He smiled, although there was no outward sign on his worn and dirty face. He recalled that long ago spring when he was new, and a little girl who came, walking carefully toward him. In her arms she carried a new born kid. Her whole body shone with excitement barely controlled. When she reached him she looked up and said “look, Mr. Scarecrow, I have a baby goat to look after. His mother rejected him, and Daddy said I can raise him. I will call him King William, after William the Conqueror of Normandy, who beat the Saxon King Harold, and became King of England. This King William of mine, he is a conqueror, too, and a fighter; he wants to live, and I will help him.”
She was a sweet child, and often came to visit him. While the kid was young, she carried him, but soon he was tottering along behind her. After he was grown, he went everywhere with her, though for part of the day, she was away. She said she went to school, and in their conversations, he gathered that school was a place of learning.
He remembered the day she came out to say goodbye. She was going to the city to go to a different school, where she would learn things like archaeology and Astronomy. She said the first was digging and finding evidence of ancient people, and would take her all over the world. The other was a study of the stars and other things far out in space. She told him stars were actually suns, some much bigger than their sun. She was gone for long periods, and he only saw her when harvest was over, and again when spring came, and he was new again.
No matter how many times his head and body was filled with new straw, he was still able to remember all that had gone before. The years passed, and Melisa grew from child to young woman, to mother then widow, and her visits were shorter and became more infrequent.
He missed her visits and wished she would come more often, but he heard her brother and father talking about where she was, and how well she was doing. He realised that her life’s work was much more important than visits with him, so he had sighed, and waited. Then there was that last visit, when the farm was sold and they were leaving, and she came to say goodbye. She’d not only kissed him, she had hugged him, and told him she’d always remember him. That was a memory he’d hugged close, so that no matter how many times he was restored, it was one he couldn’t forget.
He gazed around, looking over his kingdom. He flapped desultorily at some crows, not really caring f they stole some seeds. He was deep in thought when movement near the barn caught his eye. People were coming out to the field, but there was something odd about them. After a few moments, he saw that one was in some kind of wheeled chair. They grew nearer, the one pushing having problems moving the chair over the rough ground.
‘It’s her! It’s Melisa! But what is she doing in that chair? “They came closer, until they were right in front of him, and he was shocked at the sight. Melisa was old; her hair was pure white, her face wrinkled and her legs obviously week. Silently, he wept. His dear friend, the little girl he had loved, was an old woman. She looked ill, and he realised that she was near death. He felt his heart break, and knew that he would always remember her, but never again would he be aware as he had been. He knew that when she left, he would be nothing but clothes stuffed with straw. Well, at least he would no longer be lonely.
Melisa looked at him and smiled. “Hello Mr. Scarecrow. I have missed you. I’ve thought about you wherever I was in the world; I thought of all the wonderful things I had to tell you. I no longer have the time to tell you all but I’ll tell you as much as I can, the funniest, most amazing, and most exciting things.”
For some time she talked, pausing often as her breath failed her. Slowly the sun moved across the sky, until everything was bathed in the rose and gold of sunset, and she was almost exhausted. “Now you have all of my most precious memories, my friend. Keep them close in your heart and remember me.”
She turned to the man who had pushed her chair. “Darcy, help me stand, please.” Darcy paused then asked “Are you sure, Granty Mel? Do you think you are strong enough?” She assured him she was, so he put an arm around her and helped her stand. She took one step forward and put her arms around the scarecrow and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Farewell, my dear friend. I hope memories of me will help you remain the way you have always been.” She lifted her head, kissed his cheek, and tried to turn. Her great-grandson quickly caught her, and helped her back into her chair. As they turned away, she looked up and smiled again. At that moment Scarecrow saw the little girl in the old woman’s face, and he knew that he would not lose himself. He would always be aware, and he’d never be lonely, he’d have his memories of Melisa, and in the future another Melisa would be his friend. He sighed, both sad and happy, as he watched them move away until they disappeared behind the barn.