BOOK DETAILS

Black Beauty: The Graphic Novel

Black Beauty: The Graphic Novel

by Anna Sewell

ISBN: 9780142404089

Publisher Puffin Books

Published in Children's Books/Comics & Graphic Novels, Arts & Photography/Graphic Design, Children's Books/Classics, Children's Books/Action & Adventure, Children's Books/Literature & Fiction

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Sample Chapter


Chapter One

MY EARLY HOME

MEN CALL ME BLACK BEAUTY. THIS IS MY STORY.

THE FIRST PLACE THAT I CAN WELL REMEMBER WAS A LARGE PLEASANT MEADOW WITH A POND OF CLEAR WATER ON IT.

OVER THE FENCE ON ONE SIDE WE LOOKED INTO A FIELD, AND ON THE OTHER WE LOOKED OVER A GATE AT OUR MASTER'S HOUSE.

AS SOON AS I WAS OLD ENOUGH TO EAT GRASS, MY MOTHER USED TO GO OUT TO WORK IN THE DAYTIME, AND COME BACK IN THE EVENING.

THERE WERE SIX YOUNG COLTS IN THE MEADOW BESIDE ME. I USED TO RUN WITH THEM, AND WE HAD GREAT FUN.

WE HAD RATHER ROUGH PLAY, FOR THEY WOULD FREQUENTLY BITE AND KICK.

ONE DAY MY MOTHER SAID TO ME, "THE COLTS WHO LIVE HERE ARE VERY GOOD COLTS BUT THEY HAVE NOT LEARNED MANNERS. I HOPE YOU WILL GROW UP GENTLE AND GOOD AND NEVER BITE OR KICK EVEN IN PLAY."

MY MOTHER WAS A WISE OLD HORSE, AND I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN HER ADVICE.

OUR MASTER WAS A GOOD, KIND MAN. WE WERE ALL FOND OF HIM, AND MY MOTHER LOVED HIM VERY MUCH.

WELL, OLD PET, AND HOW IS YOUR LITTLE BLACKIE?

BUT THERE WAS A PLOUGHBOY NAMED DICK, WHOSE IDEA OF FUN WAS TO THROW STONES AT US TO MAKE US GALLOP.

HEEYAH! RUN, YOU NAGS!

ONE DAY, THE MASTER CAUGHT HIM.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME ... BUT IT WILL BE THE LAST! TAKE YOUR PAY AND GO, I SHALL NOT SEE YOU ON MY FARM AGAIN!

Chapter Two

THE HUNT

ONE DAY IN THE SPRING SOMETHING OCCURRED WHICH I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN.

"IT IS THE HUNT!" SAID THE OLDEST OF THE COLTS.

"LOOK! THEY HAVE FOUND A HARE!" SAID MY MOTHER.

A SAD SIGHT, TWO FINE HORSES DOWN, AND THE RIDER ISN'T MOVING.

"HIS NECK IS BROKEN," SAID MY MOTHER. I

I HEARD AFTERWARDS THAT IT WAS YOUNG GEORGE GORDON, THE SQUIRE'S ONLY SON.

ON OF THE FALLEN HORSES HAD A BROKEN LEG. SOMEONE RAN TO OUR MASTER'S HOUSE AND CAME BACK WITH A GUN. THERE WAS A LOUD BANG ...

THE BLACK HORSE MOVED NO MORE.

MY MOTHER SEEMED MUCH TROUBLED; SHE SAID SHE HAD KNOWN THAT HORSE FOR YEARS, AND THAT HIS NAME WAS "ROB ROY." HE WAS A GOOD BOLD HORSE, AND THERE WAS NO VICE IN HIM. SHE NEVER WOULD GO TO THAT PART OF THE FIELD AFTERWARDS.

NOT MANY DAYS AFTER WE SAW A LONG STRANGE BLACK COACH THAT WAS COVERED WITH BLACK CLOTH AND WAS DRAWN BY BLACK HORSES.

THEY WERE CARRYING YOUNG GORDON TO THE CHURCHYARD TO BURY HIM. WHAT THEY DID WITH ROB ROY ( I NEVER KNEW, BUT 'TWAS ALL FOR ONE LITTLE HARE.

Chapter Three

MY BREAKING IN

BY AGE FOUR MY MASTER DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO SELL ME. SQUIRE GORDON CAME TO LOOK AT ME.

WHEN HE HAS BEEN BROKEN IN, HE WILL DO VERY WELL.

MY MASTER SAID HE WOULD BREAK ME IN HIMSELF, BEGINNING THE VERY NEXT DAY.

BREAKING IN MEANS TO TEACH A HORSE TO WEAR A SADDLE AND BRIDLE, CARRY A MAN ON HIS BACK, WEAR A HARNESS AND PULL A CART. WORST OF ALL, HE MUST LEARN TO ALWAYS DO HID MASTER'S WILL.

I WAS FITTED WITH A NASTY BIT, A TRAINING SADDLE, AND HEAVY IRON SHOES.

IT WAS VERY STRANGE, BUT I GOT USED TO IT, AND LEARNED TO DO MY JOB.

AS PART OF MY TRAINING I WAS SENT TO A MEADOW THAT SKIRTED A RAILWAY. I SHALL NEVER FORGET THE FIRST TRAIN THAT WENT BY.

I GALLOPED TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE MEADOW, SNORTING WITH ASTONISHMENT AND FEAR.

AFTER A FEW DAYS I BEGAN TO IGNORE IT. THUS WAS I TRAINED NOT TO BE FEARFUL AT RAILWAY STATIONS.

MY MOTHER TOLD ME THE BETTER I BEHAVED, THE BETTER MY LIFE WOULD BE. SHE SAID:

"THERE ARE MANY KINDS OF MEN, GOOD AND BAD, AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHO WILL BUY YOU. DO YOUR BEST AND KEEP YOUR GOOD NAME."

Chapter Four

BIRTWICK PARK

IN EARLY MAY, A MAN CAME TO TAKE ME TO SQUIRE GORDON'S.

GOODBYE, BLACKIE. BE A GOOD HORSE, AND ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.

SO I SAID FAREWELL TO THE ONLY HOME I HAD EVER KNOWN.

SQUIRE GORDON'S PARK WAS NEAR THE VILLAGE OF BIRTWICK. IT WAS A LARGE ESTATE, WITH MEADOWS, TREES, AND FINE GARDENS.

I WAS TAKEN TO A ROOMY STABLE WITH FOUR GOOD STALLS. IT WAS AIRY AND PLEASANT.

I WAS PUT INTO A NICE LARGE STALL, AND LEFT UNTIED. I ATE SOME OATS AND LOOKED AROUND AT MY NEW NEIGHBORS.

"HELLO, MY NAME IS MERRYLEGS. I'M A HANDSOME PONY, AND I CARRY THE YOUNG LADIES ON MY BACK. ARE YOU MY NEW STALL MATE?"

"SO THIS IS THE YOUNG UPSTART WHO HAS TAKEN MY NICE LARGE STALL. IT IS A STRANGE THING FOR A COLT LIKE YOU TO TURN A LADY OUT OF HER HOME!"

"DON'T MIND HER, THAT'S GINGER. SHE WAS MOVED BECAUSE SHE BIT ONE OF THE GROOMS, SO YOU SEE IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. IT IS VERY NICE HERE IF YOU DON'T BITE OR SNAP."

Chapter Five

A FAIR START

THE NEXT MORNING THE COACHMAN JOHN MANLY TOOK ME INTO THE YARD FOR A GOOD GROOMING. THE SQUIRE CAME TO LOOK ME OVER.

I MEANT TO TRY THIS ONE OUT MYSELF, BUT I HAVE OTHER BUSINESS THIS MORNING. YOU TAKE ROUND THIS MORNING. LET HIM SHOW HIS PACES.

JOHN FITTED ME WITH A COMFORTABLE SADDLE AND BRIDLE, AND WE WERE OFF.

WHEN WE CAME TO AN OPEN FIELD HE GAVE ME A LIGHT TOUCH WITH HIS WHIP, AND WE HAD A SPLENDID GALLOP.

HOHO, MY BOY!

YOU WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW THE HOUNDS, I THINK.

AS WE CAME BACK, WE MET. THE SQUIRE AND HIS WIFE WALKING.

WELL, JOHN, HOW DOES HE GO?

FIRST RATE, SIRE. HE IS AS FLEET AS A DEER, AND HAS A FINE SPIRIT, TOO.

THAT'S WELL. I WILL TRY HIM MYSELF TOMORROW.

WE SEE OFF EARLY THE NEXT MORNING. THE SQUIRE WAS A VERY GOOD RIDER, AND THOUGHTFUL FOR HIS HORSE, TOO.

HE IS EVERY BIT THE HORSE JOHN SAID HE WAS. WHAT SHALL WE CALL HIM, MY DEAR?

FOR SUCH A FINE HORSE, I THINK ONLY "BLACK BEAUTY" WILL DO.

BLACK BEAUTY IT SHALL BE THEN!

JOHN MANLY AND JAMES THE STABLE BOY APPROVED OF MY NEW NAME.

A SENSIBLE ENGLISH NAME, NOT LIKE PEGASUS, OR SOME SUCH.

THE NEXT DAY I HAD TO PULL THE CARRIAGE WITH GINGER. I WONDERED HOW WE WOULD GET ON TOGETHER.

SHE BEHAVED VERY WELL, AND DID HER FULL SHARE OF WORK. WE BECAME FRIENDS AFTER ALL.

AS FOR MERRYLEGS, HE AND I SOON BECAME GREAT FRIENDS. HE WAS A FAVORITE WITH EVERYONE.

... ESPECIALLY THE SQUIRE'S DAUGHTER.

THE SQUIRE HAD TWO OTHER HORSES THAT LIVED IN ANOTHER STABLE. JUSTICE WAS A ROAN COB. THE OTHER WAS SIR OLIVER, A RETIRED HUNTER WHO WAS A FORVORITE OF THE MASTER.

WE GOT ON, BUT I WAS NOT AS CLOSE TO THEM AS I WAS TO MY STABLEMATE, GINGER.

Chapter Six

LIBERTY

I WAS QUITE HAPPY IN MY NEW PLACE. ALL WHO HAD TO DO WITH ME WERE GOOD, AND I HAD A LIGHT, AIRY STABLE AND THE BEST OF FOOD. WHAT MORE COULD WANT'? WHY, I LIBERTY!

SOMETIMES, IT WAS TOO MUCH, AND I COULD NOT KEEP QUIET. I HAD TO JUMP, TO PRANCE, TO FEEL FREE!

STEADY, MY BOY, STEADY!

OUR JOHN UNDERSTOOD. HE WAS QUITE PATIENT, AND I WAS VERY FOND OF HIM.

I OUGHT TO SAY THAT SOMETIMES WE DID HAVE OUR LIBERTY FOR A FEW HOURS. THIS WAS ON FINE SUNDAYS IN THE SUMMERTIME.

THIS WAS A VERY GOOD TIME FOR TALKING, AS WE STOOD TOGETHER UNDER THE SHADE OF THE HUGE CHESTNUT TREE.

CH7[ GINGER

ONE SUNDAY GINGER ASKED ABOUT MY UPBRINGING, AND I TOLD HER.

"WELL," SAID SHE, "IF I HAD HAD YOUR BRINGING UP, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN OF AS GOOD TEMPERED AS YOU ARE, BUT NOW I DON'T BELIEVE I EVER SHALL."

"WHY NOT?" I SAID.

"BECAUSE I NEVER HAD AND ONE, I HORSE OR MAN, THAT WAS KIND TO ME. BOYS PELTED ME WITH STONES FOR FUN.

"WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR BREAKING IN, IT WAS VERY BAD FOR ME. SEVERAL MEN SEIZED ME CRUELLY, AND FORCED A HALTER ON ME, MY BREAKERS KNEW NOTHING OF GENTLENESS, ONLY FORCE AND ROUGHNESS."

"THE SON OF THE MASTER WAS THE HEAD BREAKER. HIS NAME WAS SAMSON, AND THERE WAS NO KINDNESS IN HIM AT ALL, ONLY HARDNESS AND CRUELTY."

"HIS ONE THOUGHT WAS TO TURN ME INTO AN OBEDIENT PIECE OF HUMBLED HORSEFLESH!"

"ONE DAY HE WORKED ME VERY HARP TO TIRE ME OUT, TO BREAK MY SPIRIT.

"THEN HE MOUNTED ME AND BEGAN TO BEAT ME WITH . A WHIP.

"I KICKED AND REARED. AFTER A TERRIBLE STRUGGLE, I THREW HIM OFF BACKWARDS.

"HE ROSE AND LEFT ME STANDING IN THE HOT SUN, THIRSTY AND BLEEDING FROM HIS HEAVY WHIP."

"JUST AS THE SUN WAS GOING DOWN, THE OLD MASTER CAME AND BROUGHT ME SOME OATS. HE SPOKE SOFTLY, AND HIS KIND VOICE TOOK ALL OF MY FEAR AWAY.

"HIS SON WAS WAITING AS THE MASTER LED ME BACK TO THE STABLE.

HARK YE, SAMSON! A BAD TEMPERED MAN WILL NEVER MAKE A GOOD TEMPERED HORSE!

"THE OLD MASTER TENDED MY WOUNDS HIMSELF, SHAKING HIS HEAD ALL THE WHILE, SAYING, 'POOR LASSIE, POOR LASSIE!'

"I SAW NO MORE OF SAMSON. A STEADY BREAKER NAMED JOB TOOK OVER MY TRAINING." ]CH7

CH8[ GINGER'S STORY CONTINUED

"AFTER MY BREAKING IN, I WAS SOLD TO A FASHIONABLE GENTLEMAN FROM LONDON.

"HE USED A CRUEL BEARING REIN ON US TO HOLD OUR HEADS HIGH, TO MAKE US LOOK MORE STYLISH. IT IS A DREADFUL, PAINFUL DEVICE, AND I GREW TO HATE IT.

"ONE DAY THEY BUCKLED US IN PARTICULARLY TIGHT, AND I COULD TAKE IT NO LONGER. I KICKED AND BUCKED UNTIL I WAS FREE, AND THAT WAS THE END OF THAT PLACE."

"I WAS SOLD TO A COUNTRY GENTLEMAN WHO DROVE ME WITHOUT A BEARING REIN, AND SO FOR A WHILE I GOT ON VERY WELL.

"BUT THEN HIS KIND OLD GROOM LEFT HIM AND A NEW ONE CAME.

"THIS MAN WAS AS HARD AND CRUEL AS SAMSON. ANY LITTLE THING I DID TO DISPLEASE HIM WAS MET WITH A BLOW FROM HIS PITCHFORK. I QUICKLY LEARNED TO HATE HIM.

"ONE DAY HE PUSHED ME TOO FAR, AND I BIT HIM. THIS OF COURSE THREW HIM INTO A GREAT RAGE.

"HE BEAT ME SEVERELY WITH A RIDING WHIP. HE TOLD THE MASTER I WAS DANGEROUS, AND SO I WAS SOLD AGAIN."

"AFTER ALL I HAVE BEEN THROUGH I HAVE LITTLE TRUST IN MEN."

I WAS SORRY FOR GINGER, BUT KNEW LITTLE THEN, AND THOUGHT SHE HAD MADE THE WORSE OF HER TALE.

AS THE WEEKS WENT ON, SHE GREW MUCH MORE GENTLE AND CHEERFUL, AND LOST HER DEFIANT LOOK. EVEN THE MASTER NOTICED.

WELL, MY PRETTY ONE, YOU ARE A GOOD BIT HAPPIER THAN WHEN YOU CAME TO US, I THINK.

YES SIR, SHE'S WONDERFULLY IMPROVED. ALL SHE WANTED WAS A LITTLE KINDNESS, POOR THING. ]CH8

CH9[ MERRYLEGS

ONE AFTERNOON, AN ANGRY JAMES BROUGHT BACK MERRYLEGS, WHO HAD BEEN OUT A LONG TIME WITH A GROUP OF CHILDREN.

THERE, YOU ROGUE, MIND HOW YOU BEHAVE YOURSELF, OR WE SHALL GET INTO TROUBLE!

"WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING, MERRYLEGS?"

"OH, I HAD TO GIVE SOME YOUNG BOYS A LESSON. THE MASTER'S GIRLS ARE PROPER RIDERS, BUT THESE BOYS, THEY USED BIG STICKS AS WHIPS. SO I HAD TO BREAK THEM IN.

"WHEN THEY WOULDN'T STOP WHIPPING ME, WHY, I ROSE UP AND DUMPED THEM OFF, TO SHOW THEM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS."

"WHEN THEY BROUGHT ME TO JAMES, I THINK HE WAS ANGRY TO SEE THEIR BIG STICKS."

"HE TOLD THEM SUCH WHIPS WERE NOT FIT FOR YOUNG GENTLEMEN."

"I WOULD HAVE GIVEN THOSE BOYS A GOOD KICK, THAT WOULD HAVE GIVEN THEM A LESSON!"

"NO DOUBT YOU WOULD, GINGER, BUT I AM NOT QUITE SO FOOLISH AS THAT!

"DO YOU THINK I AM SUCH AN UNGRATEFUL BRUTE AS TO FORGET ALL THE KIND TREATMENT I HAVE HAD HERE? NO! AND IF YOU WERE SMART, YOU WOULD THINK THE SAME.

"BESIDES, IF I TOOK TO KICKING, WHERE WOULD I BE? SOLD OFF IN A JIFFY, TO WHO KNOWS WHAT SORT OF ROUGH MASTER. NO, THANK YOU, I SAY!"

]CH9 (Continues...)

Excerpted from "Black Beauty: The Graphic Novel" by Anna Sewell. Copyright © 0 by Anna Sewell. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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