Told by Uncle Remus_ New Stories of the Old Plantation
Transcriber’s Note: The reader may wish to be warned that this book containslanguage which is nowadays considered racially offensive.
New Stories of the
JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS
A. B. FROST, J. M. CONDE
and FRANK UERBECK
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Copyright, 1903, 1904, 1905, by
JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS
Copyright, 1903, 1904, 1905, by P. F. Collier & Son
Copyright, 1904, 1905, by The Metropolitan Magazine Company
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES
THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
|The Reason Why||3|
|I||Why Mr. Cricket has Elbows on his Legs||19|
|II||How Wiley Wolf Rode in the Bag||37|
|III||Brother Rabbit’s Laughing-Place||53|
|IV||Brother Rabbit and the Chickens||74|
|V||Little Mister Cricket and the Other Creatures||87|
|VI||When Brother Rabbit was King||101|
|VII||How Old Craney-Crow Lost his Head||126|
|VIII||Brother Fox Follows the Fashion||141|
|IX||Why the Turkey-Buzzard is Bald-Headed||153|
|X||Brother Deer an’ King Sun’s Daughter||172|
|XI||Brother Rabbit’s Cradle||188|
|XII||Brother Rabbit and Brother Bull-Frog||205|
|XIII||Why Mr. Dog is Tame||230|
|XIV||Brother Rabbit and the Gizzard Eater||243|
|XV||Brother Rabbit and Miss Nancy||266|
|XVI||The Hard-Headed Woman||276|
LIST OF FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
|“IS ANYBODY EVER HEAR DE BEAT ER DAT?”||Frontispiece|
|“So he holler down thoo de crack”||34|
|“‘Does you call dis good luck?’”||36|
|“Dey sot dar … talkin’ ’bout ol’ times”||44|
|“‘Git ’im use ter de bag’”||48|
|“‘Den you come on home; yo’ mammy want you’”||50|
|“Went off home des ez gayly ez a colt in a barley patch”||80|
|“‘Brer Rabbit, whar you gwine?’”||82|
|“Brer Fox, say, ‘Gents, … I wanter tell you dat I’m de swiffes’ one in dis bunch’”||92|
|“Mr. Elephant went splungin’ thoo de woods same ez a harrycane”||96|
|“So his ol’ ’oman went out ter de woodpile an’ got de ax”||150|
|“She dremp dat Brer Rabbit wuz laughin’ at ’er”||152|
|“Brer Deer went on fer ter tell Brer Rabbit”||180|
|“De beau got ter flingin’ his sass roun’ Brer Rabbit”||272|
|“De gal, she cry some, but dey went off an’ got married”||274|
|“Den he shuck a gourd-vine over de pot”||286|
|“De ax, it clum back on top er de woodpile an’ fell off on t’er side”||290|
|“Den she lit out atter de pot like she was runnin’ a foot-race”||292|
TOLD BY UNCLE REMUS
THE REASON WHY
The main reason why Uncle Remus retiredfrom business as a story-tellerwas because the little boy to whom hehad told his tales grew to be a very big boy, andgrew and grew till he couldn’t grow any bigger.Meanwhile, his father and mother movedto Atlanta, and lived there for several years.Uncle Remus moved with them, but he soongrew tired of the dubious ways of city life, andone day he told his Miss Sally that if shedidn’t mind he was going back to the plantationwhere he could get a breath of fresh air.
He was overjoyed when the lady told him thatthey were all going back as soon as the son married.As this event was to occur in the course of afew weeks, Uncle Remus decided to wait for therest of the family. The wedding came off, andthen the father and mother returned to the plantation,and made their home there, much to thedelight of the old negro.
In course of time, the man who had been thelittle boy for ever so long came to have a littleboy of his own, and then it happened in the mostnatural way in the world that the little boy’s littleboy fell under the spell of Uncle Remus, who wasstill hale and hearty in spite of his age.
This latest little boy was frailer and quieterthan his father had been; indeed, he was fragile,and had hardly any color in his face. But he was abeautiful child, too beautiful for a boy. He hadlarge, dreamy eyes, and the quaintest little waysthat ever were seen; and he was polite andthoughtful of others. He was very choice in theuse of words, and talked as if he had pickedhis language out of a book. He was a source ofperpetual wonder to Uncle Remus; indeed, hewas the wonder of wonders, and the old negrohad a way of watching him curiously. Sometimes,as the result of this investigation, which was continuous,Uncle Remus would shake his head andchuckle; at other times, he would shake his headand sigh.
This little boy was not like the other little boy.He was more like a girl in his refinement; all theboyishness had been taken out of him by thatmysterious course of discipline that some mothersknow how to apply. He seemed to belongto a different age—to a different time; just howor why, it would be impossible to say. Still,the fact was so plain that any one old enough andwise enough to compare the two little boys—onethe father of the other—could not fail to seethe difference; and it was a difference not whollyon the surface. Miss Sally, the grandmother,could see it, and Uncle Remus could see it; butfor all the rest the tendencies and characteristicsof this later little boy were a matter of course.
“Miss Sally,” said Uncle Remus, a few daysafter the arrival of the little boy and his mother,“what dey gwineter do wid dat chile? What deygwineter make out ’n ’im?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” she replied. “Agrandmother doesn’t count for much these daysunless there is illness. She is everything for a fewhours, and then she is nothing.” There was nobitterness in the lady’s tone, but there was plentyof feeling—feeling that only a grandmother canappreciate and understand.
“I speck dat’s so,” Uncle Remus remarked;“an’ a ole nigger dat oughter been dead long ago,by good rights, don’t count no time an’ nowhar.But it’s a pity—a mighty pity.”
“What is a pity?” the lady inquired, thoughshe knew full well what was in the old negro’smind.
“I can’t tell you, ma’am, an’ ’twouldn’t be myplace ter tell you ef I could; but dar ’tis, an’ youcan’t rub it out. I see it, but I can’t say it; Iknows it, but I can’t show you how ter put yo’finger on it; yit it’s dar ef I’m name Remus.”
The grandmother sat silent so long, and gazedat the old negro so seriously, that he became restive.He placed the weight of his body first onone foot and then on the other, and finally struckblindly at some imaginary object with the end ofhis walking-cane.
“I hope you ain’t mad wid me, Miss Sally,” hesaid.
“With you?” she cried. “Why——” She wassitting in an easy-chair on the back porch, wherethe warmth of the sun could reach her, but sherose suddenly and went into the house. She madea noise with her throat as she went, so that UncleRemus thought she was laughing, and chuckledin response, though he felt little like chuckling.As a matter of fact, if his Miss Sally had remainedon the porch one moment longer she would haveburst into tears.
She went in the house, however, and was ableto restrain herself. The little boy caught at theskirt of her dress, saying: “Grandmother, youhave been sitting in the sun, and your face is red.Mother never allows me to sit in the sun for fear Iwill freckle. Father says a few freckles would helpme, but mother says they would be shocking.”
Uncle Remus received his dinner from the bighouse that day, and by that token he knew thathis Miss Sally was very well pleased with him.The dinner was brought on a waiter by a strappingblack girl, with a saucy smile and ivory-whiteteeth. She was a favorite with Uncle Remus,because she was full of fun. “I dunner howcome de white folks treat you better dan deydoes de balance un us,” she declared, as she satthe waiter on the small pine table and removedthe snowy napkin with which it was covered.“I know it ain’t on ’count er yo’ beauty, kaze yo’ain’t no purtier dan what I is,” she went on,tossing her head and showing her white teeth.
Uncle Remus looked all around on the floor,pretending to be looking for some weapon thatwould be immediately available. Finding none,he turned with a terrible make-believe frown,and pointed his forefinger at the girl, who wasnow as far as the door, her white teeth