Thursday, December 13, 2018

C154. Brer Deer and King Sun's Daughter

11. Brother Deer and King Sun's Daughter. Text Source: Told by 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.


Once upon a time, when there was mighty few folks in the world, if any, Brer Deer fell in love with old King Sun's daughter. You needn't to get the idea in your head that old King Sun is like he was in them days. No, bless you! He was just as different as them times was from these times. He was closer by, and he ain't hide out at night like he does now. He was up in the sky, but he ain't live as high up; he was more neighborly, as you may say.

He live so close by that he used to send the house-gal down to the spring for drinking-water. Three times a day she'd come to fetch it; she'd climb down with the bucket in her hand and she'd climb back with the bucket on her head, and she'd sing both ways, coming and going. In them times they all knowed that old King Sun had a daughter, but they ain't know what her name is; and they know she was pretty. Well, Brer Deer he hear talk and her, and he took a notion that he going to marry her, but he don't know how he going to get up there where she live at. He study and study, but he can't find no way.

He was sitting down by the road studying out a plan for to get word to the gal, when old Brer Rabbit come loping down the lane. He must a been playing horse, 'cause when he see Brer Deer, he shied and sneezed, he did, and make like he going to run away. But he ain't run. He pass the time of day with Brer Deer and ask him how his corporosity seem to segashuate. Brer Deer allow that his corporosity is segashuating all right, but he got trouble in his mind and he can't get it out. He looked mighty solemncholy when he say this, and Brer Rabbit say he sorry.

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He sat down, Brer Rabbit did, and cross his legs, and rub his chin same like the doctor do when he going to slap a dose of bitter truck on you insides. He rub his chin, he did, and look like he know all there is for to be knowed. He say, "Brer Deer, when I was growing up I used to hear the old folks say that a light heart made a long life, and I believe 'em. I sure does. They knowed what they was talking about, 'cause I done had the experience of it."

Brer Deer shook his head and grieve. If he'd've had a handkerchief, he've had need of it right then and there, but he wink his eye fast for to get the tears out of 'em. He allow, "I expect you are telling me the truth, Brer Rabbit, but I can't help it if you is. I am what I am, and I can't be no ammer. I feels more like crying than I does like eating, and I'm that fractious that I can't scarcely see straight. Old Mr. Ram told me howdy a while ago, and I ain't done a thing but run at him an butt him slantways. You needn't to tell me that I ain't got no business for to do that a-way; I just can't help it."

Brer Rabbit kind of edge hisself away from Brer Deer. He say, "That being the case, Brer Deer, I expect I better give you more room. When I left home this morning my old woman allow, "You better take care of yourself, honey,” and I'm going to do that identical thing. I don't know that I'm scared of getting hurted, but I'm monstrous ticklish when the horned critters is round."

Brer Deer say, "You needn't to be feared of me, Brer Rabbit. I been knowing you a long time, and many's the night that we both graze in the same pasture, you a-nibbling on the green grass and me a-cropping it. I'm monstrous glad I run across you, 'cause if I can't tell my troubles to some one, I believe in my soul I'll bust wide open."

With that Brer Deer went on for to tell Brer Rabbit that he done fell dead in love with old King Sun's daughter. He don't know how come it to be so, but anyhow so it is. He ain't had no talk with her; he ain't more than catch a glimpse of the gal, yet there he was dead in love with her. Brer Rabbit might laugh at him if he want to; he'll just sit there and take it. He talk and talk, he did, till Brer Rabbit got right sorry for him. He sat there, he did, and study, and he tell Brer Deer that he'll help him if he can, and he most know he can.

Brer Deer raise his head, and open his eyes. He say, "Brer Rabbit, you astonish me—you sure does. If you'll help me out in this, I'll stand by you through thick and thin."

But Brer Rabbit say he ain't doing it for no pay; he done lay by his crop, and he ain't got nothing much to do, and he say he'll help Brer Deer just for to keep his hand in. Brer Deer look like he was mightily helped up. First he smiled a smile, and then he broke out in a laugh. He say, "You are the man for my money!"

Brer Rabbit kind of wiggle his nose. He say, "If you keep your money till you think you got too much, you'll have it by you for many a long year to come."

With that, he got up and brush the dust off of his britches, and shook hands with Brer Deer. He say, "I hope for to have some good news for you the next time we meet in the big road."

He bowed, he did, and then off he put, lippity-clip. He look back for to see if Brer Deer was following him, but Brer Deer had sense enough for to hunt him a cool place in the woods, where he can take the first nap what he had in many a night and day.

Brer Rabbit lope off towards the spring, 'cause he knowed that the spring was the place where King Sun's house-gal come after water—and she had to tote a mighty heap of it. It look like the more water what King Sun drunk the more he want, and that being the case, the gal had about as much toting as she can do. Brer Rabbit went down to the spring, but there weren't nobody there, and he look in it and see hisself in the water. There he was, his hair all combed, his face clean, and he look slicker than sin. He laugh, he did, and say to the Rabbit what he see in the water, "You sure is mighty good-looking, whoever you is, and if you blame anybody, don't blame me, 'cause I can't help it."

Now, down at the bottom of the spring was old man Spring Lizard. He was taking his morning nap, when he hear someone talking. He raise up, he did, and listen; then he look and see Brer Rabbit looking at hisself in the water, and he holler out, "Maybe you ain't as good-looking as you think you is."

Brer Rabbit holler back, "Hello there! This is the first time I knowed that your shadow in the water can talk back at you."

With that, Mr. Spring Lizard come from under the green moss, and float to the top of the water. He pass the time of day with Brer Rabbit, and ask him where he going, and what he going to do when he get there. Brer Rabbit allow that he trying for to do a good turn to a friend what's in trouble and then he went on and told the old Spring Lizard about Brer Deer and King Sun's daughter. The Spring Lizard say she's a mighty likely gal, 'cause he seed her one time when she slip off and come with the house-gal after water. He say she got long hair that look like spun silk, and eyes that shine like the morning star.

Brer Rabbit say he don't dispute it, but what he want to know is how he can get word to King Sun about Brer Deer. The Spring Lizard say that's easy. He say that when the house-gal come after water, she had to let down the step-ladder, and Brer Rabbit can slip by her and go up, or he hisself can get in the bucket and go up. Brer Rabbit say he kind of dubious about going, 'cause he's a kind of home body, and then the Spring Lizard allow that if Brer Deer will write a note, he'll take it.

Well, Brer Deer can't write and Brer Rabbit can; so they fix it up 'twixt 'em, and it weren't long 'fore they had the note writ, and Brer Rabbit took it and give it to the Spring Lizard. He say, "Don't let it get wet, whatever you does," and the Spring Lizard ask how it going to get wet when he put it in his pocket? He say that everybody but him, the fishes, and the frogs got a wrong idea about water, 'cause it ain't wet as it might be, excepting on a rainy day.

Time went on just like it do now; night swung by and day swung in, and here come King Sun's house-gal after a bucket of water. She let down the step-ladder and come singing to the spring. She dropped her bucket in, and the Spring Lizard stepped in, and crept round to where the shadow was the heaviest. The gal climbed up the step-ladder, and pulled it after her, and went along the path to King Sun's house. She took the water in the sitting-room for to give King Sun a fresh drink, and he grabbed up the gourd and drunk and drunk till it look like he going to bust. After that he went in the livery, and the Spring Lizard crept out and left Brer Deer note on the table, and then he crept back in the bucket.

After while, King Sun's daughter come bouncing in the room after a drink of water, and she see the note. She grab it up and read it, and then she holler, "Pa, oh, pa! Here's a letter for you, and I most know there's something in it about me! Lord! I don't know who it is that's got the impudence for to put my name in a letter."

Old King Sun run his fingers through his beard, just like he combing it, and then he clear up his throat. He take the letter and hold it off from him, and then put on his specs. He allow, "Well, well, well! Who'd've thunk it?' and then he look at his daughter. She look at the floor and pat her foot. He say, "I ain't never hear of such impudence."

The gal allow, "What do he say, pa?' 

With that, he hand her the letter, and when she read it, she got red in the face, and then she got white. She think one way, and then she think another. She got mad and she got glad, and then she had the all-overs, just like gals does these days when someone ask 'em for to have 'em.

So then, there it was; Brer Deer want to marry the gal, and the gal don't know whether she want to marry or not. Then old King Sun got his pen, and put a little water in the ink, 'cause it was mighty nigh dried up, and then he writ a letter back to Brer Deer. He say that if the one what writ the letter will send him a bag of gold, he can have the gal. He fold the letter up and hand it to the gal, and she not knowing what else to do, took and put it on the table where she find the other one.

The Spring Lizard had his eye on her, and when she went out of the room, he climbed up on the table and got the letter, and went back in the bucket again. That evening the house-gal had to fetch water for the night, and she let down the step-ladder and went to the spring. When she dip the bucket in, the Spring Lizard, he slid out, and went to his bed under the long green moss. it weren't long 'fore Brer Rabbit had the letter, and after that, it weren't no time 'fore Brer Deer knowed what the intents was. Betwixt and between 'em they got up a bag of gold, and Brer Rabbit took it to the spring where the house-gal got water.

The next morning the daughter come herself, 'cause she want to see what kind of man Brer Deer is. At the spring she find a bag of gold. She clap her hands and holler out, "Look what I find—find, find, findy! It's mine—mine, mine, miney!"

Brer Rabbit was sitting in the bushes, and Brer Deer weren't far off, and they both watch the gal a-prancing and dancing; and then, by and by Brer Deer went out where she can see him, and he just walk up to her and say, "Look what I find; honey, you are mine!" and that was the way Brer Deer got old King Sun's daughter.

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