The Old Man’s Troubles by Joel Chandler Harris

Story type: Literature

“WHAT makes you look so lonesome, Brer Remus?” asked a well- dressed negro, as the old man came shuffling down the street by James’s corner yesterday.

“You er mighty right, I’m lonesome, Brer John Henry. W’en a ole nigger like me is gotter paddle de canoe an’ do de fishin’ at de same time, an’ w’en you bleedzd ter ketch de fish an’ dassent turn de paddle loose fer ter bait de hook, den I tell you, Brer John, you er right whar de mink had de goslin’. Mars John and Miss Sally, dey done bin gone down unto Putmon County fer ter see der kinfolks mighty nigh fo’ days, an’ you better bleeve I done bin had ter scratch ‘roun’ mighty lively fer ter make de rashuns run out even.

“I wuz at yo’ house las’ night, Brer Remus,” remarked Brer John Henry, “but I couldn’t roust you outer bed.”

“Hit was de unseasonableness er de hour, I speck,” said Uncle Remus, dryly. “‘Pears unto me dat you all chu’ch deacons settin’ up mighty late deze col’ nights. You’ll be slippin’ round arter hours some time er nudder, an you’ll slip bodaciously inter de calaboose. You mine w’at I tell you.”

“It’s mighty col’ wedder,” said Brer John Henry, evidently wishing to change the subject.

“Col’!” exclaimed Uncle Remus; “hit got pas’ col’ on der quarter stretch. You oughter come to my house night ‘fo’ las’. Den you’d a foun’ me ‘live an’ kickin’.”

“How’s dat?”

“Well, I tell you, Brer John Henry, de col’ wuz so col’, an’ de kiver wuz so light, dat I thunk I’d make a raid on Mars John’s shingle pile, an’ out I goes an totes in a whole armful. Den I gits under de kiver an’ tells my ole ‘oman fer ter lay ’em onto me like she was roofin’ a house. Bimeby she crawls in, an’ de shingles w’at she put on her side fer ter kiver wid, dey all drap off on de flo’. Den up I gits an’ piles ’em on agin, an’ w’en I gits in bed my shingles draps off, an’ dat’s de way it wuz de whole blessid night. Fus’ it wuz me up an’ den de ole ‘oman, an’ it kep’ us pow’ful warm, too, dat kinder exercise. Oh, you oughter drapt roun’ ’bout dat time, Brer John Henry. You’d a year’d sho’ nuff cussin’!”

See also  Her Hero by Ethel May Dell

“You don’t tell me, Brer Remus!”

“My ole ‘oman say de Ole Boy wouldn’t a foun’ a riper nigger, ef he wer’ ter scour de country fum Ferginny ter de Alabam’”

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