Stork is on the way to the coffeehouse after evening prayers when a boy from the palace arrives at his door. When he hears about the competition, Stork thinks that it is impossible to select the world’s most beautiful horse from all the varieties that exist in nature, but he understands that the Sultan doesn’t mean the most beautiful real horse but one that looks like an old Persian drawing. Stork is certain the Sultan knows that he is the best miniaturist, so he doesn’t understand the point of the competition, but he draws a horse anyway. He then tries to draw another and the boy tells him to stop; however, Stork bribes him with two counterfeit gold coins. Stork then retrieves a secret notebook where he keeps copies of his best illustrations and cuts a picture of a horse out to use as a stencil. He gives the boy three more coins in order to bribe him into secrecy about the stencil, and states: “When I draw a magnificent horse, I am who I am, nothing more.”
Like the previous chapter, this chapter confirms that Master Osman is also right about Stork. Stork’s vanity and ambition are demonstrated by the fact that he thinks that it is so obvious that he is the best miniaturist that the competition is unnecessary, and by the fact that he bribes the boy from the palace in order to break the competition rules. The chapter also shows that Master Osman is right to be suspicious of Stork’s interest in European-influenced realist styles of painting. Stork immediately imagines the competition as a contest between real horses, even though he reminds himself that actual horses are irrelevant within the miniaturist tradition.