Brer Rabbit Turns the Tables

Dedicated to my grandfather, Paw Paw Big Bob, who kept me enthralled when I was little with tales of Brer Rabbit’s escapades.

It so happened that one day while Brer Rabbit was a laughin’ and a laughin’ over the latest in a long line of tricks he had played on the other creatures in the forest, Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Wolf decided they’d had enough of his trickin’. They wanted revenge. None of ‘em wanted their revenge ruined by more of Brer Rabbit’s trickin’ neither, so they all agreed it’d be best for them to go an’ visit ole Brer Owl. It was a well-known fact in that part of the woods that if you were lookin’ for a piece o’ wisdom for any kind of situation, you needn’t look no further than the tall pecan tree that was home to Brer Owl. As soon as Brer Rabbit scampered off somewhere’s to trick some poor animal into givin’ ‘em their lunch, the three animals hurried off to the tall pecan tree.

“Brer Owl!” Brer Fox called from the base of the pecan tree, “Brer Owl, we need your help gettin’ rid of that trickin’ Brer Rabbit once and for all!”

Now, if those three animals had been thinkin’ properly instead of bein’ so worried ‘bout hows they was gonna trick ole Brer Rabbit, they might’ve remembered that Brer Owl didn’t sleep durin’ the night like most animals, but slept durin’ the day. As it was, it just so happened that Brer Rabbit had a hankerin’ for some pecans for his lunch an’ had climbed that pecan tree to eat himself some.

Thinkin’ he’d play a right funny trick on them three other animals, and get himself out of some hot water too, Brer Rabbit called down, disguisin’ his voice so it’d sound like Brer Owl, “I can’t be of no help to you right now, Brer Fox, seein’ as I’m too hungry to think any! Bring me some nice potatoes and sit ‘em at the bottom of this here tree. Then come back tomorrow an’ I’ll help you then.”

Still picturin’ their revenge, they didn’t think it odd that Brer Owl wanted potatoes. Instead they scurried off to find him some.

The next morning the three came back again, havin’ left the sack of potatoes under the tree the night before, ready to get their promised advice.

“Brer Owl!” Brer Bear called up, “Brer Owl, you ready to think now?”

Brer Rabbit called down again, “I can’t be of no help to you right now, Brer Bear, seein’ as I’m still too hungry to think any! Maybe if you bring me some onions I won’t be so hungry an’ I’ll help you tomorrow.”

The next morning the three came back again, havin’ left the sack of onions under the tree the night before, ready to get their promised advice.

“Brer Owl!” Brer Wolf called up, “Brer Owl, you ready to think now?”

This time Brer Rabbit called down, “Those onions were just what I was needin’! As I was eatin’, I was thinkin’. You know what is even better ‘an onions and potatoes? Rabbit stew with onions, potatoes, an’ carrots. You bring me a big pot with water tonight, an’ some potatoes, onions, and carrots, an’ I’ll cook us all up some rabbit stew. You don’t have to worry ‘bout nothin’! I’ll take care of all of it myself.”

So the three animals did as he asked, lugging a big ole pot full of water through the trees to a little clearin’ near Brer Owl’s pecan tree, an’ fell asleep straight away, tired as they was from carryin’ that big ole pot. When they woke up again the next morning, the stew in the pot was boilin’ away merrily, Brer Owl nowhere to be seen.

Brer Fox walked over to Brer Owl’s tree an’ called up, “Did you catch ‘em Brer Owl?”

An’ Brer Rabbit called down, “I sure did Brer Fox. That pot you brought me was just big enough to fit ‘em in. If you three get close, but not too close mind you, you might just be able to see him squirmin’ in the pot!”

Of course all three of the animals were anxious to see the rare sight of Brer Rabbit squirmin’ and they didn’t pay any mind to Brer Rabbit’s warning not to get too close to the water. Quick as a wink the heat burnt the whiskers off of all three of their faces! They yowled an’ cried an’ howled an’ squealed a racket like you ain’t never heard. An’ when they looked up to see Brer Owl they could see Brer Rabbit just a laughin’ and a laughin’.


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