A scarecrow is a faux human that is propped up in a garden or on a farm for the purpose of frightening away birds that would eat newly sown seeds. Typical scarecrows are made with old and worn clothes that are draped or attached to a post; a prop head, usually made out of a stuffed burlap bag or a pumpkin, is then set on top. Some scarecrows’ bodies are stuffed with leaves, twigs, straw, and bramble to give them more similarity to the human torso. Overalls and floppy wide-brimmed hats are iconic pieces of scarecrow attire. Scarecrows have been around longer than recorded history, and there have been many scarecrows in pop culture and mythology.
Scarecrows and Other Species
Technically, scarecrows are constructs, similar to elementals, that have somehow become alive and conscious. Scarecrows are definitely not human and fit better into the monster category; however, it is not unheard of for a scarecrow to believe it is human and attempt to adjust to their culture and society. An even fewer number of scarecrows might have actually been human at one point.
Scarecrows and Crows
Apparent by their name, scarecrows and crows, and possibly other avian species, have an obvious relationship. For scarecrows, scaring crows is an instinct and quite literally the reason they were created. However, this does not mean that every scarecrow has disdain for crows; some merely see the act of scaring crows as “just doing their job.”
Scarecrows and Flying Monkeys
As shown in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” the Scarecrow was easy prey for the witch’s winged primate minions. It is unknown whether all scarecrows have a weakness to the feathered chimps, but the rumors and tall tales have been enough to at least inspire a bit of fear. Regular monkeys may be met with some caution but far less than the flying counterparts.
There are multiple ways that a scarecrow can be created or born. Here are a few of the most common ways that scarecrow can be created:
The Wickening is a unique magical spell that can create and animate scarecrows. Although the true origins of the spell have been forgotten, there are myths that it was originally created by Kuebiko. In some legends, this spell, known by its Eastern name of “wara kara tsukuru,” was taught by Kuebiko to humans; in other variations, the spell was stolen. The spell has since evolved and traveled throughout various civilizations. Beyond it’s animating properties, The Wickening can also provide an illusory effect that makes the scarecrow appear completely human. This illusion can even be strong enough that the scarecrow is convinced that they are human. The illusion effect of this spell can be broken or manipulated, however, through trauma or other outward interferences.
Whether cursed, blessed, intentional, or an accident, some humans and even other species can be changed into scarecrows. This magical or scientific event causes the subject’s skin to turn into burlap and their innards to become straw or bramble.
Gifted by Kuebiko:
Some scarecrows have a direct or indirect link to the legendary Shinto deity Kuebiko. It is not uncommon for him to father scarecrow lineages or to grant scarecrows the gift of life. He may even bless already living scarecrows with his favor and make them his emissaries.
Scarecrows and Combat
Many swordsmiths and warriors would use strawmen as training dummies, so it is not a farfetched idea that scarecrows could have learned how to fight from this practice.
Because scarecrows have no true bone structure, they lack joints and flow with their movements; this creates a ragdoll-like effect. Observers have often said that their fighting looks like an awkward dance.
As guardians of the crops, scarecrows can use most any weapon kit. However, they do tend to have an affinity toward weapons that are based off of farming tools: flails, sickles, kama, scythes, etc.
Scarecrows and Intelligence
Many stories that involve scarecrows are also associated with intelligence, suggesting that scarecrows may be naturally intelligent. Whether they know this or not is a different story.
Two of these intelligent scarecrows are Kuebiko and the Scarecrow of Oz:
Kuebiko is an ancient Japanese Shinto deity of agriculture and knowledge. This legendary scarecrow is rooted in place but knows everything about the world.
The Scarecrow of Oz is famously known as not having a brain, but it is revealed by the Wizard of Oz that the Scarecrow had a brain all along. Other characters also stated that he was “probably the wisest man in all Oz.”
Because scarecrows are timeless and do not grow, they do not fully understand the concept of age. When asked how old they are, a scarecrow will answer with the only detail on themselves that reveals that time has passed: the number of patches on their clothing. For the most part, this works well to determine which scarecrows are the oldest and most experienced in life. However, sometimes a younger scarecrow will be accident prone and have many patches. These scarecrows are usually well known by other scarecrows for their clumsiness.
Some scarecrows celebrate the addition of a new patch with an odd holiday they call Patch Day. Similar to a human’s birthday, Patch Day is celebrated differently by different scarecrows: Some merely accept congratulations through the phase “Happy Patch Day” while others will host full-on parties with food, drinks, and games.
There are many objects, symbols, and seasons that have some meaning to scarecrows:
Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns
Floppy, wide-brimmed hats
Leaves and straw
Since many cultures have a history of scarecrow use, they are many words for scarecrow. Here are some notable examples:
The collective noun for multiple scarecrows is a “field.”
Acrid the Scarecrow of Barad’Dun/Terra De Votum (Las Vegas, NV)
Squire Galaxy the Scarecrow of Barad’Dun/Terra De Votum (Las Vegas, NV)
Wisteria the Scarecrow of Terra De Votum (Las Vegas, NV)
Chesh of Ered Duath (Provo, UT)
Rhuarc of Ered Duath (Provo, UT)