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A Horse's Tale: By Mark Twain - Illustrated

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  39 reviews
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About A Horse's Tale by Mark Twain
A Horse's Tale is a novel by Mark Twain, written partially in the voice of Soldier Boy, who is Buffalo Bill's favorite horse, at a fictional frontier outpost with the U.S. 7th Cavalry. Harper'
Kindle Edition, 76 pages
Published February 12th 2017 (first published 1907)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  296 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
I haven't read much Twain as an adult, and not too many of his short pieces in my youth, other than those assigned to us in school. I certainly had never heard of this one, which I noticed at Gutenberg and added to a challenge list of books about animals.

Twain starts by having Soldier Boy (the horse) speaking. I am Buffalo Bill's horse. From that you would expect a story of rough and ready Army Scout type of adventures told from the horse's perspective. This is not what happens, though.

The story
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do normally enjoy the writing of Mark Twain and find it a welcome change from my usual psychological thrillers that I tend to read. But on this occasion I was disappointed, I had previously enjoyed 'The Dog's tale' and was hoping for something very similar but from a horses perspective but I found this short story on the whole a total let down.
The book starts promising with the narrative from 'Soldier Boy' who was Buffalo Bill's horse and is amusing but this changes to a tale of Soldier Boy's
Nicole Clarkston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ah, the beauty of bull fighting.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, humorous
I usually find Mark Twain both funny and to the point, but this tale wanders and is a bit confusing when it jumps around between the viewpoints of different horses and of people. There is a description of a bull fight towards the end that made my stomach clench in horror. Twain is so subtle that it is sometimes difficult to tell whether he is writing in approval or disapproval of the events he describes. This is a case in point. If I hadn't read Around the Equator and portions of his autobiograp ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story is a big contrast to Mark Twain's A Dog's Tale. Although both books have similar titles they do not share the same style. A Horse's Tale is not always narrated from the horse's point of view and I would have preferred this short story more if it had been narrated by Soldier Boy (the main horse character)

I thought the last chapter was really the storey Twain wanted to tell and the last chapter felt disunited from the rest if the story.

I thought it was interesting how Twain switched b
Lesley Lodge
Jan 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses
This starts of with an unusual perspective on his rider and life in general - it's a book written in the some places from the horse's point of view, with a wide range of comments from the horse, both funny and historical. And Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer) is as entertaining as ever on life in early 19th century America. Other parts of the book take the form of letters (from human characters). Be warned, though, the whole thrust of the book is to make a serious point about cruelty ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and touching, insightful and true. Sentimental without reserve or pretense. Twain.
Tim Villegas
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure what I was expecting from this story but the ending surprised me. There was some nice social commentary in the book and I enjoyed the repartee between the animals. I would highly recommend this book as a nice change of pace to what you would expect a Mark Twain story to be. Excellent read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Fat
A pleasant inoffensive little tale with some great moments of humor until the extremely stark change of tone in the last two chapters. I guess it served the purpose of really hammering home the message Twain wanted but in a literary sense it didn't really work. ...more
Sam Petro
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very short and clever. The story is about Buffalo Bill's horse named Soldier Boy and how he falls in love with a little girl at one of the forts on the frontier. Very quick ready, very entertaining. I cannot help but think that Mark Twain had fun writing this. ...more
Iris Hulsker
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entertaining
It was fun and entertaining. I was a bit shocked by the ending but I do not regret having listened to it.
Hayley Todd
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As short as it is, it made me laugh and cry. Mark Twain certainly can make it believable that animals really do have the personalities we attribute to them
Leonard Ondigo
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the first couple of chapters, the seeming inanity gave way to a pretty good story. :)
Alicia Fox
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Had I known this was a story about Buffalo Bill's horse, I likely wouldn't have selected it. ...more
Scott Wild
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself, near the end of this book, wondering if I was reading Hemingway...
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Twain gets a little out there on this one. Told from the point of view of Buffalo Bill's horse Soldier Boy. Short ...more
Muriel Unseth
I've read a lot of Twain, and I've liked a lot of Twain... but I'm still not enamored with his talking-animal-social-commentary stuff. ...more
Rab Nichols
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a five star... hell of a left turn at the end there...
Whenever the horse was narrating, I was all in. When he wasn't, I was mostly just wondering what he was up to. As expected, cleverness abounds. He really pulls the rug out in the end though. ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting something along the lines of Black Beauty. Mark Twain's A Horse's Tale is half that, half epistolary novel, alternating between the ruminations of "Soldier Boy" - Buffalo Bill's steed - and a series of letters written by one General Alison of the U.S. 7th Cavalry, who has recently taken his orphaned niece Cathy in his keep.

The gist of the tale is Soldier Boy's relationship with Cathy, who goes about her uncle's military outpost playing officer (an illusion that is encouraged by e
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently picked up a bunch of free Mark Twain stories for my Kindle and decided to read this one first. It's an odd little book, being narrated by Buffalo Bill's favorite horse, Soldier Boy, some dogs, and by members of the Cavalry. I was certain this had to have been a movie starring Shirley Temple, but apparently it was not. The young girl is a spunky thing who is soon running the Cavalry and, having charmed Buffalo Bill, is given his horse. This may seem like a story for children, but it ge ...more
Thom Swennes
A Horse’s Tale by Mark Twain is an unusual short story, written through the eyes and from the perspective of Soldier Boy, Buffalo Bill’s famed horse. Soldier Boy couldn’t only communicate with the reader but was also able to converse with animals of all denomination. Although it is just a short story, the amount of humor and hilarity makes it well worth the time and raises the question as to why it isn’t better known than it is. I can only surmise that Mark Twain’s better known stories are so gr ...more
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Sweet and sad. Endearing little Wild West story of Buffalo Bill's horse and the delightful little girl who befriends him. There is a fairly graphic description of a bull fight that will make readers agree with the horses who overhear it that, yes, humans are brutes. The inclusion of the musical notation for the different bugle calls used in the fort is an interesting touch. ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Not my favorite Mark Twain book. It was sweet with a dramatic ending. I read on wikipedia that this story was a response by Mark Twain to a letter asking him about bull fighting so the ending made sense. This is a quick read with a few funny/ridiculous conversations between animals.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-challenge
Interesting story. Partly told from the point of view of letters, and mostly from the point of view from the horse. It was my first Mark Twain book that I had read, and it wasn't too bad. I don't remember any bad language except for one use of the "n" word, which I don't particularly like. ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Not my favorite. I kept thinking the main subject would shift back to Soldier-Boy the horse, but it didn't. There are cute and creative parts, but it really should have had a better ending in my opinion. Could have done without chapters XI-XV. ...more
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very moving tale of a girl and a horse

A very moving tale of a girl and a horse. One of my favorite Mark Twain stories. I have read it several times
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work

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