Warm Welcome

It was a nice, warm spring day. The Little Ponies were all playing happily in Ponyland. But this story doesn't start out in Ponyland. It starts out at Megan's house. Megan, Danny, and Molly were spending that nice, warm spring day out on the front porch, waiting for their aunt, uncle, and cousins to arrive. Their uncle, Paul Olsen, was their mother's brother. He was married to a woman named Diane, and they had two kids, Julie who was ten, and Tommy who was six. Tommy and Danny were good friends, just like Megan, Molly, and Julie.

"When are they going to get here?" Molly asked. "I can't wait to tell Julie about Ponyland!"

"I don't know," Danny said. "Julie and Tommy are from the city, remember? They don't know much about life on a farm. You know every little thing scares Julie."

"But we haven't seen her since she was eight and Tommy was four," Megan replied. "It's been two years. I think she's grown out of this fright stage, and can handle the farm."

Of course the last time Megan, Danny, and Molly saw their cousins, they visited them in the city. Julie and Tommy had never been to a farm before. Just then, the Olsens' car pulled into the driveway. Once it stopped, Tommy ran out. Julie cautiously stepped out, and looked around.

"We're here!" Tommy shouted.

Julie and Tommy were as different as night and day. Julie and blonde hair and blue eyes, while Tommy had brown hair and brown eyes. Tommy was outgoing and had lots of friends. Julie was very shy and introverted, so she didn't have very many friends at school. Also Tommy wasn't afraid of anything, like Julie was. Although she was ten years old, she seemed a lot younger than that.

"Let's go out back and see TJ!" Tommy shouted, running directly to Danny.

"I'll race you!" Danny called, and he and Tommy ran outside to the barn in order to ride Megan's pony, TJ.

"I'm so glad you're here, Julie!" Molly shouted. "I've so many things to tell you!"

"That's nice," Julie said, looking around the farm. She saw a very mean looking bull in one of the pens outback. The bull snorted and grinded his hoof into the ground.

"Daddy!" Julie shouted, and ran behind her father's leg.

"Sweetheart, the bull won't hurt you," Mr. Olsen said. "He's in a pen."

"Yeah, Julie, he's harmless from inside there!" Tommy shouted.

"Boy, your sister is a scaredy-cat," Danny said.

"You're telling me," Tommy said. "Come on, let's go see TJ."

The boys disappeared. Julie peeked out at the bull, who snorted again. Once again, she tried hiding behind her father.

"It's okay, Julie," Megan said, taking her cousin's hand. "We don't have to go out back with the boys. We can go up to my room."

"Yeah, and look at Megan's riding trophies!" Molly shouted excitedly. "Then we can tell you about Fire Fly and Applejack, and Fizzy and Shady, and Sundance, and all of the other little ponies!"

"Okay," Julie said, timidly, and she followed her cousins into the house and up to Megan's room. Molly was talking non-stop about the adventures in Ponyland.

"Ponyland is the most wonderful place in the world," she said. "Cupcake bakes the yummiest treats, and Wind Whistler's the smartest pony in the universe, and Paradise knows all sorts of great stories, and Fire Fly can do a double inside out loop in midair!"

"Wow," Julie said. "How can she do that?"

"She's a pegasus. And Gusty can make the wind blow, and Fizzy can blow bubbles, and Ribbon can read minds! They're unicorns."

"But there's no such things as pegasi and unicorns, Molly."

"Sure there is! Oh I wish the little ponies would come down so we can take you to Paradise Estate and meet them!"

"I don't think they'll be coming today," Megan said.

"Good," Julie said. "I don't know how to ride anyway. Come on, Molly. Let's go play."

Molly led Julie to her room, and the two of them set up a tea party with Molly's dolls and stuffed animals. Julie was raising a tiny tea cup to her mouth when she stopped suddenly. She screamed, and dropped the plastic cup to the floor.

"What's wrong?" Molly asked.

"There's a monster flying outside your window!" Julie shouted.

"Monster?" Molly asked. She stood up, and opened the window. Lofty, Heart Throb, and North Star were hovering outside.

"Monster?" Lofty asked. "Who, us? We're just little ponies!"

"Oh the poor darling," Heart Throb said, looking at Julie. "We scared her."

"They . . . . they talk!" Julie shouted. "Are they dangerous? Do they bite?"

"I should say not!" North Star declared.

"What's going on in here?" Megan asked, walking into her sister's room. "I can hear you guys shouting all the way down the hall."

"Hi Megan!" Lofty shouted. "It's a beautiful day! We came down to see if you, Danny, and Molly would like to spend it in Ponyland!"

"I think Danny's a little busy," Megan said, looking out the window. Danny and Tommy were in the middle of some game outside in Danny's old tree house. They were probably pretending it was a fort or something.

"Yay!" Molly shouted. "Now Julie can come to Ponyland with us!"

"I don't know," Julie said. "I don't know how to ride."

"That's okay," Molly said, climbing on Lofty. "You can ride on North Star with Megan. She won't let you fall off."

"Fall off?" Julie asked, sounded more scared than ever.

"Molly, if Julie doesn't want to go to Ponyland, we shouldn't push her," Megan said, climbing onto North Star.

"Fine," Molly said, sounding disappointed. "Then she can just stay here and play by herself, because when Danny and Tommy get together, you know it's No Girls Allowed. If she wants to be a scaredy-cat, fine. Come on, Lofty."

With that, Lofty flew off. Megan sighed, and shrugged. Then she turned to her cousin.

"It's up to you, Julie," she said. "If you want to come to Ponyland with us, you can ride with me, and I promise you won't fall off and get hurt. But if you want to stay here, you can stay here."

Julie looked out the window. Danny had put a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the tree house. He and Tommy would probably be playing fort for hours. Then she looked back at Molly's room. It was going to be pretty lonely playing with dolls all by herself that afternoon. So she climbed onto the windowsill, and gingerly climbed onto North Star's back with her cousin.

"Off to Ponyland!" Heart Throb shouted, and the two ponies were off.

The ponies were flying high in the sky. Julie whimpered a little, and leaned against Megan. Her eyes were squeezed shut.

"It's okay, Julie," Megan said, reassuringly. "North Star won't let you fall off."

"I should say not," North Star said. "It's all right. You can look."

"I don't want to," Julie said.

Megan nodded. She didn't want to push her cousin into anything she didn't want to do. In any case, the ponies landed at Paradise Estate, and all the ponies ran out to greet them.

"Hi Megan!" Fizzy shouted. "Hi Molly! Where's Danny?"

"Danny couldn't come," Molly said. "He's too busy playing with our cousin Tommy. So we brought our cousin Julie with us."

"Hi Julie!" Fizzy shouted, smiling.

Julie, feeling a little intimidated, backed up a little, and grabbed Megan's hand.

"It's okay, Julie," Molly said. "Fizzy was just being friendly."

"What's the matter?" Gusty asked.

"Julie's very shy," Megan explained.

"She's also scared," Lofty said. "You should have seen her when we went to get Megan and Molly."

The other ponies nodded. Fire Fly decided to go and break the ice.

"Hey Julie!" she shouted. "Wanna see a neat trick?"

"You're not going to do the double inside out loop again, are you?" Medley asked.

"I sure am!" Fire Fly shouted, and she flew into the air.

"But it's dangerous!"

"I've told you a million times, Medley! Danger is my life!"

Fire Fly did her double inside out loop, and ended up crashing into a tree, and falling to the ground with a loud CRASH!

"Fire Fly, are you all right?" Megan asked, running over.

"Never felt better in my life," Fire Fly said, a little dazed. "Wasn't that a neat trick, Julie?"

"It looked like it hurt," Julie said.

"Fire Fly likes to flirt with danger," Medley explained.

"Come on, Julie!" Molly shouted. "Let's go flying!"

"I don't want to," Julie said. "I don't know how to ride."

"All you have to do is hold on," Fire Fly said. "Come on, it'll be fun! And I promise I won't do my double inside out loop while you're on my back."

Julie shook her head. She didn't want to go riding on a pony who could do double inside out loops. She just walked over to Megan, and held her hand.

"I think Julie would rather stay down here with us, Fire Fly," Megan said. "But you can go on ahead."

Fire Fly flew into the air, along with Lofty and Molly. Megan took Julie inside the Estate for a tour. Julie staid close to her cousin, never letting go of her hand. Megan opened a door, and Surprise popped out.

"Surprise!" she shouted.

"Eeek!" Julie shouted, and ran behind Megan.

"It's okay, Julie," Megan said. "It's just Surprise."

"Hiya Megan!" Surprise shouted. "Wasn't that a great surprise?"

"It would have been," Magic Star said. "If you didn't scare Megan's cousin Julie out of her wits!"

"I'm sorry," Surprise said to Julie. "I didn't mean to scare you."

Julie didn't say anything. She just hid behind Megan.

"Come on, Julie," Megan said, taking Julie's hand. "Let's go see what Cupcake has cooking in the kitchen."

Megan led her cousin into the kitchen. Cupcake was taking a tray of cupcakes out of the oven.

"Hi Cupcake," Megan said. "This is my cousin, Julie. This is her first visit to Ponyland."

"Hello, Julie," Cupcake said.

Julie just gave Cupcake a little wave, and tried to hide behind Megan's leg again.

"She's very shy," Megan explained.

"I noticed," Cupcake said. "How about helping me ice these cupcakes? I need some human hands to help me."

"Come on, Julie," Megan said. "This will be fun."

Julie sat down on a stool and began icing one of Cupcake's cupcakes. Megan and Cupcake were icing the others. Julie didn't find anything fun about it. Once they were finished with the cupcakes, Applejack came running into the kitchen, and she was covered with applesauce.

"Megan, thanks to Fire Fly, we just had a head on collision," she said. "Applesauce is all over the place!"

"Well, I'll take a look," Megan said. "Julie, you stay here with Cupcake, okay?"

"Okay," Julie said. Megan and Applejack left the Estate to go see the damage Fire Fly had caused this time with her double inside out loop.

"Well, I guess it's just the two of us," Cupcake said. "I was just about to bake some cookies. Would you like to help me?"

"No," Julie said, quietly.

"All right then," Cupcake said. "You can just watch."

Cupcake began to gather her ingredients. As she was getting out the flour, Magic Star walked into the kitchen, carrying a small basket of cherries.

"Cherries Jubilee told me to drop these off in here," she said. "Are the cupcakes done yet?"

"Just finished icing them," Cupcake said. "Help yourself, Magic Star."

"Yum! Thanks!" Magic Star shouted. She took two cupcakes. One she stuck in her mouth, and the other she slid towards Julie.

"Here Julie," she said. "Have a cupcake!"

Julie just stared at the cupcake. She wasn't really very hungry. Magic Star walked over to help Cupcake bake her cookies.

"Are you sure you don't want to help bake cookies with us, Julie?" Cupcake asked.

"I want to go home!" Julie shouted, and then she began to cry. Magic Star and Cupcake stopped what they were doing immediately and ran over to Julie.

"Ooohhh," Cupcake said. "Don't cry, Julie!"

"I'd better go get Megan," Magic Star said, and she ran out of the kitchen. Cupcake opened the refrigerator, and pulled out a carton of milk. She managed to pour a glass, and slid it over to Julie.

"Here, Julie," she said.

"Thank you," Julie said. She began to take little sips of the milk.

"I'll be right back," Cupcake said. "I'm going to find Magic Star and Megan."

Cupcake left the kitchen. Julie just sat there, drinking her milk, wanting to go home. She didn't like to be far from home, far from her dolls and stuffed animals. As she sat there, sipping her milk, some of the baby ponies came into the kitchen.

"Twilight said Cupcake was baking cupcakes and cookies!" Ember shouted.

"Oh boy!" Baby Lofty squealed in delight.

The baby ponies walked into the kitchen and saw the cupcakes on the table, and then they saw Julie.

"Who that?" Baby Half Note asked.

"Don't know," Baby Shady said.

"Mama say she Megan and Molly's cousin Julie," Baby Lofty said.

"She looks sad," Ember said. "Let's go cheer her up."

The baby ponies walked up to Julie. Baby Half Note nudged her nose against Julie's leg. Julie looked down.

"Hi," Baby Half Note said. "Why you sad?"

"I'm far away from home," Julie said. "I miss my toys."

"Then you play with our toys!" Baby Shady shouted. She pulled on Julie's sleeve, and started to lead her to the Lullaby Nursery.

"But Megan said I had to stay here," Julie said.

"Kay," Baby Lofty said. "Then we bring toys to you!"

The baby ponies left the Estate and ran to the nursery. They returned a few moments later with some of their toys. Baby Cuddles gave Julie a stuffed pony doll.

"Her name Baby Ruby," she said. "She my favorite dolly. You can play with her."

"Here her bottle," Baby Shady said, giving Julie a baby bottle. "It Baby Ruby's lunchtime."

"Okay," Julie said. She cradled the toy pony in her arms and held the bottle to it's mouth, as if it were her own baby doll back home.

"Baby Ruby like you," Baby Cuddles said.

By that time, Magic Star returned to the kitchen with Megan and Cupcake.

"Everything all right in here?" Cupcake asked.

"We give Julie toys to play with," Baby Half Note said.

"That's nice," Megan said. "Julie, why don't you go outside and play with the baby ponies?"

"Okay," Julie said, and she followed the baby ponies out of the kitchen.

"Well, at least she's stopped crying," Cupcake said.

"She doesn't do well away from home," Megan said. "But maybe we can get her to enjoy Ponyland."

Being with the baby ponies seemed to make Julie a little more relaxed about ponies and Ponyland. Lofty came flying down with Molly. She jumped off and ran to her cousin.

"Hi, Julie!" she shouted. "What are you doing?"

"Having a tea party," Julie said. "Would you like to join us, Molly?"

"Yeah Molly!" Baby Lofty shouted. "Play tea party!"

"Okay," Molly said. She sat down and picked up a tea cup.

Everything was going pretty well. After the tea party, Molly went flying with Fire Fly and Lofty, while Julie watched. Fire Fly continued to do her fancy flips. Every time she did, Julie giggled.

"That's better!" Fire Fly shouted as she performed her double inside out loop. "Look at this Julie!"

Fire Fly then did five backward summersaults in the air. Then she flew through the clouds, literally. A big hole resulted. The cloud looked like a doughnut.

"Wheee!" Molly shouted as Lofty flew through the hole.

"Ta da!" Lofty shouted.

Julie giggled harder. Fire Fly was pleased. She took a deep breath and began circling around and around in the air. Then she landed on the ground on one hoof.

"Ta da!" she shouted.

"Show off," Lofty grumbled, as she landed.

Fire Fly's perfect landing lasted only a second. She lost her balance and crashed to the ground. Everyone began laughing.

"Come on, Julie," Molly said. "Flying is fun!"

"I don't want to," Julie said. "I don't even know how to ride!"

"I know just the little pony for you!" Fire Fly shouted. "Hey Medley come here!"

Medley flew over to her friends, and landed.

"What's going on?" she asked.

"This is my cousin Julie," Molly said. "Julie, this is Medley."

"Hi," Julie said, shyly.

"Hello, Julie," Medley said.

"Do you think you could give Julie a riding-flying lesson?" Fire Fly asked.

"Of course," Medley said.

"I don't know," Julie said.

"It's okay, Julie," Molly said. "Medley is the most sensible flyer in Ponyland. She won't do any stunts like Fire Fly, or go too fast."

"And I'll come down when you want me to," Medley said. "And I promise I won't go too high unless you say so."

"Okay," Julie said, uncertainly, but she climbed on Medley's back.

Medley flew a couple of inches off the ground. She didn't want to go too high at first, considering Julie was nervous. She went a little higher, and realized Julie was clinging to her mane, leaning down into her neck, with her eyes squeezed shut.

"It's all right, Julie," Medley said. "You can look. I'm not that high up."

Julie opened one eye and looked. Medley was right. She wasn't flying all that high up. And she was going slowly and gently.

"Think we can go higher?" she asked.

"Are you sure you want to go higher?" Medley asked.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Okay then."

Medley flew higher, as high as Lofty and Molly were flying.

"See Julie?" Molly said. "Isn't this fun?"

"Yeah, it is!" Julie shouted. She giggled as Medley continued flying her around Ponyland. It was the most fun she had in a long time.

"Molly! Julie!" Megan called. "Come on down! It's time to go home!"

"Awwww," Molly and Julie groaned, as Lofty and Medley flew down.

"Can't we stay a little longer?" Julie asked. "I was just starting to have fun!"

"Sorry, Julie," Megan said. "But you have to go back to your house in a few minutes."

"Julie go bye-bye?" Baby Cuddles asked.

"I don't want to go," Julie said. "But I guess I have to."

"Come visit 'gain soon, kay?" Baby Cuddles said.

"Yeah, Megan!" Molly shouted. "Can Julie come to Ponyland next time she visits?"

"Sure she can," Megan said. "If she wants to."

"Of course I want to!" Julie shouted, and she climbed on Medley.

Megan and Molly climbed on Lofty and North Star, and the three ponies took the three girls back to Megan and Molly's house. Then they flew off. Once they were gone, the girls went out to the front yard over to Julie's parents' car.

"Where were you?" Tommy asked. "You missed some great fun!"

"I wouldn't say that," Julie said, as she climbed into the car. Once the kids were in, the car pulled out. Danny looked at his two sisters.

"So how did Julie enjoy Ponyland?" he asked.

"Well, she didn't like it too much at first," Megan said. "But I think it grew on her."

"Next time she visits, we're gonna take her up there again," Molly said.

"Great," Danny groaned. "Just what I need. More girls."

Megan and Molly looked at each other, and then at Danny, with mischievous glances.

"Get him!" Megan shouted, and she and Molly began to chase Danny around.


The End