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The Unusual Ponies

I am at a loss to explain this really. I have been practicing drawing human faces for some time now and it... really isn't working.   I look at pictures I have drawn of faces, and they really are pretty terrible.  One day, I was looking at a post by jabberworks where she had drawn all the people as rabbits,   and I thought - actually, rather than trying to draw things I cannot draw, maybe I should just make them all be things I can draw?   Or, you know, more or less draw, anyway.

I'm not sure if that actually helps with the explaining.
Please don't expect
a) sense
b) much of a plot.

and if you start thinking about this as a real slave-holding society, the whole thing quickly becomes somewhat disturbing, but let us ignore that.


One day, Marcus Flavius Eagle and his friend Esca went to the horse market. They looked at all the horses, but they could not find any that they wanted to buy.  Some of the horses were too young and silly, and some were too small.

Marcus liked a chestnut mare, but Esca said that it was too delicate looking and would not do well in the winter.  Then Esca liked a big black horse, but Marcus thought it looked too fierce, with its flashing eyes and pounding hooves.

Finally Marcus and Esca found themselves in a distant corner of the market where a small sad person was holding a small group of ponies by their bridles.  When Marcus saw these ponies he could not take his eyes off them.

"Esca!" he said  "I MUST buy these!  Look at them! They are the most wonderful ponies ever!"

Esca looked doubtful "I'm not sure.." he began to say.

But Marcus had already turned to the small sad person to ask eagerly; "How much???"

"Look, Cottia!  Look at these wonderful ponies!" Marcus said, when they got home.   "Aren't they amazing?"

But Cottia was not impressed.


"Marcus!  Look at them!  They have short legs and dumpy necks!  Who will buy ponies like that?   People want horses like mine!  Proper Iceni horses! "

It was true that when Marcus looked at Cottia's horse, he was very tall and elegant compared with the ponies that he had bought, with a fine flaring mane and long feathers on his legs.

"But look at the colours, Cottia!  They are like no ponies ever seen before!"

But Cottia just sniffed dismissively and rode on.

Marcus was determined to make a success of the pretty ponies.  He and Esca fed and trained and groomed them, and soon they had bred a good herd of brightly coloured ponies.  

But Cottia was right.  Nobody wanted to buy the colourful ponies, with their short legs and tubby stomachs.

Cottia did not say anything when they came home from the market without having sold any ponies.

But the neighbours laughed at Marcus for keeping the strange ponies that nobody would buy.

Marcus did not know what to do.    He was still sure that the ponies were wonderful.   But everyone in Britain seemed to agree with Cottia that they were not any good.

Then Marcus had an idea!

Esca!  I've got it!  We will take the ponies to Gaul and sell them there! The Gauls love bright colours!

Esca looked unsure.  He had never been to Gaul.  But he agreed it was worth a try.  So the next day, they set off for the coast with some of the ponies.

The ponies seemed to like travelling by ship and peered over the side to look at the waves and the fish swimming past.  Marcus enjoyed it too, and sat right on the stern so he could keep a lookout.

 Esca did not like it so much.  He got seasick, and looked very mournful.  He was very pleased when they arrived at last in Gaul.

They unloaded the ponies and  set off to find a horse market.  But before they even got to the market, they were surrounded by Gauls, looking excitedly at the ponies and asking questions about them!

Soon they were able to find all the ponies lovely new owners, who bought them at a very good price.


Marcus and Esca were delighted that at last their pony-breeding was a success.

They carried their big bag of money back to the ship, and set sail back to Britain, to tell Cottia all about it.

historical notes (yes, really)
The ship (apart from the rainbow ponies) is based on an excavation of a  real historical first-century ship that was found in the Thames.

Apparently British ships were larger and considerably more impressive than the Roman ones, and Britain already had an impressive navy in the days of Julius Caesar.  Unluckily for the British, the weather went against them: it sounds like they ended up doing a bit of a Spanish Armada?  Unfortunate.

I'm sorry about the Gauls.  They are all wild boars because apparently Gauls had a particular liking for boar imagery.  But it was probably a bit mean to decide that meant they were a *whole nation* of piggly things.  One of the Gauls is of course very romanised, in accordance with the second-century setting,  and has joined the army. :-D


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
9th Aug, 2013 23:32 (UTC)
Haha, good show. You do draw quite expressive eagles. =D
12th Aug, 2013 21:42 (UTC)
Thank you! I did not know how to draw eagles, but it seemed fairly easy to work out - much easier than human beings!
(Deleted comment)
12th Aug, 2013 21:45 (UTC)
I did enjoy drawing the piggies. Piggies are much easier than Channing Tatum and his potato-face. :-D

I need to work on Vixen Cottia.

10th Aug, 2013 00:51 (UTC)
Oh, this is brilliant--I laughed so hard! Especially the one of Eagle Marcus having An Idea and Esca looking Very Doubtful. :D And the Romanised piggy Gaul in his helmet and the fact that you still had historical notes just adds to the awesomeness.

Congratulations on making it through another round!
12th Aug, 2013 21:47 (UTC)
If I'm honest, Eagle Marcus Having an Idea was the first image that popped into my head, and I just shoved in a boat. I have no idea where the Rainbow Ponies came from though.

Also: hurray! I have discombobulated Placidus AND kept my beard! result.
10th Aug, 2013 02:18 (UTC)

<3 <3 <3
12th Aug, 2013 21:47 (UTC)
Thank you!!!
10th Aug, 2013 02:21 (UTC)
Aww, this is really cute. I love the drawings so much; all the animals in clothes are adorable. I think my favorite is the one of Marcus having an idea.
12th Aug, 2013 21:48 (UTC)
That's my favorite too. I'm glad you liked!
10th Aug, 2013 09:00 (UTC)
I am not sure what this is, but it is glorious.
12th Aug, 2013 21:49 (UTC)
I'm not sure I know what it is either, and I wrote it!

Oddly, my husband looked at this and said 'Ah, this is the sort of thing you used to draw all the time'. Which surprised me greatly and I shall have to loook through my old sketchbooks... :-D
10th Aug, 2013 14:22 (UTC)
This is so wonderfully eccentric! It's so hard to pick out a favourite picture, they're all priceless but I think I'm going to go for the one with the lovely boat, seasick Hound Esca hanging over the edge and Eagle Marcus keeping a lookout - apparently without his tunic on!!!!! Any excuse for nudity, those Romans ;)
12th Aug, 2013 21:52 (UTC)
OMG, I hadn't even noticed that I'd drawn Nude Eagle Marcus!!!

That makes me laugh so much. I should have written something to explain why Naked Marcus is posed on the stern of the boat, and what happened to his tunic!!!
10th Aug, 2013 19:19 (UTC)
In your title picture, Marcus Flavius Eagle might be thought to look a little bit hungry; and Esca, not unreasonably, looks a tad nervous.
12th Aug, 2013 21:57 (UTC)
You have detected the complex inner reference to the predatory nature of the Roman empire, and the imminence of the repression of a new Brigantes revolt around 140 AD :-D
11th Aug, 2013 08:46 (UTC)
I liked this a lot. If you do any more books like this can I read them?

The best bit was Marcus being told his idea was stupid, but it was a good idea after all :-) People keep telling me my ideas are stupid when I think they are good :-(
12th Aug, 2013 22:05 (UTC)
It's a hard life being an innovative ideas person in a world where people are so dogmatic about the exact sorts of horse that they will buy. :-D
13th Aug, 2013 08:52 (UTC)
I've just realised that they only took *some* of the ponies to Gaul. Which means there must be a sequel in the works... :-)
11th Aug, 2013 09:44 (UTC)
Is that a naughty squirrel mocking them? Little rascal! This really made me smile, its too cute :-)

Edited at 2013-08-11 09:45 (UTC)
12th Aug, 2013 22:06 (UTC)
It IS a squirrel. I am divided over whether the squirrel is a neighbour, or if it is the offspring of Cottia-vixen :-D
11th Aug, 2013 14:53 (UTC)
Hahah, this really made me laugh ( in a good way!), although I started reading a little dubiously. The art is all so cute. But my favs are the one of the ship with rainbow horses inside, and the one with Marcus " AHA!!!" moment. So good!
12th Aug, 2013 22:07 (UTC)
Thank you! So pleased you enjoyed it. It was one of those 'OMG, what have I done, is anyone even going to comment on this or will there be a terribly Polite Silence. :-D
12th Aug, 2013 02:04 (UTC)
Ha, this is adorable in its randomness! I love Marcus's "I have an idea!" face and the inexplicable rainbow ponies and their beautiful ship.
12th Aug, 2013 22:08 (UTC)
Random is right! I'm glad you think it managed 'adorable'!
12th Aug, 2013 16:48 (UTC)
Thank you for this. I needed to read something just like this today! It really cheered me up. We need more fics with rainbow ponies and pigs-in-hats. Definitely. And your ship drawing is just beautiful, the more so for being based on a real ship in spite of its slightly unusual cargo!
12th Aug, 2013 22:11 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure aboout the rainbow ponies, but I enjoyed drawing the wild boars in hats WAY too much! I fear there may be more of those ahead!
23rd Oct, 2013 18:16 (UTC)
Hee! This is absolutely wonderful!! Put such a smile on my face. I loved the story and the super eagle/hound friends <3
Here from a rec by motetus :)

Edited at 2013-10-23 18:16 (UTC)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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