ID a sci-fi/fantasy short story—toy (real) Golems, one a horse, one just clay

I was wondering if anyone could recognize and ID a short story I saw the first page of, years ago, I think in an anthology collection in the book rack at a supermarket.

First person, memoir style, with the narrator telling about how he had two toy Golems (I think even by that name) as a kid. One was a pre-made and finely sculpted horse, which would come to “life” and prance about in a circle when you put it’s magical animating scroll inside it.

The other was raw clay, more of a Lego-style “do it yourself” kit, where you could sculpt anything you wanted, insert the kit’s own magical scroll, and it would also animate. The narrator noting that he once built a roughly humanoid figure but with one leg shorter than the other, and upon animation it was stuck walking in a circle.

The other detail was that each scroll wouldn’t work in the other toy—the “Lego” scroll was of too crude “programming” (I think) to animate the horse, and the narrator could never craft a clay figure of high enough quality or detail for the horse scroll to animate it.

…and, that’s all I read, or am able to remember. It’s been bugging me ever since, and my searching so far have been fruitless. Does anyone else happen to remember what the heck this one was?

It’s been a while since I’ve read the story, but this sounds like “Seventy-Two Letters” by Ted Chiang.

My initial thought was that it wasn’t 72 Letters, but I found an excerpt online https://books.google.com/books?id=WTBA-wzX7cwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=“seventy-two+letters”+chiang&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi-1OvC0NfqAhWllHIEHYl6De0Q6AEwAHoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=horse&f=false and it has just the scene the OP mentioned.

That indeed looks like the one—thank you!

You’re welcome.

Also, basically, the plot of “Gumby”.

:smirk: