Anna Sewell's Black Beauty was a rather ground-breaking work because it was one of the first novels to portray an animal as animal rather than as an animal with human characteristics.
At the beginning of the novel, Black Beauty and his mother, Duchess, are owned by Farmer Grey; however, the horse's name is Darkie, not Black Beauty. Darkie grows up here for the first few years of his life and enjoys it immensely. He is well fed, has plenty of room in which to run and frolic, has six other colts who are his friends, and learns many important life lessons from his wise mother who loves him very much.
One of the things she teaches him is that, no matter where he is, he should do his very best and keep his good name. Darkie is sold to the owners of Birtwick Park, Squire and Mrs. Gordon
His mother's advice will stand him in good stead over the course of the novel. Darkie will get new names, new jobs, and new owners; some of his experiences will be pleasant, but many of them will not. Very little about Black Beauty's life has to do with money or tasks, and he learns for himself that “it is good people who make good places.”