Brer Rabbit And The Riding Horse

This text was compiled from several different re-tellings of the original story by Joel Chandler Harris. This compilation includes text from Anne Hessey, Karime Amin, Julius Lester, Stephanie Laslett, and Enid Blyton.

        The tale of how Brer Rabbit had got mixed up with the Tar Baby got around the neighborhood. Miss Meadows and the gals, who were great friends of Brer Rabbit, heard the tale too--and the next time Brer Rabbit paid them a visit, Miss Meadows asked him about it, and burst out laughing. Brer Rabbit sat up just as cool as a cucumber and let them giggle as much as they wanted.
        He was quiet as a lamb and, by and by, he crossed his legs, winked his eye slowly, and said, "Ladies, Brer Fox was my daddy's riding horse for thirty years, maybe more, but thirty years that I know of, for sure." Then he paid them his respects, tipped his hat, and marched off just as stiff and stuck-up as a poker.
        Next day, Brer Fox came calling, and, when he began to laugh about Brer Rabbit, Miss Meadows and the gals told him what Brer Rabbit said. "Well, well. Fancy you being ridden by a rabbit, Brer Fox!"
        Brer Fox gritted his teeth and looked mighty grumpy, and when he rose to go, he said, "Ladies, I'm not disputing what you report, but I'll make Brer Rabbit chew up his words and spit them out right here where you can see him." And with that, off he went.
        When he got onto the main road, he shook the dew from his tail and made straight for Brer Rabbit's house. Brer Rabbit was expecting him, so the door was shut fast. Brer Fox knocked by nobody answered. So, he knocked again--Blam!Blam!Blam! Brer Rabbit called out weakly, "Is that you Brer Fox? I want you to run and fetch the doctor. That parsley I ate this morning made me feel sick. Go, please, Brer Fox, run quick," said Brer Rabbit.
        Brer Fox said, "I'm here to fetch you. Miss Meadows is havin' a party and all the gals are there. They said it wouldn't be a real party without you, so here I am to bring you along."
        Brer Rabbit moaned, "I'm mighty sick."
        "No you ain't!" Brer Fox barked.
        "I'm too sick to walk so far," complained Brer Rabbit.
        "No problem," said Brer Fox. "I'll tote you in my arms."
        "Oh, no," whined Brer Rabbit. "You might drop me."
        "I wouldn't do a thing like that, Brer Rabbit. I'm stronger than bad breath."
        "I wouldn't argue with you there, but I'm still afraid. I'll go if you carry me on your back."
        "Well, all right," Brer Fox said reluctantly.
        "But I can't ride on your back unless I have a saddle to sit on."
        "I'll get you a saddle," said Brer Fox.
        "It's no good me sitting in a saddle unless I've some reins to hold on by," said Brer Rabbit.
        Brer Fox was getting a little tired of this, but he agreed to get a bridle.
        "I won't ride you unless you wear blinkers," said Brer Rabbit. "If you don't wear blinkers, Brer Fox, you'll be shying at the tree-stumps along the road, and I'll fall off."
        "I'll get some blinkers," said Brer Fox.
        "You get all those things and I'll go to the party," said Brer Rabbit.
        Brer Fox told brer Rabbit he could ride him almost up to Miss Meadow's, if he'd get down and walk the rest of the way so no-one would see Brer Fox wearing a saddle, and Brer Rabbit agreed to that, so Brer Fox ran off to get the saddle and bridle. Of course, Brer Rabbit knew why Brer Fox had come for him, and he was determined to outdo him.
        By the time Brer Rabbit had combed his hair, twisted his mustache, and cleaned up, Brer Fox was back, wearing a saddle and bridle, looking as smart as a circus pony. He trotted up to the door and stood there pawing the ground and chomping the bit in his mouth like a proper horse. Brer Rabbit jumped up and off they went.
        Brer Fox couldn't see behind him with the blinkers on, but, by and by, he felt Brer Rabbit raised one of his feet.
        "What you doing, Brer Rabbit?" he asked.
        "Shortening the left stirrup, Brer Fox."
        Then Brer Rabbit raised up the other foot.
        "What you doing now, Brer Rabbit?" he asked.
        "Pulling down my pants, Brer Fox." But all this time, Brer Rabbit was putting on a pair of sharp spurs. When they got close to Miss Meadow's where Brer Rabbit was to get off, Brer Fox came to a halt, but Brer Rabbit just smiled and stuck his spurs into Brer Fox's flanks.
        "Ooowwww!" howled Brer Fox. Up he leaped and away he galloped as fast as he could!
        When they got to the house, Miss Meadows and all the gals were sitting on the porch. Brer Rabbit dug his spurs into Brer Fox again and they went galloping by the house in great style, Brer Rabbit waiving to Miss Meadows as they passed. Way down the road they saw him come to a halt and turn his "horse". Then he came trotting by the house a-whooping and a-hollering. He turned Brer Fox around again, slowed him to a trot, and rode on up to the house, where he got off and tied Brer Fox to the hitching post before he could take his revenge. Brer Rabbit sauntered into the house, and shook hands with the gals. Then he sat down and smoked his cigar, just like a gentleman.
        By and by, he drew in a long puff, letting it out in a cloud, sat up straight and said, "Ladies, didn't I tell you Brer Fox was the riding horse for our family? He's sort of losing his gait now, but I expect I can get him into shape after I've ridden him for a month or so."
        Brer Rabbit grinned, the gals giggled,, and Miss Meadows said, "Brer Rabbit, you sure do have a fine pony." And there was poor Brer Fox, hitched fast to the rack, not able to do a blessed thing about it.
        "You just wait 'till you ride me home, Brer Rabbit!" said Brer Fox, gritting his teeth. "You just wait!"

        Brer Rabbit visited with Miss Meadows and the gals for a while. They talked, and they sang, and they played the piano, until, by and by, it became time for Brer Rabbit to leave. He bade them all good-bye, and strutted out to the horse rack as if he were the king of the castle. He untied Brer Fox, mounted on his back, and with a little nudge of the spurs, rode off.
        Brer Fox didn't say anything at all. He just tore off and kept his mouth shut. Brer Rabbit knew Brer Fox must be angry with him, and he sort of felt there was trouble coming. So he held on to the reins tightly and waited to see what old Brer Fox was going to do.
        Brer Fox ambled on 'till he got in the long lane, out of sight from Miss Meadows' house, and then he just went wild! He ripped and he roared, he snorted and cavorted, he reared and he bucked!
        He was trging to fling Brer Rabbit off his back, but he might just as well have wrestled with his own shadow for all the good it did him. Every time he reared, Brer Rabbit jabbed him with the spurs, and every time he bucked, Brer Rabbit yanked hard on the bridle. On they went, up and down. Brer Fox tore up the ground and jumped so high and so quickly that he nearly took his own tail off, but Brer Rabbit didn't budge. He rode that fox just like a cowboy!
        They kept on going this way until, by and by, Brer Fox had the clever idea to lie down and roll over, and this finally unsettled Brer Rabbit, But by the time Brer Fox got back on his feet Brer Rabbit was whipping through the underbrush like a racehorse. Brer Fox lit out after him and got so close that it was all Brer Rabbit could do to dart into a hollow tree. Fortunately for Brer Rabbit, the hole was too little for Brer Fox, so he lay down to rest and gather his thoughts together.
        While he was lying there, Mr. Buzzard came flapping along, and seeing Brer Fox stretched out on the ground, he lit nearby. Mr. Buzzard shook his wings, put his head on one side, and murmured to himself, "Brer Fox is dead, and I'm so sorry."
        "No, I'm not dead, either, " said Brer Fox. "I got old man Rabbit penned up in this tree and I'm going to get him this time if it takes twelve Christmases."
        After some more talk, Brer Fox made a bargain with Mr. Buzzard to watch the hole and keep Brer Rabbit there while Brer Fox went for his axe. Brer Fox loped off and Mr. Buzzard took up his stand at the hole in the tree. By and by, when all got quiet, Brer Rabbit scrambled down close to the hole and hollered out, "Brer Fox! Oh Brer Fox!"
        Brer Fox, of course, was gone, and Brer Buzzard stayed quiet. Then Brer Rabbit yelled as if he was mad, " you needn't talk unless you want to. I know you're there, and I don't care. I just want to tell you that I wish mighty bad that Brer Turkey Buzzard was here," he said.
        Then Mr. Buzzard tried to talk like Brer Fox "what you want with Mr. Buzzard?" he asked.
        "Oh, nothing in particular, except there's the fattest gray squirrel in here that ever I've seen," replied Brer Rabbit, "and if that Brer Turkey Buzzard was around, he'd be mighty glad to get him. "How is Mr. Buzzard going to get him?" asked the Buzzard.
        "Well, there's a little hole round on the other side of the tree," said Brer Rabbit, "and if that Brer Turkey Buzzard was here, he could take up his stand there, and I'd drive that squirrel out."
        "Drive him out, then," shouted Mr. Buzzard, "and I'll see that that Brer Turkey Buzzard gets him."
        Then Brer Rabbit kicked up a racket, pretending to drive something out, Mr. Buzzard rushed around to catch the squirrel, and Brer Rabbit dashed out and ran for home.

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