"One day," said Uncle Remus, sharpening his knife on the palm of his hand -- "one day Brer Fox strike up with Brer Terrapin right in the middle of the big road. Brer Terrapin heard him coming, and he allowed to himself that he'd sort of keep one eye open; but Brer Fox was monstrous polite, and he opened up the confab he did, like he aint' see Brer Terrapin since the last flash flood. FN 1
" 'Heyo, Brer Terrapin, where you been this long come short?' says Brer Fox, says he.
" ' Lounging around, Brer Fox, lounging around," says Brer Terrapin.
" 'You don't look sprucy like you did, Brer Terrapin,' says Brer Fox, says he.
" 'Lounging around and suffering,' says Brer Terrapin, says he.
" 'Lord, Brer Fox, you don't know what trouble is. You ain't been lounging around and suffering,' says Brer Terrapin, says he.
" 'Both eyes red, and you look like you mighty weak, Brer Terrapin, says he.
" 'What ails you now, Brer Terrapin?' says Brer Fox, says he.
" 'Took a walk, the other day, and man come along and set the field afire. Lord, Brer Fox, you don't know what trouble is,' says Brer Terrapin, says he.
" 'How you get out off the fire, Brer Terrapin,' says he.
" 'Sort of took it, Brer Fox,' says Brer Terrapin, says he. 'Sort of took it, and the smoke sift in my eye, and the fire scorched my back,' says Brer Terrapin, says he.
" 'Likewise it burned your tail off,' says Brer Fox, says he.
" 'Oh no, there's the tail, Brer Fox,' says Brer Terrapin, says he, and with that he uncurled his tail from under the shell, and no sooner did he do that than Brer Fox grab it and holler out:
" 'Oh, yes, Brer Terrapin! Oh yes! And so you're the man what lam me on the head at Mis Meadows's (FN 2) is you? Well, I'm going to out you.'
"Brer Terrapin beg and beg, but it wasn't any use. Brer Fox had been fooled so much that he looked like he was determined to have Brer Terrapin haslett FN 2. Then Brer Terrapin begged Brer Fox not to drown him, but Brer Fox was making no promise, and then he begged Brer Fox to burn him, in case he was used to fire, but Brer Fox don't say nothing. By and by Brer Fox dragged Brer Terrapin off a little ways below the spring-house, and shoves him under the water. The Brer Terrapin begin to holler:
" 'Turn loose that stump root and catch hold of me -- turn loose that stump root and catch hold of me.'
"Brer Fox he holler back:
" 'I ain't got hold of no stump root, and I have got hold of you.'
"Brer Terrapin he kept on hollering:
" 'Catch hold of me -- I'm drowning -- I'm drowning -- turn loose the stump root and catch hold of me.'
"Sure enough, Brer Fox turned loose the tail, and Brer Terrapin, he want down to the bottom -- kerblunkity-blink!"
No typographical combination or description could do justice to the gutteral sonorousness -- the peculiar intonation -- which Uncle Remus imparted to this combination. It was so peculiar, indeed, that the little boy asked:
"How did he go to the bottom, Uncle Remus?"
"Was he drowned, Uncle Remus?"
"Who? Ole man Terrapin? Is you drowned when your ma tucks you in the bed?"
"Well, no," replied the little boy, dubiously.
"Ole man Terrapin was at home I tell you, honey. Kerblinkity-blunk!"
* Tarrypin - a terrapin, or kind of "Chelonian" -- of which there appear to be three kinds. One is a turtle (sea-farer), and another is a tortoise (land-lubber). A terrapin, however is different. It lives in or near brackish water, part salt; or fresh water; and its shell is in two parts, joined at the center. Horny mouths, no teeth. See more at http://www.planetozkids.com/oban/animals/animal-facts-terrapin.htm/
FN 1 Freshit. Perhaps a flood, a flash flood. See these references, fair use of tiny bits:
"Y-a-as -- y-a-as," drawled old Toler, "but you know's well as I do that ther great freshit of four year' ago turned that crick outen ther old bed an' it cut right out inter the path of that little brook of mine, ****"
And this one:" 'Yes, pard,' he said, 'that's the real stuff an' no mistake. We've struck it now ! An' to think that that there freshit what we thought was goin' to destroy all our work has jest done the hull thing fer us ! '***"
FN 2. Mis Meadows' is the local ladies entertainment house. What was the event with Brer Tarrypin? Look back at Chapter X - Mr. Terrapin Appears Upon the Scene. Remember that Terrapin is Tarrypin.
FN 3. Haslett - Hash perhaps?? We find "beef haslett" as in this snippet, a gullah archive: When he open he jaw, he throat red like beef haslett or close to that -- in the Lion of Lewisburg section, D
W'en 'e op'n 'e jaw, 'e t'roat red lukkuh beef haslett!