Friday, May 9, 2014

Brer Rabbit: Mr. Fox is "Outdone" by Mr. Buzzard

One of the greatest difficulties with English spelling is that we don't write the words the way we actually pronounced them, although one of the conventions of Harris's dialect writing is to write the words just as they are pronounced. So, for example, instead of "promised," he writes "prommust," which really is how you pronounce the word. The voiced consonant like "d" is devoiced because it comes after the "s" sound, which is voiceless, so instead of trying to say "sd" (hard to pronounce!), you end up with "st" - promised or "promusst," as Uncle Remus says. If you are curious about how the consonants of English occur in voiced-unvoiced pairs, you can learn more at Wikipedia.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Brer Rabbit unit. Story source: Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris (1881).


Mr. Fox is "Outdone" by Mr. Buzzard

Well, Mr. Buzzard, he feel mighty lonesome, he did, but he done prommust Brer Fox dat he'd stay, en he 'termin' fer ter sorter hang 'roun' en jine in de joke.

En he ain't hatter wait long, nudder, kase bimeby yer come Brer Fox gallopin' thoo de woods wid his axe on his shoulder.

"How you speck Brer Rabbit gittin' on, Brer Buzzard?" sez Brer Fox, sezee.

"Oh, he in dar," sez Brer Buzzard, sezee. "He mighty still, dough. I speck he takin' a nap," sezee.

"Den I'm des in time fer ter wake im up, sez Brer Fox," sezee. En wid dat he fling off his coat, en spit in his han's, en grab de axe. Den he draw back en come down on de tree—pow! En eve'y time he come down wid de axe—pow!—Mr. Buzzard, he step high, he did, en holler out: "Oh, he in dar, Brer Fox. He in dar, sho."




En eve'y time a chip ud fly off, Mr. Buzzard, he'd jump, en dodge, en hol' his head sideways, he would, en holler: "He in dar, Brer Fox. I done heerd 'im. He in dar, sho."

En Brer Fox, he lammed away at dat holler tree, he did, like a man maulin' rails, twel bimeby, atter he done got de tree mos' cut thoo, he stop fer ter ketch his bref, en he seed Mr. Buzzard laughin' behime his back, he did, en right den en dar, widout gwine enny fudder, Brer Fox, he smelt a rat. But Mr. Buzzard, he keep on holler'n: "He in dar, Brer Fox. He in dar, sho. I done seed 'im."

Den Brer Fox, he make like he peepin' up de holler, en he say, sezee: "Run yer, Brer Buzzard, en look ef dis ain't Brer Rabbit's foot hanging down yer."

En Mr. Buzzard, he come steppin' up, he did, same ez ef he wer treddin' on kurkle-burs, en he stick his head in de hole; en no sooner did he done dat dan Brer Fox grab 'im.

Mr. Buzzard flap his wings, en scramble 'roun' right smartually, he did, but 'twant no use. Brer Fox had de 'vantage er de grip, he did, en he hilt 'im right down ter de groun'.

Den Mr. Buzzard squall out, sezee: "Lemme 'lone, Brer Fox. Tu'n me loose," sezee; "Brer Rabbit'll git out. You er gittin' close at 'im," sezee, "en leb'm mo' licks'll fetch 'im," sezee.

"I'm nigher ter you, Brer Buzzard," sez Brer Fox, sezee, "dan I'll be ter Brer Rabbit dis day," sezee. 'W'at you fool me fer?" sezee.

"Lemme lone, Brer Fox," sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee; "my ole 'oman waitin' fer me. Brer Rabbit in dar," sezee.

"Dar's a bunch er his fur on dat black-be'y bush," sez Brer Fox, sezee, "en dat ain't de way he come," sezee.

Den Mr. Buzzard up'n tell Brer Fox how 'twuz, en he 'low'd, Mr. Buzzard did, dat Brer Rabbit wuz de lowdownest w'atsizname w'at he ever run up wid.

Den Brer Fox say, sezee: "Dat's needer here ner dar, Brer Buzzard," sezee. "I lef' you yer fer ter watch dish yere hole, en I lef' Brer Rabbit in dar. I comes back en I fines you at de 'ole en Brer Rabbit ain't in dar," sezee. "I'm gwineter make you pay fer't. I done bin tampered wid twel plum' down ter de sap sucker'll set on a log en sassy me. I'm gwineter fling you in a bresh-heap en burn you up," sezee.

"Ef you fling me on der fier, Brer Fox, I'll fly 'way," sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee.

"Well, den, I'll settle yo' hash right now," sez Brer Fox, sezee, en wid dat he grab Mr. Buzzard by de tail, he did, en make fer ter dash 'im 'gin de groun', but des 'bout dat time de tail fedders come out, en Mr. Buzzard sail off like one er dese yer berloons; en ez he riz, he holler back: "You gimme good start, Brer Fox," sezee, en Brer Fox sot dar en watch 'im fly outer sight."




(800 words)














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