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"Brer Rabbit and Tarbaby," #200 Swapping Stories
Dolores Henderson, Morgan City, Louisiana


Brer Bear was getting tired of Brer Rabbit being too smart and too sassy. And Brer Rabbit was always getting away from him. So Brer Bear thought one day, he said, "I know what I'll do. I'll just make a little tarbaby and set him out here. Maybe that'll catch him if he gets stuck to it. Then I'll be able to catch that smart Brer Rabbit."

So Brer Rabbit was coming down the road, lickety split [sings], "Do do do do, do do do do." That tarbaby is sitting over there, and Brer Rabbit says, "Morning."

Brer Tarbaby, he don't answer.

Brer Rabbit said, "Morning, I says."

Tarbaby, he don't answer.

So Brer Rabbit said, "If you don't say `Good morning,' I'm going to haul off and hit you with my right foot.

Brer Tarbaby, he don't say nothing. So Brer Rabbit, he pulls that foot back and he gave it a whack! He gets stuck. Brer Rabbit, he don't give up yet.

Brer Rabbit says, "I told you, if you don't say `Good morning,' I'm going to hit you with my left foot."

Brer Tarbaby, he don't say nothing. Brer Rabbit pulls that foot back, and whack!
He says, "You mighty impudent. I told you if you don't say `Good morning,' I'm going to hit you with my right behind foot this time."

Brer Tarbaby, he don't say nothing. So Brer Rabbit takes that right behind foot, and whack! That gets stuck too!

He still not paying attention because all he wants is for Brer Tarbaby to say "Good Morning." So Brer Rabbit said, "If you don't say `Good morning,' I'm going to haul off and hit you with my left behind foot." Whack!

Brer Rabbit, he's all stuck up. All four foots are stuck up in that tarbaby. Then he said, "I give you one more time to say `Good morning. If you don't say `Good morning, I'm going to butt you with my head."

Tarbaby, he don't say nothing.

So Brer Rabbit hits him with his head, he's all stuck up, and Brer Bear comes out of the woods. He says, "Ah ha! I got you now."

Brer Rabbit, he's trying to figure out what he's going to do. How is he going to get away?

So Brer Bear is thinking, "What am I going to do with him now? He's all stuck up."

Brer Bear, he's thinking about what to do, and while he's thinking, Brer Rabbit's already out-thunk him. Brer Rabbit says, "Do anything you want! You can do anything! You can throw me in the water. You can throw me off the cliff. But please don't throw me in the briar patch!"

Brer Bear's thinking, "He sure don't want to get thrown in that briar patch. Maybe that's what I should do."

So Brer Bear takes him, holds on careful not to hold onto that tar. He holds onto that rabbit, and he slings him in the briar patch!

Brer Rabbit, he's over there hollering and tusseling and moving. Brer Bear, he's mighty tickled because he knows he's got that old rabbit now. Before Brer Bear could raise his head up good, shooom! Brer Rabbit's going down the road lickety split, "Ha, ha, ha, ha! I told you, Brer Bear, you shouldn't pay attention to what I said because us rabbits was born in the briar patch."


Notes to the Teacher: 200. Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby. See tales #33, #49, #190, and their corresponding notes.

About the Transcriptions


National Endowment for
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