"The Arab's Farewell to his Steed," by Caroline Norton (1808-77), was so popular that Joyce could count on the association that the reader of Araby would (consciously or unconsciously) make with the story he is reading: the Arab boy sells for gold coins the thing that he loves the most in the world, his horse. However, as the horse is being led away the boy changes his mind and rushes after the man to return to money and reclaim his love. The final stanza reads:

Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that thou wast sold? 'T is false! 't is false! my Arab steed! I fling them back their gold! Thus - thus, I leap upon thy back, and scatter the distant plains! Away! who overtakes us now shall claim thee for his pains.

A further irony here concerns the author of the poem. Caroline Norton had an affair with the British Home Secretary to Ireland, Lord Melbourne, and her husband in a sense "sold her" to that diplomat by his silent complicity in the arrangement for his own professional gain.