The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse
by William Saroyan
About the Author
Poet Name: William Saroyan
Born: 31 August 1908, Fresno, California, United States
Died: 18 May 1981, Fresno, California, United States
Awards: Academy Award for Best Story, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play
Movies: The Human Comedy, Ithaca, My Heart Is in the Highlands
The story is about two poor Armenian boys who are fond of riding horses. Aram (9 years old) and Mourad (13 years old) belong to the Garoghlanian tribe, whose people were well-known for honesty and trust. Mourad is able to steal a horse and after enjoying riding for one month, he invites his cousin to join him in horse-riding. Finally, they decide to return the horse to its owner as they did not want to bring any shame for their family.
Mourad: He is a 13-year-old cousin of the narrator (Aram). He is a lively and crazy person but with love for his cousin Aram, whom he offers the horse to ride for some time. He knows how to handle a horse.
Aram (the narrator): He is a 9-year-old boy. He and Mourad belong to the Garoghlanian tribe. He justifies Mourad’s stealing of the horse for the purpose of horse-riding, as they did not intend to sell it off.
John Byro: He is a farmer and owner of the beautiful white horse which was stolen by Mourad. He is sad over the sudden disappearance of his horse a few weeks ago.
Uncle Khosrove: He is the narrator’s uncle who was considered to be a crazy man. He has been described as a man with a short temper and irritable nature.
About the Lesson
This is a story of two tribal Armenian boys who belonged to the Garoghlanian tribe. For their family, even at times of extreme poverty nothing could match the importance of honesty. They never did anything wrong and never lied or never even stole anything. The story talks about an incident that revolves around two cousins Aram who is nine years old and Mourad who is thirteen. The world, for Aram, at that time, seemed to be a delightful and extremely joyous yet mysterious dream. People believed in every imaginable kind of magnificence. Mourad was considered to be crazy by everybody he knew. The story opens with Mourad coming to Aram's house at four in the morning one fine day. He tapped on the window to Aram's room. When Aram looked out of the window, he was taken aback and startled to see Mourad riding a beautiful white horse. In fact, he was so dazed that Mourad had to say “Yes, it's a horse. You are not dreaming.” All this was too unbelievable because Aram knew that they were too poor to be able to afford to buy a horse. The only way Mourad could possess it could be by stealing. They were too honest to lie and yet too crazy to ride a horse. Thus, they kept the horse for two weeks, enjoying its ride in cool air and singing to their heart's content on the country roads. They hid it from the rest of the world by keeping it in a barn of the deserted vineyard. Meanwhile, Aram came to know that the horse was stolen from John Byro. They planned not to return it to him so soon although it pricked their conscience to steal, which was completely their ethics and tribal norms. One fine day they came across John, the farmer. Such was the boys' family famous for their honesty that the thought of his horse being stolen by the boys never crossed John's mind. He was just amazed at the resemblance and said: “I would swear it is my horse if I did not know your parents.” This moving experience led the boys towards John's vineyard the very next morning. They left the horse in the barn after patting it affectionately. Later that day, John seemed to be very pleased and shared the news of the return of his horse with Aram's mother. The story teaches us the importance and necessity of honesty even in the face of greed and passion.
hallmarks – typical characteristics or features
magnificence – greatness, excellence
mysterious – strange, not known or understood, full of mystery
crazy – insane
tapping – hitting quickly and lightly with fingers
around the corner of the world – away
stuck – pushed out
longings – strong and continuous desires
poverty-stricken – suffering from extreme poverty
Garoghlanian – an Armenian tribe
comical – silly
bellies – stomachs
take advantage of – deceive, trick
pious stillness and humour – innocence and unconcern
edge – border or boundary
trot – used for horse or similar animal running at its slowest speed
streak – an inherent quality
descendant – someone deriving appearance, function or trait of character from a parent
furious – very angry
irritable – bad tempered
trimmed – made neat or tidy by clipping
roared – shout at a high pitch
capricious – impulsive, unpredictable
vagrant – not fixed
have a way – have success in dealing.
Vazire – a word in Armenian language meaning ‘run’
hind – back legs of an animal
snorted – a noisy sound made by breathing through nostrils
fury – burst
dripping – extremely
imaginable – which could be thought of
reared – raised
dawned on – occurred to
barn – a large building on a farm in which animals and their feed are kept
deserted – abandoned
vineyard – a plantation of grapevines
hearty – substantial
dweller – resident
surrey – a light four wheeled carriage
stalked – marched
slamming – shutting with force
homesick – acutely longing for one’s home
ran into – met accidentally
studied – examined
swear – guarantee
suspicious – full of mistrust
whispered – spoke in a low voice
patted – stroked lightly
better-tempered – well-behaved
Aram’s Recall of an Experience
Aram remembers an experience when he was 9-year-old. The world for Aram, at that time, seemed to be delightful and joyous. Mourad, whom everybody considered crazy, came at four in the morning and woke up Aram by tapping on the window of Aram’s room. It was summer, with daybreak just around the corner. Aram jumped out of bed and could not believe his eyes. Mourad was sitting on a beautiful white horse. Mourad asked him to be quick if he wanted to ride. Aram had always longed to ride a horse, but they were poor. They couldn’t afford a horse.
The Garoghlanian Family
The Garoghlanian family was poor as they had no money. Their whole tribe was poverty-stricken. But most important of all was that they were famous for their honesty. From a long time, they had built up a reputation for being proud and honest. They would never even take advantage of anyone.
Aram’s Explanation About the White Horse
Aram asked Mourad if he had stolen the horse. Mourad called him out instead of answering. Aram was sure that the horse was stolen as they were both very crazy about riding horses. To console himself in a childish manner, Aram thought that stealing a horse for a ride was not the same as stealing something like money. It wouldn’t have been stealing until they offered to sell the horse.
Aram could not Resist the Offer
Aram got ready and jumped out of the window. As they lived on the boundary of the town on Walnut Avenue, there was the vast countryside full of orchards, vineyards, and irrigation ditches nearby. In a few moments, both Aram and Mourad were having a wonderful time riding the horse. Mourad started singing out of excitement and enjoyment.
The Family’s Crazy Streak
Mourad was considered the natural inheritor of the crazy streak of their tribe. Before Mourad, uncle Khosrove was considered as crazy in the family. Khosrove had a powerful head of black hair and the largest moustache in the San Joaquin valley. Mourad was considered a crazy boy, though his father, Mr Zorab, was a practical man without having any crazy streak.
Aram Rides the Horse Alone
After enjoying the horse ride together, Mourad wanted to ride the horse alone. Mourad kicked the horse and it started running. After five minutes, Mourad stopped. Now, Aram also wanted to ride the horse alone. Mourad was not sure that Aram could ride the horse alone, as he did not know that how to control a horse.
Aram leaped on to the back of the horse and for a moment felt a fear like he had never felt before. He kicked into the muscles of the horse; then it started running. Instead of running across the field, the horse ran to the vineyard and leaped over seven vines before Aram fell. Mourad came running, as he was worried about the horse. He wanted to get hold of the horse and take him back before anyone could see him. The horse got lost. Both of them searched for the horse in different directions. It took half an hour for them to find it.
The Boys Decided to Hide the Horse
It was morning and Mourad was thinking either to take the horse back or hide it until the next morning. Aram concluded that Mourad was going to hide it. Aram again asked Mourad if he had stolen the horse. Mourad avoided answering the question.
He told Aram to tell everyone that they started riding the horse that very morning, if someone found out. They took the horse to the deserted vineyard of a farmer named Fetvajian and hid it in the barn.
John Byro’s Sadness Over his Missing Horse
In the afternoon, uncle Khosrove came to Aram’s house for coffee and cigarettes. Then another visitor arrived, a former named John Byro. He said that his white horse which was stolen the previous month was still missing and untraceable. John Byro also explained that his carriage was no good without a horse and he had to walk ten miles to reach there.
Aram Informed Mourad About John Byro
Aram went to Mourad and informed him about John Byro’s visit. He further informed Mourad that he should not return the horse until Aram had learnt riding. Mourad replied that it would take him a year to learn and they could not keep a horse for one year, as it would amount to stealing.
Finally, they decided to return it after six months to its true owner. Every morning, for two weeks, they rode the horse. Every time the horse threw Aram and ran away. But Aram kept his hope alive and hoped to ride the horse the way Mourad rode. One morning they were on their way to the vineyard when they encountered John Byro. He inquired about the name of the horse with them. Mourad said that its name was ‘My Heart’. John Byro kept observing the horse very keenly.
The Boys Decide to Return the Horse
The farmer looked into the horse’s mouth and found that the teeth matched those of his stolen horse. He said that he could swear that the horse was his, if he didn’t know their parents and the fame of their family for honesty. But the horse appeared to be the twin of his stolen horse.
Early the following morning, the boys took the horse to John Byro’s vineyard and left it there. The dogs followed them silently. Aram thought they would bark. Mourad said that he had a way with dogs-and that’s why they didn’t bark. That very afternoon, John Byro came to the narrator’s house. He was very happy and thanked God. His horse had become stronger and better tempered. Uncle Khosrove again shouted at him to be quiet, as his horse had been returned.
Mourad and Aram were two poor Armenian boys aged 13 year and 9 year, respectively. Both belonged to the
Garoghlanian tribe which was known for its pride and honesty.
The tribe was poverty-stricken, but its people were not dishonest and did not believe in stealing.
Mourad and Aram both had intense longing for horse-riding.
Going against the family reputation, Mourad stole a white horse of a farmer.
Aram was unable to understand how Mourad got that beautiful white horse, when he was so poor that he could not afford to buy a horse.
Aram could not resist the temptation of riding the horse, though he could make out that his cousin had stolen the horse.
Aram watched Mourad riding the horse and controlling it in an easy manner.
Aram rode the horse alone but could not manage to control it.
Mourad was considered a crazy person, the descendant of his crazy uncle Khosrove.
Uncle Khosrove, a big and powerful man, was a very impatient man. He did not allow anyone to speak and shouted loudly.
Mourad and Aram continued horse-riding for some weeks, though Aram was not able to control the horse.
One day both the boys came face to face with the horse’s owner John Byro, while they were taking the horse to its hiding place.
John Byro examined the horse and studied it tooth by tooth. He mentioned that the horse looked identical to his stolen horse.
But he never suspected the boys as he knew their family and parents, well-known for their honesty.
The boys returned the horse the next day quietly by taking it to John Byro’s place. Perhaps they felt guilty and they did not want to bring any shame on their family.
Next morning, John Byro visited Aram’s parents to tell of a great miracle. His horse, that had disappeared mysteriously, had returned. It was in better health and a better temper.
A. Reading With Insight
Question 1: You will probably agree that this story does not have breathless adventure and exciting action. Then what in your opinion makes it interesting?
Answer: The story ‘The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse’ is a tale told from the viewpoint of a nine-year old boy. At that age, imagination is rich, and one can romanticise even insignificant actions. To such a person the world is full of excellence and glory and life is delightful and a mysterious dream. For the young poor boy, a ride on a beautiful white horse is a dream fulfilled. He had been always longing to ride and his cherished dream is realised when his cousin Mourad offers him a chance to ride on horseback—first with him and then alone. Riding the stolen horse and hiding it safely are great feats of adventure for the two boys.
Though the story line is thin, we eagerly follow the course of action taken by the boys till they return the horse to its rightful owner. The story provides us a peep into child psychology. For boys who are crazy about horses, stealing a horse for a ride is not stealing. Though they enjoy the thrill of riding, they are conscious of their family pride. The Garoghlanian family is well-known for honesty and trust. They would neither steal nor take advantage of anybody in the world. Another point of interest is characterization. The delineation of the common traits of uncle Khosrove and cousin Mourad is superb. The story also contains many purple passages full of pictorial description. All these heighten its appeal to the reader.
Question 2: Did the boys return the horse because they were conscience-stricken or because they were afraid?
Answer: The story gives no indication that the boys were afraid of anyone or anything. Hence the return of the horse was not directed by fear. Secondly, they were not at all conscience-stricken. They did not feel any pangs of repentance or remorse at their action of stealing a horse solely for the purpose of riding it. The narrator makes it amply clear when he asserts that stealing a horse for a ride was not the same thing as stealing something else, such as money. For him, it wasn’t stealing at all as he and Mourad were so crazy about horses. In his opinion, it would become stealing only when they offered to sell the horse, which he knew they would never do.
The last phrase gives a clue to their mental makeup. Mourad had the horse for over a month when farmer John Byro visited the narrator’s house. They retained it for two weeks more. Mourad outrightly rejected the narrator’s suggestion of keeping the horse any longer. It was his family pride that would not let him steal. He decided that the horse must go back to its true owner. The meeting with John Byro proved conclusive. He praised their family for its honesty. He trusted the boys as he knew their parents. Hence in order to uphold the family tradition and reputation, the boys returned the horse to its rightful owner.
Question 3: “One day back there in the good old days when I was nine and the world was full of every imaginable kind of magnificence, and life was still a delightful and mysterious dream…….”. The story begins in a mood of nostalgia. Can you narrate some incident from your childhood that might make an interesting story?
Answer: I had just completed my primary education when I visited my uncle. He was a forest ranger in Dehradun. In those days there was a thick forest in the vicinity of the city and all sorts of wild animals prowled there. Uncle had advised us not to enter the deep forest, but forbidden fruit is sweet; My cousin Varun, a couple of his friends and I decided to explore the southern range. We had the kits of scouts and were fully prepared.
In our boyish enthusiasm, we went deep into the jungle and reached a gorge. We were amazed to see a lioness with her cubs. One of us, perhaps, Mohit clicked his camera. The flashlight scared the lioness and she roared and leaped. Fortunately, there was a big ditch and she fell into it. Meanwhile, we lit our torches, collected dry leaves and twigs, and set them on fire. Momentarily, we got respite from our attackers. Then we threw some green leaves on fire to give smoke signal. A patrol party noticed it and rescued us. I shudder whenever I think of this adventure when we were close to death.
Question 4: The story revolves around characters who belong to tribe in Armenia. Mourad and Aram are members of the Garoghlanian family. Now locate Armenia and Assyria on the atlas and prepare a write-up on the Garoghlanian tribes. You may write about people, their names, traits, geographical and economic features as suggested in the story.
The Garoghlanian Tribes
The Garoghlanian family was an Armenian tribe. Eleven centuries ago, it was the wealthiest family in that part of the world. However, now every branch of the Garoghlanian tribe was living in the most amazing and comical poverty in the world. These poor people had no money. Nobody could understand where they ever got money enough to keep them with food in their bellies. The Garoghlanian tribes were famous for their honesty.
It had been the hallmark of the tribe for many centuries. They were proud of their family. Honesty came next and then they believed in right and wrong. None of them would take advantage of anybody in the world. No member of the Garoghlanian family could be a thief. The elders felt pained to remember that they had lost their homeland. These people shifted their residence from one place to the other. The narrator says, “That year we lived at the edge of the town, on Walnut Avenue.” They loved countryside having vineyards, orchards, olives, and Walnuts. The names of the people are semi- Arabic: Mourad, Aram, Khosrove etc.
Short Answers Type Questions
Q1. Who were Aram and Mourad?
Ans. Aram and Mourad were cousins. Aram was nine years old. Mourad was thirteen. Both of them were fond of horse-riding. They belonged to the Garoghlanian tribe of Armenians.
Q2. How does the narrator describe the Garoghlanian family?
Ans. Garoghlanian family had the reputation for honesty that has been maintained by its family members for hundreds of years. Everyone trusted them. These people took pride in the fact that they were honest in spite of their poverty.
Q3. What did the narrator see when he looked out of the window? Why couldn’t he believe his eyes?
Ans. The narrator heard a tap on the window of his room. When he looked out, he saw his cousin Mourad sitting on a beautiful white horse. He could not believe his eyes because Mourad belonged to a poor family. He could not afford to buy such a lovely horse. Surely, he had stolen it.
Q4. How did Aram justify Mourad’s action of riding a stolen horse?
Ans. Aram too was very crazy about horse riding. But riding a stolen horse both delighted and frightened him. He justified Mourad’s action saying that taking out a
horse just for a joyride could not be called stealing until they offered to sell it.
Q5. Who was the real owner of the beautiful white horse? How did Aram come to know about him?
Ans. John Byro was the real owner of the white horse. He was a farmer. On a visit to Aram’s house he complained of his loss to uncle Khosrove. This assured Aram that the horse had been stolen by Mourad.
Q6. In what respect did Mourad and Aram differ from each other?
Ans. Mourad and Aram were cousins belonging to the Garoghlanian family. Both had a common craze for horse riding. But Aram was more honest and straightforward than his cousin. Mourad had a streak of craziness. He could tell lies’. He was boastful. Aram was simple-hearted.
Q7. Why did the sight of Mourad’s horse both delight and frighten Aram?
Ans. Aram was just a young lad, truthful and honest. But he had a longing for a joyride on a horse. Naturally, he was delighted when Mourad asked him to sit on the white horse. But he was also frightened because he knew that it was a stolen horse.
Q8. Who was uncle Khosrove? What were some of the notable traits of his character?
Ans. Uncle Khosrove was widely known to be crazy. He was short-tempered and impatient as well. He stopped others from talking by shouting at them. His stock saying was: ‘It is no harm, pay no attention to it.’ Mourad had got that craziness from uncle Khosrove.
Q9. Mourad had a way and some sort of understanding with three creatures. Who were they?
Ans. Mourad was boastful and self-confident. He was good at dealing with a wild white horse, the barking dogs, and an angry farmer, like John Byro. The white horse of Byro became better tempered. The dogs at Byro’s barn did not bark. John Byro also accepted Mourad’s lie as true.
Q10. What was Aram’s experience when he rode the white horse alone?
Ans. Aram was keen to ride the white horse alone. He leaped to the horse-back and even kicked into its muscles. It snorted and began to run. It went out of control. It leaped over seven vines. Aram fell but the horse continued running.
Q11. ‘I didn’t want both of us to be liars. Who spoke these words and in what context?
Ans. These words were spoken by Mourad to Aram. Mourad indirectly admitted that he was telling a lie that he had not stolen the horse but in case they were found out by the horse owner, Aram was to tell him that they had started riding that very morning.
Q12. Why did Aram rush to his cousin’s house soon after Byro was gone?
Ans. John Byro visited Aram’s house. He reported that his horse was still untraceable. Uncle Khosrove shouted him down. But Aram overheard the conversation. He ran to Mourad’s house to tell him about it. He asked Mourad that he would keep the horse for some time more.
Q13. How did Mourad put John Byro off when the two met one morning?
Ans. One morning the two cousins ran into the farmer John Byro who examined the horse thoroughly. But Mourad confidently told Byro that his horse’s name was My Heart. Byro made no fuss because he knew about the honesty of Mourad’s family.
Q14. What change did John Byro notice in his horse after it was returned to him?
Ans. John Byro was not only happy but also surprised when he got his missing horse back. He failed to understand how his horse had become stronger and better tempered than before. He thanked God for the change.
Q15: “I couldn’t believe what I saw,” says the narrator. What was so unbelievable? Why?
Answer: The narrator saw his cousin Mourad sitting on a beautiful white horse. It was unbelievable, for they belonged to poor families and buying such a beautiful horse was beyond their means.
Q 16: What two character-traits of Mourad are hinted at by the narrator in the initial part of the story?
Answer: Mourad was considered crazy by everybody who knew him except the narrator. He was quite crazy about horses. Secondly, he enjoyed being alive more than anybody else.
Q 17: “This was the part that wouldn’t permit me to believe what I saw.” What ‘part’ does the narrator hint at?
Answer: The narrator refers to their poverty. They had no money. They lived in extreme poverty and it was difficult to understand how they got food to satisfy their hunger. He frankly admits that every branch of the Garoghlanian family was living in the most amazing and comical poverty in the world.
Q 18: What traits of the Garoghlanian family are highlighted in this story?
Answer: The Garoghlanian family though now poor, were famous for their honesty even when they were wealthy. They were proud of their family first, honest next and after that they believed in right and wrong. None of them would take advantage of anybody in the world. They would not steal. No member of the Garoghlanian family could be a thief.
Q 19: How did the narrator react on seeing the horse and Mourad?
Answer: The horse was magnificent to look at, gave out a lovely smell and its breathing was quite exciting. Yet he couldn’t believe that the horse had anything to do with Mourad, because he couldn’t have bought it.
Q 20: What conflicting thoughts passed through the narrator’s mind on seeing Mourad on a beautiful white horse early one morning?
Answer: The narrator was surprised. He knew that his cousin Mourad couldn’t have bought the horse. Since he couldn’t have bought it, he must have stolen it. However, family pride came in the way. He refused to believe that he had stolen it.
Q 21: What feelings did the sight of cousin Mourad and the horse arouse in the narrator?
Answer: The narrator stared first at his cousin and then at the horse. There was a pious stillness and humour in each of them. He was delighted as well as frightened.
Q 22: “It was true, then. He had stolen the horse. There was no question about it. He had come to invite me to ride or not, as I chose.” How did the narrator convince himself to enjoy a horse ride with cousin Mourad?
Answer: It seemed to him that stealing a horse for a ride was not the same thing as stealing something else, such as money. Since he and Mourad were quite crazy about horses, it wasn’t stealing. He convinced himself with the thought that it would become stealing only when they offered to sell it.
Q 23: Give examples to show why cousin Mourad was considered one of the craziest members of the narrator’s family?
Answer: Cousin Mourad had a crazy streak. He was quite crazy about horses. He kept the stolen white horse for about six weeks, rode it, loved it, fed it well and hid it in a deserted yard. When he sang in the open countryside, it seemed as if he were roaring.
Q 24: Why does the narrator mention uncle Khosrove? Which characteristic features of the man are highlighted?
Answer: Cousin Mourad seemed to inherit the crazy streak of uncle Khosrove. He was a big man with a powerful head of black hair and very large moustache. He was quite furious in temper, very irritable and impatient. He would stop anyone from taking by roaring his pet phrase, “It is no harm; pay no attention to it”.
Q 25: Give an example to illustrate how uncle Khosrove’s impatience sometimes worked to his own disadvantage?
Answer: Once uncle Khosrove was getting his moustache trimmed in a barber’s shop. Suddenly their house was on fire. His own son Arak ran eight blocks to the barber’s shop to inform him. Khosrove got impatient and roared at his son. When the barber reminded him that his house was on fire, Khosrove roared at him and stopped him from talking.
Q 26: “The distribution of the various kinds of spirit of our tribe had been from the beginning capricious and vagrant.” Elucidate.
Answer: The Garoghlanian family had a crazy streak. Mourad was considered the natural descendant of uncle Khosrove as far as the crazy streak was concerned. Mourad’s father, Zorab was practical and nothing else. But Mourad was his son only in flesh; in spirit, he was similar to uncle Khosrove.
Q 27: Give a brief account of Mourad’s joy ride.
Answer: Mourad kicked his heels into the horse and shouted, “Vazire run!” The horse stood on its hind legs, snorted, and ran forward at full speed. Mourad raced the horse across a field of dry grass to an irrigation ditch. He crossed the ditch on the horse. When he returned five minutes later, he was dripping wet.
Q 28: How did Aram, the narrator, fare in his solo ride?
Answer: Aram leaped to the back of the horse, but it did not move. Then he kicked into the muscles of the horse. It reared and snorted. Then it began to run. Aram did not know how to ride. The horse ran down the road to a vineyard. It leaped over seven vines, threw the rider, and ran away.
Q 29: “We’ll either take him back or hide him until tomorrow morning”. Which course of action did the speaker take and why?
Answer: Mourad took the latter option. He hid the horse in the bam of a deserted vineyard which at one time had been the pride of farmer named Fetvajian. There were some oats and dry alfalfa in the bam. So Mourad did not seem worried about the horse.
Q 30: “I have an understanding with a horse.”
“Horses understand me.”
“I have a way with a horse. ”
How do you think, had Mourad developed an understanding with the horse and what was the result?
Answer: Mourad had been quite tender and affectionate towards the horse. He would put his arms around it, press his nose into the horse’s nose and pat it. It was not easy to tame someone else’s horse and get it to behave nicely. At first, it wanted to run wild. Gradually, Mourad was able to control the horse and do what he wanted. Even John Byro, the rightful owner, admitted that the horse had become better-
tempered and stronger than ever.
Q 31: Contrast the two visitors to narrator’s house who visited them one afternoon.
Answer: Uncle Khosrove was irritable, impatient, and furious in temper. He stopped anyone from talking by roaring: “It’s no harm; pay no attention to it”. Farmer John Byro was a lonely Assyrian. He was sad at the loss of his horse and the uselessness of his surrey without a horse.
Q 32: How did uncle Khosrove react to John Byro’s complaint about the steal of his horse?
Answer: John Byro was sad that his white horse had been stolen last month and it was missing even then. Instead of showing any sympathy, uncle Khosrove became very irritated and shouted: “It’s no harm. What is the loss of a horse? … What is this crying over a horse?”
Q 33: What arguments did farmer John Byro advance to prove the usefulness of a horse to a country dweller?
Answer: First, his surrey was no good without a horse. Second, he had to walk ten miles to get there and his left leg pained him. Thirdly, that horse had cost him sixty dollars. A city dweller like Khosrove may not realise the importance of a horse.
Q 34: Why did farmer John Byro stalk out of the house, slamming the screen door?
Answer: Farmer John Byro visited the narrator’s house. He was homesick, sad, and lonely. His horse had been stolen for over a month. Instead of showing any sympathy or concern for his loss, uncle Khosrove repeated his catchword: “It’s no harm. Pay no attention to it”. When John Byro talked about the cost of horse, uncle Khosrove commented: “I spit on money.” This was too much for John Byro to bear and so he left the house in disgust.
Q 35: How did Mourad help the wounded Robin to fly? What does this incident indicate?
Answer: The narrator noticed Mourad trying to cure the hint wing of a young robin which could not fly. He was talking to the bird. After some time, he threw the bird into the air. The bird tried hard and almost fell twice. However, at last it flew away, high, and straight. This incident shows that in spite of having a crazy streak, Mourad was kind at heart and gentle towards God’s creatures.
Q 36: What request did the narrator make to his cousin Mourad about the horse? How did he react to it? What does this reveal?
Answer: The narrator requested his cousin Mourad not to return the horse to farmer John Byro till he learnt to ride. Mourad observed that it might take him a year. The narrator suggested to keep the horse for a year. Mourad shouted that he was inciting him to steal. He declared that the horse must go back to its true owner. This shows his honesty and sense of family pride.
Q 37: What did farmer John Byro observe after studying the horse the two boys had with them?
Answer: The farmer studied the horse eagerly and asked its name. Mourad said that they called it “My Heart’. John Byro appreciated it as a lovely name for a lovely horse. He was ready to swear that it was the horse that was stolen hum him many weeks ago.
Q 38: “A suspicious man would believe his eyes instead of his heart.” In what context was this observation made and by whom?
Answer: This observation was made by farmer John Byro after looking into the mouth of the horse. It matched his horse tooth for tooth. He would have claimed it as his own horse if he had not known their parents or the fame of their family for honesty. The resemblance was so striking that he called it the twin of his horse.
Q 39: What do you think, induced the boys to return the horse to its owner?
Answer: The boys were impressed by John Byro’s attitude towards their parents and family. He knew their parents very well and so believed whatever the boys said. Secondly, the fame of their family for honesty was well-known to him. The boys returned the horse to him for the sake of family pride and dignity.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question 1: Narrate the story ‘The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse’ in your own words.
Answer: One summer morning narrator’s cousin Mourad came to his house at four in the morning and woke him up by tapping on the window of his room. The narrator was surprised to see Mourad sitting on a beautiful white horse. Mourad asked him to be quick if he wanted to ride. The narrator, Aram, longed to ride and jumped down to the yard from the window and leaped up onto the horse behind his cousin Mourad.
Since these Armenian families were quite poor, Aram concluded that Mourad must have stolen the horse. They rode and Mourad sang. Then Mourad had a joy ride alone. It seemed he had a way with a horse, for when Aram tried to ride alone, the horse threw him off and ran away. Since it was broad daylight, Mourad hid the horse in the ham of a deserted vineyard. That afternoon, farmer John Byro visited the narrator’s house and related his plight. His white horse had been missing for over a month.
Uncle Khosrove silenced him with his roaring commands. Aram reported everything to Mourad and requested him to keep the horse till he learnt to ride. Mourad did not agree. A chance meeting with farmer John Byro after a fortnight firmed up his decision. John Byro had believed the boys since he knew their fathers and was fully aware of the fame of their family for honesty. Mourad returned the horse to its owner then next morning.
Question 2: Relate some of the humorous incidents in the story. Which incident do you find the most amusing and why?
Answer: The incidents related to uncle Khosrove are quite amusing. The repetition of his pet catchword: “It is no harm; pay no attention to it” causes humour whenever it is used in an incongruous context. For example, his own son Arak ran eight blocks to the barber shop where Khosrove was having his moustache trimmed to tell him that their house was on fire. This was a serious matter. Instead of leaving the place, he roared: “It is no harm; pay no attention to it.”
When the barber explained that his son was saying that his house was on fire, Khosrove silenced him by roaring: “It is no harm”. At the end of the story, uncle Khosrove again became irritated and shouted at farmer John Byro to be quiet. He said, “Your horse has been returned. Pay no attention to it.” The incongruity is obvious. The most amusing incident is the conversation between farmer John Byro and uncle Khosrove when the farmer sighed sadly and bewailed the stealth of his horse.
Uncle Khosrove remarked, “It is no harm. What is the loss of a horse? What is this crying over a horse?” John Byro tried to explain that his surrey was useless without a horse. Pat came Khosrove’s catchword “Pay no attention to it.” This phrase is repeated when the farmer complained that his left leg hurt him. When John Byro said that the horse had cost him sixty dollars, Khosrove remarked, “I spit on money.” The incident ends as John Byro walked out angrily slamming the screen door.
Question 3: What impression do you form of cousin Mourad?
Answer: Mourad is a young boy of thirteen. He belongs to the Garoghlanian family of Armenia. Their whole tribe was poverty stricken. In spite of abject poverty, their family was famous for honesty. Mourad was quite adventurous and had a crazy streak in him. He enjoyed being alive more than anybody else. Mourad loved horse riding. He had a way with a horse. He had tamed the horse by his affectionate behaviour and now the horse was no longer wild.
It obeyed Mourad faithfully. His love for the horse is evident in the last scene. While parting, he put his arms around the horse, pressed his nose into the horse’s nose and patted it. He also had a way with dogs. The dogs of John Byro followed them around without making a sound. He was kind. He treated a young robin which had hurt its wing. He was worldly-wise and knew how to talk to farmers. Though he loved horse-riding he was averse of keeping the horse for a long time. He is proud of his family which is well known for their honesty and trust. In short, he is a lovable chap.
Question 4: Comment on the role of Aram, the narrator, in the story.
Answer: Aram plays an important role in the story. Besides being the narrator, he is also a commentator. He not only narrates the various adventures, incidents, and actions, but also provides useful information regarding the main characters and their behaviour. In fact, he is the fulcrum on which the whole story rests. He gives a graphic description of the Garoghlanian tribe, its members, their traits, and economic features.
Mom-ad’s father Zorab is described as a practical person, whereas Mourad and uncle Khosrove represent the crazy streak in the tribe. Abject poverty of the family does not diminish his pride in his family which is famous for honesty. He says, “No member of the Garoghlanian family could be a thief.” He makes a fine distinction between stealing a horse for a ride and stealing a horse to sell it off. He gives a fine description of the horse ride and countryside with its vineyards, orchards, irrigation ditches and country roads.
Question 5: Compare and contrast uncle Khosrove and cousin Mourad.
Answer: Uncle Khosrove and cousin Mourad have one very important point in common— their craziness. Mourad was considered the natural descendant of uncle Khosrove in this respect. The second similarity is their dominating nature. Both use pet words and phrases and roar aloud to quieten the hearer. While uncle Khosrove says, “It is no harm; pay no attention to it,” Mourad boasts, “I have a way with horses/dogs/farmers.”
Khosrove shouts at his son Arak, the barber and farmer John Byro. The narrator is a patient listener to Mourad’s assertions. The difference lies in their age groups and physical build up. Uncle Khosrove, a middle-aged person is an enormous man with a powerful head of black hair and very large moustache. Mourad is an athletic young chap of thirteen. Khosrove is irritable, impatient, and furious in temper. Mourad is reasonable in conversation.
Question 6: Who stole the beautiful white horse and why? How did they use the horse and what made them return the horse to its true owner?
Answer. ‘The Summer of The Beautiful Horse’ is a simple but interesting story about stealing of a horse by two Armenian boys Mourad and Aram, and later how they returned it to its rightful owner. Mourad had a passion and love for horse riding. Due to his passion for riding and fun once, he stole a beautiful white horse. Actually, the poverty of the tribe forced them to fulfil his desire for riding by stealing the horse. His cousin Aram too loved riding and in their childish innocence, they justified that stealing a horse for a fun and riding was not the same as stealing
and selling it for money. The two boys enjoyed riding the horse early every morning and hid it in the barn of the deserted vineyard.
The boys belonged to the Garoghlanian family which was known for its integrity and honesty. One day when the boys met John Byro, true owner of the horse and heard his confidence in the honesty of their family, the boys became conscience – stricken. Soon the pride and honesty which they inherited from their tribe overpowered their childish pranks and they realized that what they did was wrong as this could bring disgrace to their family. Thus conscience-stricken, they eventually returned the horse to its rightful owner.
Question 7: Compare and contrast the characters of Mourad and Aram.
Answer. Mourad and Aram were cousins thirteen and nine years old, respectively. Both longed for a horse ride. But their family was too poor to buy a horse. Both were adventure- loving. Both knew that their family was well known for honesty and right conduct. But Mourad could not help stealing John Byro’s horse. While he had a streak of craziness, Aram was honest and simple-hearted. Mourad was more talented and bolder than Aram. He domesticated the wild horse of John Byro. He repaired the injured wing of a robin bird; he knew how to deal with a horse, a dog, and a farmer. Comparatively, Aram was timid and low-lying.
Question 8: Bring out some of the notable traits of Mourad’s character.
Answer. Mourad, the son of Zorab, was the 13-year old cousin of Aram. Zorab was a practical man but Mourad was most unlike him. He was considered as crazy as his uncle Khosrove. He was not so honest as his family or tribe. He did not hesitate to steal John Byro’s horse. He was as fond of horse riding as his cousin. But he did not have the means to buy a horse. Very cleverly he hid the horse in a deserted bam and took it out at daybreak for a joyride. He loved adventure and singing. He had remarkable self-confidence. He said boastfully that he had a way with a horse, a dog, and a farmer. He was not a thief. He returned the horse to its owner John Byro after about six weeks.
Question 9: The narrator’s uncle Khosrove was known to be a crazy fellow. Give a few instances of his craziness.
Answer. The narrator’s uncle Khosrove was an enormous man with a large moustache. But he was considered crazy or capricious by the people who knew him. He was furious by nature. He was easily annoyed. He was impatient. He would not let anybody have his say. He silenced people with his roar. Once his house was on fire and his son ran to the barber’s shop to give the bad news. But he paid no serious attention to it and repeated his words rudely. He got irritated when John spoke about his stolen horse and walked out of the room. He was a strange character.