• Published 17th Jan 2015
  • 3,455 Views, 102 Comments

Tales of the Tutelary Spirits - Whateverdudezb

Short stories and snippets from the Tutelary Spirit universe.

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The Crux of Generosity

It's a short tall tale that is quite silly and shouldn't at all be taken seriously, except for the not at all very silly parts that should be taken seriously. Seriously, silly!

~ Laughter, from Tall Tales of the Tutelary Spirits

Some time ago—whether it was a short time or a long time, no one knows, though most do agree that it was definitely a time ago—there was a neighborhood full of rich ponies rich off of their riches and enjoying every enriching moment of it. And it was here in this neighborhood that there sat a magnificent mansion for each green hill that rolled across some grassy lands of who knows where. Of marble plaster and colorful gardens surrounded by welcoming spear fences, these lavish manors housed some of the most successful ponies in what was probably Equestria. From richly business owners to experienced investors, from lucky inheritors to mysterious ponies with sordid hooves, and from celebrities both famous and infamous; they and their families called these extravagant mansions their homes.

It was on the hour of an orange evening, when the sisters of night and day shared their rule for the briefest of time, and when most well-off ponies spent their time in their abode, that a visitor trotted about on the windy road that interconnected each marvelous mansion together into the richly neighborhood that it was. Orange on one side by the waning sun and less so on the side of the peeking moon, this visitor was a rag-wrapped mare wrapped in wrap rags of the grayish-blackish kind of sort that happened to be grayer where it was cleaner and blacker where it was thicker with stains. With the exception of her oily black muzzle and horn that peaked out from under the finite fabric, most of the mare's face was obscured from view by the brown cloak hooded over her; its ends billowing in the night air as her wrap-covered hooves carried her to the doors of one of the neighborhood's many lovely mansions.

Rapping her rag-wrapped hoof against the gilded doors of the mansion, the mare waited patiently for an occupant of the home to answer her rappings that now echoed throughout the mansion's interior. When the doors parted, the answeree was revealed to be an elderly and fine-suited, business stallion with a face more furred than the rest of his body; his burly mustache hanging like a sweep brush over his mouth and his grayish brows so thick that they hid his eyes from view.

"Pardon me, dear sir," spoke the ragged mare, her voice smooth like silk, "but may I ask that you invite me into your home so that I may bathe myself? I am terribly sorry to impose upon you like this, but I am on my way to meet with important, far off ponies who would find my arrival in such a state galling, and I would not want to offend them."

The business stallion did not immediately answer the rag-wrapped mare, instead he harrumphed and hummed as he stared upon this ragged mare on his doorstep; his thick eyebrows dancing and long mustache twirling as he thought on the matter.

Finally he spoke, "I am dreadfully sorry, my dear mare," he apologized in a tone lightly tanned with regret, "but my home is currently playing host to an important meeting with my company's top executives, and I would look incredibly rude to invite a stranger into my home during such a meeting. May I suggest you try that investor lass down the street? I don't believe she has anypony over and so would have no worries inviting you into her home."

The rag-wrapped mare found the business pony's excuse to be reasonable and wished him well with his important meeting, before excusing herself from his doorstep and directing her steps toward the neighbored mansion that the business pony had recommended.

When these mansion doors opened, out flowed a pile of papers and numbers the likes of which could have easily been mistaken for an amorphous monster of office supplies were it not for the clearly obvious fact that this was just a mare covered in long slips of data paper that were slung about her figure. She was an overworked mare to be sure if those dark bags under her eyes and her overall disheveled appearance were anything to go by. There was also the fact that the interior of her home also seemed to be covered in the sheddings of the nonexistent-but-undoubtedly-real amorphous monster of office supplies that is said to prey upon cubicle ponies right when a deadline approaches.

A long time survivor of the unheard-of-yet-infamously-legendary amorphous monster of office supplies, the disheveled, overworked mare gave the wrap-ragged mare a once over, before raising her eyebrow inquisitively.

"Yes?" she yes'ed questioningly, "May I help you?"

"You may indeed," nodded the wrap-wrapped mare, "you see, I'm looking for a tub so that I may clean myself of all this muck and grime. I had first inquired to the kind business pony down the road, but he could not deliver on this need on account of his important meeting taking precedent. He suggested that I come to you with my request as he was sure that you had none over with you to busy yourself from my need."

At the rag-wrapped mare's words, the disheveled mare gave her another once over—which was really a twice over if one was counting—before grimacing at the sight of the rag-wrapped mare's oily hooves.

"I am sorry, but I can ill afford to allow you to enter my home as of now as its floor is currently strewn about with investment data, stock value predictions, oracle readings, and at least one prophecy. And if just one of these were to be dirtied or misplaced, I could very well lose millions. Perhaps you should give my neighbor a try as she's a mare who inherited all of her riches from her family, so I am sure that she isn't busy with any sort of work to refuse your request."

Again, the rag-wrapped mare found this to be a reasonable excuse, as she had no wish to be the cause of such a massive loss in money for this overworked mare. So she gave the mare a polite nod as she thanked her for her time, before leaving her doorstop to the next neighbored mansion that tangled with the winding street.

When the entrance to this mansion parted open, out stepped a flowing blue dress of fine silk that was laced with some of the most intricately weaved strands of fabric to grace the night air. Interwoven around the jewel neckline of this dress were white winter blossoms that perfectly complimented the azure gem and matching pearl necklace that graced the form of the dress. Bundled up in the dress's folds was also a mare of some age, although to be quite frank this added inclusion was not a better detail of the otherwise intricately beautiful dress.

The fine dress with a mare in it leaned against the mansion doors with a noticeable flare, as if to better showcase the silky fabric in all its splendor, "Good evening," greeted the mare in the dress, "to whom do I owe the pleasure?"

"Your neighbors, I dare say," answered the rag-ragged mare, "as it was they who shepherded me to your front door. You see, I am in search of somepony to allow me into their home so that I may bathe myself of the oil and grime that covers my body before I have to meet with those of important stature. I had hoped the business stallion would allow me this, but he had been busy with a meeting and directed me to try my luck with the investor lass, who turned out could not allow my entry into her home as it would run the risk of her losing millions if her work of numbers and data were to be muddled. She recommended that I come to you with my request as she was sure that you would not be laden with any important work to prevent you from helping me."

When the rag-wrapped mare finished her explanation did the dress with the mare in it react accordingly. The folds of the fabric that wrapped around the mare's hoof raised upward toward the space above the dress's neckline, where the mare's forehead was, while the whole of the silken form made the dramatic shift of leaning against the open door on the left, all the way to leaning against the other one on the right.

"Oh, were it not you could be a beggar instead," sorrowed out the dress with a mare in it, "if it were a hoofout you needed, I would gladly compensate as I have plentiful inherited money to spare and to do away in charities as I please. But to allow one as dirtied as you into my home? Disastrous! This mansion of mine is my family's and is utterly filled with priceless paintings, statues, rugs, and the like; all of which have been kept in pristine condition within my family for generations. Were I to allow even the floors to be sullied, my entire bloodline would literally rise up from their eternal rest and haunt me for my lax care, just as that investor lass's prophecy foretold. Why don't you give my neighbor a try? He doesn't seem to be a stallion afraid to get his hooves dirty and should have no worries about such hooves trotting across his floor."

Again the wrapping-ragged mare was denied entry into a home, and again she was directed toward another mansion that was promised to be of a better luck to her than those prior. Following the windy street once more, she came upon the mansion and knocked upon its doors.

This time, when the doors to this mansion turned inward, out marched a stallion made of shadow and stone; his fine, dark suit and the low-brim fedora that capped his eyes into a fixed glare were both fabric black like the shadows of the night, and his stern stare and straight-lined frown were fixed upon his face like a carving on a rock. With a scar lining the side of his frowned muzzle, the stallion remained silent without a change in his hard expression as he stared upon the ragged-of-wraps mare standing on his doorstep.

No words were exchanged between the two dark-garmented ponies, as instead what occupied their silence was the ruckus that rabbled out of the stallion's mansion like an unseen, rowdy army. The clanging sound of bundled steel and iron being moved about, the boisterous tones of shouting, drunk and angry stallions, and even the mad barking of aggressive dogs all marched out of the mansion and around the ears of the two ponies.

Finally, the stallion tipped his head lower and let the fedora's brim pronounce its made glare on his face even more so as he quietly stepped back into his home and began to slowly close the door on the rag-wrapped mare.

"Try the next mansion over," he advised in a stern fashion before closing the door fully.

And so it was that the rag-wrapped mare went before the doors of each neighbored mansion, and so it was that each owner of these mansions denied her entry into their abode through the use of one reasonable excuse or another, before recommending that she try her chance with a less important neighbor of theirs. This went on for so long, that when she reached the end of the neighborhood's windy road, she had ran out of mansions to be hopefully welcomed with. What was only left was the smaller, yet still decently sized home of the richly community's head groundskeeper, whom shared his humble abode with his wife and their half-or-so-dozen children.

With a great, big, bushy beard growing out from under a worn straw hat, the groundskeeper was lying back comfortably on his porch's rocking bench that casually rocked back-and-forth like so many rocking benches were want to do, even if it was a terribly lazy habit stereotyped to all furniture of the swinging variety. Not even when the raggedy-wrapped mare stepped into his yard did the rocking still.

"Good evening," greeted the groundskeeper with a small nod.

"Good evening, sir," replied the wrap-ragged mare, "pardon me for intruding on you so, but I have been wanting for help for some time now and no pony in this community has been able or willing to assist me. If it is not too much trouble, I was hoping that you may allow me entry into your home so that I may clean myself of all of this terrible muck that sticks to my coat."

It was three swings on his rocking bench later in silent contemplation that the groundskeeper gave his reserved response, "Hmmm... stuck muck, eh? I'll have to ask the missus if you can come in to take a bath. She owns the house, I only own the yard—like in most marriages," with that, the stallion turned his head and called out for his missus, "Sweetie!" he shouted.

"Yes, Dearie?" was the sweet response as Dearie's Sweetie walked out of the front door and onto the porch as a plump mare in a pink apron; a cheerful expression on her face even as the sound of foals and older foals chattered about from the open door.

The groundskeeper gestured toward the wrap-raggedy-ragged-of-wrap-rags mare with a nod, "This here mare," he said, and that was all he said, because that was all he needed said.

"Oh my! What a poor mare this here mare," exclaimed the groundskeeper's wife once her eyes set upon that there wrap-raggedy mare. In no time at all, she was behind the ragged-of-wraps mare and was pushing her incessantly into her home, "Come, come, come; you must come inside for a cleaning. Just give me a moment to warm up the bath and round up my children to help with the scrubbing."

"Oh! Why thank you, but there's no need to gather your children for my sake. I'm able enough to bathe myself," said the ragged mare in a veiled-defense for individualistic self-capability, to which she was promptly slapped on the rump and shushed by the groundskeeper's wife.

"Now none of that," said the sweet wife resolutely, "you need a proper cleaning."

"If you insist," replied the ragged mare in a tone that lacked of any real loss.

With that, the ragged mare was corralled into the groundskeeper's and wife's home, whereupon she waited patiently for the wife to ready her bath, while a number of foals danced around her wrap-ragged hooves. As she waited, the bearded groundskeeper beguiled the time with her with riveting talk of proper hedge-trimming, horticulture, integrated pest management techniques, and many other skills of the groundskeeper trade that helped him survive the Zebrican-Equestrian war of old. An enthralling tale, he assured.

Finally, when the bath was ready and partying with bubbles, the wife unwrapped the wrapped mare's wraps and cast off her hooded cloak, revealing a mare completely covered in oily grease and brown-like grime that wholly marred her coat and wrinkled down her mane and tail. She then tossed the unwrapped mare into the soapy tub, splashing water and bubbles everywhere as the clear liquid already began to darken from the coated grime, before turning to her army of children armed with sponges and scrubs all lined up before her.

"Get to cleaning," she ordered them.

When the unwrapped mare's head resurfaced from the bathwater, she was immediately assailed by an arsenal of soap, shampoo, and fabric material that scrubbed her coat from a half-a-dozen different directions. Not that she groused under the assault, in fact she actually giggled at the family's enthusiasm; their unified effort to combat the dirtiness of this mare whom they knew not. For nearly an hour they bathed her down, and for nearly an hour did this mare be revealed to them.

As soap and brushes scrubbed through the mare's coat, the brownish muck of the grime and the oily grease that darkened her coat was washed away to reveal a pearlescent coat that seemed to shimmer in the light. The shampoo that lathered through her mane and tail were soon rinsed away to reveal violet strands of hair that glittered like encrusted gems, much to the surprise of the groundskeeper's family. The biggest shock of all though came when their youngest filly handed the mare a washcloth to rinse her face, while the filly herself began wiping clean the mare's horn.

Which was revealed to be as crystalline as diamond.

"Woah!" exclaimed the little filly, so surprised as she was by the reveal that she lost her footing and fell into the tub of bath with a splash. She did not stay in the water of bubbles and grime for long though, as she was soon carried out of the bathwater by an azure aura that surrounded her body and lifted her up in the air. Before the little filly could regain her wits, she was blinded by a familiar washcloth that covered her whole and rubbed her dry. When she was relieved of the cloth, she was greeted by beautiful azure eyes and a smiling, graceful face.

"Careful now, little dear," said those azure eyes so pleasantly, "or somepony might have to receive their own little bath today too."

She set the filly down next to her gathered family, who now stared in awe at the mare in their tub. Rising up out of the water, the once-wrap-ragged mare stepped out of the bathtub, her form seemingly taller now than when she had previously been covered in ragged wraps. From her crystalline horn, azure magic traveled across the mare's body, drying her coat and returning her mane and tail to their original voluminousness, which were of an ample scale.

With a warm, azure gaze, the unwrapped-and-revealed mare looked upon the shocked family before her that had welcomed her into their home and gave them a generous smile.

"Well," said the Mare of Generosity casually, flicking her violet mane over her shoulder with an exuberant flare as she did so, "I must say that that was quite the well-needed soak. Don't you agree?"

And so it was that the Groundskeeper's family had bathed clean the embodiment of generosity. For this, Generosity, in all of her gratefulness, took a hold of the ragged wraps that had covered her so, and with her magic and skill, crafted them a beautiful canvas painting of a diamond as thanks for their generousness. A now popular painting famously known across Equestria as The Diamond in Rags.

"And to think," had spoken the groundskeeper in a ponderous moment, "that all those ponies had Generosity on their doorstep without their knowing."

When asked whether or not she was dissatisfied with the ponies that had turned her away, Generosity replied, "But of course not. To invite a stranger into your home is a real risk that not many ponies are willing to take, as they rightly hold much value in what is theirs and do not wish to see it endangered."

"But is that not the crux of Generosity?" she then asked with a familiar, genuine smile seen many times worn by her fellow Elements, "To risk what is yours for the benefit of others?"

Author's Note:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
~ Hebrews 13:2

A classic trope in storytelling if I do say so myself.

Also, my short writing funk has ended, so expect more work from me down the road now.

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