Bartleby the Pumpkin
Charles Lee McCabe
Bartleby the pumpkin opened his eyes and looked around at the giant field surrounding him, noticing what looked like orange balls of different sizes all around him. Looking up, Bartleby saw a large autumn sky full of cool crisp air. He also noticed a vine coming out of his own head that lead to some of the orange balls that he had seen before. Looking down, he realized that he was one of these orange balls, as well. At first, the thought surprised him, but then he grinned because he felt a sense of community with the others in this field.
Bartleby lay where he was for days on end, for he didn't have arms or legs with which to move, but he was able to listen to the other pumpkins talk, but he rarely ever had anything to add to the conversations. The other pumpkins were always talking about a variety of topics like the weather and which pumpkins were growing the largest, but all of their talks would always end up at the topic of harvest.
The idea of harvest frightened Bartleby badly at first, but as time went on, and as he heard the older
pumpkins talking about it, he began to look forward to the event. According to the other pumpkins, giants would come into the pumpkin field with a huge cart, plucking up the pumpkins that they viewed as worthy, and those pumpkins would be whisked away to be part of festivals all around the land.
To Bartleby, this sounded like the pumpkins were made the very center of the festivities, and he was honored by the thought. Although he tried to imagine what type of festival would honor a pumpkin, he kept drawing a blank on the subject. Listening to the other pumpkins, Bartleby learned that they didn't really know any more about the festival than he himself did. This made Bartleby feel better about being confused and excited about the upcoming harvest.
Finally, on one chilly day when most of the pumpkins in the field were fully grown, Bartleby noticed a sound in the distance that he had never heard before. Being fairly close to the edge of the field, he looked beyond the fence that served as a border to his world and saw something that made him afraid and excited at the same time. What he saw was a large group of beings that could only be the giants that he had heard about, and they had a long cart with them that would be used to transport the chosen pumpkins. The harvest had arrived.
As the giants made their way into the field plucking many of the pumpkins that Bartleby had grown up with, they seemed to be traveling away from him, which made Bartleby very sad. He sat there wondering why he had not been chosen when he noticed that the giants were bringing their cart back toward the edge of the field, as though they were about to leave. Suddenly, one of the giants broke off from the group, and walked directly to where Bartleby lay.
The giant seemed to consider Bartleby for a few moments, and then it bent over and plucked him from the vine. The sudden movement startled Bartleby so much that he nearly fell from under the giant's arm, until the giant settled him tighter against his side. Being placed inside the cart, Bartleby saw that he was not lying with the rest of the pumpkins; rather he was a small distance away from them, as though he had been singled out. This worried him, but he was too excited to have been chosen to give it too much thought.
The ride in the cart seemed to go on forever, and many of the pumpkins were napping when they came to an abrupt stop. This woke up all the pumpkins that had been asleep, and the excited babble of conversation soon resumed. The back of the cart was lowered, revealing large brown boxes on the ground, and the reason for the boxes became clear as pumpkins were pulled from the back of the cart and placed within the boxes. Box after box was filled until Bartleby was left alone in the back of the cart.
Bartleby thought that he would be placed in a box along with the other pumpkins, but as the last box was closed and loaded onto a truck, he realized that he would not be going with his friends. Wondering if he had been forgotten, Bartleby looked around frantically until he saw the giant that had harvested him. Instantly Bartleby felt better, seeing as the look on the giants face appeared to be a smile.
The giant lifted Bartleby out of the cart and carried him to where a smaller giant waited. This giant had long hair and was also smiling. As soon as the smaller giant noticed Bartleby, it started jumping up and down and reaching for him. As Bartleby changed hands, he found himself surrounded by such a sense of love that he knew nothing bad would happen to him.
Over the next two days, Bartleby witnessed things that filled him with wonder, and made him very glad to be part of the festivities. The first thing that had happened to him was he was brought indoors and washed. This was a strange sensation for him, since the only water he had known to this point came from the rains that fell into the field. Next, he was placed on some sort of paper that had strange dark markings on them, as the giants pulled out a sharp object and laid it beside Bartleby.
The sharp object looked frightening, but Bartleby trusted the giants at this point. At this point, the first giant picked up the object and slid it into the top Bartleby's head, but with no sensation of pain. A few moments later, Bartleby saw the top of his head pulled off and witnessed his insides pulled out and placed in a pan. He saw what must have been his seeds placed in a large device that had heat coming from it, and shortly the room began to fill with scents that were oddly familiar and delicious.
After this task was done, the sharp object was used again, but this time it was used to cut shapes out of Bartleby's face. With this task finished, Bartleby found that he was able to see much better than he previously could. He guessed the giants had blessed him with a face, and Bartleby was proud of this fact. When the giants finished cleaning him up after the strange surgery, Bartleby was taken back outside, placed before the house, and had a small object placed within his head.
As the day became the night, Bartleby discovered what the small object was, as well as what its purpose was. When the light faded from the day, the small candle that had been placed into Bartleby shone out of his face, letting others know that the house that he was in front of would welcome others that were taking part in the festival.
That night Bartleby saw many different creatures, some scary but all amusing, come to the house and many of them looked at Bartleby himself with a smile. As the night wound down, along with the candle that was within Bartleby, fewer creatures came around and Bartleby found himself getting quite tired. As the final creature of the night departed, Bartleby fell asleep as his candle finally burned out. His final thought that night was full of joy and pride for being allowed to take part in this strange festival, this Halloween.
Bartleby the Pumpkin