Uncle Remus Stories by Joel Harris
From our library and sold on eBay, The Stories from Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris: six classic “Uncle Remus” tales that spell adventure:
–Why Mr. Possum Has No Hair on His Tail
–Mr. Rabbit Meets His Match
–The Wonderful Tar-Baby
–Mr. Wolf Makes a Failure
–Mr. Fox Tackles Old Man Tarrypin
–Old Mr. Rabbit, He’s a Good Fisherman.
The charming stories by Joel Chandler Harris and their vibrant illustrations date from the 1800s.
It was one of those things we inherited, and inasmuch as I love books and story telling, I only glimpsed the book before selling it for $29 on eBay.
I was glad to hear from the buyer she bought Uncle Remus to read to her grandchildren, a perfect ending to any good book.
Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Tar-Baby
Here’s how the classic story goes …
Brer Fox was always trying to catch Brer Rabbit; but Brer Rabbit was mighty pert and spry, and he never let Brer Fox catch him. So Brer Fox pretended to be friendly, and asked Brer Rabbit to come to dinner with him. But Brer Rabbit did not come; he knew what was going to be eaten at that dinner. Brer Fox then thought of something else. He went to work and got some tar and some turpentine, and fixed up a thing he called a Tar-Baby. He set up this Tar-Baby by the road near Brer Rabbit’s house, and laid low beneath the bramble-bushes nearby to watch what would happen.
By and by Brer Rabbit came prancing along, lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity, as saucy as a jay-bird. When he saw Tar-Baby he sat up on his legs in astonishment.
“Good-morning,” says Brer Rabbit, very politely and nicely. “Fine weather this morning,” says he.
Tar-Baby said nothing, and Brer Fox he laid low.
“Are you deaf?” said Brer Rabbit. “I can shout if you are.”
And he shouted. But Tar-Baby kept on saying nothing; and Brer Fox he winked his eye slowly, and laid low.
At last Brer Rabbit raised his fist and hit Tar-Baby on the side of her head. And there his fist stuck in the tar, and he couldn’t pull it away.
“Let me go, or I’ll strike you again!” says Brer Rabbit. And he hit out with his other hand, and that stuck on Tar-Baby.
Brer Rabbit kicked out angrily with his feet and they got stuck on Tar-Baby. Then he butted her with his head, and his head also got fixed.
“Howdydo?” says Brer Fox, coming out of the bushes, and looking as innocent as a dicky-bird. “You seem rather stuck up, Brer Rabbit, this morning.”
And then Brer Fox rolled about the ground and laughed.
“I expect you’ll come to dinner with me now, Brer Rabbit,” says he. “We’re going to have some nice roast rabbit. You won’t play any more tricks on me. You’re too saucy by far.
“Who asked you to strike up an acquaintance with this Tar-Baby? Now you’re going to have a warm time, as soon as I can get some firewood together.”
Then Brer Rabbit began to talk mighty humble.
“I don’t care what you do with me, Brer Fox,” says he, “so long as you don’t’ fling me on those prickly bramble-bushes.”
“It’s too much trouble to light a fire, says Brer Fox. I’ll have to hang you.”
“Hang me, or drown me?” says Brer Rabbit. “I don’t mind. But for pity’s sake don’t fling me on those prickly bramble-bushes.”
But Brer Fox wanted to hurt Brer Rabbit as much as he could, so he took him by the hind legs and pulled him off Tar-Baby, and flung him right into the middle of the prickly bramble-bushes. There was a considerable flutter where Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox wanted to see what was going to happen. By and by he heard someone calling up the hill, and there he saw Brer Rabbit sitting on a log, combing the tar out of his hair with a chip of wood.
“I was bred and born in a briar bush, Brer Fox—bred and born in it — says Brer Rabbit, with a laugh. And with that he skipped off home as lively as a cricket.
SOURCE: The Human Interest Library, The National Home and School Association, The Midland Press, Chicago, 1922; pp. 346-347