What happens in chapter 1 of Black Beauty? 

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 1, "My Early Home," Black Beauty describes his first home. He recalls the meadow in which he lived with his mother and drank her milk. Eventually, as he got older, he was able to eat grass, and his mother went off during the day to work. He recalls the other colts who played with him. They were often rough and kicked. His mother lectured him and told him the other colts were cart-horses and were brought up to be rougher. He, on the other hand, his mother told him, was brought up to be well mannered like her and his father and grandparents.

The master was kind to Black Beauty, whom he called Darkie because of his dull black color, and to his mother, Duchess, whom he called Pet. His master scared off a plowboy named Dick who used to pelt the colts with sticks and stones. The master fired Dick, and the horses were well treated by a man named Old Daniel.

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Gwen Lesch eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Chapter One of Black Beauty, Black Beauty reflects upon his childhood next to a lovely meadow where he lives with his mother, Duchess, and six other colts. Black Beauty loves to play with his fellow horse friends, although Duchess scolds him for consorting with horses who have poor manners. Black Beauty, on the other hand, is a "well-born" horse and the descendant of a racehorse; his mother wishes for him to grow up to be a gentle, hard-working creature. 

We are introduced to Black Beauty's master, Farmer Grey, who is a kind man who seems to favor Duchess and "Darkie" (Grey's nickname for Black Beauty). Farmer Grey intently protects his animals, and when he catches Dick, a ploughboy, throwing sticks and stones at the young horses, he punishes him severely and bans him from the farm. 

Finally, we are introduced to Old Daniel, who is the horses' caretaker, a man who is described as being "just as gentle" as Farmer Grey. 

From what we can assess from this first chapter, Black Beauty leads a happy life and is well taken care of by those responsible for him, both human and horse. 

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