XIX. THE FATE OF MR. JACK SPARROW
"You'll tromple on dat bark twel hit won't be fitten fer ter fling
'way, let 'lone make hoss-collars out'n," said Uncle Remus, as the
little boy came running into his cabin out of the rain. All over the
floor long strips of "wahoo" bark were spread, and these the old
man was weaving into horse-collars.
"I'll sit down, Uncle Remus," said the little boy.
"Well, den, you better, honey," responded the old man, "kaze I
'spizes fer ter have my wahoo trompled on. Ef 'twuz shucks, now,
hit mout be diffunt, but I'm a gittin' too ole fer ter be projickin'
longer shuck collars."
For a few minutes the old man went on with his work, but with a
solemn air altogether unusual. Once or twice he sighed deeply, and
the sighs ended in a prolonged groan, that seemed to the little boy
to be the result of the most unspeakable mental agony. He knew by
experience that he had done something which failed to meet the
approval of Uncle Remus, and he tried to remember what it was,
so as to frame an excuse; but his memory failed him. He could
think of nothing he had done calculated to stir Uncle Remus's
grief. He was not exactly seized with remorse, but he was
very uneasy. Presently Uncle Remus looked at him in a sad and
hopeless way, and asked:
"W'at dat long rigmarole you bin tellin' Miss Sally 'bout yo' little
brer dis mawnin?"
"Which, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy, blushing guiltily.
"Dat des w'at I'm a axin' un you now. I hear Miss Sally say she's a
gwineter stripe his jacket, en den I knowed you bin tellin' on 'im."
"Well, Uncle Remus, he was pulling up your onions, and then he
went and flung a rock at me, said the child, plaintively.
"Lemme tell you dis," said the old man, laying down the section of
horse-collar he had been plaiting, and looking hard at the little
boy-"lemme tell you dis-der ain't no way fer ter make tattlers en
tailb'arers turn out good. No, dey ain't. I bin mixin' up wid fokes
now gwine on eighty year, en I ain't seed no tattler come ter no
good een'. Dat I ain't. En ef ole man M'thoozlum wuz livin' clean
twel yit, he'd up'n tell you de same. Sho ez youer settin' dar. You
'member w'at 'come er de bird w'at went tattlin' 'roun' 'bout Brer
The little boy didn't remember, but he was very anxious to know,
and he also wanted to know what kind of a bird it was that so
"Hit wuz wunner dese yer uppity little Jack Sparrers, I speck," said
the old man; "dey wuz allers bodder'n' longer udder fokes's
bizness, en dey keeps at it down ter dis day-peckin' yer, en pickin'
dar, en scratchin' out yander. One day, atter he bin fool by ole Brer
Tarrypin, Brer Rabbit wuz settin' down in de woods studdyin' how
he wuz gwineter git even. He feel mighty lonesome, en he feel
mighty mad, Brer Rabbit did. Tain't put down in de tale, but I
speck he cusst en r'ar'd 'roun' considerbul. Leas'ways, he wuz settin'
out dar by hisse'f, en dar he sot, en study en study, twel bimeby he
jump up en holler out:
"'Well, dog-gone my cats ef I can't gallop 'roun' ole Brer Fox, en
I'm gwineter do it. Ill show Miss Meadows en de gals dat I'm de
boss er Brer Fox,' sezee.
"Jack Sparrer up'n de tree, he hear Brer Rabbit, he did, en he sing
"'I'm gwine tell Brer Fox! I'm gwine tell Brer Fox!
Chick-a-biddy-win'-a-blowin'-acuns-fallin'! I'm gwine tell Brer
Uncle Remus accompanied the speech of the bird with a peculiar
whistling sound in his throat, that was a marvelous imitation of a
sparrow's chirp, and the little boy clapped his hands with delight,
and insisted on a repetition.
"Dis kinder tarrify Brer Rabbit, en he skasely know w'at he gwine
do; but bimeby he study ter hisse'f dat de man w'at see Brer Fox
fus wuz boun' ter have de inturn, en den he go hoppin' off to'rds
home. He didn't got fur w'en who should he meet but Brer Fox, en
den Brer Rabbit, he open up:
"'W'at dis twix' you en me, Brer Fox?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'I
hear tell you gwine ter sen' me ter 'struckshun, en nab my fambly,
en 'Stroy my shanty,' sezee.
"Den Brer Fox he git mighty mad. 'Who bin tellin' you all dis?' sezee.
"Brer Rabbit make like he didn't want ter tell, but Brer Fox he 'sist
en 'sist, twel at las' Brer Rabbit he up en tell Brer Fox dat he hear
Jack Sparrer say all dis.
"'Co'se,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'w'en Brer Jack Sparrer tell me dat
I flew up, I did, en I use some langwidge w'ich I'm mighty glad dey
weren't no ladies 'round' nowhars so dey could hear me go on,
"Brer Fox he sorter gap, he did, en say he speck he better be
sa'nter'n on. But, bless yo' soul, honey, Brer Fox ain't sa'nter fur, 'fo'
Jack Sparrer flipp down on a 'simmon-bush by de side er de road,
en holler out:
"'Brer Fox! Oh, Brer Fox! Brer Fox!' Brer Fox he des sorter canter
long, he did, en make like he don't hear 'im. Den Jack Sparrer up'n
sing out agin:
"'Brer Fox! Oh, Brer Fox! Hole on, Brer Fox! I got some news fer
you. Wait Brer Fox! Hit'll 'stonish you.'
"Brer Fox he make like he don't see Jack Sparrer, ner needer do he
hear 'im, but bimeby he lay down by de road, en sorter stretch
hisse'f like he fixin' fer ter nap. De tattlin' Jack Sparrer he flew'd
'long, en keep on callin' Brer Fox, but Brer Fox, he ain't sayin'
nuthin'. Den little Jack Sparrer, he hop down on de groun' en
flutter 'roun' 'mongst de trash. Dis sorter 'track Brer Fox 'tenshun,
en he look at de tattlin' bird, en de bird he keep on callin':
"'I got sump'n fer ter tell you, Brer Fox.'
"'Git on my tail, little Jack Sparrer,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'kaze I'm
de'f in one year, en I can't hear out'n de udder. Git on my tail,'
"Den de little bird he up'n hop on Brer Fox's tail.
"'Git on my back, little Jack Sparrer, kaze I'm de'f in one year en I
can't hear out'n de udder.'
"Den de little bird hop on his back.
"'Hop on my head, little Jack Sparrer, kaze I'm de'f in bofe years.
"Up hop de little bird.
"'Hop on my toof, little Jack Sparrer, kaze I'm de'f in one year en I
can't hear out'n de udder.'
"De tattlin' little bird hop on Brer Fox's toof, en den-"
Here Uncle Remus paused, opened wide his mouth and closed it
again in a way that told the whole story. *1
"Did the Fox eat the bird all-all-up?" asked the little boy.
"Jedge B'ar come long nex' day," replied Uncle Remus, "en he fine
some fedders, en fum dat word went roun' dat ole man Squinch
Owl done kotch nudder watzizname."
*1 An Atlanta friend heard this story in Florida, but an alligator
was substituted for the fox, and a little boy for the rabbit. There is
another version in which the impertinent gosling goes to tell the
fox something her mother has said, and is caught; and there may
be other versions. I have adhered to the middle Georgia version,
which is characteristic enough. It may be well to state that there
are different versions of all the stories-the shrewd narrators of the
mythology of the old plantation adapting themselves with ready
tact to the years, tastes, and expectations of their juvenile