“Sit down, boy,” said the wizened old mare. “I’ve heard troublesome things from your teacher, and we need to talk.”
The colt groaned. He’d earned his cutie mark, and as far as he was concerned, that made him an adult, and far too wise to be lectured by his elders. If they disagreed, then obviously the real problem was that they were living in the past, and couldn’t understand the way the world worked. His great aunt was no different. She even had a funny accent. Who talked like that? “Auntie, come on. It was some harmless teasing. I really don’t need a lecture.”
“A lecture?” The old mare smiled and shook her head. “Who said anything about a lecture? I’m going to tell you a fairy tale.”
The colt was dumbfounded. A fairy tale? At his age? What in Equestria could his great aunt be thinking? He minded his manners, but more or less, he told her precisely what he felt.
“Ah,” said the old mare with a knowing laugh, “It’s because of your age that I finally can tell you this story. This fairy tale isn’t for foals. So don’t you tell it to your brother or sister!”
Her great nephew rolled his eyes, but like it or not, his curiosity was piqued, and he sat. “Alright, go on.”
With another smile and a gracious nod, the elderly mare began her tale.
* * * * *
Once upon a time, in a land not so far from here, and not so near, there was a city of pegasi. High in the clouds it sat, higher than any other pegasus city, and its denizens were justly proud, for throughout all the land, they were known as the best fliers. Fast and sure, swift and strong, no other pegasi anywhere were their equals. Pride did, though, as pride often does, and the pegasi of this city were disdainful of anypony who couldn’t match their speed.
Now in this city lived a mare and a stallion, and they loved each other very much. Though they were among the fastest, even there, pride had not hardened their hearts, and their kindness was well known. This mare and stallion took each other as husband and wife, and all the city celebrated, for not only were two kind and well-loved ponies to be happily married, surely their children would be the fastest pegasi in the world, from the far east where the sun rises each dawn, to the west, where it bids all goodnight. Some even said that the child of these two ponies would fly so swiftly that when the sun awoke, the child could offer it breakfast, and when the sun sank to rest at night, the child could scold it for taking so long dinner had grown cold waiting.
Talk, though, is just talk, and though the happy couple certainly made every effort, they had no child of their own, and in time, the pegasi who’d cheered them forgot them, or worse, called the marriage useless. Though the husband and wife were sorely hurt as friends turned on them, the kindness in their hearts kept their love strong, and they never gave up on having a child of their own. Finally, when the mare was nearly too old to bear a child, and the stallion flew slowly on achy wings, their wish was granted: a daughter was born. Both parents were overjoyed to have a foal of their own at last, and loved their new daughter very much, and swore that they would give anything to give her a life of boundless happiness. In their joy, they named their daughter after their favorite things: The mother loved the sound of songs, and the father loved the feel of the wind in his mane. And so their daughter was Musical Breeze.
Though everypony had long ago forgotten the once swift parents, news of their new child spread on wings as swift as any pegasus’, and soon tongues wagged once more. Surely, they said, if the little filly were on one side of the city, and a raindrop fell on the other, she would be there waiting when it reached her. Naturally, they said, that if she were given a letter on Wednesday morning, she could have it delivered the Tuesday night before. Though Musical Breeze’s parents said nothing, they grew alarmed at the gossip. They had not forgotten how quickly the city had forgotten them, and they wanted their daughter never to have to endure the weight of others’ expectations, or the hurt of being forgotten should she fail.
Years passed, and Musical Breeze grew to be a lovely young filly, as fair as her mother, and as generous as her father. Well-loved by all, Musical Breeze lived happily, assured of her parents’ love, and her parents forgot their fear as they lost themselves in the joy of raising such a good daughter. When at last it came time for Musical Breeze to learn to fly, her parents presented her to the headmaster with pride, and Musical Breeze was not afraid. Why would she be, when her parents had been such excellent fliers in their youths?
As the lessons began, Musical Breeze calmly stretched her wings while other fillies flapped and fluttered nervously. She calmed their fears with warm smiles and gentle words, all the fillies were glad of her presence. As the lessons advanced, some faired well, others extremely well, and one or two of the young pegasi managed astounding first flights—after all, each was from the finest pegasus city there was. At last, Musical Breeze’s turn came, and with pride and poise, she trotted up to the mark, spread her wings, and pushed off the ground. But fly she did not. And as Musical Breeze flapped faster and faster in a panic, a chirping sound came from her tiny wings.
The fillies who had been so grateful for Musical Breeze’s kindness stared aghast, and the headmaster looked down his nose with a frown. “Try again,” he said. And Musical Breeze did try again, harder than before, but the chirps were only louder, nearly whistling. Scowling, the headmaster called out, “Next!” and though Musical Breeze pleaded for another chance, he brushed her aside with a wing, making room for the next foal.
As she joined the crowd of those who had finished, a murmur ran through the group, and one told of a creature he’d heard of far below. “A cricket, it’s called!” He pointed at Musical Breeze. “Their wings are worthless, and just make noise. They jump, but can’t fly.”
The fillies snickered, and the colts laughed. When Musical Breeze began to weep, they all cried out “Cricket, cricket!” None who had enjoyed her kindness moments before had any to spare for her now, and their jeers rang out behind her as she ran home sobbing.
Her parents tried to console her, and they tried to comfort her, and they tried teaching her themselves, but it was all for naught. “I cannot fly,” she bawled, “and I never shall!” Heartbroken themselves to see their beloved daughter in such misery, Musical Breeze’s parents did the only thing they could, and carried their bawling filly from the city in the sky to a town far below on the ground, where ponies only ever walked. There they made a new home, and urged Musical Breeze to forget about flying and the city above, and to forget about her pain.
For a time, Musical Breeze found peace. The town was small, and travelers passing by were so few that none of the ponies living there had even seen anypony with wings before. Some were impressed, and some were amazed, and some simply didn’t care, but none in the town ever thought to ask Musical Breeze to fly, for who had ever heard of such a thing? She even found some measure of happiness in her whistling wings, learning to play notes instead of chirp, and learning that that was, in fact, her special talent.
Years passed, and Musical Breeze grew into a beautiful young mare, admired by every stallion in town. Some said she was the fairest, and others the kindest, and others still called her the most generous. And all who praised her were right.
But while the stallions in town fawned and sighed, many of the town’s mares grew jealous, and cursed their luck to live in the same town as anypony so perfect as Musical Breeze. Three mares especially resented her, and together they grumbled and they whinged, and they acted not at all like the young ladies they believed themselves to be.
“So she’s lovely,” said the first. “Beauty fades with age.”
“So she’s kind,” said the second. “She’ll only be cruelly used.”
“So she’s generous,” said the third. “Generosity today is poverty tomorrow.”
Day after day, and night after night, the three jealous mares fussed and fumed and moaned, all proclaiming the injustice of Musical Breeze being loved, and none seeing themselves for the harpies they were fast becoming.
One day, as Musical Breeze was entertaining a small crowd with a melody whistled through her wings, the first of the three hateful mares chanced by. Seeing the stallions all gathered ‘round and enraptured by the music of the young pegasus wings, she could bare no more and cried out, not knowing Musical Breeze’s past. “Why do you all fawn over her? A cricket could perform the same!”
At those words, Musical Breeze’s song stopped, and tears welled up in her eyes once again. Though half the stallions tried to comfort her, and half chastised the mare who’d spoken so cruelly, she would have none of it and ran away home, her sobs carrying on the wind behind her.
While the jealous mare pretended to be regretful, and swore to those there that she never meant such an awful thing, to herself she laughed, and when next she was with the other hateful mares, she told them what she had said, and how it had hurt Musical Breeze. All three delighted in Musical Breeze’s misery, and made an agreement. From then on, should she ever perform, one of them would be there to spoil it. And so they were.
When Musical Breeze played for foals in the park, the first mare mused loudly, “Did anypony see a cricket hop beneath the bench?”
When Musical Breeze played for elderly ponies in the town square, the second mare complained absently (though of course she meant to be heard) of a cricket keeping her awake all night.
And when Musical Breeze merely fanned out her wings to perform for the handsome stallions when they begged, the third mare simply cried out, “A cricket!”
Each time, Musical Breeze fled in tears, and the hateful mares, oblivious to the ire of the stallions they coveted, laughed to themselves, and congratulated each other, and swore that never again would Musical Breeze’s songs be heard. More than that, though, they plotted to find the poor pegasus while she was alone, and torment her even then, for they could not be satisfied unless Musical Breeze was gone for good.
Distraught though she was, Musical Breeze continued to practice her gifts in secret, for she knew that though the three hateful mares did not, the stallions, the foals, and any mare with sense enough not to be jealous loved her music. Despite the insults, despite having to find a new home, and despite the cruelty of the three hateful mares, Musical Breeze had never lost her generous spirit, and wanted only to play for those who would enjoy it.
And so, when the first hateful mare found where Musical Breeze had hidden herself away in the woods, lovely music was in the air. The first hateful mare scowled and swore under her breath that she would do more than cry out, “Cricket!” As much as the music of the whistling wings calmed everypony else, it enraged the first mare, and she meant to end it, once and for all. As she approached, though, a queer thing happened. The music stopped, and started again, higher than before, far higher. Try as she might, the first hateful mare could find in her heart no anger. The longer she stood and listened, the more she wished to, and slowly, unaware herself, she crept up until at last she came face to face with Musical Breeze in a sunlit clearing.
Knowing what was coming, the pegasus turned to run, only to hear from behind her the last word she had ever expected to hear: “More!” Musical Breeze stopped, astonished, and turned to face the hateful mare.
Though she was confused and wary of the pony who had taken such pains to hurt her before, Musical Breeze thought the look in her eyes was sincere, and sat to practice once more. No sooner had she begun to play those highest of high notes than the once-hateful mare stepped forward, gazing lovingly at the musician in the small glade. Musical Breeze’s confusion only grew. The cruel pony from just the day before stood muzzle to muzzle with her now, staring with adoration into her eyes—and kissed her!
Shocked, Musical Breeze played no more, yet the mare continued to kiss, pressing her lips to the pegasus’ lips, face, and neck! In time, the first mare realized the song had stopped, and pouted ever so prettily. “Please,” she said, “Please, play more!” And bound by her own curiosity, play more is precisely what Musical Breeze did.
The first mare sighed happily, and in time with the treble music, endeavored to give Musical Breeze a measure of the pleasure the whistling wings were bringing her. She kissed and she licked, and she caressed and she fondled, and she squeezed and she rubbed, and at last, Musical Breeze cried out in pleasure, her wings hitting a note higher than they ever had before. And when they did, the mare too cried out proclaiming her love for Musical Breeze.
The next day, when the hateful mares gathered again, the first mare whistled gaily, a smile upon her face, and the other mares snickered gleefully. “Surely,” said the second, “She left that wretch in tears!”
What a surprise, then, when the first mare told them of the incredible sound of the whistling wings, and of her love for Musical Breeze! Horrified, the hateful mares sent their old friend away, but the only sorrow she felt was that her friends couldn’t understand her happiness.
“It’s a trick,” said the second hateful mare. “And I shan’t be fooled!”
“A trick indeed,” said the third hateful mare, “But it’s merely another reason to be rid of her!”
And so the two hateful mares plotted and scowled and frowned, and lost in their spite, never missed their old friend at all.
When the sun rose again over Musical Breeze’s little clearing, she began again to practice her songs, and again, a hateful mare crept up among the trees. “I shall do more than make her cry,” growled the second hateful mare. “I shall pluck the feathers from her wings themselves!” And closer she crept, with a frightful smile on her face, and spite in her heart.
As she crept, though, the music stopped and began again, higher than before, and at first, the second mare could only sit and listen. After a time, she crept forward again, but now she sought out the sound, not Musical Breeze, and the more she heard it, the more she wanted to hear. When at last she broke into the clearing, she found Musical Breeze, playing for the first mare, who was enraptured by the music—but not so lost in the song that she couldn’t kiss and rub and caress wherever Musical Breeze most liked it.
When Musical Breeze saw the second hateful mare, she folded her wings and stepped back, afraid, for the second mare had been more hateful than the first, and Musical Breeze was certain there would be trouble. Trouble did not come, though, and the second mare pressed her hooves together and begged.
“Please,” she cried, “Please play more!” Surprised again, Musical Breeze spread her wings and began again to play, timidly at first, but faster as the second mare’s eyes began to shine with adoration. Swaying in time with the melody, the second mare approached. Where the first mare couldn’t reach to show Musical Breeze her love, the second fell in, rubbing and licking, sucking and caressing, and squeezing and fondling, and between the two of them, Musical Breeze could scarcely think to play! Before long, Musical Breeze could play no more, and when the mares brought her to the pinnacle of pleasure, her wings struck a note higher than high, and the mares pleasuring her fell to gasping and panting in pleasure of their own, all three at last lying together in happy exhaustion. And so it was that the second mare returned to the third, only to tell her of love for Musical Breeze, and sweet hours in the sunlit clearing, listening to the whistling wings.
Now the third hateful mare, who was the cruelest of all, and first of the three to learn how to hurt Musical Breeze, cursed her old friend for a fool, and swore revenge on Musical Breeze, not only for stealing the eyes of every stallion, but also for stealing away both of her friends. Though she had always been jealous, the last hateful mare had never had to feel lonely before, for she had her friends. The next morning, the final hateful mare marched angrily into the woods, her face black with rage, for she meant to do more than torment Musical Breeze—she was set on ending the pegasus’ songs forever.
On that morning, the first two mares sought out Musical Breeze in her place in the woods, eager to listen once more. In truth, Musical Breeze wondered at the change that had come over them, and so she at first declined to play. While the two adoring mares pleaded and begged for her to change her mind, the last hateful mare came into the clearing, snorting and bellowing with rage, fit to wake the dead.
“Musical Breeze,” she shouted, “was it not enough to steal away every stallion? My friends, faithful to me to the end, now sing your praises! No more! I shall trample your whistling wings, and what was mine will be again!” And with that, the third hateful mare charged at Musical Breeze!
Gentle soul that she was, Musical Breeze fell into a panic, and would surely have been run down, had the mares who came to listen not jumped on their old friend as she ran. The hateful mare struggled and kicked, and bit and fought, and Musical Breeze could only stare in horror at what she saw.
“Please!” cried her new lovers, “Please, play your song and calm our old friend! Her heart is stone hard, and her fury white hot, and she will not be stopped!” Musical Breeze though, could only watch, tears in the corner of her eyes, for she had never seen a true fight, and she was afraid. Though she heard the mares, their words did not reach her.
In a fit of rage, the last hateful mare fiercely kicked away one of those holding her, and Musical Breeze screamed as she watched her friend roll across the clearing. “Please!” moaned the hurt mare. “Play!”
The terrible sight of her friend in pain at last shocked Musical Breeze to her senses, and though she was sorely afraid, she raised her wings and with a single high note of beautiful clarity and timbre, calmed everypony there. Even the hateful mare had to look up from her scuffling on the ground, amazed. The note led to another and another, forming a melody the likes of which the hateful mare had never heard, and her desire to break the whistling wings struggled with a powerful need to just sit and listen.
Still held by a former friend, she could not move, and slowly the need to listen overtook the hatred in her heart. As the treble melody filled her mind, she noticed Musical Breeze’s tear-filled eyes, and followed them to where her old friend lay on the ground, pain half forgotten in the joy of the song filling the clearing. Guilt filled the hateful mare’s heart along with the song, then, and she lowered her head in shame. Lost in the music herself, the mare who had held back her hateful friend released her, and moved to take her place between Musical Breeze’s legs once more. Try as she might to summon her anger, the last hateful mare wanted nothing more than to join her old friend at Musical Breeze’s side. One thing, though, held her back. Rather than join her friend in pleasing Musical Breeze, she instead aided the one she’d hurt, guiding her gently to the pegasus, where the injured mare could rub and kiss and forget her aches.
As for herself, the last hateful mare knelt before Musical Breeze and cried, her eyes filled with longing. More than anything, she wished to join her friends, and more than anything, she was sure she would be refused. But Musical Breeze was as forgiving as she was kind, and with one leg, pulled the crying mare into an embrace. With her whistling wings still playing, Musical Breeze bade her join her friends, and delighted, the final mare did just that.
The sunny glade in woods was filled with melody and moans, then, for all three of the hateful mares were reunited, and all happily kissed and licked, and rubbed and squeezed, and fondled and sucked, and at last sent Musical Breeze into throes of pleasure such as she’d never before felt. With them, her whistling wings hit their highest note yet, and all four mares then lay gasping in the morning sun, panting and enjoying each other’s presence.
When at last Musical Breeze came to her senses, she was of two minds. She looked around and saw the three mares with her, exhausted and happy, but with the last hateful mare had come the realization that there was magic afoot, and she was afraid.
“Never again,” said Musical Breeze. “I must never again play such high notes.” For in her kindness, Musical Breeze knew that if everypony who heard her song loved her, hearts would break, and homes as well.
But the three mares coiled around her in the clearing were horrified to hear this, and pleaded with her to let them hear her wings’ beautiful, high tones once again. At first, Musical Breeze refused, resolute in her decision, but her new lovers cajoled, and whined, and begged her so prettily that at last she made them a promise.
“I will play for you, and the three of you shall be mine, and I shall be yours, but no pony else shall ever hear any but my normal songs. This strange octave, above those I’ve always played before, shall be for the three of you alone.” And then Musical Breeze played once more, the strange notes again overwhelming the now loving mares, who began to please Musical Breeze as before. But none were so passionate, and none so adoring, as the last and cruelest of the mares, whose gratitude for forgiveness and for regaining her friends made the whistling wings’ song sweeter to her than any other.
From then on, the four mares lived happily ever after—not that three of them had any choice in the matter.
* * * * *
The colt stared in disbelief at his great aunt. Had she really just told him a fairy tale about mares getting it on in the woods? His great aunt’s eyes sparkled mischievously, but they always did, and her smile was as much knowing as teasing. “I… uh…”
The old mare just smirked back at him as she rose stiffly from the ground where she sat. “That’s right, boy. You just think about that, and come tell me when you’ve learned the lesson.” With that, she trotted off.
When things had finally sunk in, the colt looked for his great aunt, but she was nowhere to be found. At last, late that night, she came home, and he asked where she’d been all this time, when he was ready to tell her the moral of the fairy tale.
“Oh,” the old mare said. “I was spending my day with an old musician friend of mine. I think you know her granddaughter from school. Pegasus, still can’t fly?”
Before he could speak, the colt’s legs went out from under him, and his aunt laughed hysterically. “Did you think the lesson was to make friends with the ponies you dislike? No, no, that’s not it at all. The lesson was to mind whom you pick on, lest you spend the rest of your life with your muzzle between her legs—loving every minute of it!” With a rub of her nose, the wise old mare walked away, leaving the colt to stare in disbelief, before spending the entire weekend working on the perfect apology.