The Scarecrow is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator William Wallace Denslow. In his first appearance, the Scarecrow reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one.
In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the living scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. After Dorothy and her friends have completed their mission to kill the Wicked Witch of the West, the Wizard gives the Scarecrow brains (made out of bran, pins and needles – in reality a placebo, as he has been the most intelligent of the travellers all along). Before he leaves Oz in a balloon, the Wizard appoints the Scarecrow to rule Oz in his stead.
His desire for brains notably contrasts with the Tin Woodman's desire for a heart, reflecting a common debate between the relative importance of the mind and the emotions. This, indeed, occasions philosophical debate between the two friends as to why their own choices are superior; neither convinces the other, and Dorothy, listening, is unable to decide which one is right. Symbolically, because they remain with Dorothy throughout her quest, she is provided with both and need not select.