The Scarecrow

by K Jambulingam



I was a boarder in a renowned Public School. We had a short break for a week in September. Parents came and took their wards. I could not visit my parents in Nainital. I was puzzled. My friend came for my rescue. Sudhan asked me to go with him to his village to spend the days. I asked him whether his parents would agree to talk to the superintendent. He spoke to his parents and they happily agreed.

We went along with his parents to his village. He had fifty acres of farm and a big house. The farm had tall coconut trees and cotton plants. His house had five bedrooms with air conditioners. A small pond was behind his house. It was protected by fence. I was told that I could swim there. I was very happy because in Nainital we did not have any swimming pool in the house but we could swim in lakes. But I had never dared to swim in the lake near my house.

What I liked most in the farm were the horses and the dogs. The horses were always let free to graze in the green fields along with other cattle. Whenever we wanted to get the horses to go for a ride, my friend unchained the dogs. They went barking at the horses and chased them towards us. We were able to catch hold of them easily. I knew horse riding from my child hood. Horse riding in the farm was better than in school and home. In school we were allowed to ride only on the playground. In Nainital the horses would go only at a limited pace and I dared not ask them to go galloping on the mountain terrain. I could do it in the farm and the horses obeyed my commands.

0ne day my friend's family members had to go for a function in their relative's house. I told them that I wanted to stay at home because neither did I know any of their relatives nor could I converse in their language. Before leaving, his mother gave instructions to the servants to serve me lunch and take care of me.

After lunch I wanted to explore the garden area. The dog followed me. I started walking along the foot path of the garden. I enjoyed everything. I saw the weaverbirds' nests on the trees. The Sheep pen and the shepherd hut attracted me. I took many photographs.

At a distance I saw two men carrying a man. First I thought that the man they were carrying was drunk. But they went to the tamarind tree in the midst of the cotton field. One man climbed up the tree and the other man was giving him the rope which was tied to the man he was holding. I did not go near them because I was afraid they might harm me.

I ran back and the dog followed me. I was waiting for the family to come back.

They all came back. I did not want to tell anything to my friend. I straight away went to his grandfather and told that someone had murdered a man and hung the body in the tree to appear that it was a suicide. His grandfather did not react. Simply he said, "let us go and see". We took torches as it was dark outside.

We went to the tamarind tree. Grandfather called one of his servants to go up and bring down the body. When we had a closer look, we found that was only a scare crow to drive away the birds especially parrots. Everybody laughed at me. I grinned and bore it.

We returned to school.

My roommate asked me how I enjoyed my days in the farm. I simply said, "What we see is not true but we must analyze it. We should not come to conclusion in haste".

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