MLP FAN FICTION: Of Syrup and Apples
It’s that time of year again. It’s zap apple season! Everypony can’t wait to get a jar of the Apple family’s delicious zap apple jam. Nopony could be more happy than Filthy Rich.
“Zap apple season is coming up an’ Ah couldn’t be more excited!” Filthy Rich declared with joy.
“That’s right, Mr. Rich,” said Aplejack. “And as usual, you get the first one hundred jars.”
“Ah’m sure lookin’ forward tuh your Granny Smith’s delicious jam. Ah’ve even cleared space on my shelves. Now do enlighten me, Applejack, jus’ when will those zap apples be ready for pickin’?”
“Well, the zap apples take five days before they’re ready for pickin’,” Applejack explained. “Ah reckon the zap apple jam will be ready by the end of the week.”
“The end o’ the week could not get here sooner,” said Mr. Rich.
“Ah hear ya, Mr. Rich. Well, Ah better get back home. Granny Smith’s gonna need my help preparing for the harvest.”
“Oh, Ah certainly don’t want tuh keep you all from the harvest. You take care now, Applejack. Do give your Granny Smith my regards.”
“Ah sure will, Mr. Rich. Bye!”
As Applejack was leaving Rich’s Barnyard Bargains, she accidentally bumped into a mare.
“Oops! Pardon me, miss,” Applejack apologized. “Ah didn’t see ya there.”
“Oh, that’s quite all right, dear,” replied the mare.
The mare had a caramel coat, an amber gold mane, and an orange maple leaf cutie mark. She sure wasn’t somepony Applejack had seen. “Ah don’t reckon Ah’ve seen you ‘round here before. Y’all must be new in town.”
“Oh, I am new. I just got in from Vanhoover, doncha know.”
Suddenly, a voice rang out, “New?!” Pinkie Pie hurried onto the scene. “Did I hear somepony say they’re new in town?” she eagerly asked.
“That’s right, dear,” the mare replied. “I’m-”
“How super-duper exciting!” Pinkie Pie was bouncing up and down. “I’m Pinkie Pie and this is Applejack. You’re new in town and I don’t know your name. What’s your name?”
The mare answered, “I’m Maple.”
“It’s so good to meet you, Maple! You’re gonna have so-o-o much fun in Ponyville. I’ll show you around and introduce you to all my friends.”
Before Maple knew it, Pinkie Pie swept her off to give her the grand tour of Ponyville. Applejack smiled and returned to Sweet Apple Acres.
Ah-Wo-o-o! The howling of a timberwolf echoed in the early morning air. It was the first sign of the zap apples’ coming.
Granny Smith threw open the window and stuck her head out. She heard the howling in the wind. “The timberwolves are a-howlin’!” she exclaimed.
No sooner had the sun risen, then the Apple family got ready for the harvest. Big Mac painted polka dots on the kitchen walls, Applejack talked to the empty glass jars, and Apple Bloom and Granny Smith suited up in their bunny costumes and hopped over the watering cans.
There began to blow a blustery breeze. Dark clouds rolled in. The sizzling of electrical surging sounded as blue sparks scintillated from the branches of the zap apple trees and blossomed zap apple leaves: the second sign of the colorful apples’ arrival.
Applejack had gone to Ponyville and found that Mr. Rich had put up signs advertising his sale of zap apple jam in just a few days. As she made her rounds, something caught her attention: a great crowd gathered outside Sugarcube Corner. As she approached, she smelled the sweet scent of syrup. Curious to know what was going on, she made her way through the crowd and inside the pastry shop. Everypony was eating pancakes, waffles, and French toast drizzled with syrup.
“Applejack! Applejack!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “I’m so glad you’re here! You have got to try this.” The Party Planner passed her pony pal a plate of pancakes.
Applejack took a bite. “Mmm! These are pretty good. Did you make these, Pinkie Pie?”
“Nope. Maple did.”
Maple stepped up to Applejack. “Do you really like my syrup?” she asked. “Be honest.”
“Nopony is as honest as Applejack,” Pinkie Pie proclaimed.
“Your syrup is right delicious it is,” said Applejack. “And that ain’t no lie.”
“Ooh!” Maple squealed gleefully. “I’m so happy you think so.”
Then Spike walked by with stacks of Maple’s French toast, waffles, and pancakes. “These are so good, I could eat’em every day for the rest of my life!”
“Why doncha stay and have yourself a plate?” Maple offered Applejack.
“Gee, Ah’d love to, Maple,” began Applejack, “but Ah’ve got tuh get home to Sweet Apple Acres for the zap apple harvest.”
“Pinkie Pie told me all about your family’s zap apple jam. I’d sure love to try some, doncha know.”
“Sure thing. It won’t be ready for a few days though, but Ah’ll be sure tuh get you a jar.”
“Thank you so much, dear.”
As Applejack left Sugarcube Corner, she heard everypony saying how much they love Maple’s syrup.
“It’s the best syrup I’ve ever had!” exclaimed a mare. “It’s sweet on so many levels.”
“My taste buds are in heaven,” commented a stallion.
Applejack turned to them, “Don’t forget, y’all, the zap apple jam is gonna be ready in a few days. Ah know how much everypony loves our zap apple jam.”
“Thanks for the head’s up,” replied the mare. “We’ll certainly buy a jar.”
Applejack was taken aback. “A jar? As in one? Y’all gotta buy more than one.”
“One jar is enough for both of us,” the stallion said.
Applejack glowered at them suspiciously.
“But, we could buy a few extra,” the stallion added with a nervous chuckle.
“Well, thank you kindly,” Applejack said with a smile, then turned to leave. Outside Sugarcube Corner, she spoke to herself, “Oh no, this ain’t good. Everypony’s likin’ Maple’s syrup so much, they’re forgettin’ about our zap apple jam.” She hurried home in a tizzy.
At Sweet Apple Acres, Apple Bloom, Big Mac, and Granny Smith were tending to the zap apple trees when Applejack rushed in announcing, “Hold what you’re doin’, y’all! We’ve got ourselves a problem.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Apple Bloom.
“There’s this mare in Ponyville who’s tryin’ tuh git everypony tuh buy her syrup over our zap apple jam.”
Apple Bloom and Big Mac stood quietly. They looked at one another, puzzled.
“Uh, are ya sure she’s really tryin’ tuh do that?” Apple Bloom asked with uncertainty.
Applejack was shocked they didn’t share in her concern. “How can y’all jus’ sit there like it’s nuthin’? We’ve got tuh make sure our zap apple jam remains number one. Now c’mon an’ help me make some fliers tuh put around town. Ain’t no way her syrup’s gonna outshine our jam.”
“Applejack, dear,” Granny Smith began, “doncha think yer overreactin’ just a bit?”
“With all due respect, Granny Smith, Ponyville was founded upon your zap apple jam, not her syrup. This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”
The day had finally come: it was zap apple jam day! Big Mac and Apple Bloom were mighty happy to share their delicious jam with everypony. Applejack, on the other hoof, was determined to get every last jar sold. She and Apple Bloom accompanied Big Mac and Granny Smith as they delivered Mr. Rich’s jars of jam.
“Ah do declare this must’ve been the longest week of my life,” said Mr. Rich. “Oh, how Ah’ve been anticipatin’ this moment. Thank you all so very much.”
“It’s always a pleasure doin’ business with ya, Filthy,” said Granny Smith.
“Rich, please.” He turned to Applejack, “And Ah do appreciate all these fliers you done made up, Applejack.”
“Well, our Granny Smith’s zap apple jam is a Ponyville tradition, an’ Ah aim tuh keep it goin’.”
“Tradition it certainly is. Ah reckon there’d be no Ponyville without it.”
It had done Applejack a world of good to see everypony enjoying their zap apple jam. As she was walking through town, she smelled the sweet scent of syrup in the air. Ahead, she saw a stallion leaving Sugarcube Corner with a bottle of syrup. Her curiosity piqued, she went inside and, to her surprise, found Maple selling bottles of syrup. “What in tarnation?!”
Gathered around Maple were Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Spike.
“Applejack, there you are!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Maple wants to take all of us to the White Tail Woods for a picnic and to tap the trees for syrup. How much fun would that be? Let’s go!”
Applejack wasn’t sure she wanted to go. As near as she could figure, Maple was going to outsell the zap apple jam. She didn’t want her friends to know what she felt, but neither could she tell a lie. “Ah appreciate the invitation, but Ah really need tuh oversee our zap apple jam sales.” This was certainly the truth. Maple’s selling syrup prompted her to take such action.
“Oh, maybe another time, eh?” Maple replied.
“We’ll save you some syrup,” said Twilight.
And there, Applejack was left alone as she watched her friends follow Maple out the door. She exhaled heavily and headed to sell her family’s famous jam.
Time went by and Applejack worked tirelessly to ensure that ponies bought jam. She sold a jar of jam to a pony and gave her a flier. “Thank you, ma’am. Tell your friends.”
As she was working, she was paid a visit by Grand Pear. “Good afternoon, Applejack.”
“Oh, howdy, Grand Pear. What brings you here?”
“Apple Bloom told me you’ve been out here all day. She said you reckon somepony’s givin’ y’all competition.”
“My Granny Smith’s zap apple jam is a Ponyville tradition. Ah cain’t let somepony come an’ ruin it in one day.” She called out to passersby, “Come an’ get some Apple family zap apple jam. Only two bits a jar.”
Grand Pear sighed. “Applejack, let’s take a walk.”
“Gee, Ah’d love to, Grand Pear, but Ah really need tuh sell all these jars.”
“Applejack…” He put his hoof on her shoulder. She settled down and faced him. He continued calmly, “Set the jar down. Let’s talk.”
Grand Pear and Applejack went for a stroll through the orchard between the family farms. It was always so peaceful there.
“So, you’re afraid this here mare is gonna ruin a tradition?” Grand Pear began.
“Not just any tradition, Grand Pear,” Applejack explained, “it’s a Ponyville tradition, a family tradition. Granny Smith told me how she discovered zap apples when she was a filly. She’s been makin’ jam ever since. Now some mare comes to town an’ everypony’s buyin’ her syrup. Ah sure ain’t gonna sit around an’ watch her tear down everything we worked so hard and so long tuh build up.”
“Listen, Applejack. Take it from somepony who knows firsthoof what y’all are goin’ through. Ah felt the same way towards your Granny Smith. As you’re well aware, we was always a-feudin’. Blinded by pride and jealously. Ah always tried tuh be the better farmer. Ah know now that pride got the best of me an’ it’s taken this long tuh reconcile our differences. Ah know you’re proud of your Granny Smith’s zap apple jam, but would you let sumthin’ like syrup and jam ruin a friendship? Our families have our own traditions, but your daddy and my darlin’ Pear Butter saw beyond that and found the greatest friendship a pony could find. Ah don’t want you makin’ the same mistake Ah made.”
Applejack took Grand Pear’s words to heart and knew he was right. She also knew what she had to do and hurried to the White Tail Woods. “Maple,” she called. “Twilight. Rarity.” Following the trail, she found her friends tapping the maple trees for syrup.
“Applejack, you made it,” said Fluttershy. “How did your sales go?”
“Never mind that, Fluttershy,” said Applejack. “Maple, there’s sumthin’ Ah gotta tell you.”
“What’s on your mind, dear?” Maple asked.
“Ah jus’ wanna apologize for not bein’ the good friend Ah should’ve been. Zap apple jam has always been a tradition ‘round here, and when Ah saw how everypony loved your syrup, Ah was afraid y’all would be stealin’ our thunder. It was wrong of me tuh let my pride git in the way of friendship. Ah hope y’all can forgive me. Maybe we could start over?”
Maple smiled. “Oh, I forgive you, dear. And I would never try to spoil your tradition, doncha know.”
“Pride got me all brain cloudy, but you don’t have tuh worry ‘bout that at all.” Applejack smiled. “Friends?”
“Friends,” Maple replied.
The two mares hugged each other.
“Ah don’t suppose you could show me what exactly tappin’ trees means?” said Applejack.
Maple said in reply, “I’ll set you up with a spigot and a pail and we’ll get right to work!”
Applejack had a great time spending the day with her new friend, Maple. She found out how much they have in common: tending trees and harvesting their produce. And she learned how to tap trees. At the end of the day, she sat down and wrote a letter to Princess Celestia.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today, I learned a little something about friendship. My family’s zap apple jam may be a tradition, but it’s not the tradition that’s important, it’s the ponies you celebrate them with. Because of my pride for tradition, I almost missed out on making a new friend. Not only do I have a new friend, we also have a new tradition to celebrate together, and truth be told, I’m mighty happy about it and I wouldn’t want it any other way.