What is the summary of “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse”?

“The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse” is a short story written by the Armenian-American writer William Saroyan. The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and explores themes of family, trust, honour, and innocence. Here’s a brief summary:

The story revolves around two Armenian boys – Aram, the 9-year-old narrator, and Mourad, his older cousin. The Garoghlanian family, to which both boys belong, is known for its honesty and trustworthiness. However, Mourad, who is considered the most dynamic member of the family, surprises Aram one morning by showing up with a beautiful white horse. Aram, being naive and trusting, doesn’t question the origin of the horse initially and is enchanted by it.

Upon inquiry, Mourad tells Aram that he bought the horse from a farmer. But Aram soon finds out that the horse actually belongs to John Byro, another Armenian farmer in the area. Realizing the truth, Aram is torn between the thrill of riding the horse and the moral code of his family.

As the story progresses, Mourad explains that he didn’t steal the horse; he simply took it without asking. He’s convinced that his desire to ride was so powerful that it went beyond the confines of morality. He planned to return the horse once he had satisfied his longing.

John Byro, the rightful owner of the horse, eventually meets the boys but pretends not to recognize the horse, possibly because of his deep respect for the Garoghlanian family’s reputation. He seems to be giving Mourad the chance to make things right on his own.

In the end, realizing the weight of their actions and the potential tarnish on their family’s honour, the boys return the horse to John Byro, who gratefully acknowledges their honesty.

The story is a poignant reflection on childhood innocence, the grey areas of morality, and the profound ties of family and honour.

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