Tuesday, December 18, 2018

C118. Brother Rabbit and the Gingercakes

13: Brother Rabbit and the Gingercakes. Text Source: Daddy Jake, The Runaway 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 Brer Mink and Brer Coon and Brer Polecat all live together in the same sittlement. Let alone that, they live in the same house, and the house what they live in was made in the resemble of a great big hollow log. In them days, Brer Polecat was the king of the critters what run about after dark, and you better make up your mind that he made 'em stand around mightily. By hook or by crook, Brer Polecat come to be the king of the critters, and when he come to be that they'd all of 'em go a long ways out of the way for to take off their hats and bow their howdies, they would, and some of 'em would tag after him, and laugh every time Brer Polecat laughed, and grin every time he grinned.

Whiles this here was going on Brer Rabbit was in the crowd, and he was just as big a man as any of 'em, and I don't know if he weren't the biggest. Well, Brer Rabbit he moved and seconded that being as how Brer Polecat was such a nice king they ought to pass a law that every time the other critters meet him in the road they must shut their eyes and hold their nose. Some of 'em say they don't mind holding their nose, but they don't like this here way of*shutting their eyes, 'cause they might run up against a tree, or stick a brier in their foot; but Brer Rabbit, he up and allow, he did, that it was just about as little as they can do to shut their eye and hold their nose when they get where such a nice king is, and so they all had to come 'round.

The next day after all this happen, Brer Rabbit he come by the house where old King Polecat live along with Brer Coon and Brer Mink. Brer Coon he was a great hand for to bake gingercake. Far and wide the folks knowed about Brer Coon gingercakes, and they couldn't be no camp-meeting 'round in them diggings, but what he was hanging on the edges selling his gingercakes and his persimmon beer; and it seem like every time Brer Rabbit see Brer Coon that he whirl right in and get hungry for gingercakes. 

So the next day after they done fix it all up about old King Polecat, Brer Rabbit he come sailing by Brer Coon's house, and he ask him if he got any gingercakes for to sell. Brer Coon allow, he did, that he got 'em just as fine as fine can be, and Brer Rabbit say he believe he'll buy some, and with that he run his hand in his pocket, he did, and pull out the change and bought him a great big stack of gingercakes. 

Then he took and ask Brer Coon if he won't keep his eye on the gingercakes while he go get some garlic for to eat with 'em. Brer Coon allow he'll take care of 'em the best what he can. Brer Rabbit rush off, and just about that time old King Polecat come in sight. In the accordance of the rules, soon as Brer Coon see old King Polecat he must shut he eye and hold he nose; and whiles Brer Coon doing this, old King Polecat walk up, he did, and grab the gingercakes and make off with 'em. 

Course, when Brer Rabbit come lippiting back, he hunt for he gingercakes, but he can't find 'em nowhere. Then he holler out, "My goodness, Brer Coon! Where my gingercakes?"

All Brer Coon can say is that he ain't see nobody take the gingercakes. 

Brer Rabbit allow, he did, that this a mighty queer way for to do a man what done bought the gingercakes and pay for 'em. Yet he say he obliged to have some, and so he took and pitch in and buy another stack of 'em. Then he allow, "Now, then, I done got the garlic for to go with 'em, and I'll just about squat right down here and watch these here gingercakes my own self."

So he squat down and fix hisself, and just about the time when he was ready for to destroy the gingercakes, here come old King Polecat. Brer Rabbit, he got up, he did, and made a bow, and then he held he nose and make like he was a-shutting he eyes. Old King Polecat, he come along, he did, and start for to pick up the gingercakes, but Brer Rabbit holler out, "Drop them gingercakes!"

Old King Polecat jump back and look like his feelings been hurted, and he squall out, "My goodness! How come your eye open? How come you break up the rules that a-way?"

Brer Rabbit pick up the gingercakes, and allow, "I can hold my nose as good as the next man, but I can't shut my eyes to save my life, 'cause there are so mighty big!" 

This make old King Polecat mad enough for to eat all the gingercakes what Brer Coon got in the chest, but he can't help hisself, 'cause he know that if Brer Rabbit turn against him, he won't be much of a king in that there country. After that it got so that Brer Rabbit can put down his gingercakes anywheres he want to; and folks allow that he was mighty nigh as big a man as old King Polecat.

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