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WINNER! – Best Story (Family)
Legend of the Orchard Scarecrow:
Over a hundred years ago, Sierra Madre was covered with orchards, lush row after row of orange trees. The rich magical soil of the foothills gave the area prolific citrus fruit, which stocked stores year round. In spite of the success there was a strict law against stealing oranges as stated in A Dictionary of Sierra Madre and a Guide, Philosopher and Friend for Tourists, Travelers and Investors, “Pulling and taking oranges from trees is larceny Penal Code, Section 495”. At the time that the law was passed there began a mysterious disappearance of individuals who were helping themselves to the bounty. Those people were not locked away in jail, instead as legend tells us, if an orange were picked without an offering of water to the tree, a branch would reach down and with a cursed tap instantly change the person into a scarecrow. In the early dawn hours the curse lured the mindless scarecrows to the bottom of the towns well where they would claw the dry dirt in search of water until the moon rose. In the evening hours the scarecrows would try to protect the town’s people from making the same mistake as they had done, forever doomed a scarecrow.
These days we are lucky, as it seems there are no spell casting orange trees left and the well has been filled in to keep our frightening friends from resurfacing. If you doubt the story, put your ear to the well’s stone-wall on any given dark night and you will hear the endless clawing of earth from deep down below.
This scarecrow can be found at 326 W. Highland Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024