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

Mr. Hawk and Brer Buzzard

One night the little boy ran into Uncle Remus's cabin singing:—

"T-u Turkey, t-u Ti,

T-u Turkey Buzzard's eye!"

Uncle Remus, Daddy Jack, Aunt Tempy, and 'Tildy were all sitting around the fire, for the Christmas weather was beginning to make itself rather severely felt. As they made room for the child, Daddy Jack flung his head back, and took up the song, beating time with his foot:—

" 'T-u Tukry, t-u Ti,

T-u Tukry-Buzzud y-eye!

T-u Tukry, t-u Ting,

T-u Tukry-Buzzud wing!"

"Deyer mighty kuse creeturs," said 'Tildy, who was sitting rather nearer to Daddy Jack than had been her custom,—a fact to which Aunt Tempy had already called the attention of Uncle Remus by a motion of her head, causing the old man to smile a smile as broad as it was wise. "Deyer mighty kuse, an' I'm fear'd un um," 'Tildy went on. "Dey looks so lonesome hit makes me have de creeps fer ter look at um."

"Dey no hu't-a you," said Daddy Jack, soothingly. "You flut you' han' toze um dey fly 'way fum dey-dey."

"I dunno 'bout dat," said 'Tildy. "Deyer bal'-headed, en dat w'at make me 'spize um."

Daddy Jack rubbed the bald place on his head with such a comical air that even 'Tildy laughed. The old African retained his good-humor.

"You watch dem Buzzud," he said after awhile, addressing himself particularly to the little boy. " 'E fly high, 'e fly low, 'e fly 'way 'roun'. Rain come, 'e flup 'e wings, 'e light 'pon dead pine. Rain fall, 'e hug 'ese'f wit' 'e wing, 'e scrooge 'e neck up. Rain come, win' blow, da Buzzud bin-a look ragged. Da Buzzud bin-a wink 'e y-eye, 'e say:—

" 'Wun da win' fer stop blow en da rain fer stop drip, me go mek me one house. Me mek um tight fer keep da rain out; me pit top on strong fer keep da win' out.'

"Dun da rain dry up en da win' stop. Da Buzzud, 'e stan' 'pon top da dead pine. Wun da sun bin-a shine, 'e no mek um no house no'n 't all. 'E stay 'pon da dead pine; 'e 'tretch 'e wing wide open; 'e bin dry hisse'f in da sun. 'E hab mek no house sence 'e bin born. 'E one fool bud."

"En yit," said Uncle Remus, with a grave, judicial air, "I year tell er one time w'en ole Brer Buzzard wa'n't so mighty fur outer de way wid he notions."

"Me yent yeddy tahlk 'bout dis," Daddy Jack explained.

"I 'speck not," responded Uncle Remus. "Hit seem lak dat dey wuz one time w'en Mr. Hawk come sailin' 'roun' huntin' fer sump'n' 'n'er t' eat, en he see Brer Buzzard settin' on a dead lim', lookin' mighty lazy en lonesome.

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'How you come on, Brer Buzzard?'

"Brer Buzzard, sezee, 'I'm mighty po'ly, Brer Hawk; po'ly en hongry.'

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'W'at you waitin' yer fer ef you hongry, Brer Buzzard?'

"Brer Buzzard, sezee, 'I'm a-waitin' on de Lord.'

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'Better run en git yo' brekkus, Brer Buzzard, en den come back en wait.'

"Brer Buzzard, sezee, 'No, Brer Hawk, I'll go bidout my brekkus druther den be biggity 'bout it.'

"Mr. Hawk, he 'low, sezee, 'Well, den, Brer Buzzard, you got yo' way en I got mine. You see dem ar chick'ns, down dar in Mr. Man hoss-lot? I'm a-gwine down dar en git one un um, en den I'll come back yer en wait 'long wid you.'

"Wid dat, Mr. Hawk tuck'n sail off, en Brer Buzzard drop he wings down on de lim' en look mighty lonesome. He sot dar en look mighty lonesome, he did, but he keep one eye on Mr. Hawk.

"Mr. Hawk, he sail 'roun' en 'roun', en he look mighty purty. He sail 'roun' en 'roun' 'bove de hoss-lot—'roun' en 'roun'—en bimeby he dart down at chick'ns. He shot up he wings en dart down, he did, des same ef he 'uz fired out'n a gun."

"Watch out, pullets!" exclaimed 'Tildy, in a tone of warning.

"He dart down, he did," continued Uncle Remus, rubbing his hand thoughtfully across the top of his head, "but stidder he hittin' de chick'ns, he tuck'n hit 'pon de sharp een' un a fence-rail. He hit dar, he did, en dar he stuck."

"Ah-yi-ee!" exclaimed Daddy Jack.

"Dar he stuck. Brer Buzzard sot en watch 'im. Mr. Hawk ain't move. Brer Buzzard sot en watch 'im some mo'. Mr. Hawk ain't move. He done stone dead. De mo' Brer Buzzard watch 'im de mo' hongrier he git, en bimeby he gedder up he wings, en sorter clean out he year wid he claw, en 'low, sezee:—

" 'I know'd de Lord 'uz gwineter pervide.'"

"Trufe too!" exclaimed Aunt Tempy. " 'T ain't bin in my min' dat Buzzard got sense lak dat!"

"Dar's whar you missed it, Sis Tempy," said Uncle Remus gravely. "Brer Buzzard, he tuck'n drap down fum de dead lim', en he lit on Mr. Hawk, en had 'im fer brekkus. Hit's a mighty 'roun' about way fer ter git chick'n-pie, yit hit's lots better dan no way."

"I 'speck Hawk do tas'e like chicken," remarked 'Tildy.

"Dey mos' sho'ly does," said Uncle Remus, with emphasis.

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