Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

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Shared by Bill Pickle

Long ago only little people lived on the Earth. Most of them dwelt in the little village of swabeedoo, and so they called themselves Swabeedoo-dahs. They were very happy little people and went about with broad smiles and cheery greetings for everybody. One of the things the Swabeedoo-dahs liked best was to give Warm Fuzzies to one another. Each of these little people carried over his shoulder a bag, and the bag was filled with Warm Fuzzies.

Now, it is especially nice to give someone a Warm Fuzzy. It tells the person that they are special. It is a way of saying "I like you." And, of course, it is very pleasing to you, when you take it and feel its warmth and fuzziness against your cheek, just extra-nice. You feel noticed and appreciated when someone gives you a Warm Fuzzy, and you want to do something nice for them in return.

The little people of Swabeedoo loved to give Warm Fuzzies and get Warm Fuzzies, and their lives together were very happy indeed.

Outside the village, in a cold, dark cave, there lived a great green troll.  He didn't really like to live all by himself, and sometimes he was lonely.  But he couldn't seem to get along with anyone else, and somehow he didn't enjoy exchanging Warm Fuzzies. He thought it was a lot of nonsense. "It isn't cool," was what he would say.

One evening the troll walked into town, and he was met by a kingly little Swabeedoo-dah. "Hasn't this been a fine Swabeedoo-dah day?" said the little person with a smile. "Here, have a Warm Fuzzy. This one's special, and I saved it just for you, for I don't see you in town that often."

The troll looked about to see that no one else was listening. Then he put an arm around the little Swabeedoo-dah and whispered in his ear. "Hey, don't you know that if you give away all your Warm Fuzzies, one of these Swabeedoo-dah days of yours, you're gonna run out of them?"

He noted the sudden look of surprise and fear on the little man's face, and then added, peering inside of his fuzzy-bag: "Right now I'd say you've only got about two hundred and seventeen Warm Fuzzies left there. Better go easy on handin' 'em out." With that, the troll padded away on his big green feet, leaving a very confused and unhappy Swabeedoo-dah standing there.

Now, the troll knew that every one of the little people had an inexhaustible supply of Warm Fuzzies. He knew that, as soon as you give a Warm Fuzzy to someone, another one comes to take its place and that you can never, ever run out of Warm Fuzzies in your whole life.

But he counted on the trusting nature of the little Swabeedoo-dahs, and on something else that he knew about himself. He just wanted to see if this same something was inside the little people. So, he told his fib, went back to his cave, and waited.

Well, it didn't take long. The first person to come along and greet the little Swabeedoo-dah was a fine friend of his, with whom he had exchanged many Warm Fuzzies before.

This little person was surprised to find that when he gave his friend a Warm Fuzzy this time, he received only a strange look. Then he was told to beware of running low on his supply of Warm Fuzzies, and his friend was suddenly gone.

That Swabeedoo-dah told three others that same evening: "I'm sorry, but no Warm Fuzzy for you. I've got to make sure I don't run out." By the next day, the word had spread over the entire village. Everyone had suddenly begun to hoard their Warm Fuzzies. They still gave some away, but very, very carefully. "Discriminatingly," they said.

The little Swabedoo-dahs began to watch each other with distrust, and they began to hide their bags of Warm Fuzzies under their beds for protection at night. Quarrels broke out over who had the most Warm Fuzzies, and pretty soon people began to trade Warm Fuzzies for things, instead of just giving them away.

Figuring there were only so many Warm Fuzzies to go around, the mayor of Swabeedoo proclaimed the Fuzzies a system of exchange, and before long the people were haggling over how many Warm Fuzzies it cost to eat a meal at someone's house or stay overnight.

On some dark evenings-the kind the little Swabeedoo-dahs had enjoyed for strolling in the parks and greeting each other to exchange Warm Fuzzies-it wasn't safe to be out and about. Worst of all, something began to happen to the health of the little people. Many of them began to complain of pains in their shoulders and backs, and as time went on, more and more little Swabeedoo-dahs became afflicted with a disease known as softening of the backbone.

They walked all hunched over, or (in the worst cases) bent almost to the ground. Their fuzzy-bags dragged on the ground. Many people in town began to say that it was the weight of the bags that caused the disease, and that it was better to leave the bags at home, locked up safely. After a while, you could hardly find a Swabeedoo-dah with his fuzzy-bag on.

At first the troll was pleased with the results of his rumor. He had wanted to see whether the little people would feel and act as he did sometimes when he thought selfish thoughts, and so he felt successful with the way things were going. Now, when he went into town, he was no longer greeted with smiles and offerings of Warm Fuzzies. Instead, the little people looked at him as they looked at each other -with suspicion- and he rather liked that. To him, that was just facing reality. "It's the way the world is," he would say.

But as time went on, worse things happened. Perhaps because of the softening of the backbone, perhaps because no one ever gave them a Warm Fuzzie (no one knows), a few of the little people died. Now, all the happiness was gone from the village of Swabeedoo, as it mourned the passing of its little citizens. When the troll heard about this, he said to himself: "Gosh! I just wanted them to see how the world was. I didn't mean for 'em to die!" He wondered what to do. And then thought of a plan.

Deep in his cave, the troll had discovered a secret mine of Cold Pricklies. He had spent many years digging the Cold Pricklies out of the mountain, for he liked their cold and prickly feel, and he loved to see his growing hoard of Cold Pricklies, to know that they were all his. He decided to share them with the Swabeedoo-dahs.

He filled hundreds of bags with Cold Pricklies and took them into the village. When the people saw the bags of Cold Pricklies, they were glad, and they received them gratefully. Now they had something to give to one another. The only trouble was that it was just not as much fun to give a Cold Prickly as a warm Fuzzy.

Giving a Cold Prickly seemed to be a way of reaching out to another person, but not in friendship and love. And getting a Cold Prickly gave one a funny feeling too. You were not sure just what the giver meant, for after all, Cold Pricklies were cold and prickly. It was nice to get something from another person, but it left you confused, and often with stung fingers.

The usual thing a Swabeedoo-dah said when he received a Warm Fuzzy was "WOW!" but when someone gave him a Cold Prickly, there was usually nothing to say but "UGH!" Some of the little people went back to giving Warm Fuzzies, and of course, each time a Warm Fuzzy was given it made the giver and receiver very joyful indeed. Perhaps it was that it was so unusual, to get a Warm Fuzzy from someone when there were so many of those Cold Pricklies being exchanged.

But giving Warm Fuzzies never really came back into style in Swabeedoo.

Some little people found that they could keep on giving Warm Fuzzies away without ever having their supplies run out, but the art of giving a Warm Fuzzy was not shared by many. Suspicion was still there, in the minds of the people of Swabeedoo. You could hear it in their comments:

"Warm Fuzzy, eh? Wonder what's behind it." "I never know if my Warm Fuzzies are really appreciated." "I gave a Warm Fuzzy, and got a Cold Prickly in return.  Just see if I do that again."  "You never know about Mabel. A Warm Fuzzy one minute, and Cold Prickly the next!" "I won't give you a Cold Prickly, if you won't give me one." "I want to give my boy a Warm Fuzzy, but he just doesn't deserve it." "Sometimes I wonder if Grandpa has a Warm Fuzzy to his name."

Probably every citizen of Swabeedoo would gladly have returned to the former days when the giving and getting of Warm Fuzzies had been so common. Sometimes a little person would think to himself how very fine it had felt to get a Warm Fuzzy from someone, and he would resolve to go out and begin giving them to everyone freely, as of old. But something always stopped him, like going out to see "how the world was". It was the softening of the backbone.