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

Brer Wolf and the Horned Cattle

Daddy Jack appeared to enjoy 'Tildy's story as thoroughly as the little boy.

" 'E one fine tale. 'E mekky me lahff tell tear is come in me y-eye," the old African said. And somehow or other 'Tildy seemed to forget her pretended animosity to Daddy Jack, and smiled on him as pleasantly as she did on the others. Uncle Remus himself beamed upon each and every one, especially upon Aunt Tempy; and the little boy thought he had never seen everybody in such good-humor.

"Sis Tempy," said Uncle Remus, "I 'speck it's yo' time fer ter put in."

"I des bin rackin' my min'," said Aunt Tempy, thoughtfully. "I see you fixin' dat ar hawn, en terreckerly hit make me think 'bout a tale w'at I ain't year none en you tell yit."

Uncle Remus was polishing a long cow's-horn, for the purpose of making a hunting-horn for his master.

"Hit come 'bout one time dat all de creeturs w'at got hawns tuck a notion dat dey got ter meet terge'er en have a confab fer ter see how dey gwine take ker deyse'f, 'kaze dem t'er creeturs w'at got tush en claw, dey uz des a-snatchin' um fum 'roun' eve'y cornder."

"Tooby sho'!" said Uncle Remus, approvingly.

"Dey sont out wud, de hawn creeturs did, en dey tuck'n meet terge'er 'way off in de woods. Man—Sir!—dey wuz a big gang un um, en de muster dey had out dar 't wa'n't b'ar tellin' skacely. Mr. Bull, he 'uz dar, en Mr. Steer, en Miss Cow"—

"And Mr. Benjamin Ram, with his fiddle," suggested the little boy.

—"Yes, 'n Mr. Billy Goat, en Mr. Unicorn"—

"En ole man Rinossyhoss," said Uncle Remus.

—"Yes, 'n lots mo' w'at I ain't know de names un. Man—Sir!—dey had a mighty muster out dar. Ole Brer Wolf, he tuck'n year 'bout de muster, en he sech a smarty dat nothin' ain't gwine do but he mus' go en see w'at dey doin'.

"He study 'bout it long time, en den he went out in de timber en cut 'im two crooked sticks, en tie um on his head, en start off ter whar de hawn creeturs meet at. W'en he git dar Mr. Bull ax 'im who is he, w'at he want, whar he come frum, en whar he gwine. Brer Wolf, he 'low:—

" 'Ba-a-a! I'm name little Sook Calf!'"

"Eh-eh! Look out, now!" exclaimed 'Tildy, enthusiastically.

"Mr. Bull look at Brer Wolf mighty hard over his specks, but atter a w'ile he go off some'rs else, en Brer Wolf take his place in de muster.

"Well, den, bimeby, terreckerly, dey got ter talkin' en tellin' der 'sperence des like de w'ite folks does at class-meetin'. W'iles dey 'uz gwine on dis a-way, a great big hoss-fly come sailin' 'roun', en Brer Wolf tuck'n fergit hisse'f, en snap at 'im.

"All dis time Brer Rabbit bin hidin' out in de bushes watchin' Brer Wolf, en w'en he see dis he tuck'n break out in a laugh. Brer Bull, he tuck'n holler out, he did:—

" 'Who dat laughin' en showin' der manners?'

"Nobody ain't make no answer, en terreckerly Brer Rabbit holler out:—

" 'O kittle-cattle, kittle-cattle, whar yo' eyes?

Who ever see a Sook Calf snappin' at flies?'

"De hawn creeturs dey all look 'roun' en wonder w'at dat mean, but bimeby dey go on wid dey confab. 'T wa'n't long 'fo' a flea tuck'n bite Brer Wolf 'way up on de back er de neck, en 'fo' he know what he doin', he tuck'n squat right down en scratch hisse'f wid his behime foot."

"Enty!" exclaimed Daddy Jack.

"Dar you is!" said 'Tildy.

"Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n broke out in 'n'er big laugh en 'sturb um all, en den he holler out:—

" 'Scritchum-scratchum, lawsy, my laws!

Look at dat Sook Calf scratchin' wid claws!'

"Brer Wolf git mighty skeer'd, but none er de hawn creeturs ain't take no notice un 'im, en 't wa'n't long 'fo' Brer Rabbit holler out ag'in:—

" 'Rinktum-tinktum, ride 'im on a rail!

Dat Sook Calf got a long bushy tail!'

"De hawn creeturs, dey go on wid der confab, but Brer Wolf git skeerder en skeerder, 'kaze he notice dat Mr. Bull got his eye on 'im. Brer Rabbit, he ain't gin 'im no rest. He holler out:—

" 'One en one never kin make six,

Sticks ain't hawns, en hawns ain't sticks!'

"Wid dat Brer Wolf make ez ef he gwine 'way fum dar, en he wa'n't none too soon, needer, 'kaze ole Mr. Bull splunge at 'im, en little mo' en he'd er nat'ally to' 'im in two."

"Did Brother Wolf get away?" the little boy asked.

"Yas, Lord!" said Aunt Tempy, with unction; "he des scooted 'way fum dar, en he got so mad wid Brer Rabbit, dat he tuck'n play dead, en wud went 'roun' dat dey want all de creeturs fer ter go set up wid 'im. Brer Rabbit, he went down dar fer ter look at 'im, en time he see 'im, he ex:—

" 'Is he grin yit?'

"All de creeturs dey up'n say he ain't grin, not ez dey knows un. Den Brer Rabbit, he 'low, he did:—

" 'Well, den, gentermuns all, ef he ain't grin, den he ain't dead good. In all my 'speunce folks ain't git dead good tel dey grins.'

"W'en Brer Wolf year Brer Rabbit talk dat a-way, he tuck'n grin fum year ter year, en Brer Rabbit, he picked up his hat en walkin'-cane en put out fer home, en w'en he got 'way off in de woods he sot down en laugh fit ter kill hisse'f."

Uncle Remus had paid Aunt Tempy the extraordinary tribute of pausing in his work to listen to her story, and when she had concluded it, he looked at her in undisguised admiration, and exclaimed:—

"I be bless, Sis Tempy, ef you ain't wuss'n w'at I is, en I'm bad 'nuff', de Lord knows I is!"

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