I claim no ownership of the characters, or any aspect relating to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That belongs to Hasbro.
The winds were blowing on a cool, crisp day. The trees as far as the eye could see turned into a vast pallet splotched with many different hues and shades of yellow and orange and red. The leaves fell off the trees, waving them goodbye as they swirled and danced in the chilly, forceful autumn air as the sun shined brightly on the orchards. The apples on the trees were big and bleeding out their colors as an explicit and irrefusable invitation to be picked and consumed in delight. The Macintoshes, the Fujis, the Galas all begging to be picked, for it was harvesting time and there were already windfalls. In fact most of Sweet Apple Acres’ orchards had been combed already. Many apples lay out in baskets to be sorted out for their respective destinations. Some were to be seeded, many others were to be used for the Apple family’s famous array of apple sweets from apple cider to apple fritters to candied apples and countless other products that never failed to sell like hotcakes. Still, many others were to be washed and carted to the market to be sold as is: Fresh apples so juicy they were to live and die for.
Sweet Apple Acres looked peaceful if you were to step in the gate to the farm, which was odd since you would think everypony would be busy bucking apples. The farmhouse stood in its industrious and rustic splendor as the shutters clapped to and fro, and the eaves creaked at the gust of the robust autumn gales. The earth on which it stood was soft and fragrant, giving away its incessant fertility that kept the family going as successful farmers. Outside the barn, a mound of the rich earth stood next to the hole that had been dug. In it was a sturdy specimen of apple wood, one of the finest on the farm. Dirt was being thrown onto it as the crowd of ponies gathered round and each threw in a clod of dirt, reluctantly at first but then with a sigh of inevitability and grief. The apple wood casket was nearly covered now.
Inside was the lifeless body of Granny Smith.
Her body rested on a series of simple clean cushions that supported her shrouded corpse. She looked as though she were at peace which was true for the most part. She died in her sleep the night before applebuck season had officially begun. As her casket was being swallowed up by the earth she dedicated her life to, a very dejected Applejack stood at the edge of the grave, removed her hat, and threw in a clod of dirt as she said a silent and final goodbye. She looked up at the rest of the family whom she hadn’t seen since Twilight Sparkle moved to Ponyville in the Apple family reunion, who had now come to pay their respects to their dear, beloved matriarch. Now passed into the fields she had worked all her life. Applejack lifted her head from her chest and began to speak.
“I wanna thank y’all for comin’ out today.” She stopped, choking back a sob. “Granny would have been so happy to see everyone. I know she would have been ecstatic to see the farm on a beautiful day like today, and how thrilled she would have been to see such a crop this year...and…and…” She couldn’t continue. It was simply too much to see her beloved grandmother who taught her everything she knew being taken away from her by the earth. She nodded at the gravedigger, an old mule with a tired, sad look in his eyes. He took up his shovel and started to fill in the grave unobtrusively with the utmost respect and sympathy. The family started to walk back to the farmhouse when a little cream colored filly with a bow in her hair burst forth from the crowd and ran to the grave.
“Applebloom!” Big Macintosh held the filly back who struggled with tears in her eyes.
“NO!” she screamed pleadingly as the coffin sank deeper into the grave forever. “Granny! Don’t go! PLEASE!” Big Mac picked her up and took her away. She had seen enough. Pretty soon the gravedigger was finished. He wiped the sweat off his brow and patted down the mound of dirt.
The tombstone would be there in a few hours.
Applejack sat across from Granny’s favorite rocker in the living room. The fireplace was roaring. Applejack had a family album in her hooves, perusing through Granny Smith’s life with them on the farm: Applejack’s first applebuck season with Granny, Big Macintosh spraining the ankle of his left foreleg, Applebloom playing about with Granny in a pile of leaves, Granny in the hospital the first time she got sick. Applejack took out that photo and closed the book. The picture showed Granny in bed looking frail, but hopeful as her family surrounded her and they all smiled at the camera, hoping things would get better. AJ looked up at the empty rocker that would never be sat in again. Applejack started crying again. Needless to say, their hopes were brought to an end. Just then, Big Macintosh walked into the room and stood over AJ.
“Sis?” he said. “You should really go to bed. We still have to finish up the season tomorrow. Early snows are coming in and…” he stopped. Applejack looked up at him with tears in her eyes. Big Mac sighed. “Sis, I know you miss her. I miss her too, but we should be happy she went the way she did.” Applejack stood up abruptly in shock.
“What?” She gasped trying not to shout. “She’s gone Big Mac! Why should we be happy? She had one applebuck season left in her! She was gonna pull through! She was gonna see one more harvest and bring in the crop to make into her pies and fritters and sauces while she sat in her rocker… and”
“Sis,” pleaded Big Mac. “You know she was sick. I meant we should be glad it was as sudden as it was. The doctors said she had a long road of suffering ahead of her.” Big Mac looked into her sisters eyes. “Let’s just be happy the doctors were wrong. She died happy. Let’s not make her sad.”
AJ looked down at the photo and back up at her brother who was smiling. She sobbed at the undeniable truth in her brothers words. She envied him for that. He wasn’t a colt of many words, but he had a certain wisdom about him that held everyone together in the worst of times. His slow, but steady and honest rhetoric and way of work earned him the admiration of everypony who knew him. She smiled back and hugged him. He was right. It wasn’t fair to Granny to not go on. The family had their business, and nothing would have made Granny happier than to look down from heaven and to see her grandchildren working the farm as happily as they had been before. Applejack took one more look at the photo and tossed it into the fire. As the ink burned, she couldn’t help but feel sad that her grandmother was actually gone. But she had promised Big Mac that she would work hard to bring in the harvest for Granny’s sake. At least she would have Applebloom and her brother to help. Together, they would pull through the harvest. Applejack looked outside. The sun was setting in the heavens. She made a silent vow that she would work together with her brother till the very end. She turned around and sniffled, and hugged Big Macintosh again.
“You’re right Big Mac. I promise we’ll make her happy. We’ll have the most successful applebuck season ever! We’ll make her proud!”
“I bet we already have, AJ.”
“You mean it?”
They laughed. They laughed for a good, long time in happy reminiscence. Applejack put back the album and walked with her brother down the hallway to their respective bedrooms. She paused outside her room, thinking about her promise to work with her brother, or even, she thought, maybe to outdo him. She shook the thought off. The idea was silly. They were brother and sister, nothing could come between them. Not even her desire to please Granny even though she was truly gone now. A draft of cold air blew through the room as the winds picked up, shaking the windows.
She shivered and shut the door.