The Pumpkins of Southaxe Farm

Sachi Onishi

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The Pumpkins of Southaxe Farm 

The last visitor had left Southaxe Farm for the day, closing the old rusty gate behind him. Silence filled the air until Wind howled to signal nightfall. Leaves began to rustle from the vines on the ground, until one by one, stout green pumpkins poked their heads out of the plants. 

They rolled, waddled, and stomped as hard as they could, until they all formed a big circle around a big, fat crow named Solomon, who perched himself on the scarecrow in the middle of the field. 

“Caw!” 1 month ’till Halloween! Caw!” Solomon squawked. 

The young pumpkins exchanged elated glances.  Halloween was fast approaching! Each and every pumpkin shared their dreams of becoming the biggest, scariest, and roundest jack-o’-lantern anybody had ever seen. How they mingled with each other in such a friendly manner!  

Yet nobody seemed to notice that not 10 feet away, a smaller, much quieter circle of pumpkins sat in silence. There were four of them; the fat one was Charlie; the squash with the larger stem was Bob; many called the skinny pumpkin Skeletor. The last one was a heart-shaped gourd named Willow. He was different from the rest of the pumpkins, in that he was nicer, and politer, but he was an outcast who did not share their dream of being the most magnificent pumpkin. 

“Why is it that the biggest pumpkin is always the best?”  Willow whispered. “We are one in the same.” 

“The biggest pumpkin is the most wanted,” Charlie answered with a touch of vexation, “because the humans don’t want puny pumpkins like us to carve scary faces into. We are the ones who are destined for the pie. Once we are ready to leave this farm, we will be Thanksgiving dinner.”  

Willow shivered at the thought. 

That night, most of the pumpkins dreamed of the creepy faces they would get when they were picked from the patch and taken home. Only Willow lay restless, wondering if he would ever get to see Halloween decorations that year. 

All that month, the pumpkins worked as hard as they could to grow as much as they could. They lifted weights, ran laps in the morning, and somehow managed to ride the rusty old bike in the corner of the field. Many of the pumpkins grew a whole 5 inches, but they still were not satisfied. They had worked so hard, but they still were so tiny. Then, on the week before Halloween, Solomon returned to the pumpkin patch. Willow stayed towards the back of the crowd. 

“Caw! Witches are coming! Caw!” Solomon squawked. 

“Witches?” Asked one pumpkin. 

Another said, “The ones with the big hats?” 

“We don’t believe you!” They all shouted. 

Out of the blue, a whirlwind formed, twisting and teetering like a top. With a howl, the small tornado dissipated and revealed 3 mangled witches riding on brooms, each a different age. Their wispy hair flowed in the wind, and their laughs sent a chill up each pumpkin’s stem. 

“Well, let’s see what we have here, hee-hee!!” The youngest of the witches cackled. “Cute and cuddly pumpkins! You guys look like midgets, ha-ha….” 

The oldest witch shot a glare at her insignificant other. “Forgive me, everyone,” she apologized, “my sister can be a bit… ill mannered. “ 

All of the pumpkins looked at each other. What the heck was going on?  

“Well, let’s get down to business, boys!” The cheery sorceresses chorused. “We can make your wishes come true!” 

“Really?” Asked one pumpkin. 

“Prove it!” Another demanded. 

“We’ll prove it, all right,” the youngest witch sneered, “but all of you are too chicken to volunteer!” 

Hector, the biggest, and perhaps snobbiest of the pumpkins, hopped forward. 

“I would be delighted to volunteer myself.” He said with a smirk. 

The witches shrugged. Big shot. They took out their wands and began to chant. 

 “Big and orange,  

Bright as day, 

Make this pumpkin  

As magnificent as we say!” 

In an instant, Hector was surrounded by a glittering light. He was lifted off the ground and spun around and around, until he started to grow to the size of the size of the big wheelbarrow at the front of the farm. The light faded, and Hector drifted down to the ground. 

The patch was filled with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as Hector showed off his new sheen. Pumpkins started lining up to be the next in line for their chance to fulfill their dreams.  Eventually, every pumpkin on line was transformed into the image in their dreams. They were finally happy with who they were. Soon, only 30 pumpkins were left, including Willow and his friends, who were unchanged. They were the ones who were content as who they were. The witches had disappeared without a trace after everybody left. Never trust a witch, Willow thought.   

The days counting down to Halloween flew by without a problem, but on Halloween morning, right before the gates to the farm were to open, disaster struck. Hector and the other big pumpkins had woken up screaming in terror. Willow rushed to see what was going on. When he got to Hector’s section of the patch, he nearly fell down in shock. Hector and all of the other pumpkins were covered in warts; a side effect of the witch’s makeover. 

“Willow! My face!” Hector cried. “I look terrible!” 

“Never trust a witch,” Willow whispered to himself. 

The gates opened later that morning, and families flooded in to pick their pumpkins. One of those families had approached Willow. There was the mother, the father, and a small girl, about 6 years of age.  

“Momma, I want this one!” The girl exclaimed, picked Willow off of the ground and holding it up for her parents to see.  

“Aww, look, it’s shaped like a heart.” Her mom remarked. “It’s perfect.”  

Willow stared at the girl’s huge eyes. Hello, there. 

Willow looked back at the farm one last time before he was carried away to the car. In the corner of the patch, Hector sat there, a look of defeat on his face, as all of the people passed by him without so much as a glance.  

Unbeknownst to them all, the witches were watching the pumpkins from the treetops, laughing and clutching their stomachs. At the end of the day, the only pumpkins left were the enchanted, ugly ones, who were left to rot until everybody forgot that they existed. 

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