Our story today is called"Feathertop."It was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.Here is Shep O'Neal with the story.The long cold winter was gone at last.At first the cold nights went away slowly.Then suddenly,the warm days of spring started to come.There was new life again in the earth.Things started to grow and come up.For the first time,green corn plants began to show.They pushed through the soil and could now be seen above the ground.After the long winter months,the crows,the big black birds,were hungry.And when they saw the little green plants,they flew down to eat them.Old Mother Rigby tried to make the noisy and hungry birds go away.They made her very angry.She did not want the black birds to eat her corn.But the birds would not go away.So,early one morning,just as the sun started to rise,Mother Rigby jumped out of bed.She had a plan to stop those black birds from eating her corn.
Mother Rigby could do anything.She was a witch,a woman with strange powers.She could make water run uphill,or change a beautiful woman into a white horse.Many nights when the moon was full and bright,she could be seen flying over the tops of the houses in the village,sitting on a long wooden stick.It was a broomstick,and it helped her to do all sorts of strange tricks.Mother Rigby ate a quick breakfast and then started to work on her broomstick.She was planning to make something that would look like a man.It would fill the birds with fear,and scare them from eating her corn,the way most farmers protect themselves from those black,pesky birds.Mother Rigby worked quickly.She held her magic broomstick straight,and then tied another piece of wood across it.And already,it began to look like a man with arms.Then she made the head.She put a pumpkin,a vegetable the size of a football,on top of the broomstick.She made two small holes in the pumpkin for eyes,and made another cut lower down that looked just like a mouth.At last,there he was.He seemed ready to go to work for Mother Rigby and stop those old birds from eating her corn.But,Mother Rigby was not happy with what she made.She wanted to make her scarecrow look better and better,for she was a good worker.She made a purple coat and put it around her scarecrow,and dressed it in white silk stockings.She covered him with false hair and an old hat.And in that hat,she stuck the feather of a bird.
She examined him closely,and decided she liked him much better now,dressed up in a beautiful coat,with a fine feather on top of his hat.And,she named him Feathertop.She looked at Feathertop and laughed with happiness.He is a beauty,she thought."Now what?"she thought,feeling troubled again.She felt that Feathertop looked too good to be a scarecrow."He can do something better,"she thought,"than just stand near the corn all summer and scare the crows."And she decided on another plan for Feathertop.She took the pipe of tobacco she was smoking and put it into the mouth of Feathertop."Puff,darling,puff,"she said to Feathertop."Puff away,my fine fellow.It is your life."Smoke started to rise from Feathertop's mouth.At first,it was just a little smoke,but Feathertop worked hard,blowing and puffing.And,more and more smoke came out of him."Puff away,my pet,"Mother Rigby said,with happiness."Puff away,my pretty one.Puff for your life,I tell you."Mother Rigby then ordered Feathertop to walk."Go forward,"she said."You have a world before you."