Site hosted by Build your free website today!


"Brer Rabbit Falls in Love"

One spring it was so pretty that folks who had never heard of love, didn't want to be in love, or had given up on it fell in love like it was a hole in the ground. Them kind of springs are dangerous. I reckon you too young to know what I'm talking about, but you will one day, and the Lord help you then.

It was one of them kind of springs when the breezes were so soft you wanted to grab one and put it on your bed to use for a sheet. It was one of them springs when the little leaves coming out on the trees looked better than money. Tell me that wasn't a dangerous spring! It was one of them springs when Brer Rabbit couldn't even think about causing no devilment. There ought to be a law against a spring like that!

Yes, Brer Rabbit had fallen in love, and it was with one of Miz Meadow's girls. Don't nobody know why, 'cause he'd been knowing the girl longer than black folks have known hard times, but that's the way love is. One day you fine and the next day you in love.

Brer Rabbit would go over to Miz Meadows and the girls in the morning, but instead of being full of stories and jokes like always he'd just sit there and sigh. Miz Meadows thought he had some dread disease like the rutabago or the Winnebago, especially when he started to lose weight.

Finally she asked, "Brer Rabbit: What's the matter with you? You sick?"

He hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that he was in love with one of the girls. He couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, couldn't steal, couldn't scheme, and was even beginning to feel sorry about some of the tricks he'd played on Brer Wolf.

"You sho' nuf in bad shape," Miz Meadows told him. "Have you told the girl you in love with her?"

Brer Rabbit shook his head. "I'm ashamed to."

Miz Meadows couldn't believe her ears. "Brer rabbit, you might've felt something akin to shame before hens had their teeth pulled, but not since then. I done seen you do too many things to too many folks to be sitting here believing you feeling like you feeling. You can't convince me that there's a girl on the topside of the earth that could faze you."

"I'm ashamed to say it, Miz Meadows, but I'm afraid the girl won't have me."

"Just hush up your mouth and get on away from here. You ain't Brer Rabbit. You somebody look like him what's parading around low-rating his name. The Brer Rabbit I know wouldn't be carrying on like this."

Brer Rabbit couldn't halp himself, and he went on off down the road until he came to a shade tree by the creek.

He hadn't been sitting there long before the girl he was in love with came up from the creek with a pail of water on her head, singing:

Oh, says the woodpecker, pecking on the tree,
Once I courted Miz Kitty Killdee,
But she proved fickle and from me fled,
And since that time my head's been red.

Brer Rabbit's heart started going pitty-pat, his ears jumped straight up in the air like antennae on a TV set, and he licked down his hair real flat. When she finished singing, he sang back to her:

Katy, Katy! Won't you marry?
Katy, Katy! Choose me then!
Mama says if you will marry,
She will kill the turkey hen;
Then we'll have a new convention,
Then we'll know the rights of men.

Now don't be asking me what the last part of the song is about, 'cause I don't know. It was in the story when I got it, so I keep it. You can chunk it out for all I care.

By the time Brer Rabbit finished singing his song, the girl was standing there in front of him. She was a right pretty little thing, and she put down her pail and giggled at Brer Rabbit's song.

"How you this morning?" Brer Rabbit asked.

"I'm fine, how you?"

"Weak as water," Brer Rabbit said. "I ain't been feeling too well."

"So's I noticed. You got all the signs of somebody what come down with love. That's worse than the double pneumonia, TB, and terminal ugliness put together. The only cure is for you to go off somewhere and get a wife."

It was clear from the way she talked that she hadn't been eyeballing him like he'd been eyeballing her, and that made him feel worse. He scraped at the dirt with his foot, drawing little pictures in it. Folks do the foolishest things when they fall in love. Drawing dirt pictures with your foot! Finally he asked, "How come you don't get married?"

The girl bust out laughing. "I got too much sense than to do something like that without no sign or no dream."

"What kind of sign do you want?" Brer Rabbit asked eagerly.

"Any kind! Don't make no difference to me. but I done tried all the spells, and I ain't seen no sign yet."

"What kind of spells have you tried?"

"So many I can't remember them all," the girl admitted. I flung a ball of yarn out the window at midnight, and nobody came and wound it up. I took a looking glass and looked down the well. That was supposed to show me my future husband's face, but all I seen was water. I took a hard-boiled egg, scooped all the yellow out, and filled it up with salt and ate it without drinking any water. Then I went to bed, but my future husband didn't appear. Looks to me like I ain't gon' get no sign, and if I don't get a sign, I ain't gon' marry."

"If you'd told me about it, I bet you anything you would've seen your future husband."

The girl giggled."Hush up, Brer Rabbit! If you don't get away from here, I'm gon' hit you! You too funny for words! Just who do you think I would've seen?" she asked.

Brer Rabbit drew another picture in the dirt with his foot, blushed, and finally said in a low voice, "You would've seen me."

The girl was shocked and hurt."You aought to be ashamed of yourself, making fun of me like that. I got better things to do than stand here and let you hurt my feelings." And she flounced on up the path.

Brer Rabbit sat down and thought that if that's how women were, maybe love wasn't all it was cracked up to be. But he was too far in love to know what good sense he was thinking.

He sat there for a long time, scratching his fleas, pulling on his moustache, and sighing. Suddenly he jumped up, cracked his heels together, and laughed so hard that he started choking.

"You want a sign, huh? Well, I'm going to give you one, girl! I'll give you a hundred!"

He went down to the canebrake and cut a long reed like the kind folks used to use for fishing poles. He hollowed it out and, when dark came, went up to Miz Meadows and the girls' house. He could hear them sitting around the table, laughing and talking.

"I saw Brer Rabbit down at the creek today," he heard the girl say.

"What was he doing there?" the other girl asked.

"I don't know, but his hair was slicked down and shining like glass. "

Miz Meadows sighed. "I don't care nothin' about Brer Rabbit. I wish somebody would come and wash all these dishes.

The girls didn't want to hear nothing about no dishes. "Brer Rabbit said he wanted to be my husband. But I told him I wasn't marrying nobody until I got a sign. That's the only way I can be sure."

When Brer Rabbit heard that, he took one end of the hollow reed and stuck it in a crack on the outside of the chimney and then ran to the other end, which was laying in the weeds. He held it to his ear, and he could hear amost as good as if he was in the room.

Miz Meadows was saying, "Well, what kind of sign do you want?"

"I don't care, " the girl answered. "Just so it's a sign."

Brer Rabbit put his mouth to the end of the reed and sang in a hoarse voice:

Some like cake and some like pie,
some love to laugh and some love to cry,
but the girl that stays single will die, die, die.

"Who's that out there?" said Miz Meadows.

She and the girls jumped up and hunted all over the house, all around the house, and all under the house but didn't see a soul. They went back in, and just as they sat down again, Brer Rabbit sang out:

The drought ain't wet and the rain ain't dry,
Where you sow your wheat you can't cut rye,
But the girl that stays single will die, die, die.

Miz Meadows and the girls didn't know what to do this time, so they just sat there. Brer rabbit sang out again:

I want the girl that's after a sign,
I want the girl and she must be mine__
She'll see her lover down by the big pine.

Next morning, bright and early, the girl went down to the big pine. There was Brer Rabbit looking as lifelike as he did in his pictures. The girl tried to pretend like she was out taking a walk and happened to come that way. Brer Rabbit knowed better and she did too. Pretty soon they was arguing and disputing with one another like they was already married. I suspect that was the real sign the girl had been looking for.

From More Tales of Uncle Remus written by Julius Lester, based on the original stories by Joel Chandler Harris. The Roof graphic is part of an illustration by Jerry Pinkney.

The other stories:

FastCounter by LinkExchange

Back to KidsCorner

This page was last maintained on December 18, 2001.