Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings/Mr. Terrapin appears upon the Scene

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Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris
Mr. Terrapin appears upon the Scene

Legends of the Old Plantation[edit]

X. Mr. Terrapin appears upon the Scene[edit]

“Miss Sally’s” little boy again occupying the anxious position of auditor, Uncle Remus took the shovel and “put de noses er de chunks tergedder,” as he expressed it, and then began:

“One day, atter Sis Cow done run pas’ ’er own shadder tryin’ fer ter ketch ’im, Brer Rabbit tuck’n ’low dat he wuz gwineter drap in en see Miss Meadows en de gals, en he got out his piece er lookin’-glass en primp up, he did, en sot out. Gwine canterin’ ’long de road, who should Brer Rabbit run up wid but ole Brer Tarrypin—de same ole one-en-sixpunce. Brer Rabbit stop, he did, en rap on de roof er Brer Tarrypin house.”

“On the roof of his house, Uncle Remus?” interrupted the little boy.

“Co’se honey, Brer Tarrypin kyar his house wid ’im. Rain er shine, hot er col’, strike up wid ole Brer Tarrypin w’en you will en w’ilst you may, en whar you fine ’im, dar you’ll fine his shanty. Hit’s des like I tell you. So den! Brer Rabbit he rap on de roof er Brer Tarrypin’s house, he did, en ax wuz he in, en Brer Tarrypin ’low dat he wuz, en den Brer Rabbit, he ax ’im howdy, en den Brer Tarrypin he likewise ’spon’ howdy, en den Brer Rabbit he say whar wuz Brer Tarrypin gwine, en Brer Tarrypin, he say w’ich he wern’t gwine nowhar skasely. Den Brer Rabbit ’low he wuz on his way fer ter see Miss Meadows en de gals, en he ax Brer Tarrypin ef he won’t jine in en go long, en Brer Tarrypin ’spon’ he don’t keer ef he do, en den dey sot out. Dey had plenty er time fer confabbin’ ’long de way, but bimeby dey got dar, en Miss Meadows en de gals dey come ter de do’, dey did, en ax um in, en in dey went.

“W’en dey got in, Brer Tarrypin wuz so flat-footed dat he wuz too low on de flo’, en he wern’t high nuff in a cheer, but while dey wuz all scrambling’ ’roun’ tryin’ fer ter git Brer Tarrypin a cheer, Brer Rabbit, he pick ’im up en put ’im on de shelf whar de water-bucket sot, en ole Brer Tarrypin, he lay back up dar, he did, des es proud ez a nigger wid a cook possum.

“Co’se de talk fell on Brer Fox, en Miss Meadows en de gals make a great ’miration ’bout w’at a gaily ridin’-hoss Brer Fox wuz, en dey make lots er fun, en laugh en giggle same like gals duz deze days. Brer Rabbit, he sot dar in de cheer smokin’ his seegyar, en he sorter cle’r up his th’oat, en say, sezee:

“‘I’d er rid ’im over dis mawnin’, ladies,’ sezee, but I rid ’im so hard yistiddy dat he went lame in de off fo’ leg, en I speck I’ll hatter swop ’im off yit,’ sezee.

“Den Brer Tarrypin, he up’n say, sezee:

“‘Well, ef you gwineter sell ’im, Brer Rabbit,’ sezee, ‘sell him some’rs out’n dis naberhood, kase he done bin yer too long now,’ sezee. ‘No longer’n day ’fo’ yistiddy,’ sezee, ‘Brer Fox pass me on de road, en whatter you reckin he say?’ sezee.

“‘Law, Brer Tarrypin,’ sez Miss Meadows, sez she, ‘you don’t mean ter say he cusst?’ sez she, en den de gals hilt der fans up ’fo’ der faces.

“‘Oh, no, ma’am,’ sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee, ‘he didn’t cusst, but he holler out—“Heyo, Stinkin’ Jim!”’ sezee.

“‘Oh, my! You hear dat, gals?’ sez Miss Meadows, sez she; ‘Brer Fox call Brer Tarrypin Stinkin’ Jim,’ sez she, en den Miss Meadows en de gals make great wonderment how Brer Fox kin talk dat a way ’bout nice man like Brer Tarrypin.

“But bless grashus, honey! w’ilst all dis gwine on, Brer Fox wuz stannin’ at de back do’ wid one year at de cat-hole lissenin’. Eave-drappers don’t hear no good er deyse’f, en de way Brer Fox wuz ’bused dat day wuz a caution.

“Bimeby Brer Fox stick his head in de do’, en holler out:

“‘Good evenin’, fokes, I wish you mighty well,’ sezee, en wid dat he make a dash for Brer Rabbit, but Miss Meadows en de gals dey holler en squall, dey did, en Brer Tarrypin he got ter scramblin’ roun’ up dar on de shelf, en off he come, en blip he tuck Brer Fox on de back er de head. Dis sorter stunted Brer Fox, en w’en he gedder his ’membunce de mos’ he seed wuz a pot er greens turnt over in de fireplace, en a broke cheer. Brer Rabbit wuz gone, en Brer Tarrypin wuz gone, en Miss Meadows en de gals wuz gone.”

“Where did the Rabbit go, Uncle Remus?” the little boy asked, after a pause.

“Bless yo’ soul, honey! Brer Rabbit he skint up de chimbly—dat’s w’at turnt de pot er greens over. Brer Tarrypin, he crope under de bed, he did, en got behime de cloze-chist, en Miss Meadows en de gals, dey run out in de yard.

“Brer Fox, he sorter look roun’ en feel er de back er his head, whar Brer Tarrypin lit, but he don’t see no sine er Brer Rabbit. But de smoke en de ashes gwine up de chimbly got de best er Brer Rabbit, en bimeby he sneeze—huckychow!

“‘Aha!’ sez Brer Fox, sezee; ‘youer dar, is you?’ sezee. ‘Well, I’m gwineter smoke you out, ef it takes a mont’. Youer mine dis time,’ sezee. Brer Rabbit ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.

“‘Ain’t you comin’ down?’ sez Brer Fox, sezee. Brer Rabbit ain’t sayin’ nuthin’. Den Brer Fox, he went out atter some wood, he did, en w’en he come back he hear Brer Rabbit laughin’.

“‘W’at you laughin’ at, Brer Rabbit?’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.

“‘Can’t tell you, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

“‘Better tell, Brer Rabbit,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.

“’Tain’t nuthin’ but a box er money somebody done gone en lef’ up yer in de chink er de chimbly,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

“‘Don’t b’leeve you,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.

“‘Look up en see,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en w’en Brer Fox look up, Brer Rabbit spit his eyes full er terbacker joose, he did, en Brer Fox, he make a break fer de branch, en Brer Rabbit he come down en tole de ladies good-by.

“‘How you git ’im off, Brer Rabbit?’ sez Miss Meadows, sez she.

“‘Who? me?’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; ‘w’y I des tuck en tole ’im dat ef he didn’t go ’long home en stop playin’ his pranks on spectubble fokes, dat I’d take ’im out and th’ash ’im,’ sezee.”

“And what became of the Terrapin?” asked the little boy.

“Oh, well den!” exclaimed the old man, “chilluns can’t speck ter know all ’bout eve’ything ’fo’ dey git some res’. Dem eyelids er yone wanter be propped wid straws dis minnit.”