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The Mysterious Mask, a fable by Buscrat



Buscrat, the mountain-man entertainer, is best known for his hilarious narratives of wildlife encounters, Montana history and fables, his encouraging nature, and for being as old as Father Time. With his creativity and anecdotal storytelling, his style goes beyond the spectrum of traditional stand-up comedy.

One day I was a fishin offa the deck of my cabin and seen an 11-year-old feller getting a lecture from his ma and pa. He was a sixth grader, and was always in trouble fer being the school bully.

I got to talking to the youngster about his woes, and he said, “I wish I had some friends. I always eat lunch alone at school. Everyone hates me.”

So, I got a mysterious mask out of my cellar and handed it to the young lad. “This mask gots sumpin’ very unique about it,” I said. “Wear it every day, and after six months everyone’ll be treating you the way you want ‘em too.”

“That’s ridiculous,” he said. “Why would anybody change their opinion of me just because I wore this stupid mask?”

“That’s because it gots magical qualities,” I responded. “When you wear it, everybody will see you as a different person.”

“But I can see right through it. They’ll still be able to see me, and they’ll still hate me.”

“When you wear it, they you won’t see you for the person you’ve been,” I said. “They’ll see the person you want to become—however, you want everyone to know you.”

Reluctantly, the boy went to school the next Monday wearing the mask. Nobody said nothin’ about it. They didn’t notice he was even wearing it. So far, so good, he thunk.

Then he saw a fifth grader walking with his books and lunch in one hand, and a poster for his science fair project in the other, trying not to drag it. The masked boy liked teasing younger kids and saw his opportunity to knock the poster out the fifth grader’s hand. As he approached, the masked sixth grader tried to knock the poster out of the younger boy’s hand but instead grabbed it and said, “Here, let me help you. You’ve got your hands full.”

The fifth grader, seeing it was the bully everybody despised, was astonished.

The masked boy thought, “whatta heck am I doing?” He even surprised hisself!

Then the masked boy saw another sixth grade girl who he liked to tease about her about her ugly glasses. “Hey ugly, where’d you get the glasses,” was what he meant to say, but the words that came out were, “Hey Rachel, I saw you playing tetherball at recess. You’re pretty good.”

She was astonished to hear the bully say something nice. He was also astonished. It wasn’t what he meant to say at all.

During class the teacher gave out a math test and then walked out of the classroom. The masked boy saw another kid cheating. Because he loved tattling, he leaned over to say, “I’m telling the teacher you were cheating,” but instead the words that came out of his mouth were, “hey Tony, I can help you with your math during lunch if you’d like.”

The other kid looked at the masked boy suspiciously and gave him weird look. He always tells on everyone, so why is he being so nice now? he thought to himself.

The masked sixth grader also gave a weird look. What is going on here? Everything I want to say comes out different, he thought.

The other kid accepted the offer for help.

Six months later the sixth grader thanked me fer borrowing him my mask. He said every time he goes into the lunch room lots of kids come over and sit next to him. They even walk home with him to play after school.

Then he said thanky fer letting him use the mask and was amazed about its magical qualities that made everyone around him see him in a new light.

Buscrat’s fables are simple stories that teach a moral. Buscrat welcomes you to visit and post your comments regarding the fable.

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