The Lucases' farm was the largest and most prosperous in the district, with a large yard, various buildings, and a red brick dwelling-house. The farm was well-managed, and the animals were well-kept. Among the animals was an old white horse named Coco, which the mistress of the farm wanted to be cared for until it died a natural death. A fifteen-year-old boy named Isidore Duval, or Zidore, was tasked with looking after Coco.
Zidore resented having to care for the old, useless horse and often neglected to give it proper food and care. When summer came, Zidore had to move Coco to different spots in a meadow so it could graze on fresh grass. The boy would often beat the horse and throw stones at it, growing increasingly angry and resentful.
The boy was furious, and felt growing in himself a desire to be revenged on the horse.
One day, Zidore decided not to move Coco to a new spot, leaving the horse tied up without any grass to eat. The horse, starving and weak, tried to reach the grass just out of its reach but was unable to do so.
The horse, seeing him go, neighed to remind him; but the boy began to run, leaving it all alone in the valley, well tied up, and without a blade of grass within range of its jaws.
Zidore did not return for two days, and when he finally came back, he found Coco dead. He remained standing, looking at it, pleased with his work, and at the same time surprised that it was already finished.
He remained standing, looking at it, pleased with his work, and at the same time surprised that it was already finished.
Zidore was pleased with his work and did not report the horse's death right away, wanting to continue playing truant during the times he was supposed to be caring for Coco. When he eventually told the farmhands about the horse's death, they buried Coco where it had died. The grass grew lush and green, nourished by the horse's body.