The character of Muni in A Horse and Two Goats from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

A Horse and Two Goats

An impoverished, low-caste goat herder who lives in the fictional South Indian village of Kritam. At one time, Muni possessed a large and healthy herd of goats and sheep, but the herd dwindled away over time until only two were left. Due to his now-impoverished state and bad reputation in the village that makes it impossible to buy goods on credit, Muni barely manages to find enough to eat every day. The two scraggly goats that make up the remainder of Muni’s herd serve only as a bitter reminder of how far he has fallen in the world. Despite this, he leads an emotionally rich life in which he travels each day to sit on the pedestal of a grand statue to graze his goats, watch the highway nearby, reminiscence on the past, and ponder mythological stories. Muni’s desire to experience the world outside his tiny village of narrow-minded people leads him to this statue beside the highway every day. One day, he comes into contact with the vast world outside his village when he meets the red-faced foreigner, whose car runs out of gas beside the statue. Their interaction culminates in a grand misunderstanding in which the foreigner offers Muni money for the horse statue, and Muni, looking at the situation through his own cultural lens, believes that the foreigner is offering to buy his goats. Instead of viewing time as finite and linear, Muni sees it as limitless and cyclical, and instead of seeing the world in terms of monetary value, he values the emotional richness of storytelling, which is interwoven with his own Hindu spirituality. Kalki

Muni Quotes in A Horse and Two Goats

The A Horse and Two Goats quotes below are all either spoken by Muni or refer to Muni. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Perspective  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Viking Press edition of A Horse and Two Goats published in 1970.
A Horse and Two Goats Quotes
He knew that if he obeyed her she would somehow conjure up some food for him in the evening. Only he must be careful not to argue and irritate her… She was sure to go out and work – grind corn in the Big House, sweep or scrub somewhere, and earn enough to buy foodstuff and keep a dinner ready for him in the evening.
Related Characters: Muni, Muni’s Wife
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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He passed through the village with his head bowed in thought. He did not want to look at anyone or be accosted. A couple of cronies…hailed him, but he ignored their call. They had known him in the days of affluence when he lorded over a flock of fleecy sheep, not the miserable gawky goats that he had today…but all this seemed like the memoirs of a previous birth.
Related Characters: Muni
Related Symbols: The Highway
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The shopman had said that he was seventy. At seventy, one only waited to be summoned by God. When he was dead what would his wife do? They had lived in each other’s company since they were children… He had thrashed her only a few times in their career, and later she had the upper hand… He avoided looking at anyone [in the village; they all professed to be so high up, and everyone else in the village had more money than he. “I am the poorest fellow in our caste and no wonder that they spurn me, but I won’t look at them either.”
Related Characters: Muni, Muni’s Wife, The Shopkeeper
Page Number: 10-11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Only on the outskirts [of the village] did he lift his head and look up… He sat on [the statue’s] pedestal for the rest of the day. The advantage of this was that he could watch the highway and see the lorries and buses pass through to the hills, and it gave him a sense of belonging to a larger world.
Related Characters: Muni
Related Symbols: The Kalki Statue , The Highway
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The horse was nearly life-size, moulded out of clay, baked, burnt, and brightly coloured, and reared its head proudly, prancing its forelegs in the air and flourishing its tail in a loop; beside the horse stood a warrior... None in the village remembered the splendours no one noticed its existence. Even Muni, who spent all his waking hours at its foot, never bothered to look up… This statue had been closer to the population of the village at one time, when this spot bordered the village; but when the highway was laid through (or perhaps when the tank and wells dried up completely here) the village moved a couple of miles inland.
Related Characters: Muni
Related Symbols: The Kalki Statue , The Highway
Page Number: 11-12
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Muni shrank away from the [foreigner’s] card. Perhaps [the foreigner] was trying to present a warrant and arrest him. Beware of khaki, one part of his mind warned. Take all the cigarettes or bhang or whatever is offered, but don’t get caught. Beware of khaki.
Related Characters: Muni, The Red-Faced Foreigner
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Please, please. I will speak slowly…Can’t you understand even a simple word of English? Everyone in this country seems to know English. I have got along with English everywhere in this country, but you don't speak it. Have you any religious or spiritual scruples against English speech?”

Related Characters: The Red-Faced Foreigner (speaker), Muni
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“You see, last August, we probably had the hottest summer in history, and I was working in shirt-sleeves in my office on the fortieth floor of the Empire State Building. We had a power failure one day, you know, and there I was stuck for four hours, no elevator, no air conditioning. All the way in the train I kept thinking, and the minute I reached home in Connecticut, I told my wife Ruth, ‘We will visit India this winter, it's time to look at other civilizations.’”

Related Characters: The Red-Faced Foreigner (speaker), Muni
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“I don’t want to seem to have stopped here for nothing. I will offer you a good price for this," he said, indicating the horse. He had concluded without the least doubt that Muni owned this mud horse. Perhaps he guessed by the way he sat at its pedestal, like other souvenir-sellers in this country presiding over their wares.

Related Characters: The Red-Faced Foreigner (speaker), Muni
Related Symbols: The Kalki Statue
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

"This is our guardian, it means death to our adversaries. At the end of Kali Yuga, this world and all other worlds will be destroyed, and the Redeemer will come in the shape of a horse called 'Kalki'; this horse will come to life and gallop and trample down all bad men… [T]he oceans are going to close over the earth in a huge wave and swallow us—this horse will grow bigger than the biggest wave and carry on its back only the good people and kick into the floods the evil ones.”

Related Characters: Muni (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Kalki Statue
Page Number: 19-20
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Lend me a hand and I can lift off the horse from its pedestal after picking out the cement at the joints. We can do anything if we have a basis of understanding” … He flourished a hundred-rupee currency note… The old man now realized that some financial element was entering their talk. He peered closely at the currency note, the like of which he had never seen in his life… He laughed to himself at the notion of anyone coming to him for changing a thousand- or ten-thousand-rupee note.

Related Characters: The Red-Faced Foreigner (speaker), Muni
Related Symbols: The Kalki Statue
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Muni Character Timeline in A Horse and Two Goats

The timeline below shows where the character Muni appears in A Horse and Two Goats. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Horse and Two Goats
Perspective  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
Relations Between Men and Women  Theme Icon
...of less than thirty thatch houses and one majestic brick construction called the Big House. Muni lives in one of these thatch houses, and in more prosperous times owned a flock... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Relations Between Men and Women  Theme Icon
Over time, Muni’s fortunes have dwindled. His once large flock now consists of only two goats, and he... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Relations Between Men and Women  Theme Icon
Muni goes to the local store and attempts to charm the shopkeeper by laughing at his... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Relations Between Men and Women  Theme Icon
Dejected, Muni returns home to inform his wife of the bad news; she exasperatedly orders him out... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Relations Between Men and Women  Theme Icon
As Muni approaches the highway, he feels defeated by the shopkeeper’s assertion that he must be “at... (full context)
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
...yellow station wagon comes barreling down the highway, only to stop abruptly in front of Muni after running out of gas. A “red-faced foreigner” lumbers out of the car, questioning Muni... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
Muni, not understanding the foreigner’s English, asserts defensively that the two goats nearby are indeed his,... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
The foreigner tells Muni (although Muni has no idea what he is saying) that he decided to travel to... (full context)
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
Linear vs. Cyclical Time  Theme Icon
Muni tries to make an excuse to leave, thoroughly mystified by the foreigner’s conversation, but the... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Neocolonialism  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
The foreigner marvels at Muni’s Tamil as one would take delight in a sideshow attraction. Yet, the foreigner assumes that... (full context)
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
Linear vs. Cyclical Time  Theme Icon
Once again misunderstanding the foreigner’s reference to the statue that stands beside the highway, Muni begins to explain its mythological and religious significance. He tells the foreigner that it represents... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
Linear vs. Cyclical Time  Theme Icon
Ignorant of the meaning of Muni’s speech and the religious and cultural significance of the statue, the foreigner begins outlining a... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
Linear vs. Cyclical Time  Theme Icon
...be ready to talk business” and flourishes 100 rupees for the statue in front of Muni. Muni has never seen so much money in his life. Thinking that the foreigner is... (full context)
Perspective  Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Spirituality  Theme Icon
Linear vs. Cyclical Time  Theme Icon
Muni returns home triumphant, informing his wife that he has managed to sell his goats. The... (full context)