“Dunno if I remember it right,” said William, “but on Midsummer Eve, scarecrows are s’posed to come alive jus’ after dark an’ come to anyone what’s stole anythin’ out of their fields durin’ the year an’ get it back off them.”
Hubert paled. “G-g-get it back off them?” he stammered.
“Yes,” said William carelessly. “They leave the person what stole it in a jolly nasty mess, too. They’ve got the strength of ten men when they come alive, scarecrows have. Well , I know I wouldn’t like to be knocked about by a scarecrow come alive with the strength of ten men.”
“The s-s-s-s-strength of ten men?”
“Yes, or it might’ve been twenty.”
“I don’t believe it,” said Hubert, but looking like a boy in the grip of a nightmare.
- Number: 24.3
- Published: 1942 (1941 in magazine form)
- Book: William Carries On
- Synopsis: The Outlaws and the Hubert Laneites compare shrapnel collections.
Owing largely to Mrs Lane’s overindulgent wallet, Hubert’s collection of wartime memorabilia far outshines William’s. But then fortune strikes and they acquire a much-prized ‘German bomb stick’ (whatever that is)… only to have it confiscated by Farmer Jenks, on whose land they are trespassing!
And to make matters worse, Hubert steals a garden fork from one of Farmer Jenks’s land girls – who is a great friend of the Outlaws – so that she will have to pay him back for it out of her wages.
They manage to resolve the situation, but in a manner sadly reminiscent of William’s Goodbye Present, 21.2.