Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings

Joel Chandler Harris


Mr. Bear Catches Old Mr. Bull-Frog

“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’ sho. ’Tain’t bin proned inter no Brer B’ar fer ter kotch Brer Rabbit. Hit sorter like settin’ a mule fer ter trap a hummin’-bird. But Brer B’ar, he tuck’n got hisse’f inter some mo’ trubble, w’ich it look like it mighty easy. Ef folks could make der livin’ longer gittin’ inter trubble,” continued the old man, looking curiously at the little boy, “ole Miss Favers wouldn’t be bodder’n yo’ ma fer ter borry a cup full er sugar eve’y now en den; en it look like ter me dat I knows a nigger dat wouldn’t be squattin’ ’roun’ yer makin’ dese yer fish-baskits.”

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

“Natchul, honey. Brer B’ar, he tuck a notion dat ole Brer Bull-frog wuz de man w’at fool ’im, en he say dat he’d come up wid ’im ef ’twuz a year atterwuds. But ’twan’t no year, an ’twan’t no mont’, en mo’n dat, hit wan’t skasely a week, w’en bimeby one day Brer B’ar wuz gwine home fum de takin’ un a bee-tree, en lo en beholes, who should he see but ole Brer Bull-frog settin’ out on de aidge er de mud-muddle fas’ ’sleep! Brer B’ar drap his axe, he did, en crope up, en retch out wid his paw, en scoop ole Brer Bull-frog in des dis away.” Here the old man used his hand ladle-fashion, by way of illustration. “He scoop ’im in, en dar he wuz. W’en Brer B’ar got his dampers on ’im good, he sot down en talk at ’im.’

“‘Howdy, Brer Bull-frog, howdy! En how yo fambly? I hope deyer well, Brer Bull-frog, kaze dis day you got some bizness wid me w’at’ll las’ you a mighty long time.’

“Brer Bull-frog, he dunner w’at ter say. He dunner wat’s up, en he don’t say nuthin’. Ole Brer B’ar he keep runnin’ on:

“‘Youer de man w’at tuck en fool me ’bout Brer Rabbit t’er day. You had yo’ fun, Brer Bull-frog, en now I’ll git mine.’

“Den Brer Bull-frog, he gin ter git skeerd, he did, en he up’n say:

“‘W’at I bin doin’, Brer B’ar? How I bin foolin’ you?’

“Den Brer B’ar laff, en make like he dunno, but he keep on talkin’.

“‘Oh, no, Brer Bull-frog! You ain’t de man w’at stick yo’ head up out’n de water en tell me Brer Rabbit done gone on by. Oh, no! you ain’t de man. I bonn’ you ain’t, ’bout dat time, you wuz at home with yo’ fambly, whar you allers is. I dunner whar you wuz, but I knows whar you is, Brer Bull-frog, en hit’s you en me fer it. Atter de sun goes down dis day you don’t fool no mo’ folks gwine ’long dis road.’

“Co’se, Brer Bull-frog dunner w’at Brer B’ar drivin’ at, but he know sump’n hatter be done, en dat mighty soon, kaze Brer B’ar ’gun to snap his jaws tergedder en foam at de mouf, en Brer Bull-frog holler out:

“‘Oh, pray, Brer B’ar! Lemme off dis time, en I won’t never do so no mo’. Oh, pray, Brer B’ar! do lemme off dis time, en I’ll show you de fattes’ bee-tree in de woods.’

“Ole Brer B’ar, he chomp his toofies en foam at de mouf. Brer Bull-frog he des up’n squall:

“‘Oh, pray, Brer B’ar! I won’t never do so no mo’! Oh, pray, Brer B’ar! Lenune off dis time!’

“But ole Brer B’ar say he gwineter make way wid ’im, en den he sot en study, ole Brer B’ar did, how he gwineter squench Brer Bull-frog. He know he can’t drown ’im, en he ain’t got no fier fer ter bu’n ’im, en he git mighty pestered. Bimeby ole Brer Bull-frog, he sorter stop his cryin’ en his boo-hooin’, en he up’n say:

“‘Ef you gwineter kill me, Brer B’ar, kyar me ter dat big flat rock out dar on de aidge er de mill-pon’, whar I kin see my fambly, en atter I see urn, den you kin take you axe en sqush me.’

“Dis look so fa’r and squar’ dat Brer B’ar he ’gree, en he take ole Brer Bull-frog by wunner his behime legs, en sling his axe on his shouder, en off he put fer de big flat rock. When he git dar he lay Brer Bullfrog down on de rock, en Brer Bull-frog make like he lookin’ ’roun’ fer his folks. Den Brer B’ar, he draw long breff en pick up his axe. Den he spit in his han’s en draw back en come down on de 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.

‘Deed, en dat he didn’t, honey. ’twix’ de time w’en Brer B’ar raise up wid his axe en w’en he come down wid it, ole Brer Bull-frog he lipt up en dove down in de mill-pon’, kerblink-kerblunk! En w’en he riz way out in de pon’ he riz a singin’, en dish yer’s de song w’at he sing:

“‘Ingle-go-jang, my joy, my joy—
Ingle-go-jang, my joy!
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 speck,” said the old man, “but ’twern’t funny in dem days, en ’twouldn’t be funny now ef folks know’d much ’bout de Bull-frog langwidge ez dey useter. Dat’s w’at.”

Uncle Remus    |    How Mr. Rabbit Lost His Fine Bushy Tail

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