Tuesday, December 18, 2018

C141. The Man and His Boots

22: The Man and His Boots. 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.

One time, there was a man what hear talk of some of Brer Rabbit's doings — how he lay down in the road whiles a man was going along with some fishes in a wagon, and how he run 'round and lay down again; and keep on doing that till by and by the man went back after the first rabbit he seed, and then Brer Rabbit had a chance for to get the fishes — I done most forget that there tale off of my mind. But howsomever it was, the man done hear tell about it, and he allow to hisself that he just as smart as what Brer Rabbit is.

So, one day, he got him a brand new pair of boots with red tops on 'em, and whiles he sitting side of the road looking at 'em, he hear somebody coming along in a wagon. He know'd who the somebody was, 'cause he seed 'em on the rise of the hill. The man in the wagon had some calico for to make his wife a dress, and some blue chinaware for to put in the cupboard. The man what had the boots, he took and flung one of 'em in the road, and hid hisself in the bushes for to see what the the other man gonna do.

Well, sir, the man in the wagon, he come along, and he see the boot in the road. He holler at his hoss for to "whoa there!" and he look at the boot right hard, like he studying. He allow, "If there was two of you, I'd take you, but one boot ain't going do nobody no good, excepting it's a wooden-legged man."

So he drove on, and the man what lay the boot there, he put out and went on ahead and flung the other boot in the road. The man in the wagon, he come along, he did, and he see the other boot. 

He allow, "Heyo! This here boot makes the other boot good. Whoa, there, hoss! I'll go back and get 'er."

With that, he dropped the lines on the dashboard and went back after the odd boot. Whiles he gone, the man what had the boots took the calico and the crockery and made off with 'em. 

He hid 'em in the underbrush, and then he come back and listen for to see what the other man going do. Well, sir, the other man come back with the boot, and then be had two. Time he climbed in the wagon he seed that somebody done steal his calico and his crockery, but he ain't say nothing. He just look at the boots and laugh. 

The man in the bushes ain't know what to make of this. He stood there, he did, and scratch his head and study. He watch the other man, and far as he can see him he was looking at the boots and laughing. The man in the bushes say he going to see what the matter with them there boots, when the other man in the wagon can swap off calico and crockery for 'em and still feel good enough for to laugh. 

So the man in the bushes he run 'round and head the other man off, and met him in the road. He come driving along, still looking at the boots and laughing. Look like when he see the man in the road it make him laugh worser than before. 

The man in the road allow, "You must be having a mighty heap of fun all by yourself."

The man in the wagon laugh like he going to bust wide open. All he can say is, "Lord have mercy! These boots! These boots! These boots!"

The man in the road allow, "What the matter with the boots, that they are so mighty funny? They ain't look funny to me."

The man in the wagon look like he choke with laughing. When he catch his breath he holler, "Oh, these boots! These boots!"

Man in the road allow, "You ain't going crazy, is you?"

Man in the wagon say, "You'd be crazy too if somebody had've come along and dropped these boots where you could get 'em. Lord have mercy! These boots!"

Man in the road allow, "What kind of doings is these? You better lemme get up there and take you home to your family!"

Man in the wagon say, "My folks'll laugh too, when they know what I knows; and you'd laugh yourself if you'd've been coming along the road and find these boots what got red in the top."

Man in the road say, "I had a pair just like 'em, and they ain't make me laugh."

Man in the wagon say, "You'd laugh worser than me if you'd've pick these boots up in the road and found one ten dollar bill in one of 'em, and another ten dollar bill in the other one."

Man in the road allow, "Lemme see them boots! — they are mine! Hand 'em here! I took and lost 'em yesterday whiles I coming from town. Give me the money!"

Man in the wagon shut his eye. He say, "You right sure they are your'n?"

Man in the road allow, "Yes they is, and I got the proof of it!"

Man in the wagon say, "Well and good! Get up here and go along with me, and show the proof."

Man in the road jump up on the wheel, but 'fore he can sit down the man in the wagon flung him back in the wagon body and jump on him and tie him, and took him off to the calaboose. There they make him tell what he done with the calico and the chinaware, and they kept him, I don't know how long; and 'fore they turn him loose they took him out and hit him thirty-nine on the naked hide. 

Course, the man in the wagon ain't find no money in the boots. He just putting on, so he can find the man what drop 'em, 'cause he know that right where be find the man that drop 'em, right there he'll find the man what stoled his calico and crockery. That what make I say that folks ain't got no business mocking the way the critters does. They are bound to get caught up with, and right then they are in deep trouble. Critters can take what ain't theirs, and tell fibs, and there don't no harm come from it; but when folks tries it, they are pleased to come to some bad end. Now you just watch 'em.

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