Sunday, March 24, 2013

XXIV. Mr. Bear Catches Old Mr. Bull-frog. Uncle Remus Translation

 Legends of the Old Plantation


"Well, Uncle Remus," said the little boy, counting to see if he hadn't lost a marble somewhere, "the Bear didn't catch the Rabbit after all, did he?"

"Now you talkin', honey," replied the old man, his earnest face breaking up into little eddies of smiles -- "now you talkin' sure.  "It ain't been proven (prone) into no Brer Bear for to catch Brer Rabbit, It sort of like settin' a mule for to trap a hummin'-bird.  But Brer Bear, he took and got hisself into some more trouble, which it look like it mighty easy.  If folks could make their living longer getting into trouble," continued the old man, looking curiously at the little boy, "ole Miss Favers wouldn't be bothering your ma for to borrow a cup full of sugar every now and then; and it look like to me that I knows a nigger that wouldn't be squattin' 'round here making these here fish-baskets."

"How did the Bear get into more trouble, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.

"Natural, honey.  Brer Bear, he took a notion that old Brer Bull-frog was the man what fooled him, and he say that he'd come up with him if 'twas a year afterwards.  But 'twasn't no year, and 'twasn't no month, and more than that, it wasn't scarcely a week, when by and by one day Brer Bear was going home from the taking of a bee-tree, and lo and behold, who should he see but old Brer Bull-frog setting out on the edge of the mud-muddle fast asleep!  Brer Bear dropped his axe, he did, and crept up, and reached out with his paw, and scooped old Brer Bull-frog in just this way."  Here the old man used his hand ladle-fashion, by way of illustration.  "He scoop hm in, and there he was.  When Brer Bear got his clampers on him good, he sat down and talked at him.

" 'Howdy, Brer Bull-frog.  howdy! And how your family? I hope they're well, Brer Bull-frog, 'cause this day you got some business with me what'll last you a mighty long time.' "

"Brer Bull-frog, he dunno what to say.  He dunno what's up, and he don't say nothin', Old Brer Bear he kept running on:

" 'You're the man what took and fooled me 'bout Brer Rabbit the other day.  You had your fun, Brer Bull-frog, and not I'll get mine.'

"Then Brer Bull-frog, he begin to get scared, he did, and he up and say:

" 'What I been doin', Brer Bear?  How I been foolin' you?"

"Then Brer Bear laugh, and make like he don't know, but he keep on talkin''.

" 'Oh, no, Brer Bull-frog!  You ain't the man what stick your head up out of the water and tell me Brer Rabbit done gone on by. Oh, no!  you ain't the man. I bound you ain't.  About that time, you was a thome with your family, where you always is.  I don't know where you is, Brer Bull-frog, and it's ou and me for it.  After the sun goes down this day you do't fool o more folks goin' along this road.'

"Course, Brer Bull-frog don't know what Brer Bear drivin' at, but he know something has to be done, and that mighty soon, 'cause Brer Bear begun to snap his jaws together and foam at the mouth, and Brer Bull-frog holler out:

" 'Oh, pray, Brer Bear!  Let me off this time, and I won't never do so no more,  Oh, pray, Brer Bear! do let me off this time, and I'll show you the fattest bee-tree in the woods.'

"Old Brer Bear, he chomp his toothies and foam and the mouth.  Brer Bull-frog he just up and squall:

" 'Oh, pray, Brer Bear!  I won't never do so no more!  Oh, pray, Brer Bear! Let me off this time!"

"But old Brer Bear say he going to make way withhim, and then he sat and studied, old Brewr Bear did, how he going to squench Brer Bull-frog.  He know he can't drown him, and he aint got no fire for to burn him, and he got mighty pestered. By and by old Brer Bull-frog, he sort of stop his crin' and his boo-hooin', and he up and say:

" 'If you goingn to kill me, Brer Bear, carry me to that big flat rock out there on the edge of the mill=pond, where I can see my family, and after I see them, then you can take your axe and sqush me.'

"This look so fair and square that Brer Bear he agree, and he take old Brer Bull-frog by one of his behind legs, and sling his axe on his shoulder, an off he put for the big flat rock.  When he get there he lay Brer Bul-frog down on the rock, and Brer Bull-frog make like he looking around for his folks. Then Brer Bear, he draw long breath and pick up his axe. Then he spit in his hands and draw back and come down on the rock -- pow!"

"Did he kill the Frog, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy, as the old man paused to scoop up a thimbleful of glowing embers in his pipe.

" 'Indeed, and that he didn't, honey.  Betwixt the time when Brer Bear raise up with his axe, and when he come down with it, old Brer Bull-frog he leapt up and dove down in the mill-pond, kerblink-kerblunk!  And when he rose way out int he pond, herose a singin', and this here's the song what he sing:

" 'Ingle-go-jang, my joy, my joy --
Ingle-go-jang, my jou!
I'm right at home, my joy, my joy --
Ingle-go-jang, my joy!' "

"That's a mighty funny song," said the little boy.

"Funny now, I expect," said the old man, "but it weren't funny in them days,and it wouldnt be funny now if folks knew much about the Bull-frog language as they used to. That's what."