Today’s story about Equestrian harvest legends will grow on you.
The Legend of the Scorpion Queen
[Romance] [Sad] • 16,226 words
On the eve of the Day of Reaping, the start of the Equestrian Harvest, it is traditional that a legend be told over supper: the legend of how the traditions surrounding the Day of Reaping came to be. It is a story of love, ambition, and vengeance.
Long before Equestria, a grand Unicorn King maintains a splendid garden. On one of his travels he brings a scorpion back to live within it. That scorpion, resentful of being removed from her home, sets out to have her revenge.
FROM THE CURATORS: While MLP offers plenty of material from which fanfic authors can draw, sometimes it’s inspiring to see the ways in which authors use the show as a springboard to dig into more mythic roots. “This is a great fairy tale, resting on classic tropes while weaving a completely original story,” Present Perfect said in his nomination — and while our response to the story’s MLP connection was measured, the comments on its quality weren’t. “This is a touching story about love, trust, betrayal, and redemption, and while I don’t see something like this fitting all too well with show canon, I can see something like this as part of a ‘Pony 1001 nights’,” Soge said, while AugieDog name-dropped prior features: “It’ll make a good pair with The Lighthouse and the Sea as far as ‘pony fairy tales’ go.”
Sharp character work was cited as a factor in its strength. “If anything makes this work, it’s the scorpion herself,” Present Perfect said. “I fully expected her to eventually fall for the King, but the way her motivation changes is interesting and keeps the story moving along.” But theme and tone also were singled out for praise. “I really appreciated that the author didn’t feel the need to force a happy ending, instead opting for a more bittersweet but still uplifting finish,” Chris said. “To me, that felt very appropriate both to the story (being about the nature of revenge, as it is) and to the in-universe conceit.”
That added up to an exemplary package of self-contained mythology. “There’s an effortlessness with which the narrative is presented, and the whole thing really does feel like an actual in-universe story that ponies would tell,” Present Perfect said. Chris’ recommendation summarized the story’s strengths: “It’s probably not a good choice for readers looking for something with a strong Equestrian tone, but for fans of folktales, this is a must-read.”
Read on for our author interview, in which cursedchords discusses arranged sunsets, handy tissues, and prospective accountants.