Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C038. Fox in the Road

4. How Brother Fox Was Too Smart. 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.

FOX in the ROAD

Old Brer Fox, when he see how slick the trick work with Brer Rabbit, he say to hisself that he believe he'll up and  try the same kind of game on some other man, and he keep on watching for he chance, till by and by, one day, he hear Mr. Man coming down the big road in a one-horse wagon, carrying some chickens, and some eggs, and some butter, to town. Brer Fox hear him coming, he did, and what do he do but go and lay down in the road front of the wagon. Mr. Man, he drove along, he did, clucking to the horse and humming to hisself, and when they get most up to Brer Fox, the horse, he shy, he did, and Mr. Man, he took and holler "Whoa!" and the horse, he took and whoaed.

Then Mr. Man, he look down, and he see Brer Fox laying out there on the ground just like he cold and stiff, and when Mr. Man see this, he holler out, "Heyo! There the chap what been nabbin' up my chickens, an' somebody done gone an' shot off a gun at him, which I wish she'd've been two guns—that I does!"

With that, Mr. Man he drove on and left Brer Fox laying there. Then Brer Fox, he get up and run 'round through the woods and lay down front of Mr. Man again, and Mr. Man come driving along, and he see Brer Fox, and he say, says he, "Heyo! Here the very chap what been destroying my pigs. Somebody done gone and killed him, and I wish they'd've killed him long time ago."

Then Mr. Man, he drive on, and the wagon-wheel come mighty nigh mashing Brer Fox nose; yet, all the same, Brer Fox leaped up and run 'round ahead of Mr. Man, and lay down in the road, and when Mr. Man come along, there he was all stretch out like he big enough for to fill a two-bushel basket, and he look like he dead enough for to be skinned. Mr. Man drove up, he did, and stop. He look down upon Brer Fox, and then he look all 'round for to see what the occasion of all these here dead Fox is. Mr. Man look all 'round, he did, but he ain't see nothing, and neither do he hear nothing. 

Then he sat there and study, and by and by he allow to hisself, he did, that he had better examine what kind of curious disease done been got into Brer Fox family, and with that he lit down out of the wagon, and feel of Brer Fox ear; Brer Fox ear feel right warm. Then he feel Brer Fox neck; Brer Fox neck right worm. Then he feel of Brer Fox in the short ribs; Brer Fox all sound in the short ribs. Then he feel of Brer Fox limbs; Brer Fox all sound in the limbs. Then he turn Brer Fox over, and, lo and beholds, Brer Fox right limber. 

When Mr. Man see this, he say to hisself, says he, "Heyo, here! How come This? This here chicken-nabber look like he dead, but they ain't no bones broked, an' I ain't see no blood, an' neither does I feel no bruise; an' more than that he worm an' he limber," says he. "Somethin' wrong here, sure! This here pig-grabber might be dead, an' then again he mightn't," says he; "but to make sure that he is, I'll just give him a whack with my whip-handle," says he; and with that, Mr. Man draw back and fetch Brer Fox a clip behind the years—pow!—and the lick come so hard and it come so quick that Brer Fox thunk sure he's a goner; but before Mr. Man can draw back for to fetch him another wipe, Brer Fox, he scramble to his feet, he did, and just make tracks away from there.

That what Brer Fox get for playing Mr. Smarty and copying after other foks, and that just the way the whole Smarty family going to come out.

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