Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story
By Joel Chandler Harris (1848–1908)
 
[Born in Eatonton, Ga., 1848. Died in Atlanta, Ga., 1908. From Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings. The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation. 1881.]

“DIDN’T the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?” asked the little boy the next evening.
  1
  “He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho’s you bawn—Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool ’im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got ’im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w’at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot ’er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer ter see w’at de news wuz gwineter be. En he didn’t hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin’ down de road—lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity—dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin’ ’long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wuz ’stonished. De Tar-Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  2
  “‘Mawnin’!’ sez Brer Rabbit sezee—‘nice wedder dis mawnin’,’ sezee.  3
  “Tar-Baby ain’t sayin’ nuthin’, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  4
  “‘How duz yo’ sum’tums seems ter segashuate?’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.  5
  “Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.  6
  “‘How you come on, den? Is you deaf?’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,’ sezee.  7
  “Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  8
  “‘Youer stuck up, dat’s w’at you is,’ says Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘en I’m gwineter kyore you, dat’s w’at I’m a gwineter do,’ sezee.  9
  “Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummuck, he did, but Tar-Baby ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.  10
  “‘I’m gwineter larn you howter talk ter ’specttubble fokes ef hit’s de las’ ack,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Ef you don’t take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I’m gwineter bus’ you wide open,’ sezee.  11
  “Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  12
  “Brer Rabbit keep on axin’ ’im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin’ nuthin’, twel present’y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis’, he did, en blip he tuck ’er side er de head. Right dar’s whar he broke his merlasses jug. His fis’ stuck, en he can’t pull loose. De tar hilt ’im. But Tar-Baby, she stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  13
  “‘Ef you don’t lemme loose, I’ll knock you agin,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en wid dat he fotch ’er a wipe wid de udder han’, en dat stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain’t saying’ nuthin’, en Brer Fox, he lay low.  14
  “‘Tu’n me loose, fo’ I kick de natal stuffin’ outen you,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, but de Tar-Baby, she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’. She des hilt on, en den Brer Rabbit lose de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don’t tu’n ’im loose he butt ’er cranksided. En den he butted, en his head got stuck. Den Brer Fox, he sa’ntered fort’, lookin’ des ez innercent ez wunner yo’ mammy’s mockin’birds.  15
  “‘Howdy, Brer Rabbit,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee. ‘You look sorter stuck up dis mawnin’,’ sezee, en den he rolled on de groun’, en laft en laft twel he couldn’t laff no mo’. ‘I speck you’ll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit. I done laid in some calamus root, en I ain’t gwineter take no skuse,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.”  16
  Here Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.  17
  “Did the fox eat the rabbit?” asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.  18
  “Dat’s all de fur de tale goes,” replied the old man. “He mout, en den agin he moutent. Some say Jedge B’ar come ’long en loosed ’im—some say he didn’t. I hear Miss Sally callin’. You better run ’long.”  19
 
 
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