The result of this interview having gone abroad; Jabal became more watchful than ever, and always secured his mare at night with an iron chain, one end of which was fastened to her hind fetlock, whilst the other, after passing through the tent cloth, was attached to a picket driven in the ground under the felt that served himself and wife for a bed.
But one midnight, Gafar crept silently into the tent, and succeeded in loosening the chain.
Just before starting off with his prize, he caught up Jabal's lance, and poking him with the butt end, cried out: "I am Gafar! I have stolen your noble mare, and will give you notice in time."
This warning was in accordance with the customs of the Desert; for to rob a hostile tribe is considered an honorable exploit, and the man who accomplishes it is desirous of all the glory that may flow from the deed. Poor Jabal, when he heard the words, rushed out of the tent and gave the alarm, then mounting his brother's mare, accompanied by some of his tribe, he pursued
the robber for four hours.
The brother's mare was of the same stock as Jabal's but was not equal to her; nevertheless, he outstripped those of all the other pursuers, and was even on the point of overtaking the robber, when Jabal shouted to him: "Pinch her right ear and give her a touch of the heel."
Gafar did so, and away went the mare like lightning, speedily rendering further pursuit hopeless. The pinch in the ear and the touch with the heel were the secret signs by which Jabal had been used to urge his mare to her utmost speed. Jabal's companions were amazed and indignant at his strange conduct.
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