One night Br’er Possum called for Br’er Coon,
and they rambled forth to see how the others
were getting along. Br’er Possum he ate his fill
of fruit, and Br’er Coon he scooped up a lot of
frogs and tadpoles. They ambled along, just as
sociable as a basket of kittens, till by-and-by they
heard Mr. Dog talking to himself off in the woods.
“S’pose he runs upon us, Br’er Possum, what
you going to do?” says Br’er Coon.
Br’er Possum sort of laugh round the corners
of his mouth.
“Oh, if he comes, Br’er Coon, I’m going to
stand by you,” says Br’er Possum. “What are
you going to do?” says he.
“Who? Me?” says Br’er Coon. “If he runs
up on to me, I lay I’ll give him a twist,” says he.
Mr. Dog he came and he came. He didn’t
wait to say How-d’ye-do. He just sailed into the
two of them. The very first pass he made, Br’er
Possum fetched a grin from ear to ear, and keeled
over as if he was dead. Then Mr. Dog he
sailed into Br’er Coon, but Br’er Coon was cut
out for that kind of business, and he fairly
wiped up the face of the earth with Mr. Dog.
When Mr. Dog got a chance to make himself
scarce, he took it, and what was left of him went
skaddling through the woods as if it was shot
out of a gun. Br’er Coon he sort of licked his
clothes into shape, and racked off, and Br’er Possum
he lay as if he was dead, till by-and-by he
looked up, sort of careful-like, and when he found
the coast clear he scrambled up and scampered
off as if something was after him.
Next time Br’er Possum met Br’er Coon, Br’er
Coon refused to reply to his How-d’ye-do, and
this made Br’er Possum feel mighty bad, ’cause
they used to make so many excursions together.
“What makes you hold your head so high?”
says Br’er Possum, says he.
“I ain’t running with cowards these days,” says
Br’er Coon. “When I wants you, I’ll send for
you,” says he.
Then Br’er Possum got very angry. “Who’s
a coward?” says he.
“You is,” says Br’er Coon, “that’s who. I
ain’t associating with them what lies down on
the ground and plays dead when there’s a free
fight going on,” says he.
Then Br’er Possum grin and laugh fit to kill
“Lor’! Br’er Coon, you don’t think I done that
’cause I was afraid, does you?” says he. “Why,
I were no more afraid than you is this minute.
What was there to be skeered at?” says he. “I
knew you’d get away with Mr. Dog if I didn’t,
and I just lay there watching you shake him,
waiting to put in when the time came,” says he.
br’er possum lay as if he was dead
Br’er Coon turn up his nose.
“That’s a mighty likely tale,” says he. “When
Mr. Dog no more than touched you before you
keeled over and lay there stiff,” says he.
“That’s just what I was going to tell you
about,” says Br’er Possum. “I weren’t no more
skeered ’n you is now, and I was going to give
Mr. Dog a sample of my jaw,” says he, “but
I’m the most ticklish chap that ever you set
eyes on, and no sooner did Mr. Dog put his
nose down among my ribs than I got to laughing,
and I laugh till I hadn’t no more use of my
limbs,” says he; “and it’s a mercy for Mr. Dog
that I was ticklish, ’cause a little more and I’d
have ate him up,” says he. “I don’t mind fighting,
Br’er Coon, any more than you does, but
I’m blessed if I can stand tickling. Get me in
a row where there ain’t no tickling allowed, and
I’m your man,” says he.
And to this day Br’er Possum’s bound to surrender
when you touch him in the short ribs,
and he’ll laugh even if he knows he’s going to
be smashed for it.