Erskine Caldwell: Molly Cottontail

May 21, 2009

This  beautiful story by an American author puts you in a happy mood.

I read it for the first time today in a voluminous book titled The Children’s Treasury of Literature, ed. by Bryna and Louis Untermeyer (Paul Hamlyn, London) after rummaging it from my library.

To nine-year-old Johnny’s home there comes a visitor, Aunt Nellie. He overhears her telling his mom whether he likes to hunt. When told that he did not, she declares: “I am disappointed in having a nephew who is not a real Southern gentleman.”

Johnny, touched to the quick,  goes into a room and taking his father’s shotgun and some shells, strolls out. Soon he comes across a grey-furred rabbit sitting on the bank of a creek. He takes aim and shoots…

Despite Aunt Nellie and her notions of Southern gentlemen,   there are fresh ways of looking at things.


William Saroyan: The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse

May 21, 2009

The narrator is a nine-year-old boy by name Aram. One day he is awakened by his cousin Mourad, who is only a little older than himself. When Aram looks out the window he sees his cousin sitting on a white horse.

He quitely slips out of home and the boys have a ride on the horse.

Where did Mourad get the animal? Did he steal it? How long did he keep it? How did he return the horse to its rightful owner? What was the latter’s reaction to the ‘lost and found’ incident?

An evocative story that reflects the gentle,  honest and trusting spirit of the Armenian community displaced in California from their homeland. The boys’ responsiveness to animals is touching.

I reread the story that is included in Great Tales of the Far West (Pyramid Books).