How Cousin Wildcat Served Br'er Fox

Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox had both been paying calls one evening at the same house. They sat there, and after a while Br’er Rabbit looked out, and said:

“Now then, folks and friends, I must say good-by. Cloud coming up yonder, and before we know it, the rain’ll be a-pouring.”

Then Br’er Fox he up and says he ’spects he better be getting on, ’cause he doesn’t want to get his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes wet. So they set out.

While they were going down the big road, talking at one another, Br’er Fox he took and stopped, and said:

“Look here, Br’er Rabbit, look here! If my eyes don’t deceive, here’s the tracks where Mr. Dog’s been along, and they’re quite fresh!”

Br’er Rabbit he sidle up and look. Then he say:

“That there track ain’t never fit Mr. Dog’s foot. What’s more,” says he, “I been acquainted with him what made that track too long ago to talk about.”

“Br’er Rabbit, please, sir, tell me his name.”

Br’er Rabbit he laughs, as if he was making light of something or other.

“If I makes no mistakes, Br’er Fox, the poor creature what made that track is Cousin Wildcat; no more and no less.”

“How big is he, Br’er Rabbit?”

“Just about your heft, Br’er Fox.” Then Br’er Rabbit make like talking to himself. “Tut, tut, tut! To be sure, to be sure! Many and many’s the times I see my old grand-daddy kick and cuff Cousin Wildcat. If you want some fun, Br’er Fox, now’s the time.”

Br’er Fox he up and axed how he’s going to have any fun.

Br’er Rabbit he say: “Easy enough. Just go and tackle old Cousin Wildcat, and lam him round.”

Br’er Fox he sorter scratch his ear, and say: “Eh, eh, Br’er Rabbit, I’m ’fraid. His track too much like Mr. Dog.”

Br’er Rabbit he sat flat down in the road, and holler, and laugh. “Shoo, Br’er Fox!” says he, “who’d ha’ thought you so skeery? Just come  and look at these here tracks. Is there any sign of claw anywheres?”

Br’er Fox was obliged to agree that there weren’t no sign of claw. Br’er Rabbit say: “Well, then, if he ain’t got no claw, how’s he going to hurt you, Br’er Fox?”

Br’er Fox took another good look at the track, and then he and Br’er Rabbit put out to follow it up.

They kept on and on, till by-and-by they ran up with the creature. Br’er Rabbit he holler out mighty biggity: “Hallo, there! what you doing?”

The creature look round, but he ain’t saying nothing. Br’er Rabbit say: “Oh, you needn’t look so sulky! We’ll make you talk before we’ve done with you! Come, now, what you doing there?”

The creature rub hisself against a tree just as you see these here house cats rub against a chair, but he ain’t saying nothing. Br’er Rabbit holler: “What you come bothering us for when we ain’t been bothering you? You thinks I don’t know who you is, but I does. I’ll let you know I got a better man here than what my grand-daddy been, and I’ll be bound he’ll make you talk.”

The creature leaned harder against the tree, and sort of ruffled up his bristles, but he ain’t saying nothing. Br’er Rabbit he say: “Go up, Br’er Fox, and if he refuse to speak, slap him down. That’s the way my grand-daddy did. If he dares to run, I’ll just whirl in and catch him.”

Br’er Fox he look sort of dubious, but he start toward the creature. Old Cousin Wildcat walk all round the tree rubbing hisself, but he ain’t saying nothing. Br’er Fox he went up a little nigher. Cousin Wildcat stop rubbing on the tree, and sat upon his behind legs with his front paws in the air, and balances hisself by leaning against the tree, but he ain’t saying nothing.

Br’er Rabbit he squall out: “Oh, you needn’t put up your hands, and try and beg off. That’s the way you fooled my old grand-daddy; but you can’t fool me. All your sitting up and begging ain’t going to help you. Hit him, Br’er Fox! If he runs, I’ll catch him!”

Br’er Fox he sort of took heart. He sidled up toward him, and just as he was making ready to slap him, old Cousin Wildcat drew back, and fetched Br’er Fox a wipe across the stomach.

That there Cousin Wildcat fetched him a wipe across the stomach, and you might have heard him squall for miles and miles. Little more and the creature would have torn Br’er Fox in two. Once the creature made a pass at him, Br’er Rabbit knew what was going to happen, yet all the same he took and hollered:

“Hit him again, Br’er Fox! hit him again! I’m a-backing you, Br’er Fox! Hit him again!”

While Br’er Rabbit was going on in this way, Br’er Fox was squatting on the ground, holding his stomach with both hands and moaning:

“I’m ruined, Br’er Rabbit! I’m ruined! Fetch the doctor! I’m teetotally ruined!”

About this time Cousin Wildcat took and went for a walk. Br’er Rabbit make like he astonished that Br’er Fox is hurted. He took and examine the place, and he up and say: “It look to me, Br’er Fox, that that owdacious villain took and struck you with a reaping hook.”

With that Br’er Rabbit lit out for home, and when he got out of sight he took and shook his hands, just like a cat when she gets the water on her foots. Then he laugh and laugh till he can laugh no more.