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

Brer Wolf Falls a Victim

"Uncle Remus," said the little boy, one night, when he found the old man sitting alone in his cabin, "did you ever see Mammy-Bammy Big-Money?"

Uncle Remus placed his elbows on his knees, rested his chin in the palms of his hands, and gazed steadily in the fire. Presently he said:—

"Wen folks 'gin ter git ole en no 'count, hit look lak der 'membunce git slack. Some time hit seem lak I done seed sump'n' n'er mighty nigh de make en color er ole Mammy-Bammy Big-Money, en den ag'in seem lak I ain't. W'en dat de case, w'at does I do? Does I stan' tiptoe en tetch de rafters en make lak I done seed dat ole Witch-Rabbit, w'en, goodness knows, I ain't seed 'er? Dat I don't. No, bless you! I'd say de same in comp'ny, much less settin' in yer 'long side er you. De long en de short un it," exclaimed Uncle Remus, with emphasis, "is des dis. Ef I bin run 'crost ole Mammy-Bammy Big-Money in my day en time, den she tuck'n make 'er disappearance dat quick twel I ain't kotch a glimp' un 'er."


" 'If you git any mo' sense, son Riley,
you'll be de ruination ev de whole settlement'"

The result of this good-humored explanation was that the child did n't know whether Uncle Remus had seen the Witch-Rabbit or not, but his sympathies led him to suspect that the old man was thoroughly familiar with all her movements.

"Uncle Remus," the little boy said, after a while, "if there is another story about Mammy-Bammy Big-Money, I wish you would tell it to me all by my own-alone self."

The idea seemed to please the old man wonderfully, and he chuckled over it for several minutes.

"Now, den, honey," he said, after a while, "you hit me whar I'm weak—you mos' sho'ly does. Comp'ny mighty good fer some folks en I kin put up wid it long ez de nex' un, but you kin des take'n pile comp'ny 'pun top er comp'ny, en dey won't kyore de liver complaint. W'en you talk dat a-way you fetches me, sho', en I'll tell you a tale 'bout de ole Witch-Rabbit ef I hatter git down yer on my all-fours en grabble it out'n de ashes. Yit dey ain't no needs er dat, 'kaze de tale done come in my min' des ez fresh ez ef 't was day 'fo' yistiddy.

"Hit seem lak dat one time atter Brer Wolf tuck'n steal Brer Rabbit foot, dey wuz a mighty long fallin'-out 'twix' um. Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n got ashy 'kaze Brer Wolf tuck'n tuck he foot; en Brer Wolf, he tuck'n got hot 'kaze Brer Rabbit wuk en wuk 'roun' en git he foot ag'in. Hit keep on dis a-way twel bimeby de ole Witch-Rabbit sorter git tired er Brer Wolf, en one day she tuck'n sont wud ter Brer Rabbit dat she lak mighty well fer ter see 'im.

"Dey fix up der plans, dey did, en 't wa'n't so mighty long 'fo' Brer Rabbit run inter Brer Wolf house in a mighty big hurry, en he 'low, he did:—

" 'Brer Wolf! O Brer Wolf! I des now come fum de river, en des ez sho' ez youer settin' in dat cheer, ole Big-Money layin' dar stone dead. Less we go eat 'er up.'

" 'Brer Rabbit, sho'ly youer jokin'!'

" 'Brer Wolf, I'm a-ginin' un you de fatal fack. Come on, less go!'

" 'Brer Rabbit, is you sho' she dead?'

" 'Brer Wolf, she done dead; come on, less go!'

"En go dey did. Dey went 'roun' en dey got all de yuther creeturs, en Brer Wolf, livin' so nigh, he let all he chilluns go, en 't wa'n't so mighty long 'fo' dey had a crowd dar des lak camp-meetin' times.

"W'en dey git dar, sho' nuff, dar lay ole Big-Money all stretch out on de river bank. Dis make Brer Wolf feel mighty good, en he tuck'n stick he han's in he pocket en strut 'roun' dar en look monst'us biggity. Atter he done tuck'n 'zamine ole Big-Money much ez he wanter, he up'n 'low, he did, dat dey better sorter rustle 'roun' en make a fa'r dividjun. He ax Brer Mink, he ax Brer Coon, he ax Brer 'Possum, he ax Brer Tarrypin, he ax Brer Rabbit, w'ich part dey take, en dey all up'n 'low, dey did, dat bein' ez Brer Wolf de biggest en de heartiest in de neighborhoods er de appetite, dey 'speck he better take de fus' choosement.

"Wid dat Brer Wolf, he sot down on a log, en hang he head ter one side, sorter lak he 'shame' er hisse'f. Bimeby, he up'n 'low:—

" 'Now, den, folks en fr'en's, sence you shove it on me, de shortes' way is de bes' way. Brer Coon, we bin good fr'en's a mighty long time; how much er dish yer meat ought a fibble ole man lak me ter take?' sezee.

"Brer Wolf talk mighty lovin'. Brer Coon snuff de a'r, en 'low:

" 'I 'speck you better take one er de fo'-quarters, Brer Wolf,' sezee.

"Brer Wolf look lak he 'stonish'. He lif' up he han's, en 'low:

" 'Law, Brer Coon, I tuck you ter be my fr'en', dat I did. Man w'at talk lak dat ain't got no feelin' fer me. Hit make me feel mighty lonesome,' sezee.

"Den Brer Wolf tu'n 'roun' en talk mighty lovin' ter Brer Mink:—

" 'Brer Mink, many's de day you bin a-knowin' me; how much er dish yer meat you 'speck oughter fall ter my sheer?' sezee.

"Brer Mink sorter study, en den he 'low:—

" 'Bein' ez you er sech a nice man, Brer Wolf, I 'speck you oughter take one er de fo'-quarters, en a right smart hunk off'n de bulge er de neck,' sezee.

"Brer Wolf holler out, he did:—

" 'Go 'way, Brer Mink! Go 'way! You ain't no 'quaintance er mine!'

"Den ole Brer Wolf tu'n 'roun' ter Brer 'Possum en talk lovin':

" 'Brer 'Possum, I done bin tuck wid a likin' fer you long time 'fo' dis. Look at me, en den look at my fambly, en den tell me, ef you be so good, how much er dish yer meat gwine ter fall ter my sheer.'

"Brer 'Possum, he look 'roun', he did, en grin, en he up'n 'low:

" 'Take half, Brer Wolf, take half!'

"Den ole Brer Wolf holler out:—

" 'Shoo, Brer 'Possum! I like you no mo'.'

"Den Brer Wolf tu'n to Brer Tarrypin, en Brer Tarrypin say Brer Wolf oughter take all 'cep' one er de behime quarters, en den Brer Wolf 'low dat Brer Tarrypin ain't no fr'en' ter him. Den he up'n ax Brer Rabbit, en Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n 'spon', he did:—

" 'Gentermuns all! you see Brer Wolf chillun? Well, dey er all monst'us hongry, en Brer Wolf hongry hisse'f. Now I puts dis plan straight at you: less we all let Brer Wolf have de fus' pass at Big-Money; less tie 'im on dar, en le'm eat much ez he wanter, en den we kin pick de bones,' sezee.

" 'Youer my pardner, Brer Rabbit!' sez Brer Wolf, sezee; 'youer my honey-pardner!'

"Dey all 'gree ter dis plan, mo' 'speshually ole Brer Wolf, so den dey tuck'n tie 'im onter Big-Money. Dey tie 'im on dar, dey did, en den ole Brer Wolf look all 'roun' en wunk at de yuthers. Brer Rabbit, he tuck'n wunk back, en den Brer Wolf retch down en bite Big-Money on de back er de neck. Co'se, w'en he do dis, Big-Money bleedz ter flinch; let 'lone dat, she bleedz ter jump. Brer Wolf holler out:—

" 'Ow! Run yer somebody! Take me off! She ain't dead! O Lordy! I feel 'er move!'

Brer Rabbit holler back:—

" 'Nummine de flinchin', Brer Wolf. She done dead; I done year 'er sesso 'erse'f. She dead, sho'. Bite er ag'in, Brer Wolf, bite 'er ag'in!'

"Brer Rabbit talk so stiff, hit sorter tuck de chill off'n Brer Wolf, en he dipt down en bit ole Big-Money ag'in. Wid dat, she 'gun ter move off, en Brer Wolf he holler des lak de woods done kotch a-fier:—

" 'Ow! O Lordy! Ontie me, Brer Rabbit, ontie me! She ain't dead! Ow! Run yer, Brer Rabbit, en ontie me!'

"Brer Rabbit, he holler back:—

" 'She er sho'ly dead, Brer Wolf! Nail 'er, Brer Wolf! Bite 'er! gnyaw 'er!'

"Brer Wolf keep on bitin', en Big-Money keep on movin' off. Bimeby, she git ter de bank er de river, en she fall in—cumberjoom!—en dat 'uz de las' er Brer Wolf."

"What did Brother Rabbit do?" the little boy asked, after a while.

"Well," responded Uncle Remus, in the tone of one anxious to dispose of a disagreeable matter as pleasantly as possible, "you know w'at kinder man Brer Rabbit is. He des went off some'rs by he own-alone se'f en tuck a big laugh."

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