The main characters in this novel are a boy named Folco and a white horse he named White Mane.
The love between them arises from their first encounter, when White Mane was still just a foal.
White Mane was a beautiful wild horse that people tried to capture for their selfish gain.
However, the horse loved its freedom more than anything and ran far away from humans.
It only trusted the boy Folco because he was the only one who loved him sincerely, with a love for wild horses ingrained within him.
The novel has a sad ending as the river takes away the boy and the horse, but it leaves behind a powerful story of friendship and bravery that is even stronger than death.
FULL BOOK SUMMARY
- The boy named Folco, who was 12 years old, and his younger brother lived in a cabin with their grandfather, who was a fisherman. Folco loved horses very much.
One day, while he was going to the swamp to empty the fishing nets, he spotted a runaway mare with a small white foal.
Folco really liked the foal, he stroked its mane and named it White Mane.
- When he was returning back, he noticed two gypsy horse thieves catching the foal's mother with ropes and taking her away, while they left the foal tied up in the swamp.
Folco returned and freed the tied-up foal and then let it go freely.
- The next day, he went on a search for the foal with the old guardian (horse keeper) Antonio. Antonio told him that the escaped mare,
which was taken by the horse thieves, was named Rita, and it belonged to his master.
When they found the foal, it recognized Folko and approached them on its own. Then they returned it to its owner's herd.
- As Folco grew up in the herd, he constantly visited White Mane, and their friendship grew.
However, when he grew into a big beautiful horse, longing for freedom, White Mane, like his mother, ran away from the herd into the wild.
- The herd owner and his men unsuccessfully tried to capture White Mane. On one occasion, while Folko was nearby, trying to catch White Mane, the owner almost got hurt.
Then he angrily gave up, saying he had enough of that horse and handed him over to anyone who managed to catch him.
When Folco asked if that applied to him as well, the owner smirked mockingly and confirmed it.
- Later, when Folco found White Mane, the horse approached him with a lot of trust and headed towards their cabin.
The horse was now his. However, White Mane didn't stay with Folco for long.
Driven by the instinct for freedom, he ran away the next day to join other wild horses that roamed freely in the wilderness.
- Free among the wild horses, White Mane fought to become the leader of their herd.
He managed to defeat a young black horse in a long and difficult battle and become the leader of the herd, but he was injured.
He then returned to Folco, who healed his wounds. When Folco wanted to ride White Mane again, the horse, not allowing anyone, not even the boy, to do so, escaped into the wilderness.
After that, no one saw White Mane anymore because he was not with the herd of wild horses where they were searching for him.
- One day, the old guardian Antonio took Folco to a big fair in Arles, which took several days to travel to.
On the way, they stopped at his friend Giuseppe's house, where they recognized Rita, the mare who was White Mane's mother.
Both of them were happy to see her, and Giuseppe told them how he had stolen her from horse thieves and threatened them with the law and hanging for theft.
- In Arles, Folco admired the horses and carriages, horse and bull races, and he was in the circus where he watched cowboys and the skills of circus horse riders.
He thought he recognized White Mane there and had to go to the stall behind the tent to make sure it wasn't him.
After that, he noticed the owner and Antonio's master talking nearby. The circus owner offered a large sum of money to the owner to bring him a good wild horse.
- Ignoring the earlier promise to give White Mane to whoever tamed him (which was Folco),
Antonio's master, with a group of people, went into the marsh to catch White Mane and sell him to the circus.
When they found him, they set the reeds on fire to drive him out of the marsh, but a strong wind spread the fire, and they started to run away.
White Mane was surrounded by fire, but Folco was nearby and immediately set out to save him.
- The boy approached White Mane and managed to mount him with a skillful jump, and then they bravely set out to break through the ring of fire.
White Mane trusted the boy and pushed through the fire until they reached a safe place.
- But then the owner's men on horseback chased them because he ordered them to capture White Mane.
Folco and White Mane set off again to escape to freedom. White Mane ran with all his strength with the boy on his back, but they were heading towards a steep bank of the River Rhone.
Realizing that the horse and the boy would fall into the river, the owner and the pursuers stopped and shouted for them to give up the chase, but the horse and the boy no longer trusted people.
White Mane jumped into the river, and Folco, not wanting to leave him, held on tightly to his back.
- The river current was strong and carried them towards the sea. White Mane fought against the water and swam powerfully, but soon both of them disappeared beneath the river waves.