The Lonely Farmer
One breezy day, a lonely farmer who was tending to his cows in his barn happened to find a nest of barn owls. These creatures were rather shy and gentle compared to other birds of their feather. When the farmer started poking around, he had accidentally spooked the parents. They prepared to flee from the scene leaving behind their eggs, but the farmer pleaded for their stay as he is dreading what will become of their young. And so they stay. Surprised by this, the farmer holds a puzzled expression. He was a cyclops and unliked by many. Because of this he grew his hair out and wore a straw hat to block people’s view of his one eye. The barn owls then landed on some nearby hay after seeing he was a peaceful lad. However, seeing that he was distressed, a voice from where they rested came.
“Why are you alone?” asked the mother barn owl.
“Because I am but a cyclops and the humans fear me,” the lonely farmer answered. “My mother and father have left me this land to make use of. Although I’m aware they too were afraid and wished me gone from them. Therefore I am alone.”
“But you are not alone,” said the mother barn owl as she spreads out her wings. “We are here and so are your friends on the farm.”
This made the cyclops very happy to hear. He had made new friends this time of year and they were very kind to him. However that still did not satisfy him. He craves the affection of someone, but feels it is impossible to attain. That makes the lonely farmer very sad now believing his looks will only drive people away. This feeling of sadness over time makes the farmer depressed thinking his only company will be that of his friends on the farm. The barn owls and animals want him to be happy and decide to hatch a plan. They would have him meet with someone, someone kind and understanding.
They then gather round to write a letter saying, ‘To anyone who will read this. I am but a lonely and humble farmer who wishes for the company of another. If you read this and you are indeed a fair lady please come to my farm so we may meet. Sincerely, Lonely Farmer.’
Once this was done, all that was left was to write his address: seal it, and then have one of his sheepdogs place it in the pile of mail on his table. And as they suspected the mail was placed in the mailbox to be delivered. Now all that was required was to wait. So they did. They waited for days, weeks, months, and even a year. But not one person came. This made the animals' faith run thin watching their lonely friend be sad still. Then that spring, a fair lady was dropped off at the farms' gate. Her hair was like fire, and poppy seeds sprinkled her face. Her eyes were flourishing in the warmth of spring. The farm animals were in awe of her. She was simply beautiful. She was so eye catching they began huddling to form a meeting.
“Is she the one?” The horse asked with delight.
“Settle down, settle down,” the father barn owl had said.
“Where did she come from?” asked a piglet.
“She’s pretty,” said another.
And as the animals continue to converge on the matter, the lady walks up to the farmer's house and knocks on his door. He answered of course, but was surprised by the visit. Tipping his hat low he asked if she’s lost and she claims not to be. And this is what she asks of him:
“Are you by chance the Lonely and Humble Farmer?”
“Yes I am,” he told her. “But how did you know who I am?”
“By your letter of course,” she said, smiling.
“What letter?” he asked, very confused about the matter.
“This letter,” she explained, handing it to him.
The farmer read it and was in tears as he read.
The lady was concerned and reached out to him asking, “Whatever is the matter?”
“I have good friends and that I’ve yet to realize it only now,” he told her.
She was bewildered by his actions, and not sure if she fully understood what he meant. The farmer then thought of offering her cake and tea for her troubles and invited her in. She accepted of course, and when briefly glancing at his face she couldn’t maintain eye contact as he swiftly moved inside and wouldn’t stare at her for long. That day they got to know each other a bit more, and the farmer grew to like her and invited her over again. And all the farm animals watched that night as the lady had left. It was as if love had sprung up that year. Since that day she came every day around the same time and left the same night. Eventually they grew closer and closer when summer rolled around, but the farmer had yet to tell his secret to her. He was still very afraid she would want to leave him. The animals believed if he told her she would not turn him away and forsake him, however he was yet to try.
One cold and rainy day, the farmer was in a pickle. There was heavy rain that day, and because of it the fields would be flooded and the crops ruined. The lonely cyclops thought to use rope, and cloth to cover the fields in order to minimize the flooding. This would’ve worked, if he wasn’t alone. The farm animals couldn’t help due to the heavy rains and felt worried and dread-ridden thinking of their poor farmer friend. However, he wasn’t completely alone. For as always the lady who arrives everyday arrived as she did that day too. When noticing the struggling farmer, she goes to help him. She helps to hold down the cloth used for covering the fields as the farmer helps to pin them down. When done, they hurriedly head to his house for cover from the rain.
However, it was pointless by then as the rain began to lighten up. The Farmer and fair lady laughed about their day. It was then she was able to see the farmer’s eye with his hair soaken and down. When he noticed her stare he immediately felt ashamed and turned away from her. But it had been too late for she had already seen his eye. Slowly she places a hand on his and she tells him how beautiful his eye looks to her. Hearing these words, his heart shook with happiness and his throat went dry. He felt his words were choked within him. She asked if he would let her see his eye and still in shock he shook his head. She didn’t understand why and asked him:
“Why do you hide your face from me?”
“I am afraid you will flee from me when you see,” he replied.
“Show me and I will decide that for myself,” she told him.
Hesitating, he agreed and faced her. Without his hat on to block out people’s view of his eye and his hair wet and sticking to both sides of his head, his eye could be seen as clear as day. The lady stared with widened eyes and the farmer, thinking it was fear he saw, sighs. But what was said next surprised him so much that he gasped.
“Please don’t look away from me,” she had said. “Your eye is captivating to look into.”
This made the farmer weep with joy as flutters of happiness entered him.
“Why do you accept me?” he asked. “Am I not terrifying?”
“You couldn't frighten me with that look of longing even if you wanted to,” she said smiling.
And from then it was as if a match had been struck. A love not tied by another's description or ideal. A love that was true and earnest. That summer, the lonely farmer was no longer lonely. He was in fact a very happy and grateful farmer. The barn owl’s younglings who grew within the year disbursed out into the wild to live their adult life, while the summer told of a promising future for them all.