When first they made her, from straw and string and wood, she was just a scarecrow. The children drew her face and laughed at the paint on their fingers. They dressed her in cast-offs from the bins and set her over fields and flowers, that she might keep watch for the cawing crows.
She didn’t work. Crows came and stole away the seeds. Mother cursed and father kicked at the dirt.
But the youngest made instead the first sacrifice: he put his scarf about her neck. When the crows came next, they saw her and fled.
So the family laid their clothes upon her, begging her protection for the crops. And protect them she did.
Year passed after year and the harvest was bountiful. The farm yielded the finest crops and, as they owed it all to her, they lay a tenth portion down at her feet.
The other farms saw them prospering and they too brought sacrifices: frayed cloaks, scrap-cloth, fresh straw. She saw them and was pleased.
Harvest passed after harvest and ritual outlived reason. Years hence, they still laid sacrifices at her shrine.
They called her scarecrow no more. She was the Mother of Flowers.
Word Count: 198
This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Anurag Bakhshi for providing the prompt photo!