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A Sandbox Fable


The following is a very short story from a group of poems and short stories entitled Room and Board. They consist only of things written in the time that I resided at my parents as I saved money. Many of the stories and poems were created for smaller goals but my lack of releases made many accumulate on my hard drive. But most, if not all contain the same handful of principled messages. And all of them express my love and passion for love and passion. I am a firm believer in many things but none quite so much as the power of love. No doubts come to me when I wonder if the reader will pick up on that in my repetitive rhetoric.

In A Sandbox Fable, I found myself bewildered with a very simple question, ‘could I write a children’s book?’ I have come to the conclusion that I am for too loquacious and jejune for my own good. Nonetheless I enjoyed very much flirting with many of the great principles explained best by language itself. That is, long lived trees grow roots first, mountains grow wide before tall, and the smallest object can be made to lift the largest, so long as time is the difference. They’re philosophical import aside. I find them to simply be good ways of viewing the world.


Chris W Michael



Grains conspiring together to make a barely solid surface, sand—sand was built up over and over, billions and billions of molecules; this was a great sandbox, in which there was enough sand for a hundred boys to make grand castles. Often, in this great sandbox, there was an Angry Boy, erecting monuments to the sandbox. Boasting after their completion—he’d proclaim “no one can build better than I!”

Weeks went by, then months, then even summers, contenders came to conquer this bully. But left like losers; dogs with a lowered tail. More and more, the Angry Boy would triumphantly shout and boast. “No one can build a better castle than me!” Upon this moment a little girl noticed a boy that she had not seen before. He paid no mind to the jabbering Angry Boy. The new boy, happy as could be. Building his castle with the same pains one would use to pull a birch branch, clean off and to the ground. The little girl remarked, “Maybe that Happy Boy over there can beat you.” Enraged, the Angry Boy stormed over the Happy Boy.

“Do you really believe you are a better builder than I?” The Angry Boy shouted.

“It doesn’t matter to me, if you’re better than me.” The Happy Boy said, then returning complete focus on his castle.

Furious, the Angry Boy kicked the Happy Boy’s castle. “I challenge you to a castle contest. Winner is declared the king of the sandbox!”

Unchanged in attitude the Happy Boy replied “If you must insist.”



The boys met in the middle of the sandbox, with three judges. Two boys and a girl, the Girl Judge began giving them the rules: “First, each builder can make any kind of castle they want. Second, there is only three hours until we have to go home; that will be the end of judging. Which brings me to number three. Should a builder be done with time remaining, the castle cannot tip over or spill for any reason. Or they lose. Understand?”

Both boys nodded to the judge and began working. The Angry Boy was feverishly gathering sand from all corners of the box. The Happy Boy, seeming to be in no real rush, inspecting his sand, pouring it in and out of his bucket. Stirring with sticks, twigs thinning the specs and grains. Every few moments, the Angry Boy would look over and boast: “My Castle is going to bigger and taller!” The Happy Boy never responding to him. “You hear me over there?” the Angry Boy would repeat. The Happy Boy now moving on to laying the foundation, carefully plotting the base, his walk never hastened to more than a crawl. Making a wide and sturdy plane to sustain his structure. The Angry boy nearly done, made his tall, so tall that he had to climb on top of the playground to continue.

After only an hour the Angry Boy was done. The Happy Boy seemed to either be taking a break, or staring into the base of his structure. Either way, it seemed as though he had conceded. Soon thereafter, he began working again; all the while the Angry Boy taunting him. You’ll never beat me and the like. All the same rhetoric that he used time and time again, but it was met with indifference by his competitor. Unphased, the Happy Boy when on about his work. Completely undeterred by the loquacious commentary. Now, the Happy Boy was adding to the foundation, the further he progressed the more the process hastened.

Another hour had gone by, and the Happy Boy had completed a simple pyramid equivalent to his height. The First Boy Judge suggested that they should take a vote now; however, the endurance was a key factor. Thus, the Second Boy Judge and Girl Judge declined. The Happy Boy, hungry from his hard work, suggested that they adjourn for dinner. The Children agreed and decided to reconvene after supper in thirty minutes.

With thirty minutes remaining, the children regrouped. A few minutes passed and all the Children hear a small rumble. The Angry Boy looks over and sees it. “Look!” he screamed. His sandcastle was collapsing. The wind had not blown, no one had tampered with it; it had met its end: time. The Happy Boy was automatically the winner. Whimpering the Angry Boy asks “How did you beat me?”

The Happy Boy looked at him and said, “I just love making sandcastles.”

A Sandbox Fable

Two boys square off in a great sandbox to decide which style of building is better. A short story from the upcoming 'Room and Board'.

  • Author: Chris W Michael
  • Published: 2017-09-22 16:35:07
  • Words: 974
A Sandbox Fable A Sandbox Fable