Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Tar Baby
One morning Brer Fox was feeling really cross because although he was bigger than Brer Rabbit, he could not bully him. Brer Rabbit always managed to outsmart him. That morning, Brer Fox was sitting under a tree overlooking a small dark pool of thick gooey tar when an idea occurred to him. He got up and went to the bush behind the tree. He kept pricking himself as he tried to cut some dried bramble, but he did not mind because he was focused on his plan to capture his enemy, Brer Rabbit. “Today, I will get rid of that annoying rabbit once and for all.” Brer Fox had a habit of speaking to himself.
After gathering the bramble, Brer Fox sneaked into farmer McDonald’s shed, got a bottle of turpentine and then headed to the dark pool of tar. He scooped up some tar and mixed it up with some turpentine. He then began to paste the mixture on some of the dried brambles to make a contraption which he wanted to look like a human child. He kept patting and working on the contraption until it began to look like a child. “Ha! It’s a Tar-Baby!” Brer Fox was pleased with what he had made. He ran over to a neighbouring field and stole a straw hat from the scarecrow. He placed the hat on the Tar-Baby. He then put it in the middle of the path where he knew Brer Rabbit would soon pass. Brer Fox was feeling very pleased with himself as he went and hid in the bushes nearby so he could keep watch on the Tar-bay and see when Brer Rabbit approached.
Brer Fox did not have to wait too long because Brer Rabbit soon came trotting down the path. Brer Rabbit was in an excellent mood that day and was humming along as he jogged.
“I love to eat, eat, eat carrots and cabbages.
I love to eat, eat, eat carrots and cabbages.
They taste so yum, yum, yum, yummy and delicious.
They taste so yum, yum, yum yummy and delicious.”
Brer Rabbit was on his way to Mr. McDonald’s farm to nibble on some lovely carrots and cabbages for his breakfast.
Brer Rabbit stopped singing and trotting when he spotted the Tar-Baby.
“Good morning,” said Brer Rabbit, “What a lovely day we’re having.” Brer Rabbit said politely. He was in a really friendly mood, and he was surprised when Tar-Baby said nothing.
Behind the bushes where he was hiding, Brer Fox grinned wickedly. He was happy his wicked plan was working.
Brer Rabbit was determined to be polite, so he tried again. “How are you doing this fine morning?” Still, the Tar Baby said nothing.
“Are you deaf?” asked Brer Rabbit, but Tar Baby just kept sitting there saying nothing. Brer Rabbit moved to stand in front of the Tar baby in case she was really short of hearing. Brer Fox almost burst into laughter as he watched because he knew that Tar Baby would just sit there saying nothing.
“Helloooooo! How are you feeling this fine morning?”‘ Brer Rabbit shouted at the top of his voice.” Tar Baby simply sat there, and Brer Fox did a little quiet jig. Tar Baby sat there and said nothing.
When Tar-Baby still did not respond, Brer Rabbit, who was not a very patient creature, lost his temper.
“I see you’re stuck up, aren’t you,” said Brer Rabbit, “Do you think you’re too cute to be polite to me? Well, I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.” Still, Tar baby sat there saying nothing, and Brer Fox stood on tiptoes to see what Brer Rabbit would do next.
Brer Rabbit was so angry because Tar Baby refused to speak to him that he gave her a swift kick in the side, but his leg got stuck to her.
“Oh, you’re really looking for a fight, aren’t you? Let go of my leg!” Brer Rabbit screamed at the Tar baby, who just sat still, saying nothing, and Brer Fox, who was still hiding, had to cover his mouth so he won’t laugh out loud.
“I said let go of my leg, or I’ll knock the stuffing out of you!” Brer Rabbit hit the Tar baby on both sides of her face with his two hands that also got stuck. Now, because Brer Rabbit was so angry, he did not even notice that there was something odd about the way tar baby kept still. Brer Rabbit closed his eyes, took a deep breath and kicked Tar baby with his second leg, only for that to get stuck too as he fell, rolling on the ground.
“Oh! do you think you are strong enough to fight me? If it’s the last thing I do in my life, I’ll teach you to be polite to people.” Brer Rabbit kept struggling with the Tar Baby and getting even more stuck. By this time, Brer Fox could no longer stop himself from laughing out loud
“Well, well, Brer Rabbit, you got that one right! This is the last thing that you’ll ever do!” Brer Fox came out of hiding and was now standing over Brer Rabbit, who was on the ground with Tar Baby stuck to his hands, feet and body.
“Oops!” Brer Rabbit exclaimed when he saw Brer Fox. He quickly figured out that he had fallen into a trap set up by Brer Fox. So, he cleared his throat and said in his most polite and humble voice.
“Good morning Brer Fox. How are you doing this morning?” He asked, but his mind was racing as his eyes darted back and forth. He spotted a briar patch a few yards away. The briar patch was overgrown with some prickly grass.
Brer Fox was rolling on the ground with his feet up, laughing at Brer Rabbit.
“Oh, do you think you can trick me with your polite greeting? I know you don’t mean it. Well, if you’re so smart, let’s see how you will get out of this one. You uppity little rabbit. You come bouncing all around here, always cheeky, acting as if you’re smarter than me. A fox, me, a fox. Even bigger creatures than you know better than to try and outsmart me.” Brer Fox got up and started thinking aloud.
“I think I’ll have a rabbit barbecue for dinner tonight. Let me go and get some bramble to make a nice fire to grill this saucy rabbit for my dinner.”
“Oh, thank you so much, Brer Fox. I always knew you had a kind heart. Yes, please roast me up for dinner.” Brer Rabbit continued to say in a very humble voice. This confused Brer Fox a little. He shook his head. “Maybe starting a fire is too much work because the sun is coming up. I think I’ll just hang this annoying rabbit from a tree until the sun goes down, and then I can….”
“Oh yes, yes, Brer Fox, you are really kind! Please, roast me up or hang me up. Do whatever you wish to me, but please, I beg you, Brer Fox, don’t throw me in that briar patch over there. Please, please, I beg you. Don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Brer Rabbit was pretending to cry as he pleaded.
It made Brer Fox happy to see how scared and sad Brer Rabbit was, and his eyes began to glow wickedly.
“I need a string to hang him.” Brer Fox continued to think out loud.
“Oh, I think you can find one in Farmer McDonald’s yard. Please hang me up as high as you want but don’t through me in that briar patch.
“Shut up!” Brer Fox shouted at him.
“I am tired of hearing your squeaky voice. Suddenly, Brer Fox stomped up to where Brer Rabbit sitting, still stuck to the Tar baby. Brer Fox picked him up. “I’ll .. I’ll …” Brer Fox was too angry to think straight.
“Yes, Brer Fox, skin me, burn me or hang me, but please, I beg you, don’t throw me into the briar patch!” Brer Rabbit started saying quickly over and over again.
Brer Fox could not stand the sight of Brer Rabbit or the sound of his voice for one more second. He just wanted to get rid of him once and for all. So, he flung him as far as he could and clump! Brer Rabbit landed inside the briar patch.
Brer Fox looked on to see if Brer Rabbit was dead after landing in the briar patch.
“Finally, I’ve seen the last of you!” Brer Fox screamed out loud and started singing and doing a jig when he did not see any sign of Brer Rabbit.
“Brer Rabbit is dead and laid in a briar patch,
hum, ha, what a delight.
I tricked him and caught him and flung him away. Hum, ha, what a delight!”
Suddenly, there was a flutter where Brer Rabbit had landed, and his head popped up.
“Hi, dummmmmmmy!!! Brer Rabbit screeched with delight as he began to scuttle away through the briar patch. The Tar baby had fallen off him when Brer Fox picked him up to fling him into the briar patch.
“Now, who is the smart one, hey?’ Brer Rabbit asked cheekily as Brer Fox looked on in wonder, scratching his head.
“I thought I’d seen the last of him.” Brer Fox said to no one but himself.
“I was born and bred in the briar patch. The Briar patch is my happy place. If you were even a little smart, you’d have known. So long, you big bad bully!” Brer Rabbit said as he scuttled away.