Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C049. Fox and Turtle's Quill-Pipe

15. Brother Fox Covets the Quills. Text Source: Nights with Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Project Gutenberg. You can click here for the standardized spelling plus all notes to the story.


That the song what Brer Terrapin play on the quills:
I foolee, I foolee, I foolee po' Buzzard;
Po' Buzzard I foolee, I foolee, I foolee.

Nobody don't know where the quills come from, 'cause Brer Terrapin, he ain't making no brags how he get um; yet everybody wants 'em on account of their playing such a lonesome tune, and old Brer Fox, he want 'em worst of all. He beg and he beg Brer Terrapin for to sell him them quills; but Brer Terrapin, he hold on to 'em tight, and say uh-uh!

Then he ask Brer Terrapin for to loan 'em to him  just a week, so he can play for he chilluns, but Brer Terrapin, he shake he head and put he foot down, and keep on playing:
I foolee, I foolee, I foolee po' Buzzard;
Po' Buzzard I foolee, I foolee, I foolee.

But Brer Fox, he ain't got no peace of mind on account of them quills, and one day he meet Brer Terrapin and he ask him how he seem to segashuate and he family and all he chilluns; and then Brer Fox ask Brer Terrapin if he can't just look at the quills, 'cause he got some goose-feathers at he house, and if he can just get a glimpse of Brer Terrapin quills, he expect he can make some mighty like 'em.

Brer Terrapin, he study about this, but he hate to deny small favors like that, and by and by he hold out them quills where Brer Fox can see 'em. With that, Brer Fox, he took and jerk the quills out of Brer Terrapin hand, he did, and dash off just as hard as he can go. Brer Terrapin, he holler and holler at him just loud as he can holler, but he know he can't catch him, and he just sat there, Brer Terrapin did, and look like he done lost all the kin-folks what he got in the round world.

After this, Brer Fox he strut 'round and play mighty biggity, and every time he meet Brer Terrapin in the road he walk all 'round him and play on the quills like this:
I foolee, I foolee po' Buzzard;
I foolee old Terrapin, too.

Brer Terrapin, he feel mighty bad, but he ain't saying nothing. Last, one day whiles old Brer Terrapin was setting on a log sunning hisself, here come Brer Fox playing that same old tune on the quills, but Brer Terrapin, he stay still. Brer Fox, he come up little nigher and play, but Brer Terrapin, he keep he eyes shut and he stay still. Brer Fox, he come nigher and get on the log; Brer Terrapin ain't saying nothing. Brer Fox still get up nigher and play on the quills; still Brer Terrapin ain't saying nothing.

"Brer Terrapin mighty sleepy this mornin'," says Brer Fox, says he.

Still Brer Terrapin keep he eyes shut and stay still. Brer Fox keep on getting nigher and nigher, till by and by Brer Terrapin open he eyes and he mouth both, and he make a grab at Brer Fox and miss him.

But hold on! Next morning, Brer Terrapin take hisself off and wallow in a mud-hole, and smear hisself with mud till he look just exactly like a clod of dirt. Then he crawl off and lay down underneath a log where he know Brer Fox come every morning for to freshen hisself.

Brer Terrapin lay there, he did, and directly here come Brer Fox. Time he get there, Brer Fox begun to leap backwards forwards 'cross the log, and Brer Terrapin he crept nigher and nigher, till by and by he make a grab at Brer Fox and catch him by the foot.

They tells me, that when Brer Terrapin catch hold, it got to thunder before he let go. All I know, Brer Terrapin get Brer Fox by the foot, and he held him dar. Brer Fox he jump and he rear, but Brer Terrapin done got him. Brer Fox, he holler out, "Brer Terrapin, please lemme go!"

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Brer Terrapin talk way down in his throat, "Gimme my quills!"

"Lemme go and fetch 'em."

"Gimme my quills!"

"Do pray lemme go get 'em."

"Gimme my quills!"

And, bless gracious! This all Brer Fox can get out of Brer Terrapin. Last, Brer Fox foot hurt him so bad that he pleased to do something, and he sing out for his old woman for to fetch the quills, but he old woman, she busy about the house, and she don't hear him. Then he call he son, which he name Tobe. He holler and bawl, and Tobe make answer.

"Tobe! O Tobe! You Tobe!"

"What you want, daddy?"

"Fetch Brer Terrapin quills."

"What you say, daddy? Fetch the big tray to get the honey in?"

"No, you crazy-head! Fetch Brer Terrapin quills!"

"What you say, daddy? Fetch the dipper to catch the minnows in?"

"No, you fool! Fetch Brer Terrapin quills!"

"What you say, daddy? Water done been spill?"

It went on this a-way till after while old Miss Fox hear the racket, and then she listen, and she know that her old man hollering for the quills, and she fetch 'em out and give 'em to Brer Terrapin, and Brer Terrapin, he let go he hold. He let go he hold, but long time after that, when Brer Fox go to pay he calls, he have to go hoppity-fetchity, hoppity-fetchity.

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