A Warm Fuzzy Parable

Once upon a time there was a great land where many people lived. All of the people were full of joy and shared happiness with everyone they met. No one was ever a stranger, there was no sickness, and each person was always freely helping another. They all lived in comfort and security, for everyone could be trusted. Life was wonderful, you see, as there were warm fuzzies in abundance wherever one would go.

Now, warm fuzzies are special things. They love to be given away, and will blossom brightly to show someone how special they are. Each one is unique, emitting its own brilliant colors and soft melody. It is so fun to watch them blossom into large, fuzzy puffs when they are pulled out to be given away! Then, when the person who receives it puts it on his shoulder, it snuggles up and melts right in to make him feel really good and warm and fuzzy all over. It is the most wonderful feeling! Every person has his own fuzzy-bag, which is so very soft and small that it doesn't weigh anything at all. Yet no one ever runs out, since every time a warm fuzzy is given, more will grow in its place.

Everyone loved to give warm fuzzies, and everyone loved to receive them. All kinds of ways could be found to share them, and life was full of excitement. Large families formed in order to share warm fuzzies more easily. Travelers felt welcomed by all. So much happiness and good will made this great land a wonderful place to live.

Then, one day, in a small sheltered town, someone discovered cold pricklies. Uncovered from deep beneath the earth, it seemed kind of like a warm fuzzy, but it was different. When it was put on a person's shoulder, it would make him forget how wonderful a warm fuzzy felt, and soon he would begin to be selfish, craving to be the one who could have the most cold pricklies to his name. At first they seemed harmless enough… this neat new thing was shared around as warm fuzzies were customarily shared, and was quickly spread to all the people in the town.

Soon, though, the selfishness began to creep in. Townspeople who had by now forgotten the value of a warm fuzzy now craved receiving cold pricklies. Warm fuzzies were looked down upon, and those who received one would no longer replace the cold prickly on their shoulder to remember the warmth of the fuzzy. Cold pricklies were available only as fast as they could be unearthed, so they became a means of barter. Businesses popped up with prickly-bags (each softer and bigger than the one before), and anything else that could cater to the demand.

All in all, the town fell to a very sad state indeed. The people were no longer happy and began to believe that they could never really be. Where before each would help another without expecting anything in return, now help was only given in exchange for cold pricklies. Those that had few were left without help and their comforts began to be scarce, while those with many lived in luxury and became lazy. Friends became strangers to each other as friendly greetings became a thing of the past, and families disintegrated as each member now sought only to take care of himself. Science could not measure the weight of warm fuzzies, as they could with cold pricklies, and now people began to doubt that they had even existed. Young children were taught all about cold pricklies so they could grow up to be 'contributing members of society'. Some began taking cold pricklies from others, and the homes and streets in the town no longer felt safe from harm.

But that wasn't all: cold pricklies were heavy, too. Townspeople with very many in their bag would start to walk crouched under their weight. Thinking to lighten their load, they would now leave their fuzzy-bags at home and not even carry them around anymore. Without the constant warmth of a fuzzy, there began to be sickness, and people would pay dearly for a doctor to come try to heal them with only marginal success. Those that could not pay began to die, and death became a reality in a town that had not known it before.

In the rest of the great land, cold pricklies were still largely unknown. Without the total saturation they'd had in the little town, any that showed up in letters were quickly enough replaced by a warm fuzzy that the cold prickly effect had never taken hold. But, awareness was spreading, and people began mourning for their friends in that little town. Floods of warm fuzzy letters were sent, but since the townspeople no longer accepted them, the situation kept getting worse. Even visiting families, once welcomed, were now shunned and sent away. The very lifestyle of the warm fuzzy had become completely foreign to them.

Desperate to find a solution, some determined to go in and offer their help. The options were not appealing, as it was clear that families would need to split up in order to even enter the town, let alone be accepted within it. Being alone in such a cold and prickly society would be a hazardous endeavor, even with a constant flow of warm-fuzzy letters in support. Still, they had to try.

So, in ones and twos, brave souls from the great land traveled to the town and settled in, trying their best to stay away from the effects of the cold pricklies. But, since they were used for barter, it was necessary to earn them for one's support; keeping free from their influence was close to impossible. Life was very sad and lonely.

In one family, Mother became very worried about all the cold pricklies that Father had to deal with every day. Though he never put any on his shoulder, the constant handling of them seemed to have a similar effect, and he would need careful warm fuzzy care each night when he came home. Worried about the influence that they had on his day, Mother wrote to the friends in the great land for ideas on what to do for him. Finally, with their helpful suggestions, she fashioned a special coat for him out of warm fuzzies. As something he could always wear when he was away from home, it would always keep warm fuzzies near him to counteract the effects of the cold pricklies he had to handle. Protected by this new coat, he now had the strength to help the people he met in a much better way than he could before.

Other families also found ways to spread the warm fuzzy influence. Blankets and clothing were woven with them, and gave a warmth most wearers could not identify. Houses and meeting places were built with them, and most never knew why they enjoyed going there so much. They were shaped into famous artworks, cooked into the healthiest medicines and foods, told about in classic books, used to compose the best music, and planted with every tree and flower.

Finally, with the strength of their combined efforts, they set up a clinic and began offering help to anyone who was sick. Townspeople who could not afford a doctor eventually showed up and reluctantly accepted the warm fuzzy treatment as a last resort. Even those on their deathbeds were able to make a full recovery. Slowly, as the success of the treatment was made known, and as those who were treated now again realized the value of warm fuzzies, things began to change.

Ever so slowly, warm fuzzies again began to spread throughout the town. Cold prickly demand lowered, and businesses sustained by it began to fail. Gradually, the barter system was forgotten as townspeople began again to offer the freely given help that had been so common before. Families reunited, and celebrations took place. Finally, all the cold pricklies were gathered together and disintegrated with the help of new warm-fuzzy technology. Happiness returned to the town, and the whole land could once again rejoice!