The magic carpet of Tangu. A carpet to all appearances
worthless, but if anyone sat thereon, it would transport him
instantaneously to the place he wished to go. So called because it came
from Tangu, in Persia. It is sometimes termed Prince Housain's
carpet, because it came into his hands, and he made use of it. (Arabian Nights: Prince Ahmed.) (See below.)
The Eastern writers say that Solomon had a green silk carpet, on
which his throne was placed when he travelled. This carpet was large
enough for all his forces to stand upon; the men and women stood on his
right hand, and the spirits on his left. When all were arranged in
order, Solomon told the wind where he wished to go, and the carpet,
with all its contents, rose in the air and alighted at the place
indicated. In order to screen the party from the sun, the birds of the
air with outspread wings formed a canopy over the whole party. (Sale: Koran.) (See above.)
Such and such a question is on the carpet.
The French sur le tapis (on the table-cloth) —i.e.
before the house, under consideration. The question has been laid on
the table-cloth of the house, and is now under debate.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894