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Notes on the Scarecrows in the Fields

by Eiliyah Azmera of Malt Town

When traversing the wheat fields of Level 10, travelers will often come across large scarecrows that seem to be keeping watch over the field. Like the scarecrows from back home, their bodies are constructed from various styles of clothing wrapped tightly around bundles of hay. They may seem scary at first, standing on large stakes and staring down at you with their burlap or pumpkin heads, swaying occasionally in the wind as if they are alive, but there is nothing to fear. The scarecrows are protectors. They keep peace in the level. They keep us safe.

The Gluffs that wander Level 10 tend to keep the scarecrows at a distance. I don't believe that this is a sign of fear, but rather a sign of respect, and we too should treat the scarecrows with respect and treat the land with respect as well, for bad luck will befall you if you don't. The scarecrows allow us to live on their land, but we must ask for permission first and give them an offering. I would suggest making a plate of food and placing it at the foot of the scarecrow if you ever decide to live on the land occupied by one. When you do this, return the next day to collect the plate, and you will find everything you provided to it having been eaten. You need only to perform this ritual a single time, but I would recommend repeating it from time to time. You must also respect the land. You may farm on it, but always replant anything you sow.

In my experience of living in this level for many years, I have come to believe that each scarecrow contains within them the soul of a wanderer who has passed away on the level. To explain what led me to this conclusion, I will tell you a story.

Once, several years ago, I was walking through the outer field, feeling completely hopeless. I was still mourning the death of my sister, Aasira, still trying to figure out how to move on from her passing, when I saw her, a scarecrow wearing the tattered jean jacket that Aasira used to wear, complete with the Nirvana patch that our grandma got her for her birthday way back then. I knew it was her. Not just from the jacket, but I could feel it was her, like I could see her behind the button eyes on the burlap sack face. It was comforting to see that my sister, or a part of her, was still with us, and I couldn't help but hug her. She couldn't hug me back, but I almost felt like I could sense her energy calming me.

I slept underneath her watchful eye that night, and in the morning, I knew that I had to go, so I told her I loved her and promised to visit again.

As I walked away, I could almost hear two simple words singing in the wind.

"Thank you."

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