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Vine ran faster. You clim' up on top of that leaf an' holler.1 Dat pum'kin-vine had pum'kins on it. My marster had two hawgs. Dey went away. De hawg-feeder name Jack. "Jack, we got to look for dem hawgs. Won't do to let 'em run away. Go to house, ask mistress for half a shoulder of meat, an' cook me some bread." De hawgs had eat a hole in dat pum'kin, an' staid in dere until nex" plantin'-time. From dat pum'kin-vine they build a hotel in Richmon'. Made pretties' doors an' winders you ever saw.
42. THE TURNIP.2
One day there was a man in this country. An" he called to de man to stay all night. His name was John. He 'plied to him, "What's your occupation?" Says, "Turnip-grower." Says he cultivated an acre of land. He put it knee-deep manure. He sowed de seed. Didn't but one come up. It growed so big that they put a fence aroun' it. It raised de fence.8 Says, "What's your occupation?" He said, "Pottery." He was three weeks amouldin' a big pot. It wore out three-power hammer before it struck the ground. He 'plied to him, "What you better do in that big pot?" He said, "Jus" to cook tha.t turnip in." 4
43. THE SINGLE BALL.6
[I failed to record this tale. It was told me substantially as it is given in "Negro Myths from the Georgia Coast," No. XLIX, and as it was subsequently told me by a native of New Providence, Bahamas, — a white man, who had heard it in boyhood from Bahaman Negroes.]
44. AS BIG A FOOL.8
Man was goin' cortin', an' he tol' de girl, an' de ol' woman an' de ol' man both, he wasn't agwine to marry her.7 He tol' 'em he'd ride three miles, an' ef he could fin* three as big a fool as they was, he'd come back an" marry her. An' he went on 'bout a mile, an' the first man he see was tryin' to pull a cow up on de house to eat the moss off the house.' He axed the man what was he doin'. He said he was haulin' the cow up to eat the moss. He axed him why didn't he get up an' throw it down. "Thank you kindly, Sir Stranger, many a cow's neck I've broke tryin' to pull it up to eat the moss off my house." He went on, an' the nex' man he come across was tryin' to put on his pants. He had 'em hangin' on a tree, an' he was runnin' an' tryin' to jump in 'em. Man axed him what he was doin', an' why didn't he take 'era down an' put 'em on right. "Thank you kindly, Sir Stranger, many a time I've cracked my shins tryin' to put on my pants." He went on about a mile furder, an' seed a little boy runnin' through the house with a wheel-bar' as hard as he could go. He axed him what he war doin'. He said he was haulin' sunshine to dry the house. He went back then, an' married the girl.
1 Lulu Young told me about a stalk of corn that "kep" on growing. There was a squirrel up on the ear of corn. The man climb on up. It kep' growing. He had to take an' made a ladder to come back on to de groun' on."
* Informant 5.
» Variant: A band of soldiers come along. Come up a storm, an" they shelter under one leaf of the turnup.
* Variant: They made a barrel to cook the turnup in, — a mile long an' half a mile wide.
1 Informant I.
7 The first incident of this familiar tale of "The Three Sillies" is omitted. It was given me by another narrator as follows: "De ol' man went out first to milk de cows. He staid so long, de ol' lady went. She staid so long, de girl went. Staid so long, de feller went. He asked them what was de matter. They said they was studyin' 'bout what ter name de firs' chil'."
In a city they was goin* to take an' cut off all de people's ears if they didn't believe in the law. If a foolish one they fin', they wouldn't cut off their ears. One man got a chain, tie his cow, got 'round on yonder side of his house, an' pulled up his cow. The king come along. What was he doin'? He said, "There a vine on top of my house, I'm pulling the cow up to eat the vine off." An' they didn't cut off their ears.
45. PLEASING EVERYBODY.1
Ol' man an' little boy was gwine to town one day. He was walkin', an' the little boy was ridin' a mule. An' they met a man, an' he asked why didn't they both ride. They both got on de mule, an' went on a piece. He met another man. An' he asked, "What are you doin'? Why don't you both tote that mule?" They both gathered him up then, an' tote him. They got to a bridge, an' de mule got scared an' got loose on 'em, an' jumped off an' killed hisself. Ol' man said, "Thah, now, that's what I git by tryin' to please everybody."
46. (a) PLAYING GODFATHER.1
There was a fox, a rabbit, an* a bear. They lived in a house together. They was all married. They had a large pot of lard.4 They was all workin' in the back, an' all was goin' to dinner at twelve o'clock. An' Brother Rabbit he holler, an' say now, "Miou!" — "What's the matter, Brother Rabbit?" He say, "My wife call me." — "Well, go see what she wants." He'd go to the pot of lard an' he'd eat half of it. He says, "What did she want?" He say, "She wants name de baby." — "Whatch yer name it?" — "Sure-It'sGood." l He Waited a while longer. He holler, "Miou!" — "Whatch yer want?" He said, "Name de baby." — "Whatch yer name it?" Said, "Half-Gone."2 He worked a while longer. He holler, "Miou!" again. "What's de matter, Brother Rabbit?" — "Me wife callin' me." — "Go see what she want." — "What she want?" — "Name the baby." — "What did you name it?" — "Lick-de-Bottom." 3 He hadn't been gone to de house. He had eat up all the lard. They all was goin' to feast. After dey got through their work, when they went up to eat the lard, they saw it was gone. Dey axed him what had become of it. Said, "Tain't me, tain't me!"
1 Informant 2. Compare JAFL 12 : 109.
1 Informant 4.
1 Informant 15. Heard by my informant from Mary Dalton. Compare Jones, XXIV; Harris I :XVII; MAFLS 2: 19, 33 (XIII); Parsons, I.
4 Variant: Bucket of butter in de branch. This and the following variants were given by Mary Dalton herself. See this number, p. 215.
(b) JUMPING OVER THE FIRE.
Terpin, Rabbit, Squirrel, Fox, all had a choppin'. Fox put the butter in the spring-house to keep it fresh. Rabbit claimed to have some of his folks sick. In the intervals of the choppin' he'd go an' get him a supply of butter. Asked how they was. He say, "No better." In a short while he went again. So he went a third time. "How are they now?" — "All gone now." At twelve o'clock ol' Fox went to de spring fer more meal. Foun' his butter licked up clean. Claimed some of them had eaten it. 0l' Rabbit fell on a plan for them to fin' who had eaten the butter. "We'll build a big fire, an' all mus' go 'round an' jump over this fire." So ol' Rabbit jumped further than any. All jumped over safe but ol' Terpin. He falls in, an' the rest says, "Pile chunks on him. He's the one who eats the butter." *
47. THE STEP-MOTHER.6
A woman had three children. She died. De man married again. Dey was mighty nice-lookin' children when der moder was alive. Den one of them looked so bad. She was taken. Anoder one looked so bad, de man went to see an ol' woman to find out from her what was the matter wid de children. They was mighty near gone. "I ain't a-going to break peace. [Said the old woman,] "You cut you five switches. An' you go to de house 'fore de horn blows for dinner, an* set in the chimney-corner." * She greased one of them on mouth and hands, like dey had eat.s She wasn't puttin' a thing in them. "If you tell your daddy dat you don't eat your dinner, I'll kill you." She took another one of de children, an' when she was greasin' it, he came in. De children told de people deir moder throw dirt in de pan in de play-house for' em to eat. He took his switches an" whipped his live wife. His children lived an' was the same after dat.
1 Variant: Beginder.
4 Informant 16. Compare Harris I : XVII; Harris 2 : XLII.
• Informant 9.
VOl. XXX.— NO. Il6.— 13.
48. THE BEST PLACE.*
There was an ol' man, an' he had a wife, an' she was always fussin'. One day she said to him, "I wish I was in heaven!" — "I wish I was in de still-house!" he said. "You always did wish to be in de best place."
49. WOMAN ON HOUSE-TOP.4
Man asked her would she have anything that she found in her sack. She must go up on top of de house an' stay there. "I'll have a young man in de mornin'." She done froze. De man was in de sack. He was goin' to have her, but she was done dead.
Ol' lady wanted to marry. Devilish young boys put a wet sheet aroun' her. She went out on top of de house, takin' her seat up dere. Said, awful cold. De owl cried, "Huh, huh! Huh are you?" She answered, "Anybody, Lord, jus' so it's a man."
5O. THE TALKING BONES.8
Said once a man was going off to take off tobacker. It was sleetin' an' snowin'. He come to an old house an' took out de mules for a camp. Said dere was bones in de house. An' de owner of the house told him if he would go an' take one of dem bones, he would give him a whole lot of money. He begin to pick up de bones. Some one said, "Don't take dat one, that bone is mine."7 Another said, "Don't take dat bone, that bone's mine." An' he picked up anoder one an* started to run, an' something tore him all to pieces.
1 This was outside.
'It seems to have been a notorious trick for a niggardly mistress to get a meat-skin from the smoke-house and grease the mouths of her child slaves whenever she expected company.
1 Informant 17.
4 Informant 9.
§ Informant 18.
• Informant 7.
7 Said in high-pitched, shrill, squeaking voice.
51. THE HAUNTED HOUSE.1
Come along a woman with three children. She met a man. "Could I stay all night at your house?" Three miles from here he had a house. "You're welcome to go. If you stay all night and tell me in the morning, I give you the house. You'll see things. You can't stay there." Gave her a light, a flat lamp with a rag put in it. She found dat house just like people had left it. She fed de children. After a while something made a fuss. She kept a-readin' de Bible. Do' came open, a man came in.2 Looked as if he was wrapped in a sheet. "In the name of the Father, the Son, an' the Holy Ghost, what do you want here?" She said dat three times. Then he spoke. "You light your light sufficient an' go with me in the cellar. You take a knife an' a fork. Do what I tell you, an1 I'll 'pear no more." He showed her what to stick de knife at, an" what to stick de fork. "Next morning you 'quire for de three brothers an' sister, an' go in an' find dis fork an' knife sticking up in de cellar. You'll find a pot of money, an' divide it up wit dese people. I'll 'pear no more." De man who owned de house give her de place. My mammy said her mammy knowed it was so, an' told her about it.
52. THE BLACK CAT.8
A man had a house an' lot. He'd give it to any man who'd go an' stay all night. An' one ol' black man said he could stay dere. An' he took his Bible an' his light, an' sot down dah an' went to readin*. An* he looked 'round, an' da sat an ol' black cat aside of him. De ol' black cat said, "Dere's nobody here but I an' you to-night." He said, "Dere'd be nobody here but you directly, neither." * He broke out an' run, an' got powerful tired, an' sat down on a log to rest; an' he looked around, an' dah sat de ol' black cat again. An' he said, "Dat was a right good race we had up here." An' he [the man] said, "We're goin' to have anoder one too." 6
1 Informant o.
1 Variant: Down came a foot. Down came a leg. Down another leg. Down a body. Down his head. All jined up.
3 Informant 4. See p. 224 (No. 7).
« Variant: Something came an' put out his candle. Thing said, "Seem to be two o' us here to-night." Man said, "Won't be long won't be but one." — Another variant: Man taken off his shoes. Something come an' says, "Taln't nobody taken off his shoes but you an' me to-night." Man putten on his shoes. Man says, "Yes, an' in a few minutes I'll have mine on."
* Variant: An' he came to a fence an' stop to rest. An' the hant [in the shape of a person] says to him, "We had a powerful race, didn't we?" An' he says to him, "Yes, an' if you wait a minute, we'll have another one." — Another variant: He put out as hard as he could rip runnin'. Says, "Ain't nobody runnin' but me an' you ternight." He lit out again an' runnin'. Then he sot down an' res'. Said, "We sure have taken a good rest." The man say, "Yes, an' I'm goin' to take anoder one."