Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C048. Turtle, Buzzard, and the Honey

14. Brother Terrapin Deceives Brother Buzzard. 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.


What the case might be these days, I aint a-saying, but, in them times, old Brer Terrapin love honey more samer than Brer Bear, but he was that flat-footed that, when he find a bee-tree, he can't climb it, and he go so slow that he can't hardly find 'em. By and by, one day, when he going along down the road just  a-honing after honey, who should he meet but old Brer Buzzard.

Dey shook hands mighty sociable and ask about the news of the neighborhoods, and then, after while, Brer Terrapin say to old Brer Buzzard, says he, that he want to go into cahoots with him along of getting honey, and it weren't long before they struck a trade. Brer Buzzard was to fly 'round and look for the bee-tree, and Brer Terrapin he was to creep and crawl, and hunt on the ground.

They start out, they did, old Brer Buzzard sailing 'round in the elements, and old Brer Terrapin shuffling and shambling on the ground. Almost the very first field what he come to, Brer Terrapin strike up with a great big bumbly-bee nest in the ground. He look 'round, old Brer Terrapin did, and by and by he stick he head in and taste the honey, and then he pull it out and look all 'round for to see if he can catch a glimpse of Brer Buzzard; but Brer Buzzard don't seem like he nowhere.

Then Brer Terrapin say to hisself, says he, that he expect that bumbly-bee honey ain't the kind of honey what they been talking about, and there ain't no great shakes of honey there nohow. With that, Brer Terrapin crept into the hole and gobble up the last drop of the bumbly-bee honey by he own-alone self. After he done make 'way with it, he come out, he did, and he whirl in and lick it all off of his footses, so old Brer Buzzard can't tell that he done been get a mess of honey.

Then old Brer Terrapin stretch out he neck and try to lick the honey off of he back, but he neck too short; and he try to scrape it off up against a tree, but it don't come off; and then he wallow on the ground, but still it don't come off. Then old Brer Terrapin jump up, and say to hisself that he'll just about rack off home, and when Brer Buzzard come he can lie on he back and say he sick, so old Brer Buzzard can't see the honey.

Brer Terrapin start off, he did, but he happen to look up, en, lo and beholds, there was Brer Buzzard hovering right spang over the spot where he is. Brer Terrapin know Brer Buzzard pleased to see him if he start off home, and more than that, he know he be find out if he don't stir 'round and do something mighty quick. With that, Brer Terrapin shuffle back to the bumbly-bee nest swift as he can, and build him a fire in there, and then he crawl out and holler, "Brer Buzzard! O Brer Buzzard! Run here, for gracious sake, Brer Buzzard, and look how much honey I done find! I just crept in a little ways, and it just drip all down my back, same like water. Run here, Brer Buzzard! Half yourn and half mine, Brer Buzzard!"

Brer Buzzard, he flop down, and he laugh and say he mighty glad, 'cause he done get hungry up there where he been. Then Brer Terrapin tell Brer Buzzard for to creep in little ways and taste and see how he like 'em, whiles he take his stand on the outside and watch for somebody. But no sooner is Brer Buzzard crept in the bumbly-bee nest than Brer Terrapin take and roll a great big rock front of the hole. Directly, the fire begun to burn Brer Buzzard, and he sing out like a man in trouble, "Somethin' bitin' me, Brer Terrapin Somethin' bitin' me, Brer Terrapin!"

Then old Brer Terrapin, he holler back, "It's the bumbly-bees a-stingin' you, Brer Buzzard; stand up an' flop yo' wings, Brer Buzzard. Stan' up an' flop yo' wings, Brer Buzzard, an' you'll drive 'em off," says he.

Brer Buzzard flop and flop he wings, but the more what he flop, the more he fan the fire, and it weren't long before he done bodaciously burn up, all excepting the big end of his wing-feathers, and them old Brer Terrapin took and make into some quills, which he go 'round a-playing on 'em, and the tune what he play was this here:
I foolee, I foolee, I foolee po' Buzzard;
Po' Buzzard I foolee, I foolee, I foolee.

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