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Feathertop: 12/22/17

Feathertop by Robert D. San Souci

Feathertop by Robert D. San Souci is a retelling in picture book form of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story. Mother Rigby, a witch of some renowned, decides to make a scarecrow for her cornfield. She dresses him up in old fancy clothes. So pleased with her work, she decides to bring him to life and send him to a local fancy ball.

Of course any time you send something out on its own, it's bound to do something other or more than what you planned. Feathertop ends up catching the eye of a young lady of means. She falls in love and so does he.

Except when he looks in the mirror he can see that he's not the fancy man she thinks he is. So disheartened at the reality of his situation, he leaves the party and begs to be a scarecrow.

In this regard, Feathertop is an interesting and early version of the reluctant scarecrow — a role most popularized by The Scarecrow from the Oz books.

Mother Rigby, though a witch, isn't evil. She feels sorry for the now despondent young woman who has lost her one true love. Or maybe she's just amused by a foolish aristocrat falling in love with a scarecrow. Regardless, she turns Feathertop real once again for a happy ending.

From the smirk on her face in the last pages, it's implied that Feathertop isn't her first scarecrow let free. Nor, will he be the last, as she is shown gathering together her materials again. It could even be implied that all those other aldermen (or many of them) were her creations too.

As this version is primarily a simplified picture book, with most of the story being retold in the illustrations, I'm going to leave deeper analysis for the actual story. It is available for download in a collection of short stories on Project Gutenberg: Mosses from an Old Manse and other stories.

For the road narrative project, I believe this retelling is too far removed from the original to do a deeper analysis.

Three stars

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