Tuesday, December 11, 2018

C075. Fox, Rabbit, and Their Families

41. Aunt Tempy's Story. 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.


In the times when Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox live in the same settlement with one another the season's took and come wrong. The weather got hot and then a long dry drought set in, and it seem lik that the natural leaf on the trees was going to turn to powder.

The leaf on the trees look like they going to turn to powder, and the ground look like it done been cooked. All the truck what the critters plant was all parched up, and they weren't no crops made nowheres. They don't know what to do. They run this a-way, they run that a-way; Yet when they quit running they don't know where they bread coming from. 

This the way it look to Brer Fox, and so one day when he got a mighty hankering after something sort of juicy, he meet Brer Rabbit in the lane, and he ask him, says he, "Brer Rabbit, where'bouts our bread coming from?"

Brer Rabbit, he bow, he did, and answer, says he, "Look like it might be coming from nowhere," says he.

He joke, and joke, but by and by, he ain't feel like no more joking, and then he up and say, says he, that him and Brer Fox better start out and take their families with 'em to town and swap 'em off for some fresh-ground meal; and Brer Fox say, says he, that that look mighty fair and square, and then they took and make they agreements.

Brer Fox was to supply the wagon and team, and he promise that he going to catch he family and tie 'em hard and fast with a red twine string. Brer Rabbit he say, says he, that he going to catch he family and tie 'em all, and meet Brer Fox at the fork of the road.

Sure 'nough, soon in the morning, when Brer Fox draw up with he wagon, he holler "Whoa!" and Brer Rabbit he took and holler back, "Whoa yo'self!" and then Brer Fox know they was all there. Brer Fox, he took and sat up on the seat, and all of he family, they was a-laying under the seat. Brer Rabbit, he took and put all he family in the behind end of the wagon, and he say, says he, that he expect he better sit back there till they get sort of used to they surrounderlings, and then Brer Fox crack he whip, and off they went towards town. Brer Fox, he holler every once in a while, says he, "No noddin' back there, Brer Rabbit!"

Brer Rabbit he holler back, says he, "Brer Fox, you miss the ruts an' the rocks, an' I'll miss the noddin'."

But all that time, bless your soul! Brer Rabbit was sitting there untying he old woman and he children, which they was seven of 'em. When he get 'em all untie, Brer Rabbit, he took and hoist hisself on the seat 'long of Brer Fox, and they sat there and talk and laugh 'bout the all-sorts of times they going to have when they get the corn meal. Brer Fox says, says he, he going to bake hoecake; Brer Rabbit says, says he, he going to make ashcake.

Just 'bout this time one of Brer Rabbit's children raise hisself up easy and hop out the wagon. Miss Fox, she sing out, 
One from seven
Don't leave eleven.

Brer Fox hunch he old woman with he foot for to make her keep still. By and by another little Rabbit pop up and hop out. Miss Fox say, says she, 
One from six
Leaves me less kicks.

Brer Fox go on talking to Brer Rabbit, and Brer Rabbit go on talking to Brer Fox, and it weren't so mighty long 'fore all Brer Rabbit family done pop up and dive out the wagon, and every time one'd go Miss Fox she'd fit it like she did the others.
One from five
Leaves four alive;
One from four
Leaves three and no more;
One from three
Leaves two to go free;
One from one,
And all done gone.

Brer Fox look 'round after while, and when he see that all Brer Rabbit family done gone, he lean back and holler "Whoa!" and then he say, says he, "In the name of goodness, Brer Rabbit! Where all yo' folks?"

Brer Rabbit look 'round, and then he make like he crying. He just fairly boohooed, and he say, says he, "There now, Brer Fox! I just know'd that if I put my poor little childrens in there with yo' folks they'd get et up. I just knowed it!"

Old Miss Fox, she just vow she ain't touch Brer Rabbit family. But Brer Fox, he been wanting a piece of 'em all the way, and he begrudge 'em so that he get mighty mad with he old woman and the childrens, and he say, says he, "You can just make the most of that, 'cause I'm a-goin' to bid you good riddance this very day." And, sure 'nough, Brer Fox took and took he whole family to town and trade 'em off for corn.

Brer Rabbit was with 'em, just as big as life and twice as natural. They start back, they did, and when they get four or five mile out of town, it come 'cross Brer Fox mind that he done come away and left a plug of tobacco in the store, and he say he pleased to go back after it.

Brer Rabbit, he say, says he, that he'll stay and take care of the wagon, while Brer Fox can run back and get he tobacco. 

Soon as Brer Fox get out of sight, Brer Rabbit laid the horses under line and lash and drove the wagon home, and put the horses in he own stable, and the corn in the smoke-house, and the wagon in the barn, and then he put some corn in he pocket, and cut the horses' tails off, and went back up the road till he come to a quagmire, and in that he stick the tails and wait for Brer Fox.

After while here he come, and then Brer Rabbit begun to holler and pull at the tails. He say, says he, "Run here, Brer Fox! Run here! You are just in time if you ain't too late. Run here, Brer Fox! Run here!"

Brer Fox, he runned and jerk Brer Rabbit away, and say, says he, "Get out the way, Brer Rabbit! You too little! Get out the way, and let a man catch hold."

Brer Fox took hold, and he fetched one big pull, and I let you know that was the onliest pull he make, 'cause the tails come out and he turn a back somersault. He jump up, he did, and begun to grabble in the quagmire just as hard as he can.

Brer Rabbit, he stand by, and drop some corn in unbeknownst to Brer Fox, and this make him grabble worse and worse, and he grabble so hard and he grabble so long that it weren't long 'fore he fall down dead, and so that was the last of old Brer Fox in that day and time.

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