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Priscilla Masters

Scaring Crows

Macmillan 1999
Jacket design Joe Partridge

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Priscilla Masters

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A mischievous starling had learnt to mimic the farmer's whistle and lure the cows to the gate. So while he sat on a high branch of the hawthorn tree, his head cocked to one side, beak open, the animals stood, foolishly, waiting to be led to the cowshed. Milk leaked from their bloated udders and dampened the cracked mud. And impatient for the relief of the milking parlour the cows trampled the dusty clods and jostled for prime position while the starling continued to tease, repeating the call at intervals. It was a good enough impersonation to fool the cows. But they were stupid animals anyway. Ahead of them, air shimmering with buzzing swarms of flies, gaped the empty lane, with its baking cow pats and the hawthorn tree with the taunting starling, its tiny eyes bright with intelligence, trilling its deceitful tune.

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