This was her second year on the Nicely’s farm, and so far, she had managed to keep her secret from all the humans.
You see, Bobbie Jo… was afraid of crows! What?!? Afraid of crows?!? How is a scarecrow scared of crows? But Bobbie Jo was afraid of crows more than anything in the whole world.
What if they peck at my hat? What if they swarm over me, swoop down and knock me over? What if they pull out all of my beautiful straw hair or peck holes in my shirt, or try to claw my button nose off or… And every time she’d think about those horrible crows, she’d start to cry.
Every morning after breakfast, when the people came out of the farmhouse and started their day, Bobbie Jo ran out from her hiding place, hopped up on her wooden pole, and stood up straight and tall. But as soon as she saw them go out of sight, hop, hop, hop, off she went, down from her pole to hide. She hid all over—in the barn, in the horse stalls, on the tractor, and behind the oak tree. She’d never actually been attacked by a crow, and there was no reason change that now!
Only Maggie, her best scarecrow friend, knew. Maggie lived in the north part of the cornfield, and Bobbie Jo lived right near the farmhouse. This meant Maggie knew what times the human people would go out for the day and what time they would come back for the night. Plus, it made it easier for her to have good places to hide. Maggie had been a very good friend and had not told the human people about Bobbie Jo’s fears—at least not yet.
One day Maggie called out from where she stood on her pole. “Bobbie Jo! Come on out, we can’t protect all this corn from these crows without you! We really need your help!” But Bobbie Jo just couldn’t do it. Her little straw feet just wouldn’t budge from behind the tractor. Almost like someone had glued them to the ground! She was so scared of those mean little birds! And worse yet, Bobbie Jo felt terrible. She couldn’t help it! It wasn’t her fault she was scared. And now, she had let her friend down, too.
One day, while Bobbie Jo was hiding and the noon sun was high in the sky, she heard something funny. Could the human people be back at the farmhouse already? Yipes! Bobbie Jo scrambled to run to her pole before anyone saw her. From the corner of her eye, she saw something odd. A man and lady were getting out of the Nicelys’ pickup truck. And they had a little girl with them.
Later that night, the scarecrows had a secret meeting. Everybody wanted to know what Bobbie Jo had seen because she lived closest to the farmhouse.
“Who are they?” Maggie asked.
“What do they want?” Pedro asked.
“Are they going to take us down and make us move away?” Buddy asked, his eyebrows wrinkled with worry.
Even the older scarecrows were curious. They had seen the younger couple before, but not the little girl. They had heard stories about children on other farms that were mean to scarecrows and pulled out all their hay, or about newer farms that were using other things like mirrors to keep birds away.
“They’re all Mr. and Mrs. Nicely’s family. The littlest one—I think her name is Katie,” Bobbie Jo said. “She’s their granddaughter, and she seems very nice. Her mommy and daddy are here to help for a little while.”
A big sigh of relief went through the scarecrows. As they all went to their poles for the night, Maggie stopped to talk to Bobbie Jo. “How are you going to keep your secret from all those humans?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll think of something!” Bobbie Jo said.
The next morning, Bobbie Jo waited around until the sign was clear, and then she hop-hop-hopped off her pole and scooted over to the barn. Just when she was rounding the corner of the barn—Oof!—it was Katie Nicely!
Katie looked at Bobbie Jo, blinked, and then cocked her head. “Who are you?” Katie asked.
Gasp! We’ve never talked to them before, what do I do, WHAT DO I DO??? Think think think… Bobbie Jo gulped. Okay, pretend you didn’t hear her.
“Hello, I’m Katie, who are you?” the little girl asked, touching Bobbie Jo’s curly straw hair.
“My name is Bobbie Jo,” the scarecrow said slowly.
“Why are you down from your pole?” Katie asked, pointing to the empty stick coming out of the ground.
Bobbie Jo looked into Katie’s soft, honest face and couldn’t help but tell her the truth. “I’m very afraid of birds,” she said. “Please don’t tell Mr. Nicely—he might get rid of me!”
“Oh,” Katie said. “Do you know what I do when I’m afraid?”
Uh? Bobbie Jo’s little straw head bobbed up. Didn’t she hear what I said? “What! Tell me!”
“Mama tells me that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of love and a strong mind,” she said. “So when I get scared of something, I just think back to a Bible verse that I know that says, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. And then he gives me the strength to do whatever it is I am afraid of.”
“A strong mind? Do ALL things? Do you think God cares about little old me, in the cornfield?” Bobbie Jo asked, her eyes wide with hope and excitement. “I think that only works for people. God doesn’t care about scarecrows, does He? Can he help me be strong and not be afraid of the crows and what they will do to me?”
“Yes” Katie said. “I think God cares about everybody, EVEN scarecrows! He helps me all the time. I know He can help you too. Just remember that verse!”
“Oh, thank you!” Bobbie Jo said. “I’ll try right now.” And she ran back to the field, stopping to look back at Katie, who was smiling and waving her little arm like mad!
And later that day, when a group of crows flew by, Bobbie Jo, the scaredy-crow, repeated that verse over and over and over again. “I can do ALL things—even keep away mean old birds—through Christ who strengthens me!” She forgot about her hair, and her shirt, and her little button nose. She just stood straight and tall—as tall as she had ever stood before on her pole—and held her head high. And from that day on, thanks to what Katie had shared with her, Bobbie Jo wasn’t a scaredy-crow anymore!
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