Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Scarecrow And The Owl

In a vast field of corns stood a shabby looking Scarecrow whose coat was tattered and stitched in many places. On a fine autumn morning, the Scarecrow was guarding the swaying ripe cornfield, which was ready for harvest. The Scarecrow's Master arrived with a dark frown upon his brow one evening and instructed his Farm hand that if the corn stealing Birds are not frightened of the Scarecrow in this harvest season then he was to burn the Scarecrow. When the Scarecrow heard these words, he was very shaken and miserable.

That night the Scarecrow's friend the Wise Owl who lived in the Oak tree near the field came over to visit. The Owl flew over and perched on his friends shoulder. Looking upon the grieve expression of his friend the Owl inquired what was troubling him.

The Scarecrow told him about his Master's plan to burn him if he failed to guard the cornfield this season. Moreover, explained the Scarecrow the Birds were not even frightened of me. They would make fun of me and pulled out all my hay stuffing moaned the Scarecrow in misery.

The Owl after much thought advised him on how to outsmart the Birds and save himself. The Owl urged him to be fearless of the thieving Birds. He counselled that the Birds who can only rip off a few hay strings from him, he can replace it but a fire could do much harm to him. After advising him on the plan, the Owl bid him goodnight and promised to visit him the next night. The Scarecrow spent the night pondering on his friend's advice.

The next day dawned with autumn sun shining in great splendour and the corns in the field were as usual swaying in the gentle breeze. The Scarecrow stood watchful with all his courage for his winged enemies to enter the cornfield. The moment the first few Birds started pecking the corn the Scarecrow greeted them aloud and nearly frightened them from their perch. The Scarecrow asked them if they had travelled very far to different places. The Birds mocked and pecked the hay from the Scarecrow for having dreams of travelling to places with one wooden leg and no wings.

The Scarecrow continued unmindful of their mockery if you have travelled to many places unlike me then you must know about this rather old riddle but then you are not wise enough to know the answer. This outraged the Birds and all of them shouted in unison that they could answer any riddle that the Scarecrow had for them. The Scarecrow reasoned, "What is the use of solving a riddle if there is no prize to win or lose?" The Birds reluctantly agreed to this statement. "Very well then", said the Scarecrow " if you are able to answer my riddle then you may eat all the corn seeds". "But if you fail", warned the Scarecrow " you are to leave my field alone until the harvest season is over". On hearing, these words from him the overconfident Birds felt that they could answer any riddle, as they were wiser than the Scarecrow. The prospect of eating all the choicest corn seeds had the Birds complete interest. Therefore, they readily agreed to the condition and were willing to answer the riddle.

"A blind creature lives in a temporary yellow house. He sleeps by the day and eats by the night. He stays hidden right underfoot of where you fly and feed. Whom am I talking about?" riddled the Scarecrow. The Birds were greatly puzzled and were not able to answer the riddle. After several attempts at solving the riddle, they finally gave up and left his field promising to stay away until the end of the harvest season.

That day the Master was happy to see his cornfield intact and not squandered by the Birds as always. The Master ordered the Farm hand to stuff the Scarecrow with fresh hay and replace the old coat for a brand new bright colour coat. The Scarecrow was very happy but a little confused. Therefore, he decided to wait for his friend to clear his confusion that night.

When night fell, the Owl came over to the Scarecrow who seemed a little perturbed but very happy. The Scarecrow questioned the Owl what the riddle had meant. The Owl explained that the riddle described a blind harvest-mouse who lived hidden in his field making his nest in the corn stalk and hunting for food in the night for fear of becoming a prey to the Wild Birds. The Scarecrow then asked the Owl why the Birds did not know about the blind harvest-mouse. The Owl explained that the Birds had never seen him by daylight and they were fast asleep in the night when he was out in the field. The Scarecrow now understood how the Owl had outsmarted the Birds and saved him from the fire. All was silent for a while as both the friends watched a shooting star rush by in the starlit sky. Unspoken the words of gratitude was shared between the friends. Both of them in the vast cornfield were welcoming dawn the chariot driver of the Sun heralding the beginning of another fresh autumn day.

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