Brer Rabbit: Old Mr. Rabbit, He's a Good Fisherman

This same story about the two buckets is told as a "Reynard the Fox" story in the Middle Ages, when the fox is the trickster, rather than a rabbit. In both cases, the poor victim is the fox! From the medieval version, La Fontaine created a version in verse for his fables: The Wolf and the Fox.

[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).


Old Mr. Rabbit, He's a Good Fisherman

One day, w'en Brer Rabbit, en Brer Fox, en Brer Coon, en Brer B'ar, en a whole lot un um wuz clearin' up a new groun' fer ter plant a roas'n'-year patch, de sun gun ter git sorter hot, en Brer Rabbit he got tired; but he didn't let on, kaze he fear'd de balance un um'd call 'im lazy, en he keep on totin' off trash en pilin' up bresh, twel bimeby he holler out dat he gotter brier in his han', en den he take'n slip off, en hunt fer cool place fer ter res'.

Atter w'ile he come crosst a well wid a bucket hangin' in it.




"Dat look cool," sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, "en cool I speck she is. I'll des 'bout git in dar en take a nap," en wid dat in he jump, he did, en he ain't no sooner fix hisse'f dan de bucket 'gun ter go down.

Dreckly he feel de bucket hit de water, en dar she sot, but Brer Rabbit he keep mighty still, kaze he dunner w'at minnit gwineter be de nex'. He des lay dar en shuck en shiver.

Brer Fox allers got one eye on Brer Rabbit, en w'en he slip off fum de new groun', Brer Fox he sneak atter 'im. He know Brer Rabbit wuz atter some projick er nudder, en he tuck'n crope off, he did, en watch 'im. Brer Fox see Brer Rabbit come to de well en stop, en den he see 'im jump in de bucket, en den, lo en behol's, he see 'im go down outer sight.

Brer Fox wuz de mos' 'stonish Fox dat you ever laid eyes on. He sot off dar in de bushes en study en study, but he don't make no head ner tails ter dis kinder bizness.

Den he say ter hisse'f, sezee: "Well, ef dis don't bang my times," sezee, "den Joe's dead en Sal's a widder. Right down dar in dat well Brer Rabbit keep his money hid, en ef 'tain't dat den he done gone en 'skiver'd a gole-mine, en ef 'tain't dat, den I'm a gwineter see w'at's in dar," sezee.

Brer Fox crope up little nigher, he did, en lissen, but he don't year no fuss, en he keep on gittin' nigher, en yit he don't year nuthin'. Bimeby he git up close en peep down, but he don't see nuthin' en he don't year nuthin'.

All dis time Brer Rabbit mighty nigh skeer'd outen his skin, en he fear'd fer ter move kaze de bucket might keel over en spill him out in de water.

W'ile he sayin' his pra'rs over like a train er kyars runnin', ole Brer Fox holler out: "Heyo, Brer Rabbit! Who you wizzitin' down dar?" sezee.

"Who? Me? Oh, I'm des a fishin', Brer Fox," sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. "I des say ter myse'f dat I'd sorter sprize you all wid a mess er fishes fer dinner, en so here I is, en dar's de fishes. I'm a fishin' fer suckers, Brer Fox," sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

"Is dey many un um down dar, Brer Rabbit?" sez Brer Fox, sezee.

"Lots un um, Brer Fox; scoze en scoze un um. De water is natchully 'live wid um. Come down en he'p me haul um in, Brer Fox," sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

"How I gwineter git down, Brer Rabbit?'

"Jump inter de bucket, Brer Fox. Hit'll fetch you down all safe en soun'."

Brer Rabbit talk so happy en talk so sweet dat Brer Fox he jump in de bucket, he did, en, ez he went down, co'se his weight pull Brer Rabbit up. W'en dey pass one nudder on de half-way growl', Brer Rabbit he sing out:

Good-by, Brer Fox, take keer yo' cloze,
Fer dis is de way de worl' goes;
Some goes up en some goes down,
You'll git ter de bottom all safe en soun'.

W'en Brer Rabbit got out, he gallop off en tole de fokes w'at de well blong ter dat Brer Fox wuz down in dar muddyin' up de drinkin' water, en den he gallop back ter de well, en holler down ter Brer Fox:

Ye come a man wid a great big gun—
W'en he haul you up, you jump en run.

In des 'bout half 'n hour, honey, bofe un um wuz back in de new groun' wukkin' des like dey never heer'd er no well, ceppin' dat eve'y now'n den Brer Rabbit'd bust out in er laff, en old Brer Fox, he'd git a spell er de dry grins.





(900 words)














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