Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Scarecrows

"So, Henry, there's the field. Here's your hoe. Get to," said Farmer Roger, pointing out across his field. A September fog had settled over the broken, scrabbly stalks of corn, and Henry shivered inside of his jacket as the cool droplets seeped in his collar and his cuffs. They used their fingers to pry open the spaces between his buttons.

Henry needed the money that Farmer Roger had promised him for helping to turn the fields, but as soon as he took his first footstep into the mushy ground, he wondered if he'd have to spend all of the money on new boots. After a half a dozen strides he was significantly taller from the accumulated mud, and Farmer Roger had disappeared behind him in the fog. The only shapes that he could see were the scarecrows in the field. Their tattered clothes waved in the breeze.

But, Henry realized after a moment, there wasn't any breeze.

He set to work to keep his mind off of the sudden terror that crept into his jacket faster than the fog had. For a time, all he could think about was the thud of his hoe into the ground and the heat of his muscles keeping out the chill.

When he stood up to stretch his back, he saw that one of the scarecrows was gone.

"Oh, shit," Henry said aloud.

"What foul language," said a voice near his ear. He spun and swung the hoe around. With a shock that made him let go of the hoe, it stopped in mid-swing, caught in the grip of the scarecrow.

"And what violence," said the scarecrow. Henry felt the blood drain from his body, which may have been a good thing: he recognized the long, vicious canine teeth, the waxy skin, and the sunken, red-rimmed eyes. A vampire.

The vampire snapped the hoe in half and tossed it away into the fog. It took a step towards Henry. He noticed that the vampire's feet didn't sink into the mud, chasing away the hidden hope that this abomination was actually just a monster borne of a woman who had slept under a full moon during her pregnancy.

"Farmer Roger will be upset about you breaking his hoe!" Henry yelled while stumbling backwards through the mud, hoping to lure his employer into the field to assist. Henry knew that Farmer Roger treated his farm equipment with higher regard than his employees, friends or family.

The vampire drew closer. "Oh, I don't think that we have to worry about Farmer Roger interrupting us. It was he, after all, who invited us to live in his fields and feed on trespassers."

"But I'm not a trespass - wait, Farmer Roger invited you to live here?"

"Yes, we serve the purpose of scaring away birds that might disturb his fields, and vandals that might disturb him."

"Farmer Roger is using vampires as scarecrows?"

"Yes," the vampire said, stepping closer.

"And you agreed?" asked Henry, stopping his retreat and allowing the vampire to come closer. The vampire's hands, all claws and blue, bulging veins rising over the pale skin like the rows dug into the field, reached out towards him.

"Yes," the vampire said.

"Then you're under arrest," Henry said, slapping a pair of iron shackles on the vampire's outstretched hands.

The vampire paused, staring at the bindings. "I don't understand."

"I have a decree from the Council of the Colonies of the Fair Weather Cape to bring before the Council any inefficiencies in farming which may harm the interests of the Colonies of the Fair Weather Cape. And using vampires as scarecrows represents such harm by being grossly inefficient as well as reducing overall manpower."

The Moral: it takes many more acres of farmland to support a vampire than a scarecrow.

Prev # Next