Drifting Down the Lazy River

This story is a sequel to The One Who Got Away

A frustrated young orphan colt with a talent for painting is determined to run away from his dead-end rural village for the distant cultural haven of Baltimare. All he needs to do is slip aboard a raft and drift down the river Fen until he reaches his destination. It’s a simple plan, and would have worked just fine except for one thing.




19. Epilogue

"...and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more."

— The Adventures of Buck Fin

Beauty in Equestria can be found everywhere, but the skills to capture those sights and events are rare indeed. The artistic world is always looking for new talent in the galleries and ballrooms of the rich and powerful, in concert halls and receptions of the well-connected, and the bistros and coffee houses of the cultured, but over the last few years, a number of paintings have emerged to fascinate and frustrate even the most serious collectors. First there were, of course, the inevitable paintings of the Royal Sisters, done in a fashion no other artist had ever attempted, but when the artist was sought to claim the fame which they deserved, none stepped forward.

Then there were the other places these strange and captivating pictures began to appear, from both noble and common houses around Canterlot, to a restaurant in Baltimare which soon had more of the new artist’s pictures on their walls than any other location in the world.

To this day, the artist has yet to be found. But there is one tiny hint to their location.

Of all the strange places to find artistic talent in Equestria, the rural Fenwick valley ranks among the most peculiar. If a traveler is very lucky on their journey through the vineyards and farms of the river valley, they may find a home or business along the riverbank with one of these treasured paintings, done in the same stunning style that no other artist could possibly match. It may be a painting of a family member, or their home, or even a sunset, but just like the rest of the recipients, no matter how many bits they are offered, the owners always refuse to sell.

Some say the mysterious painter is an alicorn who paints with the colors of the sky, while others claim she is a water sprite, because the paintings always seem to crop up near the river somewhere. Still, the owners of the paintings refuse to say just who the artist is or where they hang their easel.

However, it is rumored that if one is very lucky and happens upon a small riverboat working its way up or down the river, a miracle may occur, and one of these miraculous paintings will find its way to your home. The description of the mysterious boat is different in every telling. Some say it sails without a crew, a mechanical spirit of the river itself. Others claim it is really a haunted castle, and the ghost of a beautiful pale mare walks its halls, vanishing without a trace when confronted. A few even say the rumor is false, and the riverboat is just an ordinary speedboat, piloted by a young earth pony diver and his unicorn engineer wife who travel up and down the river to mark the underwater snags for the river Fen’s barge traffic.


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