A Halloween Tale
Farmer Green grew prize-winning pumpkins.
Every year, at the local country fair, his amazing pumpkins would win accolades, and more importantly, prizes.
None of his pumpkins were ever undersized or misshapened. Farmer Green was careful to only use natural growing methods and applied well-decomposed cow and sheep manure to the fields in the early Spring before planting.
His pumpkin seeds always grew big and healthy plants.
Farmer Greens’ pumpkins were always in high demand at Halloween, with people lining up for hours just to ensure that they got one of his amazing, big, and perfect pumpkins for their home or business Halloween display.
People driving through the town around Halloween were always extremely impressed with the displays of huge carved pumpkins they saw, and whenever they stopped and asked the locals about the source of these magnificent pumpkins, they would be directed to Farmer Green. If they were lucky, there might be a few left.
This particular year the crop had been extra bountiful and the pumpkins were excited, knowing that once again they would be the main attraction at Halloween. They joked among themselves about who would be the first out of the field.
Now these pumpkins grown by Farmer green were not in the World record-breaking class, where some monster pumpkins weigh in at over 1000 kilos (The world record for the heaviest pumpkin is 1,190.49kg, held by Belgium Mathias Willemijns for an Atlantic giant grown in 2016.) The Farmer Green pumpkins were usually in the 25 to 35 Kilo range and were perfectly shaped. (No one wants a misshapen Jack o” Lantern.)
Back in the pumpkin field, and while waiting for the impending harvest, the ripe pumpkins were admiring each other and taking bets on who would be picked first. Then a small and squeaky voice was heard. They all turned toward the sound.
A very small (by their standards) orange Pumpkin by itself and partially hidden by a large leaf was attempting to make itself heard.
“Whaaaaat?” a collective moan went up. “Who are YOU and where did YOU come from” the big pumpkins demanded. The small pumpkin straightened itself, tried to look big, and said defiantly “I’m growing here in the field like the rest of you and I’m ready to be picked.”
“You’re much too small to get picked, don’t be ridiculous. Anyway, you’re so small, you will make us look bad, so get lost. Get back under that leaf and shut up” snarled a 30-kilo Pumpkin, looking mean.
The small pumpkin stood its ground. “What if someone would prefer a small pumpkin?” it asked.
The big pumpkins hooted derisively. That was a dumb question, they reasoned. Whoever heard of someone wanting a substandard size pumpkin at Halloween? Ridiculous.
The big pumpkins turned away from the small one, and ignoring it, went back to admiring themselves.
The small pumpkin thus rebuffed, pushed itself as far behind the leaves from its vine as it could, and cried quietly to itself.
Pretty soon the pumpkin picking crew showed up and began to pick, load, and pack the big pumpkins into trucks. Still partially hidden under the leaves, the small one was missed.
It was really quiet in the field once all the other pumpkins were gone.
It was a very successful pumpkin sale, and the trucks returned to the farm empty. Happy people had managed to find the perfect pumpkins for this Halloween and had taken them home to carve and decorate. Farmer Green was delighted.
It was now one day before Halloween and the Grahams, a young family from a nearby town, were driving around frantically searching for a Pumpkin to carve and display at their home. They had been unable to get to the big sale in time to get a pumpkin and there were none to be had anywhere. Their children were bitterly disappointed. They were on their way home when they noticed a sign on a fence: “Farmer Green’s Pumpkin Farm” was what it said. They stopped the car. Maybe the farm had one or two pumpkins left? Everyone was tired and hungry but Mrs. Graham thought it might be worth a chance to ask. They drove up the bumpy farm track to the main buildings.
Farmer Green was outside the house when the Grahams pulled up.
“How can I help you?” he asked.
The Graham family spilled out of the car and Mr. Graham asked timidly if there might be one pumpkin left that they could buy. Farmer Green took in the scene and shook his head regretfully. All the pumpkins had been picked, shipped to the town and sold, he told them.
“Oh well it was with a try”: said Mr. Graham trying to herd the kids back to the car with the help of his wife. Just then a squeaky voice was heard “Me me me, I’m still here …”
Everyone turned toward the sound and found themselves looking toward the empty Pumpkin field.
“What on earth…?” exclaimed Farmer Green
Mr. Graham got a flashlight out of the car and offered it to Farmer Green, who turned the beam toward the sound they had heard. Now they could also hear bumping and rustling. Near the fence, they could see leaves tossing about and a flash of orange. As they trained the flashlight on that spot, out rolled a small, perfect orange Pumpkin.
Farmer Green was surprised and said, “Well I’ll be darned, where did that little guy come from?”
Mr. and Mrs. Graham looked at each other and asked Farmer Green “Could we buy that little pumpkin? Our kids will be so happy …”
In the meantime, the Graham children had spotted the little pumpkin and rushed over to it “Oooooh, it’s lovely! Just the right size for us, can we get it?” they begged.
The littlest pumpkin managed to dislodge itself from the plant stem and rolled over toward the kids. “Me me me me take me please!” it squeaked.
And so the story had a happy ending. Farmer Green never had to admit that he had grown a tiny pumpkin; the Graham family had a perfect-sized pumpkin for Halloween and the littlest pumpkin was not overlooked, after all.
This story was inspired by our good friend Dennett who loves the colour orange.