ZEN+ : Helping you Stay Young and Age Well

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

By Marcus Santer

I was tidying my woffice up yesterday when I stumbled across an old booklet.

Dated 1973 it’s called: TA – Transactional Analysis Made Simple by Claude Steiner

I haven’t looked at it in over a decade.

It was stuffed inside another book buried under a pile of books in a box. Picking it up and flicking through it, it took me back to Nottingham in the 90’s when I was busy collecting counselling qualifications and experience.

My advanced diploma in counselling took an integrative approach, looking at the many different styles of therapeutic counselling.

TA was just one of them.

It’s a system of psychology based on the idea that each of us has three ego states inside us:

  1. Parent – Critical and nurturing
  2. Adult – Rational
  3. Child – Natural and adaptive

Your behaviour and social relationships are based on the interplay between these states.

It’s an interesting theory.


The reason I’m writing about this today is because in the booklet there’s a little story called:

The Fuzzy Tale

Now there’s some controversy as to who the source of this story really is. And there are many different variants of it available. So just to add to the mix, here’s my fast and loose version of it:

Once upon a time there was a village and everyone in the village got on very well.

Each villager had a bag and inside this bag were hundreds of Warm Fuzzies. And in case you’re not familiar with warm fuzzies, they’re soft, warm and cuddly. And when you give someone a warm fuzzy it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Hence the name.

The villagers gave each other warm fuzzies freely and it really was a happy and marvellous place to live.

Until the day an evil Warlock came to the village.

He witnessed the villagers giving and receiving warm fuzzies from each other and he didn’t like it one bit. So he went back to his lair and got to work on his evil plan.

The next day he arrived back at the village and went to work.

He walked up to people after they’d given away a warm fuzzy to someone and said:

“My, that was very kind of you, those warm fuzzies are very precious and you just gave one away. Aren’t you ever worried you’re going to run out of them? And then what would happen? You’d have no warm fuzzies for yourself or your loved ones.”

“Gosh that would be terrible” the villager would say.

And then the Warlock reached into his bag and gave the villager a handful of cold pricklies and said: “Well, you keep your warm fuzzies and give out these instead.”

Now cold pricklies looked a little like warm fuzzies, just not so fluffy and they didn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, as you probably guessed they made you feel cold and prickly.

By the end of the day the Warlock had handed out hundreds of cold pricklies and went back to his lair to watch what would happen.

The results delighted the evil Warlock and exceed his expecations.

Within a short time the village had transformed from a marvellous place to a truly wretched place.

The villagers hoarded their warm fuzzies only giving them away to those close to them and then only when they were earned. And people stopped talking to each other so much because they didn’t want to be given a cold prickly.

But nobody was happy any more and the Warlock rubbed his hands and cackled with glee at his work.

And I’m going to have to leave it there for today.

I’m outta time.

I’ll finish off the story tomorrow.

Bye for now


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