My Little Pony Monthly Issue 37
(April 1, 2000)
Man-Eating Slug Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages
If you would like to be removed from the My Little Pony Monthly mailing list, simple send a blank e-mail to
Index of this issue--
1. Letters to the Editor
2. April Fools' Day Fun Facts
3. The Lost Prince Chapter 3 (by Moonjumper)
4. The Merry Treat and Tabby Gossip Hour! (by Merry Treat and Tabby)
5. Ginseng and Sassafras Tea Chapters One and Two (by Sugarberry)
6. Spring Break (by Sugarberry)
7. The Ghost of Box Five Chapter 4 (by Masquerade)
8. A New World for Tamara (by Vixie)
9. The Insane Crossover Story Chapter Nine (by Tabby and Barnacle)
10. Easter Related Pony Names
11. Return to Atlantis Part Two: More Disco Furbys (by Tabby)
12. Princess Practice (by Sugarberry)
13. Answers to Easter Related Pony Names
Letters to the Editor
[email protected] Tell Sugarberry her story was great! I read the first few lines while telling myself I had
homework to do, but I didn't stop reading the thing until I had actually read it all. *sweatdrops* I wonder if I can write a two page report in
thirty minutes. That would mean I have to go! Toodles for now!
[email protected] Return to Atlantis Part One was excellent! ROTFL!!! I loved the Duracell versus Energizer
part!!! LOL!! And then there's the never-ending INSANE Crossover Story!!!! This has turned out to be a TERRIFIC edition!! One of
the best I've read and about the only one I've laughed so much in!! Keep it up, or you'll have to answer to ME!! ^-^
[email protected] Love the newsletters-- thank you for all your hard work.
[email protected] Hi, Tabby, I was thinking of a new article you may be interested in placing in your newsletter.
From what I have been told, there are more and more people from the old Dream Valley chatroom that are talking now on ICQ. I was
thinking maybe you could start a column for people who wish to post their ICQ numbers so that others can find them to chat with.
Anyway, it's just a thought.
Reply from the Editor-- If anyone would be interested in contributing to an ICQ (or other similar online chat
programs) column as Baby Mischief suggested, please e-mail your number to [email protected] to be posted in a future issue of My
Little Pony Monthly. This would be a great way for more My Little Pony collectors to get in touch with you.
[email protected] Hi, I really think it's awesome how you do MLP Monthly. It's nice to know there are people like
you in the world! =0)
[email protected] I love your newsletter and I'm writing a story that is turning out great! I'm going to send it to
you when I'm done, if you don't mind?
Bulletin from the Editor
I am excited to announce an unexpected development concerning an e-mail I received from a published author! Chris
Platt, who has written several of the Thoroughbred Ashleigh books, and now has her own series, Willow King, has donated six of her
books to use as prizes in this and future My Little Pony Monthly issues. All of these books are autographed by the author herself. Ms.
Platt was formerly a professional jockey and horse trainer, and the book Willow King was based on her experiences with a real
Now, what must you do to win one of these books? For this April contest, we will be giving away an autographed
Willow King book. A summary of the book goes as follows:
"Thirteen-year-old Katie Durham can't allow the newborn colt Willow King do be killed just because he has twisted legs.
After all, one of her own legs is nearly an inch shorter than the other, and nobody killed her at birth! Feeling an immediate kinship
with the imperfect colt, Katie successfully bargains for his life, but the real challenge is still ahead."
All you have to do to have a chance at the book is answer the questions contained in the April Fools' Day Fun Facts and
send your response to me at [email protected]
Correctly answered entries will then be placed in a drawing, and the lucky winner will receive the Chris Platt book. The
deadline for entries is Saturday, April 15, 2000. Good luck!
April Fools' Day Fun Facts
Guess whether these statements are true or false, and test your pony knowledge! E-mail your answers to
[email protected]; if you think a statement is false, you must correct it to make it true. If all your answers are correct, you will be
placed in a drawing for a chance to win an autographed copy of Chris Platt's Willow King book.
1. Chief was in the first group of Big Brothers.
2. Hasbro produced My Little Ponies for the first time in 1982.
3. Blossom, Snuzzle, Powder, Blue Belle, Butterscotch, and Minty were the original six ponies produced.
4. Crunch the rockdog was saved from a life of villainy by the Sunstone.
5. Sweetheart owned a cat by the name of Springfield.
6. Boysenberry Pie goes by the name of Blackberry Pie in England.
7. Summer Wing Ponies are actually baby Flutter Ponies.
8. A set of male Sea Ponies was produced in 1989.
9. Baby Tic-Tac-Toe was not Twinkle-Eyed like her mother.
10. Locket was only in one My Little Pony episode, Flight to Cloud Castle.
11. Merry Treat has yellow eyes.
12. Ace was the first boy admitted into the girls' clubhouse.
13. A doll of Danny was offered for a short while in a mail-order offer in 1987.
14. Rosedust is the queen of the Flutter Ponies.
15. Fizzy is portrayed as having a very confused personality in the cartoon series.
16. Bouncy has the symbol of a rabbit.
17. Magic Star and Truly were the first two rearing ponies.
18. "Firefly's Adventure" was one of the official titles of the first My Little Pony animated special.
19. Two versions of Windy the Rainbow Pony were made, one having a lavender body and one having a blue body.
20. The only thing Sundance seemed to be good at was jumping.
The Lost Prince
by Moonjumper ([email protected])
~* At a summer camp in Northern Pennsylvania *~
"And Molly is Cabin A's counselor." She pointed to a group of girls under the trees. "You will go with her... and..." The
tall blond woman continued matching campers with counselors and cabins.
"Great," Molly muttered as the group of girls eagerly came towards her. There was no way out now; she was stuck here
for the summer. I know I'll hate this... With a sigh, she attempted to smile and led the girls to Cabin A.
Twenty minutes later after the girls had unpacked and chosen their bunks, Molly sat down on the floor near the door.
There had been two fights, one a pillow fight and the other between the reddish-brown haired girl and the honey-colored hair girl. Now
"Okay, you all know my name; how about we go around and introduce ourselves and give our age?" Molly suggested,
hoping to pass the time until supper quickly.
"I'll start!" a bubbly blond grinned. "My name's Sara; I'm nine and I love sports!" Sara was very exuberant.
The next girl had long, straight black hair and Asian features. She was the smallest in the group and looked to be the
shyest as well. "I'm Ami and I'm eight," she said quietly. "And I like school," she said as an afterthought.
The reddish-brown haired girl smirked. "School?! Ha..." Seeing Molly's look, she smiled faintly and said, "I'm
Marissa... nine." She looked bored with what she considered to be a child's game.
Molly watched her. She'll be trouble, she warned herself.
"I'm Ciara; I'm nine years old and I like to read and write stories." Ciara's honey-colored hair was pulled back by green
butterfly clips that matched her bright green eyes.
"Taylor... eight." Taylor copied Marissa and Marissa grinned proudly.
"Jessica... nine." Jessica did the same, then flipped her sun-streaked hair over her shoulder.
"And my name's Lisa. I'm eight and Molly is the bestest cousin in the whole world!" Lisa had the same thick blond hair
that Molly now wore in a ponytail.
Did she have to stay in my cabin? Molly shrugged. Things couldn't get any worse...
"All campers come to the Mess Hall! All campers-- supper time!!" the loudspeakers blared all over the camp. A
stampede of girls knocked past Molly before she could move from the door.
Whatever happened to straight lines... grr. Molly stared after them, very irritated. One girl stayed behind. Ciara
offered her a hand.
"I guess they're hungry?" A laugh hid behind her serious eyes.
Molly took Ciara's hand and smiled. "Thanks, ready to go?"
Ciara nodded and beamed. She's nice, the girl thought as they started, much more slowly than the others,
towards the Mess Hall.
* * *
After supper, Diana, the director of the camp and Molly's aunt, announced that the team camping trip had been moved
from Friday night to Tuesday night.
"Each team has a girls' cabin and a boys' cabin... Cabin A's with Cabin B's... Cabin C's with Cabin D's... and so on,"
Diana smiled at her restless audience. "So, tomorrow, during the third free time-- right after supper time-- all campers should pack a
small bag. Your counselor will be able to tell you what to bring if you have any questions."
Diana stepped down and the sports director appeared to divvy the campers into teams.
* * *
Late that night, after lights out, Molly went outside and began to walk down the path to the soccer field. This is
terrible... She kicked a stone and watched it skitter off the path into the forest. I want to go home... A single tear slipped down
her cheek. Mom should've let me stay... but no, they had to separate all of us...
More tears came freely as Molly lay down in the slightly wet field, closing her eyes and calming down. It was weird how
night had a way of relaxing her; when she was little, she'd always been afraid of the dark, but something had happened...
"Hey? You okay?" a voice came through the night.
Molly opened her eyes to see a camper above her. A camper? No, not a camper... she realized.
"Molly? Danny's little sister?" The guy sat down on the grass and jumped up. "It's soaking WET out here!"
Molly laughed. "Who... who are you?"
He grinned at her. "What? Not remember me, Tidbit?"
Molly stared at him. Tidbit? Only Danny calls me that...
"You really don't remember me, do you? It's me, Theo," he shook his head wonderingly.
"Oh! Theo!" Recognition lit Molly's eyes.
"What are you doing out here? Like I said, it's wet!" Theo raised an eyebrow.
"Don't do that," Molly said, suddenly remembering. She dashed back to her cabin abruptly.
"What was that all about?" Theo looked after her quizzically.
* * *
Molly yanked on her boots. Real smart, Molls... freak out for nothing... she grimaced.
"Can we go now? Can we? Can we??" Lisa bounced up and down, her hair flying wildly.
Molly had to smile; she'd been this excited on her first camp-out, too. "All right, get your backpack and I'll tell everyone it's time
"I'm not going!" Marissa stomped her foot when Molly told her to get her bag. "You can't make me go... WAH!! Hey,
put me DOWN!!!" Molly ignored her and carted Marissa outside the cabin.
Lisa grinned. "Marissa should've known after last night she can't say ‘no' to Molly!" She nudged Ciara and Ciara
"Now, if you're finished..." Molly looked Marissa in the eye before continuing. "We should be meeting boys' Cabin B."
She turned around to see Theo a few steps away with five boys. Oh, no...
"Hey Tidbit!" Theo's nickname caused the boys to snicker.
"Well, girls, meet your teammates," Molly rolled her eyes.
Both sides of girls and boys glared at each other, then looked to their counselors for approval.
"Shall we go?" Theo grinned, completely enjoying himself.
"Girls, let's show these guys the trail," Molly winked at her cabin.
Lisa and Sara started running, leading the rest of the girls; the boys came more slowly, reluctantly following. They
entered the forest and very quickly were ready for a break.
"Can we stop now? My feet hurt!" Marissa whined.
Theo looked at the rest of the group. Could use a rest, he thought. "Sure, let's stop here!"
Molly glanced back at the resting kids. Theo can handle them for a minute... She continued into the forest,
looking for their camp site. She was only gone for about a minute when she noticed a strange thing; the forest in front of her was whirling
together. What in the world? Molly reached out to touch one of the trees, but drew back and ran for the group.
Lisa looked up from the ants' nest she'd found. "You okay, Molly? Your face is pale." She studied her cousin's face
Ciara, Sara, and Ami hurried over and Marissa followed curiously.
"Something's wrong," Molly said, shaking her head, as if she could rid the image from her memory.
Theo laughed. "Sure." He turned to his group of boys. "Looks like they're trying to scare us guys! Who wants to
come with me to see what ‘awful' thing is farther up the trail?"
The boys snickered again and two of them stood up. "We'll go!" one said, rolling his eyes. The other grinned and
Molly stared at them. What's wrong with them??
Ciara looked up at Molly. "I believe you," she whispered. Molly made a small smile.
"Let's go," Theo said.
Theo, his two boys, Lisa, Ami, Sara, Ciara, and Marissa followed Molly back to where she'd stopped earlier in the
"See?" Molly felt like sticking her tongue out at Theo.
Theo stared, stunned. The two boys "oohed" and "ahhed" at the strange whirling.
"Can we go back now? I'm getting a strange feeling about this." Marissa's voice lost its usual sarcasm and self-confidence.
Molly took her hand and nodded. "Let's go back, Theo."
Theo barely nodded. It's so much like... His eyes widened. It can't be! But, then, it is! Theo stepped up
to "it". He could almost see it, almost...
"Theo!!" Molly tugged him back, her voice small. "We've got a problem!"
Theo turned around. The whirling forest had surrounded them and was closing in fast. Marissa whimpered and the
cocky boy eyed the forest, searching for a way of escape. There was none.
Ciara reached up and took Molly's other hand confidently. It will be better if we all hold hands... "Hold hands,
The rest looked at her, but did as she said. Theo nodded. She'd been "there", too. She wasn't scared of what was
The forest closed in and Molly closed her eyes tightly. She peeked just as the forest swallowed them. They were
suddenly thrown to the ground and a bright light pierced through the dark forest.
Theo was the first to stand and tugged the others up. They were "here". He smiled at Ciara, and she grinned back.
Now I'm back home...
The Merry Treat and Tabby Gossip Hour!
by Merry Treat and Tabby ([email protected] and [email protected])
with guest appearance by Nightshade
Tabby: Well, MT, you said we had a guest today on our gossip... oh! I think he just walked in the room, didn't he?
Nightshade: ::makes his entrance:: Hello, hello!
Merry Treat: Everyone, this is our friend, Nightshade!
Nightshade: ::waves timidly:: Eh... hi, everyone.
Tabby: So, all you mares out there, remember that there's a new stallion in town.
Merry Treat: Tabby!
Merry Treat: ~rolls eyes~ Don't mind her, Nightshade. Come sit down with us.
Tabby: So, Nightshade, what are you doing here in Dream Valley?
Nightshade: ::shrugs:: I dunno, just hanging around.
Merry Treat: That's what most of us do, anyway.
Tabby: You train Pokèmon, don't you?
Nightshade: Yes, I do.
Merry Treat: How many do you have right now?
Tabby: Got any rare specimens?
Nightshade: Eh... they're all pretty rare, except for Raichu. Then again, no one could replace her. I've got about eight at the time.
The others are on... vacation...
Tabby: So, Nightshade, have you been approached by any white pegasi lately?
Nightshade: Umm...I can't say that I have.
Merry Treat: Oh, I hope not... if you see Tiffany, walk the other way!
Tabby: Well, I know she's bound to show up eventually once she finds out about you. Especially since you're a pegasus and all.
Merry Treat: Just hope you don't, Nightshade. Tiffany's a flirt with all the guys, especially her boyfriend.
Tabby: But there aren't any pegasi stallions around besides you, and she has always thought pegasi were the superior breed.
Nightshade: Eh... but if she has a boyfriend, why would she flirt with everyone else? ::confused::
Merry Treat: Because she's Tiffany.
Tabby: She's a princess. She flirts with everyone. Besides, her current boyfriend hasn't bought her a diamond ring yet and she's
offended by that.
Merry Treat: And she's thinking she can get one out of someone else.
Tabby: Exactly. *nods* Of course, you'll also have Tamara to deal with now, and...
Nightshade: Then if she's looking for one here, she's looking in the wrong place. I couldn't buy a ring if my life depended on
Merry Treat: At least Tamara's already got her eye on someone else, methinks...
Tabby: Well, yes, but she's still going to look at Nightshade.
Nightshade: ::sweatdrop:: How flattering.
Merry Treat: Just try to avoid Tiffany, and you'll be safe.
Tabby: Beginning to wish you'd never moved here, Nightshade?
Nightshade: Not really. It's been nice, so far...
Tabby: At least there's another new guy around, so you won't get all the attention.
Merry Treat: Oh? Who's the other new stallion?
Tabby: He's actually been back around in town for several months now. His name's Brightblade.
Merry Treat: Brightblade... Brightblade... can't remember if I've seen him.
Tabby: He supposedly went on a quest and saved Ponyland from an evil ogre. He's yellow with red hair-- the pony, not the ogre.
Merry Treat: ~shivers~ Brr! It's cold in here! ~pulls on a sweater~
Tabby: He's now taking over control of that old antique store across town.
Merry Treat: Ah, so that's who he is... I have seen him once or twice.
Nightshade: ::shrugs:: It's all news to me...
Tabby: Brightblade is only an earth pony, though. He's got a helmet with a unicorn horn, but that's all.
Merry Treat: A helmet with a unicorn horn?
Tabby: Yeah. He got that on his quest. It's not as good as the real thing.
Merry Treat: I imagine you would know that, yes.
Tabby: *rubs her horn self-consciously*
Merry Treat: I'm glad I don't have to worry about a horn... or wings... no offense, guys.
Nightshade: ::chuckles:: It's no big deal.
Merry Treat: Okay, good.
Tabby: Horns are cool!
Merry Treat: ~sweatdrops~ Yeah, they are; I'm just saying that I'm glad I don't have to worry about one...
Tabby: In other news, Sugarberry finally bought herself a Furby!
Merry Treat: Ah! You convinced her?
Tabby: She happened to be with me at Toys R Us last weekend, and I had to point out to her the Furby sale they were having. Only
twenty jangles each for babies and adults!
Merry Treat: Oh! I wish I'd known about that... ~mutters~
Tabby: She had had her eye on a certain magenta and blue baby Furby, and thought she would buy that one. But she was just picking
the baby up when she caught site of a different Furby up on the top shelf...
Nightshade: ::yawns:: I would go insane if I had to be a caretaker for one of those. No offense.
Tabby: It was a black and silver adult Furby, and Sugarberry fell in love instantly. She ended-up buying him instead of the baby.
Merry Treat: ~wakes up her own Furby with an evil grin~
Tabby: And his name's May-Lah.
Nightshade: ::headache:: I understand not a word you speak.
Merry Treat: How cute! Why don't you understand us, Nightshade? ~cocks head~
Nightshade: Furbys aren't my... forte.
Dah-Noh-Lah: Dum-dee-dee-dee-dee! Dum-dee-dee-dum!
Tabby: Hey, Dah-Noh-Lah! Big party, wah!
Nightshade: ::smiles and shakes head:: Silly ponies. Ack. Time has run out and the party begins relatively soon. Gotta
Merry Treat: Byes! ~waves~
Tabby: You didn't tell me he was on a time limit.
Merry Treat: He just has a party to attend. But, anyway, so...
Tabby: Mom has been calling me more frequently from Italy lately.
Merry Treat: Oh? What does she want?
Tabby: Still pestering me to get married.
Merry Treat: Maybe you should just tell her flat out that you don't want to.
Tabby: *sniffs and ignores the comment*
Merry Treat: ~pats her shoulder~ What's wrong?
Tabby: Nothing's wrong. That was a... sarcastic sniff. Or something.
Merry Treat: Ah, okay, ~nods, feeling like an idiot~
Tabby: If only Mom wouldn't pester me so.
Merry Treat: Hmm... ~thinks for a moment~ Why don't you just tell her the truth?
Tabby: What is the truth?
Merry Treat: That you haven't met that one special guy yet, and you would rather not get married until you do. She can't argue
Tabby: *sits back in her chair and mutters about no one understanding*
Merry Treat: ~cocks head~ What's that, Tabby? You're mumbling...
Tabby: Well, maybe I have met that one special guy but nobody sees that yet. I still don't want to be pestered.
Merry Treat: Why don't you just tell her that?
Tabby: Oh, you don't understand! *huffs* Let's get off this topic.
Merry Treat: Well, the Chanseys at the Pokèmon Center have been planning something special for Easter.
Tabby: *sighs* It's just a gimmick to bring more baby ponies in. I don't like it.
Merry Treat: They'll be giving out hand-decorated Easter eggs to all the baby ponies that come in during the weeks before the
Tabby: Do you know how many baby ponies are going to be storming into the center now wanting an Easter egg? It's going to be a
disaster! Who knows what havoc they'll wreak upon the place?
Merry Treat: Well, it is a cute idea. I don't think the baby ponies are as bad as you imagine them to be, Tabby.
Tabby: You don't know baby ponies like I do, Merry Treat.
Merry Treat: Sure, sure. ~rolls eyes~ How has Sugarberry's new kitten been getting on?
Tabby: Raptor? Oh, he keeps growing and he's been more playful than ever.
Merry Treat: He's such a cutie. I'm glad Sugarberry adopted him.
Tabby: And he likes to pounce on Fluff while he's sleeping. It scares Fluff to death.
Merry Treat: ~giggles~ Sounds like Fluff is having fun. Has he gotten into any trouble with Sugarberry?
Tabby: Well, there was the time last week when Sugarberry was baking a cake; and at one point she had her back turned, and Raptor
jumped up on the counter and rolled several eggs onto the floor.
Merry Treat: Oh no! What a mess!
Tabby: Other than that, he's just a regular cute li'l kitten.
Merry Treat: I'll have to stop in and visit him again sometime.
Tabby: Hey! I've forgotten to mention some of the most important news concerning My Little Pony Monthly.
Merry Treat: Sugarberry's novel? You're right!
Tabby: We've been given exclusive rights to reprint Sugarberry's new mystery novel in this very newsletter!
Merry Treat: It's titled Ginseng and Sassafras Tea. We'll be printing two chapters of it in the newsletter each month. It's
really an exciting book.
Tabby: In other news, you know that Clever Clover has run off on another quest or something?
Merry Treat: I heard about that! He went to the Flatlands, right? What exactly is he doing this time?
Tabby: *shrugs* I'm not sure. I know I wouldn't go to the Flatlands any more than necessary. But when I was at Sugarberry's last
night, a call came in from him on the phone.
Merry Treat: Well, what did he say?
Tabby: It was the strangest thing. I was only hearing Sugarberry's end of the conversation, and she suddenly began advising him to
"look in the baby pony department by the diapers" or something like that.
Merry Treat: ~opens eyes wide~ What is that pony doing out there?
Tabby: Then she said something about talcum power, so I guess that was all it was about. Still, Cleve Clove gets into weird
Merry Treat: You can say that again! ~nods~ I can't wait ‘till he gets back and we can find out what his adventure was like.
Tabby: Progress on the toy museum Spike and I are setting up is going well.
Merry Treat: You've been busy with that a lot lately. How much longer until it will be open to the public?
Tabby: Well, Spike has been busy building lots of shelves for the place. I've been setting my items up. He doesn't trust me with
handling his toys, though.
Merry Treat: That will be a lot of toys when you're through. What are you going to charge for admission?
Tabby: Oh, maybe five jangles or so. I didn't want to give the baby ponies a discounted rate, but Spike thinks it would be best to offer
Merry Treat: ~shakes head~ Not all baby ponies are bad, Tabby. Look at Baby Noddins! She idolizes you!
Tabby: Isn't it terrible? I can't stand it. She's always coming to see me at the Pokèmon Center. I can't see what she admires so
much about me.
Merry Treat: That's true; you're never very nice to her.
Tabby: *glowers* That's because she annoys me.
Merry Treat: I bet you could be great friends if you'd treat her nicely.
Tabby: Besides, the ruined the My Little People doll I gave her for Christmas.
Merry Treat: It was her friend Baby Falling Leaves that got marker all over it, wasn't it?
Tabby: But still! She's only a baby pony, and I can't stand any baby ponies!
Merry Treat: ~giggles at Tabby's discomfort~ Well, anyway, I've heard that Friendly has been excelling in his college
Tabby: Yes, in his computer programming class.
Merry Treat: It turns out that Friendly knew more about computers than the stallion teaching the class, so the other students got a
petition going to make Friendly the teacher as well!
Tabby: The officials are a little skeptical of letting a Bushwoolie teach the class, but they did put Friendly in charge.
Merry Treat: He's very intelligent for a Bushwoolie. I think he'll do just fine.
Tabby: Yes, you'd be amazed by how much he knows about computers. I remember those days in the past when I'd sit for hours on
end in his Bushwoolie hole watching him play those cool computer games of his. *sighs in remembrance*
Merry Treat: Doesn't he still play them?
Tabby: He does, but I don't have much time any more to visit him beyond the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. I have more things to do in
life now, I guess.
Merry Treat: Speaking of the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, I think that's our cue to sign-off.
Tabby: That's right! But before we go, remember everyone, all our authors love hearing from their fans! Be sure to e-mail them with
your comments on their stories in the newsletter this month!
Merry Treat: Definitely! You should find their e-mail addresses under the title of their work.
Tabby: Exactly. So, with that said, goodbye!
Merry Treat: Until next month! ~waves as she and Tabby dash out the door~
Ponyland Publishing Company has given My Little Pony Monthly the exclusive right to reprint Sugarberry's new novel,
Ginseng and Sassafras Tea, in monthly installments beginning with this issue.
Ginseng and Sassafras Tea
by Sugarberry ([email protected])
Nearly invisible amidst the dense green foliage of the bushes, a lone stallion stood stiffly with dark eyes glaring,
watching the intruders in his domain. His family legacy had been plundered because of the infringement of these ponies-- oh, maybe not
these particular individuals, but more of their kind, probably from the town. He silently watched as they passed his concealed position;
then he melted into the underbrush with the stealth and furtiveness of a panther.
Anyone watching the aqua blue stallion coming down the forest path might have mistaken him for the Pied Piper as he
was followed by a group of no less than six rambunctious young ponies of various ages. They all seemed to be having a grand time by
the amount of laughter that echoed off the tall, stately trunks of the assorted maples, elms, cedar, and oak trees that decorated this
"Uncle Hood, are you sure that sprites live in these woods?" spoke up a petite rose-colored foal, her head turned up to
catch the eye of her adult companion, causing her magenta mane to drag in the path.
"Well, Blush, I've never actually seen a sprite around here," admitted Hood, "but I've found signs of the little creatures
"What signs?" asked a little orange colt disbelievingly. Although there was no outward appearance to attest to the fact,
he was Blush's twin brother.
Hood stopped, and surveyed the trees along the path before replying. Seeming to find his answer in their leafy canopy,
he spoke. "Their caps, Crush. Their own midget caps."
Crush kicked at the blanket of twigs and leaves on the path and scowled. Uncle Hood had gotten the best of him more
than once; he wanted to make sure there were no obvious loopholes now.
Laser, the oldest colt in the group surrounding Hood, grinned knowingly, remembering the day his uncle had baited him
with this same piece of information. He kept his mouth shut, however. Let Uncle Hood weave his spell of magic for Blush and Crush and
"Could you find one today, Uncle Hood?" pleaded Blush as she bounced excitedly. "Please?"
Seeing his big sister so enthusiastic, Puzzle-- a mint green toddler following close on Hood's heels-- began begging,
too. "Sprite cap! Sprite cap!"
Lacewing, Laser's tomboy younger sister, demanded attention. "There are no such things as sprites." She frowned at
her uncle. "You are just teasing."
At this news, Crush found verification of his doubts. "I knew it!" he cried. "You're making this all up!"
Smiling mysteriously, Hood quietly asked, "Would you believe me if I found one? A cap, I mean," he clarified.
"I believe you already," firmly stated Dewdrop, the only foal in the group not related by bloodlines. She was a delicate
cream-colored beauty with a cascade of curly sky-blue mane. She gazed trustingly at Hood.
"Thank you, Dewdrop," Hood said formally. "You come up to the head of the group."
Turning to the rest, he directed, "Follow us. But watch your step. You don't want to squash a sprite!" To Dewdrop, he
confided, "Think sprite-ish thoughts. That will help us to find a cap."
The now silent group moved cautiously down the path. Each of the young ponies peered intently at the ground, while
Hood seemed more engrossed in the leaves overhead. After several minutes, he muttered under his breath, "Finally! An oak tree."
Leading the still-entranced ponies past the trunk of the oak, but remaining under the spreading branches, Hood suddenly stopped and
raised a hoof. Without a word being spoken, every motion ceased, and all eyes were on Hood.
"What is it, Uncle Hood?" Blush asked cautiously.
Hood's hoof went to his lips as he whispered, "Be quiet. I sense that a sprite has been close by."
Even Crush was drawn into the suspense; and Puzzle, young as he was, sensed the wonder in the air.
Slowly, Hood knelt in the decaying oak leaves scattered about and held out his hoof over them, moving it back and forth,
as if honing in on some invisible signal. When all seemed right, he lowered his hoof and moved several oak leaves aside. Then,
reverently, he picked-up a small, brown cap from the rich dark soil. Holding the cap in his hoof, he cast his glance on each pony
one-by-one. Then, in a deep and sonorous voice, he said, "This, children, is the cap of a sprite."
Laser felt his skin crawl just like the first time he'd heard his uncle intone those words. He shook himself to shed the
Lacewing stepped forward, breaking the spell. "Are you sure about this, Uncle Hood?" she asked suspiciously. "I've
But before Lacewing could finish, Laser clamped his hoof over her mouth, and wagged his head to keep her silent.
Puzzle, meanwhile, stood in open-mouthed amazement.
"Can I touch it?" Blush asked.
"Yes, but gently," instructed Hood.
The foal bent close to the cap, and touched it quickly, then jumped back. "It feels wet," she worried.
"Of course it's wet on the forest floor," chided Crush. "No sunshine ever gets down there."
Dewdrop approached the diminutive cap and gazed on it quietly before asking permission to hold it. Hood placed it on
her extended hoof where she cradled it tentatively.
Blush had been thinking things through, and asked curiously, "Why did the sprite leave his hat here, anyway?"
"Yeah," Crush added. "He'll be in big trouble with his mom for losing it!" This statement was made with the assurance
of a colt who had been there, done that.
Solemnly, Hood enlightened his captive audience. "The sprites sleep under the leaves at night; oak leaves are their
"Blankie," cooed Puzzle, who still shared a special attachment to a silky soft blue blanket that had comforted him since
Hood smiled at his nephew. "Yes, Puzzle, these leaves mean as much to the sprites as your blue blanket does to
"So where are the sprites now?" queried Dewdrop.
"That's the sad part," declared Hood. "When they are asleep under the leaves, and ponies come along the path, the
sprites run to escape being trampled, and lose their caps in the process."
"Oh, that's horrible!" sniffed Dewdrop.
"Poor sprites!" agreed Blush.
"How come I've never seen one?" demanded Crush.
"You're too noisy," said Blush. "They'd here you from miles away."
"Good point," smiled Hood. "Now, remember that your parents asked each of you to stop going into the forest
"That really stinks!" complained Crush, who loved to play pretend games in the cool confines of the shaded and magical
forest. He had spent many a happy hour fighting dragons, finding unknown species of animals, and stalking villainous bad guys in this
Hood patted the upset colt on his head. "The reason for that is to protect the sprites," Hood explained. "If you stay off
the paths, the sprites will get their rest and feel better. As it is, they are getting cranky from lack of sleep."
Crush scoffed. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!" But Puzzle yawned deeply, which gave Hood the chance to
direct his troupe homeward.
Everyone was pensive as they continued on their way. Soon they left the forest behind for a meadow with only a
scattering of new growth trees interrupting the expanse of grass and wildflowers. Queen Anne's Lace, Chicory, Spotted Knapweed, and
Black-eyed Susan created a vibrant palette of color and a pleasing fragrance.
Beyond the meadow sat the village of Woodland where the ponies had their homes. As they neared the first house, the
tired and hungry youngsters revved-up their trot. It would soon be lunchtime and Crush goaded his playmates to top speed. "Last one
home's a rotten egg!" Puzzle squealed in dismay as the older foals ran on ahead, while his little hooves raced frantically to keep
Laser, on the other hoof, held back to keep stride with his uncle. When the others had gained enough distance ahead
so as not to overhear his conversation, Laser spoke. "The sprite cap story was as good as ever, Uncle Hood."
"And thanks to you shushing Lacewing, the littlest ones don't need to know for several years yet that those brown caps
are nothing but the tops of the acorn seeds off the oak tree."
"But why did you add that part about us pestering the sprites so much that we have to stay out of the forest?" pondered
Hood didn't answer immediately. He sized up his nephew besides him and considered what amount of the truth to
share with this serious-minded colt. When Hood finally responded, his words were spoken more seriously than Laser had ever heard him
speak before. "There is a danger lurking in the forest, Laser, a danger that we don't yet understand. And until we do, the forest is
off-limits to you and your friends. Do you understand?"
Laser looked up at his uncle with wide, round eyes. He intuitively knew this was a grave moment and that Uncle Hood
was counting on him. "Yes, Uncle Hood. I understand."
Blush, Crush, and Puzzle had disappeared into their home by the time Hood and Laser entered the heart of the village,
and Dewdrop could be seen just opening the gate into her front yard across the road from a cozy white house with blue trim that was
home to Laser, Lacewing, and their parents, Checker and Moonglow.
Moonglow was just coming out the door when Hood and Laser arrived. "Run in and wash up for lunch, Laser.
Lacewing is already at the table." She watched as her son hungrily went indoors. Looking intently at her brother's face, she asked
anxiously, "Did you see anything suspicious?"
"No, Moonglow. Everything was quiet today."
"No sign of anyone being there who shouldn't be there?"
"No. Not a clue. Except..." Hood reflected for a moment.
"What is it?"
"Nothing, really. I just felt like we were being watched."
Moonglow groaned. "What's happening around here, Hood? This was the most peaceful place before... before
these..." Her voice trailed off.
Hood hugged his sister to him. "We'll find out who is behind this, Moonglow. And remember, you're not to worry so
much. That foal you're carrying needs you to take care of yourself.
Moonglow forced a smile. "You're right, Hood. And I do try not to worry. It's just sometimes I feel so helpless." She
sighed deeply as if to purge her emotions. "Join us for lunch?"
"Why do you think I'm still standing here?" Hood teased her.
"Well, excuse me!" Moonglow smiled. "Please come in!"
Hood and Moonglow were no sooner seated at the table where Laser and Lacewing were still munching on their
sandwiches when Lacewing broached the sprite subject with her mother.
"Mom, Uncle Hood told us that sprites live in the forest."
That remark caused Moonglow to choke on her first bite of sandwich, but she was smiling when she reappeared from
behind her napkin. "Oh, really?"
"Yes, and he says that the little caps from the acorns are really sprite caps."
"Well, Lacewing, your Uncle Hood knows a lot more about that sort of thing than I do."
"But Mom, those brown things are just part of the acorn. There are no sprites."
Moonglow looked to Hood for guidance. But it was Laser who provided the answer. "The sprites pick them up after the
acorns fall and use them for their caps, just like you use cornhusks for your precious little dolls."
"Oh." His reply seemed to make sense to Lacewing, so she went back to eating.
When dessert was finished and the foals had begun washing the dishes, Hood announced that he, too, had to be
leaving. "I've got a delivery of ice cream due at the shop this afternoon." Hood ran an ice cream parlor on Main Street, which partially
explained his popularity with the younger set of Woodlawn.
"Who's running the shop now while you're off loafing?" wondered Moonglow as she walked Hood to the door.
"Drumstick. I'm sure going to miss him when college classes start again this fall."
"Lacewing has a crush on him, you know."
That caught Hood off guard. "She's rather young for that sort of thing, isn't she?" Hood could be very protective where
his nieces and nephews were concerned.
Moonglow giggled. "At her age, having a crush simply means that she thinks he's nice. You know, kind of like Dreamy
when she followed you around during your high-school days."
"Dreamy? That little scatterbrained pony? After all these years, you're telling me that her incessant annoyance was
because she had a crush on me?"
"Weird!" exclaimed Hood. Suddenly, his expression changed to one of concern. "Moonglow, you look awfully tired.
Maybe you should lie down and rest."
"I am rather sleepy." She looked toward the kitchen. "Want two helpers at the shop this afternoon?"
"Sure. Why not? I can teach them the ins and outs of ice cream tasting! But you have to promise to take a nap," Hood
"I will," Moonglow promised. "Just don't let the kids eat all the profits!"
by Sugarberry ([email protected])
Two slim ponies walked briskly down the path, but not so quickly that they couldn't carry on an animated
"So how are you going to fill-in your time once you're home?" the brown filly asked of the dark lemon stallion.
He shook his light green mane to catch the gentle spring zephyr that laced the March air and laughed. "Certainly
nothing educational. I might try some hiking and fishing, but mostly I'll just be goofin' off. How about you?"
The monotone colored pony lowered her head as if in sorrow. "I guess it all depends on if Mom and Dad are glad to see
me or not."
"How could they not be glad to see you?" The stallion looked at his friend in amazement. "They'll spoil you
"Is that how your folks will treat you over semester break, Prime?" she asked, lifting her head to face him.
"Well, Mom always bakes all my favorite foods, and Dad has me help him with some project around the house so we
have plenty of time to talk, and relatives and friends will be dropping in to visit," Prime shared. "The only problem is that the time goes by
way too quickly."
Both ponies fell silent as Prime thought ahead to a busy week at home away from Pony Pride University while
Chocolate Chip looked ahead with dread to an uncertain homecoming. Her brother had convinced her to try to patch things up with her
parents during her spring break from college. But the closer to Neighberry she got, the tighter the knots in her stomach contracted.
If she hadn't been feeling so low, Chocolate Chip would have been enjoying the passing landscape that she and Prime,
her classmate at Pony Pride in Dream Valley, traveled through. The weather had been mild so the hills were already tinged with green,
although the trees were still barren. An occasional squirrel raucously scolding from the branch of a tree and the sudden hopping of a
frightened rabbit escaped Chocolate Chip completely as she lost herself in painful memories and anxious expectations.
"Chocolate Chip? Are you there?" Prime asked teasingly.
His words slipped into her thoughts and she turned a startled face to her companion. "Did you say something?"
Laughing, Prime enlightened her. "I asked, ‘Have you made a decision on your major yet?' "
"Actually, I think I'm leaning toward teaching," she responded, trying to shake her apprehensions. "But at what level, I
"Great! Maybe someday we'll be teaching at the same school." Prime, in his sophomore year, was planning on getting
a master's degree and teaching college mathematics.
"Teaching elementary might be fun, but I haven't had much experience with baby ponies," Chocolate Chip mused.
"Maybe I'll teach high school."
"You'll be great at whatever you do," Prime complimented her.
They had just crested the top of a hill, and both of them stopped to take in the view of Neighberry spread out over the
gently rolling countryside. Chocolate Chip swallowed hard. "I guess we're almost there."
She suddenly felt weak in the knees like she couldn't go on, but Prime took off down the sloping path. "Beat you to the
bottom," he called. Chocolate Chip mustered all the courage she could, and ran down the hill behind him. She was panting when she
finally reached him at the edge of town where a wayside was laid out with picnic tables and covered shelters.
Slumping onto a wooden bench, she glowered at Prime, but his attention was focused across the park-like rest-stop.
"Is this someone you know?" he asked.
Chocolate Chip followed his gaze, and settled on a rose-red stallion crossing the early spring grass. "Wishbone!" she
squealed, and found renewed energy to race to meet him. "You were watching for me!"
The colorful golden-maned stallion embraced the drab filly and swung her in a circle around him. "You made it,
"Thanks to Prime," Chocolate Chip pulled the stallion to where her companion stood. "Prime, this is my baby brother,
Wishbone. He's a senior in high school." She grinned at the two ponies before her. "And Wishbone, this is a classmate from Pony
"Nice to meet you," both said, and shook hooves.
"Prime's on his way to White Pine," Chocolate Chip continued, referring to the next town to the south.
"White Pine," Wishbone snickered. "We just beat them at the basketball tournament last week."
"What can you expect when their best player graduated two years ago?" Prime countered.
"Spare me, please!" Chocolate Chip rolled her eyes expressively. "If you two start talking sports, Prime won't get home
Prime flashed a grin at Chocolate Chip. "Thanks for reminding me. You know how moms are-- they worry themselves
sick if a pony isn't home when he's supposed to be."
"You won't forget to stop and pick me up on Saturday, will you?" she asked.
"Of course not. I'll leave White Pine after breakfast. Shall we meet here or at your house?"
Wishbone interjected an idea. "Why don't you come by the house now so you'll know where it is. By Saturday, we
could be getting more snow dumped on us... spring can be unpredictable, you know."
"Oh, isn't my little brother getting responsible!" Chocolate Chip teased, and punched his shoulder. "You sound just like
The trio set out for the far side of town where a solid square two-story house sat gleaming white in the midday sun.
"Well, there it is!" Chocolate Chip gulped and added glumly, "Home, sweet home."
"I guess this is goodbye until Saturday. I'll swing by here on my way through." And with a wave of his hoof, Prime was
gone on his way.
Chocolate Chip looked after him in dismay. It was as if her only link to Dream Valley was deserting her, and she was
afraid she'd somehow be lost to it forever.
Wishbone took her hoof and tugged her toward the house. "Lollipop took over your old room because it's bigger, so
your stuff is in her old room," he enlightened her to the reorganization that had occurred.
Still holding on to her as if he feared her sprinting away, Wishbone led her up the front steps and opened the door.
"Welcome home, Chocolate Chip," he bowed regally.
"Thanks, Wishbone," she smiled and tosseled his mane as she walked through the door. Her eyes roved across the
foyer and through the doorways to the other rooms, and she found that outwardly things were basically the same as when she left. Was
that a good sign, or a bad one? she wondered silently.
Wishbone let the door slam behind him, and Chocolate Chip jumped. "Where's Mom?" she asked.
"She's at work yet," he replied. "Let's go to the kitchen and get something to eat."
Chocolate Chip set her knapsack at the foot of the stairs, and followed her brother to the kitchen. "The house hasn't
changed since I left," she stated.
"No. I guess not." Wishbone looked around as if seeing his home for the first time. "Mom and Dad had been saving
their jangles, so they never looked at new furniture."
"Had been?" Chocolate Chip asked as she took the glass of milk Wishbone offered. "You make it sound like they don't
Wishbone poured another glass of milk, and opened a box of pre-made brownies. "They kinda went off the deep end,
and put all their savings into buying a restaurant."
Chocolate Chip choked on her bite of brownie. "They what?"
"Yep," Wishbone appeared smug as he conveyed the news. "Mom quit her job at Pony-Mart, and Dad quit his job at
the cart factory, and they became business owners." He waved his hoof through the air for emphasis.
"Where is this restaurant?" Chocolate Chip asked curiously.
"It used to be that old pizza place on Main. Now it's The Right Place. Don't ask. Lollipop came up with the name, and
Mom thought it was perfect."
"Don't fuss, Chocolate Chip. She may have all the pastel colors Mom and Dad always wanted in a daughter, but she
hasn't got a brain in her head!"
"Wishbone!" Chocolate Chip warned. "Don't talk about your sister that way."
"What way?" asked a voice behind them. They turned to see Lollipop coming in the back way, her flushed pink face
framed in brilliant blue curls.
"Lollipop?" Chocolate Chip questioningly said the name. "Is that you, little sister?"
"Certainly is," the vibrant filly giggled, and twirled in front of her siblings. "I'm nearly grown up," she bragged as she
came to a stop, and readjusted her curls.
"You were just a kid when I left a year ago," Chocolate Chip stared in amazement. "Now you're a young lady. How can
that happen so fast?" She reached out to her sister and drew her in close, but Lollipop stiffened and pulled away.
"I've got to get ready to go over to the restaurant," she tossed her curls. "I keep the salad bar stocked." She left to go
upstairs, but turned back again. "I have the big bedroom now; your stuff's in the cave."
Lollipop had always despised her room for its small size, aggravated by the slant of the ceiling which closed it in even
worse. She told visitors to the house that she lived in a cave.
"All your things are in boxes in there," Wishbone informed her as Lollipop disappeared upstairs. "Mom said you could
go through the stuff, and get rid of what you don't want."
"That was nice of her."
Wishbone changed the subject. "I really enjoyed spending Christmas with you."
"That was the neatest," agreed Chocolate Chip. "It was the best surprise I ever had."
"Did Barnacle ever get a new ship?"
While they discussed the lives of the ponies Wishbone had met on his visit to Dream Valley, they finished their snack
and cleaned up the crumbs.
Lollipop passed through on her way to The Right Place. She had adorned her mane with pink ribbons and tied a big
bow around her tail. Having accented her eyes with eye liner and shadow, she appeared older than her fifteen years.
"You look lovely," Chocolate Chip complimented her.
"Naturally," Lollipop said with a disapproving glance in her sister's direction. "Maybe you could fix up a bit before you
come to eat." With that said, she bolted out the door.
Chocolate Chip stood open-mouthed, staring at her sister's exit as if she'd been slapped in the face.
"Why that little brat!" she fumed.
Wishbone laughed. "Temper, temper! You'll get used to it. Mom and Dad both treat her like a princess... she's spoiled
Thinking back to her days at home, Chocolate Chip remembered well that Lollipop was spoiled; but she had been close
to her sister, and it didn't seem to bother Lollipop then that Chocolate Chip was a little less colorful than the rest of the ponies she knew.
Now, however, there seemed to be a certain reserve in Lollipop's attitude toward her.
"Go on up to your room now, and get settled," Wishbone suggested. "You will have time to rest a bit before we go to
Grabbing her satchel and climbing the stairs to the second floor, Chocolate Chip passed by the door to what had once
been her bedroom. Backtracking to the closed door, she felt an irresistible urge to take a peak into her former sanctuary. Taking a quick
look down the hall, she turned the knob and opened the door.
The scene before her took her breath away. The room had been redecorated to the hilt: new wallpaper, new furniture,
new carpeting on the floor, even new curtains at the window. Where her old battered bed had stood now reigned a four-poster canopy
bed; her mismatched dressers and chairs had been replaced with coordinated pieces to accent the bed itself. A floral motif wrapped
around the room in the wallpaper and the same pattern repeated on the bedding; the curtains were sheer, the carpeting plush. Chocolate
Chip fought down her resentment, and closed the door.
She continued down the hall and opened the door into the little room at the end. Her old single bed with a worn chenille
bedspread was butted into a corner, and cardboard boxes were stacked in disarray on either side of her dresser; a mirror and a chair
completed the furnishings.
Throwing her knapsack on the bed, Chocolate Chip opened the dresser drawers and found them empty. She opened
one of the boxes and found it packed with the books she had left behind. She had traveled lightly when she had left home, not knowing
where she was going or what she'd do-- only knowing that she had to escape the stifling atmosphere that her parents surrounded her