Tuesday, November 6, 2007

VI. TRANSLATION. Mr. Rabbit Grossly Deceives Mr. Fox

A continuation of our sporadic and recreational forays into Tales of Uncle Remus. Please see first posts for context, translation issues re the idiom, and cultural setting of the time - and the universality of Uncle Remus.



One evening when the little boy, whose nights with Uncle Remus were as entertaining as those Arabian ones of blessed memory (FN 1),* had finished supper and hurried out to sit with his venerable patron, he found the old man in great glee. Instead, Uncle Remus was talking and laughing to himself at such a rate that the little boy was afraid he had company. The truth is, Uncle Remus had heard the child coming, and, when the rosy-cheeked chap put his head in at the door, was engaged in a monologue, the burden of which seemed to be --

"Ole Molly H'ar FN 2
W'at you doin' dar,
Settin' in de corner
Smokin' yo' cigyar?"

As a matter of course this vague allusion reminded the little boy of the fact that the wicked fox was still in pursuit of the rabbit, and he immediately put his curiosity in the shape of a question.

"Uncle Remus, did the Rabbit have to go clean away when he got loose from the Tar-Baby?"

"Bless gracious, honey, that he didn't. Who? Him? You don't know nuthin' at all 'bout Brer Rabbit if that's the way you puttin' him down. What he goin' away for? He might have stayed sort of close until the pitch rub off'n his hair, but there weren't many days before he was loping up and down the neighborhood same as ever, and I don't know if he weren't more sassier than before.

"Seem like that the tale about how he got mixed up with the Tar-Baby got 'round amongst the neighbors. Leastways, Miss Meadows and the gals FN 3 got wind on it, and the next time Brer Rabbit paid them a visit tackled him about it, and the gals set up a monstrous gigglement. Brer Rabbit, he sat up just as cool as a cucumber, be did, and let them run on."

"Who was Miss Meadows, Uncle Remus?" inquired the little boy.

"Don't ask me, honey. She was in the tale, Miss Meadows and the gals was, in the tale I give you like it were given to me. Brer Rabbit, he sat there, he did, sort of lame like, and then by and by he cross his legs, he did, and wink his eye slow, and up and say, says he:

"' Ladies, Brer Fox was my daddy's ridin'-horse for thirty years, maybe more, but thirty years that I knows of,' says he; and then he paid them his respects, and tip his beaver, and march off, he did, just as stiff and an stuck up as a fire-stick.

"Nex' day, Brer Fox come a callin', and w'en he began for to laugh about Brer Rabbit, Miss Meadows and the gals, they ups and tells him about what Brer Rabbit say. Then Brer Fox grit his tooths, sure enough he did, and he looked mighty dumpy, but when he rise for to go, he up and say, says he:

" ' Ladies, I ain't disputin' what you say, but I'll make Brer Rabbig chew up his words and spit them out right here where you can see him,' says he, and with that off Brer Fox put.

"And when he got to the big road, he shook the dew off'n his tail, and made a straight shoot for Brer Rabbit's house. When he got there, Brer Rabbit was expecting on him, and the door was shut fast. Brer Fox knock. Nobody ain't answer. Brer Fox knock. Nobody answer. Then he knock again - blam! blam! Then Brer Rabbit holler out mighty weak:

"'Is that you, Brer Fox? I want you to run and fetch the doctor. That bait or parsley FN4 what I what I ate this morning is getting away with me. Do, please, Brer Fox, run quick," says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"' I come after you, Brer Rabbit,' says Brer Fox, says he. 'There's going to be a party up at Miss Meadows', ' says he. 'All the gals'll be there, and I promised that I'd fetch you. The gals, they allowed that it wouldn't be no party exceptin' I fetch you,' says Brer Fox, says he.

"Then Brer Rabbit say he was too sick, and Brer Fox say he wasn't, and there they had it up and down, disputin' and contendin'. Brer Rabbit say he can't walk. Brer Fox say he tote him. Brer Rabbit say how? Brer Fox say in his arms. Brer Rabbit say he drop him. Brer Fox allow he won't. By and by Brer Rabbit say he go if Brer Fox tote him on his back. Brer Fox say he would. Brer Rabbit say he can't ride without a saddle. Brer Fox say he get the saddle. Brer Rabbit say he can't set in saddle lest he have bridle for to hold by. Brer Fox say he get the bridle. Brer Rabbit say he can't ride without blind bridle, 'cause Brer Fox be shyin' at stumps along the road, and fling him off. Brer Fox say he get blind bridle. The Brer Rabbit say he to. Then Brer Fox say he ride Brer Rabbit most up to Miss Meadows's, and then he could get down and walk the balance of the way. Brer Rabbit agreed, and then Brer Fox leaped out after the saddle and the bridle.

"Course, Brer Rabbit know the game that Brer Fox was fixin' for to play, and he determined for to outdo him, and by the time he comb his hair and twist his mustache, and sort of rig up, here come Brer Fox, saddle and bridle on, and lookin' as pert as a circus pony. He trot up to the door and stand there pawin' the ground and chompin' the bit same like sure enough horse, and Brer Rabbit he mount, he did, and they amble off. Brer Fox can't see behind with the blind bridle on, but by and by he feel Brer Rabbit raise one of his foots.

"' What you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?' says he.

" 'Shortening the left stirrup, Brer Fox,' says he.

"By and by Brer Rabbit raise up the other foot.

"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?' says he.

"' Pullin' down my pants, Brer Fox,' says he.

"All this time, bless gracious, honey, Brer Rabbit were puttin' on his spurs, and when they got close to Miss Meadows's, where Brer Rabbit was to get off, and Brer Fox made a motion for to stand still, Brer Rabbit slap the spurs into Brer Fox flanks, and you better believe he got over ground. When they got to the house, Miss Meadows and all the gals was settin' on the piazza, and instead of stoppin' at the gate, Brer Rabbit rode on by, he did, and then come gallopin' down the road and up to the horse-rack, which he hitch Brer Fox at, and then he saunter into the house, he did, and shake hands with the gals, and set there, smokin' his cigyar same as a town man. By and by he draw in a long puff, and then let it out in acloud, and squared himself back and holler out, he did:

"'Ladies, ain't I done tell you Brer Fox was the riding horse for our family? He's sort of losing his gait now, but I expect I can fetch him all right in a month or so,' says he.

"And then Brer Rabbit sort of grin, he did, and the gals giggle, and Miss Meadows, she appraise up the pony, and there was Brer Fox hitched fast to the rack, and couldn't help himself."

"Is that all," Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy as the old man paused.

"That ain't all, honey, but won't do for to give out too much cuff for to cut one pair pants," replied the old man sententiously.FN5

FN1 "Arabian ones of blessed memory" - After looking up at random, this seems to be "The Thousand and One Nights" of Scheherezade. Scherezade, the new wife/ concubine (?) told the Sultan tales continuing every night without an ending, so he would not kill her, as was his custom with new favorites. He came back, night after night, in hopes of hearing an ending. She never ended her stories. Ultimately, he loved her. Is that right? Iraq, 10th Century, appears to be the earliest compilation, some Indian roots, some cultural redactions and changes since, see ://www.al-bab.com/arab/literature/nights.htm

FN 2 "H'ar,"as the word is written, elsewhere is in the context of "hair"

FN 3 "Miss Meadows and the gals" - just a regular part of the community, no more identity needed, implies Uncle Remus, and the little boy asks no more. For a discussion of cultural redactions, deleting references that offend later sensibilities, its impact on the depth of the original communication in many cases, and the great skill of equivocating around life lessons, see Joy of Equivocation: Remus and Life Education.

FN 4 Bait might be not just the fish on a hook, but also potato bait - a cut piece of potato put out to lure bugs damaging to the overall crop of something else. Search for "potato bait" and get to findarticles.com/p/articles/mi and from there click to get to it. URL too long. "Potato baits aid symphylans", Central Coast vegetable crops.

"Pusly" could be parsley, see ://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Petr_cri.html (look at the large, edible root there); or purslaine - a vegetable, see ://www.spoutwood.com/4b.html. See 17th Century English recipe for purslaine at //www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec98.html. Invite us over.

FN5 Sententiously - in a pompous, moralizing way - see ://www.thefreedictionary.com/sententiously

Monday, November 5, 2007

V. TRANSLATION. The Story of the Deluge, and how it came about



"One time," said Uncle Remus - adjusting his spectacles so as to be able to see how to thread a large darning-needle with which he was patching his coat -- "one time, 'way back yonder, before you was borned, honey, and before Master John or Miss Sally was borned -- 'way back yonder before any of us was borned, the animals and the creatures sort of electioneered around among themselves, until at last they agreed for to have an assembly. In them days," continued the old man, observing a look of incredulity on the little boy's face, "in them days, creatures had lots more sense than they got now, let alone that, they had sense same like folks. It was touch and go with them, too, mon, and when they made up their minds what had to be done, 'twasn't more than mentioned before it was done. Well, they elected that they had to hold an assembly for to sort of straighten out matters and hear the complaints, and when the day come, they was on hand. The Lion, he was there, 'cause he was the king, and he had to be there. The Rhinocerous, he was there, and the Elephant, he ws there, and the Camels, and the Cows, and plumb down to the Crawfishes, they was there. They was all there. And when the Lion shook his mane, and tucked his seat in the big chair, then the session began for to commence."

"What did they do, Uncle Remus?" Asked the little boy.

"I can't scarcely call to mind exactly what they did do, but they spoke speeches, and hollered, and cussed, and flung their language around just like when your daddy was going to run for the legislature and got left. However, they arranged their affairs, and explained their business. By and by, while they was disputing longer one or another, the Elephant trompled on one of the Crawfishes. 'Course, when that creature put his foot down, whatsomever's under there was bound for to be squished, and there wasn't enough of that Crawfish left for to tell that he'd been there.

"This made the other Crawfishes mighty mad, and they sorter of swarmed together and drawed up a kind of preamble with some wherefores in it, and read her out in the assembly. But, bless gracious! such a racket was going on that nobody ain't heard it, excepting maybe the Mud Turtle, and the Spring Lizard, and their influence was powerful lacking.

"By and by, while the Unicorn was disputing with the Lion, and while the Hyena was laughing to himself, the Elephant squished another one of the Crawfishes, and a little more and he'd have ruined the Mud Turtle. Then the Crawfishes, what there was left of them, swarmed together and drew up another preamble with some more wherefores; but they might as well have sung Old Dan Tucker* to a hurricane. The other creatures was too busy with their fussing for to respond unto the Crawfishes. So there they was, the Crawfishes, and they didn't know what minute was going to be next; and they kept on getting madder and madder and scareder and scareder, until by and by they began to wink to the Mud Turtle and the Spring Lizard, and then they bored little holes in the ground and went down out of sight.

"Who did, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.

"The Crawfishes, honey. They bored into the ground and kept on boring until they unloosed the fountains of the earth; and the waters squirt out, and rose higher and higher until the hills was covered, and the creatures were all drowned; and all because they let on among themselves that they was bigger than the Crawfishes."

Then the old man blew the ashes from a smoking yam, and proceeded to remove the peeling.

"Where was the ark, Uncle Remus?" the little boy inquired, presently.

"Which ark's that?" asked the old man, in a tone of well-feigned curiosity.

"Noah's ark," replied the child.

"Don't you pester with old man Noah, honey. I bound he took care of that ark. That's what he was there for, and that's what he done. Leastways, that's what they tells me. But don't you bother longer that ark, excepting your mammy fetches it up. There might have been two deluges, and then again there mightn't. If there was nay ark in this here what the Crawfishes brought on, I ain't hear tell on it, and when there ain't no arks around, I ain't got no time for to make them up and put them in there. ** It's gettin' your bedtime, honey."

* Ol' Dan Tucker: See lyrics at ://www.bluegrasslyrics.com/all_song.cfm-recordID=sp979.htm. This song was first published in sheet music in 1843, says Wikipedia, with no composer named. See ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Dan_TuckerSee a longer dialect version at //www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/minstrel/dantuckerfr.html.

You can also hear it by following the clicks at the virginia.edu site. Look up Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger also to hear it.
** General comment on the tale - Accepting ambiguity in theology. Not artificially filling in blanks. See Joy of Equivocating, Remus post. You were far ahead of your time. There is no ark here or any deity causing things or judging - and Remus has no problem with anyone's own story including whatever. He just keeps his own.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

IV. TRANSLATION - How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox

This is the second part of the Tar-Baby story - the famous briar patch escape. The characters are, as the title says, only Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox.



"Uncle Remus," said the little boy one evening, when he had found the old man with little or nothing to do, "did the fox kill and eat the rabbit when he caught him with the Tar-Baby?"

"Law, honey, ain't I tell you 'bout that??" replied the old darkey*, chuckling slyly. "I declare to gracious I ought to have told you that, but old man Nod was ridin' on my eyelids until a little mre and I'd have disremembered my own name, and then on to that here comes your mammy hollerin' after you.

"What I tell you when I first begin? I told you Brer Rabbit was a monstrous soon(?) creature: leastways that's what I laid out for to tell you. Well, then, honey, don't you go and make no other calculations, 'cause in them days Brer Rabbit and his family was at the head of the gang when any racket was on hand, and there they stayed. Before you begin for to wipe your eyes about Brer Rabbit you want and see whereabouts Brer Rabbit going to fetch up at. But that's neither here nor there.

"When Brer Fox find Brer Rabbit mixed up with the Tar-Baby, he feel mighty good, and he roll on the ground and laugh. By and by he up and say, says he:

"'Well, I expect I got you this time, Brer Rabbit, says he; 'maybe I ain't, but I expect I is. You been runnin' around here sassin' after me a mighty long time, but I expect you done come to the end of the row. You been cuttin' up yo' capers and bouncin' around in this neighborhood until you come to believe yourself the boss of the whole gang. End then you are always somewhere where you got no business,' sez brer Fox, says he. 'Who asked you for to come and strike up acquaintance with this here Tar-Baby? And who stuck you up there where you is? Nobody in the round world. You just took and jam yourslf on that Tar-Baby without waitin' for any invite,' says Brer Fox, says hee, 'and there you is, and there you'll stay til I fixes up a brush-pile and fires her up, 'cause I'm going to barbecue you this day, sure,' says Brer Fox, says he.

"Then Brer Rabbit talk mighty humble:

"'I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox,' says he, 'so you don't fling me in that briar-patch,' says he.

"'It's so much trouble for to kinde a fire,' says Brer Fox, says he, 'that I expect I'll have to hang you,' says he.

"'Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, 'but do for the Lord's sake, don't fling me in that briar-patch,' says he.

"' I ain't got no string,' says Brer Fox, says he, 'and now I expect I'll have to drown you,' says he.

"'Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, 'but don't fling me in that briar-patch,' says he.

"' There ain't no water nigh,' says Brer Fox, says he, ' and now I expect I'll have to skin you,' says he.

"'Skin me, Brer Fox,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, 'snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots, and cut off my legs,' says he, 'but do please, Brer Fox, don't fling e in that briar-patch,' says he.

"' 'Course Brer Fox want to hurt Brer Rabbit bad as he can, so he caught him by the behind legs and slung him in the middle of the briar-patch. There was a considerable flutter where Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox sort of hang around for to see what was going to happen. By and by he hear somebody call him, and way up the hill he see Brer Rabbit settin'cross-legged on a chinkapin (?) log, combing the pitch out of his hair with a chip. Then Brer Fox know that he been swapped off mighty bad. Brer Rabbit was bleedzed (pleased?) for to fling back some of his sass, and he holler out:

"'Bred and born in a briar-patch, Brer Fox - bred and born in a briar-patch!' and with that, he skip out just as lively as a cricket in the embers."


Read the original dialect at //xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/toosharp.html; and analysis at ://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/anasharp.html.

* These translations leave in the vernacular, including negro and colored, when they appear, but leave out some others. No set criteria, but more a personalsense of what gets in the way as an obtrusive and now seen as total insult, and other phrases that seem more local and not so obtrusive.
Read the original dialect at //xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/toosharp.html; and analysis at //xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/anasharp.html

Saturday, November 3, 2007

III. TRANSLATION - Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace


"One night," said Uncle Remus - taking Miss Sally's little boy on his knee, and stroking the child's hair thoughtfully and caressingly - "one night Brer Possum called by for Brer coon, according to en, and after gobblin' up a dish of fried greens and smokin' a cigar, they rambled forth for to see how the balance of the settlement was gettin' along. Brer Coon, he was one of these here natural pacers, and he racked along the same as Master John's bay pony, and Brer Possum he went in a han'-gallup (?); and they got over heap of ground, man.

Brer Possum, he got his belly full of persimmons, and Brer coon, he scooped up an abundance of frogs and tadpoles. They ambled along, they did, just as sociable as a basket of kittens, until by and by they hear Mr. Dog talkin' to himself way off in the woods.

"'Supposin' he runs up on us, Brer Possum, what're you goin' to do?' says Brer Coon, says he. Brer Possum sort of laughed around the corners of his mouth.

"'Oh, if he come, Brer coon, I'm goin' to stand by you,' says Brer Possum. 'What're you goin' to do?' says he.

"'Who? Me?' says Brer Coon. 'If he run up onto me, I lay I give 'im one twis',' says he.

"Did the dog come?" asked the little boy.

"Go 'way, honey!" responded the old man, in an impressive tone. "Go way! Mr. Dog, he come and he come a zoonin'. And he ain't wait for to say howdy, neither. He just sail into the two of 'em. The very first pass he made Brer Possum fetched a grin from ear to ear, and keel over like he was dead.

Then Mr. Dog, he sail into Brer Coon, and right there's where he dropped his money purse, 'cause Brer Coon was cut out for that kind of business, and he fairly wiped up the face of the yeth with him. You better believe that when Mr. Dog got a chance to make himself scarce he took it, and what there was left of him went skaddlin' through the woods like it was shot out of a musket. And Brer Coon, he sort of licked his clothes into shape and racked off, and Brer Possum, he lay there like he was dead, 'til by and by he raise up sort of careful like, and when he find the cost clear he scramble up and scamper off like something was after him."

Here Uncle Remus paused long enough to pick up a live coal in his fingers, transfer it to the palm of his hand, and thence to his clay pipe, which he had been filling - a proceeding that was viewed bythe little boy with undisguised admiration. The old man then proceeded:

"Next time Brer Possum met Brer Coon, Brer Coon refused to respond to his howdy, and this make Brer Possum feel mighty bad, seeing as how they used to make so many excursions together.

"'What make you hold your head so high, Brer Coon?' says Brer Possum, says he.

"'I ain't runnin' with cowards these days,' says Brer Coon. 'When I wants you I'll send for you,' says he.

"Then Brer Possum git mighty mad.

"'Who's any coward?' says he.

"'You is," says Brer Coon, 'that's who. I ain't associating with them what lays down on the ground and plays dead when there's a free fight goin' on,' says he.

"Then Brer Possum grin and laugh fit to kill hisself.

"'Lord, Brer Coon, you don't expect I done that 'cause I was 'feared, do you?' says he. 'Why, I wasn't any more 'feared than you is this minute. What was there for to be skeered of?' says he. I knew you'd get away with Mr. Dog if I didn't, and I just lay there watchin' you shake him, waitin' for to put in when the time come,' says he.

"Brer Coon turned up his nose.

"'That's a mighty likely tale,' says ne, 'when Mr. Dog ain't more than touch you before you keel over, and lay there stiff,' says he.

"'That's just what I was going to tell you about,' says Brer Possum, says he. 'I wasn't no more scared than you is right now, and I was fixin' for to give Mr. Dog a sample of my jaw,' says he, 'but I'm the most ticklish chap what you ever laid eyes on, and no sooner did Mr. Dog put his nose down here among my ribs than I got to laughin', and I laughed 'til I ain't had no use of my limbs,' says he, ' and it s mercy unto Mr. Dog that I was ticklish, 'cause a little more and I'd e't him up,' says he. 'I don't mind fightin', Brer Coon, no more than you does*, ' says he, 'but I declare to gracious if I can stand ticklin'. Get me in a row where there ain't no ticklin' allowed, and I'm your man,' says he.

"And down to this day" - continued Uncle Remus, watching the smoke from his pipe curl upward over the little boy's head - "down to this day, Brer Possum's bound to surrender when you touch him in the short ribs, and he'll laugh if he knows he's going to be smashed for it."
* The Propagandist: Self-serving spins of words and webs of meaning. Somebody does something that sure looks suspiciously in his interest, and against what he said he was going to do. But watch that person then spin words and webs of meaning in and endless barrage of verbiage until his action becomes noble and altruistic and the other guy is jes' left scratchin' his haid.

Friday, November 2, 2007

II. TRANSLATION - The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story

Just try to force an issue, and make somebody respond the way you would like, and follow it up with a cuff to the haid to make your point, without first checking out what might happen, given the givens, and watch how you get totally stuck. A story of getting taken in.



"Didn't the fox ever catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next evening.

"He came mighty near it, honey, sure as you're born - Brer Fox did. One day after Brer Rabbit fooled him with that calamus root, Brer Fox went to work and got him some tar, and mixed it with some turpentine, and fixed up a contraption that he called a Tar-Baby, and he took this here Tar-Baby and he set her in the big road, and then he lay off in the bushes to see what the news was goin' to be. And he didn't have to wait long, neither, 'cause by and by here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down the road - lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity - just as sassy as a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit came prancin' along until he spied the Tar-Baby, and then he fetched up on his behind legs like he was astonished. The Tar-Baby, she sat there, she did, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'Mawnin'!" says Brer Rabbit says he - 'nice weather this mawnin'," says he.

"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin', and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'How do your symptoms seem to segashuate*?" says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, and lay low, and the Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin'.

"'How you come on, then? Is you deaf?' says Brer Rabbit, says he. 'Cause if you is, I can holler louder,' says he.

"Tar-Baby stay still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'You're stuck up, that's what you is,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, 'and I'm going to kill you, that's what I'm going to do,' says he.

"Brer Fox, he sort of chuckled in his stomach, he did, but Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin.'

""I'm going to teach you how to talk to respectable folks if it's the last act,' says Brer Rabbit, says he. 'If you don't take off that hat and tell me howdy, I'm going to bust you wide open,' says he.

"Tar-Baby stay still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Brer Rabbit kept on askin' him, and the Tar-Baby, she kept on sayin' nothin', until presently Brer Rabbit drew back with his fist, he did and blip he tucked her side of her head. Right there's where he broke his molasses jug. His fist stuck, and he can't pull loose. The tar held him. But Tar-Baby she stay still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'If you don't let me loose, I'll knock you again,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, and with that he fetched her a wipe with the other hand, and that stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin', and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'Turn me loose, before I kick the natural stuffing out of you,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, but the Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin.' She just held on, and then Brer Rabbit lost the use of his feet in the same way. Brer Fox he lay low. Then Brer Rabbit squalled out that if the Tar-Baby don't turn him loose he'll butt her cranksided. And then he butted, and his head got stuck. Then Brer Fox, he sauntered forth, lookin' just as innocent as one of your nanny's** mockin' birds.

"'Howdy, Brer Rabbit,' says Brer Fox, says he. 'You look sort of stuck up this mawnin'," says he, and then he rolled on the ground, and laughed and laughed 'til he couldn't laugh no more. 'I expect you'll take dinner with me this time, Brer Rabbit. I laid in some calamus root, and I ain't going to take no excuse,' says Brer Fox, says he."

Here Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.

"Did the fox eat the rabbit?" asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.

"That's all the far the tale goes," replied the old man. "He might, and then again he mightn't. Some say Judge Bar came along and loosed him - some say he didn't. I hear Miss Sally calling. You better run along."

[note there is no briar patch conclusion here, and that is true to the book - stay in suspense please, just like the little boy] [also note there is no Brer B'ar in this story - Walt Disney fakes things]
* segashuate - ? "exaggerate"?
** please put back in the real word

Look up the film clip of Walt Disney's 1946 "Song of the South." See the Tar-Baby section bit at at //www.uncleremus.com/tarbaby.html, about 15 minutes long from the Walt Disney film.
Read the original dialect at //xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/tar-baby.html; and analysis there at ://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/anatar.html

I. TRANSLATION - Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy

[What Miss Sally heard when she found her son in Uncle Remus' cabin, listening to stories][p.4ff]



"By and by, one day, after Brer Fox been doin' all that he could for to catch Brer Rabbit, and Brer Rabbit been doin' all he could for to keep him from it, Brer Fox say to himself that he'd put up a game on Brer Rabbit, and he ain't more than got the words out of his mouth 'til Brer Rabbit come a lopin' up the big road, lookin' just as plump, and as fat, and as sassy as a Morgan Horse FN 1  in a barley-patch.

"'Hold on there, Brer Rabbit,' says Brer Fox, says he.

"'I ain't got the time, Brer Fox,' says Brer Rabbit, says he, sort of mendin' his licks.

"'I want to have some confab with you, Brer Rabbit,' says Brer Fox, says he.

"'All right, Brer Fox, but you better holler from where you stand. I'm monstrous full of fleas this morning,' says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"I saw Brer B'ar (Bear) yesterday,' says Brer Fox, says he,' and he sort of rake me over the coals 'cause you and me ain't make friends and live neighborly, and I told him that I'd see you.'

"Then Brer Rabbit scratch one ear with his off hind-foot sort of dubiously, and then he ups and says, says he:

"'All a settin', Brer Fox. Supposing you drop around tomorrow and take dinner with me. We ain't got no great doin's at our house, but I expect the old woman and the children can sort of scramble around and get up something for to stay your stomach.'

"'I'm agreeable, Brer Rabbit,' says Brer Fox, says he.

"'Then I'll depend on you,' says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"Next day, Mr. Rabbit and Miss Rabbit got up soon, before day, and raided on a garden like Miss Sally's out there, and got some cabbages and some roasting ears, and some asparagus, and they fix up a smashin' dinner. By and by one of the little Rabbits, playin' out in the backyard, come runnin' in hollerin', 'Oh, ma! oh, ma! I saw Mr. Fox comin'!' And then Brer Rabbit he took the children by their ears and make them sit down, and then he and Miss Rabbit sort of dally around, waitin' for Brer Fox. And they keep on waitin', but no Brer Fox ain't come. After a while, Brer Rabbit goes to the door, easy like, and peep out, and there, sticking from behind the corn there, was the tip end of Brer Fox's tail. Then Brer Rabbit shut the door and sat down, and put his paws behind his ears and begin for to sing:

"'The place whereabouts you spill the grease,
Right there you're bound to slide,
And where you find a bunch of hair,
You'll surely find the hide.'

"Next day, Brer Fox sent word by Mr. Mink, and excused himself 'cause he was too sick for to come, and he asks Brer Rabbit for to come and take dinner with him, and Brer Rabbit say he was agreeable.

"By and by, when the shadows was at their shortest, Brer Rabbit he sort of brush up and then saunter down to Brer Fox's house, and when he got there, he hear somebody groanin', and he look in the door and ther he see Brer Fox settin' up in a rockin' chair, all wrapped up with flannel and he look mighty weak. Brer Rabbit look all around, he did, but he ain't see no dinner. The dishpan was settin' on the dable, and close by was a carvin' knife.

"'Look like you goin' to have chicken for dinner, Brer fox,' says Brer Rabbit, says he.

"'Then Brer Rabbit sort of pull his mustache, and say: 'You ain't got no calamus root, FN 2 have you, Brer Fox? I done got so now that I can't eat no chicken except she's seasoned up with calamus root.' And with that, Brer Rabbit leaped out of the door and dodge among the bushes, and sat there watching for Brer Fox; and he ain't watch long, neither, 'cause Brer Fox flung off the flannel and crept out of the house and got where he could close in on Brer Rabbit, and by and by Brer Rabbit holler out: 'Oh, Brer Fox! I'll just put your calamus root out here on this here stump. Better come get it while it's fresh,' and with that Brer Rabbit gallop off home. And Brer Fox ain't never catch him yet, and what's more, honey, he ain't goin' to."

FN 1  Morgan Horse.  A breed of recehorse, known for versatility, elegance and strength, see http://www.morganhorse.com/about_the_morgan/

FN 2  Calamus root, or bittersweet, has a venerable history in itself, or not, depending on your perspective. The calamus root has been a source of folk medicine for digestive ills and other medical problems,and also is said to make you feel very good. Look up why it was declared "unsafe." See Uncle Remus Tales, calamus root post. See note at Uncle Remus, Calamus Root Post

Bittersweet:  (another name for calamus)  A woody vine, with berries that ripen and drop the shell to reveal a red-orange berry, often used for decorating.  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bittersweetSee

General comment on the tale - Pretend friendship, while plotting behind all the while, and watch the other guy find out and get the better of you anyway. Read original text at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/initiate.html; and an analysis there at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/remus/aninit.html