III. WHY MR. POSSUM LOVES PEACE
"ONE night," said Uncle Remus-taking Miss Sally's little boy on
his knee, and stroking the child's hair thoughtfully and caressingly-
"one night Brer Possum call by fer Brer Coon, 'cordin' ter
greement, en atter gobblin' up a dish er fried greens en smokin' a
seegyar, dey rambled fort' fer ter see how de ballance er de
settlement wuz gittin' long. Brer Coon, he wuz one er deze yer
natchul pacers, en he racked 'long same ez Mars John's bay pony,
en Brer Possum he went in a han'-gallup; en dey got over heap er
groun, mon. Brer Possum, he got his belly full er 'simmons, en
Brer Coon, he scoop up a 'bunnunce er frogs en tadpoles. Dey
amble long, dey did, des ez sociable ez a basket er kittens, twel
bimeby dey hear Mr. Dog talkin' ter hisse'f way off in de woods.
"'Spozen he runs up on us, Brer Possum, w'at you gwineter do?' sez
Brer Coon, sezee. Brer Possum sorter laugh 'round de cornders un
"'Oh, ef he come, Brer Coon, I'm gwineter stan' by you,' sez Brer
Possum. 'W'at you gwineter do?' sezee.
"'Who? me?' sez Brer Coon. 'Ef he run up onter me, I lay I give 'im
one twis',' sezee."
"Did the dog come?" asked the little boy.
"Go 'way, honey!" responded the old man, in an impressive tone.
"Go way! Mr. Dog, he come en he come a zoomin'. En he ain't wait
fer ter say howdy, nudder. He des sail inter de two un um. De ve'y
fus pas he make Brer Possum fetch a grin fum year ter year, en
keel over like he wuz dead. Den Mr. Dog, he sail inter Brer Coon,
en right dar's whar he drap his money purse, kaze Brer Coon wuz
cut out fer dat kinder bizness, en he fa'rly wipe up de face er de
yeth wid 'im. You better b'leeve dat w'en Mr. Dog got a chance to
make hisse'f skase he tuck it, en w'at der wuz lef' un him went
skaddlin' thoo de woods like hit wuz shot outen a muskit. En Brer
Coon, he sorter lick his doze inter shape en rack off, en Brer
Possum, he lay dar like he wuz dead, twel bimeby he raise up
sorter keerful like, en w'en he fine de coas' cle'r he scramble up en
scamper off like sumpin was atter 'im."
Here Uncle Remus paused long enough to pick up a live coal of
fire in his fingers, transfer it to the palm of his hand, and thence to
his clay pipe, which he had been filling-a proceeding that was
viewed by the little boy with undisguised admiration. The old man
"Nex' time Brer Possum met Brer Coon, Brer Coon 'fuse ter 'spon'
ter his howdy, en dis make Brer Possum feel mighty bad, seein' ez
how dey useter make so many 'scurshuns tergedder.
'W'at make you hol yo' head so high, Brer Coon?' sez Brer Possum,
"'I ain't runnin' wid cowerds deze days,' sez Brer Coon. 'W'en I
wants you I'll sen' fer you,' sezee.
"Den Brer Possum git mighty mad.
"'Who's enny cowerd?' sezee.
"'You is,' sez Brer Coon, 'dat's who. I ain't so-shatin' wid dem w'at
lays down on de groun' en plays dead w'en dar's a free fight gwine
"Den Brer Possum grin en laugh fit to kill hisse'f. "'Lor', Brer
Coon, you don't speck I done dat kaze I wuz 'feared, duz you?'
sezee. 'W'y I want no mo 'feared dan you is dis minnit. W'at wuz
dey fer ter be skeered un?' sezee. 'I know'd you'd git away wid Mr.
Dog ef I didn't, en I des lay dar watchin' you shake him, waitin' fer
ter put in w'en de time come,' sezee.
"Brer Coon tu'n up his nose.
"'Dat's a mighty likely tale,' sezee, 'w'en Mr. Dog ain't mo'n tech
you 'fo' you keel over, en lay dar stiff,' sezee.
"'Dat's des w'at I wuz gwineter tell you 'bout; sez Brer Possum,
sezee. 'I want no mo' skeer'd dan you is right now, en' I wuz fixin'
fer ter give Mr. Dog a sample er my jaw,' sezee, 'but I'm de most
ticklish chap w'at you ever laid eyes on, en no sooner did Mr. Dog
put his nose down yer 'mong my ribs dan I got ter laughin', en I
laughed twel I ain't had no use er my lim's,' sezee, 'en it's a mussy
unto Mr. Dog dat I wuz ticklish, kaze a little mo' en I'd e't 'im up,'
sezee. 'I don't mine fightin', Brer Coon, no mo' dan you duz,' sezee,
'but I declar' ter grashus ef I kin stan' ficklin'. Git me in a row whar
dey ain't no ticklin' 'lowed, en I'm your man, sezee.
"En down ter dis day"-continued Uncle Remus, watching the
smoke from his pipe curl upward over the little boy's head-"down
ter dis day, Brer Possum's bound ter s'render w'en you tech him in
de short ribs, en he'll laugh ef he knows he's gwineter be smashed