written by Tabby
and Sugarberry, with inspiration from Clever Clover
"March is a boring month!" declared Tabby.
"Especially with all the snow melted already!" agreed Clever Clover.
"Yeah! It's just cold and dreary!" sighed Sugarberry.
"And no football," Quarterback groaned.
"How can you think about football at a time like this," Tabby snapped. "We're trying to
come up with something to do!"
The depressed ponies were gathered at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, along with
many of Scoops' regular customers, bemoaning a
winter season that was becoming way too dull.
"We could have a party," suggested Chocolate Chip, but she quickly dismissed the idea
when she saw Tabby glaring at her.
The ponies fell into silence, staring at their half-finished sundaes as if even ice cream had
lost its thrill.
Suddenly, the doors to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe burst open, and there stood... a
little man, dressed in a blue outfit with a
pointy red hat perched on his head and a long white beard. All eyes in the shop swiveled to see
this odd creature.
"Beware the Ides of March!" boomed the little man, and then he was... gone.
"What was that all about?" Quarterback questioned as the ponies sat bewildered.
"The eyes of March. Highly interesting," murmured Tabby.
" ‘Ides,' not ‘eyes'," Clever Clover explained. "It looked like it was a gnome that came
in. He had the classic pointy red hat on.
‘Beware the Ides of March...' that's March fifteenth."
"The Ides of March is the day Julius Caesar was killed, right?" Sugarberry
"Yes," agreed Clever Clover. "And it's just two days away."
"Good grief!" gasped Chocolate Chip. "I hope this isn't a bad omen!"
Tabby had obviously not been listening to the conversation. "What're we going to do on
Friendly's birthday? It's coming up in a
"That's right; it is coming up soon!" Sugarberry exclaimed. "On March fifteenth!" She
paused, and then gasped. "March fifteenth!
Friendly's birthday is one the Ides of March!"
"So we're to beware of Friendly's birthday," Tabby pondered.
Chocolate Chip whimpered. "I won't want anything to happen to Friendly!"
"Who'd want to hurt Friendly, anyway?" questioned Sugarberry. "This is
* * *
The next day, Sugarberry visited the library to find out more about gnomes. And sure
enough, Clever Clover had been right-- the
little creature who had appeared so briefly at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe was indeed a
gnome; he looked exactly like the pictures in the book: blue
coat, brown pants, beige boots, red cone-shaped hat, and a face nearly covered with a white beard
and mustache. His cheeks and nose were red, and
his eyes twinkling... and all very small.
Going to the counter to check-out the book to show her friends, Sugarberry was
amazed to see a gnome standing inside the front
door repeating the same refrain, "Beware the Ides of March!" and quickly disappearing.
Sugarberry ran outside to see where the elusive little man had gone, but there was no
gnome in sight. She thoughtfully returned to
the counter to check-out her book and questioned Streaky, the librarian, "Have you ever seen that
gnome around here before?"
"No," responded Streaky, "but I heard from Miss Hackney that one popped into her
classroom yesterday with the same
"Did anyone see where he came from or where he went?"
"I'm afraid not," Streaky answered. "He came and went so quickly that even the
students were taken by surprise."
"We have a mystery on our hooves," commented Sugarberry as she turned to leave,
"and these little people are at the heart of it!"
Her hoof tapped the book she was carrying; the picture on the cover looked exactly like the
gnome she'd seen by the library door.
Returning to the vet clinic where Tabby was just finishing her examination of Medley's
canary, Sugarberry shared her knowledge of
the gnome sighting at the library and Miss Hackney's report that one had been at the school. Each
time, the only words spoken were, "Beware the Ides
Tabby just shook her head. "Really, I think you're getting worked up over nothing. It's
probably just a joke. Maybe those gnomes
are throwing Friendly a surprise party and want to throw everyone off track."
Thomas came from his office to listen in on the conversation. After looking through the
book Sugarberry had brought from the
library, he commented, "Mischief, thou art afoot!"
"Whatever that means," Tabby said as she waved her hoof in dismissal. "If we're going
to talk about anything, let's talk about
Pokèmon. I wonder what's going to happen in today's episode; Cleve Clove wouldn't tell
Sugarberry frowned. "No, this gnome thing is a mystery, and it needs solving."
"Meowth is just the cutest thing," Tabby sighed. There were no responses. Tabby
looked around in annoyance. Thomas had since
gone off, and Sugarberry was scribbling notes on a paper.
"Well!" Tabby huffed. "I don't have any pets to attend to for another half hour; I'll just
call Tiffany up from my office. So she
trotted down the hall.
Once seated behind her desk with the office door closed, Tabby smiled evilly. There
was no particular reason for it; she just felt a
certain sense of power when in her very own office.
Anyway, she dialed the Royal Paradise's number. "Hello, Pristina... I need to talk to
Tiffany was on the line a few moments later. "Yes, this is Tiffany," Tabby heard, and
she could practically hear the princess batting
"Tiff, it's Tabby. Have you had any--"
Tiffany sighed with disappointment. "Oh, it's you. I was hoping it would be Toby...
well, what did you want to talk to me
"Have you had any mysterious gnome sightings at the Royal Paradise?" Tabby asked
"Gnomes? Ah, gnomes! Why, of course we don't have gnomes over here!" Tiffany
"There've been gnomes popping up all over Dream Valley, warning everyone to
‘Beware the Ides of March.' Sugarberry thinks it's
a mystery, but I don't see what she's so worked up over."
"Yes," Tiffany said enthusiastically. "I wouldn't worry about a few gnomes. Nothing
bad could happen on March fifteenth, I'm
"You know the Ides of March is March fifteenth?" Tabby questioned.
"Why, of course," Tiffany said quickly. "Being a princess, I did receive a certain
amount of education. Now, I've really got to go.
Goodbye!" And with that, she hung up.
Tabby replaced the receiver thoughtfully. Something about Tiffany's behavior had
seemed a bit off... but she quickly dismissed that
thought from her head. Most likely, she had just been giddy over possibly getting a call from
* * *
Toward the end of the workday while Tabby and Sugarberry were finishing up with the
last patient, a little gnome came into the
waiting area and repeated the message-- "Beware the Ides of March!" And then he disappeared
out the door.
"Ooh!" Tabby fumed. "I'm getting sick of gnomes!" She snatched up a magazine from
one of the tables in the waiting area, and
held it up as if ready to swat something. Then she took off after the gnome.
As Tabby ran off down the street after the gnome, shrieking, Sugarberry watched, and
then took after her friend.
Sugarberry caught up with Tabby at the end of the street, where there was a clump of
bushes, though all the leaves were gone, of
course. "Did you find him?" she asked breathlessly.
"No." Tabby scowled. "He disappeared when he got down here. He'd better not show
his face around here again, or I'm really
gonna give it to him--"
"There's Tiffany!" Sugarberry exclaimed. Tiffany was indeed strolling along in the
meadow on the opposite side of the bushes.
"Tiffany! Come over here!"
After pausing for a few seconds, Tiffany walked over to the bushes. "Why, hello, you
two! It was just taking a walk in this
wonderful March weather--"
Tabby cut Tiffany off in mid-sentence. "Where's the gnome?"
"Oh, a gnome!" Tiffany exclaimed. "A gnome... uhh..."
"The tiny guy in the pointy red hat! You had to have seen him!" Sugarberry burst
"Oh, and he had on the blue coat, too! No, I didn't see him," Tiffany said quickly.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Tiffany said loftily, and fortunately for her,
Princess Royal Blue happened by just then
and pulled Tiffany along with her. "Excuse us, girls, but we're late for an appointment! See
Sugarberry and Tabby watched the two princesses walk a ways down the meadow, and
then cut through some more bushes to get
back onto the street. "Tabby," Sugarberry said, "something strange is definitely going on with
those two. You go close up the clinic; I'm going to
"Close up the clinic? That's what Thomas is there for!" Tabby protested.
"It's my responsibility to lock it up every day," Sugarberry said.
"I have never closed it up before and I do not plan to start now," Tabby said in
"I have a mystery to solve!" Sugarberry explained. "Just this once. You'll never have to
do it again."
"Hmph," Tabby mumbled as she walked back down the street to the clinic.
Sugarberry set off discreetly behind Tiffany and Royal Blue, keeping a safe distance
without losing track of them. After several
minutes, Princess Dawn joined up with them. Interesting! thought Sugarberry.
The princesses headed for the printing shop-- Pony Print-- and entered through the back
door. Sugarberry hid herself in a recessed
entry across the street and waited to see what might happen. Over the course of the next half
hour, Princess Starburst, Princess Pristina, and Queen
Serena entered Pony Print, too.
But what happened next made Sugarberry's eyes pop. From around the corner came an
entire group of gnomes, so small that
Sugarberry became aware of their presence not by sight but by sound. Some of the gnomes were
singing, others were talking, and still others seemed
to be reciting poetry. They all were in very good humor, and they walked directly to the Pony
Print door and were admitted by Queen Serena
Hmm... thought Sugarberry. Whatever the gnomes are doing in Ponyland,
the princesses are behind it.
Sugarberry eased out of her hiding place and moved cautiously across the street and
around the corner to the front of Pony Print;
slowly, she peeped through the front window, but to no avail. Whatever was going on was
happening in the back room, out of sight. So Sugarberry
returned to her hidden niche to await more action.
Night had fallen and Sugarberry was cold and tired before the door of Pony Print
opened, and out filed the gnomes and princesses.
They each carried what appeared to be tubes; as Sugarberry watched, the group disbursed in
every direction through the streets of Dream Valley. She
waited until all but the last princess was out of sight before falling into silent step behind
It was Princess Dawn, and Sugarberry had no problem staying hidden while watching
Dawn unfold the "tube" which turned out to
be a poster. Dawn affixed the poster to the front door of the library and moved off down the
street. Sugarberry stayed behind to read the poster from
the glow of the street light:
"Beware the Ides of March"
In honor of
the Princess Ponies
a theater production
on March Fifteenth at the Royal Paradise
by the William Shakespeare Acting Troop with assistance from the Gnome Theater
"Wow! So that's the mystery!" giggled Sugarberry. "A Shakespearian celebration of
Friendly's birthday! Leave it to the
princesses to try to bring some refinement to our ordinary lives! ‘Mischief, thou art afoot,'
indeed! Wait ‘till I tell Tabby!"
Off she dashed to bring the news to her friend. The kitchen light was still on at Tabby's
house, and Sugarberry realized she was
starving, having missed supper and desert at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. She rapped on
Tabby opened the door several minutes later to admit her friend, and started spewing off
a steady stream of conversation. "I did
remember to lock up the clinic, ya know. Of course, it took me while, because I ran into Merry
Treat, who was out looking for Pokèmon, so I joined
her. After that we went to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and hung around awhile. Then after
she left I remembered to lock up the clinic. And then I
came home and watched today's Pokèmon episode. Ya know, I'm really surprised that it recorded
it. I'm an absolute klutz when it comes to VCR
programming. Spike and Cleve Clove keep trying to teach me, but I can never remember exactly
how to do everything. But it actually worked! So I
finished watching that, and then I went into the kitchen for a snack-- hey, how'd your spy work
go? What'd you find out? What's going on
Sugarberry momentarily pondered how Tabby could talk so long without taking a breath
of air. "First get me something to eat,"
Sugarberry said wearily as she slipped into one of the chairs at Tabby's kitchen table.
Tabby browsed through her food cupboards. "How's cherry pie filling sound, straight
from the can? That raw cookie dough you
buy in stories? Any of that? No, I didn't think so."
Finally, Tabby found something that would suit Sugarberry. "Here," she said as she
tossed a package of brownies on the
"Wonderful!" Sugarberry was already ripping into the package.
"Now. What is going on?" Tabby demanded as she locked her eyes in on
Between bites of brownie, Sugarberry outlined her night's experience. She finished her
story. "So that's it!" she laughed. "The
play ought to be interesting to see, though."
"What? WHAT?!?!" Tabby shrieked. "All this gnome business over a Shakespeare
play? A SHAKESPEARE PLAY!"
"Aren't you at least going to go see it?" Sugarberry prodded.
"Are those little gnomes gonna get it! I'm gonna-- ooh! A Shakespeare play! That you
probably won't be able to understand half
the words from! Ooh!"
Sugarberry slipped outside, silently laughing to herself, as Tabby continued her