• Published 5th Dec 2012
  • 13,181 Views, 800 Comments

Apples and Wheat - TheAlmightySage

The Apple Family decides to plant wheat this year and end up with a surprise house guest.

  • ...

Wake Up

Archivist's Notation:Many thanks to BronyBozly and BreathofPlague for their awesome editing, patience, and input. Also my head canon assumes hoof grip exists.

------Apples and Wheat------

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

- William Shakespeare

---- Wake Up ----

--- Sweet Apple Acres, Ponyville, Equestria ---

Granny Smith sat in her rocking chair on the porch of the Apple family farm house. The warm, cloudless, spring morning reminded her of days long since past and an old friend she hoped would soon return. She heard Applejack and Big Mac talking as they trotted to the screen door, while she rocked in her old chair. As the pair of siblings came out onto the porch Granny Smith leaned forward in her chair and called them closer so she talk to them about a new crop.

"Ya want us to plant what now, Granny?" Applejack asked with a skeptical eyebrow raised.

"Yew two heard me," Granny Smith said as she sat in her rocking chair. "It's time for wheat plantin' an' harvestin'."

"Granny, that's gunna be one mighty tough crop fer us to grow," Applejack said as she and her brother traded skeptical looks.

Applejack wasn't completely surprised by Granny Smith's plans for planting wheat. They did grow things other than apples after all. However, they usually kept to more traditional crops, such as cabbages, carrots, and potatoes. Wheat was usually grown by farmers who were dedicated to growing only wheat, but that wasn't the only reason Applejack was hesitant.

"Y'all act like yew ain't even a farmer," Granny grumbled, slowly rocking back and forth in her chair.

"Shoot it ain't that," Applejack said as she leaned against the porch's support beams. "All Ah'm sayin is that we ain't grown wheat in..." Applejack paused for moment, as she fought back old, unpleasant memories, "in a long time, and we're already a bit thin minding the orchard, and Applebloom is still too little to really help out a whole lot."

"The magic in tha' land is gonna be resting this season", Granny Smith countered as she rocked her chair slowly, "Soil's gotta rest afer the last two big ol' apple harvests and you know it youngin'."

Applejack went to gently press a counter argument, but was cut off by her big brother.

"Granny does have a point there AJ," Big Mac replied in his deep drawl. "Plus we got the cousins visiting for the summer, so we should have enough to extra hooves to keep things light."

Applejack looked at her brother then grandmother as she thought over the profits and problems that planting wheat could bring.

"Well if an' y'all put it that way, Ah guess we could try ta' grow some wheat," Applejack hesitantly agreed.

"Eeyup," Big Mac nodded.

"Land sakes. Y'all er' a stubborn pair. Can't imagine where y'all get it from," Granny Smith chuckled.

--- Later that Morning ---

Contrary to popular opinion, work on a farm is not always about crops or tending to livestock. A surprisingly large portion of time is spent on maintaining and repairing farm tools and equipment. This is especially true for the Apple family's working siblings

"Think the plowin ain't gonna be too much fer ya Big Mac?" Applejack asked as she sat in front of the old plow, sharpening its edge with slow strokes of the whetstone she held between her hooves.

"Nope," Big Mac replied while he polished the brass trunnions on his yoke with an oil cloth.

Big Mac had noticed his sister's hesitance at the idea of planting wheat, but he had decided to let her bring it up on her own. So he sat and waited patiently for her while he worked on polishing his yoke's brass. Sure enough, Applejack hesitantly brought up her main concern.

"Ah ain't too sure about this Big Mac," Applejack sighed setting down the wet stone.

"Meanin?" the red stallion replied without looking up from his task.

"Plantin' wheat. It takes a specific kind of attention and I ain't too sure we can handle it so we make a profit and well..." Applejack paused mid sentence hesitantly with her ears flattened a bit.

Big Mac looked up at his sister's hesitant pause. The red stallion knew his sister well enough to know to keep quiet and wait for her to voice her real concern, otherwise she'd just dance around her real objection. Best to let her run out of steam now rather than later.

"Well Granny seems mighty insistent on it and well we ain't grown wheat since...." Applejack bit her lip not wanting to finish her sentence.

Big Mac set his yoke down and trotted to his sister's side giving her a gentle hug as she sighed.

"Ah know. It ain't something I've forgotten either," Big Mac said after he hugged his sister. "Pa was the one who knew more about wheat than anypony else."

"It just don't sit well wit me is all," Applejack said as she ran a hoof over the brim of her inherited hat.

"Plantin' this wheat will be a good way to tell Apple Bloom more about Pa," Big Mac said, walking over and picking his yoke back up.

Applejack sat quietly thinking over Big Mac's point for a few moments.

"Y'all got a point there," Applejack finally agreed then resumed sharpening the old plow's edge with long slow strokes.

"Ah do have one question though," Big Mac stated as he put his trademark yoke on.

"That bein?" Applejack asked as she continued her task.

"Why did Granny pull that little wooden wolf Pa made out o' storage?" the red farmer mused, looking out the barn door over at the old stump in front of the family house where Granny Smith had placed the small wolf statuette he remembered his Pa whittling from a fallen apple tree branch.

"Y'all ask Granny about it?" Applejack asked, walking towards her brother.

"Eeyup. She said it was traditional to bring it out before plantin' wheat. Same as when we put a basket of apples aside after each applebucking season," Big Mac said, rubbing his chin in thought.

"Huh, that's mighty odd," Applejack said as she tilted her hat back and scratched her head in thought. "But if 'n it ain't doing no harm, Ah say we leave it be. Granny does know more of them old traditions than either of us do."

"Eeyup." Big Mac nodded.

--- Later in the Day ---

Applejack and Big Mac stood looking over four acres of tilled soiled and planted seeds. Both of them were sweaty, tired, and covered in various patches of dirt, but they wore satisfied smiles. Each row had been tilled long and straight. The seeds had been carefully planted at exactly the right depth in the warm fertile brown soil. It's a surprisingly tricky thing to plant seeds without it being so deep that the seed would be suffocated or too shallow where birds could get it. It was definitely something that required the kind of patience that's unique to a farmer.

"Ah'd say that looks mighty fine," Applejack panted, wiping a bit of sweat off her brow then slipped her hat back on.

"Eeyup," Big Mac agreed, rubbing his aching shoulder.

"Well that ought to do for today. Come on Big Mac, let's get some grub."

AJ and Big Mac were walking to the farm house for said dinner when they heard Granny Smith yowl. Fearing she had fallen off the porch, the siblings ran as fast as their hooves could take them. They were met with the strangest sight the two of them had ever seen.

While Applejack and Big Mac were both used to many of the odd habits and superstitions that Granny Smith would do and say, they were unprepared for this sight. In front of the stump by the porch, where the small wooden wolf sat, was Granny Smith wearing a feathered headdress with pointy wolf ears on it and a wooden wolf mask as she yowled, howled, and waved her hooves dramatically as Apple Bloom shook a rattle over the wooden wolf statuette.

"The wheat's a bein' a planted! So waken ye old spirit of the wheat! Grant us abundant harvests like ye promised!" Granny shouted as Apple Bloom jumped around and shook the rattle. "Ye gave your word to me and mah Pappy so Ah'm a holdin' ye to it! Now wake up ya ornery old she wolf!"

Applejack and Big Mac just stood there dumbfounded by the bizarre sight. Neither of the siblings had ever heard of their great grandparents talking to a wolf, let alone making deals with one.

"Um Granny?" Applejack ventured while Big Mac continued his imitation of the world's most confused looking lawn ornament.

"What is it youngin'?" Granny Smith asked impatiently as she set a small pouch full of wheat grains in front of the statuette, "Can'tcha see Ah'm busy?"

"Um yeah, Ah can tell you're awful busy Granny, but um busy doin' what exactly?" Applejack asked more confused then ever before.

"Ah ain't never told y'all about the wheat harvest wolf?" Granny Smith asked in a serious tone as she lifted the wooden wolf mask off her face.

"Huh?" Applejack and Big Mac both replied still confused as ever.

"Hmm, Ah must not o' told y'all about her. Well get on inside and I'll explain it to ya over dinner," the old Apple Matriarch said as she walked back into the farm house.

"It's gonna be a long wheat season," Applejack sighed, rubbing her head.

"Eeyup," Big Mac and Apple Bloom concurred.

--- Everfree ---

The Everfree forest holds many creatures that even the ponies consider myths and legends not only due to the rarity of these fabled creatures, but also because of their phenomenal powers and great age. And on this night one of those legends stirs in its deep slumber, awoken by an old oath being refreshed.

It was old. Older than the ponies that dwelled in the land. Old enough to remember when the Everfree was naught, but a small grove of a few dozen trees surrounding it's den. It awoke slowly with a mighty yawn, stretching its limbs as it rose from it's decades long slumber. Paws the size of a cart with mighty a talon on each digit that tore at the dirt as it rose up and slowly walked out of its den.

The massive wolf walked slowly out of its cavernous den, ears twitching and eyes blinking, as it looked upon the surrounding dense foliage and trees that are the Everfree forest. A deep sniff revealed a multitude of creatures and plants that dwelled within the Everfree, along with something else.

The barn sized wolf sniffed the air again, its eyes closed in concentration, searching for a specific scent's trace that tickled the wolf's memory. The wolf blinked and turned its head the scent's source many miles in the distance. In the blink of an eye, the massive wolf was gone and in its place stood a short earth pony mare.

"Apples," said the young looking mare with a wolfish grin. Her mane was long and chestnut brown, her pointed wolf like ears twitched, and her bushy wolf like tail swayed idly; both of which were splashed with white upon the tips. "It has been too many moons since I tasted a succulent apple."

The mare smirked a haughty smile as she started trotting towards the delicious smell.

--- Sweet Apple Acres ---

Granny Smith sat in her rocking chair on the farm house's porch after dinner, looking towards the Everfree forest watching the tips of the trees shift as a subtle wind blew.

"Bout time ya woke up," Granny Smith grumbled with a smirk from her rocking chair.

"Bout time fer who to wake up Granny?" Apple Bloom asked as she walked out on the porch.

"An old lazy mare Ah know," Granny chuckled to her youngest granddaughter.

"Is she the one ya told me that's gunna help the wheat grow?" Apple Bloom asked excitedly, looking up at her grandmother.

"Yep. She agreed to help our family all them years ago when we first got this here homestead and since we're plantin' wheat again after all these years, she's gotta show up," the old Apple mare explained.

Granny Smith's old chair let out soft creaks, rocking slowly back and forth. The cool night breeze carrying the scent of apples far into the Everfree while Granny smirked.

--- Meanwhile in the farm house ---

While dinner had been finished quite some ago, Applejack and Big Mac stayed sitting at the table in silence. Both siblings stared off, lost in their own thoughts.

"Hey, Big Mac," Applejack started, breaking the silence. Her brother blinked, and looked curiosly at his sister.

"Ya thinkin' about what Granny said too? I don't know about you but... Ah ain't too sure about this."

"Meaning?" Big Mac asked before taking a fork to what was left of the slice of apple pie on his plate.

"A wolf that gets wheat to grow. It seems a might far fetched ta me," Applejack mused as she rocked her chair back on it's hind legs.

"As compared to some of the crazy business you've been involved in sis?" Big Mac replied as he scooped up the last piece of pie with his fork.

Applejack sighed letting her chair back down on all four of its legs. "Y'all got a point there."

Big Mac just nodded as he chewed.

"Hmm...maybe Ah'll ask Twi if she's ever heard of wolf that lives in wheat," Applejack said as she got up and stretched. "Ah'm going ta bed. Night Mac."

"Night," Big Mac replied, getting up to place his plate into the sink.

The red stallion was tired, but he figured he'd wash his plate before turning in for the night. As Mac rinsed the plate off, he felt the familiar sensation of somepony's eyes watching him. Normally he only felt eyes on him while he was in town, not that it bothered him much. At worst it was a one of the single mares eying the quiet stallion during market hours, but to feel eyes on him at home? Big Mac looked up through the window above the sink, glancing along the fence line of the house, searching for a Peeping Tom that might need a good lesson in manners. His eyes caught movements towards the brush that lined the old path around the Apple property. For a moment, he thought he saw a pair of glowing eyes. Big Mac blinked and shook his head, when he looked out the window again he saw that whatever it was had gone. Big Mac hummed for a moment as he thought, but decided whatever it was had left.

Meanwhile, a pair of apple red eyes danced with mischief, looking over the Apple family farm.

"It seems as though the Apple Clan's honesty has indeed built a long lasting legacy," the brown maned mare said as she lounged idly upon a tree branch with her tail swaying lazily. "And tomorrow I shall test that foundation."

Author's Note:

Do not expect frequent updates.