Gateway to the Classics: Nights with Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris
 
Nights with Uncle Remus by  Joel Chandler Harris

Brer Wolf Still in Trouble

"En still we er by ourse'fs," exclaimed Uncle Remus, as the little boy ran into his cabin, the night after he had heard the story of how Brother Rabbit scalded Brother Wolf. "We er by ourse'fs en time's a-passin'. Dem ar folks dunner w'at dey er missin'. We er des gittin' ter dat p'int whar we kin keep de run er creeturs, en it keeps us dat busy we ain't got time fer ter bolt our vittles skacely.

"I done tell you 'bout Brer Rabbit makin' 'im a steeple; but I ain't tell you 'bout how Brer Rabbit got ole Brer Wolf out'n er mighty bad fix."

"No," said the little boy, "you have n't, and that's just what I have come for now."

Uncle Remus looked at the rafters, then at the little boy, and finally broke into a loud laugh.

"I 'clar' ter goodness," he exclaimed, addressing the imaginary third person to whom he related the most of his grievances, "I 'clar' ter goodness ef dat ar chile ain't gittin' so dat he's eve'y whit ez up-en-spoken ez w'at ole Miss ever bin. Dat he is!"

The old man paused long enough to give the little boy some uneasiness, and then continued:—

"Atter ole Brer Wolf git de nat'al hide tuck off'n 'im on de 'count er Brer Rabbit kittle, co'se he hatter go 'way off by hisse'f fer ter let de ha'r grow out. He 'uz gone so long dat Brer Rabbit sorter 'low ter hisse'f dat he 'speck he kin come down out'n he steeple, en sorter rack 'roun' mungs de t'er creeturs.

"He sorter primp up, Brer Rabbit did, en den he start out 'pun he journeys hether en yan. He tuck'n went ter de crossroads, en dar he stop en choose 'im a road. He choose 'im a road, he did, en den he put out des lak he bin sent fer in a hurry.

"Brer Rabbit gallop on, he did, talkin' en laughin' wid hisse'f, en eve'y time he pass folks, he'd tu'n it off en make lak he singin'. He 'uz gwine on dis a-way, w'en fus' news you know he tuck'n year sump'n'. He stop talkin' en 'gun ter hum a chune, but he ain't meet nobody. Den he stop en lissen en he year sump'n' holler:—

" 'O Lordy! Lordy! Won't somebody come he'p me?'"

The accent of grief and despair and suffering that Uncle Remus managed to throw into this supplication was really harrowing.

"Brer Rabbit year dis, en he stop en lissen. 'T wa'n't long 'fo' sump'n' n'er holler out:—

" 'O Lordy, Lordy! Please, somebody, come en he'p me.'

"Brer Rabbit, he h'ist up he years, he did, en make answer back:—

" 'Who is you, nohow, en w'at de name er goodness de marter?'

" 'Please, somebody, do run yer!'

"Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n stan' on th'ee legs fer ter make sho' er gittin' a good start ef dey 'uz any needs un it, en he holler back:—

" 'Whar'bouts is you, en how come you dar?'

" 'Do please, somebody, run yer en he'p a po' mizerbul creetur. I'm down yer in de big gully und' dish yer great big rock.'

"Ole Brer Rabbit bleedz ter be mighty 'tickler in dem days, en he crope down ter de big gully en look in, en who de name er goodness you 'speck he seed down dar?"

Uncle Remus paused and gave the little boy a look of triumph, and then proceeded without waiting for a reply:—

"Nobody in de roun' worl' but dat ar ole Brer Wolf w'at Brer Rabbit done bin scalted de week 'fo' dat. He 'uz layin' down dar in de big gully, en, bless gracious! 'pun top un 'im wuz a great big rock, en ef you want ter know de reason dat ar great big rock ain't teetotally kilt Brer Wolf, den you'll hatter ax some un w'at know mo' 'bout it dan w'at I does, 'kaze hit look lak ter me dat it des oughter mash 'im flat.

"Yit dar he wuz, en let 'lone bein' kilt, he got strenk 'nuff lef' fer ter make folks year 'im holler a mile off, en he holler so lonesome dat it make Brer Rabbit feel mighty sorry, en no sooner is he feel sorry dan he hol' he coat-tails out de way en slid down de bank fer ter see w'at he kin do.

"W'en he git down dar Brer Wolf ax 'im please, sir, kin he he'p 'im wid de removance er dat ar rock, en Brer Rabbit 'low he 'speck he kin; en wid dat Brer Wolf holler en tell 'im fer mussy sake won't he whirl in en do it, w'ich Brer Rabbit tuck'n ketch holt er de rock en hump hisse'f, en 't wa'n't long 'fo' he git a purchis on it, en, bless yo' soul, he lif' 'er up des lak nigger at de log-rollin'.

"Hit tu'n out dat Brer Wolf ain't hurted much, en w'en he fine dis out, he tuck'n tuck a notion dat ef he ev' gwine git he revengeance out'n Brer Rabbit, right den wuz de time, en no sooner does dat come 'cross he min' dan he tuck'n grab Brer Rabbit by de nap er de neck en de small er de back.

"Brer Rabbit he kick en squeal, but 't ain't do no manner er good, 'kaze de mo' w'at he kick de mo' tighter Brer Wolf clamp 'im, w'ich he squoze 'im so hard dat Brer Rabbit wuz fear'd he 'uz gwine ter cut off he breff. Brer Rabbit, he 'low:—

" 'Well, den, Brer Wolf! Is dish yer de way you thanks folks fer savin' yo' life?'

"Brer Wolf grin big, en den he up'n 'low:—

" 'I'll thank you, Brer Rabbit, en den I'll make fresh meat out'n you.'

"Brer Rabbit 'low, he did:—

" 'Ef you talk dat a-way, Brer Wolf, I never is to do yer 'n'er good turn w'iles I live.'

"Brer Wolf, he grin some mo' en 'low:—

" 'Dat you won't, Brer Rabbit, dat you won't! You won't do me no mo' good turn tel you er done dead.'

"Brer Rabbit, he sorter study ter hisse'f, he did, en den he 'low:

" 'Whar I come fum, Brer Wolf, hit's agin' de law fer folks fer to kill dem w'at done done um a good turn, en I 'speck hit's de law right 'roun' yer.'

"Brer Wolf say he ain't so mighty sho' 'bout dat. Brer Rabbit say he willin' fer ter lef' de whole case wid Brer Tarrypin, en Brer Wolf say he 'gree'ble.

"Wid dat, dey put out, dey did, en make der way ter whar ole Brer Tarrypin stay; en w'en dey git dar, Brer Wolf he tuck'n tell he side, en den Brer Rabbit he tuck'n tell he side. Ole Brer Tarrypin put on he specks en cle'r up he th'oat, en den he 'low:—

" 'Dey's a mighty heap er mixness in dish yer 'spute, en 'fo' I kin take any sides you'll des hatter kyar me fer ter see de place whar'bouts Brer Wolf wuz w'en Brer Rabbit foun' 'im,' sezee.


[Illustration]

"En, bless gracious! Dem ar creeturs racked off fum dar
en lef' ole brer wolf und' dat ar rock"

"Sho' 'nuff, dey tuck'n kyar'd ole Brer Tarrypin down de big road twel dey come ter de big gully, en den dey tuck 'im ter whar Brer Wolf got kotch und' de big rock. Ole Brer Tarrypin, he walk 'roun', he did, en poke at de place wid de een' er he cane. Bimeby he shuck he head, he did, en 'low:

" 'I hates might'ly fer ter put you all gents ter so much trouble; yit, dey ain't no two ways, I'll hatter see des how Brer Wolf was kotch, en des how de rock wuz layin' 'pun top un 'im,' sezee. 'De older folks gits, de mo' trouble dey is,' sezee, 'en I ain't 'nyin' but w'at I'm a-ripenin' mo' samer dan a 'simmon w'at's bin strucken wid de fros',' sezee.

"Den Brer Wolf, he tuck'n lay down whar he wuz w'en Brer Rabbit foun' 'im, en de yuthers dey up'n roll de rock 'pun top un 'im. Dey roll de rock 'pun 'im," continued Uncle Remus, looking over his spectacles to see what effect the statement had on the little boy, "en dar he wuz. Brer Tarrypin, he walk all 'roun' en 'roun', en look at 'im. Den he sot down, he did, en make marks in de san' wid he cane lak he studyin' 'bout sump'n' n'er. Bimeby, Brer Wolf, he open up:—

" 'Ow, Brer Tarrypin! Dish yer rock gittin' mighty heavy!'

"Brer Tarrypin, he mark in de san', en study, en study. Brer Wolf holler:—

" 'Ow, Brer Tarrypin! Dish yer rock mashin' de breff out'n me.'

"Brer Tarrypin, he r'ar back, he did, en he 'low, sezee:—

" 'Brer Rabbit, you wuz in de wrong. You ain't had no business fer ter come bodderin' 'longer Brer Wolf w'en he ain't bodderin' 'longer you. He 'uz 'ten'in' ter he own business en you oughter bin 'ten'in' ter yone.'

"Dis make Brer Rabbit look 'shame' er hisse'f, but Brer Tarrypin talk right erlong:—

" 'W'en you 'uz gwine down dish yer road dis mawnin', you sho'ly mus' bin a-gwine som'ers. Ef you wuz  gwine som'ers you better be gwine on. Brer Wolf, he wa'n't gwine nowhars den, en he ain't gwine nowhars now. You foun' 'im und' dat ar rock, en und' dat ar rock you lef 'im.'

"En, bless gracious!" exclaimed Uncle Remus, "dem ar creeturs racked off fum dar en lef' ole Brer Wolf und' dat ar rock."


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