The very last fleeting dappled rays of October’s sun streamed across the pumpkin field, randomly punctuated by autumn’s tiny dust particles, dancing merrily in the mottled light.  The pumpkin field had produced its yearly huge crop of pumpkins in time for Halloween.  Every last fat, jolly orange pumpkin had been chosen by eager families in the weeks before Halloween.  Hundreds of happy pumpkins had found their homes and were serving as ambassadors to bring the spirit of Halloween.  Except for a very small, bright orange pumpkin named Patrick Pumpkin.  He had been overlooked many times by excited children, looking for the biggest or the most perfectly shaped pumpkin.  Patrick fit neither category.  He was tiny, very lopsided, riddled with bumps and sported a big scar across his forehead.

Patrick Pumpkin watched sadly from the bottom of his deep, earthy furrow as the farmer began to wrap things up for the day on Halloween.  A big orange tear trickled down the blemished side of his face, coursing around the bumps and coming to rest in the crevice of his scar. 

Almost immediately a raucous crow swooped down from the darkening sky and landed beside Patrick.  The feathered black creature was looking for the last traces of dinner, before darkness enveloped the field.  Noticing the large tear coursing down Patrick Pumpkin’s face, the crow couldn’t help but wonder at the tiny misshapen gourd’s sorrow.

“Hi, I’m Cedrick Crow.  Pleased to meet you little one.”  Cedrick boldly cawed.  

Patrick answered, “My name is Patrick Pumpkin,” with a small, sad hesitant voice.

Cedrick asked, “Why so glum, buddy?”

“Beecccause every one of the large and perfect pumpkins were chosen and no one at all wanted to take me home.” stammered Patrick.

As Cedrick hopped closer to Patrick to get a better look, a shiny object fell onto the ground from under his wing.  As soon as the stone hit the ground, Cedrick began to change from his gorgeous, glossy crow blue black to a shade of bright spring green.  His sharp straight black beak changed into a hook-bill, similar to a parrot’s beak and then the beak turned orange. 

“Oh my”, cried Cedrick, “my magic crystal stone does that to me sometimes.  Turned me green this time.”

Little Patrick was amazed at the crystal’s ability to transform and it gave him an idea.  “Can you turn me into another kind of Halloween creature so I won’t be left sitting all alone in the pumpkin patch?” he asked.

Cedrick replied, “I can give it a try,” as he used his beak to nudge the magic crystal stone over to touch Patrick’s pumpkin face.

Immediately, Patrick was changed from a pumpkin into a sleek and stunning black cat.  Patrick pranced back and forth, swishing his tail and getting the feel of his new body, experiencing the cat-suit.  Somehow, being a cat didn’t feel quite right.  And besides, not every child’s parents would let their son or daughter bring a cat home for Halloween either.  Maybe a cat body wasn’t the answer after all.

“Can you give me another identity, Cedrick?” pleaded Patrick.

Cedrick scratched his head and thought of another idea.  He touched the magic stone with his beak, moving it to reach Patrick’s front paw and in a flash the cat body changed into a magnificent bat, flying high, chasing the shadows and scattering spider webs in a hundred directions.  For a few minutes Patrick had immense fun in his bat body but he reasoned that not everyone likes bats hanging around their eaves.  He just might get shooed away with a broomstick and certainly most children would be frightened of him anyway.

One more time, Patrick landed his bat-self near Cedrick parrot and asked for another shape.

“I have the perfect one for you this time!” exclaimed Cedrick, once again using the magic crystal to change Patrick’s identity.

The minute the crystal touched the agile bat body, Patrick whooshed airborne again, this time taking on a ghostly white form, floating lightly through the dry, twisted stubble of the field and coming to perch on a high tree branch.  Patrick rather enjoyed the semi-transparency and lightness of form the ghost identity provided but again, he quickly decided this ghost presence might really scare small children a lot and he certainly didn’t want that to happen.

Patrick’s ghostly form wisped out of the tree and came to land by Cedrick parrot.

“Cedrick, I’ve been thinking”, Patrick said with a serious tone to his voice, “can you please change me back to my old self?”

With an obliging bow, Cedrick once again touched the gauzy hem of the ghost’s garment with the stone and poof, in an instant Patrick Pumpkin was again his old pumpkin-self, complete with a misshapen orange head, full of warts and a scar.

As he settled back into his original form, Patrick Pumpkin remarked to Cedrick, “Aahhh, this feels so much better to be back in a body I am familiar with.  Even if I am physically imperfect, at least I know what this form feels like and I am used to it.”

With a very wise look in his eye, Cedrick parrot cocked his head and a mystical smile turned the corners of his orange beak up as he nodded in agreement with Patrick Pumpkin.

There was a sad note in Patrick Pumpkin’s voice as he said, in a very resigned voice, “I may not have found a home this Halloween but at least you helped me to figure out what I wasn’t comfortable being.  Even if I didn’t grow up to be a big, perfect pumpkin, at least I tried.”

Again, Cedrick Parrot nodded his wise green head in agreement and told Patrick Pumpkin, “Glad to help you little friend but I need to get back to my crow-shape now and find a night roost with my buddies.  So long and good luck to you.”

Cedrick Parrot used his magic crystal to change back to Cedrick Crow and he flew up into the darkness of the gnarled tree limbs.  Just seconds later, the headlight beams of a car swept across the field, blinding Patrick Pumpkin.  The farmer was just about to leave for the night to celebrate Halloween with his own family but he turned around when a young mother jumped from the car, waving her arms frantically.

She ran towards the farmer, begging him for a pumpkin for her young daughter.  “Please, please, do you have any pumpkins left?  I was so busy getting ready for Halloween, I completely forgot a pumpkin this year!”

The dear old farmer hated to disappoint her but he told her he had sold every last pumpkin in the whole patch.  The mother’s high hopes were turned to sadness.

 Seconds later, a very excited small girl with dancing brown eyes and tousled hair emerged from the car.  The girl ran out into the field and in the light from the car headlights she spotted Patrick Pumpkin, resting in the bottom of the furrow.

“Look mommy,” cried Ayla,” I found a pumpkin here in the field.” 

Ayla’s mother walked over to her daughter, looked at the imperfect Patrick Pumpkin and told her it wasn’t quite the pumpkin she had in mind.  She was thinking of a big flawless pumpkin.  Something they could carve a happy face into.

But the wise, untarnished eyes of a child see many things we adults miss.  Ayla exclaimed, “This pumpkin already has a face and besides it is just my size!”

As she had a closer look at the little pumpkin, Ayla’s mother began to see what she was looking at and agreed her daughter had picked out a very special pumpkin indeed.  She loaded a very happy Ayla up in the car with her just-the-right-size prize-pumpkin.

Cedrick Crow opened one wise eye and looked sleepily down from his high tree perch.  With a pleased smile he whispered, “G’bye little buddy pumpkin.  I am so happy you got picked for being your own wonderful self.”

Patrick Pumpkin grinned back, lop-sidedly, at his crow friend as he nestled proudly in Ayla’s lap, the family car bumping its way down the rutted farm road and out of the darkened pumpkin field.  A big fat orange tear of happiness coursed down Patrick Pumpkin’s plump cheek.    

Print this page