• Published 15th Sep 2012
  • 3,129 Views, 137 Comments

The Life and Times of Forelle The Pear Pony of Ponyville - Squeak-anon



It's not terribly easy being a pear selling pony in an apple loving town.

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Afternoon Apples

The ponyville market was at best competitive, and at worst cutthroat. There was a lively rhythm of dropping prices and rising voices, each vendor offering the best deal in Equestria if you let them tell it. Forelle arrived, as always, deafened slightly by the noise as she walked to her spot. It was the only one she managed to keep with any regularity, just close enough to still be considered the market, but just far enough that she’d be hoase by the end of the day from trying to get anypony to hear her. She looked around the market square, sighting the usual suspects, vegetable stands, ponies selling jewelry, flowers, hats, saddles and all manner of things. Forelle sat her basket on the ground, and from her saddlebag she pulled a tiny sign, hoof written in her own fine looping script. There were tiny marks where she had scratched out previous prices and written in new ones. She was quite hopeful this newest price might bring in some adventurous customers, because if it didn’t she wouldn’t have room for another.

She took a deep breath, cleared her mind of all the little niggling distractions and worries in her head, put on a smile, and called out into the market square.

“Ciao ponies of ponyville! I bring with me pears so sweet and juicy they’ll melt on your tongue! Perfect for all your cooking needs! Pear salad! Pear crumble! Even pear pie!” Her rich Roman voice filled the air. She knew it would be lost among the cacophony of the market, but it did feel good to let her voice out every once in awhile. As she yelled her inner salsepony looked for potential customers, changing and adjusting her words for anypony who happened to walk by. She yelled about how pears could make good food for foals if crushed when she saw a mother walk by, about how good they were for your eyes when an older stallion wandered too close, even about several things she probably ought not to have known pears were good for as a young couple walked by. Still none of it seemed to have any effect as the day wore on. It passed fairly quickly, the sun seeming to speed across the sky as her voice grew steadily quieter against the never ending press of market voices, her basket of pears just as full as it had been when she’d come.

Her stomach let out a dangerously low growl as she stared at her own stock. She really didn’t have to use much in the way of hyperbole to make them look good. They did a fine job of that on their own. She flopped down onto her haunches sadly as she finally gave up yelling all together, settling into what she was sure was a fairly pathetic staring contest with a particularly plump example of her wares. Her stomach gave another complaining growl, this one came with a shooting pain that settled dully in the pit of her chest. She hadn’t eaten since yesterday, and that had only been a daisy or two she’d managed to afford with her meager, now non existent savings.

The bad part about yelling for hours on the subject of how good her product was, was that she’d had to listen to every word. So now she sat there, stomach a notch below empty, staring at what she herself had said was the single most perfect basket of pears in the universe.

Forelle said something under her breath in Roaman, leaning down and simply smelling the fruit for a few moments. The sweet bouquet of emanating from the basket almost enough to satiate her hunger on its own.

Almost.

Her stomach gave yet another, almost pleading whine, and she knew it was hopeless. With a heavy breath she took the smallest of her little crop gently between her hooves, and lifted it to her mouth.

Forelle’s teeth clanged against each other as she bit down on empty air. A wooden bat sending the small fruit tumbling to the cobble stones.

She stared at her empty hoof for a few moments, then at the bruised and battered pear on the ground. Anger rose in her chest seeing her hard earned produce so roughly handled. She whipped around to face her attacker, only to have quite a few unpleasant words die on her tongue as she saw a red stallion about five times her size. He seemed a bit disoriented, at his hooves was a young filly with brilliant red hair and an older orange mare in a cowboy hat. They didn’t look terribly pleased.

Forelle’s heart began to beat faster in her chest. She’d heard stories from the other tenants of the boarding house about the seedier elements of the ponyville. Terrible stories of protection rackets and less than equal competition. She wasn’t exactly sure what “Getting a pair of cement horseshoes” would entail but she was fairly certain she didn’t want to find out.

She tried to make herself look as small as possible.

The orange mare in the hat stepped forwards, looking serious as the little filly beat the bat against the ground several times.

“How much?” she asked, tapping a hoof against the cobbles.

Forelle actually flinched.

Were they asking for money? She didn’t have any to give...And she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the penalty for not paying up. Forelle subconsciously placed herself between the encroaching ponies and her basket, running several replies through her head. She thought it best to feign ignorance.

“Mi scusi? non parlo l'inglese,” she said quickly.

The mare’s serious demeanor vanished.

“Oh great! She’s speaking fancy! Now, Applebloom, how do you expect to properly apologize to the lady?”

Forelle blinked. Apologize?

The little filly, who Forelle assumed was named ‘Applebloom’ walked up sheepishly.

“Uhh...” She started. “I...” She pointed to herself with a hoof speaking slowly. “Am.” She waved her hooves in a wide circle. “Sorry.” She gestured to her face and made a frowning expression. “About hitting.” She swung her tiny hoof in a batlike motion. “Yo-”

Forelle silenced her with a gesture, looking questioningly at the trio.

“Um...I am sorry?” She said tilting her head a bit. “I am not sure I understand what is happening.”

Applebloom looked physically relieved.

“Oh thank Celestia. She speaks Equestrian.”

The older mare pushed her sister aside, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly with a hoof. “What my little sister’s trying to say is, she’s sorry for hitting your fruit earlier. She’s been trying to earn a cutie mark in baseball, and has been hitting everything ever since. Including my brother’s noggin.” She gestured to the dazed giant behind her. “She wants to pay for it, right?” She cast a quick glare at the little filly, who shrunk back a bit and nodded. “So I was asking how much for the...whatever these things are.”

Forelle’s ears perked up at the mention of pay. “Pears!” She said quickly. “They are pears.”

“Pears...” The mare tried the word on her tongue experimentally. “Well, alright, how much for the pear?”

Forelle briefly considered lying. The fact that she did hurt a little inside, not matter how poor she got she always wanted to remain honest. Still, it was tempting, this was her first sale in recent memory. But she couldn’t do it.

“Two for one bit...” she said quietly.

The orange mare blinked. Twice.

“What? That’s ridiculous!”

Forelle felt a bit of anger rise in her her again. “They are worth three times that much!” she said, a bit louder than she’d intended. “It is the best deal I can give!”

The mare leaned back a bit, surprised at her outburst, then put a gentle hoof on her shoulder.

“I know sugarcube, that’s why I’m surprised...you can hardly get seeds for that little...”

Forelle anger’s anger vanished as quickly as it had come, replaced by a much heavier, more insidious emotion. She looked at the ground, staring at her little basket blearily.

“It is...the best deal I can give...” she repeated softly.

The hoof on her shoulder pulled her a bit closer to the mare, who smiled softly.

“Not much luck in the market sugarcube?”

Forelle simply shook her head.

“That’s a mighty shame, these look like good...pears.” She patted Forelle’s shoulder. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll take the one Applebloom whacked, one for me and my brother, for no less than two bits a piece mind you, and as a show of good faith, I’ll give you two apples to replace your lost stock.”

The roaman pony looked up sharply at that, eyes wide. “Really!?” She caught herself suddenly, and tempered her enthusiasm. “Why would you do that?”

“Because, us market folk have to stick together don’t we? And I hate to see a good pony go hungry. You take one of those apples and you eat it, you hear? You look like if I hugged you you’d snap right in two.”

Forelle blinked away a tear, and managed a small smile. “I...I think I am willing to take that risk.” She wrapped her hooves around the orange mare, who discovered that Roaman hugs are not something one forgets quickly.

After she worked a bit of feeling back into her spine she offered a hoof to the pear pony. “The name’s Applejack, you?”

“I am Forelle.” She shook Applejack’s hoof enthusiastically. “Thank you so much for this kindness. You do not know how much it means to me.”

“Shucks, it’s nothing. Never killed a pony to be kind once in awhile. I know we’re supposed to be competition, but there’s far too much of that going around the market without us adding to it.” She fished the bits out of her saddlebag and passed them to Forelle, who quickly hid them away in her own, making sure to put them in one of the pockets without a hole in it. In turn Forelle picked three of the biggest, freshest looking pears in her basket and doled them out among the three ponies. The largest didn’t seem very responsive, so with a little hop she left it sitting on the top of his head. Applejack quickly replaced the pears with two large red apples. She smiled. “Now, we have to go back to mind our own store, but you take care now. Feel free to come by and say hi when you get a minute, okay sugar cube?”

Forelle smiled widely, her face hurt a little, probably because she hadn’t used those muscles much recently, not genuinely. “I will, I will! Where is it that you live?”

“Sweet Apple Acres, just down the road apiece. Hope to see you there! Nice to meet you sugarcube!”

The little filly jumped onto the giant’s back, and Applejack nudged him forwards, he seemed to need little more instruction than that to start the journey back to their own cart on the other side of the market.

Forelle stood frozen for several minutes.

Sweet Apple Acres...

The place she could see from her window....The largest producer of apples in town, and one of the reasons she had made so little since coming here. Her main competition.

Down in the pit of her stomach she felt a bit sick. She’d, at the back of her mind, hated everything about that place since she’d arrived, the trees, the leaves the...admittedly delicious looking... apples, and the ponies who she imagined owned it. She internally reprimanded herself for judging them so harshly. But at the same time knew that she had very little chance in the marketplace because of them, and that’s the way it would stay.

“Wow, those look delicious! How much?” A voice shook her from her thoughts. Her face lit up as she saw a brown stallion standing in front of her looking at her basket hungrily. She quickly straightened her hat a bit and put on her best face.

“You my good stallion are a pony of great taste! These are the finest pears in all of Ponyvi-”

“Pears? Yuck, no, pears are rubbish, I meant the apples. Those look lovely.”

Forelle’s face fell as she looked down at the two apples sitting in her basket. “Oh...um...” She sighed, she did need the money. “Two bits?”

“Deal!” He passed her the money. “Give me that one over there on the left, the one that’s not touching the pears.”

Forelle did as he instructed, a bit more forcefully than necessary and the stallion left, munching happily.

Her previous good mood evaporated a she watched him leave. She felt a familiar coldness creeping back into her body, one that had nothing to do with the chill in the air. She layed down on the cobbles and curled her body around her little basket, staring almost ruefully at the single apple she had left. Her stomach let out what could only be considered a roar, and for the first time that day she gave into it. She nosed it out of the basket and onto the ground in front of her, where she took a bite.

She had to admit one thing.

Next to her own pears, it was the single best thing she had ever been lucky enough to eat.