Anna Sewell's 1877 novel "Black Beauty" is an autobiographical memoir told by the horse who gives the book its name that starts with the horse's whimsical days as a young colt before moving on toward tough times hauling cabs in London and ending with a peaceful rest in the country. Each phase of his story brings him many stories of compassion, but he also gives many accounts of cruelty. The chapters each have a lesson inside them that relates to the sympathetic and insightful ways that people ought to behave.
In addition to the specific details about Black Beauty's own life, the book also goes into descriptions of the way that cab drivers in London had to work slavishly just to pay off their license fees while taking fares that had a low legal cap on their maximums. After "Black Beauty" came out, many readers related to the plight of the horses who were being victimized, and in the first two years after its publication, a million copies of "Black and Beauty" were available in print. Even though it has been more than 120 years since the novel came out, many of its truths about human nature continue to ring true.