There once was a girl named Stacey. Stacey had long blonde hair, pale skin and light grey eyes. Her features contrasted starkly with the those of her three dark, freckled siblings. It was summer and it was time to play. Every afternoon, all the children of Stacey’s household went out to play in the yard- at their mother’s orders.
Ruby, the youngest, liked to play in the stream to keep cool while fishing for salamanders, frogs, and backwards crawling crawfish. Daniel, the second youngest, liked to pretend he was ruler over his own kingdom. He made his territorial boundaries known in his own tidy way. He lugged rakes and shovels to the stream in the woods. He declared the banks along one area of the stream as his. He upheld his reputation as king there in high honor by bolstering the embankments with rock and building infrastructure of bridges with logs. With his rake, he manfully kept the land free of debris and falling leaves. His country became an oasis for him- an area of hard work employed for his own joy and satisfaction.
On only one occasion did Daniel become displeased with his riverside domain. A brave explorer, Daniel followed deer tracks along the water to see where they might go. He was not prepared to meet, not an animal, but his sister instead. Ruby sat reading peacefully under a lush, green tree on what she told him was her own section of land. Ruby might have liked to think it was the mini waterfall she had made by piling up rocks against the current that made her brother jealous. Her kingdom was also kept clean, although in a more rustic fashion and without rock embankments. Instead, she had a large, old tree that had fallen across the creek, creating a bridge for those who dared to test its strength. She possessed a favorite tree with low branches that made perfect hooks for hanging jackets and setting books upon.
All this Daniel was happy enough to let her have. Her kingdom was in a corner, a bend in the stream, and far enough away from his. They would have made peaceful neighbors- the tidy king and the pensive queen- had not there been an inequality between them. Rocks, river, trees, and logs both lands supplied in abundance. But irked at her brother’s relation of the greatness of his land, Ruby attacked Daniel’s pride via a marketing tactic. She lauded the great usefulness, softness, and fun of her beach of sand. Her sand was clearly plentiful too. Daniel possessed no sand and quickly felt the disparity.
All at once, he was ready to put his beautifully manicured territory on the market to exchange with hers. Still holding to a strong belief in the great worth of his kingdom, Daniel assumed Ruby would certainly enjoy an agreement to exchange lands. But all good relations were lost when Ruby simply replied, “no way” in her little-sisterly way and went back to reading. Daniel stomped back to his land, too proud to beg or argue, and sulked a while before improving his rocky plot further.
To be continued in story 2…