Tuesday, December 11, 2018

C097. Brer Fox in the Fruit Tree

63. Brother Fox and the White Muscadines. 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.


One time whiles Brer Rabbit was going through the woods he took and strike up with old Brer Fox, and Brer Fox allow, he did, that he mighty hungry. Brer Rabbit allow that he ain't feeling that a-way hisself, 'cause he just been and had a bait of white muscadines, and then he took and smack he mouth and lick he chops right front of Brer Fox.

Brer Fox, he ask, says he, "Brer Rabbit, where the name of goodness is these here white muscadines, and how come I'm ain't never run acrossed 'em?" says he.

"I don't know what the reason you ain't never come up with 'em," says Brer Rabbit, says he; "some folks sees straight, some sees crooked, some sees one thing, some sees another. I done seed them there white muscadines, and let alone that, I done wipe 'em up. I done eat all there was on one tree, but I lay there's lots more of 'em 'round in them neighborhoods," says he.

Ole Brer Fox mouth begun to water, and he get mighty restless."Come on, Brer Rabbit; come on! Come show me where them there white muscadines grows at," says he.

Brer Rabbit, he sort of hang back. 

Brer Fox, he allow, "Come on, Brer Rabbit, come on!"

Brer Rabbit, he hang back, and by and by he allow, "Uh-uh, Brer Fox! You want to get me out there in the timber by myself and do something to me. You want to get me out there and scare me."

Old Brer Fox, he hold up he hands, he do, and he allow, "I just delare 'fore gracious, Brer Rabbit, I ain't gonna do no such of a thing. I don't know what kind of opinion you got about me for to have such idea in your head. Come on, Brer Rabbit, and let's we go get them there white muscadines. Come on, Brer Rabbit."

"Uh-uh, Brer Fox! I done hear talk of you playing so many prank with folks that I feared for to go 'way off there with you."

They went on that a-way, till by and by Brer Fox promise he ain't going to bother 'long of Brer Rabbit, and then they took and put out. And where you expect that there mischievous Brer Rabbit took and carry Brer Fox? He ain't carry him nowheres in the round world but to one of these here great big scaly-bark trees. The tree was just loaded down with scaly-barks, but they weren't ripe, and the green hulls shined in the sun just like they been whitewashed. 

Brer Fox look astonished. After while he up and allow, "Is them there the white muscadines? Mighty funny I ain't find it out 'fore this."

Old Brer Rabbit, he scratch hisself and allow, "Them's them. They mayn't be ripe as them what I had for my breakfast, but them's the white muscadines sure as you are born. There are red bullaces and there are black bullaces, but these here, these are the white bullaces."

Brer Fox, says he, 'How I gonna get 'em?"

Brer Rabbit, says he, "You'll just have to do like I done."

Brer Fox, says he, "How was that?"

Brer Rabbit, says he, "You'll have to climb for 'em."

Brer Fox, says he, "How I gonna climb?"

Brer Rabbit, says he, "Grab with your hands, climb with your legs, and I'll push behind!"

Brer Fox, he climbed, and Brer Rabbit, he push, till, sure enough, Brer Fox got where he can grab the lowmost limbs, and there he was! He crept on up, he did, till he come to where he can reach the green scaly-bark, and then he took and pull one and bite it, and, gentlemens! It was that rough and that bitter till little more and he'd've dropped spang out of the tree.

He holler "Ow!" and spit it out of he mouth just same as if it was rank poison, and he make such a face that you wouldn't believe it scarcely less'n you seed it. Brer Rabbit, he had to cough for to keep from laughing, but he make out to holler, says he, "Come down, Brer Fox! They ain't ripe. Come down and let's go somewheres else."

Brer Fox start down, and he get along mighty well till he come to the lowmost limbs, and then when he get there he can't come down no further, 'cause he ain't got no claw for cling by, and not much leg for clamp.

Brer Rabbit keep on hollering, "Come down!" and Brer Fox keep on studying how he going to come down. 

Brer Rabbit, he allow, says he, "Come on, Brer Fox! I took and push you up, and if I was there where you is, I'd take and push you down."

Brer Fox sat there on the lowmost limbs and look like he scared. By and by Brer Rabbit took he stand 'way off from the tree, and he holler, says he, "If you'll take and jump out this way, Brer Fox, I'll catch you."

Brer Fox look up, he look down, he look all 'round. 

Brer Rabbit come little closer, and allow, says he, "Hop right down here, Brer Fox, and I'll catch you."

It keep on this a-way, till, by and by, Brer Fox took a notion to jump, and just as he jump Brer Rabbit hop out the way and holler, says he, "Ow! Excuse me, Brer Fox! I stuck a brier in my foot! Excuse me, Brer Fox! I stuck a brier in my foot!"

And that old Brer Fox, gentlemens! You ought to been there! He hit the ground like a sack of taters, and it just naturally knock the breath out of him. When he get up and count hisself for to see if he all there, he ain't can walk scarcely, and he sat there and lick the sore places a mighty long time 'fore he feel like he can make he way towards home.

And Brer Rabbit, he kick up he heels and put out from there.

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