A Horse and Two Goats

by R. K. Narayan

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What did Muni think of the card that the American gave him?

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Muni thought that the card was a warrant for his arrest. Because he could not read English, Muni could only guess at the contents of the card. When the American gave him the card, Muni immediately felt suspicion and fear.

When the red-faced American initially got out of his car, Muni noted his khaki pants. He had immediately decided that the foreigner was either a policeman or a soldier. To Muni, khaki was the uniform of an authority figure. Of course, his conclusions were wrong, but Muni did not know this.

When the American presented Muni with a cigarette and then his card, Muni became extremely wary. He imagined that the foreigner was trying to bribe him for some information about a murder. Accordingly, someone had been mutilated and thrown under a tamarind tree at the border of Kritam and Kuppam only a few weeks before. Muni imagined that the American represented some sort of authority figure investigating the affair.

Fearful that he could be implicated in the crime (despite his innocence), Muni decided to placate the American. The results were hilarious, with neither Muni nor the American understanding each other's spoken words. In the end, the American made off with the horse/warrior statue, while Muni went home with a hundred rupees (which he believed was payment for his goats). To his surprise, Muni's goats were waiting for him when he arrived home.

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