Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C057. Brer Rabbit and Mr. Man's Meat

23. Mr. Man Has Some Meat. 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.


It so happen that one day Brer Rabbit meet up with Brer Fox, and when they inquire after their corporosity, they find out that both of 'em mighty poorly. Brer Fox, he allow, he do, that he monstrous hungry, and Brer Rabbit he respond that he got a mighty hankering after vittles hisself. By and by they look up the big road, and they see Mr. Man coming along with a great big hunk of beef under he arm. Brer Fox he up and allow, he did, that he like mighty well for to git a taste of that, and Brer Rabbit he allow that the sight of that nice meat all lineded with tallow is enough for to run a body distracted.

Mr. Man he come and he come along. Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox they look and they look at him. They wink their eye and their mouth water. Brer Rabbit he allow he pleased to get some of that meat. Brer Fox he respond, he did, that it look mighty far off to him. Then Brer Rabbit tell Brer Fox for to follow along after him in hailing distance, and with that he put out, he did, and it weren't long before he catch up with Mr. Man.

They pass the time of day, and then they went jogging along the road same like they was going upon a journey. Brer Rabbit he keep on snuffing the air. Mr. Man up and ask him is he got a bad cold, and Brer Rabbit respond that he smell something which it don't smell like ripe peaches. By and by, Brer Rabbit begun to hold he nose, he did, and after while he sing out. "Gracious and the goodness, Mr. Man! It's that meat of your'n. Phew! Whereabouts is you pick up that meat at?"

This make Mr. Man feel sort of ashamed of hisself, and to make matters worse, here come a great big green fly a-zooming 'round. Brer Rabbit he get way off on the other side of the road, and he keep on holding he nose. Mr. Man, he look sort of sheepish, he did, and they ain't gone far before he put the meat down on the side of the road, and he took and ask Brer Rabbit what they going do about it. Brer Rabbit he allow, he did, "I hear tell in my time that if you take an' drag a piece of meat through the dust it'll fetch back its freshness. I ain't no superstitious man myself," says he, "an' I ain't got no experience with no such doin's, but them what tell me say they done try it. Yet I knows this," says Brer Rabbit, says he,—"I knows that it ain't gonna do no harm, 'cause the grit what gets on the meat can be wash off," says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"I ain't got no string," says Mr. Man, says he.

Brer Rabbit laugh hearty, but still he hol'd he nose. "Time you been in the bushes long as I is, you won't miss strings," says Brer Rabbit, says he.

With that Brer Rabbit leaped out, and he ain't gone long before he come hopping back with a whole passel of bamboo vines all tied together. 

Mr. Man, he allow, "That line mighty long."

Brer Rabbit he allow, "To be sure, you want the wind for to get 'twixt you an' that meat."

Then Mr. Man took and tied the bamboo line to the meat. Brer Rabbit he broke off a persimmon bush, he did, and allow that he'd stay behind and keep the flies off. Mr. Man he go on before and drag the meat, and Brer Rabbit he stay behind, he did, and take care of it.

And he is take care of it, man—that he is. He took and get him a rock, and whiles Mr. Man going along without looking back, he undo the meat and tie the rock to the bamboo line, and when Brer Fox follow on, sure enough, there lay the meat. Mr. Man, he drug the rock, he did, and Brer Rabbit he keep the flies off, till after they gone on right smart piece, and then when Mr. Man look 'round, where was old man Rabbit?

Bless your soul, Brer Rabbit done gone back and join Brer Fox, and he was just in time, at that, 'cause little more and Brer Fox would've done been out of sight and hearing. And so that the way Brer Rabbit get Mr. Man meat.

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