The Bear, the Rabbit and The Man
Dis is a story told by Mance Lipscomb . . .
Now Mance Lipscomb was a Black Texas Bluesman, son of a former slave, an exquisite guitar player, singer, storyteller, word-crafter and yarn spinner.
He influenced Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal just to mention a few, and was written about in a book by Glen Alyn
called “I Say Me For a Parable” and it's from that book I got this tale.
You see, Mance was asked, “You must be the baddest guitar player in the world, Mance?”, and Mance replied with this story.
So here it is. It's about a Bear, a Rabbit an' a Man . . .
See, der was a Bear an' a Rabbit.
Was travelin' on de' road.
An' de Bear was in the road,
said he was 'the baddest thang' on earth!
The Rabbit was over on the side a' the fence over in the pastur'.
He scared to git' in the road cause he knowed sumpin' gonna happin' ta' him.
Somebody kill im' or catch im'.
An the Bear he goin up an down the road, sayin'
“Ohhh, I’m the baddest man in the world!”
Rabbit say, “You keep on sayin that,
man, you goin' ta meet somebody is a little badder'n you are.”
The Bear went on up the road, an' here he’s hollerin' and snortin' and tellin' the Rabbit, sayin, “O' here is some a' the baddest man in the world!”
Direckly, he hear sumpin, an dey' look down the road:
“Brother Rabbit? I see sumpin' comin' down the road.”
Rabbit peept' out the bushes.
An' de Bear say, “What you call that?” Rabbit say, “Well, that's a old man.
But you gonna meet somebody badder'n you, sur' nuff gonna be a man,
but that, that has been a man. That ain't a Man what you meetin'.”
Tcccch!, he ain't no man!, say de Bear.
I’m the baddest man in the world!”
Well the old man, goin' down de road, he saw de' Bear comin',
an' he got out the road fur' the Bear an' he hid.
Now, direckly, come along another man, a young man.
wad'n full grown, maybe bout sixteen years of age,
carryin' a hoe on his shoulder,
he just come out the field an' on his way home.
So de Rabbit an' the Bear is trottin' along,
Sayin, “Come here, Brother Rabbit! I see sumpin' else comin'!
What you call that?”
Rabbit peept out the woods say,
“Well, he goin' be a man, but he ain't come up to be a man yet.
But you keep on down this road.
You gonna meet a man direckly.”
Brother Bear say, “I’ll show im' who the man is in this precinct!”
He commence ta' barin' his teeth and hollerin', an' runs at the boy, he drop that hoe an' jump the fence, just took off a lopin' down that corn row.
Went on down the road,
about two miles, an Old Bear spied sumpin' else comin'.
Say, “Come over here, Brother Rabbit, an' take a peep
and see what dis' is comin' down the road?”
The Rabbit look't up the road an said
“Now! That’s what I call's a Man you meetin' now, Brother Bear!”
“Ohhh, aint no man! Everthang you see, you say it’s a man.”
Rabbit said, “No, this is a Man you meetin'.”
An' the Man come on down the road about twenty-five years of age.
Had a durn shotgun on his shoulder.
Jump't off his wagon an' met the Bear!
An Old Bear jest come up to im', bristled up ta' de' Man.
Man look't at him and saw im', leveled down on im' with that shotgun with some buckshot, an' shot the Bear, keeled him over.
An', the Rabbit look out, see de' Bear tumbled over.
Said, “Now Mista Bear! That’s what I calls a Man!
Dat' fella done tumbled you over.
You done met a Man, Brother Bear!”
You know what that Bear say?
“By God, I believe your right!
Cause the Man done blowed' ma' brains out!”