XII. AS A MURDERER
UNCLE Remus met a police officer recently.
"You ain't hear talk er no dead nigger nowhar dis mawnin', is you,
boss?" asked the old man earnestly.
"No," replied the policeman, reflectively. "No, I believe not. Have
you heard of any?"
"'Pears unter me dat I come mighty nigh gittin' some news bout
dat size, an' dat's w'at I'm a huntin' fer. Bekaze ef dey er foun' a
stray nigger layin' 'roun' loose, wid 'is bref gone, den I wanter go
home an' git my brekfus' an' put on some clean doze, an' liver
myse'f up ter wunner deze yer jestesses er de peace, an git a fa'r
"Why, have you killed anybody?"
"Dat's w'at's I'm a 'quinn' inter now, but I wouldn't be sustonished
ef I ain't laid a nigger out some'rs on de subbubs. Hit's done got so
it's agin de law fer ter bus' loose an' kill a nigger, ain't it, boss?"
"Well, I should say so. You don't mean to tell me that you have
killed a colored man, do you?"
"I speck I is, boss. I speck I done gone an' done it dis time, sho.'
Hit's bin sorter growin' on me, an' it come ter a head dis mawnin',
les my name ain't Remus, an' dat's w'at dey bin er callin' me sence I
wuz ole er 'nuff fer ter scratch myse'f wid my lef' han'."
"Well, if you've killed a man, you'll have some fun, sure enough.
How was it?"
"Hit wuz dis way, boss: I wuz layin' in my bed dis mawnin' sorter
ruminatin' 'roun', when de fus news I know'd I year a fus' 'mong de
chickens, an' den my brissels riz. I done had lots er trubble wid
dem chickens, an' w'en I years wun un um squall my ve'y shoes
comes ontied. So I des sorter riz up an' retch fer my ole muskit,
and den I crope out er de back do', an' w'atter you reckin I seed?"
"I couldn't say."
"I seed de biggest, blackest nigger dat you ever laid eyes on. He
shined like de paint on 'im was fresh. He bed done grabbed fo'er
my forwardes' pullets. I crope up nigh de do', an' hollered an' axed
'im how he wuz a gittin' on, an' den he broke, an' ez he broke I
jammed de gun in de small er his back and banged aloose. He let a
yell like forty yaller cats a courtin', an' den he broke. You ain't seed
no nigger hump hisse'f like dat nigger. He tore down de well
shelter and fo, pannils er fence, an' de groun' look like wunner
deze yer harrycanes had lit dar and fanned up de yeath."
"Why, I thought you killed him?"
"He bleedzed ter be dead, boss. Ain't I put de gun right on 'im?
Seem like I feel 'im give way w'en she went off."
"Was the gun loaded?"
"Dat's w'at my ole 'oman say. She had de powder in dar, sho', but I
disremember wedder I put de buckshot in, er wedder I lef' urn out.
Leas'ways, I'm gwineter call on wunner deze yer jestesses. So long,