Checks And Balances

Checks And Balances

A Story by Purple Reign

a short story that feels like a fairytale; it's the result of a writing exercise that turned out slightly more political than I intended


Checks and Balances

(a sugar/porridge/spoons writing exercise; “sugar, porridge, spoons” is a writing game by Cosper Arts.)


Once upon a time there was a people who could feel the heat of the sun, no matter if the sky was clear. Even at night. Those people, and all their pets and farm animals, could navigate their ways by this ability alone, always instinctively knowing where south was, even though they had no concept of “south”.

One day a little girl woke up all excited, but she didn’t know why. She asked her parents if something special was to happen that day, but they didn’t know. Neither did her grandfather. She turned to her friends,  and they could all feel it too, but didn’t know what it meant either. So they turned to their pets. The girl had a rabbit and a chameleon. The rabbit seemed just as excited as her, but then again he was always excited. The chameleon was lazy, just like always. Running out of options, the girl asked her two best friends to go with her and find out what was up.

The kids knew, without a doubt, that they had to go south, even though they didn’t know anything bout “south”. It just felt right. So they set out each with a backpack filled with fruits and water and a stuffed animal, to find out what was so special about that day.

They walked for a while, and then they came to a river. They all knew how to swim but they didn’t want their backpacks to get wet, so they followed the river east (which they didn’t know anything about). The longer they walked, the quieter they became, until finally one of them said:

“You know, I think this isn’t right.”

The others agreed, so they turned back. West, which they knew nothing about. After a while they came back to the spot where they had first encountered the river, and they agreed to follow it a little further. But soon they realised that felt wrong, too. They sat down, looked at the water, and decided to cross the river and follow their instinct. South, which they knew nothing about.

They held their backpacks high above their heads, and the water wasn’t too deep, so everything arrived at the other bank safe and dry. They sat down again and ate a little, drank some eater, refilled their bottles and walked on.

Next they came to a forest like none they had ever seen before, with lush green leaves and beautiful flowers. Birds and butterflies were in the air, and lots of unknown animals moved between the trees. But the kids weren’t scared. They felt that they were on the right track.

The forest came to an end, opening up to a clearing, and there, right before their eyes, was a temple. Huge and beautiful and golden, coloured glass and lots of wood and materials they had never seen and didn’t know the names of.

The kids entered the temple. It felt weird somehow. Not at all like the forest, even though the forest might have been dangerous, with all those animals… here, in the temple, they were the only living beings �" or weren’t they?

It was completely silent, nothing moved, but still they felt like someone �" or something �" was there. They carefully walked along the halls, staying close together, and finally came to a huge room. It had a very high ceiling and big windows, so it was bathed in sunlight. In the middle of the room was an altar. And on it lay a few things:

Leaves of different trees, all fresh and green. The couldn’t have been there for long. Different fruits, all fresh too. A pretty dress, colourful and cheerful, and a pair of sandals. A glass prism, breaking the light into all the colours of the rainbow. A crystal bowl full of sand the colour of cinnamon. And another bowl, the same type �" filled with snow.

The kids stared at the things on the altar and then at each other. The leaves and fruits and sand and even the clothes made sense in a temple that seemed to be dedicated to The Sun, if all the pictures and decorations were anything to go by �" but the snow? Why hadn’t it melted yet, and where had it even come from?

“Because she needs to be stopped sometimes,” a voice said behind them. “She’s becoming all powerful, and she’s arrogant and cruel at times. We have to do something about it.”

The kids had turned around at the first word, and now they were staring at a woman with flaming red hair in an orange robe. There were pictures of suns all over the robe, and even tattooed to her face. Was she a priestess of The Sun? But she had said that she �" had she meant The Sun or someone else? �" was dangerous?

The kids tried to argue with the priestess that the sun was good, that humans and animals and plants needed it �" “Her!” the priestess hissed. “Do not disrespect The Sun, children!”

They learned that yes, the woman was a Sun priestess, and that she had served her all her life just as her mother before her and her mother’s mother before that �" but that now, The Sun was becoming too powerful. So the priestesses had found out how to limit The Sun’s power.

“By worshipping Snow?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “Snow is just a symbol, a tool, a weapon. It belongs to The Cold and to her son, Winter. With their help we can limit The Sun’s power. So we add something that honours them when we give our tributes to The Sun, and that way we keep her power in check.”

The kids returned to their homes, and they told the adults about what they had learned. The adults frowned and harrumphed, but then one of them said:

“It has really been getting hotter and hotter, and we have more droughts than we used to have. Maybe the kids are right.”

And from that day on the people made sure to give tributes to The Cold and to Winter as well as to The Sun, and their fields prospered and their undertakings succeeded.

The End

© 2021 Purple Reign

Author's Note

Purple Reign
This is my first upload. Feel free to let me know what you think :-)

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Added on January 20, 2021
Last Updated on January 20, 2021
Tags: fairytale, young adult, mystical