Sacred Sun Flower

Religious beliefs versus a child’s inquisition.


Photo credit: mploscar


Harqa let her brother hold the basket as she gently shook the sunflower.  A few seeds fell in.  Pouring one into the sacrifice jar, Harqa solemnly tossed the others onto the ground.

She prayed.  “Oh holy Akatala, may the sinners reborn in these flowers learn the glory of your light and earn your mercy.”

Jatta picked up a seed.  Harqa’s peaceful smile collapsed.  She slapped it out of his hand.

He protested.  “Birds eat them.  Why can’t we?”

“Birds are Akatala’s creatures.”

“Aren’t we Akatala’s creatures, too?”

“That’s different.  The seeds might be people inside.  It’s like eating babies.”

“But how can one person-flower make all those seeds?  They can’t all be him.  Wouldn’t that make lots more sinners?

She snarled.  “Hopefully, they repent and pass to the afterlife.  If not, they grow again.”  She cut off his next words.  “Only one flower at a time.”

“But the seeds we sacrifice at temple, what if that’s the one?”

Harqa grabbed Jatta’s hand and headed off.  “You’ll be spending years as a sunflower, I can tell.”


Submitted in response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Thanks to Priceless Joy as always for hosting, and to Sonya for the original photo prompt!  Click here to see the other stories or to submit one yourself.

Photo © Sonya at Only 100 Words



34 thoughts on “Sacred Sun Flower

    • Thanks Joshua! This was one of those instances where I constructed a belief to match the photo prompt. I found one of the religions that is already sun-god focused and also is located where sunflowers grow, and tried to think of why / how sunflowers might be special in their myths. These photo prompts are very good for world-building that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very cute, the back and forth between brother and sister. Classic thing for the sister to say, you’re going to be spending years as a sunflower lol. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, I thought a funny brother-sister dynamic would be a nice change from some of the more serious places I’ve been going lately. And even here, the funny part is the sister saying he’s going to spend a long time in what’s basically purgatory — not really such a pleasant thought!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It could definitely be worse, yes! But still not good. You’re put in a type of prison where you can’t move or do anything but observe and meditate on your sins, while everyone else gets to go to the afterlife and.. whatever they do in the afterlife, which most religions imagine is just like real life but with no problems.


    • Thank you! Ah, the “seeds” for a larger story – I see what you did there! Although this is just one part of their belief system — I would need a lot more 175-word segments to get the whole religion across. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story, Joy. 🙂 I love the interaction between the children. I’ve known a few like Jatta, who endlessly question! He’s obviously an intelligent boy to be spotting the inconsistencies in their beliefs. Really well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The little boy is a lovely character, although constant questions can drive you mad, at times. All part of the learning process though. I love the system of beliefs you’ve created here. I’ll never look at a sunflower seed in the same light again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Millie! I agree, too many questions can get a bit annoying. And yes, the sunflower picture inspired an interesting belief – another reason I love this photo flash fiction challenges!


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