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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
The White Horse by artist and poet Harold Louis Deen is a short fiction tale set in Cork, Ireland in the early 1800s. It revolves around the sale of a fine white Arabian horse to the representative of a foreign ruler. While the sale of the horse is the center of the plot, the characters are the center of the story. It opens with the boy, Rory, showing his friend, Colleen, one of the foreign golden coins used to pay his father for the horse, and then backtracks from there. In the process, the natures of the character--including the father, the mother and sister, and the tall man who is buying the horse--unfold through their interactions with each other.
I was charmed by The White Horse. Deen tells the story in a lyrical prose that is more kin to poetry and reminds me of the language of fables and sagas from long ago. I laughed as little Colleen acted the part of a worldly-wise grown woman, fists on her hips, and made her opinion of Rory perfectly clear. I chuckled as Rory tried to sell a horse, as he’d seen his father do, even though the horse was already sold. I admired the wisdom in the father’s words to a son as he prepared him for the life ahead of him. I could hear the lovely Irish lilt in the dialog. And I appreciated the tribute the story pays to Irish horses, but appreciated even more the tribute it paid to the people who raised, trained, and sold them. A delightful read for fans of Irish history, fables about horses, and tales of young boys learning to become the men that their fathers are.