Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C060. Brer Gator in Trouble

26. Why the Alligator's Back Is Rough. Text Source: Nights with Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Project Gutenberg. I have removed the frame material and standardized the spelling; click here for the original spelling plus all notes to the story. This story is one that Daddy Jack tells in Gullah, so even with the standardized spelling, you can see that this is a different style than in the other stories.


Gator, them all same. Big mouth, pop-eye, walk on he belly; he is been got bump, bump, bump upon he back, bump bump bump upon he tail. He dive 'neath the water, he do live upon the land.

One time Dog is been run Brer Rabbit, till he do get tired; the Dog is been run him till him ain't most have no breath in he body; he hide heself by the creek side. He come close upon Brer Gator, and Brer Gator, he do say, "Ki, Brer Rabbit! What this is make you blow so? What make you breath come so?"

"Eh-eh! Brer Gator, I have been come upon trouble. Dog, he do run and a-run me."

"Why you no fetch him along, Brer Rabbit? I is been get fat on all that trouble like them. I proud for hear Dog bark, if he is been fetch me trouble like them."

"Wait, Brer Gator! Trouble come visiting where you live; he make you side puff; he make you breath come so."

Gator, he do flop he tail and stretch heself, and laugh. He say, "I like see them trouble. Nothing no bother me. I catch them shrimp, I catch them crab, I make my bed where the sun shine hot, and I do enjoy meself. I proud for see them trouble."

"He come upon you, Brer Gator, when you been have you eye shut; he come upon you from the other side. If he no come upon you in the creek, then he come upon you in the broom-grass."

"Then I shake him by the hand, Brer Rabbit; I ask him howdy."

"Eh-eh, Brer Gator! You been a-laugh at me; you no laugh when them trouble come. Them trouble been catch you yet."

Brer Rabbit, he do blow and he do catch him breath. He put one ear where Dog is been a-bark; he put one eye upon Brer Gator. he listen, he look; he look, he listen. He no hear Dog, and he comforts come back.

By and by Brer Gator, he come drowsy; he do nod, nod, and he head sway down, till marsh-grass tickle he nose, and he do cough same like he tear up the creek by the root. He no like this place for sleep at, and he is crawl through the marsh upon dry land; he is make for the broom-grass field. He make he bed with he long tail, and he is stretch heself out at he length. He is shut he eye, and open he mouth, and take he nap.

Brer Rabbit, he do hold he eye upon Brer Gator. Him talk no word; him wall up he cud; him stand still. Brer Gator, he do take he nap; Brer Rabbit he do watch. By and by, Brer Gator breath, he do come loud; he is been snore hard! He dream little dream; he work he foot and shake he tail in he dream. Brer Rabbit wink he eye, and he do watch. Brer Gator, he do leave he dream behind, and he sleep sound.

Brer Rabbit watch little, wait little. By and by, he do go where fire burn in the stump, and he is fetch some. He say, "This day I is make you know them trouble; I is make you know them well." He hop 'round there-there, and he do light the broom-grass; he burn, burn—burn, burn; he do burn smart.

Brer Gator, he is dream some more little dream. He do work he foot, he do shake he tail. Broom-grass burn, burn; Brer Gator dream. He dream the sun is shine hot; he warm he back, he warm he belly; he work he foot, he shake he tail. Broom-grass burn high, he burn low; he burn smart, he burn hot.

By and by, Brer Gator is wake from he dream; he smell the smoke, he feel the fire. He run this way, he run the other way; no difference where he is run, there the smoke, there the fire. Burn, burn, burn! Brer Gator lash he tail, and grind he tooth. By and by, he do roar and holler, "Trouble, trouble, trouble! Trouble, trouble!"

Brer Rabbit, he is stand past the fire, and he do say, "Ki! Brer Gator! Where you for learn this talk 'bout them trouble?"

Brer Gator, he lash he tail, he fair tear the earth, and he do holler, "Oh, my Lord! Trouble! Trouble, trouble, trouble!"

"Shake him by the hand, Brer Gator. Ask him howdy!"

"Ow, my Lord! Trouble, trouble, trouble!"

"Laugh with them trouble, Brer Gator, laugh with them! Ask them is they health been well! You been cry for they acquaintance, Brer Gator; now you must bear with them trouble!"

Brer Gator come so mad, he make dash through the broom-grass; he fair tear him down. He been scatter the fire wide apart, and he do run and dive in the creek for squinch the fire upon he back. He back shrivel, he tail shrivel with the fire, and from that they is been stand so. Bump, bump upon he tail; bump, bump upon he back, where the fire burn.

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