Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf

African-American

Brer Rabbit could never get any peace. He couldn't leave home without Brer Wolf making a raid and toting off some of the family. Brer Rabbit built himself a straw house, and it was torn down. Then a made a house out of pine tops, and that went the same way. Then he made himself a bark house, and it was raided. And every time he lost a house, he lost one of his children.

At last Brer Rabbit got mad, he did, and cussed, and then he went off, he did, and got some carpenters, and they built him a plank house with a rock foundation. After that he could have some peace and quiet. He could go out and pass the time of day with his neighbors, and come back and sit by the fire and smoke his pipe and read the newspapers the same as any man who has a family.

He made a hole, he did, in the cellar where the little rabbits could hide out when there was much of a racket in the neighborhood, and the latch of the front door caught on the inside.

Brer Wolf, he saw the lay of the land, he did, and he laid low. The little rabbits were mighty skittish, but it got so that cold chills didn't run up Brer Rabbit's back any more when he heard Brer Wolf go galloping by.

By and by, one day when Brer Rabbit was fixing to call on Miss Coon, he heard a monstrous fuss and clatter up the big road, and almost before he could fix his ears to listen, Brer Wolf ran in the door. The little rabbits, they went into the hole in the cellar, they did, like blowing out a candle. Brer Wolf was fairly covered with mud, and mighty well nigh out of wind.

"Oh, do pray save me, Brer Rabbit!" said Brer Wolf. "Do please, Brer Rabbit! The dogs are after me, and they'll tear me up. Don't you hear them coming? O, do please save me, Brer Rabbit! Hide me somewhere the dogs won't get me."

No quicker said than done.

"Jump in that chest there, Brer Wolf," said Brer Rabbit. "Jump in there and make yourself at home."

In jumped Brer Wolf, down came the lid, and into the hasp went the hook, and there Mr. Wolf was. Then Brer Rabbit went to the looking-glass, he did, and winked at himself. And then he pulled the rocking chair in front of the fire, he did, and took a big chew of tobacco. Then Brer Rabbit sat there a long time, he did, turning his mind over and working his thinking machine. By and by he got up and sort of stirred around.

Then Brer Wolf opened up, "Are the dogs all gone, Brer Rabbit?"

"It seems like I hear one of them smelling around the chimney corner just now."

Then Brer Rabbit got the kettle and filled it full of water and put it on the fire.

"What are you doing now, Brer Rabbit?"

"I'm fixing to make you a nice cup of tea, Brer Wolf."

Then Brer Rabbit went to the cupboard and got the gimlet, and commenced to bore little holes in the chest lid.

"What are you doing now, Brer Rabbit?"

"I'm boring little holes so you can breathe, Brer Wolf."

Then Brer Rabbit went out and got some more wood, and flung it on the fire.

"What are you doing now, Brer Rabbit?"

"I'm chunking up the fire so you won't get cold, Brer Wolf."

Then Brer Rabbit went down into the cellar and fetched out all his children.

"What are you doing now, Brer Rabbit?"

"I'm telling my children what a nice man you are, Brer Wolf."

And the children, they had to put their hands on their mouth to keep from laughing. Then Brer Rabbit, he got the kettle and commenced to pour the hot water onto the chest lid.

"What's that I hear, Brer Rabbit?"

"You hear the wind a-blowing, Brer Wolf."

Then the water began to sift through.

"What's that I feel, Brer Rabbit?"

"You feel the fleas a-biting, Brer Wolf."

"They are biting might hard, Brer Rabbit."

"Turn over on the other side, Brer Wolf."

"What's that I feel now, Brer Rabbit?"

"You still feel the fleas, Brer Wolf."

"They are eating me up, Brer Rabbit."

And those were the last words of Brer Wolf, because the scalding water did the business.

Then Brer Rabbit called in his neighbors, he did, and they held a regular jubilee. And if you go to Brer Rabbit's house right now, I don't know but what you'll find Brer Wolf's hide hanging in the back porch, and all because he was so busy with other folks's doings.


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