VII. MR. FOX IS AGAIN VICTIMIZED
WHEN "Miss Sally's" little boy went to Uncle Remus the next
night to hear the conclusion of the adventure in which the Rabbit
made a riding-horse of the Fox to the great enjoyment and
gratification of Miss Meadows and the girls, he found the old man
in a bad humor.
"I ain't tellin' no tales ter bad chilluns," said Uncle Remus curtly.
"But, Uncle Remus, I ain't bad," said the little boy plaintively.
"Who dat chunkin' dem chickens dis mawnin? Who dat knockin'
out fokes's eyes wid dat Yallerbammer sling des 'fo, dinner? Who
dat sickin' dat pinter puppy atter my pig? Who dat scatterin' my
injun sets? Who dat flingin' rocks on top er my house, w'ich a little
mo' en one un em would er drap spang on my head?"
"Well, now, Uncle Remus, I didn't go to do it. I won't do so any
more. Please, Uncle Remus, if you will tell me, I'll run to the house
and bring you some tea-cakes."
"Seein' um's better'n hearin' tell un um, replied the old man, the
severity of his countenance relaxing somewhat; but the little boy
darted out, and in a few minutes came running back with his
pockets full and his hands full.
"I lay yo' mammy 'll 'spishun dat de rats' stummucks is widenin' in
dis neighborhood w'en she come fer ter count up 'er cakes," said
Uncle Remus, with a chuckle. "Deze," he continued, dividing the
cakes into two equal parts-"dese I'll tackle now, en dese I'll lay by
"Lemme see. I mos' dis'member wharbouts Brer Fox en Brer
"The rabbit rode the fox to Miss Meadows's, and hitched him to
the horse-rack," said the little boy.
"W'y co'se he did," said Uncle Remus. "C'ose he did. Well, Brer
Rabbit rid Brer Fox up, he did, en tied 'im to de rack, en den sot
out in de peanner wid de gals a smokin' er his seegyar wid mo'
proudness dan w'at you mos' ever see. Dey talk, en dey sing, en dey
play on de peanner, de gals did, twel bimeby hit come time fer
Brer Rabbit fer to be gwine, en he tell um all good-by, en strut out
to de boss-rack same's ef he wnz de king er de patter-rollers,*1 en
den he mount Brer Fox en ride off.
"Brer Fox ain't sayin' nuthin' 'tall. He des rack off, he did, en keep
his mouf shet, en Brer Rabbit know'd der wuz bizness cookin' up
fer him, en he feel monstus skittish. Brer Fox amble on twel he git
in de long lane, outer sight er Miss Meadows's house, en den he
tu'n loose, he did. He rip en he ra'r, en he cuss, en he swar; he snort
en he cavort."
"What was he doing that for, Uncle Remus?" the little boy
"He wuz tryin' fer ter fling Brer Rabbit off'n his back, bless yo'
soul! But he des might ez well er rastle wid his own shadder. Every
time he hump hisse'f Brer Rabbit slap de spurrers in 'im, en dar dey
had it, up en down. Brer Fox fa'rly to' up de groun' he did, en he
jump so high en he jump so quick dat he mighty nigh snatch his
own tail off. Dey kep' on gwine on dis way twel bimeby Brer Fox
lay down en roll over, he did, en dis sorter onsettle Brer Rabbit,
but by de time Brer Fox got back on his footses agin, Brer Rabbit
wuz gwine thoo de underbresh mo' samer dan a race-hoss. Brer
Fox he lit out atter 'im, he did, en he push Brer Rabbit so close dat
it wuz 'bout all he could do fer ter git in a holler tree. Hole too
little fer Brer Fox fer ter git in, en he hatter lay down en res en
gedder his mine tergedder.
"While he wuz layin' dar, Mr. Buzzard come floppin' 'long, en
seein' Brer Fox stretch out on de groan', he lit en view de
premusses. Den Mr. Buzzard sorter shake his wing, en put his head
on one side, en say to hisse'f like, sezee:
"'Brer Fox dead, en I so sorry,' sezee.
"'No I ain't dead, nudder,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. "I got ole man
Rabbit pent up in yer,' sezee, 'en I'm a gwine ter git 'im dis time ef
it take twel Chris'mus,' sezee.
"Den, atter some mo' palaver, Brer Fox make a bargain dat Mr.
Buzzard wuz ter watch de hole, en keep Brer Rabbit dar wiles Brer
Fox went atter his axe. Den Brer Fox, he lope off, he did, en Mr.
Buzzard, he tuck up his stan' at de hole. Bimeby, w'en all git still,
Brer Rabbit sorter scramble down close ter de hole, he did, en
"'Brer Fox! Oh! Brer Fox!'
"Brer Fox done gone, en nobody say nuthin'. Den Brer Rabbit
squall out like he wuz mad; sezee:
"'You needn't talk less you wanter,' sezee; 'I knows youer dar, en I
ain't keerin',' sezee. 'I des wanter tell you dat I wish mighty bad
Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz here,' sezee.
"Den Mr. Bnzzard try ter talk like Brer Fox:
"'W'at you want wid Mr. Buzzard?' sezee.
"'Oh, nuthin' in 'tickler, 'cep' dere's de fattes' gray squir'l in yer dat
ever I see,' sezee, 'en ef Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz 'roun' he'd be
mighty glad fer ter git 'im,' sezee.
"'How Mr. Buzzard gwine ter git 'im?' sez de Buzzard, sezee.
"'Well, dar's a little hole roun' on de udder side er de tree,' sez Brer
Rabbit, sezee, 'en ef Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz here so he could
take up his stan' dar,' sezee, 'I'd drive dat squir'l out,' sezee.
"'Drive 'im out, den,' sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee, 'en I'll see dat Brer
Tukkey Buzzard gits 'im,' sezee.
"Den Brer Rabbit kick up a racket, like he wer' drivin' sumpin' out,
en Mr. Buzzard he rush 'roun' fer ter ketch de squir'l, en Brer
Rabbit, he dash out, he did, en he des fly fer home."
At this point Uncle Remus took one of the teacakes, held his head
back, opened his mouth, dropped the cake in with a sudden
motion, looked at the little boy with an expression of
astonishment, and then closed his eyes, and begun to chew,
mumbling as an accompaniment the plaintive tune of "Don't you
Grieve atter Me."
The se'ance was over; but, before the little boy went into the "big
house," Uncle Remus laid his rough hand tenderly on the child's
shoulder, and re-marked, in a confidential tone:
"Honey, you mus' git up soon Chris'mus mawnin' en open de do';
kase I'm gwineter bounce in on Marse John en Miss Sally, en
holler Chris'mus gif' des like I useter endurin' de farmin' days fo' de
war, w'en ole Miss wuz 'live. I bound' dey don't fergit de ole
nigger, nudder. W'en you hear me callin' de pigs, honey, you des
hop up en onfassen de do'. I lay I'll give Marse John one er dese yer
*1 Patrols. In the country districts, order was kept on the
plantations at night by the Imowledge that they were liable to be
visited at any moment by the patrols. Hence a song current among
the negroes, the chorus of which was:
"Run, nigger, run; patter-roller ketch you-
Run, nigger, run; hit's almos' day."