Black Beauty's story, as told by himself, is the fascinating tale of the life of a horse a hundred years ago, when horses were a part of daily life. Although his colthood and early life are happy, Black Beauty tastes the bitterness of cruel handlers and indifferent masters as he passes from hand to hand, progressing from the country to London and back again. Written in 1877 as an appeal for the humane treatment of horses, Black Beauty ranks among the most famous and popular of animal stories. Sample Text There was one man, I thought, if he would buy me, I should be happy. He was not a gentleman. He was rather a small man, but well made, and quick in all his motions. I knew in a moment, by the way he handled me, that he was used to horses; he spoke gently, and his gray eye had a kindly, cheery look in it. It may seem strange to say — but it is true all the same — that the clean, fresh smell there was about him made me take to him; no smell of old beer and tobacco, which I hated, but a fresh smell as if he had come out of a hayloft. He offered twenty-three pounds for me; but that was refused, and he walked away.