Weekly Writing Challenge:
Image vs. Text
Though his legs do not walk,
he knows everything under heaven.
To a Japanese farmer, every rice plant is precious. If you went back to early Japan, you’d see kakashi in the rice fields.
And you’d smell those scarecrows, too.
Kakashi means something that has a bad smell. That’s what Japanese farmers call scarecrows. The farmers built them on tall bamboo poles that soak up water without rotting. They hung old rags,meat, and fish bones on sticks. Then they set the sticks on fire. The smell of the burning rags and bones kept birds and small animals away.
Now each spring, Japanese farmers make kakashi to look like people.
The Japanese believed that Sohodo-no-kami, one of their gods, helped to protect the crops. They thought that the god’s spirit left the mountains and came to the farm to enter any kakashi that looked like a person. When birds landed on scarecrows, they told secrets to the god’s spirit. That’s why a farmer thought his scarecrow knew everything under heaven.
At harvest time in the fall, the farmers held a special ceremony. They brought all the scarecrows in from the fields and put them in a big pile. The farmers circled the pile with special rice cakes for the god, lit the scarecrows with a torch and burned them. Now the gods had something to eat on their journey back to the mountains. Next year, the farmers made new kakashi for the spirit to enter.
The Scots’ scarecrow is a tattie bogle.
The French call it the terrifier. The Zuni Indians named it the watcher of the corn sprouts. But Walt Disney outdid them all with Dr. Christopher Syn ~ brave vicar by day, fearsome scarecrow and righter-of-wrongs by night.
As long as animals threaten crops, scarecrows will continue to dot fields, just as they have for thousands of years.
How To Make a Scarecrow for Your Garden
6 foot wooden board, 1 x 3 inches, pointed at one end
2 foot wooden board, 1 x 3 inches
Hammer and some 1 ½ inch nails
Straw, rags or leaves
Put the short board across the long one, about a foot down and nail them together.
Pull one leg of an old pair of pants on the longer board and pull them up. Put an old shirt over the arms, tuck it in and tie the waist with string. Stuff the pillowcase, and then flatten one side for the face. Slip it on top, and then tie it in place with the flat side facing you. Draw a simple face. Dig a hole and fill it with stones so the scarecrow will stand straight. Fill in the hole with dirt. Add a hat or a wig, gloves for hands or tinfoil plates to sparkle and clank in the breeze.
Want a Sir Fabulous Scarecrow? Click here.