The Piper Encyclopedia

He Walked Around the Horses

A short story by H. Beam Piper

"He Walked Around the Horses" is a particularly fine piece of alternate history based on the report by Charles Fort of an actual disappearance on our timeline. Benjamin Bathurst was a British diplomat and envoy to the court of Austria during the Napoleonic Wars. While traveling back to Austria through Prussia, he was accidentally picked up by a Paratime conveyor operated by Tortha Karf himself and dropped in a neighboring timeline (still part of the Hispano Columbian Subsector of the Europo-American Sector of the Fourth Level of paratime where the history of the previous half-century was different. Bathurst was arrested by Prussian police and, baffled by the changes in the world around him, eventually tried to escape and was killed. History on Bathurst's new timeline deviated from ours when Benedict Arnold was killed storming Quebec. In our timeline, before he became a traitor, he had a major part in the critical American victory at Saratoga. In Bathurst's new world, the colonies lost Saratoga and, ultimately, the revolution. Washington was killed at the Battle of Doylestown. The French Revolution didn't happen either, and Napoleon remained an obscure military man.