Tuesday, December 18, 2018

C112. The Creature With No Claws

7: The Creature With No Claws. Text Source: Daddy Jake, The Runaway 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.

One time Brer Wolf was going along the big road feeling mighty proud and high-strung. He was a mighty high-up man in them days, Brer Wolf was, and most all the other critters was feared of him. Well, he was going along licking his chops and walking sort of stiff-kneed, when he happen to look down upon the ground and there he seed a track in the sand. Brer Wolf stop, he did, and look at it, and then he allow, "Heyo! What kind of critter this here? Brer Dog ain't make that track, and neither is Brer Fox. It's one of these here kind of critters what ain't got no claws. I'll just about follow him up, and if I catch him he'll surely be my meat."

That the way Brer Wolf talk. He followed along after the track, he did, and he look at it close, but he ain't see no print or no claw. By and by the track took and turn out the road and go up a drain where the rain done wash out. The track was plain there in the wet sand, but Brer Wolf ain't see no sign of no claws. 

He follow and follow, Brer Wolf did, and the track get fresher and fresher, but still he ain't see no print or no claw. By and by he come in sight of the critter, and Brer Wolf stop, he did, and look at him. He stop stock-still and look. 

The critter was mighty queer looking, and he was cutting up some mighty queer capers. He had big head, sharp nose, and bob tail, and he was walking 'round and 'round a big dogwood tree, rubbing his sides again it. Brer Wolf watch him a right smart while, and then he allow, "Shoo! That critter done been in a fight and lost the best part of he tail, and more than that, he got the itch, 'cause if he ain't got the itch what make he scratch hisself that away? I lay I'll let him know who he fooling along with."

After while, Brer Wolf went up a little nigher the critter, and holler out, "Heyo, there! What you doing scratching your scaly hide on my tree, and trying for to break it down?"

The critter ain't make no answer. He just walk 'round and 'round the tree scratching he sides and back. 

Brer Wolf holler out, "I lay I'll make you hear me if I had to come there where you is."

The critter just walk 'round and 'round the tree, and ain't make no answer. Then Brer Wolf hail him again, and talk like he mighty mad, "Ain't you going to mind me, you impudent scoundrel? Ain't you going to mosey out of my woods and let my tree alone?"

With that, Brer Wolf march towards just critter just like he going to squash him in the ground. The critter rub hisself against the tree and look like he feel mighty good. Brer Wolf keep on going towards him, and by and by when he get sort of close the critter took and sat up on his behind legs just like you see squirrels do.

Then Brer Wolf, he allow, he did, "Ah-yi! You begging, is you? But it ain't going to do you no good. I might've let you off if you'd a-minded me when I first holler after you, but I ain't going to let you off now. I'm a-going to learn you a lesson that'll stick by you."

Then the critter sort of wrinkle up his face and mouth, and Brer Wolf allow, "Oh, you needn't to swell up and cry, you deceitful villain. I'm a-going to give you a flailing that I bound here won't forget."

Brer Wolf make like he going to hit the critter, and then, well, sir, that critter just fetch one swipe this a-way, and another swipe that a-way, and most 'fore you can wink your eye-balls, Brer Wolf hide was mighty nigh teetotally tored off of him.

After that the critter sauntered off in the woods and begun to rub hisself on another tree. It weren't nobody on the topside of the earth but old Brer Wildcat. 

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