Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear
A retelling of an African American folktale from the Uncle Remus collection
Brer Rabbit swung back and forth, caught in the trap set by Brer Fox to catch the thief sneaking into his garden, stealing his goober peas.
“I’m in quite a mess,” Brer Rabbit said as he swung. “Brer Fox is going to come by, and I’d better think of some way to explain why I am hanging in this trap!”
As Brer Rabbit tried to come up with a plan, he heard Brer Bear grumbling down the path towards the garden. The sight of Brer Bear, who everyone said was “not that bright”, gave him an idea.
“Heh, there, Brer Bear,” shouted Brer Rabbit as he swung overhead.
Brer Bear, startled to hear a voice, looked all around the garden, but didn’t see anyone.
“Up here,” said Brer Rabbit.
Brer Bear looked up. “What are you doing up there?” he asked with surprise.
“Why, Brer Fox hired me to keep the nasty crows out of his garden. I swing over top of it and scare them off. He pays me $1.00 a minute for my work!”
Brer Bear shook his head back and forth. “Well, now, that sounds like an easy way to make some money. I could use some money myself to help with the family.”
Brer Rabbit pretended to think for a minute. “Brer Bear, I could use a break and you could use some money it sounds like. I’ll give you the job for a day if you like.”
“Well, that’s kind of you,” said Brer Bear, smiling at the thought of how happy his family would be when he came home with extra income.
So, the two traded places. When Brer Bear was secure and snug in the trap, swinging over top of the garden, Brer Rabbit took off, down the path as fast as he could hop.
Around the corner came Brer Fox, eager to see who was stuck in the trap.
“AH HA!!” he shouted, as he saw Brer Bear hanging over top of his demolished goober pea plants. “It’s you whose been stealing my peas!” He got out his long switch, ready to strike Brer Bear with it.
“What?” said Brer Bear, shocked to think that Brer Fox thought he would do such a thing. “I’m just giving Brer Rabbit a day off from the scarecrow job you gave him.”
Brer Fox became very angry.
“So, Brer Rabbit is the real thief!” he growled. He cut Brer Bear down from the trap as he explained the true story. “Now he’s escaped again.”
Brer Bear, madder than mad that he had been so deceived, took off down the path to find Brer Rabbit.
As he rumbled down the trail, he came across a mud puddle. Two large eyes peered out from it.
“Brer Frog, have you seen Brer Rabbit?” shouted Brer Bear. “He tricked me and I am plenty mad! I need to find him.”
“He just raced down the road,” said a deep, croaking voice from the mud puddle.
“Why, thank you,” said Brer Bear, and he ran down the road in search of Brer Rabbit.
When Brer Bear was out of sight, Brer Rabbit crawled out of the puddle, and rinsed off the mud he had used to disguised himself as Brer Frog. He hopped through the woods, towards his home, laughing.
“I’ve already got some new ideas about how to get those peas out of Brer Fox’s garden,” he said happily to himself.