the scarecrow

The scarecrow

 Rangaswami had been resting on the farm
for just over a week
when Peter decided it was time to let him go

 He had been hired
on a provisional basis
at the request of his father,
but every time someone saw him,
he was just standing around,
sometimes with a tool in his hand,
doing nothing

 The other workers complained
that Rangaswami would spend ages
tying his shoes,
inspecting his fingernails
or adjusting his lungi
whenever sacks of rice had to be loaded,
unloaded
or carried somewhere

 He’s useless,
said some

 He doesn’t know how to do anything,
said others

 He’s not a worker,
he’s a rester,
said everyone

 Because Rangaswami had a brain like a buffalo,
his father had had to pay quite a lot of money
in order for him to pass his exams at school,
but to no avail
He had been unable to find a job anywhere
No one would hire him

 He had wanted to join the army,
but they wouldn’t take him
because he was too short
Then he tried to get a job as a policeman,
but they wouldn’t take him either
because he couldn’t run
And every other place he had tried
had turned him away

Please, Peter,
give my son a chance,
Rangaswami’s father had asked
I know he’s useless,
but he needs to find a way to support himself
I don’t know what to do with him

 Peter had finally agreed
to give Rangaswami a job
on the condition that he would really work
and not just stand around,
but the according to everyone on the farm,
he had done nothing but stand or lie around all week

 What shall we do with him?

 He’s lazy
I’m going to fire him tomorrow

 Can’t we find something that he can do?

 There’s nothing he can do
except rest

 He’s pretty good at standing around and doing nothing

 Maybe he could work as a scarecrow in the garden
We could give him a pitchfork
and tell him to stand near the tomatoes

 He might squash them all
if he decides to lie down and take a nap

 Or if he falls asleep and then falls down

 We should give him a final chance
to see if there is something he can do well

 I’ll give him three more days
to convince me that I should not fire him
And if he fails,
on payday I am going to divide his salary
among all the other workers
who did his share of the work for him
and tell him not to come back to rest

 And so it was
that Rangaswami came to work
as a scarecrow