XXXIV. THE SAD FATE OF MR. FOX
"NOW, den," said Uncle Remus, with unusual gravity, as soon as
the little boy, by taking his seat, announced that he was ready for
the evening's entertainment to begin; "now, den, dish yer tale w'at
I'm agwine ter gin you is de las' row er stumps, sho. Dish yer's
whar ole Brer Fox los' his breff, en he ain't fine it no mo' down ter
"Did he kill himself, Uncle Remus?" the little boy asked, with a
curious air of concern.
"Hole on dar, honey!" the old man exclaimed, with a great
affectation of alarm; "hole on dar! Wait! Gimme room! I don't
wanter tell you no story, en ef you keep shovin' me forrerd, I mout
git some er de facks mix up 'mong deyse'f. You gotter gimme room
en you gotter gimme time."
The little boy had no other premature questions to ask, and, after a
pause, Uncle Remus resumed:
"Well, den, one day Brer Rabbit go ter Brer Fox house, he did, en
he put up mighty po' mouf. He say his ole 'oman sick, en his
chilluns cole, en de fier done gone out. Brer Fox, he feel bad 'bout
dis, en he tuck'n s'ply Brer Rabbit widder chunk er fier. Brer
Rabbit see Brer Fox cookin' some nice beef, en his mouf gun ter
water, but he take de fier, he did, en he put out to'rds home; but
present'y yer he come back, en he say de fier done gone out. Brer
Fox 'low dat he want er invite to dinner, but he don't say nuthin', en
bimeby Brer Rabbit he up'n say, sezee:
"'Brer Fox, whar you git so much nice beef?' sezee, en den Brer Fox
he up'n 'spon', sezee:
"'You come ter my house ter-morrer ef yo' fokes ain't too sick, en I
kin show you whar you kin git plenty beef mo' nicer dan dish yer,'
"Well, sho nuff, de nex' day fotch Brer Rabbit, en Brer Fox say,
"'Der's a man down yander by Miss Meadows's w'at got heap er fine
cattle, en he gotter cow name Bookay,' sezee, Cen you des go en
say Bookay, en she'll open her mouf, en you kin jump in en git des
as much meat ez you kin tote,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Well, I'll go 'long,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en you kin jump fus'
en den I'll come follerin' atter,' sezee.
"Wid dat dey put out, en dey went promernadin' 'roun' 'mong de
cattle, dey did, twel bimeby dey struck up wid de one dey wuz
atter. Brer Fox, he up, he did, en holler Bookay, en de cow flung 'er
mouf wide open. Sho nuff, in dey jump, en w'en dey got dar, Brer
Fox, he say, sezee:
"'You kin cut mos' ennywheres, Brer Rabbit, but don't cut 'round' de
"Den Brer Rabbit, he holler back, he did: 'Im a gitten me out a
"'Roas'n, er bakin', er fryin',' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'don't git too nigh
de haslett,' sezee.
"Dey cut en dey kyarved, en dey kyarved en dey cut, en w'iles dey
wuz cuttin' en kyarvin', en slashin' way, Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n
hacked inter de haslett, en wid dat down fell de cow dead.
"'Now, den,' sez Brer Fox, 'we er gone, sho,' sezee.
"'W'at we gwine do?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'I'll git in de maul,' sez Brer Fox, 'en you'll jump in de gall,' sezee.
"Nex' mawnin' yer cum de man w'at de cow b'long ter, and he ax
who kill Bookay. Nobody don't say nuthin'. Den de man say he'll
cut 'er open en see, en den he whirl in, en twan't no time 'fo' he had
'er intruls spread out. Brer Rabbit, he crope out'n de gall, en say,
"'Mister Man! Oh, Mister Man! I'll tell you who kill yo' cow. You
look in de maul, en dar you'll fine 'im,' sezee.
"Wid dat de man tuck a stick and lam down on de maul so hard dat
he kill Brer Fox stone-dead. W'en Brer Rabbit see Brer Fox wuz
laid out fer good, he make like he mighty sony, en he up'n ax de
man fer Brer Fox head. Man say he ain't keerin', en den Brer
Rabbit tuck'n brung it ter Brer Fox house. Dar he see ole Miss Fox,
en he tell 'er dat he done fotch her some nice beef w'at 'er ole man
sont 'er, but she ain't gotter look at it twel she go ter eat it.
"Brer Fox son wuz name Tobe, en Brer Rabbit tell Tobe fer ter
keep still w'iles his mammy cook de nice beef w'at his daddy sont
'im. Tobe he wuz mighty hongry, en he look in de pot he did w'iles
de cookin' wuz gwine on, en dar he see his daddy head, en wid dat
he sot up a howl en tole his mammy. Miss Fox, she git mighty mad
w'en she fine she cookin' her ole man head, en she call up de dogs,
she did, en sickt em on Brer Rabbit; en ole Miss Fox en Tobe en
de dogs, dey push Brer Rabbit so close dat he hatter take a holler
tree. Miss Fox, she tell Tobe fer ter stay dar en mine Brer Rabbit,
w'ile she goes en git de ax, en w'en she gone, Brer Rabbit, he tole
Tobe ef he go ter de branch en git 'im a drink er water dat he'll gin
im a dollar. Tobe, he put out, he did, en bring some water in his
hat, but by de time he got back Brer Rabbit done out en gone. Ole
Miss Fox, she cut and cut twel down come de tree, but no Brer
Rabbit dar. Den she lay de blame on Tobe, en she say she gwineter
lash 'im, en Tobe, he put out en run, de ole 'oman atter 'im.
Bimeby, he come up wid Brer Rabbit, en sot down fer to tell 'im
how 'twuz, en w'iles dey wuz a settin' dar, yer come ole Miss Fox a
slippin' up en grab um bofe. Den she tell um w'at she gwine do.
Brer Rabbit she gwineter kill, en Tobe she gwineter lam ef its de
las' ack. Den Brer Rabbit sez, sezee:
"'Ef you please, ma'am, Miss Fox, lay me on de grinestone en
groun off my nose so I can't smell no mo' w'en I'm dead.'
"Miss Fox, she tuck dis ter be a good idee, en she fotch bofe un
um ter de grinestone, en set um up on it so dat she could groun'
off Brer Rabbit nose. Den Brer Rabbit, he up'n say, sezee:
"'Ef you please, ma'am, Miss Fox, Tobe he kin turn de handle
w'iles you goes atter some water fer ter wet de grinestone,' sezee.
"Co'se, soon'z Brer Rabbit see Miss Fox go atter de water, he jump
down en put out, en dis time he git clean away."
"And was that the last of the Rabbit, too, Uncle Remus?" the little
boy asked, with something like a sigh.
"Don't push me too close, honey," responded the old man; "don't
shove me up in no coruder. I don't wanter tell you no stories. Some
say dat Brer Rabbit's ole 'oman died fum eatin' some pizen-weed,
en dat Brer Rabbit married ole Miss Fox, en some say not. Some
tells one tale en some tells nudder; some say dat fum dat time
forrer'd de Rabbits en de Foxes make fren's en stay so; some say
dey kep on quollin'. Hit look like it mixt. Let dem tell you w'at
knows. Dat w'at I years you gits it straight like I yeard it."
There was a long pause, which was finally broken by the old man:
"Hit's 'gin de rules fer you ter be noddin' yer, honey. Bimeby you'll
drap off en I'll hatter tote you up ter de big 'ouse. I hear dat baby
cryin', en bimeby Miss Sally'll fly up en be a holler'n atter you"
"Oh, I wasn't asleep," the little boy replied. "I was just thinking."
"Well, dat's diffunt," said the old man. "Ef youil clime up on my
back," he continued, speaking softly, "I speck I ain't too ole fer ter
be yo' hoss fum yer ter de house. Many en many's de time dat I
toted yo' Unk Jeems dat away, en Mars Jeems wuz heavier sot dan
w'at you is."