A Georgia Folktale
Now, not many creatures were fond of the water, and Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox and Br’er Rabbit all vowed they couldn’t never get into that habit. It was so bad that when Br’er Coon’s daughter tried to get ‘em swimming in the creek or the river, they ran for cover!
But when other folks got to the river, Br’er Fox noticed they would ride a horse. And that seemed like a mighty fine idea to Br’er Fox.
“I wish I had one,” Br’er Fox said. “I’d get a bridle, and a saddle, and get right on that horse. And you’d better believe I’d get that horse trottin’ around. And I’d cross the river, too, to get at those chickens Farmer Joe keeps in his back yard.”
Well, Br’er Rabbit smiled himself a big smile and said, “Br’er Fox, I do believe I can solve your horse problem for ya! You meet me down where the two roads cross tomorrow morning and we’ll get you a horse.”
“I’ll be there,” Br’er Fox said.
Br’er Rabbit tipped his cap and said, “So long, friend! We’ll get that horse, by golly!”
Br’er Fox strode home, whistling a merry tune. Br’er Rabbit chuckled to himself like a cat purring. Boy, he was gonna get Br’er Fox good.
The next morning, Br’er Rabbit went down to where the two roads met. A horse was sleeping next to a fence, its tail slapping lazily at flies. “I hope you’re ready to have some fun!” Br’er Rabbit told the horse, chuckling just a bit.
Br’er Fox came striding down soon enough, and when he saw the horse, he was mighty excited. “What do I do?” he asked.
Br’er Rabbit pulled a rope from his pocket and handed it over to Br’er Fox. “All you gotta do is tie this here rope to the horse’s tail. You keep that tail steady enough, you’ll be able to hold him down and make him trip and roll and swim right over the river.”
So Br’er Fox tied the rope to the tail of the sleeping horse. The horse woke up sure enough, sighing and whipping its tail.
“Hold him steady!” Br’er Rabbit said, unable to control his chuckling.
Well, Br’er Fox held the horse steady. But the horse wasn’t all that happy about having a rope tied around its tail. And the first chance it got, it gave poor Br’er Fox a mighty kick. Br’er Fox went flying through the air, and the horse went busting through the nearby fence, running off with the rope still tied to its tail.
And Br’er Rabbit doubled over, laughing. “Dearest Br’er Fox,” he said, “I do believe your shirt is ripped!”