Feathertop: A Moralized Legend

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"Feathertop: A Moralized Legend"
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in The International Magazine
Media type Print
Publication date February 1852
March 1852

"Feathertop: A Moralized Legend" is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was first published in two parts in The International Magazine in February and March 1852.[1] It has been adapted to other media including the stage, television, and movies.

Story[change | change source]

The story is set in seventeenth century New England. Mother Rigby is a witch. She builds a scarecrow to protect her garden. She brings the scarecrow to life. She gives the scarecrow the appearance of a normal man. She gives him a pipe. He needs to smoke this pipe to keep himself alive. Mother Rigby names him Feathertop. She sends him into town to woo Polly Gookin. Mother Rigby does not like her father Judge Gookin. Feathertop and Polly begin to fall in love. They look into a magic mirror. Feathertop is reflected as a scarecrow, not as a man. Polly faints. Feathertop rushes back to Mother Rigby. He has been rejected by Polly. He breaks his pipe and collapses in a lifeless heap. Mother Rigby says, "There are thousands upon thousands of coxcombs and charlatans in the world, made up of just such a jumble of wornout, forgotten, and good-for-nothing trash as he was! Yet they live in fair repute, and never see themselves for what they are." She thinks that Feathertop is better off as a scarecrow.

References[change | change source]

  1. Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943. p. 208

Other websites[change | change source]