I sat down across the table from River, using my magic to lift the book away from her.
“I’ve no trouble with you reading,” I said. “Quite the contrary. But not at the dinner table. The table is for eating, and the porch is for reading.” I set the book off to the side, keeping it open to her place and set a plate down with a daffodil sandwich on it.
River took the reprimand much better than I thought until I remembered how discipline for her used to be. “I need to talk to you, sprout,” I said. “We need to set some guidelines for your story search.”
The tan filly crooked an eyebrow at me. “What do you mean?” she asked around a bite of sandwich.
“Well, firstly, don’t talk with your mouth full, sweetheart,” I said, smiling. “Mostly, we need to only take out one or two books at a time. It isn’t fair to the princess or other ponies if she’s got so many books checked out at the same time.”
“But they’ve got so many interesting tales in them,” River said, swallowing her bite.
“Are you reading more than one at the same time?” I asked with a grin. “The tales shan't run off like the Sunday dish with the silver spoon. They’ll still be there a few days later.”
She looked down at the table for a second. “I guess I understand.”
I reached over and ruffled her mane. “And I’ll make a deal for you,” I said. “On the way back from returning some o’ those books, we’ll stop by the way and we’ll both get a manecut and a hayburger. Sound good, River?”
She made a show of thinking about it, then blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes. “Not too much off the top?”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “Then you’ll have to keep on it else you’ll have a mop for a mane.” I gave a fake look of horror. “And you don’t want me to try and tame it for you. After all, look at mine!” I shook my shaggy mane, letting it fall into my face.
Her giggle made all of the trouble easier to deal with.
Though she does need some more training with table manners.
I read one of the stories with her when putting her to bed that night, using my magic to create a dancing show of the story. I was tucking the blanket around her when she raised her head, looking into my eyes with an earnest look on her face.
“I love you, Ma.”
Hearing that makes things so worthwhile.