Monday, December 10, 2018

C018. Brer Rabbit Races Brer Terrapin

18. Mr. Rabbit Finds His Match at Last. Text Source: Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings 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.

One day when Brer Rabbit was going lippity-clippiting down the road, he meet up with old Brer Terrapin, and after they pass the time of day with one another, Brer Rabbit, he allow that he was much obliged to Brer Terrapin for the hand he took in the rumpus that day down at Miss Meadows's.

Then Brer Terrapin allow that Brer Fox run mighty fast that day, but that if he'd've been after him instead of Brer Rabbit, he'd've caught him.

Brer Rabbit say he could've caught him hisself but he didn't care about leaving the ladies. They keep on talking, they did, till by and by they got to disputing about which was the swiftest.

Brer Rabbit, he say he can outrun Brer Terrapin, and Brer Terrapin, he just vow that he can outrun Brer Rabbit. Up and down they had it, till first news you know Brer Terrapin say he got a fifty-dollar bill in the chink of the chimney at home, and that bill done told him that he could beat Brer Rabbit in a fair race. Then Brer Rabbit say he got a fifty-dollar bill what say that he can leave Brer Terrapin so far behind, that he could sow barley as he went long and hit'd be ripe enough for to cut by the time Brer Terrapin pass that way.

Anyhow they make the bet and put up the money, and old Brer Turkey Buzzard, he was summonsed for to be the judge, and the stakeholder; and it weren't long before all the arrangements was made. The race was a five-mile heat, and the ground was measured off, and at the end of every mile a post was stuck up. Brer Rabbit was to run down the big road, and Brer Terrapin, he say he'd gallup through the woods. Folks told him he could get long faster in the road, but old Brer Terrapin, he know what he doing.

Miss Meadows and the gals and most all the neighbors got wind of the fun, and when the day was set they determined for to be on hand. Brer Rabbit he train hisself every day, and he skip over the ground just as gayly as a June cricket.

Old Brer Terrapin, he lay low in the swamp. He had a wife and three chilluns, old Brer Terrapin did, and they was all the very spit and image of the old man. Anybody what know one from the other got to take a spy-glass, and then they of liable for to get fooled.

That's the way matters stand till the day of the race, and on that day, old Brer Terrapin, and his old woman, and his three chilluns, they got up before sun-up, and went to the place. The old woman, she took her stand nigh the first mile-post, she did, and the chilluns nigh the others, up to the last, and there old Brer Terrapin, he took his stand.

By and by, here come the folks: Judge Buzzard, he come, and Miss Meadows and the gals, they come, and then here come Brer Rabbit with ribbons tied 'round his neck and streaming from his ears.

The folks all went to the other end of the track for to see how they come out. When the time come Judge Buzzard strut 'round and pull out his watch, and holler out, "Gents, is you ready?"

Brer Rabbit, he say "yes," and old Miss Terrapin holler "go" from the edge of the woods. Brer Rabbit, he lit out on the race, and old Miss Terrapin, she put out for home. Judge Buzzard, he riz and skimmed long for to see that the race was runned fair.

When Brer Rabbit got to the first mile-post one of the Terrapin chilluns crawl out the woods, he did, and make for the place. Brer Rabbit, he holler out, "Where is you, Brer Terrapin?"

"Here I come a-bulgin'," says the Terrapin, says he.

Brer Rabbit so glad he's ahead that he put out harder than ever, and the Terrapin, he make for home. When he come to the next post, another Terrapin crawl out of the woods.

"Where is you, Brer Terrapin?" says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"Here I come a-boilin'," says the Terrapin, says he.

Brer Rabbit, he lit out, he did, and come to next post, and there was the Terrapin. Then he come to next, and there was the Terrapin.

Then he had one more mile for to run, and he feel like he getting bellowsed. By and by, old Brer Terrapin look way off down the road and he see Judge Buzzard sailing long and he know it's time for him for to be up.

So he scramble out of the woods, and roll across the ditch, and shuffle through the crowd of folks and get to the mile-post and crawl behind it. By and by, first news you know, here come Brer Rabbit.

He look 'round and he don't see Brer Terrapin, and then he squall out, "Give me the money, Brer Buzzard, give me the money!"

Then Miss Meadows and the gals, they holler and laugh fit to kill theyself, and old Brer Terrapin, he raise up from behind the post and says, says he, "If you'll give time for to catch my breath, gents and ladies, one and all, I 'spect I'll finger that money myself," says he, and sure enough, Brer Terrapin tie the purse 'round his neck and skaddle off home.

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