Tuesday, December 18, 2018

C126. Mrs. Partridge Has a Fit

7: Mrs. Partridge Has a Fit. Text Source: Uncle Remus and His Friends by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Hathi Trust. I have removed the frame material and standardized the spelling; click here for notes to the story.

Maybe you done got the idea that Brer Rabbit is just about the smartest creature in the whole of creation. Well, if you got that idea, you are mighty much mistaken, 'cause every once in a while something or other'd happen for to take the starch out of Brer Rabbit. It always happen that away. Go where you will and when you may, and stay long as you choosen to stay, and right there and then you'll surely find that folks what get full of conceit and proudness is going to get it took out of 'em.

That the way with Brer Rabbit. Just about time he get it stuck in his mind that there ain't nobody can outdo him, up somebody'd jump and do him scandalous. Them what he ain't got in the corner of his mind, they the very ones what make him feel mighty humble-come-tumble.

One time, when Brer Rabbit was feeling like he was high as a poplar tree and big around as a gin-house, he took a notion that he want some bird eggs. Creatures gets notions in their heads same as folks does, and that the kind of notion Brer Rabbit took up. Nothing'll do but he must have some bird eggs. That the way he put it down. He pleased to have bird eggs.

He got him a basket, he did, and hung it on his arm, and set out to hunt 'em. He took a nigh cut through the woods, and whiles he going along strutting and humming one of these here sassy tunes, he come across Miss Partridge. You done hear about Miss Partridge, ain't you? Most any day in the week, and Sunday flung in for good measure, you can hear 'em hollering and asking old Bob White if his peas most ripe, and will his dogs bite, special at night.

Well, sir, whiles Brer Rabbit going along hunting bird eggs, he struck up with Miss Partridge. She'd done grabbled a hole in the hot sand, and she was sitting in it, flinging up the dust with foot and wing. 

After they'd howdied, Brer Rabbit allow, "What make you wallow in the dust?" 

Miss Partridge say, "I'm trying to get the freckles off. Where you going with that basket?" 

Brer Rabbit allow he hunting bird eggs. Miss Partridge ask him if it ain't bad manners to rob bird-nests. Brer Rabbit allow he done hear talk about it, but when a man get hungry, he can't stand on manners. They jowered, they did, till by and by Miss Partridge say that if Brer Rabbit is bent on robbing bird-nests, she'd take and show him where some was; and with that, off they put, Miss Partridge leading the way. 

First they come where there was a nest with two big eggs in it. Brer Rabbit allow, "That ain't no bird-nest. That's a hen-nest." 

Miss Partridge was astonished. She say, "Lordy, Brer Rabbit, I hear tell that hens lays more than two eggs." 

They went on, and by and by they come to a guinea-nest. Miss Partridge allow, "This is sure enough bird-nest." 

Brer Rabbit say, "Ain't you got no sense, woman? This is Pot Rack nest. Lemme go ahead. I'll find bird-nest." 

Brer Rabbit lead the way right spang to Miss Partridge nest. This kind of flustrate the old lady, but she say to herself that her nest is so hid by the grass that surely Brer Rabbit won't be able to find it. But Brer Rabbit got sharp eyes. He see where the nest is, but he sort of snuffle 'round and make like he hunting it. 

He allow, "Look like I smell bird-egg." 

Miss Partridge laugh and fan herself with a heart-leaf, and say, "How the name of goodness can anybody smell bird-egg?" 

Brer Rabbit allow, "I'll show you;" and with that he uncovered the nest, and there it was with about a hatful of eggs piled up in it. 

Miss Partridge make a great admiration. She say, "Lordy, yes! You can smell 'em, Brer Rabbit, and who'd've thunk it?" 

Brer Rabbit start to put 'em in his basket, but Miss Partridge sort of dance 'round, she did, and say, "Wait, Brer Rabbit, you better lemme see if they are good, 'cause I done forget more about bird-eggs than you ever knowed." 

With that Miss Partridge break one of 'em and taste it, and, man, sir! She ain't more than get it in her mouth before she fell over backwards, and had the worst kind of fit. You done see chickens with their head chop off. Well, Miss Partridge done worse than dat. She flewed up, and fell down and flutter, and scramble 'round in the leaves till Brer Rabbit begun to get scared. When Miss Partridge would sort of flutter towards him, he'd jump back and shake his foots like a cat does when she get water on 'em, and he feel so funny he'd whirl 'round and shake hisself when a piece of grass tickle him on the leg. 

When Miss Partridge can catch her breath, she squall out, 'Run, Brer Rabbity run! They are snake eggs. Run, Brer Rabbit, run! They are rank poison!" 

When Brer Rabbit hear this, I let you know he put out from there like the dogs was after him. Miss Partridge went off in the bushes and made another nest, and took her eggs there, and sat down on 'em and rest herself; and sometimes when she'd be nodding she'd wake up and laugh at the way she fool old Brer Rabbit. 

Maybe you'll be a-telling this tale some of these days, and someone'll whirl in and dispute it. When that the case, you just ask 'em to go where Miss Partridge got her nest and see if she don't do just like she done when she fool Brer Rabbit. She seed how it work then, and she done tell all her chilluns that that the best way to do. And then, up on top of that, you ask 'em if they ever hear of Brer Rabbit hunting bird-eggs since that time. Hust ask 'em dat, and I bound they won't dispute your word no more after that.

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