The story The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse by William Saroyan highlights the virtues of honesty, accountability, compassion and owing up to one’s mistakes.
Aram and Mourad
The protagonists of the story are two consanguineous siblings, Aram and Mourad. Aram is a young and happy boy while Mourad is his older and mischievous cousin. He is likened to his Uncle Khosrove who is an eccentric and carefree man.
He lives his life without any trepidation and worry. Aram looks up to Mourad as he has great talents when it comes to tending to animals and dealing with people.
They both are part of an Armenian population residing on the American west coast. Their tribe is well respected in a composite society of varied peoples from around the world like their neighbour John Byro. The family is revered for its honesty and congeniality.
A Magnificent Horse
One day, Mourad knocks at Aram’s window. Aram is shocked to see his cousin with a magnificent horse. Since their family can never afford to pay for such a beautiful animal, Aram does not take too long to deduce that Mourad has stolen the house.
However, the two boys are too excited to let it bother them and take the horse to open fields to learn to ride it. Aram tries to ride the horse but the animal continually throws him off its back. Aram feels frustrated but Mourad consoles him and tells him that it would take him an entire to learn the skill of riding.
The elder sibling suggests that they only keep it for half of that. They find a derelict hideout to the house and safeguard the horse.
Horse Owner Arrives
The horse’s owner and their neighbour, John approaches their family to inquire about the theft of his horse. Aram overhears the conversation and relays it to his cousin.
The boys go on with their plan for another two weeks. Aram continues to struggle with riding but they both are overjoyed to have such a beautiful blessing even though it is stolen.
Encounter With John Byro
One day, they both encounter John Byro on their way to bolting the horse. John recognizes the dentures of the horse and comments that it is identical to his own. Mourad takes the lead and reassures him that it may be a twin and concocts a name for the horse, ‘My Heart’.
John Byro leaves them in peace saying that his heart believes them even though his eyes and head are suspicious. It was due to the prestige and respect for their family that he does not make a fuss.
Repent & Bidding Farewell
The cousins have a spell of contrition and realize their blunder and the gravity of their offence. They return the horse the next day to John’s barn. The parting is both tragic and stirring for the boys who kiss the horse on its head and bid it farewell.