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Nights With Uncle Remus - Myths and Legends of the Old Plantation
by Joel Chandler Harris
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NIGHTS WITH UNCLE REMUS





- BOOKS BY JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS. _ LITTLE MR. THIMBLEFINGER AND HIS QUEER COUNTRY. Illustrated by OLIVER HERFORD. MR. RABBIT AT HOME. A Sequel to Little Mr. Thimblefinger and His Queer Country. Illustrated by OLIVER HERFORD. THE STORY OF AARON (SO-NAMED) THE SON OF BEN ALI. Told by his Friends and Acquaintances. Illustrated by OLIVER HERFORD. AARON IN THE WILDWOODS. Illustrated by OLIVER HERFORD. PLANTATION PAGEANTS. Illustrated by E. BOYD SMITH. NIGHTS WITH UNCLE REMUS. Illustrated. UNCLE REMUS AND HIS FRIENDS. Illustrated. MINGO, AND OTHER SKETCHES IN BLACK AND WHITE. BALAAM AND HIS MASTER, AND OTHER SKETCHES. SISTER JANE, HER FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. A Narrative of Certain Events and Episodes transcribed from the Papers of the late William Wornum. TALES OF THE HOME FOLKS IN PEACE AND WAR. Illustrated. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY BOSTON AND NEW YORK -



NIGHTS WITH UNCLE REMUS

MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE OLD PLANTATION

BY

JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS

AUTHOR OF "UNCLE REMUS: HIS SONGS AND SAYINGS," "AT TEAGUE POTEET'S," ETC.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

The Riverside Press Cambridge

COPYRIGHT, 1883, BY JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY ESTHER LA ROSE HARRIS

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. MR. FOX AND MISS GOOSE 3

II. BROTHER FOX CATCHES MR. HORSE 8

III. BROTHER RABBIT AND THE LITTLE GIRL 12

IV. HOW BROTHER FOX WAS TOO SMART 17

V. BROTHER RABBIT'S ASTONISHING PRANK 21

VI. BROTHER RABBIT SECURES A MANSION 26

VII. MR. LION HUNTS FOR MR. MAN 33

VIII. THE STORY OF THE PIGS 38

IX. MR. BENJAMIN RAM AND HIS WONDERFUL FIDDLE 44

X. BROTHER RABBIT'S RIDDLE 51

XI. HOW MR. ROOSTER LOST HIS DINNER 56

XII. BROTHER RABBIT BREAKS UP A PARTY 61

XIII. BROTHER FOX, BROTHER RABBIT, AND KING DEER'S DAUGHTER 68

XIV. BROTHER TERRAPIN DECEIVES BROTHER BUZZARD 74

XV. BROTHER FOX COVETS THE QUILLS 79

XVI. HOW BROTHER FOX FAILED TO GET HIS GRAPES 83

XVII. MR. FOX FIGURES AS AN INCENDIARY 90

XVIII. A DREAM AND A STORY 95

XIX. THE MOON IN THE MILL-POND 100

XX. BROTHER RABBIT TAKES SOME EXERCISE 108

XXI. WHY BROTHER BEAR HAS NO TAIL 113

XXII. HOW BROTHER RABBIT FRIGHTENED HIS NEIGHBOURS 118

XXIII. MR. MAN HAS SOME MEAT 123

XXIV. HOW BROTHER RABBIT GOT THE MEAT 128

XXV. AFRICAN JACK 132

XXVI. WHY THE ALLIGATOR'S BACK IS ROUGH 141

XXVII. BROTHER WOLF SAYS GRACE 146

XXVIII. SPIRITS, SEEN AND UNSEEN 154

XXIX. A GHOST STORY 161

XXX. BROTHER RABBIT AND HIS FAMOUS FOOT 166

XXXI. "IN SOME LADY'S GARDEN" 177

XXXII. BROTHER 'POSSUM GETS IN TROUBLE 185

XXXIII. WHY THE GUINEA-FOWLS ARE SPECKLED 193

XXXIV. BROTHER RABBIT'S LOVE-CHARM 198

XXXV. BROTHER RABBIT SUBMITS TO A TEST 203

XXXVI. BROTHER WOLF FALLS A VICTIM 208

XXXVII. BROTHER RABBIT AND THE MOSQUITOES 214

XXXVIII. THE PIMMERLY PLUM 223

XXXIX. BROTHER RABBIT GETS THE PROVISIONS 230

XL. "CUTTA CORD-LA!" 236

XLI. AUNT TEMPY'S STORY 241

XLII. THE FIRE-TEST 248

XLIII. THE CUNNING SNAKE 255

XLIV. HOW BROTHER FOX WAS TOO SMART 260

XLV. BROTHER WOLF GETS IN A WARM PLACE 268

XLVI. BROTHER WOLF STILL IN TROUBLE 274

XLVII. BROTHER RABBIT LAYS IN HIS BEEF SUPPLY 280

XLVIII. BROTHER RABBIT AND MR. WILDCAT 286

XLIX. MR. BENJAMIN RAM DEFENDS HIMSELF 291

L. BROTHER RABBIT PRETENDS TO BE POISONED 297

LI. MORE TROUBLE FOR BROTHER WOLF 302

LII. BROTHER RABBIT OUTDOES MR. MAN 306

LIII. BROTHER RABBIT TAKES A WALK 311

LIV. OLD GRINNY-GRANNY WOLF 314

LV. HOW WATTLE WEASEL WAS CAUGHT 319

LVI. BROTHER RABBIT TIES MR. LION 325

LVII. MR. LION'S SAD PREDICAMENT 330

LVIII. THE ORIGIN OF THE OCEAN 334

LIX. BROTHER RABBIT GETS BROTHER FOX'S DINNER 339

LX. HOW THE BEAR NURSED THE LITTLE ALLIGATOR 344

LXI. WHY MR. DOG RUNS BROTHER RABBIT 349

LXII. BROTHER WOLF AND THE HORNED CATTLE 353

LXIII. BROTHER FOX AND THE WHITE MUSCADINES 357

LXIV. MR. HAWK AND BROTHER BUZZARD 362

LXV. MR. HAWK AND BROTHER RABBIT 366

LXVI. THE WISE BIRD AND THE FOOLISH BIRD 370

LXVII. OLD BROTHER TERRAPIN GETS SOME FISH 373

LXVIII. BROTHER FOX MAKES A NARROW ESCAPE 377

LXIX. BROTHER FOX'S FISH-TRAP 381

LXX. BROTHER RABBIT RESCUES BROTHER TERRAPIN 386

LXXI. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 396



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACE PAGE

MISS MEADOWS AND BROTHER RABBIT Frontispiece

MR. FOX AND MISS GOOSE 4

BROTHER RABBIT AND THE LITTLE GIRL 14

BROTHER RABBIT'S ASTONISHING PRANK 24

MR. BENJAMIN RAM AND HIS WONDERFUL FIDDLE 46

BROTHER FOX, BROTHER RABBIT, AND KING DEER'S DAUGHTER 70

BROTHER FOX COVETS THE QUILLS 82

A DREAM AND A STORY 96

BROTHER RABBIT TAKES SOME EXERCISE 110

WHY BROTHER BEAR HAS NO TAIL 116

WHY THE ALLIGATOR'S BACK IS ROUGH 144

BROTHER WOLF SAYS GRACE 152

WHY THE GUINEA FOWLS ARE SPECKLED 196

BROTHER RABBIT AND THE MOSQUITOES 216

THE PIMMERLY PLUM 228

BROTHER RABBIT GETS THE PROVISIONS 234

BROTHER WOLF STILL IN TROUBLE 278

BROTHER RABBIT AND MR. WILDCAT 288

BROTHER RABBIT TIES MR. LION 328

HOW THE BEAR NURSED THE LITTLE ALLIGATOR 344

GOOD-NIGHT 404



INTRODUCTION

The volume[i_1] containing an instalment of thirty-four negro legends, which was given to the public three years ago, was accompanied by an apology for both the matter and the manner. Perhaps such an apology is more necessary now than it was then; but the warm reception given to the book on all sides—by literary critics, as well as by ethnologists and students of folk-lore, in this country and in Europe—has led the author to believe that a volume embodying everything, or nearly everything, of importance in the oral literature of the negroes of the Southern States, would be as heartily welcomed.

The thirty-four legends in the first volume were merely selections from the large body of plantation folk-lore familiar to the author from his childhood, and these selections were made less with an eye to their ethnological importance than with a view to presenting certain quaint and curious race characteristics, of which the world at large had had either vague or greatly exaggerated notions.

The first book, therefore, must be the excuse and apology for the present volume. Indeed, the first book made the second a necessity; for, immediately upon its appearance, letters and correspondence began to pour in upon the author from all parts of the South. Much of this correspondence was very valuable, for it embodied legends that had escaped the author's memory, and contained hints and suggestions that led to some very interesting discoveries. The result is, that the present volume is about as complete as it could be made under the circumstances, though there is no doubt of the existence of legends and myths, especially upon the rice plantations, and Sea Islands of the Georgia and Carolina seacoast, which, owing to the difficulties that stand in the way of those who attempt to gather them, are not included in this collection.

It is safe to say, however, that the best and most characteristic of the legends current on the rice plantations and Sea Islands, are also current on the cotton plantations. Indeed, this has been abundantly verified in the correspondence of those who kindly consented to aid the author in his efforts to secure stories told by the negroes on the seacoast. The great majority of legends and stories collected and forwarded by these generous collaborators had already been collected among the negroes on the cotton plantations and uplands of Georgia and other Southern States. This will account for the comparatively meagre contribution which Daddy Jack, the old African of the rice plantations, makes towards the entertainment of the little boy.

The difficulty of verifying the legends which came to hand from various sources has been almost as great as the attempt to procure them at first hand. It is a difficulty hard to describe. It is sometimes amusing, and sometimes irritating, but finally comes to be recognized as the result of a very serious and impressive combination of negro characteristics. The late Professor Charles F. Hartt, of Cornell University, in his admirable monograph[i_2] on the folk-lore of the Amazon regions of Brazil, found the same difficulty among the Amazonian Indians. Exploring the Amazonian valley, Professor Hartt discovered that a great body of myths and legends had its existence among the Indians of that region. Being aware of the great value of these myths, he set himself to work to collect them; but for a long time he found the task an impossible one, for the whites were unacquainted with the Indian folk-lore, and neither by coaxing nor by offers of money could an Indian be persuaded to relate a myth. In most instances, Professor Hartt was met with statements to the effect that some old woman of the neighborhood was the story-teller, who could make him laugh with tales of the animals; but he never could find this old woman.

But one night, Professor Hartt heard his Indian steersman telling the Indian boatmen a story in order to keep them awake. This Indian steersman was full of these stories, but, for a long time, Professor Hartt found it impossible to coax this steersman to tell him another. He discovered that the Indian myth is always related without mental effort, simply to pass the time away, and that all the surroundings must be congenial and familiar.

In the introduction to the first volume of "Uncle Remus"[i_3] occurs this statement: "Curiously enough, I have found few negroes who will acknowledge to a stranger that they know anything of these legends; and yet to relate one is the surest road to their confidence and esteem."

This statement was scarcely emphatic enough. The thirty-four legends in the first volume were comparatively easy to verify, for the reason that they were the most popular among the negroes, and were easily remembered. This is also true of many stories in the present volume; but some of them appear to be known only to the negroes who have the gift of story-telling,—a gift that is as rare among the blacks as among the whites. There is good reason to suppose, too, that many of the negroes born near the close of the war or since, are unfamiliar with the great body of their own folk-lore. They have heard such legends as the "Tar Baby" story and "The Moon in the Mill-Pond," and some others equally as graphic; but, in the tumult and confusion incident to their changed condition, they have had few opportunities to become acquainted with that wonderful collection of tales which their ancestors told in the kitchens and cabins of the Old Plantation. The older negroes are as fond of the legends as ever, but the occasion, or the excuse, for telling them becomes less frequent year by year.

With a fair knowledge of the negro character, and long familiarity with the manifold peculiarities of the negro mind and temperament, the writer has, nevertheless, found it a difficult task to verify such legends as he had not already heard in some shape or other. But, as their importance depended upon such verification, he has spared neither pains nor patience to make it complete. The difficulties in the way of this verification would undoubtedly have been fewer if the writer could have had an opportunity to pursue his investigations in the plantation districts of Middle Georgia; but circumstances prevented, and he has been compelled to depend upon such opportunities as casually or unexpectedly presented themselves.

One of these opportunities occurred in the summer of 1882, at Norcross, a little railroad station, twenty miles northeast of Atlanta. The writer was waiting to take the train to Atlanta, and this train, as it fortunately happened, was delayed. At the station were a number of negroes, who had been engaged in working on the railroad. It was night, and, with nothing better to do, they were waiting to see the train go by. Some were sitting in little groups up and down the platform of the station, and some were perched upon a pile of cross-ties. They seemed to be in great good-humor, and cracked jokes at each other's expense in the midst of boisterous shouts of laughter. The writer sat next to one of the liveliest talkers in the party; and, after listening and laughing awhile, told the "Tar Baby" story by way of a feeler, the excuse being that some one in the crowd mentioned "Ole Molly Har'." The story was told in a low tone, as if to avoid attracting attention; but the comments of the negro, who was a little past middle age, were loud and frequent. "Dar now!" he would exclaim, or, "He's a honey, mon!" or, "Gentermens! git out de way, an' gin 'im room!"

These comments, and the peals of unrestrained and unrestrainable laughter that accompanied them, drew the attention of the other negroes, and before the climax of the story had been reached, where Brother Rabbit is cruelly thrown into the brier-patch, they had all gathered around and made themselves comfortable. Without waiting to see what the effect of the "Tar Baby" legend would be, the writer told the story of "Brother Rabbit and the Mosquitoes," and this had the effect of convulsing them. Two or three could hardly wait for the conclusion, so anxious were they to tell stories of their own. The result was that, for almost two hours, a crowd of thirty or more negroes vied with each other to see which could tell the most and the best stories. Some told them poorly, giving only meagre outlines, while others told them passing well; but one or two, if their language and their gestures could have been taken down, would have put Uncle Remus to shame. Some of the stories told had already been gathered and verified, and a few had been printed in the first volume; but the great majority were either new or had been entirely forgotten. It was night, and impossible to take notes; but that fact was not to be regretted. The darkness gave greater scope and freedom to the narratives of the negroes, and but for this friendly curtain it is doubtful if the conditions would have been favorable to story-telling. But however favorable the conditions might have been, the appearance of a note-book and pencil would have dissipated them as utterly as if they had never existed. Moreover, it was comparatively an easy matter for the writer to take the stories away in his memory, since many of them gave point to a large collection of notes and unrelated fragments already in his possession.

Theal, in the preface to his collection of Kaffir Tales,[i_4] lays great stress upon the fact that the tales he gives "have all undergone a thorough revision by a circle of natives. They were not only told by natives, but were copied down by natives." It is more than likely that his carefulness in this respect has led him to overlook a body of folk-lore among the Kaffirs precisely similar to that which exists among the negroes of the Southern States. If comparative evidence is worth anything,—and it may be worthless in this instance,—the educated natives have "cooked" the stories to suit themselves. In the "Story of the Bird that Made Milk," the children of Masilo tell other children that their father has a bird which makes milk.[i_5] The others asked to see the bird, whereupon Masilo's children took it from the place where their father had concealed it, and ordered it to make milk. Of this milk the other children drank greedily, and then asked to see the bird dance. The bird was untied, but it said the house was too small, and the children carried it outside. While they were laughing and enjoying themselves the bird flew away, to their great dismay. Compare this with the story of how the little girl catches Brother Rabbit in the garden (of which several variants are given), and afterwards unties him in order to see him dance.[i_6] There is still another version of this story, where Mr. Man puts a bridle on Brother Rabbit and ties him to the fence. Mr. Man leaves the throat-latch of the bridle unfastened, and so Brother Rabbit slips his head out, and afterwards induces Brother Fox to have the bridle put on, taking care to fasten the throat-latch.

The Brother Rabbit of the negroes is the hare, and what is "The Story of Hlakanyana"[i7] but the story of the hare and other animals curiously tangled, and changed, and inverted? Hlakanyana, after some highly suggestive adventures, kills two cows and smears the blood upon a sleeping boy.[i8] The men find the cows dead, and ask who did it. They then see the blood upon the boy, and kill him, under the impression that he is the robber. Compare this with the story in the first volume of Uncle Remus, where Brother Rabbit eats the butter, and then greases Brother Possum's feet and mouth, thus proving the latter to be the rogue. Hlakanyana also eats all the meat in the pot, and smears fat on the mouth of a sleeping old man. Hlakanyana's feat of pretending to cure an old woman, by cooking her in a pot of boiling water, is identical with the negro story of how Brother Rabbit disposes of Grinny-Granny Wolf. The new story of Brother Terrapin and Brother Mink, relating how they had a diving-match, in order to see who should become the possessor of a string of fish, is a variant of the Kaffir story of Hlakanyana's diving-match with the boy for some birds. Hlakanyana eats the birds while the boy is under water, and Brother Terrapin disposes of the fish in the same way; but there is this curious difference: while Hlakanyana has aided the boy to catch the birds, Brother Terrapin has no sort of interest in the fish. The negro story of how Brother Rabbit nailed Brother Fox's tail to the roof of the house, and thus succeeded in getting the Fox's dinner, is identical with Hlakanyana's feat of sewing the Hyena's tail to the thatch. When this had been accomplished, Hlakanyana ate all the meat in the pot, and threw the bones at the Hyena.

But the most curious parallel of all exists between an episode in "The Story of Hlakanyana," and the story of how the Bear nursed the Alligators (p. 344). This story was gathered by Mrs. Helen S. Barclay, of Darien, Georgia, whose appreciative knowledge of the character and dialect of the coast negro has been of great service to the writer. Hlakanyana came to the house of a Leopardess, and proposed to take care of her children while the Leopardess went to hunt animals. To this the Leopardess agreed. There were four cubs, and, after the mother was gone, Hlakanyana took one of the cubs and ate it. When the Leopardess returned, she asked for her children, that she might suckle them. Hlakanyana gave one, but the mother asked for all. Hlakanyana replied that it was better one should drink and then another; and to this the Leopardess agreed. After three had suckled, he gave the first one back a second time. This continued until the last cub was eaten, whereupon Hlakanyana ran away. The Leopardess saw him, and gave pursuit. He ran under a big rock, and began to cry for help. The Leopardess asked him what the matter was. "Do you not see that this rock is falling?" replied Hlakanyana. "Just hold it up while I get a prop and put under it." While the Leopardess was thus engaged, he made his escape. This, it will be observed, is the climax of a negro legend entirely different from Daddy Jack's story of the Bear that nursed the Alligators, though the rock becomes a fallen tree. In the "Story of the Lion and the Little Jackal,"[i_9] the same climax takes the shape of an episode. The Lion pursues the Jackal, and the latter runs under an overhanging rock, crying "Help! help! this rock is falling on me!" The Lion goes for a pole with which to prop up the rock, and so the Jackal escapes. It is worthy of note that a tortoise or terrapin, which stands next to Brother Rabbit in the folk-lore of the Southern negroes, is the cause of Hlakanyana's death. He places a Tortoise on his back and carries it home. His mother asks him what he has there, and he tells her to take it off his back. But the Tortoise would not be pulled off. Hlakanyana's mother then heated some fat, and attempted to pour it on the Tortoise, but the Tortoise let go quickly, and the fat fell on Hlakanyana and burnt him so that he died. The story concludes: "That is the end of this cunning little fellow."

Theal also gives the story of Demane and Demazana,[i_10] a brother and sister, who were compelled to run away from their relatives on account of bad treatment. They went to live in a cave which had a very strong door. Demane went hunting by day, and told his sister not to roast any meat in his absence, lest the cannibals should smell it and discover their hiding-place. But Demazana would not obey. She roasted some meat, a cannibal smelt it, and went to the cave, but found the door fastened. Thereupon he tried to imitate Demane's voice, singing:

"Demazana, Demazana, Child of my mother, Open this cave to me. The swallows can enter it. It has two apertures."

The cannibal's voice was hoarse, and the girl would not let him in. Finally, he has his throat burned with a hot iron, his voice is changed, and the girl is deceived. He enters and captures her. Compare this with the story of the Pigs, and also with the group of stories of which Daddy Jack's "Cutta Cord-la!" is the most characteristic. In Middle Georgia, it will be observed, Brother Rabbit and his children are substituted for the boy and his sister; though Miss Devereux, of Raleigh, North Carolina, who, together with her father, Mr. John Devereux, has laid the writer under many obligations, gathered a story among the North Carolina negroes in which the boy and the sister appear. But to return to the Kaffir story: When the cannibal is carrying Demazana away, she drops ashes along the path. Demane returns shortly after with a swarm of bees which he has captured, and finds his sister gone. By means of the ashes, he follows the path until he comes to the cannibal's house. The family are out gathering wood, but the cannibal himself is at home, and has just put Demazana in a big bag where he intends to keep her until the fire is made. The brother asks for a drink of water. The cannibal says he will get him some if he will promise not to touch his bag. Demane promises; but, while the cannibal is gone for the water, he takes his sister out of the bag and substitutes the swarm of bees. When the cannibal returns with the water, his family also return with the firewood. He tells his wife there is something nice in the bag, and asks her to bring it. She says it bites. He then drives them all out, closes the door, and opens the bag. The bees fly out and sting him about the head and eyes until he can no longer see. Compare this with the negro story (No. LXX.) of how Brother Fox captures Brother Terrapin. Brother Terrapin is rescued by Brother Rabbit, who substitutes a hornet's nest. This story was told to the writer by a colored Baptist preacher of Atlanta, named Robert Dupree, and also by a Henry County negro, named George Ellis.

Compare, also, the Kaffir "Story of the Great Chief of the Animals"[i_11] with the negro story of "The Fate of Mr. Jack Sparrow."[i_12] In the Kaffir story, a woman sees the chief of the animals and calls out that she is hunting for her children. The animal replies: "Come nearer; I cannot hear you." He then swallows the woman. In the negro story, Mr. Jack Sparrow has something to tell Brother Fox; but the latter pretends he is deaf, and asks Jack Sparrow to jump on his tail, on his back, and finally on his tooth. There is a variant of this story current among the coast negroes where the Alligator is substituted for the Fox. The Kaffir "Story of the Hare" is almost identical with the story of Wattle Weasel in the present volume. The story of Wattle Weasel was among those told by the railroad hands at Norcross, but had been previously sent to the writer by a lady in Selma, Alabama, and by a correspondent in Galveston. In another Kaffir story, the Jackal runs into a hole under a tree, but the Lion catches him by the tail. The Jackal cries out: "That is not my tail you have hold of. It is a root of the tree. If you don't believe, take a stone and strike it and see if any blood comes." The Lion goes to hunt for a stone, and the Jackal crawls far into the hole. In the first volume of Uncle Remus, Brother Fox tries to drown Brother Terrapin; but the latter declares that his tail is a stump-root, and so escapes. The Amazonian Indians tell of a Jaguar who catches a Tortoise by the hind leg as he is disappearing in his hole; but the Tortoise convinces him that he is holding a tree-root.[i_13] In the Kaffir story of the Lion and the Jackal, the latter made himself some horns from beeswax in order to attend a meeting of the horned cattle. He sat near the fire and went to sleep, and the horns melted, so that he was discovered and pursued by the Lion. In a negro story that is very popular, Brother Fox ties two sticks to his head, and attends the meeting of the horned cattle, but is cleverly exposed by Brother Rabbit.

There is a plantation proverb current among the negroes which is very expressive. Thus, when one accidentally steps in mud or filth, he consoles himself by saying "Good thing foot aint got no nose." Among the Kaffirs there is a similar proverb,—"The foot has no nose,"—but Mr. Theal's educated natives have given it a queer meaning. It is thus interpreted: "This proverb is an exhortation to be hospitable. It is as if one said: Give food to the traveller, because when you are on a journey your foot will not be able to smell out a man whom you have turned from your door, but, to your shame, may carry you to his." It need not be said that this is rather ahead of even the educated Southern negroes.

To compare the negro stories in the present volume with those translated by Bleek[i_14] would extend this introduction beyond its prescribed limits, but such a comparison would show some very curious parallels. It is interesting to observe, among other things, that the story of How the Tortoise Outran the Deer—current among the Amazonian Indians, and among the negroes of the South,—the deer sometimes becoming the Rabbit in the South, and the _carapato_, or cow-tick, sometimes taking the place of the Tortoise on the Amazonas—has a curious counterpart in the Hottentot Fables.[i_15] One day, to quote from Bleek, "the Tortoises held a council how they might hunt Ostriches, and they said: 'Let us, on both sides, stand in rows, near each other, and let one go to hunt the Ostriches, so that they must flee along through the midst of us.' They did so, and as they were many, the Ostriches were obliged to run along through the midst of them. During this they did not move, but, remaining always in the same places, called each to the other: 'Are you there?' and each one answered: 'I am here.' The Ostriches, hearing this, ran so tremendously that they quite exhausted their strength, and fell down. Then the Tortoises assembled by and by at the place where the Ostriches had fallen, and devoured them." There is also a curious variant[i_16] of the negro story of how Brother Rabbit escapes from Brother Fox by persuading him to fold his hands and say grace. In the Hottentot story, the Jackal catches the Cock, and is about to eat him, when the latter says: "Please pray before you kill me, as the white man does." The Jackal desires to know how the white man prays. "He folds his hands in praying," says the Cock. This the Jackal does, but the Cock tells the Jackal he should also shut his eyes. Whereupon the Cock flies away.

In his preface, Bleek says that the Hottentot fable of the White Man and the Snake is clearly of European origin; but this is at least doubtful. The Man rescues the Snake from beneath a rock, whereupon the Snake announces her intention of biting her deliverer. The matter is referred to the Hyena, who says to the Man: "If you were bitten, what would it matter?" But the Man proposed to consult other wise people before being bit, and after a while they met the Jackal. The case was laid before him. The Jackal said he would not believe that the Snake could be covered by a stone so that she could not rise, unless he saw it with his two eyes. The Snake submitted to the test, and when she was covered by the stone the Jackal advised the Man to go away and leave her. Now, there is not only a variant of this story current among the Southern negroes (which is given in the present volume), where Brother Rabbit takes the place of the Man, Brother Wolf the place of the Snake, and Brother Terrapin the place of the Jackal, but Dr. Couto de Magalhaes[i_17] gives in modern Tupi a story where the Fox or Opossum finds a Jaguar in a hole. He helps the Jaguar out, and the latter then threatens to eat him. The Fox or Opossum proposes to lay the matter before a wise man who is passing by, with the result that the Jaguar is placed back in the hole and left there.

With respect to the Tortoise myths, and other animal stories gathered on the Amazonas, by Professor Hartt and Mr. Herbert Smith, it may be said that all or nearly all of them have their variants among the negroes of the Southern plantations. This would constitute a very curious fact if the matter were left where Professor Hartt left it when his monograph was written. In that monograph[i_18] he says: "The myths I have placed on record in this little paper have, without doubt, a wide currency on the Amazonas, but I have found them only among the Indian population, and they are all collected in the Lingua Geral. All my attempts to obtain myths from the negroes on the Amazonas proved failures. Dr. Couto de Magalhaes, who has recently followed me in these researches, has had the same experience. The probability, therefore, seems to be that the myths are indigenous, but I do not yet consider the case proven." Professor Hartt lived to prove just the contrary; but, unfortunately, he did not live to publish the result of his investigations. Mr. Orville A. Derby, a friend of Professor Hartt, writes as follows from Rio de Janeiro:

DEAR SIR,—In reading the preface to Uncle Remus,[i_19] it occurred to me that an observation made by my late friend Professor Charles Fred Hartt would be of interest to you.

At the time of the publication of his Amazonian Tortoise Myths, Professor Hartt was in doubt whether to regard the myths of the Amazonian Indians as indigenous or introduced from Africa. To this question he devoted a great deal of attention, making a careful and, for a long time, fruitless search among the Africans of this city for some one who could give undoubted African myths. Finally he had the good fortune to find an intelligent English-speaking Mina black, whose only knowledge of Portuguese was a very few words which he had picked up during the short time he had been in this country, a circumstance which strongly confirms his statement that the myths related by him were really brought from Africa. From this man Professor Hartt obtained variants of all or nearly all of the best known Brazilian animal myths, and convinced himself that this class is not native to this country. The spread of these myths among the Amazonian Indians is readily explained by the intimate association of the two races for over two hundred years, the taking character of the myths, and the Indian's love for stories of this class, in which he naturally introduces the animals familiar to him.... Yours truly, ORVILLE A. DERBY.

Caixa em Correio, No. 721, Rio de Janeiro.

Those who are best acquainted with the spirit, movement, and motive of African legends will accept Mr. Derby's statement as conclusive. It has been suspected even by Professor J. W. Powell, of the Smithsonian Institution, that the Southern negroes obtained their myths and legends from the Indians; but it is impossible to adduce in support of such a theory a scintilla of evidence that cannot be used in support of just the opposite theory, namely, that the Indians borrowed their stories from the negroes. The truth seems to be that, while both the Indians and the negroes have stories peculiar to their widely different races and temperaments, and to their widely different ideas of humor, the Indians have not hesitated to borrow from the negroes. The "Tar Baby" story, which is unquestionably a negro legend in its conception, is current among many tribes of Indians. So with the story of how the Rabbit makes a riding-horse of the Fox or the Wolf. This story is also current among the Amazonian Indians. The same may be said of the negro coast story "Why the Alligator's Back is Rough." Mr. W. O. Tuggle, of Georgia, who has recently made an exhaustive study of the folk-lore of the Creek Indians, has discovered among them many legends, which were undoubtedly borrowed from the negroes, including those already mentioned, the story of how the Terrapin outran the Deer, and the story of the discontented Rabbit, who asks his Creator to give him more sense. In the negro legend, it will be observed, the Rabbit seeks out Mammy-Bammy Big-Money, the old Witch-Rabbit. It may be mentioned here, that the various branches of the Algonkian family of Indians allude to the Great White Rabbit as their common ancestor.[i_20] All inquiries among the negroes, as to the origin and personality of Mammy-Bammy Big-Money, elicit but two replies. Some know, or even pretend to know, nothing about her. The rest say, with entire unanimity, "Hit 's des de ole Witch-Rabbit w'at you done year'd talk un 'fo' now." Mrs. Prioleau of Memphis sent the writer a negro story in which the name "Big-Money" was vaguely used. It was some time before that story could be verified. In conversation one day with a negro, casual allusion was made to "Big-Money." "Aha!" said the negro, "now I know. You talkin' 'bout ole Mammy-Bammy Big-Money," and then he went on to tell, not only the story which Mrs. Prioleau had kindly sent, but the story of Brother Rabbit's visit to the old Witch-Rabbit.

Mr. Tuggle's collection of Creek legends will probably be published under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, and it will form a noteworthy contribution to the literature of American folk-lore. In the Creek version of the origin of the ocean, the stream which the Lion jumps across is called Throwing-Hot-Ashes-on-You. Another Creek legend, which bears the ear-marks of the negroes, but which the writer has been unable to find among them, explains why the 'Possum has no hair on his tail. It seems that Noah, in taking the animals into the ark, forgot the 'Possums; but a female 'Possum clung to the side of the vessel, and her tail dragging in the water, all the hair came off. No male 'Possum, according to the story, was saved. Mr. Tuggle has also found among the Creeks a legend which gives the origin of fire. One time, in the beginning, the people all wanted fire, and they came together to discuss the best plan of getting it. It was finally agreed that the Rabbit (Chufee) should go for it. He went across the great water to the east, and was there received with acclamation as a visitor from the New World. A great dance was ordered in his honor. They danced around a large fire, and the Rabbit entered the circle dressed very gayly. He had a peculiar cap upon his head, and in this cap, in place of feathers, he had stuck four sticks of resin, or resinous pine. As the people danced, they came near the fire in the centre of the circle, and the Rabbit also approached near the fire. Some of the dancers would reach down and touch the fire as they danced, while the Rabbit, as he came near the fire, would bow his head to the flame. No one thought anything of this, and he continued to bow to the fire, each time bowing his head lower. At last he touched the flame with his cap, and the sticks of resin caught on fire and blazed forth. Away he ran, the people pursuing the sacrilegious visitor. The Rabbit ran to the great water, plunged in, and swam away to the New World; and thus was fire obtained for the people.

The student of folk-lore who will take into consideration the widely differing peculiarities and characteristics of the negroes and the Indians, will have no difficulty, after making due allowance for the apparent universality of all primitive folk-stories, in distinguishing between the myths or legends of the two races, though it sometimes happens, as in the case of the negro story of the Rabbit, the Wildcat, and the Turkeys, that the stories are built upon until they are made to fit the peculiarities of the race that borrows them. The Creek version of the Rabbit, Wildcat, and Turkey story is to the effect that the Wildcat pretended to be dead, and the Rabbit persuaded the Turkeys to go near him. When they are near enough, the Rabbit exclaims: "Jump up and catch a red-leg! jump up and catch a red-leg!" The Wildcat catches one, and proceeds to eat it, whereupon the Turkeys pursue the Rabbit, and peck and nip him until his tail comes off, and this is the reason the Rabbit has a short tail. The Creeks, as well as other tribes, were long in contact with the negroes, some of them were owners of slaves, and it is perhaps in this way that the animal stories of the two races became in a measure blended. The discussion of this subject cannot be pursued here, but it is an interesting one. It offers a wide field for both speculation and investigation.

The "Cutta Cord-la" story (p. 241) of Daddy Jack is in some respects unique. It was sent to the writer by Mrs. Martha B. Washington, of Charleston, South Carolina, and there seems to be no doubt that it originated in San Domingo or Martinique. The story of how Brother Rabbit drove all the other animals out of the new house they had built, by firing a cannon and pouring a tub of water down the stairway, has its variant in Demerara. Indeed, it was by means of this variant, sent by Mr. Wendell P. Garrison, of "The Nation" (New York), that the negro story was procured.

In the introduction to the first volume of Uncle Remus, a lame apology was made for inflicting a book of dialect upon the public. Perhaps a similar apology should be made here; but the discriminating reader does not need to be told that it would be impossible to separate these stories from the idiom in which they have been recited for generations. The dialect is a part of the legends themselves, and to present them in any other way would be to rob them of everything that gives them vitality. The dialect of Daddy Jack, which is that of the negroes on the Sea Islands and the rice plantations, though it may seem at first glance to be more difficult than that of Uncle Remus, is, in reality, simpler and more direct. It is the negro dialect in its most primitive state—the "Gullah" talk of some of the negroes on the Sea Islands, being merely a confused and untranslatable mixture of English and African words. In the introductory notes to "Slave Songs of the United States" may be found an exposition of Daddy Jack's dialect as complete as any that can be given here. A key to the dialect may be given very briefly. The vocabulary is not an extensive one—more depending upon the manner, the form of expression, and the inflection, than upon the words employed. It is thus an admirable vehicle for story-telling. It recognizes no gender, and scorns the use of the plural number except accidentally. "'E" stands for "he" "she" or "it," and "dem" may allude to one thing, or may include a thousand. The dialect is laconic and yet rambling, full of repetitions, and abounding in curious elisions, that give an unexpected quaintness to the simplest statements. A glance at the following vocabulary will enable the reader to understand Daddy Jack's dialect perfectly, though allowance must be made for inversions and elisions.

B'er, brother. Beer, bear. Bittle, victuals. Bret, breath. Buckra, white man, overseer, boss. Churrah, churray, spill, splash. Da, the, that. Dey, there. Dey-dey, here, down there, right here. Enty, ain't he? an exclamation of astonishment or assent. Gwan, going. Leaf, leave. Lif, live. Lil, lil-a, or lilly, little. Lun, learn. Mek, make. Neat', or nead, underneath, beneath. Oona, you, all of you. Sem, same. Shum, see them, saw them. Tam, time. 'Tan', stand. Tankee, thanks, thank you. Tark, or tahlk, talk. Teer, tear. Tek, take. T'ink, or t'ought, think, thought. T'row, throw. Titty, or titter, sissy, sister. Trute, truth. Turrer, or tarrah, the other. Tusty, thirsty. Urrer, other. Wey, where. Wun, when. Wut, what. Y'et or ut, earth. Yeddy, or yerry, heard, hear. Yent, ain't, is n't.

The trick of adding a vowel to sound words is not unpleasing to the ear. Thus: "I bin-a wait fer you; come-a ring-a dem bell. Wut mek-a (or mekky) you stay so?" "Yeddy," "yerry," and probably "churry" are the result of this—heard-a, yeard-a, yeddy; hear-a, year-a, yerry; chur-a, churray. When "eye" is written "y-eye," it is to be pronounced "yi." In such words as "back," "ax," a has the sound of ah. They are written "bahk," "ahx."

Professor J. A. Harrison of the Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, has recently written a paper on "The Creole Patois of Louisiana,"[i_21] which is full of interest to those interested in the study of dialects. In the course of his paper, Professor Harrison says: "Many philologists have noted the felicitous [Greek: _aithiopizein_] of Uncle Remus in the negro dialect of the South. The Creole lends itself no less felicitously to the _recit_ and to the _conte_, as we may say on good authority. The fables of La Fontaine and Perrin, and the Gospel of St. John have, indeed, been translated into the dialect of San Domingo or Martinique; lately we have had a Greek plenipotentiary turning Dante into the idiom of New Hellas; what next? Any one who has seen the delightful 'Chansons Canadiennes' of M. Ernest Gagnon (Quebec, 1880) knows what pleasant things may spring from the naive consciousness of the people. The Creole of Louisiana lends itself admirably to those _petits poemes_, those simple little dramatic tales, compositions, improvisations, which, shunning the regions of abstraction and metaphysics, recount the experiences of a story-teller, put into striking and pregnant syllabuses the memorabilia of some simple life, or sum up in pointed monosyllables the humor of plantation anecdote." Professor Harrison alludes to interesting examples of the Creole negro dialect that occur in the works of Mr. George W. Cable, and in "L'Habitation Saint-Ybars," by Dr. Alfred Mercier, an accomplished physician and _litterateur_ of New Orleans. In order to show the possibilities of the Creole negro dialect, the following _Conte Negre_, after Dr. Mercier, is given. The story is quoted by Professor Harrison, and the literal interlinear version is inserted by him to give a clue to the meaning. The Miss Meadows of the Georgia negro, it will be perceived, becomes Mamzel Calinda, and the story is one with which the readers of the first volume of Uncle Remus are familiar. It is entitled "Mariage Mlle. Calinda."

1. Dan tan le zote foi, compair Chivreil ave compair Dans temps les autres fois, compere Chevreuil avec compere

2. Torti te tou le de ape fe lamou a Mamzel Calinda. Tortue etaient tous les deux apres faire l'amour a Mademoiselle Calinda.

3. Mamzel Calinda te linmin mie compair Chivreil, cofair Mlle. Calinda avait aime mieux compere Chevreuil, [pour] quoi faire

4. li pli vaian; me li te linmin compair Torti oucite, le plus vaillant; mais elle avait aime compere Tortue aussi,

5. li si tan gagnin bon tchor! Popa Mamzel Calinda di li: il si tant gagner bon coeur! Papa Mlle. Calinda dire lui:

6. "Mo fie, li tan to maie; fo to soizi cila to oule." Landimin, "Ma fille, il (est) temps te marier; faut te choisir cela tu voulez." Lendemain,

7. compair Chivreil ave compair Torti rive tou ye de cote Mlle. C. compere Chevreuil avec compere Tortue arriver tous eux de cote Mlle. C.

8. Mamzel C., qui te zongle tou la nouite, di ye: "Michie Chivreil ave Mlle. C., qui avait songe toute la nuit, dire eux: "Monsieur Chevreuil avec

9. Michie Torti, mo popa oule mo maie. Mo pa oule di ain Monsieur Tortue, mon papa vouloir me marier. Moi pas vouloir dire un

10. dan ouzote non. Ouzote a galope ain lacourse dice foi cate dans vous autres non. Vous autres va galopper une la course dix fois quatre

11. narpan; cila qui sorti divan, ma maie ave li. Ape dimin arpents; cela qui sortir devant, moi va marier avec lui. Apres demain

12. dimance, ouzote a galope." Ye parti couri, compair Chivreil dimanche, vous autres va galopper." Eux partir courir, compere Chevreuil

13. zo tchor contan; compair Torti ape zongle li-minme: son coeur content; compere Tortue apres songer lui-meme:

14. "Dan tan pace, mo granpopa bate compair Lapin pou "Dans temps passe, mon grandpapa battre compere Lapin pour

15. galope. Pa conin coman ma fe pou bate compair Chivreil." galopper. Pas conner (= connaitre) comment moi va faire pour battre compere Chevreuil."

16. Dan tan cila, nave ain vie, vie cocodri qui te gagnin Dans temps cela en avait un vieux, vieux crocodile qui avait gagne

17. plice pace cincante di zan. Li te si malin, ye te pele li plus passe cinquante dix ans. Lui etait si malin, eux avaient appele lui

18. compair Zavoca. La nouite vini, compair Torti couri trouve compere Avocat. La nuit venir, compere Tortue courir trouver

19. compair Zavoca, e conte li coman li barace pou so compere Avocat, et conter lui comment lui embarrasser pour sa

20. lacourse. Compair Zavoca di compair Torti: "Mo ben la course. Compere Avocat dire compere Tortue: "Moi bien

21. oule ide toi, mo gacon; nou proce minme famie; la tair vouloir aider toi, mon garcon; nous proche meme famille; la terre

22. ave do lo minme kichoge pou nizote. Mo zongle zafair avec de l'eau meme quelquechose pour nous autres. Moi va songer cette affaire

23. To vini dimin bon matin; ma di toi qui pou fe." Toi venir demain bon matin; moi va dire toi que pour faire."

24. Compair Torti couri couce; me li pas dromi boucou, Compere Tortue courir coucher; mais lui pas dormir beaucoup,

25. li te si tan tracasse. Bon matin li parti couri lui etait si tant tracasse. Bon matin lui partir courir

26. cote compair Zavoca. Compair Zavoca dija diboute ape cote compere Avocat. Compere Avocat deja debout apres

27. boi so cafe. "Bonzou, Michie Zavoca." "Bonzou, mo boire son cafe. "Bonjour, Monsieur Avocat." "Bonjour, mon

28. gacon. Zafair cila donne moin boucou traca; min mo garcon. Cette affaire cela donne moi beaucoup tracas; mais moi

29. cre ta bate compair Chivreil, si to fe mekie ma di toi." crois toi va battre compere Chevreuil, si toi fais metier moi va dire toi."

30. "Vouzote a pranne jige jordi pou misire chimin au ra "Vous autres va prendre juge aujourd'hui pour mesurer chemin au ras

31. bayou; chac cate narpan mete jalon. Compair Chivreil a bayou; chaque quatre arpents mettez jalon. Compere Chevreuil va

32. galope on la tair; toi, ta galope dan dolo. To ben compranne galopper en la terre; toi, tu va galopper dans de l'eau. Toi bien comprendre

33. ca mo di toi?" "O, oui, compair Zavoca, mo ben cela moi dire toi?" "O, oui, compere Avocat, moi bien

34. coute ton ca vape di." "A soua, can la nouite vini, ecouter tout cela vous apres dire." "Le soir, quand la nuit venir,

35. ta couri pranne nef dan to zami, e ta chache aine dan toi va courir prendre neuf dans tes amis, et toi va cacher un dans

36. zerb au ra chakene zalon ye. Toi, ta couri cache au ra herbe au ras chacun jalon eux. Toi, toi va courir cacher au ras

37. la mison Mamzel Calinda. To ben compranne ca mo di toi?" la maison Mlle. Calinda. Toi bien comprendre cela moi dire toi?"

38. "O, oui, compair Zavoca, mo tou compranne mekie ca vou "O, oui, compere Avocat, moi tout comprendre metier cela vous

39. di." "Eben! couri pare pou sove lonnair nou nachion." dire." "Eh bien! courir preparer pour sauver l'honneur notre nation."

40. Compair Torti couri cote compair Chivreil e range tou Compere Tortue courir cote compere Chevreuil et arranger tout

41. kichoge compair Zavoca di li. Compair Chivreil si tan sire quelquechose compere Avocat dire lui. Compere Chevreuil si tant sur

42. gagnin lacourse, li di oui tou ca compair Torti oule. gagner la course, lui dire oui tout cela compere Tortue vouloir.

43. Landimin bon matin, ton zabitan semble pou oua Lendemain bon matin, tous habitants assembler pour voir

44. gran lacourse. Can lhair rive, compair Chivreil ave grande la course. Quand l'heure arriver, compere Chevreuil avec

45. compair Torti tou le de pare. Jige la crie: "Go!" e ye compere Tortue tous les deux prepares. Juge la crier: "Go!" et eux

46. parti galope. Tan compair Chivreil rive cote primie partir galopper. Temps compere Chevreuil arriver cote premier

47. zalon, li hele: "Halo, compair Torti!" "Mo la, compair jalon, lui heler: "Halo, compere Tortue!" "Moi la, compere

48. Chivreil!" Tan ye rive dezieme zalon, compair Chivreil Chevreuil!" Temps eux arriver deuxieme jalon, compere Chevreuil

49. siffle: "Fioute!" Compair Torti reponne: "Croak!" Troisieme siffler: "Fioute!" Compere Tortue repondre: "Croak!" Troisieme

50. zalon boute, compair Torti tink-a-tink ave compair jalon au bout, compere Tortue tingue-a-tingue avec compere

51. Chivreil. "Diabe! Torti la galope pli vite Chevreuil. "Diable! Tortue la galopper plus vite

52. pace stimbotte; fo mo grouye mo cor." Tan compair passe steamboat; faut moi grouiller mon corps." Temps compere

53. Chivreil rive cote nevieme zalon, li oua compair Torti Chevreuil arriver cote neuvieme jalon, lui voir compere Tortue

54. ape patchiou dan dolo. Li mete ton so laforce apres patchiou! dans de l'eau. Lui mettre toute sa la force

55. dihior pou aien; avan li rive cote bite, li tende dehors pour rien; avant lui arriver cote but, lui entendre

56. ton monne ape hele: "Houra! houra! pou compair Torti!" tout monde apres heler: "Hourra! hourra! pour compere Tortue!"

57. Tan li rive, li oua compair Torti on la garlie ape Temps lui arriver, lui voir compere Tortue en la galerie apres

58. brasse Mamzel Calinda. Ca fe li si tan mal, li embrasser Mlle. Calinda. Cela faire lui si tant mal, lui

59. sape dan boi. Compair Torti maie ave Mamzel Calinda s'echapper dans bois. Compere Tortue marier avec Mlle. Calinda

60. samedi ape vini, e tou monne manze, boi, jika samedi apres venir, et tout monde manger, boire jusqu'a

61. y tchiak.[i_22] eux griser.

It only remains to be said that none of the stories given in the present volume are "cooked." They are given in the simple but picturesque language of the negroes, just as the negroes tell them. The Ghost-story, in which the dead woman returns in search of the silver that had been placed upon her eyes, is undoubtedly of white origin; but Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) heard it among the negroes of Florida, Missouri, where it was "The Woman with the Golden Arm." Fortunately, it was placed in the mouth of 'Tildy, the house-girl, who must be supposed to have heard her mistress tell it. But it has been negroized to such an extent that it may be classed as a negro legend; and it is possible that the white version is itself based upon a negro story. At any rate, it was told to the writer by different negroes; and he saw no reason to doubt its authenticity until after a large portion of the book was in type. His relations to the stories are simply those of editor and compiler. He has written them as they came to him, and he is responsible only for the setting. He has endeavored to project them upon the background and to give them the surroundings which they had in the old days that are no more; and it has been his purpose to give in their recital a glimpse of plantation life in the South before the war. If the reader, therefore, will exercise his imagination to the extent of believing that the stories are told to a little boy by a group of negroes on a plantation in Middle Georgia, before the war, he will need neither foot-note nor explanation to guide him.

In the preparation of this volume the writer has been placed under obligations to many kind friends. But for the ready sympathy and encouragement of the proprietors of "The Atlanta Constitution"—but for their generosity, it may be said—the writer would never have found opportunity to verify the stories and prepare them for the press. He is also indebted to hundreds of kind correspondents in all parts of the Southern States, who have interested themselves in the work of collecting the legends. He is particularly indebted to Mrs. Helen S. Barclay, of Darien, to Mr. W. O. Tuggle, to Hon. Charles C. Jones, Jr., to the accomplished daughters of Mr. Griswold, of Clinton, Georgia, and to Mr. John Devereux, Jr., and Miss Devereux, of Raleigh, North Carolina.

J. C. H. ATLANTA, GEORGIA.

——————————————————————————————————— FOOTNOTES:

[i_1] _Uncle Remus; His Songs and His Sayings._ The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1880.

[i_2] _Amazonian Tortoise Myths_, pp. 2, 3.

[i_3] Page 10.

[i_4] _Kaffir Folk-Lore_; or, _A Selection from the Traditional Tales current among the People living on the Eastern Border of the Cape Colony_. London, 1882.

[i_5] _Kaffir Folk-Lore_, p. 43.

[i_6] Professor Hartt, in his _Amazonian Tortoise Myths_, relates the story of "The Jabuti that Cheated the Man." The Jabuti is identical with Brother Terrapin. The man carried the Jabuti to his house, put him in a box, and went out. By and by the Jabuti began to sing, just as Brother Rabbit did. The man's children listened, and the Jabuti stopped. The children begged him to continue, but to this he replied: "If you are pleased with my singing, how much more would you be pleased if you could see me dance." The children thereupon took him from the box, and placed him in the middle of the floor, where he danced, to their great delight. Presently, the Jabuti made an excuse to go out, and fled. The children procured a stone, painted it like the tortoise, and placed it in the box. After a while the man returned, took the painted stone from the box and placed it on the fire, where it burst as soon as it became heated. Meantime, the Jabuti had taken refuge in a burrow having two openings, so that, while the man was looking in at one opening, the tortoise would appear at another. Professor Hartt identifies this as a sun-myth—the slow-sun (or tortoise) escaping from the swift-moon (or man).

[i_7] _Kaffir Folk-Lore_, p. 84.

[i_8] Page 89.

[i_9] _Kaffir Folk-Lore_, p. 178.

[i_10] Page 111.

[i_11] _Kaffir Folk-Lore_, p. 166.

[i_12] _Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings_, xix. p. 88.

[i_13] _Amazonian Tortoise Myths_, p. 29.

[i_14] _Reynard, the Fox, in South Africa_; or, _Hottentot Fables and Tales_. By W. H. I. Bleek, Ph. D. London, 1864.

[i_15] Page 32.

[i_16] Bleek, p. 23.

[i_17] _O'Selvagem_, p. 237. Quoted by Mr. Herbert H. Smith, in his work _Brazil and the Amazons_.

[i_18] Page 37.

[i_19] The first volume.

[i_20] D. G. Brinton's _Myths_, pp. 161-170.

[i_21] _The American Journal of Philology_, vol. iii. no. 11.

[i_22] _Tchiak_ is the name given by the Creole negroes to the starling, which, Dr. Mercier tells me, is applied adjectively to express various states of spirituous exhilaration.—_Note by Prof. Harrison._ ——————————————————————————————————



NIGHTS WITH UNCLE REMUS

I

MR. FOX AND MISS GOOSE

It had been raining all day so that Uncle Remus found it impossible to go out. The storm had begun, the old man declared, just as the chickens were crowing for day, and it had continued almost without intermission. The dark gray clouds had blotted out the sun, and the leafless limbs of the tall oaks surrendered themselves drearily to the fantastic gusts that drove the drizzle fitfully before them. The lady to whom Uncle Remus belonged had been thoughtful of the old man, and 'Tildy, the house-girl, had been commissioned to carry him his meals. This arrangement came to the knowledge of the little boy at supper time, and he lost no time in obtaining permission to accompany 'Tildy.

Uncle Remus made a great demonstration over the thoughtful kindness of his "Miss Sally."

"Ef she aint one blessid w'ite 'oman," he said, in his simple, fervent way, "den dey aint none un um 'roun' in deze parts."

With that he addressed himself to the supper, while the little boy sat by and eyed him with that familiar curiosity common to children. Finally the youngster disturbed the old man with an inquiry:

"Uncle Remus, do geese stand on one leg all night, or do they sit down to sleep?"

"Tooby sho' dey does, honey; dey sets down same ez you does. Co'se, dey don't cross der legs," he added, cautiously, "kase dey sets down right flat-footed."

"Well, I saw one the other day, and he was standing on one foot, and I watched him and watched him, and he kept on standing there."

"Ez ter dat," responded Uncle Remus, "dey mought stan' on one foot an' drap off ter sleep en fergit deyse'f. Deze yer gooses," he continued, wiping the crumbs from his beard with his coat-tail, "is mighty kuse fowls; deyer mighty kuse. In ole times dey wuz 'mongs de big-bugs, en in dem days, w'en ole Miss Goose gun a-dinin', all de quality wuz dere. Likewise, en needer wuz dey stuck-up, kase wid all der kyar'n's on, Miss Goose wer'n't too proud fer ter take in washin' fer de neighborhoods, en she make money, en get slick en fat lak Sis Tempy.

"Dis de way marters stan' w'en one day Brer Fox en Brer Rabbit, dey wuz settin' up at de cotton-patch, one on one side de fence, en t'er one on t'er side, gwine on wid one er n'er, w'en fus' news dey know, dey year sump'n—blim, blim, blim!

"Brer Fox, he ax w'at dat fuss is, en Brer Rabbit, he up'n 'spon' dat it's ole Miss Goose down at de spring. Den Brer Fox, he up'n ax w'at she doin', en Brer Rabbit, he say, sezee, dat she battlin' cloze."



"Battling clothes, Uncle Remus?" said the little boy.

"Dat w'at dey call it dem days, honey. Deze times, dey rubs cloze on deze yer bodes w'at got furrers in um, but dem days dey des tuck'n tuck de cloze en lay um out on a bench, en ketch holt er de battlin'-stick en natally paddle de fillin' outen um.

"W'en Brer Fox year dat ole Miss Goose wuz down dar dabblin' in soapsuds en washin' cloze, he sorter lick he chops, en 'low dat some er dese odd-come-shorts he gwine ter call en pay he 'specks. De minnit he say dat, Brer Rabbit, he know sump'n' 'uz up, en he 'low ter hisse'f dat he 'speck he better whirl in en have some fun w'iles it gwine on. Bimeby Brer Fox up'n say ter Brer Rabbit dat he bleedzd ter be movin' 'long todes home, en wid dat dey bofe say good-bye.

"Brer Fox, he put out ter whar his fambly wuz, but Brer Rabbit, he slip 'roun', he did, en call on ole Miss Goose. Ole Miss Goose she wuz down at de spring, washin', en b'ilin', en battlin' cloze; but Brer Rabbit he march up en ax her howdy, en den she tuck'n ax Brer Rabbit howdy.

"'I'd shake han's 'long wid you, Brer Rabbit,' sez she, 'but dey er all full er suds,' sez she.

"'No marter 'bout dat, Miss Goose,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'so long ez yo' will's good,' sezee."

"A goose with hands, Uncle Remus!" the little boy exclaimed.

"How you know goose aint got han's?" Uncle Remus inquired, with a frown. "Is you been sleepin' longer ole man Know-All? Little mo' en you'll up'n stan' me down dat snakes aint got no foots, and yit you take en lay a snake down yer 'fo' de fier, en his foots 'll come out right 'fo' yo' eyes."

Uncle Remus paused here, but presently continued:

"Atter ole Miss Goose en Brer Rabbit done pass de time er day wid one er n'er, Brer Rabbit, he ax 'er, he did, how she come on deze days, en Miss Goose say, mighty po'ly.

"'I'm gittin' stiff en I'm gittin' clumpsy,' sez she, 'en mo'n dat I'm gittin' bline,' sez she. 'Des 'fo' you happen 'long, Brer Rabbit, I drap my specks in de tub yer, en ef you'd 'a' come 'long 'bout dat time,' sez ole Miss Goose, sez she, 'I lay I'd er tuck you for dat nasty, owdashus Brer Fox, en it ud er bin a born blessin' ef I had n't er scald you wid er pan er b'ilin' suds,' sez she. 'I'm dat glad I foun' my specks I dunner w'at ter do,' sez ole Miss Goose, sez she.

"Den Brer Rabbit, he up'n say dat bein's how Sis Goose done fotch up Brer Fox name, he got sump'n' fer ter tell 'er, en den he let out 'bout Brer Fox gwine ter call on 'er.

"He comin' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'he comin' sho', en w'en he come hit 'll be des 'fo' day,' sezee.

"Wid dat, ole Miss Goose wipe 'er han's on 'er apun, en put 'er specks up on 'er forrerd, en look lak she done got trouble in 'er mine.

"'Laws-a-massy!' sez she, 'spozen he come, Brer Rabbit! W'at I gwine do? En dey aint a man 'bout de house, n'er,' sez she.

"Den Brer Rabbit, he shot one eye, en he say, sezee:

"'Sis Goose, de time done come w'en you bleedzd ter roos' high. You look lak you got de dropsy,' sezee, 'but don't mine dat, kase ef you don't roos' high, youer goner,' sezee.

"Den ole Miss Goose ax Brer Rabbit w'at she gwine do, en Brer Rabbit he up en tell Miss Goose dat she mus' go home en tie up a bundle er de w'ite folks' cloze, en put um on de bed, en den she mus' fly up on a rafter, en let Brer Fox grab de cloze en run off wid um.

"Ole Miss Goose say she much 'blige, en she tuck'n tuck her things en waddle off home, en dat night she do lak Brer Rabbit say wid de bundle er cloze, en den she sont wud ter Mr. Dog, en Mr. Dog he come down, en say he'd sorter set up wid 'er.

"Des 'fo' day, yer come Brer Fox creepin' up, en he went en push on de do' easy, en de do' open, en he see sump'n' w'ite on de bed w'ich he took fer Miss Goose, en he grab it en run. 'Bout dat time Mr. Dog sail out fum und' de house, he did, en ef Brer Fox had n't er drapt de cloze, he'd er got kotch. Fum dat, wud went 'roun' dat Brer Fox bin tryin' ter steal Miss Goose cloze, en he come mighty nigh losin' his stannin' at Miss Meadows. Down ter dis day," Uncle Remus continued, preparing to fill his pipe, "Brer Fox b'leeve dat Brer Rabbit wuz de 'casion er Mr. Dog bein' in de neighborhoods at dat time er night, en Brer Rabbit aint 'spute it. De bad feelin' 'twix' Brer Fox en Mr. Dog start right dar, en hits bin agwine on twel now dey aint git in smellin' distuns er one er n'er widout dey's a row."



II

BROTHER FOX CATCHES MR. HORSE

There was a pause after the story of old Miss Goose. The culmination was hardly sensational enough to win the hearty applause of the little boy, and this fact appeared to have a depressing influence upon Uncle Remus. As he leaned slightly forward, gazing into the depths of the great fireplace, his attitude was one of pensiveness.

"I 'speck I done wo' out my welcome up at de big house," he said, after a while. "I mos' knows I is," he continued, setting himself resignedly in his deep-bottomed chair. "Kase de las' time I uz up dar, I had my eye on Miss Sally mighty nigh de whole blessid time, en w'en you see Miss Sally rustlin' 'roun' makin' lak she fixin' things up dar on de mantle-shelf, en bouncin' de cheers 'roun', en breshin' dus' whar dey aint no dus', en flyin' 'roun' singin' sorter louder dan common, den I des knows sump'n' done gone en rile 'er."

"Why, Uncle Remus!" exclaimed the little boy; "Mamma was just glad because I was feeling so good."

"Mought er bin," the old man remarked, in a tone that was far from implying conviction. "Ef 't wa'n't dat, den she wuz gittin' tired er seem' me lounjun' 'roun' up dar night atter night, en ef 't wa'n't dat, den she wuz watchin' a chance fer ter preach ter yo' pa. Oh, I done bin know Miss Sally long fo' yo' pa is!" exclaimed Uncle Remus, in response to the astonishment depicted upon the child's face. "I bin knowin' 'er sence she wuz so high, en endurin' er all dat time I aint seed no mo' up'n spoken' w'ite 'oman dan w'at Miss Sally is.

"But dat aint needer yer ner dar. You done got so youk'n rush down yer des like you useter, en we kin set yer en smoke, en tell tales, en study up 'musements same like we wuz gwine on 'fo' you got dat splinter in yo' foot.

"I mines me er one time"—with an infectious laugh—"w'en ole Brer Rabbit got Brer Fox in de wuss trubble w'at a man wuz mos' ever got in yit, en dat 'uz w'en he fool 'im 'bout de hoss. Aint I never tell you 'bout dat? But no marter ef I is. Hoe-cake aint cook done good twel hit 's turnt over a couple er times.

"Well, atter Brer Fox done git rested fum keepin' out er de way er Mr. Dog, en sorter ketch up wid his rations, he say ter hisse'f dat he be dog his cats ef he don't slorate ole Brer Rabbit ef it take 'im a mont'; en dat, too, on top er all de 'spe'unce w'at he done bin had wid um. Brer Rabbit he sorter git win' er dis, en one day, w'iles he gwine 'long de road studyin' how he gwineter hol' he hand wid Brer Fox, he see a great big Hoss layin' stretch out flat on he side in de pastur'; en he tuck'n crope up, he did, fer ter see ef dish yer Hoss done gone en die. He crope up en he crope 'roun', en bimeby he see de Hoss switch he tail, en den Brer Rabbit know he aint dead. Wid dat, Brer Rabbit lope back ter de big road, en mos' de fus' man w'at he see gwine on by wuz Brer Fox, en Brer Rabbit he tuck atter 'im, en holler:

"'Brer Fox! O Brer Fox! Come back! I got some good news fer you. Come back, Brer Fox,' sezee.

"Brer Fox, he tu'n 'roun', he did, en w'en he see who callin' 'im, he come gallopin' back, kaze it seem like dat des ez gooder time ez any fer ter nab Brer Rabbit; but 'fo' he git in nabbin' distance, Brer Rabbit he up'n say, sezee:

"'Come on, Brer Fox! I done fine de place whar you kin lay in fresh meat 'nuff fer ter las' you plum twel de middle er nex' year,' sezee.

"Brer Fox, he ax wharbouts, en Brer Rabbit, he say, right over dar in de pastur', en Brer Fox ax w'at is it, en Brer Rabbit, he say w'ich 'twuz a whole Hoss layin' down on de groun' whar dey kin ketch 'im en tie 'im. Wid dat, Brer Fox, he say come on, en off dey put.

"W'en dey got dar, sho' nuff, dar lay de Hoss all stretch out in de sun, fas' 'sleep, en den Brer Fox en Brer Rabbit, dey had a 'spute 'bout how dey gwine ter fix de Hoss so he can't git loose. One say one way en de yuther say n'er way, en dar dey had it, twel atter w'ile Brer Rabbit, he say, sezee:

"'De onliest plan w'at I knows un, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'is fer you ter git down dar en lemme tie you ter de Hoss tail, en den, w'en he try ter git up, you kin hol' 'im down,' sezee. 'Ef I wuz big man like w'at you is,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'you mought tie me ter dat Hoss' tail, en ef I aint hol' 'im down, den Joe's dead en Sal's a widder. I des knows you kin hol' 'im down,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but yit, ef you 'feared, we des better drap dat idee en study out some yuther plan,' sezee.

"Brer Fox sorter jubus 'bout dis, but he bleedzd ter play biggity 'fo' Brer Rabbit, en he tuck'n 'gree ter de progrance, en den Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n tie Brer Fox ter de Hoss' tail, en atter he git 'im tie dar hard en fas', he sorter step back, he did, en put he han's 'kimbo, en grin, en den he say, sezee:

"Ef ever dey wuz a Hoss kotch, den we done kotch dis un. Look sorter lak we done put de bridle on de wrong een',' sezee, 'but I lay Brer Fox is got de strenk fer ter hol' 'im,' sezee.

"Wid dat, Brer Rabbit cut 'im a long switch en trim it up, en w'en he get it fix, up he step en hit de Hoss a rap—pow! De Hoss 'uz dat s'prise at dat kinder doin's dat he make one jump, en lan' on he foots. W'en he do dat, dar wuz Brer Fox danglin' in de a'r, en Brer Rabbit, he dart out de way en holler:

"'Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox! Hol' 'im down! I'll stan' out yer en see fa'r play. Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox! Hol' 'im down!'

"Co'se, w'en de Hoss feel Brer Fox hangin' dar onter he tail, he thunk sump'n' kuse wuz de marter, en dis make 'im jump en r'ar wusser en wusser, en he shake up Brer Fox same like he wuz a rag in de win', en Brer Rabbit, he jump en holler:

"'Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox! Hol' 'im down! You got 'im now, sho'! Hol' yo' grip, en hol' 'im down,' sezee.

"De Hoss, he jump en he hump, en he rip en he r'ar, en he snort en he t'ar. But yit Brer Fox hang on, en still Brer Rabbit skip 'roun' en holler:

"'Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox! You got 'im whar he can't needer back ner squall. Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox!' sezee.

"Bimeby, w'en Brer Fox git chance, he holler back, he did:

"'How in de name er goodness I gwine ter hol' de Hoss down 'less I git my claw in de groun'?'

"Den Brer Rabbit, he stan' back little furder en holler little louder:

"'Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox! Hol' 'im down! You got 'im now, sho'! Hol' 'im down!'

"Bimeby de Hoss 'gun ter kick wid he behime legs, en de fus' news you know, he fetch Brer Fox a lick in de stomach dat fa'rly make 'im squall, en den he kick 'im ag'in, en dis time he break Brer Fox loose, en sont 'im a-whirlin'; en Brer Rabbit, he keep on a-jumpin' 'roun' en hollerin':

"'Hol' 'im down, Brer Fox!'"

"Did the fox get killed, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.

"He wa'n't 'zackly kilt, honey," replied the old man, "but he wuz de nex' do' ter't. He 'uz all broke up, en w'iles he 'uz gittin' well, hit sorter come 'cross he min' dat Brer Rabbit done play n'er game on 'im."



III

BROTHER RABBIT AND THE LITTLE GIRL

"What did Brother Rabbit do after that?" the little boy asked presently.

"Now, den, you don't wanter push ole Brer Rabbit too close," replied Uncle Remus significantly. "He mighty tender-footed creetur, en de mo' w'at you push 'im, de furder he lef' you."

There was prolonged silence in the old man's cabin, until, seeing that the little boy was growing restless enough to cast several curious glances in the direction of the tool chest in the corner, Uncle Remus lifted one leg over the other, scratched his head reflectively, and began:

"One time, atter Brer Rabbit done bin trompin' 'roun' huntin' up some sallid fer ter make out he dinner wid, he fine hisse'f in de neighborhoods er Mr. Man house, en he pass 'long twel he come ter de gyardin-gate, en nigh de gyardin-gate he see Little Gal playin' 'roun' in de san'. W'en Brer Rabbit look 'twix' de gyardin-palin's en see de colluds, en de sparrer-grass, en de yuther gyardin truck growin' dar, hit make he mouf water. Den he take en walk up ter de Little Gal, Brer Rabbit did, en pull he roach,[1] en bow, en scrape he foot, en talk mighty nice en slick.

"'Howdy, Little Gal,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'how you come on?' sezee.

"Den de Little Gal, she 'spon' howdy, she did, en she ax Brer Rabbit how he come on, en Brer Rabbit, he 'low he mighty po'ly, en den he ax ef dis de Little Gal w'at 'er pa live up dar in de big w'ite house, w'ich de Little Gal, she up'n say 'twer'. Brer Rabbit, he say he mighty glad, kaze he des bin up dar fer to see 'er pa, en he say dat 'er pa, he sont 'im out dar fer ter tell de Little Gal dat she mus' open de gyardin-gate so Brer Rabbit kin go in en git some truck. Den de Little Gal, she jump 'roun', she did, en she open de gate, en wid dat, Brer Rabbit, he hop in, he did, en got 'im a mess er greens, en hop out ag'in, en w'en he gwine off he make a bow, he did, en tell de Little Gal dat he much 'blije', en den atter dat he put out fer home.

"Nex' day, Brer Rabbit, he hide out, he did, twel he see de Little Gal come out ter play, en den he put up de same tale, en walk off wid a n'er mess er truck, en hit keep on dis a-way, twel bimeby Mr. Man, he 'gun ter miss his greens, en he keep on a-missin' un um, twel he got ter excusin' eve'ybody on de place er 'stroyin' un um, en w'en dat come ter pass, de Little Gal, she up'n say:

"'My goodness, pa!' sez she, 'you done tole Mr. Rabbit fer ter come and make me let 'im in de gyardin atter some greens, en aint he done come en ax me, en aint I done gone en let 'im in?' sez she.

"Mr. Man aint hatter study long 'fo' he see how de lan' lay, en den he laff, en tell de Little Gal dat he done gone en disremember all 'bout Mr. Rabbit, en den he up'n say, sezee:

"'Nex' time Mr. Rabbit come, you tak'n tu'n 'im in, en den you run des ez fas' ez you kin en come en tell me, kase I got some bizness wid dat young chap dat 's bleedze ter be 'ten' ter,' sezee.

"Sho' nuff, nex' mawnin' dar wuz de Little Gal playin' 'roun', en yer come Brer Rabbit atter he 'lowance er greens. He wuz ready wid de same tale, en den de Little Gal, she tu'n 'im in, she did, en den she run up ter de house en holler:

"'O pa! pa! O pa! Yer Brer Rabbit in de gyardin now! Yer he is, pa!'



"Den Mr. Man, he rush out, en grab up a fishin'-line w'at bin hangin' in de back po'ch, en mak fer de gyardin, en w'en he git dar, dar wuz Brer Rabbit tromplin' 'roun' on de strawbe'y-bed en mashin' down de termartusses. W'en Brer Rabbit see Mr. Man, he squot behime a collud leaf, but 't wa'n't no use. Mr. Man done seed him, en 'fo' you kin count 'lev'm, he done got ole Brer Rabbit tie hard en fas' wid de fishin'-line. Atter he got him tie good, Mr. Man step back, he did, en say, sezee:

"'You done bin fool me lots er time, but dis time you er mine. I'm gwine ter take you en gin you a larrupin',' sezee, 'en den I'm gwine ter skin you en nail yo' hide on de stable do',' sezee; 'en den ter make sho dat you git de right kinder larrupin', I'll des step up ter de house,' sezee, 'en fetch de little red cowhide, en den I'll take en gin you brinjer,' sezee.

"Den Mr. Man call to der Little Gal ter watch Brer Rabbit w'iles he gone.

"Brer Rabbit aint sayin' nothin', but Mr. Man aint mo'n out de gate 'fo' he 'gun ter sing; en in dem days Brer Rabbit wuz a singer, mon," continued Uncle Remus, with unusual emphasis, "en w'en he chuned up fer ter sing he make dem yuther creeturs hol' der bref."

"What did he sing, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.

"Ef I aint fergit dat song off'n my min'," said Uncle Remus, looking over his spectacles at the fire, with a curious air of attempting to remember something, "hit run sorter dish yer way:

"'De jay-bird hunt de sparrer-nes', De bee-martin sail all 'roun'; De squer'l, he holler from de top er de tree, Mr. Mole, he stay in de groun'; He hide en he stay twel de dark drop down— Mr. Mole, he hide in de groun'.'

"W'en de Little Gal year dat, she laugh, she did, and she up'n ax Brer Babbit fer ter sing some mo', but Brer Rabbit, he sorter cough, he did, en 'low dat he got a mighty bad ho'seness down inter he win'pipe some'rs. De Little Gal, she swade,[2] en swade, en bimeby Brer Rabbit, he up 'n 'low dat he kin dance mo' samer dan w'at he kin sing. Den de Little Gal, she ax' im won't he dance, en Brer Rabbit, he 'spon' how in de name er goodness kin a man dance w'iles he all tie up dis a-way, en den de Little Gal, she say she kin ontie 'im, en Brer Rabbit, he say he aint keerin' ef she do. Wid dat de Little Gal, she retch down en onloose de fish-line, en Brer Rabbit, he sorter stretch hisse'f en look 'roun'."

Here Uncle Remus paused and sighed, as though he had relieved his mind of a great burden. The little boy waited a few minutes for the old man to resume, and finally he asked:

"Did the Rabbit dance, Uncle Remus?"

"Who? Him?" exclaimed the old man, with a queer affectation of elation. "Bless yo' soul, honey! Brer Rabbit gedder up his foots und' 'im, en he dance outer dat gyardin, en he dance home. He did dat! Sho'ly you don't 'speck' dat a ole-timer w'at done had 'spe'unce like Brer Rabbit gwine ter stay dar en let dat ar Mr. Man sackyfice 'im? Shoo! Brer Rabbit dance, but he dance home. You year me!"

——————————————————————————————————— FOOTNOTES:

[1] Topknot, foretop.

[2] Persuaded. ———————————————————————————————————



IV

HOW BROTHER FOX WAS TOO SMART

Uncle Remus chuckled a moment over the escape of Brother Rabbit, and then turned his gaze upward toward the cobwebbed gloom that seemed to lie just beyond the rafters. He sat thus silent and serious a little while, but finally squared himself around in his chair and looked the little boy full in the face. The old man's countenance expressed a curious mixture of sorrow and bewilderment. Catching the child by the coat-sleeve, Uncle Remus pulled him gently to attract his attention.

"Hit look like ter me," he said presently, in the tone of one approaching an unpleasant subject, "dat no longer'n yistiddy I see one er dem ar Favers chillun clim'in' dat ar big red-oak out yan', en den it seem like dat a little chap 'bout yo' size, he tuck'n start up ter see ef he can't play smarty like de Favers's yearlin's. I dunner w'at in de name er goodness you wanter be a-copyin' atter dem ar Faverses fer. Ef you er gwine ter copy atter yuther folks, copy atter dem w'at's some 'count. Yo' pa, he got de idee dat some folks is good ez yuther folks; but Miss Sally, she know better. She know dat dey aint no Favers 'pon de top side er de yeth w'at kin hol' der han' wid de Abercrombies in p'int er breedin' en raisin'. Dat w'at Miss Sally know. I bin keepin' track er dem Faverses sence way back yan' long 'fo' Miss Sally wuz born'd. Ole Cajy Favers, he went ter de po'house, en ez ter dat Jim Favers, I boun' you he know de inside er all de jails in dish yer State er Jawjy. Dey allers did hate niggers kase dey aint had none, en dey hates um down ter dis day.

"Year 'fo' las'," Uncle Remus continued, "I year yo Unk' Jeems Abercrombie tell dat same Jim Favers dat ef he lay de weight er he han' on one er his niggers, he'd slap a load er buck shot in 'im; en, bless yo' soul, honey, yo' Unk' Jeems wuz des de man ter do it. But dey er monst'us perlite unter me, dem Faverses is," pursued the old man, allowing his indignation, which had risen to a white heat, to cool off, "en dey better be," he added spitefully, "kase I knows der pedigree fum de fus' ter de las', en w'en I gits my Affikin up, dey aint nobody, 'less it's Miss Sally 'erse'f, w'at kin keep me down.

"But dat aint needer yer ner dar," said Uncle Remus, renewing his attack upon the little boy. "W'at you wanter go copyin' atter dem Favers chillun fer? Youer settin' back dar, right dis minnit, bettin' longer yo'se'f dat I aint gwine ter tell Miss Sally, en dar whar youer lettin' yo' foot slip, kaze I'm gwine ter let it pass dis time, but de ve'y nex' time w'at I ketches you in hollerin' distuns er dem Faverses, right den en dar I'm gwine ter take my foot in my han' en go en tell Miss Sally, en ef she don't natally skin you 'live, den she aint de same 'oman w'at she useter be.

"All dish yer copyin' atter deze yer Faverses put me in min' er de time w'en Brer Fox got ter copyin' atter Brer Rabbit. I done tole you 'bout de time w'en Brer Rabbit git de game fum Brer Fox by makin' like he dead?"[3]

The little boy remembered it very distinctly, and said as much.

"Well, den, ole Brer Fox, w'en he see how slick de trick wuk wid Brer Rabbit, he say ter hisse'f dat he b'leeve he'll up'n try de same kinder game on some yuther man, en he keep on watchin' fer he chance, twel bimeby, one day, he year Mr. Man comin' down de big road in a one-hoss waggin, kyar'n some chickens, en some eggs, en some butter, ter town. Brer Fox year 'im comin', he did, en w'at do he do but go en lay down in de road front er de waggin. Mr. Man, he druv 'long, he did, cluckin' ter de hoss en hummin' ter hisse'f, en w'en dey git mos' up ter Brer Fox, de hoss, he shy, he did, en Mr. Man, he tuck'n holler Wo! en de hoss, he tuck'n wo'd. Den Mr. Man, he look down, en he see Brer Fox layin' out dar on de groun' des like he cole en stiff, en w'en Mr. Man see dis, he holler out:

"'Heyo! Dar de chap w'at been nabbin' up my chickens, en somebody done gone en shot off a gun at 'im, w'ich I wish she'd er bin two guns—dat I does!'

"Wid dat, Mr. Man he druv on en lef Brer Fox layin' dar. Den Brer Fox, he git up en run 'roun' thoo de woods en lay down front er Mr. Man ag'in, en Mr. Man come drivin' 'long, en he see Brer Fox, en he say, sezee;—

"'Heyo! Yer de ve'y chap what been 'stroyin' my pigs. Somebody done gone en kilt 'im, en I wish dey'd er kilt 'im long time ago.'

"Den Mr. Man, he druv on, en de waggin-w'eel come mighty nigh mashin' Brer Fox nose; yit, all de same, Brer Fox lipt up en run 'roun' 'head er Mr. Man, en lay down in de road, en w'en Mr. Man come 'long, dar he wuz all stretch out like he big 'nuff fer ter fill a two-bushel baskit, en he look like he dead 'nuff fer ter be skint. Mr. Man druv up, he did, en stop. He look down pun Brer Fox, en den he look all 'roun' fer ter see w'at de 'casion er all deze yer dead Fox is. Mr. Man look all 'roun', he did, but he aint see nothin', en needer do he year nothin'. Den he set dar en study, en bimeby he 'low ter hisse'f, he did, dat he had better 'zamin' w'at kinder kuse zeeze[4] done bin got inter Brer Fox fambly, en wid dat he lit down outer de waggin, en feel er Brer Fox year; Brer Fox year feel right wom. Den he feel Brer Fox neck; Brer Fox neck right wom. Den he feel er Brer Fox in de short ribs; Brer Fox all soun' in de short ribs. Den he feel er Brer Fox lim's; Brer Fox all soun' in de lim's. Den he tu'n Brer Fox over, en, lo en beholes, Brer Fox right limber. W'en Mr. Man see dis, he say ter hisse'f, sezee:

"'Heyo, yer! how come dis? Dish yer chicken-nabber look lak he dead, but dey aint no bones broked, en I aint see no blood, en needer does I feel no bruise; en mo'n dat he wom en he limber,' sezee. 'Sump'n' wrong yer, sho'! Dish yer pig-grabber mought be dead, en den ag'in he moughtent,' sezee; 'but ter make sho' dat he is, I'll des gin 'im a whack wid my w'ip-han'le,' sezee; en wid dat, Mr. Man draw back en fotch Brer Fox a clip behime de years—pow!—en de lick come so hard en it come so quick dat Brer Fox thunk sho' he's a goner; but 'fo' Mr. Man kin draw back fer ter fetch 'im a n'er wipe, Brer Fox, he scramble ter his feet, he did, en des make tracks 'way fum dar."

Uncle Remus paused and shook the cold ashes from his pipe, and then applied the moral:

"Dat w'at Brer Fox git fer playin' Mr. Smarty en copyin' atter yuther foks, en dat des de way de whole Smarty fambly gwine ter come out."

——————————————————————————————————— FOOTNOTES:

[3] Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, p. 70 (New York: D. Appleton & Co.).

[4] Disease. ———————————————————————————————————



V

BROTHER RABBIT'S ASTONISHING PRANK

"I 'speck dat 'uz de reas'n w'at make ole Brer Rabbit git 'long so well, kaze he aint copy atter none er de yuther creeturs," Uncle Remus continued, after a while. "W'en he make his disappearance 'fo' um, hit 'uz allers in some bran new place. Dey aint know wharbouts fer ter watch out fer 'im. He wuz de funniest creetur er de whole gang. Some folks moughter call him lucky, en yit, w'en he git in bad luck, hit look lak he mos' allers come out on top. Hit look mighty kuse now, but 't wa'n't kuse in dem days, kaze hit 'uz done gun up dat, strike 'im w'en you might en whar you would, Brer Rabbit wuz de soopless creetur gwine.

"One time, he sorter tuck a notion, ole Brer Rabbit did, dat he'd pay Brer B'ar a call, en no sooner do de notion strike 'im dan he pick hisse'f up en put out fer Brer B'ar house."

"Why, I thought they were mad with each other," the little boy exclaimed.

"Brer Rabbit make he call w'en Brer B'ar en his fambly wuz off fum home," Uncle Remus explained, with a chuckle which was in the nature of a hearty tribute to the crafty judgment of Brother Rabbit.

"He sot down by de road, en he see um go by,—ole Brer B'ar en ole Miss B'ar, en der two twin-chilluns, w'ich one un um wuz name Kubs en de t'er one wuz name Klibs."

The little boy laughed, but the severe seriousness of Uncle Remus would have served for a study, as he continued:

"Ole Brer B'ar en Miss B'ar, dey went 'long ahead, en Kubs en Klibs, dey come shufflin' en scramblin' 'long behime. W'en Brer Rabbit see dis, he say ter hisse'f dat he 'speck he better go see how Brer B'ar gittin' on; en off he put. En 't wa'n't long n'er 'fo' he 'uz ransackin' de premmuses same like he 'uz sho' 'nuff patter-roller. W'iles he wuz gwine 'roun' peepin' in yer en pokin' in dar, he got ter foolin' 'mong de shelfs, en a bucket er honey w'at Brer B'ar got hid in de cubbud fall down en spill on top er Brer Rabbit, en little mo'n he'd er bin drown. Fum head ter heels dat creetur wuz kiver'd wid honey; he wa'n't des only bedobble wid it, he wuz des kiver'd. He hatter set dar en let de natal sweetness drip outen he eyeballs 'fo' he kin see he han' befo' 'im, en den, atter he look' 'roun' little, he say to hisse'f, sezee:

"'Heyo, yer! W'at I gwine do now? Ef I go out in de sunshine, de bumly-bees en de flies dey'll swom up'n take me, en if I stay yer, Brer B'ar'll come back en ketch me, en I dunner w'at in de name er gracious I gwine do.'

"Ennyhow, bimeby a notion strike Brer Rabbit, en he tip 'long twel he git in de woods, en w'en he git out dar, w'at do he do but roll in de leafs en trash en try fer ter rub de honey off'n 'im dat a-way. He roll, he did, en de leafs dey stick; Brer Rabbit roll, en de leafs dey stick, en he keep on rollin' en de leafs keep on stickin', twel atter w'ile Brer Rabbit wuz de mos' owdashus-lookin' creetur w'at you ever sot eyes on. En ef Miss Meadows en de gals could er seed 'im den en dar, dey would n't er bin no mo' Brer Rabbit call at der house; 'deed, en dat dey would n't.

"Brer Rabbit, he jump 'roun', he did, en try ter shake de leafs off'a 'im, but de leafs, dey aint gwine ter be shuck off. Brer Rabbit, he shake en he shiver, but de leafs dey stick; en de capers dat creetur cut up out dar in de woods by he own-alone se'f wuz scan'lous—dey wuz dat; dey wuz scan'lous.

"Brer Rabbit see dis wa'nt gwine ter do, en he 'low ter hisse'f dat he better be gittin' on todes home, en off he put. I 'speck you done year talk er deze yer booggers w'at gits atter bad chilluns," continued Uncle Remus, in a tone so seriously confidential as to be altogether depressing; "well, den, des 'zactly dat a-way Brer Rabbit look, en ef you'd er seed 'im you'd er made sho' he de gran'-daddy er all de booggers. Brer Rabbit pace 'long, he did, en ev'y motion he make, de leafs dey'd go swishy-swushy, splushy-splishy, en, fum de fuss he make en de way he look, you'd er tuck 'im ter be de mos' suvvigus varment w'at disappear fum de face er de yeth sence ole man Noah let down de draw-bars er de ark en tu'n de creeturs loose; en I boun' ef you'd er struck up long wid 'im, you'd er been mighty good en glad ef you'd er got off wid dat.

"De fus' man w'at Brer Rabbit come up wid wuz ole Sis Cow, en no sooner is she lay eyes on 'im dan she h'ist up 'er tail in de elements, en put out like a pack er dogs wuz atter 'er. Dis make Brer Rabbit laff, kaze he know dat w'en a ole settle' 'oman like Sis Cow run 'stracted in de broad open day-time, dat dey mus' be sump'n' mighty kuse 'bout dem leafs en dat honey, en he keep on a-rackin' down de road. De nex' man w'at he meet wuz a black gal tollin' a whole passel er plantation shotes, en w'en de gal see Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long, she fling down 'er basket er corn en des fa'rly fly, en de shotes, dey tuck thoo de woods, en sech n'er racket ez dey kick up wid der runnin', en der snortin', en der squealin' aint never bin year in dat settlement needer befo' ner since. Hit keep on dis a-way long ez Brer Rabbit meet anybody—dey des broke en run like de Ole Boy wuz atter um.

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