Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C069. Brer Rabbit and the Witch-Rabbit

35. Brother Rabbit Submits to a Test. 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.


Brer Rabbit had so many appointments for to keep out the way of the the other critters that he begun to feel monstrous humblified. Let 'em be who they will, you get folks in a close place if you want to see 'em shed their proudness. They beg more samer than a black man when the patter-rollers catch him. Brer Rabbit ain't do no begging, 'cause they ain't caught him; yet they come so nigh it, he begun to feel he weakness.

When Brer Rabbit feel this a-way, do he sit down flat on the ground and let the other critters rush up and grab him? He might do it these days, 'cause times done change; but in them days he just took and sat up with hisself and study about what he gonna do. He study and study, and last he up and tell he old woman, he did, that he going on a journey. With that, old Miss Rabbit, she took and fry him up a rasher of bacon, and bake him a pone of bread. Brer Rabbit tied this up in a bag and took down he walking cane and put out.

He put out, Brer Rabbit did, for to see old Mammy-Bammy Big-Money. He put out, he did, and after so long a time he get there. He take time for to catch he wind, and then he sort of shake hisself up and rustle 'round in the grass. By and by he holler:
Mammy-Bammy Big-Money! 
O Mammy-Bammy Big-Money! 
I journeyed far, I journeyed fast; 
I glad I found the place at last.

Great big black smoke rise up out of the ground, and old Mammy-Bammy Big-Money allow, "Wherefore, Son Riley Rabbit, Riley? Son Riley Rabbit, wherefore?"

With dat, Brer Rabbit up and tell her, he did, about how he feared he losing the use of he mind, 'cause he done come to that pass that he ain't can fool the other critters no more, and they push him so close till it won't be long 'fore they'll get him. The old Witch-Rabbit she sat dar, she did, and suck in black smoke and puff it out again, till you can't see nothing at all but her great big eyeballs and her great big ears. 

After while she allow:
There sits a squirrel in that tree, 
Son Riley; 
go fetch that squirrel straight to me,
Son Riley Rabbit, Riley.

Brer Rabbit sort of study, and then he allow, he did, "I ain't got much sense left, yet if I can't coax that chap down from there, then it's 'cause I done got some disease which it make me feeble in the mind," says he.

With that, Brer Rabbit took and empty the provender out of he bag and got him two rocks, and put the bag over he head and sat down under the tree where the squirrel is. He wait little while, and then he hit the rocks together—blip!

Squirrel he holler, "Hey!"

Brer Rabbit wait little, and then he took and slap the rocks together—blap!

Squirrel he run down the tree little bit and holler, "Heyo!"

Brer Rabbit ain't saying nothing. He just pop the rocks together—blop!

Squirrel, he come down little further, he did, and holler, "Who that?"

"Biggidy Dicky Big-Bag!"

"What you doing in there?"

"Cracking hickory nuts."

"Can I crack some?"

"To be sure, Miss Bunny Bushtail; come get in the bag."

Miss Bunny Bushtail hang back, but the long and the short of it was that she got in the bag, and Brer Rabbit he took and carried her to old Mammy-Bammy Big-Money. The old Witch-Rabbit, she took and turn the squirrel a-loose, and allow:
There lies a snake in amongst the grass, 
Son Riley; 
go fetch him jere, and be right fast,
Son Riley Rabbit, Riley.

Brer Rabbit look 'round, and sure enough there lay the biggest kind of rattlesnake, all coiled up ready for business. Brer Rabbit scratch he ear with he behind leg, and study. Look like he going get in trouble. Yet after while he go off in the bushes, he did, and cut him a young grape-vine, and he fix him a slip-knot. Then he come back. 

Snake apparently look like he sleep. Brer Rabbit ask him how he come on. Snake ain't say nothing, but he coil up a little tighter, and he tongue run out like it been had grease on it. Mouth shut, yet the tongue slick out and slick back 'fore a sheep can shake he tail. 

Brer Rabbit, he allow, he did, "Lordy, Mr. Snake, I mighty glad I come 'cross you,'" says he. "Me an' old Judge Bear been havin' a terrible dispute 'bout how long you is. We both agree that you look mighty pretty when you are layin' stretch out full length in the sun; but Judge Bear, he allow you ain't but three foot long, an' I stood him down that you was four foot long if not more," says he. "An' the talk got so hot that I come mighty nigh hittin' him a clip with my walkin'-cane, an' if I had I bound they'd've been some bellowin' done 'round there," says he.

Snake ain't say nothing, but he look more complassy than what he been looking.

"I up an' told old Judge Bear," says Brer Rabbit, says he, "that the nex' time I run 'cross you I going take an' measure you; an' goodness knows I mighty glad I struck up with you, 'cause now there won't be no more occasion for any disputin' 'twixt me an' Judge Bear," says he.

Then Brer Rabbit ask Mr. Snake if he won't be so good as to uncoil hisself. Snake he feel mighty proud, he did, and he stretch out for all he worth. Brer Rabbit he measure, he did, and allow, "There one foot for Judge Bear; there three foot for Judge Bear; an', bless goodness, there four foot for Judge Bear, just like I say!"

By that time Brer Rabbit done got to snake head, and just as the last word drop out of he mouth, he slip the loop 'round snake neck, and then he had him good and fast. He took and drag him, he did, up to where the old Witch-Rabbit sitting at; but when he get there, Mammy-Bammy Big-Money done make her disappearance, but he hear something way off yonder, and seem like it say, "If you get any more sense, Son Riley, you'll be the ruination of the whole settlement, Son Riley Rabbit, Riley."

Then Brer Rabbit drag the snake along home, and stew him down and rub hisself with the grease for to make him more suppler in the limbs. Bless your soul, Brer Rabbit might've been kind of feeble in the legs, but he weren't no ways cripple under the hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment