A Georgia Folktale
Now Brer Rabbit was skipping down the road one day heading for his home in the briar patch when he spotted Sis Cow grazing in the field. It was a mighty hot day and Brer Rabbit was thirsty. Some milk would be real fine on such a warm afternoon, but Sis Cow always refused to let Brer Rabbit milk her when he asked. So Brer Rabbit thought up a plan.
"Howdy Sis Cow," said Brer Rabbit, walking up to her in the field.
"Howdy yourself, Brer Rabbit," said Sis Cow. "How are your folks?"
"Fair to middling," said Brer Rabbit. "How is Brer Bull?"
"So-so," replied Sis Cow.
"I’m wondering if you could help me out," Brer Rabbit said to Sis Cow. "I’d like to get some persimmons down out of that tree, but it’s too high for me to climb." He pointed over to a nearby persimmon tree.
"I ain’t no good at climbing myself," said Sis Cow dubiously.
"I don’t need for you to climb," said Brer Rabbit. "Just butt your head against the tree a few times, and the persimmons will all fall down."
Sis Cow considered this a moment, and then she agreed. Sis Cow backed up a bit and ran at the tree with her horns down. BANG! She butted the tree as hard as she could. But the persimmons were still green and none of them fell down. So Sis Cow backed up again and ran at the tree with her horns down. SMACK! She butted the tree as hard as she could. And her large horns got stuck in the tree. She pulled and tugged, but her horns were held fast.
"Help me out, Brer Rabbit," Sis Cow pleaded.
"I can’t climb up that high," said Brer Rabbit. "But I’ll run and fetch Brer Bull."
So saying, the rascally Brer Rabbit ran home to fetch his Missus and all of the kids. They brought a mighty big pail to the field and they milked the trapped Sis Cow until not a drop of milk was left. Sis Cow was pretty sore at Brer Rabbit. She kept pulling and tugging, but she couldn’t get free.
"I’ll come back tomorrow for more milk," Brer Rabbit said. "Seeing as you’re probably stuck ’til daybreak."
Brer Rabbit and his family left the field with their big pail of milk, leaving Sis Cow trapped in the tree. Well, Sis Cow, she tugged and tugged, trying to free her horns from the tree. It took her near ’til morning, but finally she broke loose. Once she was free, she had a quick graze of the green grass to calm herself down. As she ate, she made a plan to revenge herself on Brer Rabbit for his nasty trick
As soon as it was daybreak, Sis Cow put her head down and stuck her horns back into the holes she had made in the tree, pretending she was still stuck. Now Brer Rabbit had come early to the field and had seen Sis Cow grazing as free as you please, so he knew she was up to something when she put her horns back in the tree. He decided to play along with her game for a while to see what she was up to.
Quick as a wink, Brer Rabbit went back down the road and came clippity-lippity, hippity-hoppity down the road, singing as loud as you please. "How are you feeling this morning, Sis Cow?" asked Brer Rabbit when he reached the field.
"Poorly, Brer Rabbit," said Sis Cow slyly. "I’ve been stuck here all night. But if you grab my tail, you can help pull me out."
Oh ho, thought Brer Rabbit to himself. She means to trample me. Aloud he said: "I’m a puny ol’ man Sis Cow. If I pull your tail, I might get crushed. So this is as close to you as I’m going to get!"
Well, Sis Cow was furious that her plan hadn’t work. She pulled her horns out of the tree lickety-split and started chasing that rascally Brer Rabbit down the road.
Brer Rabbit ran as fast as lightning. He reached the Briar Patch well ahead of Sis Cow and threw himself into the brambles. He watched Sis Cow sail passed his hiding spot. Then she stopped because her quarry had disappeared. She looked around, trying to locate him.
Brer Rabbit chuckled to himself. He folded back his long ears, made his eyes extra wide, and then peered out of a shady corner of the Briar Patch, pretending to be Brer Big Eyes. "What are you doing Sis Cow?" he asked in a high-pitched voice quite unlike his own.
"I’m looking for Brer Rabbit, Brer Big Eyes," said Sis Cow, who did not recognize the trickster rabbit in the dim light of dawn.
"He jest ran passed lickety-split," Brer Rabbit lied.
That was all Sis Cow needed to hear. She gave a bellow of rage, lowered her horns, and ran on down the road.
Brer Rabbit, he just laughed and laughed, rolling about among the briars. He had fooled Brer Fox and Brer Buzzard in the past, and now he had fooled Sis Cow. He was a real rascal, no mistake!
Humming happily to himself, Brer Rabbit went home to have a big drink of milk, courtesy of Sis Cow.
|You can read more Georgia folktales in Spooky South by S.E. Schlosser.|