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Amethyst Learning story: Reciprocity


Quartz was a young reindeer who lived in a herd with much older reindeer. In the winter months, Quartz’s home with the older reindeer would often get covered by huge avalanches of snow that would fall from the mountains. It was up to the older reindeers to break through the snow and find food so that the herd could survive the cold harsh winter.


Quartz always admired the older reindeers for being so brave, kind and caring towards the herd. He hoped to be just like them when he was older. Every time the older reindeers came back with food, Quartz would be the first reindeer in the herd to thank them and would always offer his leftover food them. Quartz noticed that every time he did this, the snow outside would glow purple and then go back to white but he didn’t understand why.


A few years passed and Quartz was growing older but so were the other reindeer in his herd. Another harsh winter of snowstorms arrived causing another great avalanche to block Quartz’s home. Once again, it was down to the older reindeer to break through the snow and go to find food. Quartz noticed one reindeer was taking longer than before to break through the snow. As he managed to make a hole big enough to pass through, he headed off into the snow at a very slow pace. Many hours passed by and all the older reindeer returned home except that one Quartz had noticed was struggling. Quartz decided this was his time to be brave and go looking for the older reindeer himself and get him home safely. Fresh snow covered Quartz’s home again so he decided to charge at it with his antlers to make it move and create a passing. Quartz surprised himself at how well he had done this. ‘That was fun’ he thought. ‘I never knew my antlers could do that like the older reindeer’. The snow ahead began to glow purple again. Quartz went searching through the snow to find the old reindeer and bring him home. Instead of being scared of the snow drifts, Quartz thought they looked beautiful and was enjoying being outside of his home. The snow started glowing purple again and up ahead, Quartz could see the old reindeer lying on the ground. He was tired and out of breath. ‘I’m not letting you stay here after everything you’ve done for me’ said Quartz. He scooped the older reindeer onto his back, using his antler to help and he trudged back home through the snow. As they their way through the snow, a purple path lit the way back to their home. The old reindeer was worried. ‘I never found any food to bring back’ he whimpered. ‘It’s time I gave back’ said Quartz. He pushed his way through the snow once more and headed off to find more food for the herd. As he returned home with food for the other reindeer, another purple path lit his way.


Back at his home, Quartz found 4 glowing amethysts waiting for him. The old reindeer he had saved smiled. ‘These are for you’ he said. ‘ They are here because you have shown reciprocity’.

‘Recip….what?’ asked Quartz all confused.

‘Reciprocity…the power of giving back to others,’ explained the old reindeer.

‘When you thanked me every time I returned with food and offered me your leftovers, you showed that you valued and respected what I had done for you. When you stayed positive about learning to break through the avalanche and go searching in the snow, you were enjoying the new skills you had learnt from the older reindeer. When you saved me out there, you showed kindness and compassion. When you brought back food for the herd, you made a positive contribution to our community.’

Suddenly, reciprocity was not such a tricky word to understand after all.

Quartz scooped up the 4 amethysts with his antlers and transformed from reindeer into a human. He wore a jacket to keep himself warm in the cold and kept his antlers as a reminder of how they helped him give back to others. The old reindeer told Quartz to go and share the power of reciprocity with others.

‘I know just where you can start,’ he said. ‘A school in Didcot known as Willowcroft’.