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

The Wise Bird and the Foolish Bird

All this talk about Hawks and Buzzards evidently reminded Daddy Jack of another story. He began to shake his head and mumble to himself; and, finally, when he looked around and found that he had attracted the attention of the little company, he rubbed his chin and grinned until his yellow teeth shone in the firelight like those of some wild animal, while his small eyes glistened under their heavy lids with a suggestion of cunning not unmixed with ferocity.

"Talk it out, Brer Jack," said Uncle Remus; "talk it out. All nex' week we'll be a-fixin' up 'bout Chris'mus. Mars Jeems, he's a-comin' up, en Miss Sally'll have lots er yuther comp'ny. 'Tildy yer, she'll be busy, en dish yer little chap, he won't have no time fer ter be settin' up wid de ole niggers, en Sis Tempy, she'll have 'er han's full, en ole Remus, he'll be a-pirootin' 'roun' huntin' fer dat w'at he kin pick up. Time's a-passin', Brer Jack, en we all er passin' wid it. Des whirl in en gin us de upshot er w'at you got in yo' min'."

"Enty!" exclaimed Daddy Jack, by way of approval. "One time dey bin two bud. One bin sma't bud; da turrer, 'e bin fool bud. Dey bin lif in da sem countree; da bin use in da sem swamp. Da sma't bud, 'e is bin come 'pon da fool bud; 'e bin tahlk. 'E bin say:—

" 'Ki! you long in da leg, you deep in da craw. You bin 'tan' well; you bin las' long tam.'

"Fool bud, 'e look proud, 'e toss 'e head; 'e say:—

" 'Me no mekky no brag.'

"Sma't bud, 'e say:—

" 'Less we try see fer how long tam we is kin go 'dout bittle un drink.'

"Fool bud, 'e 'tretch 'e neck, 'e toss 'e head; 'e say:—

" 'All-a right; me beat-a you all day ebry day. Me beat-a you all da tam.'

"Sma't bud, 'e say:—

" 'Ef you bin 'gree wit' dis, less we tek we place. You git 'pon da crik-side en tekky one ho'n, I git 'pon da tree y-up dey, en tekky nurrer ho'n. Less we 'tan' dey-dey tel we see how long tam we is kin do 'dout bittle en drink. Wun I blow 'pon me ho'n dun you blow 'pon you' ho'n fer answer me; me blow, you blow, dun we bote blow.'

"Fool bud walk 'bout big; 'e say:—

" 'Me will do um!'

"Nex' day mornin' come. Da sma't bud bin tekky one ho'n un fly 'pon da tree. De fool bud bin tekky one nurrer ho'n en set by da crik-side. Dey bin sta't in fer starf deyse'f. Da fool bud, 'e stay by da crik-side wey dey bin no'n 't all fer eat; 'e no kin fin' no bittle dey-dey. Sma't bud git in da tree da y-ant en da bug swa'm in da bark plenty. 'E pick dem ant, 'e y-eat dem ant; 'e pick dem bug, 'e y-eat dem bug. 'E pick tel 'e craw come full; he feel berry good.

"Fool bud, 'e down by da crik-side. 'E set down, 'e come tire'; 'e 'tan' up, 'e come tire'; 'e walk 'bout, 'e come tire'. 'E 'tan' 'pon one leg, he 'tan' 'pon turrer; 'e pit 'e head need 'e wing; still he come tire'. Sma't bud shed 'e y-eye; 'e feel berry good. Wun 'e come hongry, 'e pick ant, 'e pick bug, tel 'e hab plenty, toze dinner-time 'e pick up 'e ho'n, 'e toot um strong—

" 'Tay-tay, tenando wanzando waneanzo!'

"Fool bud craw bin empty, but 'e hab win'. 'E tekky da ho'n, 'e blow berry well; he mek um say:—

" 'Tay-tay tenando wanzando olando!'

"Sma't bud pick ant plenty; 'e git full up. 'E wait tel mos' toze sundown; 'e blow 'pon da ho'n—

" 'Tay-tay tenando wanzando waneanzo!'

"Fool bud mek answer, but 'e come weak; 'e yent hab eat nuttin' 't all. Soon nex' day mornin' sma't bud tek 'e ho'n en toot um. 'E done bin eat, 'e done bin drink dew on da leaf. Fool bud, 'e toot um ho'n, 'e toot um slow.

"Dinner-time, sma't bud bin tek 'e ho'n en blow; 'e yent bin honkry no'n 't all; 'e hab good feelin'. Fool bud toot um ho'n; 'e toot um slow. Night tam come, 'e no toot um no mo'. Sma't bud come down, 'e fin' um done gone dead.

"Watch dem 'ceitful folks; 'e bin do you bad."

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