This short story is a part of a book written by William Saroyan that centers on Aram, a nine-year-old boy from the Garoghlanian family. The Garoghlanian family is a tribe of Armenian descent that has immigrated to California. In this tribe they value honesty above all else “most important of all, though, we were famous four our honesty” (p. 160). Aram and his cousin Mourad went on an adventure during a summer season; it emphasized the tribe’s behavior which ran on their own sense of morality but not according to the laws of society.
In this story, Saroyan brought out the theme redemption through action. In other words, redeeming or restoring the Garoghlanian family’s name through a kind act. This story also shows how in the Garoghlanian family, material wealth is not important to the tribe members. What’s important is being true to one self and to the family and it is what makes a man good. Aram reflected innocence. According to him the world was full with imagination and life was beautiful with mysterious dreams.
At nine years old he was trying to find a way to integrate the culture of the family or the tribe with the culture of his life in this new land. However, his earliest memories were about horses and the desire to ride them. Due to the fact that the family was poor, it was a mystery for people to understand how they eat everyday let alone afford a horse. Therefore, Aram could not believe his eyes when cousin Mourad showed up sitting on a beautiful white horse to his window. Despite the tribe was poverty-stricken; it remained famous for their honesty.
As a result Aram refused to believe that cousin Mourad had stolen the horse. Sadly, Aram realized that the horse was stolen. However, according to him stealing a horse for a ride was not necessarily stealing, as it was not considered as stealing money or selling the horse “For all I knew, maybe it wasn’t stealing at all. If you were crazy about horses the way my cousin Mourad and I were, it wasn’t stealing” (p. 160). They decided to keep the horse a secret and hide it in order to learn to ride.
To Aram, cousin Mourad was a free spirit even though he was considered the crazy streak of the tribe. Cousin Mourad reflected life and wilderness; he had a way with animals, especially with horses. He was a good horse rider. He was not in the world by mistake “…he enjoyed being alive more than anybody else…” (p. 160). He was considered the natural descendant of their uncle Khosrove. Given that in the tribe “a man could be the father of his son’s flesh, but that did not mean that he was also the father of his spirit” (p. 161).
In other words, cousin Mourad was carefree as uncle Khosrove and people often dismissed their behavior. Riding horses was significant to Aram and cousin Mourad, it was a wonderful feeling. In the days that follow they rode and they let the horse run as long as it felt like running. After all, when Aram wanted to ride alone it was up to the horse according to cousin Mourad. However, every time Aram tried to ride the horse alone he leaped over grape vines and small trees and threw him and ran away. Regardless, he was determined to ride like cousin Mourad.
One day Aram and cousin Mourad was taking the horse to the farm at which they have been hiding it. They came face to face with the farmer John Byro the horse’s owner. After careful examination he concluded that this white horse was identical to the one that was stolen from him many weeks ago. Nevertheless, since the Garoghlanian tribe was known for its honesty he refused to accuse them, he showed compassion and wisdom, for “a suspicious man would believe his eyes instead of his heart” (p. 164). Aram noted that cousin Mourad looked ashamed even though he did not admit to anything.
The next day they brought the horse back to the owner’s farm. Later that day John Byro visited the Garoghlanian family home and told them about his horse which was mysteriously disappeared from his farm and had returned, not only that, the horse was better trained and well-tempered. The horse represented several things to Aram and Mourad in Saroyan’s story. The first would be a sense of indescribable beauty. It was magnificent, lovely and exciting. Second of all they were mesmerized by the presence of the horse and decided to fulfill their passions and interests.
Being hesitant at first, Aram gave in knowing that his behavior could potentially disrupt the balance in the family. In other words it could tarnish the family good reputation. On the other hand, cousin Mourad completely let his passion and interest namely animals guided him. After the encounter with John Byro, they quickly realized their mistake and guilt led them to return the horse and redeemed the family’s name. Overall, the Garoghlanian family was still known for their honesty, John Byro found his lost horse better than it was before and Aram and cousin Mourad fulfilled their dreams.