We have decided to create the most comprehensive Online Education English Summary that will help students with learning and understanding.

Online Education for A Horse and Two Goats Story Summary by R. K. Narayan

A Horse and Two Goats Summary by R. K. Narayan About the Author

R.K. Narayan was an Indian writer best known for his short stories set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He was born on 10th October, 1906, in the then Madras. His full name was Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayan- swami. He was the leading author along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao.

Graham Greene was his friend and mentor. He was also instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan’s books which included Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher. Narayan’s The Financial Expert was known as one of the original works of 1951, He won Sahitya Academy Award for The Guide which was adapted for film. His style was simple, easy and highlighted the social context and everyday life of his characters.

There is humor and pity in his stories. In his career of sixty years, he won many awards and honors including the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, India’s third and second highest civilian awards. He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament. He died in the year 2001 On 13th May at the age of 94.

A Horse and Two Goats Summary of the Story

The story opens with a clear picture of the poverty in which the protagonist Muni lives. Only one Big House out of thirty houses in the village is made up of brick. The others including Muni are made up of bamboo’s thatch, straw, mud and other materials. There is no running water or electricity supply. Muni’s wife cooked food over a fire in a mud pot. One day Muni has shaken down six drumsticks from the tree growing in front of his house and asks his wife to prepare them in a sauce for him. She agrees, provided he can get the other ingredients like rice, dhaal, spices, oil and a potato.

Muni has not been so poor since the beginning. Once he owned a flock of forty sheep and goats which he used to graze every day. But years of drought, famine and an epidemic had destroyed all and he is left with only two goats. And because he belongs to a lower caste, he was never allowed to go to school. He and his wife have no children to take care of them in their old age. They run their house from the odd jobs his wife does at the big house.

Muni has taken so much credit from every shop that when he asks for the ingredients his wife requires for cooking the drumsticks, he is refused. There is nothing in the house to cook so his wife asks him to fast till evening and graze the goats. Muni goes to his usual place on the outskirts where he would sit on the pedestal of the old horse statue and his goats meandered. The horse statue is made up of clay and is brightly coloured.

As Muni waits for the evening, he notices a yellow coloured wagon from which a red faced American wearing khaki gets down and asks him for a nearby gas station. Then he notices the statue and exclaims ‘Marvelous’.

Muni mistakes him as a policeman or a soldier and he wants to run away but finds it difficult due to his old age. The two starts conversing in their own language without understanding each other. The American offers him a cigarette and then gives him his business card which Muni thinks to be warrant card. He gives innocent explanation that he knows nothing about the crime the man is investigating.

A Horse and Two Goats Summary
A Horse and Two Goats Summary

American put forth his desire to buy the horse statue as he thinks Muni is the owner of it. The two talk about their own life. Muni tells him about the statue what his father and grandfather had told him. The American listens with fascination and appreciates his sound. Muni tells him that he has never been to school and only Brahmins went to school in those days therefore he doesn’t know Parangi language. He further describes the horse as their guardian. At this the American replies that he assures that the statue will have the best home in the U.S.A.

This way trying to understand each other’s language, they continued their conversation. Ultimately, the American waved a hundred rupee note and hand it over to Muni. Muni thinks it is an offer for the goats. He happily runs back home leaving his goats. But his wife suspects him of theft and threatens to leave him. On the other hand, the American gets the help to detach the horse from its pedestal and place it in his station wagon.

A Horse and Two Goats Summary Theme

The story is about a misunderstanding between an Indian and an American. A major theme is clash of cultures as exhibited by the wealthy American and the poor Hindu, Muni. Main focus is on miscommunication. Narayan used humor in place of anger to demonstrate how the two worlds are entirely differing from each other: the two cultures exist in the same time and space but speak different languages either literally or metaphorically.

The two main characters in the story are equally different: Muni is a poor, rural, illiterate, Hindu, dark complexioned whereas the American is wealthy, urban, educated, Christian and white. Behaving like a religious man, Muni accepts his fate while the American is willing and determined to take major steps to change his life. Both are unaware of each other’s lifestyle.

The inability to understand one another’s language leads only to confusion but does not harms anyone. Both the men are dissatisfied conversing with each other but still finds company while talking. Each gives details of his life without realizing that the other hears and understands nothing. At the end of their meeting each man gets what he wants or needs without any loss. The selection of words is mind blowing. While the reader may find this conflict painful at times, but it’s amusing altogether. One can say that it’s a fine example of comic masterpiece.

A Horse and Two Goats Summary Characters


He is the protagonist of the story. He is old and extremely poor. But he had not always been poor. He had a large flock of sheep and goats but fortunes declined and now he was left only with two goats. He and his wife had no source of income and besides they had no children to take care of them in old age.

His usual work was to set out every day to graze his goats on the outskirts of the town whereas his wife earned something by doing different jobs in the big house. While the goats meandered along to the foot of the horse statue on the edge of the village, he sat on its pedestal for the rest of the day and crouched under its belly for shade.

There he remembers his olden days when life was tough but they were never short of food. He was uneducated and illiterate because he was not Brahmin and only Brahmins were supposed to acquire education. Overall he created humor in the whole story through his accents and assumptions.

The American

The American was a businessman who entered the story when Muni was grazing his goats on the outskirts of the town. He wore Khaki and gave Muni the impression of a policeman or a soldier. He knew only English language but expected Muni to speak the same language. He was annoyed to know that Muni could speak only Tamil. His entry was symbolic of a new culture displaying Western culture. He was wealthy in contrast with Muni. He was very well acquainted with the fact that he was in the remotest of the Indian villages, still he was looking for the gas station and English speaking people.

He wanted to own the thing whatever he liked without giving a second thought. He wanted to own the horse statue as a souvenir for his living room at any cost and thought Muni as the owner of statue by the way Muni was sitting on its pedestal. He knew that nobody could understand his language still he listened Muni very seriously but very well acquainted with the fact that money would solve all the problems. He was a materialistic man who had no value for the cultural or religious importance of the statue.

The Shop man

The shop man is a man whose mood swings frequently. He has given Muni food on credit in the past, but now is no more willing to lend him anything as Muni has passed his limit. Muni owes him five rupees too which is a great amount. Sometimes they share a bit of humorous conversation, but apart from this they have no more connection. He sends him back disappointed when his wife asks for some ingredients to prepare drumsticks The Wife Muni’s wife has lived with him since they were children.

Neither of them was sure about their ages. They had spent years through prosperity and poverty. She was somewhat irritated with him now and had grown tired of him, but cared also. She was a typical Indian woman who was ready to cook whatever her husband wanted. At times she scolded him also. Her temper was manageable. She wanted to fulfill his request for a special meal. She worked hard in the big house as he did, or harder.

She picked up odd jobs as grinding corn, sweeping, scrubbing, for buying food stuff. In fact she was not dependent on Muni but Muni was dependent on her. She was ready to do as much work as she could for her living but was against earning the money by unfair means. Poverty had drained her down as she accused Muni of stealing after seeing hundred rupees and threatened to leave the house.

A Horse and Two Goats Summary Word-Meanings

  1. dotting – mark with dots
  2. grandiose – imposing
  3. subcontinent – a large landmark forming a part of continent
  4. gorgeous – beautiful, attractive
  5. gargoyles – a water spout in the form of a grotesque carved face on a building
  6. balustrade – a row of short pillars supporting a rail or coping
  7. sallied – set out on a journey
  8. pedestal – a base supporting a column or statue
  9. crook – a hooked stick
  10. snapped – break
  11. foliage – leaves
  12. avenue – a wide road
  13. faggots – a tied bundle of sticks or twigs
  14. dawn – the first light of the day, the beginning
  15. millet – a cereal plant
  16. tethered – tied to a spot with a rope or chain
  17. triumph – a great victory
  18. precisely – exactly
  19. upturned – upside downails – make or become ill
  20. inordinately – excessively
  21. humor – quality of being amusing
  22. debt – something owed
  23. mumbled – spoke indistinctly
  24. sneered – made a scornful remark or expression
  25. famine – extreme scarcity of food
  26. parapet – a low wall along the edge of balcony or a bridge
  27. unobtrusively – not making oneself noticed
  28. recoup – regain
  29. fatigue – tiredness
  30. conjure – summon, evoke
  31. unleashing – releasing
  32. weird – uncanny, bizarre
  33. accosted – approached and spoke to
  34. cronies – companion
  35. lounging – sitting
  36. hailed – an expression of greeting
  37. summoned – ordered to appear in a law court
  38. progeny – generation
  39. meandered – wandered in a leisurely way
  40. crouch – stoop low with knees tightly bent
  41. prancing – moving springily
  42. scythe – a tool with a curved blade on a long handle for cutting long grass
  43. aquiline – curved like an eagle’s beak
  44. vandals – a person who damages things willfully
  45. gashed – long deep cut
  46. lewd – treating sexual matters vulgarly
  47. scrounge – borrow
  48. sputtered – a spluttering sound
  49. fidgeted – made small restless movements
  50. slanderers – a false statement made by the people to damage one’s reputation
  51. gainsay – to deny
  52. inquisitor – curious
  53. scruples – doubtful
  54. pinioned – restrain by holding
  55. obscure – uncertain
  56. famished – extremely hungry
  57. ruminated – think deeply.