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In "A Horse and Two Goats," by R. K. Narayan, Muni is a man who lives in abject poverty. He has no money and no food. All he has are two goats that are small and scrawny. He can't sell them; he can't eat them. It was not always so: at one time in his life, he owned large herds of goats, but drought and disease have taken what he had. He owes money to the store keeper who will not give him any more on credit, and as the story starts, he has only managed to gather several radish-like vegetables for dinner.
Muni's wife sends him off with the goats, telling him to fast until she can make their meager dinner. Muni takes the goats where he always takes them: to a pasture along the road—and there stands the statue of a horse. It is a very old piece that he learned about growing up. At that moment, a car arrives, driven by an American. Neither Muni or the American can speak the other's language. The American lives a life of plenty, very different than that of Muni who has so little.
Muni is first frightened that this man is a policeman—that Muni is in trouble for something. Perhaps through gesticulations, Muniunderstands that the man is showing interest in the horse statue.Muni, in his own language explains:
This is our guardian. . . . At the end of Kali Yuga, this world and all other worlds will be destroyed, and the Redeemer will come in the shape of a horse.
The American does not understand any of this; he wants the horse for his home, around which people can visit and drink cocktails. Ultimately, the man give Muni a pile of rupees—a great deal of money—and Muni thinks the man is buying his goats. So he leaves the animals behind and returns to his wife to show her what he has been given. She doesn't believe him, especially when the goats make their way home.
Meanwhile, the American has arranged for a truck, has had the horse removed from its "pedestal," and drives off with it, knowing exactly the right place to put it:
...this will have the best home in the U.S.A. I’ll push away the bookcase. . . . The TV may have to be shifted. . . . I don’t see how that can interfere with the party—we’ll stand around him and have our drinks.
The American has no concept of the poor life Muni leads, and Municould not begin to imagine how much the American has in material wealth, and would probably be amazed if he had known that the visitor was taking the statue.
Muni has money that will allow he and his wife to survive; the American has a very old statue, though he has no sense of its special and historical significance.
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