Local Stories

Leap Frog and the Stooks: By: James Armour

Autumn was a very exciting time on the farm for myself and my four brothers. At that time of year there was always something interesting happening when we arrived home from school. One of the most exciting activities for us was reaping the corn. Then the neighbours would be there to help with tying the sheaves while myself and my brothers would take turns at sitting on the rear seat of the reaper operating the gear lever that engaged the driving mechanism.

We had lots of fun playing hide and seek around the stooks, watching and learning from the men mowing the hay, gathering sheaves to make stooks and later on ‘carrying in’ to my father when he was building huts of corn. These were the more enjoyable tasks for us when we were young but we also felt that we could have much more fun in the cornfield if none of the older people were around.

On Sunday, after Sunday school, when all was quiet we would disappear after dinner and head outside to make our own fun and have a good time. Uel, my older brother, whom we knew as the ringleader would always devise something. One Sunday he noticed that our neighbouring farmer had just cut his field of corn and of course, the recently built stooks had not yet wilted or bent over.  They were standing very upright as if in a military stance. Uel decided that these stooks were just exactly what we needed to have our game of leap frog. The stooks were of uneven height some had four sheaves others had three, so of course we were daring each other as to which one of us could jump the highest without knocking over the erect sheaves. We played for hours, had a great time but did not realise that half of the field of stooks were demolished as a result of our activities.

We headed home and on arrival we were asked by mother where we were, to which our reply was, ‘Just playing in the field’. ‘What field’? asked mother. ‘Ah just out the lane,’ was Uel’s reply. ‘Alright then, now get ready for bed and don’t forget you have school in the morning’.

Monday morning arrived, we were packed of to school and on the way we passed by the field we had so much fun in the previous day. Perhaps at the same time as we were having our mid-morning break the neighbouring farmer arrived in with my father for a chat and to discuss the problem he had experienced during the night with his field of corn. ‘Sam, did you hear the storm last night, the wind must have been fierce?’ No, I didn’t hear a thing’, was the reply. ‘That’s very funny, because do you know that field of corn we cut on Friday? It was completely flattened last night, must have been the wind. I’m surprised Sam that you didn’t hear it.’ My father would have thought for a moment or two and silently said to himself, ‘I know what happened to your field of corn stooks’.

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