The third story is called The Horse and His Boy. It’s about a boy named Shasta who lives with his fisherman father in a land far south of Narnia, called Calormen. This story takes place during the reign of King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The land of Calormen reminds me of some middle eastern land, where the men wear turbans, the women wear veils, and they are darker skinned. The fisherman receives a visit from a Calormene lord, or Tarkaan, and Shasta eavesdrops and finds out that the fisherman is not really his father, and the Tarkaan wants to buy Shasta as his slave. Shasta runs to the stable to find the Tarkaan’s horse is actually a talking horse from Narnia, named Bree. They both want to escape to Narnia, and so the horse and his boy embark on adventures to get to the North.
Among the adventures, Shasta meets a Calormene girl named Aravis Tarkheena who is running away from home on another talking horse named Hwin. In poetic Calormene fashion, Aravis tells the tale of her journey to the north being due to her father wanting to force her to marry a man of great wealth and stature in government. The problem is, he is 60 years old. Bree and Hwin and their human companions decide to travel together across a desert, through Archenland, and on to Narnia. Only they get split up in a big city when Shasta is mistooken for Prince Corin of Archenland and taken in with friends of the Prince, Queen Susan and her party of Narnian’s, who happen to be in Calormen.
I love how there is a parallel of personal troubles for the characters, as well as bigger troubles for the land they live in. For instance, Shasta starts out on his journey to save himself from being a slave. But then, as the story unfolds, he finds himself as the key person able to warn the King of Archenlad of an attack from Calormen. I also love how it is shown that Aslan has been guiding the journeys of Shasta and Aravis along the whole way, even though they didn’t know Him at first.