My Little Pony Monthly Issue 56 (November 1, 2001)
My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages
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Index of this issue–
1. Mr. Moochick and Megan’s Wish (by Sparkle-pony)
2. Belle Star (by Clever Clover)
3. Pony Name Jumble (by Applejack)
4. Letters (by Sugarberry)
5. Fairweather Pony Chapter One (by Christine)
6. Two Roads Diverged (by Sugarberry)
7. The Date (by Clever Clover)
8. Three’s a Crowd (by Sugarberry)
9. Girl’s Day Out (by Sugarberry and Tabby)
Mr. Moochick and Megan’s Wish
by Sparkle-pony (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ahh, the ever-so-happy land of Pony Valley, what a beautiful, happy place. Bushwoolies rolling about, Spike jumping around, the Ponies out frolicking in the meadows– what more could a pony want, or for that matter, what more could anyone want in the Land of Ponies?
“Hey, who’s dat in the trees?” said Hugster the Bushwoolie.
“Who dat, who dat?” said Friendly.
Then all the Bushwoolies chimed in repeating, “Who’s dat, who’s dat?” over and over as they always do. Then, all five of the Bushwoolies rolled over to the trees to take a better look. “Oooooh, it’s Megan. Hooray, it’s Megan!” they all said, chiming in together as one. “Hi, Megan... hi, Megan!” All of them jumped around Megan, laughing.
“Oh, hi, guys,” Megan said in a quiet voice.
The Bushwoolies looked at each other and wondered what was the matter with Megan; usually she was happy and as cheerful as Cheerful the Bushwoolie. “Hey, what’s the matter, Megan; are you feeling blue today? Want us to go and find the ponies to play with you?” asked a bouncing Bushwoolie.
“No, oh NO, don’t do that!” said Megan in a loud voice, and off she ran, crying.
The Bushwoolies knew something was wrong; they went in search of the ponies for help. “Hey, look up in the sky!” said Wishful.
“The sky– the sky!” they all said together as they looked up. “WOW, it is Firefly; maybe she can help Megan!” they hollered. The Bushwoolies started jumping and shouting, “Firefly– Firefly, come down, come down!”
Firefly looked down and started laughing; what a funny sight to see! She thought to herself, Hmm, it looks like they want me to come down. Aloud, Firefly said, “Well, I better fly down and see what they want.” Quickly she landed in front of the Bushwoolies, who all started talking and bouncing at once. “Wait, wait!” shouted Firefly. “I cannot understand what you are saying; is Megan alright?”
Friendly stepped forward and told her of their meeting with Megan, and how they now wondered why Megan did not want to see the ponies. Firefly was very perplexed; she knew that all the ponies loved Megan with all their hearts and that not one of them would ever hurt her– well, at least not intentionally, she thought. Firefly told the Bushwoolies that she would go find Wind Whistler, and together they would go and talk to Megan.
Firefly soon found Wind Whistler flying above the lake and playing with the Sea Ponies. “Hey, Wind Whistler!” hollered Firefly. “Come on! We need to go talk to Megan.” But no sooner were the words out of Firefly’s mouth when she was drenched with water. “What was that for?” cried Firefly laughingly; it felt rather good after the long flight she had in looking for Wind Whistler.
“Shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo-shooppiddy doo,” laughed the Sea Ponies as they tried again to get Firefly, but missed.
Meanwhile, Wind Whistler was flying towards Firefly and asking about Megan. “What is up with Megan?” Wind Whistler asked.
“I don’t know,” said Firefly, “but the Bushwoolies said she is very unhappy and that she might be avoiding the ponies.”
Wind Whistler stopped in mid-air. “WHAT! What do you mean, she might be avoiding us ponies? Something must be terribly wrong. Let’s hurry and find her,” she said.
Hours later, the poor tired ponies were ready to give up when they spotted a bit of blue moving through the trees. YES, it was Megan. Swiftly, they flew down and stopped in front of Megan– they could see that she had been crying.
But then, BAM, out of nowhere came Lickety Split and knocked poor Megan right off of her feet– luckily she landed in a soft garden of flowers. Right behind Lickety Split came Moon Dancer running as fast as she could, nearly knocking everyone else off their hooves.
“LICKETY SPLIT, MOON DANCER, be careful! Look what you have done to Megan, and you almost crushed my wings!” shouted Wind Whistler.
“What is the meaning of all the rushing and running so fast?” asked Firefly.
Lickety Split was almost in tears. “I am so sorry Megan; are you alright?” she asked.
“Gee, Megan” said Moon Dancer, “please forgive us; we were just playing tag.”
At that moment, five other ponies came racing into the forest. Suddenly Megan started crying, and all the ponies looked at each other and felt bad, wondering if Megan was okay. “Megan,” said Wind Whistler, “please tell us what is wrong.”
Megan sniffed, wiped her eyes, and said, “I came to the valley this morning and wanted to play; but I saw everyone running so fast that I felt I would get in the way.” Megan continued talking, “Every time we play I get left behind; and I know you don’t mean to run so far ahead, but I get left out ‘cause I run too slow,” and she started crying again.
The ponies thought and then suggested she talk to Mr. Moochick, thinking maybe he could cast a spell and make her run faster. Megan thought it was useless to ask, but she didn’t want to hurt the ponies’ feelings so she climbed onto Wind Whistler’s back and went to find Mr. Moochick.
“Mr. Moochick?... Mr. Moochick?... where are you?” shouted Megan and Wind Whistler.
“Look, over there,” Wind Whistler said. There, far below, sat Mr. Moochick on a large mushroom, scribbling something in his magic book of spells. Slowly drifting downwards, Megan and Wind Whistler landed behind Mr. Moochick. Mr. Moochick was mumbling to himself, as always, and writing; soon he felt that he was being watched and poof, he disappeared.
“Oh, NO!” shouted Megan and Wind Whistler together. “Where did he go?”
“Mr. Moochick, Mr. Moochick! It is me, Megan; come back...” Megan called.
Poof, back he was. “Well, well, Megan and Wind Whistler! What are you doing here sneaking up on me?” Mr. Moochick stated.
Megan and Wind Whistler told him of the problem and the thought of the ponies that maybe he could do something for Megan. Mr. Moochick sat down on a big buttercup flower, smoked his pipe, and thought. “Eureka!” he shouted. He asked Megan if she had the Rainbow of Light with her.
“Of course,” said Megan as she pulled it from around her neck. Mr. Moochick told her to hold it tight and make her wish. Swooooooooosh... “OH, MY!” exclaimed Megan. “Mr. Moochick, oh, Mr. Moochick! It is WONDERFUL! Look at me; look at me!” shouted Megan. “I cannot believe this, goodness!!” Megan began running; she could run like the wind. She jumped; WOW, she jumped over the tallest rock ever! “Oh, Mr. Moochick, thank you,” said Megan. “I cannot wait until I can go and play with the ponies; wait until they see the NEW me. Uh, Mr. Moochick,” said Megan, “how long will this new transformation last?”
Mr. Moochick slipped two bright pink braids into Megan’s hair and told her that every time she wanted to be transformed she needed to put the braids into her hair and just wish to be transformed and it would happen.
Megan and Wind Whistler thanked Mr. Moochick and Megan gave him a big hug (and a large blueberry muffin). What!!! Did you think Mr. Moochick gave out magic for nothing? Shame on you– haha.
Well, of course Megan took the pink braids out of her hair, and she climbed onto Wind Whistler’s back; and off they flew to Pony Valley. Megan could not wait to show the other ponies how fast she could run. Wait until they see her...
What, would you like to see her, too? Well, by all means, PLEASE do; hurry before she runs off again. If you want to see Megan in her TRANSFORMED body, e-mail me (email@example.com) and I will send her picture to you. You will not believe her wonderful, beautiful transformation!!
by Clever Clover (Swordrat@aol.com)
Clever Clover crouched in a one meter square hole in the ground. It was almost ninety centimeters deep and was becoming difficult to excavate in such cramped quarters. He carefully scraped the floor of the excavation with a sharpened trowel, seeking any signs of prehistoric activity hidden in the soil. He paused as his trowel grated against something solid. The point of the trowel probed into the soil to determine the size of the unseen object. Just as the purple pony was about to remove the covering soil to reveal what lay beneath, something fell on top of him. The trowel plunged into the soil gouging out a jagged hole in the once perfectly smooth floor of the unit.
“Eh, watch where you’re throwin’- Ah, who are you?” Clever Clover realized that it was not some inanimate object that had fallen on him, but another pony.
The other pony, who Clever Clover didn’t recognize, sat on his back rubbing a lump on her forehead. “I’m sorry; I guess I didn’t notice the hole there. Are you okay?”
“I think so; maybe if you get off my back I’d be sure.”
“Oh, right.” The strange pony lightly hopped out of the hole but managed to knock over a bucket which landed on Clever Clover’s head.
Clever Clover climbed from the hole, now rubbing the lump on his own forehead. “You’re new here, aren’t you?” The purple pony finally got a good look at the stranger who had fallen on him. Her coat was tan with golden mane and tail and pale blue eyes. The symbol on her rump was a five-pointed star surrounded by a halo of silver rays.
“Yeah, I just started this morning. I’m having some trouble getting the hang of things. The boss told me to find someone called Cleaver Clover to show me the ropes. By the way, my name is Belle Star.”
“Uh, I’m Clever Clover. It’s nice to meet you, Belle Star.”
Belle Star bowed. “Oh, I am honored to meet you Mr. Clever Clover.”
“Well, lets get to work. I had just found something when you fell on me. Let’s see what we’ve got.” Clever Clover carefully climbed back into the hole and meticulously picked through the loose soil with his trowel. He gently recovered two fragments of prehistoric ceramic. After examining the fragments, he looked up at Belle Star who looked back with wide, innocent eyes. Clever Clover sighed. “These fragments have a fresh break, and they’re rim-sherds too.”
Belle Star giggled. “‘Sherds’ sounds silly.”
“Uh-huh, it would have been nice if we could have found one sherd instead of two.”
“Oh well, maybe next time.”
Clever Clover sighed again. “Hand me a bag for the sherds and then grab the clipboard and take down some measurements.”
The state of the excavation recorded, the duo of ponies prepared to continue digging.
“Do you want to dig or screen the next level?” Clever Clover asked the rookie archaeologist.
“Ah, um, I don’t know.”
“I’ll dig. The screening has been pretty easy. It will be a good way to get a feel for the site. Are you familiar with the type of artifacts you’ll be looking for?”
“Uh, old ones?”
“Yes, specifically lithic tools and debitage, ceramics like those sherds we found earlier, and bones. The bones and ceramics are fragile, so try to be careful.”
“Right-bone? That’s kind of creepy.”
“Yeah, well the prehistoric people who lived here were carnivores, at least for a while. Maybe we’ll find some clue as to why they gave it up.”
“Maybe their food got mad and went away.”
“Sure; now can we get back to work?”
“Yes, sir.” Belle Star threw Clever Clover a salute and picked up the screen, a wooden box with a wire mesh bottom. The box was mounted on a pair of legs that moved freely so that the box could be shaken, causing small particles of soil to fall through but not larger artifacts. Clever Clover used a short-handled shovel to skim soil from the floor of the excavation into Belle Star’s waiting screen. It wasn’t long before she found her first artifact. “Ooh, a pretty arrow head!”
Clever Clover looked up at the delicate, translucent, amber-colored stone point. “Eh, that is a good one.”
“Too bad I can’t keep it; it would make a great necklace.”
“I could make you one if you’d like. I don’t have that particular material, but I do have others that are just as pretty.”
“Oh, that is very thoughtful of you.”
“It’s no problem. I like knapping.”
Belle Star yawned. “I could go for a nap myself.”
“Not ‘nap’, ‘knap’ with a ‘k’. It means-” Clever Clover yawned wide. “Great, now you’ve got me doing it.”
“Sorry, I’ll try to-” Again Belle Star yawned.
“Let’s just-YAWN-get back to work before we both fall asleep.”
* * *
The day concluded with no major mishaps, much to Clever Clover’s relief. Belle Star ended up breaking a number of artifacts; but in recording, she excelled.
“Well, you didn’t do too bad for your first day, Belle Star.”
“Thank you, Clever Clover.”
Spade, the supervisor of the site, approached the two ponies as they finished packing away their tools for the night. “Well you two, your point was the first diagnostic artifact from the site; and you know what that means.”
Belle Star looked confused. “Uh, no, I’m afraid not.”
“It means the boss has to buy us drinks tonight,” Clever Clover explained.
“That’s right. You’re staying at the Friendship Inn, right Belle Star?”
“That’s right, Mr. boss sir.”
“Well, they’ve got a good soda bar; let’s meet there in say... two hours?”
Clever Clover nodded. “Works for me.”
“‘Kay,” Belle Star chimed in.
* * *
When Clever Clover walked into the bar, he found that Spade and Jack, the greasy cart mechanic and part-time archaeologist, were already there. Jack raised his glass. “Hey, Clev’, how’s our star digger? No pun intended.”
“I’m fine. Has Belle Star shown up yet?”
Jack shook his head. “Not yet.”
Spade gestured for the bartender. “What’ll you have Clev’?”
The bartender poured a frosty mug of Clever Clover’s chosen drink.
Just then Belle Star entered. “Hi everybody! Sorry I’m late; I fell asleep in the bathtub.”
“What are you drinking?” asked the bartender.
“Oh, I’ll have a ginger ale.” Belle Star took her drink, held it up to her face, and giggled. “I like the way the bubbles tickle my nose.”
By the time the rest of the archaeologists arrived, Belle Star had already fallen asleep leaning on the bar. Jack waved his hoof in front of her face to see if she was really asleep. “She looks so peaceful. Does anyone know where I can get some face-paint?”
“Jack, don’t torment her. It’s her first day on the job; we don’t want to upset her.”
“Don’t worry, Clev’; I’d keep it tasteful. Remember that custom paint-job I did on my cart?”
“Yeah, I also remember that every citizen in Friendship Garden-- and some from Dream Valley-- signed a petition banning your cart from the streets.”
“Humph, a great artist is never appreciated in his own time.”
“Maybe we should take her to her room.”
“Clev’, you’re such a party pooper.”
Clever Clover shook Belle Star gently. “Eh, Belle, wake up.” She didn’t even stir. Clever Clover tried again, louder this time. “Wake up, Belle.”
“Boy, is she a sound sleeper. Eh, Clev’, remember that time you fell asleep at morning break and we buried you up to the neck in backdirt?”
“Shut up, Jack. Help me carry her. Spade, could you find someone to unlock her room?”
The bartender spoke up. “I’ve got the keys. Follow me.”
After depositing Belle Star safely in her room, Clever Clover and Jack returned to the bar to find that the conversation had turned to stories of embarrassing childhood memories. Clever Clover yawned. “I should be getting home. Morning is going to come awfully quick.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow.”
Spade gestured to Clever Clover from his table across the room. The purple pony took a seat across from his boss. “What’s up.”
“What do you think of Belle Star?” Spade asked.
“She’s a competent archaeologist and a good worker once you get used to her- peculiarities.”
“And you’ve managed to get used to her ‘peculiarities’ already?”
“Close enough; I’m makin’ her your partner for the remainder of the project.”
Clever Clover sighed. “Okay, you’re the boss.”
Pony Name Jumble
by Applejack (PezFairyInTheRye@aol.com)
1. Windwhistler, 2. Applejack, 3. Mimic, 4. Buttons, 5. Lemondrop, 6. Gingerbread
by Sugarberry (Sugrbery@aol.com)
Thrilled to have her grandmother’s estate settled and to find herself the legal owner of the house in which she had grown up under her grandmother’s care, Fern also found herself with the responsibility of her great-aunt Maisie; and in so doing, she was compelled to remain in the ancestral home-- which never had a telephone connection to the outside world-- to handle further business proceedings and to watch out for Maisie, who was dependent on Fern. True to her word, Fern, from her newly inherited property in Bushley, kept Toby informed of happenings through a series of letters while she handled the necessary transition of life for Maisie.
November 1, 2001
To My Dearest Toby,
Aunt Maisie and I have been busy just learning about each other and becoming very good friends; she is so unlike Granny, yet every now and then I catch a mannerism or a way of saying something that is just like having Granny back again.
Living in the house in which I grew up has been therapeutic for me; I have been able to lay to rest some of the things that have eaten at me since I lost Mom and Dad; there is something very restorative about this place now that I have been away and have seen what exists on the outside.
I talked to a pony at the phone company, and she remembers Granny; it seems that several times, the phone company had approached Granny about installing the needed equipment; but she was always adamant that no phone personnel would ever be allowed on her property. There is even a legal document on file that prevents the company from “harassing Maud Feather” at any time in the future. Dynasty says that it is no longer binding, but I’d feel like a traitor to Granny if I rescinded her instructions. Please understand!
Something really exciting happened-- several ponies with whom I had gone to school came to visit when they heard that I was back; they were awfully nice. Flower Drift invited me to her home for dinner next week; it seems that a group of them want to do something charitable for Christmas, and they are organizing a dance to support the homeless. When they heard that I had helped with Dream Valley’s charity ball-- learning as I did from the greatest organizer around, Snuzzle-- they asked if I would help them out. I told them I wouldn’t be staying here very long, but they said that I could at least get them off to a good start.
This is so exciting, Toby. When I was in school, I never had time for the other ponies because Granny was my whole life. Now I’m finding out how wonderful and friendly my classmates are.
Thank you for clearing the way for me with Lemon Treats; I’m glad she found someone else to take my place for the time being. Have you heard anything about Garnet? I still am dumbfounded to know that she had been living a double identity; I will feel better about it when I learn that she is safe and happy wherever she has decided to settle. Give my love to Snuzzle. I’ve written to Chocolate Chip asking her to water the plant in my apartment occasionally until I’m back home.
I told my friends about you, Toby, and showed them your picture; they were very impressed. I am missing you so much; I can’t wait to get back to Dream Valley. It won’t be too long now!
All my love,
Toby was happy to receive the letter; he read it several times, lingering over the salutation and the closing. He picked up a pen and began writing immediately.
November 4, 2001
My Darling Fern,
It sounds like you are having a fruitful stay in Bushley. I’m happy for you and glad that you have ponies your own age to associate with, and I know you will be a great help to them in organizing the dance. And I can live without hearing your voice if you continue to send me your personal letters.
Lemon Treats sends her love; she says to tell you that Sunbonnet is doing a good job for her, but that she misses your organized accounts at the end of the day; and, therefore, she urges you to return home as soon as possible.
Needless to say, I miss you, too. I hope Aunt Maisie can get along without you soon-- I’m finding that I can’t! Snuzzle has determined that I should have a picture of you on my desk. Maybe you would allow this friend of yours, Flower Drift, to take a photo and send it my way. Then I can impress everyone who comes into my office.
Enjoy your days in Bushley, but don’t forget that I’m waiting here in Dream Valley.
My love to you,
* * *
November 9, 2001
My Dearest Toby,
I learned an interesting piece of information from Aunt Maisie; she tells me that Granny went to school in Dream Valley back in the days when Pony Pride was a teacher’s college. I can’t believe that Granny never told me that she had gone to college, and to think it was in the city where I ended up and found you! The campus will remind me of Granny now once I’m back.
I can imagine her going around to her classes and putting the instructors in their place if they taught something that she disagreed with!
Aunt Maisie and I were in to see Dynasty yesterday, and we signed more papers; that in itself is a never-ending job. Dynasty is taking care of everything for us very capably of which we are both grateful, yet it all takes such a long time; and he has other cases to work on as well. Perry has been in touch with him to see how things are going; so if you want any official information, he could probably explain things better than I can. I’m just glad that Dynasty is such a conscientious lawyer.
Flower Drift tells me she would love to take a picture of me for you; but as her husband broke her camera recently and refuses to buy her a new one until Christmas when he can wrap it and put it under the tree, she can’t oblige. Now is that fortunate for me or what? But I promise to be home as soon as possible, and that will be better than any picture could be!
The plans for the dance are coming into shape; there seems to be so much to do in such a small space of time, but I am enjoying every minute of it!
Oh, Toby, I do miss you so much! Any day now, I hope to find that Aunt Maisie has become comfortable enough with things to take the responsibility of caring for the house and related necessities herself. Until then, our letters will have to suffice.
Love and Hugs,
This letter, too, pleased Toby. Fern was missing him as much as he was missing her.
November 14, 2001
If time flies when you are having fun, then my life has reached the pits. The days seem to drag by without you here to bring some light to my world. But I won’t complain as long as I know that you are fulfilling an indispensable need in Bushley. However, I am sending a camera to you under separate cover; I will expect results.
Perry did call me himself to let me know that things are moving along as well as can be expected-- which means slowly. He has complete confidence in Dynasty’s handling of the matter, however, so you and Aunt Maisie have nothing to worry about.
The fact that your grandmother attended school here in Dream Valley is interesting. I checked with Snuzzle who knows everything about the history of this town. She says there really weren’t many teacher’s colleges available back in the time when your grandmother was a young mare, so the odds of her ending up here were fairly certain. That doesn’t take away the sentimental feelings for you, but it does explain the mystery of why she chose Dream Valley.
We have been busy at the hospital with the first flu patients which is unusual for this early in the season; the vaccine from New Pony is delayed, and now it looks like it will arrive too late to do a large number of ponies any good. Sugarberry was one of the first to get it, and now the rest of the household has it; they will be fine, so don’t worry about them. Chocolate Chip actually had a rather mild case of it herself.
Please take care of yourself and Aunt Maisie until I can look out for you myself.
All my love,
* * *
November 17, 2001
Aunt Maisie is frazzled to think of my coming back to Dream Valley and leaving her with so many details to still be ironed out over the will and other household functions. I realize that I must stay with her until she feels more in control of things. She has been so protected all her life that she has no idea how to cope now that she is alone. Please understand that I can’t just walk out on her until she is feeling more confident.
The dance planning committee was pleased to hear that I will be around longer than I originally thought. They have been holding frequent meetings and have now officially named me a co-chair along with Raven. We’ve got lots to do, but I’m having a blast! Sonato and Daydream are on the committee, too, along with Flower Drift. The meetings are always wild; Raven has such a sense of humor! He told me that he had a crush on me when we were in high school, but I never stuck around after hours long enough for him to let me know; what a kidder!
Dynasty took me out to dinner Saturday night to go over some more of the details of the will. The restaurant here is not as elegant as the Estate Manor, but they have dancing! It was a lovely evening, even if most of it was spent discussing Granny’s will; I still find that depressing.
How are things in Dream Valley? I’m sorry that we can’t share our first Thanksgiving together, but I understand that you have your responsibilities to the hospital just as I have mine to Aunt Maisie; but even though we are not together, you can be sure that I am thanking God for your precious friendship.
Toby was not as happy over this letter as the previous ones from Fern; who was this Raven, and why did Dynasty have to include dinner and dancing in his business affairs with Fern? The stallion did not like what he was imagining-- that Fern was becoming too entwined with the goings on of Bushley; yet he had no hold on her to ask her to come back to Dream Valley. He could only hope that her feelings for him had not changed.
November 21, 2001
My Precious Fern,
Yes, I understand your decision to stay with your great-aunt. In a way, I’m glad you are staying as we have been having a larger than normal number of cases of the flu; usually we don’t see this many patients until January or February. It has been taking its toll on everyone: the young and the elderly and those in-between; many of them have required hospitalization. If you can avoid getting exposed to it, all the better. That may mean curtailing your involvement with the committee you are on; try to keep Aunt Maisie and yourself away from crowds.
It sounds like Dynasty is keeping on the job; does he know when all this will be finalized? The sooner, the better, if it will mean that some of the problems for Aunt Maisie will be resolved then; and she will be comfortable with you coming home.
Tabby and Thomas invited me to their Thanksgiving feast; where are you spending the day? My parents are planning to have everyone in the family with them in New Pony for Christmas; so expect to get a card from Mom one of these days inviting you for the holidays. I look forward to spending Christmas with you; it makes our current separation bearable.
* * *
November 26, 2001
More problems have come up in connection with Granny’s will; I will have to remain with Aunt Maisie until all this complicated legal mumbo jumbo is straightened out. Aunt Maisie just goes into a tizzy when Dynasty stops by; if I wasn’t here, I’m afraid she would let it drive her crazy. I’ve found it is better to stop at his office on a regular basis so that he doesn’t have to come out to the house.
The plans for the dance are coming along superbly! Everything is falling into place, but we’ve put a lot of work into it, so it should be. We’ve been doing most of the planning at Flower Drift’s house in town; but don’t worry, Raven walks me home if it’s after dark when we finish. There was ice on the ground the other evening, and I could have had a nasty spill; but Raven caught me before anything got broken.
I wish it would snow; Granny’s house and grounds always look so pretty nestled under a blanket of white. I mentioned to Raven how Granny used to take me sledding on the hill behind the house, so now he wants to get a group together after the first snowfall and have a sledding party. He’s always coming up with something to mandate having a party. I must admit that I’ve been having so much fun that the time is just whizzing by!
I forgot to tell you in my last letter that Flower Drift invited me and Aunt Maisie to town for Thanksgiving; we had a wonderful dinner with her and her family; there were others there, too, of course; Raven and I did dishes-- you really get to know someone when you spend that much time slaving over the kitchen sink with them!
I’ve heard from your mother and I’ve sent a note to tell her that I look forward to spending the holidays with you and your family in New Pony, assuming I’m out of Bushley by then!
Maybe I will have to find someone to stay with Aunt Maisie eventually as a sort of companion; she doesn’t seem like she will ever be able to be on her own. I can understand why Troubadour did what he did to ensure that she would have a roof over her head when he was gone; she is flightier than any pony I’ve ever seen. Granny was always in control of everything; how can two sisters be so different?
How are things at the hospital? I hope that the flu bug will settle down so the sick ponies can all be home for Christmas.
Needless to say, Toby was not a happy stallion. Of course Dynasty would be only to willing to have Fern dropping in at his office on a regular basis; who wouldn’t? And this Raven; what was he up to? And Fern is “assuming” she will be back; what happened to “any day now”? Maybe he should mention to her that he and Elaine had a lovely time on Thanksgiving at Tabby and Thomas’ mansion.
But, no, he would not say one word that might cost him her affection; and, anyway, Elaine was cordial only because she knew that he was safely committed to the blue-eyed mare who had come into his life last summer.
December 1, 200l
You missed the Bushwoolies decorating the hospital for Christmas; that’s always an experience-- good or bad, I still haven’t figured out. I avoided their activity as much as possible and let Snuzzle handle them; even at that, one could hear their boisterous endeavors from one end of the hospital to the other. Honestly, though, it was a relief having their cheery voices around to counteract the depressing spell of illness that has Dream Valley in its grasp.
Another bright spot was having supper with Sugarberry and Vanguard last evening; Chocolate Chip was there, too, along with Wishbone; Wigwam has the flu; he escaped it when the others had it several weeks ago, but it caught up to him now.
Mom called to tell me she got your note; and I’m to impress upon you that your being with us this Christmas is very necessary as she wants everyone back in New Pony to meet you. Your dance planners should be able to get along without you by now; and once you are back, Dynasty can call you if he needs to-- Dream Valley has telephones, remember???
* * *
December 5, 200l
Just got your letter, and I don’t have much time. Someone took down all the posters advertising our charity dance, so Raven and I have spent the last two days getting another run printed and distributed. Can you imagine why someone would be so mean in connection with a charity project like this?
Gotta run! Raven’s at the door... more posters!
No term of endearment in the salutation, no expression of love in the closing-- Toby could only think one thing: He saw this as a diminishing of Fern’s feelings for him, the close of another chapter relegating him to a solitary life. But not a word of recrimination did he send; his love for the blue-eyed mare lived on even if not reciprocated.
December 8, 2001
We are having a torrent of flu patients at the hospital; I knew the shortage of flue vaccine would lead to problems. I don’t like to hear that you have been working so hard and putting yourself in jeopardy; this flu is serious; and following on your collapse last summer, it could be dangerous for you. Please take care of yourself, Fern, and write soon to tell me you are coming home.
* * *
December 12, 2001
Toby, my Toby!
I put my hoof down with Aunt Maisie and told her that I simply must get back to Dream Valley by Christmas. She cried and I felt terrible, but then I had a terrific inspiration! Two things led me to come to the conclusion that I have arrived at: Number one is that Aunt Maisie can’t stay alone; number two is that Raven and Flower Drift are looking for a larger house in which to raise their expanding family.
The solution: I have decided to rent Granny’s house to Raven and Flower Drift and bring Aunt Maisie to Dream Valley with me! I’ll look for a larger apartment once I’m back. Aunt Maisie is delighted with the idea, too. She never really had any deep feelings about Granny’s house, so it won’t be a problem with her to pack up again and move to a new place.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to see you again! It has been forever since I have felt completely happy; you mean the world to me, Toby. Thank you for your patience in my need to help Aunt Maisie through her trying times these past two months. I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you! I love you, Toby, and look forward to seeing you very soon.
I’m sorry to hear that there is so much illness there, but I know that your patients are in good hooves.
All my love,
This last letter, unfortunately, was lost by the Ponyland Postal Service before it ever reached Dream Valley.
by Christine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Once upon a time, in a place far away, there lived a group of colorful little ponies, unicorns, and pegasi. This place was called Ponyland; and in this part of Ponyland, called Friendship Forest, this little group of ponies lived.
One of the little ponies was called Calzephyr. She had been born the previous spring. Her sister, Spring Song, had been born the year before. This spring, her mother, Blossom, had foaled another little filly who looked exactly like her mother. It was tough to be Calzephyr. There was no one else her age in the forest. She lacked the deer-like grace of Spring Song. Her purple mane and tail were straight while both her sisters’ flopped around in large curls. In choir she always had to stand in the back so that no one could hear her off-key singing. It seemed that everyone else was prettier or friendlier or just more talented than Calzephyr ever could be.
Perhaps if I was a different color, she thought one day while she considered her reflection in a pond. Calzephyr was a smoky purple, unlike the bright lilac of her sisters. Even her mother was an attractive lavender. If only I had a more useful magic, too. No one cares that you can make a breeze unless it’s hot or if they want to fly a kite.
Gay voices broke her self-imposed solitude. It was Spring Song, leading a line of the four baby ponies, Moondancer, Cuddles, Lucky, and Ribbs. They sang and laughed, and as they trotted up the hill, butterflies and flowers floated over their heads. That was Spring Song’s talent. She could conjure up flowers and butterflies at whim, not to mention having a voice that made songbirds envious.
Calzephyr ran up the hill to join them. Just as she got close, all the butterflies flew away. She sighed. Even butterflies ran away from her. Cuddles started to cry as they disappeared. “I’m sorry,” Calzephyr apologized.
Spring Song rolled her violet eyes. “You’re always sorry,” she sniffed. She licked Cuddles’ tears away. “Don’t worry, Cuddles; there are always more butterflies!”
Calzephyr frowned. She was tired of her big sister always putting her down. She closed her eyes and thought of a big breeze. In a sudden swoosh, all of Spring Song’s floating flowers were sent whipping up into the air and far away.
Now Moondancer started to cry. Lucky and Ribbs were aghast. “You’re horrible,” said Ribbs, stamping his hoof.
“No kidding!” Lucky echoed.
A little smirk tugged at the corners of Calzephyr’s mouth. “Sorry,” she said, without meaning it.
Spring Song was ready to rip into her middle sibling when Magic Star trotted up. “That’s not how we use our magic powers, Calzephyr,” the older pony admonished her.
“Hmmm,” was all Calzephyr said. She knew her mother was going to find out about this.
The star on Magic Star’s rump glowed. A shower of flowers fell lightly on all of them. Tears were replaced with squeals of joy. No one noticed Calzephyr leave except Magic Star. She trailed after the filly and finally, after a distance, called her to stop.
Calzephyr did so reluctantly and slowly turned around. “Cal, what on earth is your problem these days? You walk around sulking and blow things away all the time. It’s really annoying a lot of ponies.”
Calzephyr shrugged. “I don’t know. No one likes me,” she moped.
“Well, there’s probably a reason.” Magic Star said tersely. “You haven’t given any pony a reason to.” The yellow pony switched her green tail. “You know, when you were born, there was much joy... your mother was so proud. But ever since your powers came into full, you just changed...”
A tear rolled down Calzephyr’s cheek. “My powers are useless here. They benefit no one. We already have one windy pony here, anyway.”
Magic Star sighed. She really felt pity for the filly. “If only you could be more like your sister,” she wondered aloud absently.
“Arrrrrrrrgh!” Calzephyr whinnied with anger. “I am so tired of everyone saying how wonderful Spring Song is!” She bucked and snorted angrily and took off for the woods.
“Oh, why did I have to say that!” Magic Star said sharply to herself. “No wonder she thinks that no one likes her.”
Calzephyr galloped through the forest. Branches struck her, but she did not care. Burrs collected in her tail, but she did not notice. Finally, when she could run no more, she sat down on her haunches and cried. She knew she could find her way home, but she didn’t want to go back. On the other hand, she didn’t know where else to go.
Finally she got tired of crying and became angry again. “I hate Spring Song! I hate everything!” She kicked a tree with her hind legs. Twice. On the third kick, something fell out of the tree!
“Ah!” Calzephyr cried with surprised. Was she always destined to bring misery to everyone?
The pile of fur stood up and chittered angrily. It was a raccoon! Oh, no, this is worse; they sleep during the day! she thought.
The raccoon was ash grey and had blue stripes and mask. He jumped up and down and shook his tiny fists at her.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
The wild animal hissed and moved menacingly towards the frightened pony.
~~ Find out what happens next month! ~~
Two Roads Diverged
by Sugarberry (Sugrbery@aol.com)
The red mare slipped through the moonlit night, grateful that when the time came to flee, there was a guiding light in the sky to show her the path. Her focus was simply to put as many miles between herself and Dream Valley as she possibly could so that no one could find her.
She had reconnoitered just such a course even before settling in the town; that was one thing her parents had instilled in her-- to always have an escape route ready at a moment’s notice. At this particular moment, however, it was small consolation to be prepared; she was walking away from the happiest two months that she had ever experienced.
Garnet stopped for a time to get her bearings; ahead of her, a tall pine reached into the starry heavens, signaling to her that a side path was imminent. Moving cautiously so as not to miss the turnoff, the mare became aware of voices coming in her direction along the main path; she silently melted into the underbrush along the road, ignoring the scratches from the now nearly barren branches and waited breathlessly.
A family of catlike creatures passed by on the path; Garnet didn’t recognize them as Pokemon, but there were in fact Meowth. Two were leading the way and were followed by five smaller versions of themselves. “It’s been so long since we’ve been to see Tabby; I hope she isn’t offended,” the leading female fretted.
“Nah, she’ll understand,” her mate assured her. “She’s been pretty busy herself, what with getting married and all...”
“And word travels so slow out here, we didn’t hear about their new daughter until just recently,” the female continued. “I do wish this visit had been sooner in coming.”
“Tess, stop worrying! Besides, we have a very nice present to give Faline.”
“Me, you mean?” one of the younger Meowths purred. “Oh, this is going to be fun! I can’t wait to have a real trainer.” The conversation gradually faded away as the family moved on further down the path.
The danger of discovery now past, Garnet moved out onto the path once more and sought out the turn that would take her south; she walked for miles before she reached a sharp bend; abandoning the walkway, the mare pushed through the slender red branches of the dogwood and came to a spreading meadow, brown and dry under the cold night, and headed for the sagging outline of an old, deserted barn that clung tenaciously to its purpose of sheltering animals and fodder.
The decaying structure was currently housing no more than field mice and a snowy white owl and the remains of an alfalfa crop from years ago; but, to Garnet, it was a welcome haven. She knew from her earlier inspection that she would find a snug, if not dusty, loft of hay at the top of the rickety ladder that leaned precariously against the warped, gray boards. Gingerly picking her way up the treads, she set her backpack down for a pillow and threw her shawl over her body for a blanket. Ignoring the creaks and rustling of the building and its resident creatures, the pony fell asleep.
* * *
The rush of owl’s wings woke Garnet at the first crack of dawn as the nocturnal bird came home from his hunting. Still groggy from her sleep, Garnet stretched lazily, not remembering where she was until the scratchy grasses beneath her forced her to face the fact that she was no longer snug between smooth sheets in her apartment in Dream Valley. That realization dampened the mare’s mood, and she closed her eyes in an attempt to shut out her future.
This was one of the few times in Garnet’s life that she had felt this depressed over the circumstances she found herself in. She had always been able to take any problem and work it to her advantage; there was a certain thrill in making the best of a bad situation, and she flourished in facing each new obstacle that challenged her. But this time it was different.
In Dream Valley, Garnet had found an unconditional acceptance that she had learned to accommodate, then to appreciate, and finally to value. She had found herself becoming more open to the friendship that was offered to her, and she had amazed herself at the ease in which she was eventually able to reciprocate those feelings to others. Wigwam and Butch had trusted her explicitly at the casino; Chocolate Chip and Fern had included her in all their plans; and Wishbone-- well, Wishbone had somehow caught her fancy; she would like to have gotten to know the stallion better. Events, however, had mandated her hasty departure from the one place where she had truly felt at home.
Groaning over her thoughts, Garnet managed to sit up and survey her surroundings in the early gray morning light that was filtering through the cracks in the roof and angling through the gaping square window high in the angle of the wall. The owl was nearly invisible as it sat on one of the rafters over her head; its large, round eyes stared at her, but it did not feel threatened by the presence of the pony. A lone mouse scampered across the flooring as it headed for its home in the hay. Otherwise, the old barn was quiet and very private.
As the mare drooped her head, finding it difficult to get moving, her green mane fell across her face; she ran a hoof through the silky tresses that at birth had been as red as her crimson body and suddenly found an incentive to propel her upright; she grabbed her backpack and shawl and went out into the windless morning.
A white frost had settled on the land in the coldest of the early morning hours; a weak sun was just beginning to turn that frost into sparkling gems of color. Garnet got her bearings and walked across the meadow toward a line of trees that signaled the passage of a river. Her hoofs left dark tracks across the frosty landscape.
Garnet was able to hear the flow of water before she actually saw the stream that went its unhurried way to the south. Once she passed through the sheltering trees, she came to the edge of the bank and looked down upon the dark, languid liquid. A shiver passed through her body as she thought of bathing in that wintry water, but her mind was set; she followed the bank of the river until the land beneath her hooves had dropped to a level equal to the water’s edge. Tossing her backpack and shawl to the ground, she progressed beneath the trees gathering enough dry wood with which to build a fire.
The heat of the flames brought some comfort to Garnet; and, for a space of time, her resolve faltered; but she combated the desire to stay warm and dry and forced herself to take out of her traveling satchel a bar of soap with which she entered the water. The first cold step was enough to bring back her natural fight, and she continued until the water was deep around her; she then proceeded to lather her mane and tail with the soap until the green color that she had applied before entering Dream Valley began to run in sickly dark rivulets away from her down the river.
When she was satisfied that her own red hair was again highlighting her equally red coat, she began to concentrate on washing the wreath design off her flanks, revealing the pattern of a gemstone... a garnet. When that was done, she rinsed herself thoroughly and came out of the water a different pony.
The strengthening sunbeams hit the pony from over the tops of the trees causing her newly cleaned hair to shine. Garnet took a moment to look at her reflection in the water and smiled. It felt good to shed the deception that she had been carrying since the end of summer. That was the only positive thing that had come of her unplanned departure: She could be herself again.
Shivering deeply, Garnet hurried to the fire and allowed it to dry her; she used her brush to smooth the ruby locks in place and was so fully absorbed with that task that she did not notice the approach of two small ponies from downriver. “Good morning!”
Garnet was so startled at the unexpected sound of the sing-song voice that she dropped her brush; it bounced into the flames and almost immediately began to melt.
The two foals watched in amusement as the red mare tried desperately to retrieve the only hairbrush she owned. It was a losing battle, and Garnet finally owned up to her defeat and watched the purple plastic shrivel up into a black, crumpled mass of waste. Only then did she look closely at her visitors.
The larger of the two youngsters, the spokespony, was a deep indigo blue with yellow locks that curled in random abandon around her face; the second was a rough and tumble colt, younger but equally self-assured. The two stared open-faced at the mare as she returned their gaze.
“What are you doing here?” the gray colt asked, tossing his slate grey mane with authority, a spattering of freckles marking his face.
What are you doing here? The question echoed through Garnet’s mind as she stared at the foal before her, who looked so much like her brother, Sable. Her mind flew back to the days when she had been a foal and had admired the sibling that was several years older than she was; she idolized him, and he found her attention an annoyance. She had followed him like a puppy over the years, craving for his attention, until one day when she had gone to his room in search of him, he had found her there; and his voice had thundered, “What are you doing here?”
The anger that accompanied the question had frightened Garnet, and she had run from the room and hid until her mother found her and explained that Sable was in trouble because his teacher had caught him cheating on a test; and as young as she was, Garnet had understood that the problem in her mother’s eyes was in his getting caught, not in his cheating. What are you doing here?
Impatient for an answer, the older of the two foals asked her own question. “What’s your name?”
Breaking through the memories of her own childhood, the red mare answered without thinking. “Garnet.”
“Garnet,” the little filly repeated. “That’s a pretty name. Mine is Tasha.”
Garnet could not help but smile at the open, trusting nature of these two bright-eyed meadow nymphs. “It is nice to meet you.”
“Children! Where are you?” a voice called from further down the river, and Freckles responded with a return call. Soon, a colorful mare appeared around the bend of the stream, her bright yellow body a bright beacon in the landscape; her rainbow hair was braided; and in her forelegs, she carried a very young foal.
“You were supposed to wait by the cottonwood,” she said breathlessly as she came near the trio standing by the still burning fire and frowned at the foals; but her eyes belied her anger.
“We couldn’t wait,” Freckles said. “We saw someone.” He and his sister turned their eyes to Garnet, and the newly arrived mare did, too.
“Hi,” she said. “I’m sorry about that brusque greeting, but I was worried about my children. They have an insatiable curiosity about visitors to our neck of the woods.” She beamed with pride at the two before returning her approving gaze to Garnet. “My name is Rainbow Star, and this is Palette.” She held forth the tiny colt who, like his mother, had rainbow hair; his body, what was visible from beneath the blue blanket, was a pale, creamy yellow.
Before Garnet could respond herself, Tasha introduced the red mare to her mother. “This is Garnet.”