The story is told by a first-person male narrator through a series of short vignettes. Each vignette details an important moment in the life the narrator and “Dashie” have together. Many of these vignettes are written in a diaristic style.
Tense switches from past to present occasionally, sometimes within the same sentence. The changes in tense which appear random at some times, purposeful at others, suggest that a majority of the story consists of memories being relived by the narrator.
The story opens with the narrator complaining about the monotony in his life. He lives in what he calls a “dying city” which was once a manufacturing hub but has now fallen on hard times. His parents are dead, he has few friends, little money and no real purpose in life. The TV show My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is one of his few escapes from his gray and dull world. His favorite character from the show is Rainbow Dash.
One day, the narrator finds a cardboard box on his way back from work. He ignores it at first, but is inexplicably drawn to go back to the alley and investigate the box later that night. Inside the box he finds a sleeping Pegasus filly with a rainbow mane; she bears a resemblance to Rainbow Dash.
The box contains nothing else, only a an inscription on the outside: “Give to good home.”
The narrator takes her home, names her “Dashie” and raises her as a daughter. Her presence brightens his life considerably, and he stops following the show. A handful of vignettes spanning several years show Dashie growing up quickly. The narrator teaches Dashie to speak, to read, to write. However, he hides her from the real world and hides all evidence of the show’s existence from her, out of fear of how she would react to discovering that she’s a cartoon character.
The two live a happy life together and she seems well-adjusted, even learning to fly in a neglected park nearby the narrator’s house. They eventually move out of the narrator’s home city after, in a stroke of luck, the narrator comes into some money. He purchases a house with some land in the countryside where the two won’t be bothered by too many people, and where Dashie can stay outside and in the open much longer than she could in the city.
Despite the narrator’s precautions, Dashie does one day find out about the show. She is initially very upset that her adoptive father hid this from her and runs away from home. Her absence causes great grief in the young narrator, who resolves to find her. After finding Dashie hiding in a nearby forest, they tearfully reconcile.
A year after this incident, their fifteenth together, the two receive unexpected visitors: Princess Celestia and the remaining members of the Mane Six. Celestia reveals that Dash was transported to Earth and regressed in age as a result of a magical accident fifteen days earlier, and is surprised to hear that fifteen years have passed on Earth.
Dashie doesn’t remember her friends, but eventually agrees to return to Equestria, a decision the narrator reluctanctly encourages. After a tearful goodbye and warm thanks from the other ponies, Twilight magically restores the Pegasus’s memories. The ponies disappear, and so does any evidence that Dashie ever lived on Earth; the narrator suspects Princess Celestia altered reality to make sure there were no catastrophic consequences from shifting between the worlds.
The narrator still has his memories, however, and one other item has remained unchanged: a photo album with pictures of Dashie and a note written by her, thanking him profusely for raising her and that she loves him dearly. Shifting back into the present tense after the longest stretch of consistent past tense narration in the story, the narrator flips through the album. He reflects on the past one-and-a-half decade and determines that, even if Dashie is gone, she has still left a positive impact in his life. After looking at the empty pages in the back of the album, he resolves to live his life to the fullest for his own sake and the memory of his “little Dashie”.
Role of Friendship is MagicEdit
The show is mentioned a couple of times in the story, at first as a source of escapism for the narrator, who describes himself as “a closet brony”. He wishes he had a Rainbow Dash of his own even before she falls in his lap. The day he finds the filly is September 17, 2011, the date of the second season premiere The Return of Harmony Part 1. Four years later on the same date, Dashie performs a sonic rainboom and receives her cutie mark. The spell Twilight uses to restore Rainbow’s memories to her is the same one she uses in The Return of Harmony Part 2. Despite being kept ignorant of the show, Dashie develops much the same personality as her animated counterpart; instead of being a fan of the Wonderbolts, Dashie becomes an enthusiast of auto racing.
The narrator himself stops watching the show after he finds Dashie, partly because he now has his very own Little Pony, and partly because he does not want to have to explain to Dashie that she is a character from a television cartoon. For the same reasons, he stops using the internet and does not allow Dashie to go online or outside without supervision. When she encounters the show anyway, it is because the narrator has become careless; a new cable package includes The Hub, and Dashie happens to tune during a rerun of the episode Sonic Rainboom.
Because large parts of the story take place in the future relative to the story’s publication in 2011, it predictsFriendship is Magic’s fortunes. According to the narrator the show ends up running for eight seasons before getting cancelled. The connection between the fictional show and the “real” ponies remains unexplained, though Celestia appears to be aware of Earth, and appears not to have a particularly high opinion of humans