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I. (a) TAR BABY.1

De fox, in order to git de rabbit, he fixes a tar bucket to his milkhouse door to ketch de rabbit when he comes in to eat his butter.2 An" den de rabbit seen de bucket sittin' dere, an' he spoke to it. "Who's this?" An' it didn't say nothin'. An' den he said, "If you don' speak, I'll hit you." An' he hit with one foot, an' it stuck in de tar bucket. Den he hit with de oder one. An' it stuck. De rabbit said, "If you don' speak, I'll hit you with de oder foot; an' it is rank pison an' it will kill yer." De fox come an' said he was goin' to kill de rabbit. An' de rabbit says to de fox, "If you don' kill me, I'll pray some for yer." An* de fox tol' de rabbit he wanted to hear him pray then. An' de rabbit prayed, —

"Duck do stay in de water,
Duck do stay in de water,
Duck do stay in de water."

An' de fox said to de rabbit, "Ol* Rabbit, hush! Let me go to town to get me wife an' chil'ren, let them come hear you pray."


Once de farmer had a spring of very good water. Ev'ry mornin' he'd go to de spring, he would fin' it muddy. He had studied all day long some plan to ketch Mr. Rabbit. He would come ev'ry mornin' an' wash his face in de spring befo' de farmer could get there. So he made up his mind to play a trick on him. He made a tar baby4 an' sot it near de spring. De nex' mornin' bright an' early Mr. Rabbit came down about de spring. He seen de tar baby, an' he did not like de looks of him. But he thought he would speak. So he said, "Good-mornin'!" An' de tar baby did not say a word. An' agin he said, "Good-mornin'!" An' de tar baby did not speak. An' he walked up close to it, an' he said, "If you don't speak to me, I will smack you in de spring." De tar baby yet hadn't spoken. An' he said, "I will tach you some manners if you have not got any." An' he drawed back his front paw an' smacked de tar baby. An' it stuck there. An' he drawed back his oder one an' smacked him. An' he said, "If you don't turn me aloose, I will kick you into de spring." An' be drawed back an' kicked de tar baby with all his might. Both feet stuck there. "If you don't turn me aloose, I will bite you." An' he bit de tar baby. It was not very long befo* de farmer come down to see how his plan had worked out. He seen Mr. Rabbit stuck there fast. "Oh, yes! you're de one wha* ha' ben a-muddlin' my spring. I'm gwine to eat you fur my dinner." Mr. Rabbit begin ter baig the farmer to let him aloose, but he would not do it. Now home he got, more harder de rabbit baigged de farmer. He passed by a briarthicket; an' de rabbit said to de farmer, "You can roast me, you ken skin me alive, but please don't throw me in de briar-thicket!"' De farmer thought that would be de best way to get shed of him, Mr. Rabbit, was to throw him in de briar-patch, so he throwed him as fare as he could. Just berime he taut [touched] de ground, he kicked up his heel* an' commenced sayin', "I was bred an' born in dis briarpatch." •

1 Informant i. I give titles in all cases as a matter of convenience. The narrator sometimes says a phrase or two which appears to serve him as a kind of title, but usually he starts in without this preliminary. Compare JAFL 9 1290; Jones, IV; Harris i : II; MAFLSa 198; MAFLSs : 73; this number, p. 222; Parsons, X. See Bibliography, p. 170.

1 Variant: Man fixes a tar-bucket for one who is muddying his spring.

'Informant 2. It is not unlikely that this variant is literary. Several of my younger informants stated that they had read " Tar-Baby" in a book. For the concluding pattern see Harris I :IV, XII; this number, pp. 181, 225; Parsons, X (variant).

« Variant: Wax doll.


Boy was afraid. When he went after de cows. Man put on a sheet to scare the boy. Monkey heard the man. He put on a sheet to scare the man. When he started to scare the boy, Monkey said, "Run, Big Fraid! Little Fraid will ketch you!"*


Ol' Rabbit an' Fox went a-fishin'. Ol' Rabbit he was lazy, an' he wouldn't fish none; an' oP Fox kep' a-tellin' him he'd better fish. An' he started home, an' oP Rabbit toP him to give him some fish. An' de oP fox said he wouldn't give 'em none to save his life. De oP rabbit asked oP Fox if he see a heap of rabbits layin' in de road, would he pick 'em up. An' he said, not 'less he see a heap of 'em. He run round den an' got in de path ahead of him, an' lay down like as he was dead. OP Fox he come on an' kicked him outside of de road. An' oP Rabbit ran 'round again, an' got in de road an' lay down like he was dead. An' oP Fox said, "Hum! I pick you up." He turned in den an' lay him on a log aside of his fish, an' goes back an' gets de oder one. When he got back again, ol' Rabbit took his fish an' was gone.

1 Variant: Man whose milk and butter Rabbit has been eating says, "I am going to boil you an' roas' you." ... — "Don't throw me in the briar-patch. Will scratch my eyes out."

'Variant: Say, "Kiss my foot."

'Variant: Fox said he would throw him in the briars. B'o' Rabbit said, "Dat's where I was bred an' born."

4 Informant 3.

'Variant: Boy, seeing man and monkey on roof, said, "Dere sits big buger, little buger sittin' behin' him." Man runs. "Run, Big Bugerl Little Buger ketch you!" (See p. 227.)

• Informant 4. Compare Harris I : XV; Harris 3 : XXII; MAFLSa : 109; Parsons, VIII.


De fox an* de rabbit was goin' to see de girl. An' de rabbit he got sick an' he tol' de fox he couldn't go. An' de rabbit says to de fox, "If you tote me, I ken go." — "I can't tote you." — "If you don't, I can't go, I'm so sick." An' de rabbit says, "If you take me on your back, I can go." An' de fox took him on his back; an' de rabbit says, "Fox, I'm so sick I can't stay up yer back unless I put a saddle on." An' he says to de fox, "I'll have to put a spur on my heel. I'm used to ridin' with a spur on my heel." An' de fox says to de rabbit, "When you git up into de yard, I'll stop den, an' you ken get down." An' de rabbit he stuck his spur into de fox, an* made de fox run in front of de door where de girls could see. An' de rabbit hollered out to de girls, "Girls, I told you Mr. Fox was my ridin'-horse!"

(Second Version.*)

Mr. Bar an' Mr. Rabbit dey was goin' a-cortin' to see Miss Lizzy Coon. Mr. Rabbit he wanted to git in ahead of Mr. Bar; an' he went out one day, an' de garls was all dere, an' he tole de garls Mr. Bar was his ridin'-horse, an' if dey didn't believe it, nex* time he come roun' he'd show 'em.3 So he slipped around an' went by Mr. Bar's house to see him, to set a day when dey was to go 'bout together. He went on to Mr. Bar's house dat day, an' de time he got dere he was powerful sick. He couldn't walk, he couldn't sit up, he couldn't do no way. He got after Mr. Bar, an' let him put a saddle on him to let him ride him over dere, he was so sick. He had a cowhide to ride with, an' he put a spur on too. He got on nearer to de house, an' he wanted him to git down. He said, "Jus* go a leetle farder, a leetle farder!" 4 He put de spur on him, an' rode him up to de yard an' jumped off, an' said, "Good even', ladies! I tol' you Mr. Bar was my ridin'-horse."

1 Informant I. Compare JAFL 25 : 285-286; Jones, VII, XIII; Harris I : VI; MAFLS 2 : 112-113; Parsons, XVII; Smith, 17-18.

1 Informant 4.

1 Variant: Fox an' Rabbit was courtin' one place. Talkin' 'bout Mr. Fox. "Lor* mel dat's my ridin'-horse." — "Oh, nol" says the girl. "Yes, you come down the street, an' I'll show you how it is."

4 Variant: Fox and Rabbit agree to ride each other by turns. "Jes' before they get to de bars, Mr. Fox said, "Mr. Rabbit, get down! let me ride you." — " Please, Mr. Fox, let me stay on till we get through de bars." He shoved his spur in the ol' fox's side. He run de ol' fox up to de house." ... — Another variant: Fox and Rabbit come to a river. "Hop on my back," says Fox to Rabbit. "Your legs short, my legs long."

5. The Race: Relay Trick.*

De deer an' de tarpin was goin' to run de race. An" de tarpin he gits three others besides himself, which made four, an' he placed them along his race-path. When they started to race, de tarpin an' de deer together they had such a certain distance to run. Then when they run that distance, de deer hailed to de tarpin, "Where you at now, brother Tarpin?" De tarpin says, "Here me, on ahead here!" Then when they started to run again, when they went a certain distance, de deer said again, "Where you at now, brother Tarpin?" An' de tarpin says, "Here me, on ahead here!" An' de nex' time they started agin, an* run a certain distance agin, an' de deer hailed to de tarpin agin, "Where you at now, brother Tarpin?" Tarpin said, "Here me, on ahead here!" An' dis time, de las' race, de deer says, "I must outrun dat tarpin." An' he says, "Where you at now, brother Tarpin?" An' de tarpin says, "Here me, on ahead here!" An' de deer, bein' so outrun by de tarpin, he runs to de tarpin, an' he jus' stomps de tarpin all to pieces. From that day to this a deer has no use for a tarpin.

(Second Version?)

One time dere was a rabbit an' a tarpin. Dey was goin' to run a race. De tarpin would run under de groun', while de rabbit would run on top of de groun'. Ol' Tarpin went an' put a tarpin at ev'ry Dos'. Five-mile race. Ev'ry time ol' Rabbit let out, he run to his Dos'. He says to Tarpin, "Wha' you?" — "Here me!" He run on to ev'ry Dos'. "Wha' you?" — "Here me!" When he got his fivemile pos', he called out, "Wha' you?" — "Here me!"

6. The Race: Slow But Steady.*

Terpin made a bet. Terpin could beat the snail. Bet so many dollars. Started out. Mr. Terpin he crawled along. Night come, he had to rest. Mr. Snail crawlin'all the time, night an'day. "Mr. Snail, how you gettin' 'long?" — "You sleep, an' I keep a-pullin*. I'll beat you." Gain half a day on Terpin. "You here, Mr. Snail?" — "Yes, I here." Mr. Terpin says, "You beat me, isn't you? I expect that you so round you jus' roll downhill. I have to crawl." Mr. Terpin jumped on Snail an' tried to kill it. "I got a house on me too. You can't ketch me." Mr. Terpin killed Mr. Snail.

1 Informant I. Compare JAFL o : 290, (I) ; Jones. VII; Harris i : XVIII; MAFLS 3 : 69; Parsons, L; Pub. Folk-Lore Soc. 55 : XII. 1 Informant 5. 'Informant 3. See this number, pp. 214, 226.


Devil an' a prospec' went to farmin'. Devil said he would take everything grown in the groun'; an' Prospec', out of de groun'. Plant a crop o' corn. Prospec' got all de crop, Devil didn't get nothin'. Devil said, "We'll try it again. I'll take what grows out de groun', you take what grows in de groun'." — "All right." Planted a crop of potatoes. Prospec' he got dat crop.2 Devil said, "You can't whip me." Prospec' said, "All right, try dat. What you want me to fight with?" Devil say, "I'm going to take de foot ad [adze?], you take de peg-an'-awl." — "All right, we'll have to fight dis battle in a hogshead." *


Once there was a rabbit, an" he was travellin'. Come to Mr. Fox's house. Fox call out, "Mr. Rabbit, come spend de night wi' me! Lots o' rabbits spend the night with me." — "Mr. Fox, I see lots of tracks going in, but none comin' out. So I guess I'll have to journey on."


De oP rabbit an' fox. He said to de rabbit, "I hear Dan Jones' hounds acomin'." OP Rabbit says, "What mus' I do?" —"You get in de chest, an' I will lock you up. Den I can run." De rabbit got in de chest, an' de fox locked him up. Put him on a kettle of water. An'set down in a corner an'commenced pettin'[patting; i.e., beating time] an' singin', —

"Rabbit good fry,
Rabbit good boiled,
Rabbit good stew,
Rabbit good any way.
I eat Mr. Rabbit."

An' he pour de water over de chest. "Gettin" hot in here," said oP
Rabbit. "Turn over an'get cool!"

(Second Version.*)

De fox an' de rabbit knowed where dere was a whole lot of oranges an' apples. An' so dey made a plot to call each other an' go befo' de

1 Informant 6. Compare JAFL 6 : 48.

1 Variant: Rabbit agreed with Fox that he, Fox, would "take all what grows on top of de groun' an' I take all what grows under de groun'." That's a bargain. "I take all de 'taters an' gi' you all de vines."

3 It was explained that the " foot ad " was a tool that had to be drawn inward, whereas the peg-an'-awl could be struck outwards.

'Informant 6. See this number, p. 222.

* Informant 2. Compare Harris I : XIV.

• Informant 7.

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