Uncle Remus

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"Oh, whar / shill we go / w'en de great / day comes Wid de blow / in' er de trumpits / en de bang / in' er de drums / How man / y po' sin / ners'll be kotch'd / out late En fine / no latch ter de gold / en gate /"

In other words, the songs depend for their melody and rhythm upon the musical quality of time, and not upon long or short, accented or unaccented syllables. I am persuaded that this fact led Mr. Sidney Lanier, who is thoroughly familiar with the metrical peculiarities of negro songs, into the exhaustive investigation which has resulted in the publication of his scholarly treatise on The Science of English Verse.

The difference between the dialect of the legends and that of the character--sketches, slight as it is, marks the modifications which the speech of the negro has undergone even where education has played in deed, save in the no part reforming it. Indeed, save in the remote country districts, the dialect of the legends has nearly disappeared. I am perfectly well aware that the character sketches are without permanent interest, but they are embodied here for the purpose of presenting a phase of negro character wholly distinct from that which I have endeavored to preserve in the legends. Only in this shape, and with all the local allusions, would it be possible to adequately represent the shrewd observations, the curious retorts, the homely thrusts, the quaint comments, and the humorous philosophy of the race of which Uncle Remus is the type.

If the reader not familiar with plantation life will imagine that the myth--stories of Uncle Remus are told night after night to a little boy by an old negro who appears to be venerable enough to have lived during the period which he describes--who has nothing but pleasant memories of the discipline of slavery--and who has all the prejudices of caste and pride of family that were the natural results of the system; if the reader can imagine all this, he will find little difficulty in appreciating and sympathizing with the air of affectionate superiority which Uncle Remus assumes as he proceeds to unfold the mysteries of plantation lore to a little child who is the product of that practical reconstruction which has been going on to some extent since the war in spite of the politicians. Uncle Remus describes that reconstruction in his Story of the War, and I may as well add here for the benefit of the curious that that story is almost literally true.

J. C. H.

CONTENTS

LEGENDS OF THE OLD PLANTATION

I. Uncle Remus initiates the Little Boy II. The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story III. Why Mr. Possum loves Peace IV. How Mr. Rabbit was too sharp for Mr. Fox V. The Story of the Deluge, and how it came about VI. Mr. Rabbit grossly deceives Mr. Fox VII. Mr. Fox is again victimized VIII. Mr. Fox is "outdone" by Mr. Buzzard IX. Miss Cow falls a Victim to Mr. Rabbit X. Mr. Terrapin appears upon the Scene XI. Mr. Wolf makes a Failure XII. Mr. Fox tackles Old Man Tarrypin XIII. The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf XIV. Mr. Fox and the Deceitful Frogs XV. Mr. Fox goes a-hunting, but Mr. Rabbit bags the Game XVI. Old Mr. Rabbit, he's a Good Fisherman XVII. Mr. Rabbit nibbles up the Butter XVIII. Mr. Rabbit finds his Match at last XIX. The Fate of Mr. Jack Sparrow XX. How Mr. Rabbit saved his Meat XXI. Mr. Rabbit meets his Match again XXII. A Story about the Little Rabbits XXIII. Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Bear XXIV. Mr. Bear catches Old Mr. Bull-Frog XXV. How Mr. Rabbit lost his Fine Bushy Tail XXVI. Mr. Terrapin shows his Strength XXVII Why Mr. Possum has no Hair on his Tail XXVIII. The End of Mr. Bear XXIX. Mr. Fox gets into Serious Business XXX. How Mr. Rabbit succeeded in raising a Dust. XXXI. A Plantation Witch XXXII. "Jacky-my-Lantern" XXXIII. Why the Negro is Black XXXIV. The Sad Fate of Mr. Fox

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