Tuesday, December 18, 2018

C139. Dreaming of Dinner

20: According to How the Drop Falls. Text Source: Uncle Remus and His Friends by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Hathi Trust. I have removed the frame material and standardized the spelling; click here for notes to the story.

One time there was a black man, and this here man had a big fat possum and a half a peck of sweet taters. He took the possum and the taters home, and he lay 'em down, — the possum on one side the fireplace and the taters on the other side. Then he get some wood and chips and make him a fire, and then he fetch out the skillet. He put the possum in there, he did, and he put the taters in the ashes close by for to keep him company. Then he raked out some hot embers and sat the skillet on 'em, and he put on the skillet lid, and piled some embers upon top of that.

He sat there, he did, and wait for the possum for to get done. After so long a time he pull the taters out of the embers, and push the skillet 'way from the fire. He allow to hisself, he did, that cold possum is better than hot possum, though both of 'em is good enough for anybody. So he say he'll just let it set there and cool, and soak in the gravy. Then he say he believe he'll do some nodding, 'cause then he'll dream he eating the possum, and then he'll wake up and eat him sure enough, and have the enjoyment of eating him two times. 

Well, sir, that just the way he done. He sat back in his chair, the man did, and he nodded and nodded, and he work his mouth just like he eating possum, and he grunt in his sleep like he feeling good. 

But whiles he sitting there sleeping, another man smell the possum, and he crept up to the door and peep in. He seed how the land lay, and he slipped off his shoes and stole in. He lift up the lid of the skillet, and there was the possum. He look on the side of the hearth, and there was the taters. Now, then, when that the case, what going to happen? Possum, and tater, and hungry man! Well, sir, the first news you know, the possum was all bones, and the taters was all peelings. Then the man fix the bones in one little pile, and he fix the peelings in another little pile, and then he took some of the possum gravy and rub it on the the other man's mouth and hands, and then he went on about his business. 

It weren't so mighty long after that 'fore the nodding man wake up. He open his eyes, he did, and stretch hisself, and look at the skillet and laugh. 

He allow, "You are there, is you? Well, I'll tell you howdy now, and directly I'll tell you good-by!"

He took the lid off of the skillet, and there ain't no possum there. He look 'round for the taters, and there ain't no taters there. There ain't nothing there but a pile of bones and a pile of tater-peelings. 

The man sat down in his chair and went to studying. He look at his hands, and he see possum grease on 'em. He lick out his tongue, and he taste possum gravy on his mouth. He shook his head and study. He look at his hands. "Possum been there!" He lick his mouth. "Possum been there, too!" He rub his stomach. "But I be bless if any possum been here!"

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