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What is the moral of  "The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse"?

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ayushiii | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2010 at 6:20 PM via web

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What is the moral of  "The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2010 at 7:09 PM (Answer #1)

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The moral of the story might be that generosity can solve most disputes.  In the oddest of ways, the fact that John Byro does not exact revenge on the boys ends up working things out for everyone's benefit.  The boys return the horse, once they recognize that they did take something that does not belong to them.  This awareness was brought on by John Byro's generosity and compassion in speaking about the situation without a tone of accusation nor a demand of vengeance.  At the same time, the boys' training of the horse made it more receptive to people and benefits Byro in the long run.  In this light, one can see that taking a compassionate and generous approach to certain conflicts can bring its own resolution where everyone wins.

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estoverl | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted July 20, 2015 at 7:05 PM (Answer #2)

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Though the story definitely teaches that there is no excuse, not even poverty, for taking something that is not yours, the bigger moral of "The Summer of the Beautiful Horse" is that if one understands another's circumstances and motivations, wrongs can be righted without anger or retribution. 

Some boys take a horse that is not theirs to take. The owner catches them but rather than accuse and demand retribution, he shows understanding even as the boys do not at first admit to the wrong doing. However, later the boys do show understanding that this was wrong and make a sincere effort to return the horse to the owner. In returning it, the owner takes into consideration and understands the boys' circumstances and motivation. Without anger or demands for punishment, he is able to see the situation clearly and realizes that the horse has actually gained benefit from the situation. He is more behaved and manageable because of the boy's interactions with him. 

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