When, about 20 years ago. King Farouk was offered $122,100 for Hamdan, an Arabian stallion, he indignantly refused to part with him at any price. Last month Hamdan—meaning the thankful—who is perhaps the finest stallion in Egyptian history, was sold to the Cairo zoo for $1.25 as lion food.
Now 30, Hamdan had been standing at stud, but six months ago the stud farm was sequestered and the horses were neglected. On October 13 the sequester general ordered Hamdan, along with two dead and two other dying horses, trucked to the zoo.
The farm's former veterinarian was the first to hear about it, and that night telephones rang throughout Cairo: "Hamdan has been sold to the zoo! He is to be destroyed tomorrow!" Once the zoo officials learned that the skin and bones were none other than Hamdan, they delayed the destruction order to allow a group of Arabian horse lovers to contact the sequester general. Hamdan was moved to the only available zoo stables, which were built for Shetland ponies. His great, fleshless bones loomed above his stall and his appearance was pitiful: someone had clipped his flowing tail and mane for a fly whisk. Yet the stallion hoarsely neighed at the little Shetland mares. Released from his stall, he joined a camel in the paddock and trotted in remembered circles. The elephant attendant, the camel attendant and the pony attendant brushed him, rubbed him, exercised him—and fed him.
The sequester general finally agreed to sell Hamdan to his fans for $100, and on October 23, 80 pounds heavier, he walked out of the gates onto the Cairo streets. It took him 30 minutes to cover the two miles to his new stable in Gezira. He is still weak, but his heart is strong. As befitting a great stud, he requires two men to hold him down when walked, and his action on the longe is fluid and light, with the balanced springiness that typifies the Arabian horse.
Now all Hamdan needs is an artificial tail.
Student anarchists at Oxford in England have painted 20 bicycles white and are leaving them about for anyone to ride.
Explains John Birtwhistle, 20, who asks not to be called the head anarchist, since anarchists don't have leaders: "Many students ride off on other people's bikes and the bikes get lost. With the white bicycles this should stop. You can just get on and ride, leaving the bike for someone else when you have finished. It's attractive to anarchists because it's attractive to many other people and they may think about the bicycles and then begin to question the present idea of private property."