The Dog and the Scarecrow
Copyright © September 1, 2018 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
The following story is included in my book: Grandpappy's Stories for Children of All Ages.
When a small puppy dog was just six weeks old it decided to venture away from its mother’s side and explore the world. The little dog ran for almost two minutes until it was in the middle of a huge field of freshly planted vegetable seeds. The reason the dog stopped was because it had arrived at the bottom of an old ragged scarecrow that was mounted on a long pole stuck deep into the ground. Another shorter thin pole had been tied sideways to the thick pole and the second pole supported the arms of the scarecrow. Its clothes were stuffed with straw and it had a burlap sack for a head that was also stuffed with straw. On top of his head the scarecrow was wearing an old hat.
The little dog barked at the scarecrow and asked, "Are you afraid of me?" But the scarecrow did not answer. The little dog barked again and asked, "Do you want to play a game of chase?" But the scarecrow remained silent. The little dog barked a third time and said, "If you don’t talk to me then I will go and find someone else to play with." The scarecrow didn't respond so the little dog ran back to its mother.
The little dog immediately told his mother about meeting the man in the field who had one round leg that was sticking down into the ground, and who would not talk to him or play with him. His mother then explained to him that he had just met a scarecrow and it was the scarecrow’s job to scare birds and small animals so that they would not enter the field and eat the vegetables that would soon be growing there. Then the little dog said, "I don't think he is scary and I am not the least bit afraid of him. I don't think anyone else will be afraid of him either." And then the little dog laid down beside his mother and he took a nap.
Two months passed and the little dog grew much bigger. During this time the little dog had watched the vegetables gradually grow bigger and bigger in the field. And every day the dog would visit the scarecrow and talk to it but the scarecrow would never answer the dog. But the little dog didn't mind because the scarecrow was a very good listener. The dog sometimes sniffed the vegetables but they did not smell tasty so the dog never ate any of the vegetables. However, the dog's sensitive nose sometimes revealed the presence of another animal in the field and the dog would chase the animal for fun. And sometimes the dog's sensitive ears would detect the sound of something moving and the dog would run and chase it. But the dog was not fast enough to catch any of the birds or small animals. But the dog had lots of fun trying to catch them.
A few weeks later the farmer harvested all the vegetables in the field. The field looked a lot different without all that stuff growing in it and the scarecrow was once again easy to see in the middle of the field. So the dog ran out to the scarecrow and laid down about two feet away from it. The dog barked at the scarecrow and said, "I don't know why the farmer allows you to stay here in his field. You don't scare the birds or the animals and they still come here even though you are standing right there. The birds and animals never stop to talk with me but at least they enjoy playing a game of chase and they let me chase them whenever I want to."
A moment later the scarecrow spoke to the dog and he said, "The farmer is a smart man. He built me and he put me here in the middle of this field. And then he built your little doghouse beside the barn where you and your mother live. The farmer knew you would be curious and that you would come to look at me and that you would quickly become familiar with where the paths are here in this field. The farmer also knew that you would chase the birds and the animals away so they would not have time to eat his vegetables. So we have both done the job the farmer intended. I attracted your attention into this field and you did the real job of chasing off the birds and the animals so they would not eat his vegetables."
The Moral of this Story
The dog thought about this for a long time. Finally the dog realized that the world was much more complicated than what he understood. And he decided that in the future he would keep an open mind and that he would observe and listen more carefully because there was probably some more information that he could learn that would help him to better understand how the world really works.
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