Black Beauty is a fictional autobiographical memoir told by a horse, who recounts many tales, both of cruelty and kindness. The title page of the first edition states that it was "Translated from the Original Equine by Anna Sewell." It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she was confined to her house as an invalid. After its publication in 1877, Sewell lived just long enough to see her first and only novel become an immediate bestseller, as well as it encouraging the better treatment of many cruelly-treated animals. Although initially intended for people who work with horses, it soon became a children's classic. While outwardly teaching animal welfare, it also contains allegorical lessons about how to treat people with kindness, sympathy and respect. The story is narrated in the first person and each short chapter relates an incident in Black Beauty's life, with Sewell's detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the novel a good deal of verisimilitude.