In source notes, San Souci (More Short & Shivery, 1994, etc.) explains that his tale has roots throughout the Spanish-speaking world. This retelling, fashioned from various versions, is curiously purged of all drama. The youngest of three brothers, Juanito, captures and then flees a magical horse of many colors. In return for its freedom, the horse promises to come to Juanito's aid whenever necessary. Juanito calls upon the horse tirelessly, and as there is never any doubt that the animal will prevail, the story hits a plateau from which it never ascends. A clumsy insertion of Spanish words (which later appear in the glossary) interrupts the narrative instead of enhancing it. Dicks's ethereal paintings--sometimes awkward, sometimes moodily stylized--have a lovely, translucent quality that comes through in most scenes.