The short story "The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse" by William Saroyan is narrated by a nine-year-old boy named Aram, who is a member of the Armenian Garoghlanian tribe. All of the branches of the Garoghlanian family are poor, but they are renowned for their honesty.
At four o'clock one morning, Aram's cousin Mourad taps on his window and reveals that he has a magnificent white horse. The boys take turns riding it. Mourad rides well, while Aram continually falls off. Learning to ride the white horse properly becomes the most important thing in the world to Aram, so much so that he conspires with his cousin to keep the stolen horse hidden.
One day while the boys are out riding, they meet the horse's owner, John Byro. He, of course, recognizes his horse immediately but does not accuse the boys of theft. Instead, he waits for them to return it voluntarily.
To Aram, the horse symbolizes the essence of his highest hopes and aspirations. These longings appear to be unattainable to him because his family is so poor. More than anything, he wants to learn to ride the horse well. That's why he is willing to compromise his family's honor and justify the theft by thinking that if he and his cousin don't sell it, it isn't really stealing. Because of his great longing, Aram even convinces his cousin that they should keep the horse longer. Byro has the insight to realize what the horse represents to Aram, and that's why he doesn't accuse the boys when he meets them. He knows that ultimately, Aram and Mourad are honorable and will return the horse by themselves.
Although the horse symbolizes Aram's hopes and aspirations, Aram is unable to ride it because his conscience does not give him peace. Mourad, on the other hand, rides easily because his conscience does not seem to bother him.