Paul Laurence Dunbar
A Cabin Tale
THE YOUNG MASTER ASKS FOR A STORY
Whut you say, dah? huh, uh! chile,
You 's enough to dribe me wile.
Want a sto'y; jes' hyeah dat!
Whah' 'll I git a sto'y at?
Di'n' I tell you th'ee las' night?
Go 'way, honey, you ain't right.
I got somep'n' else to do,
'Cides jes' tellin' tales to you.
Tell you jes' one? Lem me see
Whut dat one's a-gwine to be.
When you 's ole, yo membry fails;
Seems lak I do' know no tales.
Well, set down dah in dat cheer,
Keep still ef you wants to hyeah.
Tek dat chin up off yo' han's,
Set up nice now. Goodness lan's!
Hol' yo'se'f up lak yo' pa.
Bet nobidy evah saw
Him scrunched down lak you was den--
High-tone boys meks high-tone men.
Once dey was a ole black bah,
Used to live 'roun' hyeah some whah
In a cave. He was so big
He could ca'y off a pig
Lak you picks a chicken up,
Er yo' leetles' bit o' pup.
An' he had two gread big eyes,
Jes' erbout a saucer's size.
Why, dey looked lak balls o' fiah
Jumpin' 'roun' erpon a wiah
W'en dat bah was mad; an' laws!
But you ought to seen his paws!
Did I see 'em? How you 'spec
I 's a-gwine to ricollec'
Dis hyeah ya'n I 's try'n' to spin
Ef you keeps on puttin' in?
You keep still an' don't you cheep
Less I 'll sen' you off to sleep.
Dis hyeah bah 'd go trompin' 'roun'
Eatin' evahthing he foun';
No one could n't have a fa'm
But dat bah 'u'd do' em ha'm;
And dey could n't ketch de scamp.
Anywhah he wan'ed to tramp.
Dah de scoun'el 'd mek his track,
Do his du't an' come on back.
He was sich a sly ole limb,
Traps was jes' lak fun to him.
Now, down neah whah Mistah Bah
Lived, dey was a weasel dah;
But dey was n't fren's a-tall
Case de weasel was so small.
An' de bah 'u'd, jes' fu' sass,
Tu'n his nose up w'en he 'd pass.
Weasels 's small o' cose, but my!
Dem air animiles is sly.
So dis hyeah one says, says he,
'I 'll jes' fix dat bah, you see.'
So he fixes up his plan
An' hunts up de fa'merman.
When de fa'mer see him come,
He 'mence lookin' mighty glum,
An' he ketches up a stick;
But de weasel speak up quick:
'Hol' on, Mistah Fa'mer man,
I wan' 'splain a little plan.
Ef you waits, I 'll tell you whah
An' jes' how to ketch ol' Bah.
But I tell yow now you mus'
Gin me one fat chicken fus'.'
Den de man he scratch his haid,
Las' he say, 'I'll mek de trade.'
So de weasel et his hen,
Smacked his mouf and says, 'Well, den,
Set yo' trap an' bait ternight,
An' I 'll ketch de bah all right.'
Den he ups an' goes to see
Mistah Bah, an' says, says he:
'Well, fren' Bah, we _ain't_ been fren's,
But ternight ha'd feelin' 'en's.
Ef you ain't too proud to steal,
We kin git a splendid meal.
Cose I would n't come to you,
But it mus' be done by two;
Hit's a trap, but we kin beat
All dey tricks an' git de meat.'
'Cose I 's wif you,' says de bah,
'Come on, weasel, show me whah.'
Well, dey trots erlong ontwell
Dat air meat beginned to smell
In de trap. Den weasel say:
'Now you put yo' paw dis way
While I hol' de spring back so,
Den you grab de meat an' go.'
Well, de bah he had to grin
Ez he put his big paw in,
Den he juked up, but--kerbing!
Weasel done let go de spring.
'Dah now,' says de weasel, 'dah,
I done cotched you, Mistah Bah!'
O, dat bah did sno't and spout,
Try'n' his bestes' to git out,
But de weasel say, 'Goo'-bye!
Weasel small, but weasel sly.'
Den he tu'ned his back an' run
Tol' de fa'mer whut he done.
So de fa'mer come down dah,
Wif a axe and killed de bah.
Dah now, ain't dat sto'y fine?
Run erlong now, nevah min'.
Want some mo', you rascal, you?
No, suh! no, suh! dat 'll do.
Paul Laurence Dunbar's Other Poems
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Heather Burns