Judge Gookin meets the Scarecrow, whom Mother Rigby has named Feathertop. Feathertop is introduced to Polly, and the two begin to fall in love. But when Polly and Feathertop gaze into a bewitched mirror, they see Feathertop reflected as a scarecrow, not as a man. Polly faints, and the now-terrified and anguished Scarecrow rushes back to Mother Rigby, where, knowing himself utterly rejected by Polly, he deliberately breaks his pipe and collapses in a lifeless heap. Mother Rigby reflects, "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," and decides that her "son" is better off as merely a scarecrow.
Warner Brothers made it into a much-altered animated children's movie also called The Scarecrow with a different story where Polly did not see Feathertop as a scarecrow.
"Feathertop" is mentioned in Bill Willingham's comic book series Fables. He makes a brief appearance in the prose story "A Wolf in the Fold" from the Fables trade paperback, where he accompanies Snow White on her trip to Carpathia to meet the Big Bad Wolf.
MacKaye's play has also been made into an opera, also called The Scarecrow, on two occasions - once in 1945, by Normand and Dorothy Lockwood, and again more recently, with music by Joseph Turrin and libretto by Bernard Stambler.
"False Young Man!" in the collection Dark Mondays is a variation on "Feathertop."
Pamela Schirmeister. The Consolation of Space: The Place of Romance in Hawthorne, Melville, and James.(Book review)
Dec 22, 1990; Pamela Schirmeister. The Consolation of Space: The Place of Romance in Hawthorne, Melville, and James. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP,...