Salten, Felix

About the author

Felix Salten (1869–1945, pseud. Siegmund Salzmann) is infinitely better known for his other books, principally among them Bambi, the Disney film of which has introduced many a child to the concept of death . He was born in Hungary, but moved with his family to Vienna when very young as Vienna granted full ciltizenship to Jews. He lived most of his life there until forced to flee the Nazis in 1939. He lived in Zurich, Switzerland until his death in 1945. He was President of the Austrian branch of PEN (the English branch of which Josephine Pullein-Thompson was very active in much later).

He wrote several children’s stories about animals: the only horse-related one was Florian, Das Pferd des Kaisers, in 1933. This story about the trials and tribulations of a Lipizzaner who fell from glory to a cab horse after World War I Schons felt reflected the situation of Austria – a once proud empire reduced to a small and poor country. Florian was translated into English very shortly after its publication.

Finding the book
The English Jonathan Cape edition is not easy to find: the J A Allen is easier but can be more expensive than the average pony book.

Wikipedia article on Felix Salten

Bibliography (pony books only)

Florian, Das Pferd des Kaisers

Paul Zsolnay, Berlin, 1933
Florian, an Emperor’s Horse, trans Norman Gullick, Jonathan Cape, London, 1934
Florian, the Emperor’s Stallion,
translated by Erich Posselt and Michel Kraike, Bobbs Merrill 1934, New York, not illus
Florian, Das Pferd des Kaisers
Fischer Bucherei, Frankfurt, 1958
Florian, the Lipizzaner, J A Allen, 1963

Florian is a Lipizzaner stallion.  His life starts as a pampered foal, and he eventuallybecomes an emperor’s horse.  With the death of the Emperor, Francis Joseph, lifechanges for Florian.  The new  Emperor does not use carriage horses, only carsor trains, so all the horses o the Imperial Stables are put up for auction. Florian becomes a cab horse, and as the use of the car spreads ever onwards, he is of less and less use.