

For weeks he had lived in a kind of daze, willing to lie on his bed of straw and let the world go on about him. Over the half door of his stall he could hear the rattle of pewter cups in the inn and listen to the comings and goings of horses and journeymen. He caught the mingled smell of dust and sweat when the horses came in. He caught the rain smells and heard the first drops beat out a mournful medley on the roof over his head. He snuffed the winds. But he was no longer a part of the smells and the sounds.

Mister Williams shook his head sadly every time he passed Sham's stall. "That there 'orse, 'e's got a gnawin' pull inside 'im. 'E's missin' that boy."

On this summer's afternoon the sound made by Mistress Williams banging her pots and pans was suddenly muffled by the thunder of hooves and the rumble of wheels.

Lying half-awake, half-asleep, Sham heard the other horses in their stalls neigh a greeting to the newcomers. He heard the high, scrabbling voice of Mistress Williams. Then a silence broken by many footsteps and the low laughter of a gentle woman.

The next thing he knew the door of his stall was thrown open, a feather-light creature was by his side, and a boy's slim brown fingers were stroking his neck.

Sham touched Agba's cheek with his feelers, as if to make sure of him. Then an excited whicker escaped him. He lipped the boy. He swiped his cheek with a great pink tongue. He tasted the warm, salty tears. Thenhe neighed his happiness to the whole wide world.

Thrusting his forefeet in front of him, he struggled to his feet. Lying down was no way to greet friends! He shuddered the straw from his coat as if to apologize for his lack of grooming.

A change came over him. He snorted at the half-circle of people about him, at the handsome gentleman in wine-colored velvet, at the lady in silk and gold lace, at the innkeeper and his wife standing at a respectful distance.

His eyes came back to Agba. "Let us be off!" he seemed to say. "Somewhere. Anywhere!"

The Earl of Godolphin laughed in agreement. Then he exchanged a few quiet words with Mister Williams and the arrangements to buy Sham were quickly made. In no time at all Agba and Grimalkin were mounted on Sham, while a gathering of all the chance droppers-in at the Red Lion gawped curiously at the coach-and-six, and at the hooded boy and the tiger cat who sat a well-mannered bay horse.

Mister Williams' eyebrows were traveling up and down at a great rate. "Split my windpipe!" he said to a journeyman who had once been tossed off by Sham, "it hain't the same beast, I tell ye! 'E hain't stubborn nor vicious at all. 'E and the boy are all of one color, and all of one mind. They can't wait to go! D'you know," he exclaimed, slapping the man on the back, "that 'orse-'e's got brains!"

The Earl leaned his head out of the coach window. "We will lead the way up to Gog Magog," he called to Agba. "Our pace will be slow to accommodate the weakened condition of your mount." And he smiled a little smile of encouragement.

If the road to the hills of Gog Magog had been the road to the garden of heaven, the three silent creatures could not have been happier. It seemed as if the green meadows and the woodlands and clear streams had been created for them alone. The sun warmed their backs. The wind blew for their pleasure. They sucked it deep into their lungs. It washed them free.

Agba was almost sorry when the driver of the coach pulled to a stop before a gate surmounted by the crest of a dolphin. He wished the ride could go on forever.

The Duchess, however, seemed glad the journey was over.

"I declare, my lad," she sighed, leaning her head wearily against the gilded frame of the coach window, " you and your mount and your kitling appear fresher than when you started."

Now the gate was opened by two men in livery, and the coach-and-six led the way over a bridge and up a gentle hill between yews and hawthorn trees to the stables of the Earl of Godolphin.

Agba could not believe his eyes. It was the stable, not the house, that crowned the hill, and there was a stream encircling the hill where mares and their foals were drinking. He jumped to his bare feet. The turf was soft and springy. The green grass tickled up between his toes. He touched Sham's white spot with his toe. The white spot! The white spot! Here, at last, Sham could fulfill the promise it held.

Grimalkin, who had settled into the saddle in great dignity, now cuffed Agba with his paw, as much as to say, " Mind your manners, the Earl is headed this way."

Agba stood at attention, but he could not keep his shining eyes from gathering in the whole scene: the long range of box stalls opened to the south sun, the shady paddock, the park for a training ground. Why, there were no walls anywhere! Only green hedges afar off, where the meadows came to an end. And rows of elm trees brushing the clouds. And willows trailing their fingers in the stream.

An exercise boy came into the yard with a string of running horses. Their haunches gleamed in the sun.

Agba drew a quick breath. Soon Sham's coat would be sleek and shining, too. Soon Sham would be the wind beneath the sun. Soon he would be showing his gratitude to the Earl — winning races, bringing honor to Gog Magog.

Agba's thoughts were cut short. A spidery man with a waggish air about him was presenting himself to the Earl of Godolphin.

"A very g-g-good morning, your lordship," he stuttered. And as he bowed he took an appraising look at the underfed horse, the strangely dressed boy, and the tiger cat sitting the horse with a superior grin.

The Earl of Godolphin followed his glance.

"Twickerham," he said, " I have brought you a new horse-boy, and this is his little bay stallion. Ill luck has dogged their footsteps. They have traveled a hard road and a long one. From henceforward they will be in your charge."

For only an instant a cloud darkened the groom's face. "Very g-good, your lordship," he said.

The Earl dismissed the coach and turned to Agba. "I once read a novel laid in Morocco," he said. "The characters had curious names, curious to me, of course. There was El Hayanie and Hamed 0 Bryhim and one was Agba. Since I have to call you by some name I shall choose the shortest one: Agba. I desire you to give me your opinion of this name by the strength of your handclasp."

With his head groom standing by in open-mouthed amazement, the Earl of Godolphin, son of the Lord Treasurer of England, held out his hand to Agba. The small brown hand and the long-fingered white one met, and there was such a wringing clasp between them that the Earl's face broke into a great smile. Agba smiled, too. If only the Earl knew! He had chosen the name that was already the boy's own.

"Agba," he said, "you will be in the care of my head groom, Mister Titus Twickerham. He is breeder and trainer for the Gog Magog stables. I hope and pray that you will be happy."

Agba bowed first to the Earl and then to the groom, blinking hard to keep away the tears of happiness.

The Earl of Godolphin now cleared his throat and fingered his neck cloth a trifle uneasily. "Twickerham," he hesitated, "what think you of the merits of the stallion?"

The groom searched the Earl's face, trying to read his feelings there. Seeing only an open countenance, he rocked back and forth on his heels in importance. Then he approached Sham's head. Instantly Sham nosed the sky. Mister Twickerham reached for the bridle. He tried to force Sham's head down, but it was only with Agba's help that he could look into the horse's mouth. He tried to lift a hoof, but Sham's legs were pillars driven into the earth. Yet with only a feather touch, Agba lifted a foot as easily as if it were Grimalkin's paw.

Red of face, Titus Twickerham stepped back. He measured the horse with his eyes. From withers to hoof. From withers to tail. Again and again he measured. He noted the scars on the horse's knees. Then he pursed his lips.

"Your I-lordship," he began, "this-here beast would be the laughing stock at the race-c-c-course. He's not lusty enough to endure the distances. With the b-best care in the kingdom he'd still be a broken-kneed cob. And!" here Mister Twickerham pointed a thin forefinger, while his face gave out the faintest suggestion of a sneer, "If your lordship will k-kindly note the height of the crest, he will see 'tis almost a deformity.

"To my mind," he concluded, enjoying the importance of the moment, "this ain't a running horse, and d-d-don't let nobody tell your lordship that he'd make a good sire, either. Colts with him for a father would be violent tempered and weedy as c-c-cattails."

The Earl of Godolphin did not change expression. For long seconds he stood perfectly still. "If this be true," he said at last, "feed him until he loses his gaunt look. Then we'll see what's to be done with him. Perhaps he can work the machine that pumps water into the fish pond."

Agba looked at the Earl aghast. Was Sham, the pride of the Sultan's royal stables, never to have a chance to prove himself? Was he always to be a work horse?

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King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
MarineWifeSC More than 1 year ago
This book was by far my favorite as a child. I did a book report on King Of The Wind 3 years in a row in elementary school. The story is full of suspense and adventure for a young reader. As a child I feel in love with this story and the adventures of Sham and Agba. It's obvious why this book was a NewBerry Book award winner
Labradorlover0SM More than 1 year ago
Sham is a brave,beautiful,courages horse.I love Margiuerite Henry.Read KING OF THE WIND.
Maitrakh More than 1 year ago
King of the Wind is one of my all time favorite books. I loved it when I was 10 and I still love it now. I loved the adventures Agba and Sham went through. This is a wonderful book for the classroom or just for pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"King of the Wind" is about the story of the Godolphin Arabian. The Godolphin arabian is a horse that was born at the start of the book. A mute horseboy named Agba helped do the delivery (actually he kind of slept through it, but thats not important). He names the foal "Sham". Then the King of France orders six of the best horses in the kingdom to be sent to his domain. Sham is one of them! But when they get there Sham is treated like an outcast, when Agba knows that he is The King of the Wind. Then the Earl of Godolphin finds them and names Sham the Godolphin Arabian. King of the wind is probably one of the most boring books I have ever read. it starts out okay, but then gets worse and worse from there. And I don't like the fact that the main character is a mute. It's like "so and so" he thought. Its too confusing. Anyway I do not recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I have read it every year. It just keeps getting better and better. I love horses and it is one of those books that make you want to strive for your dreams and goals. I would defenitly recommened
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was boy named Agba who took care of horses. He is also known as a Horseboy. The one horse he took care of began to get pregnant. Agba took the horse to a special place where the colt could be born. The colt was born, and Agba named it Sham. He named the colt Sham because his coat was gold. Sham means "light of sun". Agba and Sham traveled everywhere. They visited the Earl of Goldolphin and GogMogog. People started not to like them, so they told them to go to certain places. At the end Sham met another horse named Roxanna. Roxanna got pregnant and had three sons. The three sons went to races and won every time. Sham lived to be 27. He did the King of the Wind. After Sham died Agba went back to Morroco to take care of other horses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Great for aldults and children!
Anonymous 9 months ago
HelenA_ More than 1 year ago
I originally picked up this book expecting a harsher read, something that was not very entertaining and more of a serious story of animal mistreatment as it seemed to me from reading the back cover, something more like Anna Sewell’s black beauty, a quite painful and emotional story of a horses treatment by different owners. However that expectation was proved incorrect although not necessarily as what I viewed as a negative way. The story although it did include some moments of despair for the main characters amongst different people really seems rather whimsical and focuses more on the deep connection between animal and human. The devotion of the boy, Agba, to the horse is really quite striking and one sees at the end of the story really how much of his life he spent following and reuniting with this creature ultimately to work in order to stay with the animal he had such deep connection with. The one thing I disliked about the story was it’s short length and fast pace which it seemed to me lead to the author creating a shallower plot line and some incoherencies mainly towards the end of the book. There was especially a certain point at which I got the impression that the author wanted more time to go by and less to occur and write about leaving the reader with a rather abrupt ending which, although appropriate for the novel I found came to quickly for the circumstances of what had occurred to Agba and Sham prior to the final resolution of the story. From the beginning of the story to the ending previously described, there is a very large difference in the amount of detail and description of Agba and Sham’s living descriptions throughout their journey. The author seemed to give at the end only a few ideas of what occurred for a relatively long span of time in an undesirable area, the reasons for them being there already quite unclear. Besides this mainly subjective issue, the author does well in giving the reader a good sense of the characters and provides detailed sometimes humorous descriptions of the people met by Agba and the horse Sham along their journey. As they travel from Morocco to the point when Sham starts his legacy in England the story in continuously engaging and I ended up not wanting to put it down. By the end of the story as it concluded leading to the present day as it had started in the beginning, I was seriously disappointed as I had become so involved. If you want a short, enjoyable, and well written story this is definitely a top option.
dimestorenovel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid - one of the few that I read over and over again. I would study the illustrations (Dennis) and try to copy them. It was one of the few books that I actually owned as a child which, perhaps, explained why it was so special. I still own that original scholastic paperback copy. The story is beautiful, full of adventure and I especially remember that Henry's descriptions of the colours of the horses were magical.
TianaWarner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourite books of all time. A true classic, and a must-read for anyone who loves horses.
Tirzah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like, not love horses; but I'm a sucker for a good animal story; and this one, based on history with some liberty in the telling, is outstanding. I loved the book as a kid, and it's still a great read in my 50's. The detail of the backgrounds, from Morocco to the streets of Paris and the marshes in England, the riches-to-rags-to-riches story of the fiery Arabian Sham and the mute boy, Agba, who loved him; make this book a wonderful reading experience.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part of the appeal of this story is the overwhelming odds that Agba and Sham overcome before someone recognizes the worth of Sham. I especially liked the love Agba had for Sham and how he stuck with Sham despite the difficulties of being mute and a foreigner. The illustrations (by Dennis Wesley) are quite detailed and beautiful.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of the founding father of racehorses, Sham, ¿King of the Wind,¿ and his friend, the stable boy, Agba. The story begins in Morocco where the sultan sends Sham and Agba off to France as a gift for the king. But the French laugh at the little horse and Sham is sent off to a series of owners, here and there, loved and hated, until he finally ends up in England. It is only in England when the true nature of Sham¿s racing abilities are realized through his offspring, three horses who win for their owner prize after prize.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Only the Black Stallion can eclipse this "based on a true story" tale of the Godolphin Arabian. A wonderful novel as much the story of a horse as of his loyal stable boy. An exciting adventure tale more than worthy of its Newbury Medal!
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A horse story? I groaned when I picked up this book. I've been trying to read the books assigned to my daughter, and this was next on the list. I've usually found animal stories to be boring and I've never found horses to be all that interesting. But I dutifully picked it up and gave it a read. "King of the Wind" is the story of the Godolphin Arabian, a horse from the 18th Century that is supposedly the great-grand-pappy of all the great racing horses. While I couldn't really get into the horse aspect of the story, it is a well written and interesting story. A sort of rags-to-riches tale. It's a Newberry medal winner and even I have to admit it's worth checking out. --J.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in Morocco on a small race track for the finest racehorses out there. The track was home to the man ‘o war the best racehorse of his time. Agba is a young orphan that is left out of a lot is about to have his life changed forever. One day Agba is summoned as a horse boy and is assigned to a purebred racehorse named Sham. Sham and Agba are on their way to France for Shams race. When they get there Agba loses track of Sham. Agba starts looking for Sham and eventually finds him and Shams real owner. Shams owner is a very cruel person who doesn’t care about anybody else but himself and he enslaves Agba and sends him to England to work for him because he can. This book was very slow. It was interesting at the beginning and started to slow down from there. Eventually this book got very boring and I didn’t want to read it. If there was more going on in this book I would have had a stronger interest but no. I suggest you don’t get this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You need to get this book!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is my ALL TIME FAV and i hav read no joke about a thousand books READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!!!!! :)
stellajonesMS More than 1 year ago
My favorite book as a child! I have the hardback and it is also my daughters favorite book! I am so excited it is now available on the nook!
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