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

Mr. Hawk and Brer Rabbit

"I year tell er one time," said 'Tildy, "w'en ole Mr. Hawk tuck'n kotch Brer Rabbit, but 't ain't no tale like dem you all bin tellin'."

"Tell it, anyhow, 'Tildy," said the little boy.

"Well, 't ain't no tale, I tell you dat now. One time Brer Rabbit wuz gwine 'long thoo de bushes singin' ter hisse'f, en he see a shadder pass befo' 'im. He look up, en dar 'uz Mr. Hawk sailin' 'roun' en 'roun'. Time he see 'im, Brer Rabbit 'gun ter kick up en sassy 'im.

"Mr. Hawk ain't pay no 'tention ter dis. He des sail all 'roun' en 'roun'. Eve'y time he sail 'roun', he git little closer, but Brer Rabbit ain't notice dis. He too busy wid his devilment. He shuck his fis' at Mr. Hawk, en chunk'd at 'im wid sticks; en atter w'ile he tuck'n make out he got a gun, en he tuck aim at Mr. Hawk, en 'low'd, 'Pow!' en den he holler en laugh.

"All dis time Mr. Hawk keep on sailin' 'roun' en 'roun' en gittin' nigher en nigher, en bimeby down he drapt right slambang on Brer Rabbit, en dar he had 'im. Brer Rabbit fix fer ter say his pra'rs, but 'fo' he do dat, he talk to Mr. Hawk, en he talk mighty fergivin'. He 'low he did:—

" 'I 'uz des playin', Mr. Hawk; I 'uz dez a-playin'. You oughtn' ter fly up en git mad wid a little bit er man like me.'

"Mr. Hawk ruffle up de fedders on his neck en say:—

" 'I ain't flyin' up, I'm a-flyin' down, en w'en I fly up, I'm a-gwine ter fly 'way wid you. You bin a-playin' de imp 'roun' in dis settlement long 'nuff, en now ef you got any will ter make, you better make it quick, 'kaze you ain't got much time.'

"Brer Rabbit cry. He say:—

" 'I mighty sorry, Mr. Hawk, dat I is. I got some gol' buried right over dar in fence cornder, en I wish in my soul my po' little childuns know whar 't wuz, 'kaze den dey could git long widout me fer a mont' er two.'

"Mr. Hawk 'low, 'Whar'bouts is all dis gol'?'

"Brer Rabbit low, 'Right over dar in de fence-cornder.'

"Mr. Hawk say show it ter 'im. Brer Rabbit say he don't keer ef he do, en he say:—

" 'I'd 'a' done show'd it ter you long 'fo' dis, but you hol' me so tight, I can't wink my eye skacely, much less walk ter whar de gol' is.'

"Mr. Hawk say he fear'd he gwineter try ter git 'way. Brer Rabbit say dey ain't no danger er dat, 'kaze he one er deze yer kinder mens w'en dey er kotch once deyer kotch fer good.

"Mr. Hawk sorter let Brer Rabbit loose, en dey went todes de fence-cornder. Brer Rabbit, he went 'long so good dat dis sorter ease Mr. Hawk min' 'bout he gittin' 'way. Dey got ter de place en Brer Rabbit look all 'roun', en den he frown up like he got some mighty bad disap'intment, en he say:—

" 'You may b'lieve me er not, Mr. Hawk, but we er on de wrong side er de fence. I hid dat gol' some'rs right in dat cornder dar. You fly over en I'll go thoo.'

"Tooby sho' dis look fa'r, en Brer Rabbit, he crope thoo' de fence, en Mr. Hawk flew'd 'cross. Time he lit on t'er side, Mr. Hawk year Brer Rabbit laugh."

The little boy asked what Brother Rabbit laughed for, as 'Tildy paused to adjust a flaming red ribbon-bow pinned in her hair.

" 'Kaze dey wuz a brier-patch on t'er side de fence," said 'Tildy, "en Brer Rabbit wuz in dar."

"I boun' you!" Aunt Tempy exclaimed. "He 'uz in dar, en dar he stayed tel Mr. Hawk got tired er hangin' 'roun' dar."

"Ah, Lord, chile!" said Uncle Remus, with the candor of an expert, "some er dat tale you got right, en some you got wrong."

"Oh, I know'd 't wa'n't no tale like you all bin tellin'," replied 'Tildy, modestly.

"Tooby sho' 't is," continued Uncle Remus, by way of encouragement; "but w'iles we gwine 'long we better straighten out all de kinks dat'll b'ar straightenin'."

"Goodness knows I ain't fittin' ter tell no tale," persisted 'Tildy.

"Don't run yo'se'f down, gal," said Uncle Remus, encouragingly; "ef dey's to be any runnin' down let yuther folks do it; en, bless yo' soul, dey'll do 'nuff un it bidout waitin' fer yo' lettin'.

"Now, den, old man Hawk,—w'ich dey call 'im Billy Blue-tail in my day en time,—ole man Hawk, he tuck'n kotch Brer Rabbit des lak you done said. He kotch 'im en he hilt 'im in a mighty tight grip, let 'lone dat he hilt 'im so tight dat it make Brer Rabbit breff come short lak he des come off'n a long jurney.

"He holler en he beg, but dat ain't do no good; he squall en he cry, but dat ain't do no good; he kick en he groan, but dat ain't do no good. Den Brer Rabbit lay still en study 'bout w'at de name er goodness he gwine do. Bimeby he up'n 'low:—

" 'I dunner w'at you want wid me, Mr. Hawk, w'en I ain't a mouf full fer you, skacely!'

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'I'll make way wid you, en den I'll go ketch me a couple er Jaybirds.'

"Dis make Brer Rabbit shake wid de allovers, 'kaze ef dey's any kinder creetur w'at he nat'ally 'spize on de topside er de yeth, hit's a Jaybird.

"Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'Do, pray, Mr. Hawk, go ketch dem Jaybirds fus', 'kaze I can't stan' um bein' on top er me. I'll stay right yer, plum twel you come back,' sezee.

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'Oh-oh, Brer Rabbit, you done bin fool too many folks. You ain't fool me,' sezee.

"Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'Ef you can't do dat, Mr. Hawk, den de bes' way fer you ter do is ter wait en lemme git tame, 'kaze I'm dat wil' now dat I don't tas'e good.'

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'Oh-oh!'

"Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'Well, den, ef dat won't do, you better wait en lemme grow big so I'll be a full meal er vittles.'

"Mr. Hawk, sezee, 'Now youer talkin' sense!'

"Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'En I'll rush 'roun' 'mungs' de bushes, en drive out Pa'tridges fer you, en we'll have mo' fun dan w'at you kin shake a stick at.'

"Mr. Hawk sorter study 'bout dis, en Brer Rabbit, he beg en he 'splain, en de long en de short un it wuz," said Uncle Remus, embracing his knee with his hands, "dat Brer Rabbit tuck'n git loose, en he ain't git no bigger, en needer is he druv no Pa'tridges fer Mr. Hawk."

"De Lord he'p my soul!" exclaimed 'Tildy, and this was the only comment made upon this extraordinary story.

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