Once upon a time, an earth pony was walking along the road to town when he met a horse. The horse was clad in a long, dark cloak, but it could not hide his height—easily that of a Princess.
“Howdy, stranger,” the earth pony said.
“Hail, fair earth pony,” the horse said. “You may call me ... Reiziv Dnarg. And what might I call you?”
“Clyde! What a sensible name. In truth, you strike me as a sensible pony,” Reiziv said. Clyde was, in fact, eminently sensible, though it was odd this horse could know that. “Can you spare an hour to help a horse in need?”
Clyde agreed. Reiziv led him off the main road, onto a side path which ended at the mouth of a cave.
Reiziv said, “In that cave lies vast wealth: gold and jewels beyond count. In the middle is a simple gold ring. Bring me that ring, Clyde. And mark my words: touch none of the other treasure, until you have brought the ring back! Once you do that, the rest of the treasure will be yours to keep.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Grand Vizier—”
“What? How did you know who I am?” For the horse was indeed none other than the Grand Vizier of Saddle Arabia, traveling incognito.
“I follow the international news, and your disguise doesn’t cover your face,” Clyde said. “Anyhow, I don’t meddle with dragon treasure, so you’ll need to find somepony else to help you get that ring.”
The Vizier smiled. “Oh, but this is no dragon hoard. We stand before the only entrance to the cave, and there is a powerful enchantment here to keep all of dragon-kind out.”
Clyde placed a hoof on the rocks of the cave entrance, and he knew at once that there truly was powerful magic resting upon the stones.
Clyde said, “Then why don’t you just go in and get that gold ring yourself? I’m only a few years younger than you, and I don’t have any prior spelunking experience.”
“My reasons are my own!” the Vizier retorted. “I’ve promised you wealth beyond imagining for your help. Is that not enough?”
“Now you’re hoping that greed will blind me. Mighty suspicious, hmm?”
The Grand Vizier sighed. “Very well. The enchantment on the cave does more than repel dragon-kind. It bars all thinking creatures from entrance, save those judged purest of heart and strongest of mind. Only a few in any generation can pass the enchantment. You are one of those few.”
Clyde said, “Sounds like whatever is inside that cave is mighty important.”
“Indeed. A powerful magic artifact.”
“Important enough for somepony to set up a magic barrier to keep it from falling into the wrong hooves. And you want me to compromise the security?”
“Listen, and listen well, Clyde. I will have that ring, one way or another. Either you help me, and I reward you—or I find someone else to help, and you receive nothing. Choose!”
“Hmm. Reckon I could use the cash.” Clyde placed his hoof again on the arch of the cave entrance. Then he shouted into the cave, “Boy, oh boy, I sure do love me some treasure! I can’t wait to sell it and blow the money on ale and wenches!”
The cave collapsed. The gold ring was never seen again. The Grand Vizier’s planned coup of Saddle Arabia never came to pass. Five bloody wars over possession of the ring were never fought.
“Whoops,” Clyde said.