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The Tale of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby - George Gibson

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PART ONE

The Tar Baby

It was a hot day in August. Summer is a very hot season in the South of the United States. All the animals on the old plantation had a rest.

Brer Fox was outside his house. He sat under a magnolia tree and drank cold lemonade. He was very hot. He was also angry and nervous.

Brer Fox didn't like Brer Rabbit. Before Brer Rabbit came to the old plantation, Brer Fox was a happy fox. The old plantation was a peaceful place. Brer Rabbit tricked everyone. He tricked Brer Bear, Brer Turtle, Brer Wolf and Brer Fox. Brer Rabbit was a very intelligent rabbit. He was young and dressed well.

Brer Fox was tired of Brer Rabbit. He decided to trick him. He went to his garden and took a big bucket of tar. He put other oils in the bucket too. Then he mixed the tar for a long time. The tar had a terrible odour, It was very sticky.

Brer Fox went into his house. He went to the kitchen to look for an old straw hat, but he didn't find it. Then he went to the living room. He looked there too. Finally he went to the bedroom. In the bedroom he found an old straw hat, two buttons and a comb. He put them in a sack. Then he took the bucket of tar and walked to the road.

He threw the tar near a log and made a big black Tar Baby. He put the old straw hat on the Tar Baby. He put on two buttons for the eyes. Then he put on the comb for the mouth. Brer Fox looked at his work and was happy.

The Tar Baby was ready! Brer Fox hid behind a big tree. He waited for Brer Rabbit to walk by. He waited and waited. It was very hot.

After an hour Brer Rabbit walked down the road. He was very happy. He walked, jumped and sang a song.

Brer Fox watched him from behind the tree. Suddenly Brer Rabbit saw the Tar Baby! He stopped and looked at it. Brer Rabbit was a friendly rabbit. He said, «Good morning! It's a hot day today!»

The Tar Baby smiled but didn't answer.

«I am from the old plantation,» said Brer Rabbit. «Where are you from?»

The Tar Baby smiled but didn't answer.

Brer Fox watched everything from behind the tree. He wanted to laugh, but he didn't.

Brer Rabbit tried again. «Good morning! How are you?»

The Tar Baby smiled but didn't answer.

«What are you doing here? Where are you from?» Brer Rabbit asked again.

The Tar Baby smiled but didn't answer.

Brer Rabbit was angry. His face and ears were red.

«Can you hear me? I said 'Good morning!' Why don't you answer me?» he shouted.

There was no answer.

Brer Rabbit was very angry. «You are very unfriendly. I'm a friendly rabbit. I want to be your friend. Who are you?»

The Tar Baby didn't answer.

Brer Rabbit was furious! He hit the Tar Baby! His front paw was stuck in the Tar Baby's face,

Brer Fox was very happy. He laughed quietly.

«Let me go!» said Brer Rabbit.

The Tar Baby did not let go.

«Let me go!» said Brer Rabbit again.

Brer Rabbit kicked the Tar Baby. Now his back paw was stuck in the Tar Baby's body.

«Please, let me go!» shouted Brer Rabbit.

He kicked the Tar Baby again. Now his other back paw was stuck.

«Help! I can't move!» he shouted. «This is terrible!»

Poor Brer Rabbit! He was covered with tar. His face and ears were black with tar. His paws were black with tar. He was a very unhappy rabbit.

PART TWO

The Briar Patch

When Brer Fox saw Brer Rabbit covered with tar, he laughed and laughed. He walked down the road and said, «This is a good lesson for you, Brer Rabbit. You always tricked everyone on the old plantation. This time I tricked YOU! This is the end of Brer Rabbit!» Brer Fox looked at Brer Rabbit and laughed again.

Brer Rabbit didn't say one word. He was frightened. He didn't move.

Brer Fox looked at his watch and said, «It's dinner time and I'm very hungry. I want rabbit barbecue for dinner. Rabbit barbecue is delicious. I must find some wood to make a fire.» Brer Fox went to look for some wood.

Brer Rabbit started to think. He was a very intelligent rabbit. His eyes moved from left to right. He looked everywhere. Then he saw a briar patch. «The briar patch can take off the tar. But I can't move. I'm stuck. I must go to the briar patch. What can I do?» thought Brer Rabbit.

Brer Fox returned and said, «I didn't find any wood to make a fire. I can't have rabbit barbecue for dinner, but I can hang you!»

«Oh, Brer Fox, you can hang me, but please don't throw me in the briar patch!» said Brer Rabbit.

Brer Fox looked for a rope. «There's no rope. I can't hang you. How can I kill you?» asked Brer Fox.

He thought for a moment and said, «I can throw you in a river or a lake.»

«Oh, Brer Fox, throw me in a river or a lake, but please don't throw me in the terrible briar patch. PLEASE!»

Brer Fox went to look for a river or a lake. He looked everywhere but he didn't find a river or a lake. He was angry. He wanted to kill Brer Rabbit, but how?

«Have you got a heart, Brer Fox? Please don't throw me into the briar patch,» said Brer Rabbit. «Oh, please!»

«Well,» said Brer Fox smiling, «you don't want to go into the briar patch. That's exactly where I will throw you. Into the briar patch!»

Brer Fox threw Brer Rabbit into the briar patch! This was exactly what Brer Rabbit wanted. The Tar Baby stuck to the briar patch and Brer Rabbit was free!

When Brer Fox saw the Tar Baby in the briar patch he asked, «What's happening? Where is that cunning rabbit? Why is the Tar Baby here?»

Brer Rabbit ran up the road and then stopped. He looked at Brer Fox and said, «You didn't listen to me. I said, 'Please don't throw me into the briar patch.' Next time you'll listen to me!» Brer Rabbit laughed and ran home to have a bath.

«You horrible cunning rabbit. You tricked me again!» shouted Brer Fox. He was purple with anger. He looked at the briar patch and he looked at the Tar Baby. Then he walked home slowly. He was very sad and angry. Brer Rabbit tricked him again. Why was Brer Rabbit so intelligent?

When Brer Fox went into his garden he sat down under the magnolia tree. He was tired. He looked at the evening sky. He saw the stars and the moon and fell asleep.

— THE END -

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