• Member Since 30th Nov, 2011
  • offline last seen March 18th


I never make mistakes. I thought I'd made one once, but I was wrong.


Ponies hold nearly total sway over the world, from the sky to the earth and even beyond. Many of the races resent this, and scheme to claim a portion of that control for themselves. Some have even come close to toppling the ponies from their position of power.

This is not the story of one of those races.

Submitted for the Equestria Daily "Outside Insight" fanfic contest.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 35 )

Interesting, and just a touch melancholy. A sheep living in a gilded cage wonders about life outside the fences only to be gently dissuaded by the wisdom of an older ewe. There are two clashing emotions here, the mounting frustration of wasted potential and the chaffing of metaphorical yokes against the serene, easy happiness of an ignorant life; to stay still is to prolong that happiness and indulge in simple pleasures, to move forward is to invite change, guarantee suffering, and perhaps become the start of something wonderful.

It's a very serious and classic dilemma, is knowledge and freedom worth the trouble it brings or the trials we must face to obtain it? I would say yes, in fact, I feel most of us would say yes... because we've seen the other side of it, our ancestors made all the big sacrifices; but could you be the first to step up? There aren't any easy answers, and I like that. As a whole I'm left both wanting more and yet find myself okay letting it end here, perhaps another sheep on another day?

I know it's something of an oddball topic, but I also liked the characterization of a young Applejack. She was such a curious little filly, but then again, aren't they all? I felt my heart break just a teensy bit when I read:

“Don’t let it get to you, Applejack. It’s just how things are.

And I mourned the death of AJ's intellectual curiosity, no doubt crippled in it's infancy by many similar scenes and buried by Applejack's unshakable faith in her mother's ability to guide her. It's true what they say, parents really can't help but hurt their children, even if only a little bit.

I'd say this should have a dark tag, but the ponies aren't really malicious enough to warrant that... Still, I've got to wonder about this arrangement. Where it started, and how.



Remember everyone, four legs good, two legs better... Wait, that doesn't work here. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

Anyways, it's giving me that strange undertone not dissimilar to the idea of slavery, given the arguments in maintaining the system. Of course, the difference here is that it actually isn't really broken, at least from what I can see at this moment because those arguments are actually true. Taking another outside viewpoint (us), still can't help but feel something's wrong with it, naturally.

Yes. This one is one, big, YES. :)

Well done, great writing, will hope to see more soon!!!!

Wake up sheeple! Don't fall for those pony lies! What about freedom?

Gilded cages, man. Gilded cages.

I had the privilege of watching this story form, and I really think there *is* a certain melancholy about it. However, there's also a *lot* left unsaid about the background of how things came to be. The same might be said about MLP Cattle, as they too seem to need to be herded at times, also implying an occasional need for fences. Perhaps singularly, they *can* be trusted to roam, away from the interference of herdmind.

...then again, sheep are *dumb* :applejackunsure:. Fences are also indicators of Propertylines, as far as that goes. Could just be the sheep are contracted.

So, in summation: Who knows :derpytongue2:

Collin blinked. “I… didn’t think of it like that…”
“Of course you didn’t,” Esme replied with a smirk. “That’s why I’m older than you.”

Flawless logic right there.

A good, short read, and both humorous and a little grim if you think too hard about it. I wish we could get some added information about this sort of stuff in the show, but if it means little vignettes like this, I'm perfectly happy to be kept in the dark.

Sheep have their fences, and so do the ponies, even if they're less corporeal.

Also, Weapons of Mass Sad Faces is now a thing.

*Reads story* Well... Have my like and I'll be off:trixieshiftright::twilightsmile:


There needs to be a mini-sequel: Grogar the Ram Necromancer tries to rescue his brethren from the ponies' "tyranny" -- opening the "Great Gate".

The sheep just don't care, continue to chew on grass, and think he's a basket-case.

Bookplayer asked a while back what people thought about the situation of cows, goats, and other non-pony species in Equestria. Here's an excerpt of my answer:

"{Cows and sheep} are easily spooked and feel exposed and vulnerable on their own, even in herds, and so they seek the perceived security of attaching themselves to pony settlements. They’re happy to be workers or servants in exchange for safety, so much so that it’s become second nature to them. Essentially they’re house elves."

Canon says cows and goats and others can talk, so we presume they could ask to be let out of they wanted to. This story doesn't make clear whether the ponies would let them go even if they asked, but I'd like to think they would. As you can see from my answer to Bookplayer, my headcanon is that they wouldn't ask because they generally prefer it this way.


No, don't say that!


What have two done?! Look at what you have wrought!

I think the ethics behind this are largely based on what degree the Sheep can think for themselves. Collin mentioned "whispers" in his ears at one point, which indicates some sort of deeper tie to instincts than ponies have. Also, his questioning at first seems to be of his own accord, but...

But what if he's just mimicking filly!Applejack's questioning of the fairness? These sheep seem highly sapient, but their sentience is lacking. Are they even capable of original thought, or are they glorified versions of hand-signing Great Apes?

I'm too much of a liberal to agree with this story. F***ing ponies

Feeding before shearing?

The sheep should be allowed to leave the fence. I'm not sure why they'd want to, but they should have the option, just in case.

I came for the sheep. Was not disappointed.

This is very much like my own thoughts on the matter. They're apparently about as intelligent as ponies, but have rather different psychology such that they aren't very interested in civilization. A few sometimes go out among ponies for various personal reasons (probably mostly social), but by and large they just don't value the trappings of ponies' human-like society over their own, different way of doing things. They hang around because they find the relationship beneficial, and can leave any time they want. Most like it where they are, though I'd expect some percentage of young adults to leave, mostly for other herds.

This is pretty darn good. Solid 9 out of 10.

Author Interviewer

Where's the comedy tag? D: I feel like this kinda ended too soon, but I enjoyed what's there. This is how to do non-ponies well. Only thing I could suggest (other than "MOAR") would be to identify the shepherd as a pony. I was kind of confused at first.

To me, unless the primary focus of the story is comedy, I don't put it :/ I used to be bad about putting tangential tags on fics, so now I try to only put the ones that are present for at least 60%+ of the story. And I really wrestled with naming the shepherd too, but ah well, too late to make changes now :rainbowlaugh:

Author Interviewer

this is so funny tho c.c

Alright fine, I suppose adding the tag won't hurt anything :rainbowlaugh:

4870138 ...Weirdo.

Anyway. What an absolutely lovely way to do such a simple premise justice. It seems like there's so little to it, but when you actually break it down, it has a very precise quantity of not much to it.

It doesn't overstay the simplicity of it's premise, which is absolutely crucial, yet it finds time to link us in to the source material in an unexpected way that gets the old neck-melon churning. It also squeezes in just enough scene setting to leave no pesky questions to interrupt one's reading pleasure. It also hits a very sweet spot with regard to subtly nudging the reader to move their awareness slightly in advance of the resolving action and really develop a sense of engagement.

All that to front a genuine philosophical question with a comical twist.

Can't work out how I'm going to score this one, though. I'll leave that for the morning.

So, yesterday was kinda busy and I lost most of it crafting an important blogpost, so this got delayed. Clearly that's important because I just know you're sitting on the edge of your chair, waiting... right?

/le sigh.

Anyway. I was torn between marking this very highly for it's sheer precision and concise packaging, but on a very personal level I just want a bit more from a story. Then, after the consideration that went into said blogpost, I realised that I pretty much exist here to have unpopular opinions, so:

6/10 Prompt: Moderate (but expect a glowing mini-review!)


Dude, to me it read like a freakin' horror story :twilightoops:

Which just goes to show that taste is subjective, I guess.
But seriously, thinking about the way sheep think in this story makes me shiver with terror.

Author Interviewer

That's pretty cool. Sounds like my reaction to The Midnight Run.

Boy, this is simultaneously the happiest and creepiest story I've read today. In fact, it's kind of an anti-story: The sheep goes from being blissfully unaware to... unquestioning slave to routine. Progress? Oh well, I liked it anyway.

Now Collin, if sheep didn't live behind fences then where would the shepherd get his mutton.

And there is always the question of gelatin. :pinkiehappy:

Everyone seems to have loved this, so I feel a bit of a heel saying that I didn't. I did like it, particularly the narrative tone, and it was nice to see a sheep POV explored believably. It just didn't really move me that much. I suppose I'd class it as a story I'd read once, smile gently at but not really dwell on.

Well, it is sheep logic. Quite literally :raritywink:

Difference is, The Midnight Run ends :raritywink:

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