For most of this story I have stanzas formed
So that when you read, the rhythm is not deformed.
The beginning, you’ll see, is not written that way,
But if patient you are, and to read you do stay
Then the part I have mentioned will soon meet your gaze
And to read it in rhyme will not seem like a maze.
Now I hope you enjoy reading during this time
My attempt at writing a story in rhyme!
Story Time, Told In Rhyme
“Grandmother, please! When I was here last, you said you would tell me the tale of the past! Why in Equestria is it such a bother, to tell me of how you met grandfather?”
“Alright, alright, little one. Please, settle down! I shall make a smile out of that frown. First, help me and collect these items from the shelves.” Zecora grabbed one bottle off her shelf, then gave a list to the zebra filly scampering around her. I still don’t know why her parents won’t tell her themselves… Perhaps they think first-hoof experience is key, for tales of such an old memory. As the filly moved around the room, carefully selecting bottles from the walls and placing them around the cauldron, Zecora casually trotted to the couch.
The small hut in the Everfree had grown substantially over the years. Soon after they were married, Zecora and her new husband nearly doubled its size. Alone, Zecora was satisfied living in a modest hut, but a family required more space. The two-room hut became a family home: the master bedroom expanded, a second bedroom was added for guests, and the workshop nearly doubled in size so it could serve as a social area as well as her brewing space. Zecora enjoyed working and socializing at the same time in the expanded room. Now, it was once again about to be used for story time.
“Bibi, for what are these ingredients to be used? I’m trying to make sense of them, but I’m confused…”
Zecora chuckled. “Worry not, little one. I am trying something new. If it turns out successful, I’ll explain it to you.” Zecora pointed at the bottle she had picked out herself. “It involves that new plant that I found in a clearing— I’d be grateful if you would watch for them when leaving. Now come, I shall tell you your grandfather’s tale. Or in comparison to my brew, does this story pale?” Zecora raised her eyebrows at her granddaughter.
“No-no-no please! I still want to hear!” The filly rushed eagerly towards the couch.
Zecora laughed. “Then come sit in front of your grandmother, dear.”
‘Twas many years ago, in this very forest.
The local animals were alive with chorus.
‘Tis true what they say— there is danger in this Wood,
But much of the fauna are really quite good.
A normal day it was; I’d been stirring a brew,
When a filly—at the time, not much older than you—
Made her presence known with a knock at the door.
I went to the see what the interruption was for.
‘Twas a young Apple Bloom, who had brought me a letter.
Over these years, I know that you’ve met her.
Of course I have, Bibi! I’ve had many a visit.
Her family is friendly, and her food is exquisite!
I am glad that you like them, they’ve been good friends to me.
I always enjoy their company.
The letter Bloom gave me, over it I did muse,
For Princess Twilight had exciting news!
However, she did not include it in the message.
She requested, in Ponyville, I present my visage.
So later that day, while I knew not what for,
I stood knocking at the Friendship Castle’s door.
“Come in!” the Princess told me, and I did not argue.
“I have something important that I want to tell you!”
The news that she told me was really quite splendid.
Princess Celestia herself had requested
For me to accompany the Ponyville lot
To the Grand Galloping Gala in Canterlot!
The Grand Galloping Gala?! Oh, that sounds like such fun!
But what was the reason for your invitation?
Well, I went to the Princess to find out that fact,
But unfortunately, that very knowledge she lacked!
She knew only Princess Celestia did recommend
That that year’s Gala I should attend.
When I arrived with the other guests from Ponyville,
I learned why my attendance was the Princess’s will.
The Guest of Honor at the Gala that year
Was the ambassador from my homeland dear!
Early in the evening I was located
By Ambassador Jelani, who was simply elated.
The fact that a Zebra had indeed been accepted
In Equestria’s culture meant more could be directed
To this wonderful country and not be denied.
It had been many years since the Zebras last tried.
I do not know why, but the Zebras were afraid—
The Ambassador claimed they’d felt somewhat betrayed.
The true reason why, at the time, I’m not sure,
But now, as you see, Zebras have a future
On Equestrian soil— we are welcomed gladly.
There seems to be no reason we’d be treated badly.
It was during this talk with the Ambassador
That he introduced me to his counsellor.
The two of them had a plan in mind,
But were simply delighted when me they did find.
They had wanted to see if the simple inclusion
Of a Zebra in Equestria would be an intrusion,
But when at the Gala we met face-to-face,
They learned no test was needed in the first place!
But Bibi, I don’t get it— what’s this to do with Babu?
Hold on to your withers, and I shall tell you.
Since the Counsellor had planned to conduct this trial,
He’d brought a Zebra who intended to stay for awhile.
Though the test was now not a necessity,
The Counsellor thought he should at least meet me,
So shortly thereafter, Counsellor Rashidi
Introduced me to somepony named Zuberi—
Oh, that is Babu! He had come as a test?
Oh please Bibi, continue! I must know the rest!
Yes, yes he had, now do not interrupt me—
It shall take forever if you stop me abruptly!
‘Twas during that night that Zuberi and I talked.
‘Round the castle perimeter we spoke as we walked.
He wanted to know of Equestrian ways,
So I told him of how I spent most of my days.
You may not know this, but in my earlier years
In Equestria I stirred many ponies’ fears.
Since I lived in this forest, way out of sight,
Apparently it was reason to give ponies a fright.
‘Twas when I finally met young Apple Bloom
That the ponies learned I was no cause for gloom.
Poor feelings past then were history,
As I no longer was shrouded in mystery.
For many years after, I took on the position
Of Ponyville’s alternative physician.
‘Twas a role that I quite enjoyed to play,
So I’ve continued to do so to this very day.
I preferred to remain in the forest, though.
I said the surroundings I had come to know.
When I told your grandfather this very same tale,
He asked me, “Why keep yourself under a veil?
With knowledge so expansive and beauty astounding,
The number of eyes on you ought be compounding!
It would benefit all, so why stay in the brush?”
I have to admit, his words did make me blush…
When I asked him about what family he had,
He gave me a response that was really quite sad.
He’d had no direct family alive for awhile,
Which was why he’d been chosen for the Equestrian trial.
I inquired instead about the Ambassador,
And how he had met the Counsellor.
In response, he said, “I‘ve no ill intention,
But I speak not of a pony if they can’t hear their mention.”
I asked him, “But what of your family?”
He smiled and said, “Oh, they can hear me.”
He then pointed a hoof to the sky above,
And it was at that moment that I knew I’d found love.
A Zebra such as this Zuberi,
I knew forever would love family.
He still connected with his loved ones who’d passed,
So a potential relationship always would last.
I was thrilled that that Gala I was able to attend,
And I did not want that night to end.
Zuberi and I spent that whole evening together,
And I hoped that the Gala would last forever.
But when morning came, he said he had to go.
The trial was not needed, and it upset me so,
But he had something to tell me before he departed—
He said, “You shall not remain broken-hearted.”
‘Twas a couple months later I heard Princess Twilight
Say that Zebras again were in Equestria’s sight.
I hoped against hope that a knock on my door
Would lead to me seeing Zuberi once more.
There were numerous knocks, yet he did not appear;
That he’d met with his family was my very worst fear.
But one day, at my door, stood his smiling face,
And I found myself frozen in time and in space.
My love had returned, and he said he’d remain;
My eager excitement I could not contain.
He still could not convince me to leave this Wood,
But he said, “Not a problem— ‘Tis all well and good.
I have all that I need— I am with you once more.
Could you show me that smile that I so adore?”
That day was a blessing; my life had been changed.
After a year and a day, our wedding was arranged.
Later, while your mother grew inside my gut,
Your grandfather made a house out of my hut.
When your mother was born, we were quite well-prepared.
Your Babu was with me— I’d no cause to be scared.
When she grew, your mother became bored of my knowledge,
So we sent her away so she could attend college.
When she brought us your father, your Babu and I
Knew that she’d found a stallion who’d not make her cry.
The first years of their marriage they were very happy.
And shortly thereafter…
I came to be?
Zecora laughed. “Indeed, dear granddaughter. That’s when you came about. I’m sorry to say, though, your Babu we were without. We still know not why his life ended so early, but we know from above that he watches us surely.” Zecora looked towards the sky with a small smile.
The filly frowned. “I wish I’d have met him. Mama sometimes tells me, how upset she is Babu did not get to hold me…”
A knock at the door sounded before a Zebra stallion walked in. “We’re back, Zecora!” The old mare and the filly looked towards the entrance. “Was she much of a hoofful?”
The old Zebra smiled. “Not at all, dear Zakia. It was nice, to be truthful.”
A younger Zebra mare followed the stallion inside. “Really? She sat still? That’s quite unlike her.”
Zecora laughed once again. “Well, I finally told her of her grandfather. Zawati, you could not tell her this story?”
Zawati sighed. “Well, I really wanted you to tell her, not me. I was afraid certain details I would forget, so for a fuller tale, you were the best bet.”
The filly leaned into her grandmother, giving her a nuzzle. “Bibi, thank you so much for the wonderful story, but I just remembered something that you told me— didn’t Babu say not to bring attention, to a pony if they could not hear their mention?”
“Why yes, yes I did. Do you think that is bad?”
“No, but you just did that of my mom and dad!” the filly exclaimed.
Zecora smiled. “You are quick to learn— I’m proud of your perception. But for my own daughter, I do make an exception. For your father as well— he’s exempt from the rule. He learned of that fact when he came here from school!”
Zakia laughed. “‘Tis true, my dear daughter, since my college days, I’ve never escaped from Bibi’s mouth or her gaze!”
All the Zebras in the room laughed. Zecora followed the other three to the door as they prepared for their departure. “And you are the third for whom that rule I do stray, for I brag about you three most every day!” The filly giggled as Zecora poked her in the side.
As Zecora watched her daughter and her family leave, the filly called back to her, “So long for now, Bibi! I’ll keep watch for that flora!”
The old mare waved back and smiled.
I can’t wait for next time, my dear, sweet Zecora…