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The Summer of The Beautiful White Horse Summary in English by William Saroyan

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
Nationality American
The Summer of The Beautiful White Horse Summary by William Saroyan
The Summer of The Beautiful White Horse Summary by William Saroyan

The Summer of The Beautiful White Horse Summary in English

The narrator, Aram, remembers an incident which took place one summer when he was nine years old. He was asleep in his room at four in the morning, when he heard a tap on the window. He jumped out of bed and looked out of the window. There was his cousin, Mourad, sitting on a beautiful white horse. Mourad invited the narrator for a ride.

Those were the days when the world looked wonderful and life was like an enjoyable and unexplained dream. Aram also knew that Mourad enjoyed every minute of his life but this was even beyond his expectations. Since his earliest memories, he had had a strong desire to ride. But their tribe, Garoghlanian, was so poor that none of them understood where they even got money for food. Most importantly, they had been famous for their honesty for about eleven centuries, even when, as believed, they were the wealthiest family in the world. They were known to be proud, honest and an ethical clan and were incapable of taking advantage of anyone, leave alone stealing.

Aram could not believe that the horse had anything to do with his cousin Mourad or for that matter with any of the other members of their family. Mourad could have not bought the horse and so must have stolen it. Hence, he felt both delighted and frightened. He asked Mourad where he had stolen the horse from. Mourad did not deny that he had stolen it but asked Aram to jump out of the window, for a ride.

In his childlike innocence and simplicity, Aram made himself believe that stealing a horse for a ride was not the same thing as stealing money. Even if it was, it would not be as serious as stealing if one was so passionately fond of horses, the way Mourad and he were. It could be called stealing only if they sold the horse.

Aram changed his clothes, jumped out of the window, leaped onto the horse behind Mourad. Then, they lived at the edge of town, on Walnut Avenue. Behind their house were vineyards, orchards, irrigation ditches and country roads. They rode to the Olive Avenue. They were happy with themselves; the fresh air seemed new and lovely to breathe. They were so happy that Mourad began to sing. Aram felt that there was a crazy element in the tribe. Each family had a passionate streak in them and in their family Mourad was the one who was supposed to carry the wild trait.

Before Mourad, it was Uncle Khosrove who was supposed to be crazy. He was so ill-tempered and impatient that he stopped anyone from talking by roaring. Once his son Arak went running to him at the barber’s shop, where his father was having his moustache trimmed, to tell him their house was on fire. Khosrove sat up in the chair and roared. The barber repeated what the boy had said and Khosrove roared at him, too, to stop as it was “no harm”.

Mourad was considered the natural descendant of this man, although Mourad’s father, Zorab, was a practical man. In their tribe, traits were not necessarily inherited from parents. The tribe, from the beginning, had been impulsive.

Aram and Mourad let the horse run for as long as it felt like running. Then, Mourad wanted to ride alone. Mourad kicked his heels into the horse and shouted, “Vazire, run”. The horse stood on its hind legs and then ran. It was one of the loveliest sights. After five minutes of running across a field of dry grass to the irrigation ditch, they returned. I was then Aram’s turn to ride. The horse, instead of running to the irrigation ditch, ran down the road to the vineyard of Dikran Halabian where it began to leap over vines. It leapt over seven vines and then Aram fell off. The horse continued running. Mourad went after the horse and it took him half an hour to find the horse and bring him back.

By then it was broad daylight and people were awake. However, Mourad did not seem worried about hiding the horse. Aram soon realised that Mourad had been taking these early morning rides for some time and had got him for a ride today as he knew how much Aram wanted to ride. Mourad told Aram that if people found out about the horse he was supposed to say that they had started riding that morning.

Mourad walked the horse to the bam of a deserted vineyard that once belonged to a farmer named Fetvajian. It was difficult to make the horse behave well. But Mourad said that he had an understanding with the horse and got him under control. Aram went home and ate a filling breakfast. In the afternoon, his uncle Khosrove came to their house for coffee and cigarettes. He sat in the parlour, talking, when another visitor, a farmer, arrived. His name was John Byro. He was sad and mentioned that his white horse had been stolen a month ago and was still untraced. Uncle Khosrove became very annoyed and shouted that when they had all lost their homeland, crying over a horse was pointless. John Byro protested that his carriage was no good without a horse and that he had walked for ten miles to get there. But Uncle Khosrove roared yet again saying that he had legs.

The farmer said that there was a pain in his lefjt leg and Uncle Khosrove shouted that he should not pay attention to it. He did not seem to care that the horse had cost John Byro sixty dollars as he said that he did not value money. When Uncle Khosrove went away, Aram’s mother tried to explain to John Byro that Uncle Khosrove had “a gentle heart” but was simply homesick. After the farmer went away, Aram ran to Mourad’s house. Mourad was sitting under a peach tree and nursing the. hurt wing of a young robin, which could not fly. Aram told him of John Byro’s visit. He requested Mourad not to give the horse back until he had leamt to ride. Mourad said that it would take him a year to learn riding. They could certainly not keep the horse for a year as that would amount to stealing and a member of the Garoghlanian family could never steal. He would not keep the horse for more than six months and then it “must go back to its true owner”.

For two weeks, early every morning, Mourad and the narrator took the horse out of the bam of the deserted vineyard where they had hidden it and rode it. Aram was thrown off every time but he did not lose hope and hoped to ride the way Mourad did.

One morning on their way to Fetvajian’s bam they met the farmer John Byro. Mourad wished him as John Byro observed the horse keenly. He asked the boys the name of the horse. Mourad said that in Armenian its name was “My Heart”. John Byro wanted to look into the horse’s mouth as it looked so much like the one he had that was stolen. After looking into the mouth of the horse the farmer said that he could have sworn that it was his horse if he didn’t know their family was famed for their honesty. He was not a mistrustful man so he would believe his heart rather than his eyes. Saying which, he walked away.

The next day, early morning, they took the horse to John Byro’s vineyard and put it in the bam. The dogs followed them around without making a sound. Mourad put his arms around the horse, pressed his nose into the horse’s nose, patted it, and then they came away. That afternoon, John Byro went to Aram’s house in his carriage and showed his mother the horse that had been stolen and returned. He said that that he was confused as the horse was stronger and even better tempered. Uncle Khosrove heard this, became irritated and shouted at him to be quiet as his horse had been returned.

The Summer of The Beautiful White Horse Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
What does the writer suggest by beginning the story with the following words, “One day back there in the good old days…”?
The beginning of the story is suggestive of the fact that the episode that is going to be narrated is not one from the recent past. On the contrary, it is something that happened years back. The words ‘good old days’, suggest that the times in the past were better than what they are at present.

Question 2.
What does the writer say about the ‘good old days’?
The ‘good old days’ refer to a time when the narrator was about nine years old. Then, to him, the world was full of all possible kinds of splendour. Life then seemed charming and was as alluring as a mystifying dream.

Question 3.
What was the narrator’s first reaction to the horse?
When the narrator’s cousin, Mourad, came to his house at four in the morning and woke him up, Aram couldn’t believe what he saw. Mourad was riding a beautiful white horse. He stuck his head out of the window and rubbed his eyes to make sure that he wasn’t dreaming.

Question 4.
What did the narrator think of Mourad?
Unlike the rest of the world, it was only Aram who did not feel that Mourad was ‘crazy’. Aram knew that Mourad enjoyed being alive more than anybody else, and ‘who had ever fallen into the world by mistake’.

Question 5.
What were the chief traits of the members of his family that the narrator could recall?
The narrator felt that although the people of his clan were poverty stricken, yet they were honest. They were proud, honest, and they believed in right and wrong. None of them would take advantage of anybody in the world, let alone steal.

Question 6.
Why was the narrator both delighted and frightened at the same time?
The narrator was delighted at the magnificence of the horse. He could smell it, hear it breathing, which excited him but what frightened him was that Mourad could not have bought the horse. The narrator realized, if he had not bought it, he must have stolen it.

Question 7.
How did the narrator establish that Mourad had stolen the horse?
When the initial fascination and surprise wore out, Aram asked Mourad where he had stolen the horse from. Aram was certain that no one in their family could afford one. When Mourad did not deny having stolen the horse, and evaded that question, Aram was sure that he had stolen the horse.

Question 8.
How did Aram justify the act of stealing the horse?
Aram felt that stealing a horse for a ride was not the same thing as stealing something else, such as money. Perhaps, it was not stealing at all because they were crazy about horses. He felt it would not be called stealing until they offered to sell the horse, which they would never do.

Question 9.
What did Aram feel about Mourad’s temperament?
According to Aram, Mourad had a crazy streak. That made him the natural descendant of Uncle Khosrove who had a crazy element in him. This crazy streak was common in their tribe and need not be passed on from a father to the son. The people of the tribe had been, from the beginning, unpredictable and unrestrained.

Question 10.
What happened when Aram tried to ride the horse?
When Aram kicked into the muscles of the horse, it reared and snorted. Then it began to run. It ran down the . road to the vineyard of Dikran Halabian where it began to leap over vines. The horse leaped over seven vines and Aram fell off but the horse continued running.