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Version by: Adi Da Samraj
The Tar Baby - Peter Malakoff

Brer bear and Brer Fox were always trying to trap Brer Rabbit and eat him.


And Brer Rabbit was a trickster and always got himself out of the situation one way or another.


So, one time, Brer Bear and Brer Fox made what was called a "tar baby".

They got some tar and whopped it all together, sort of lump for a basic lower body and a lump for a head.


They put a hat on it, eyes and nose, like on a snowman, and a jacket, and they sat him on a log by the side of the road where they knew Brer Rabbit would be coming by soon.


So Brer Bear and Brer Fox hid in the bushes and watched. Sure enough, Brer Rabbit comes zippety-doo-dahing down the road, just hopping


Notices the tar baby, aforementioned, sitting on the log by the side of the road. He doesn't stop, just keeps zippity-doo-dahing, and says,


"Good morning, Brer."

Several paces on, didn't get no "Howdy do". So he jumps back several steps and says, "I said, 'How do you do, brother?"

Keeps going on- nothing. Its just a lump of tar, but he expected a friendly, "How do you do". So, he hops backwards again.

"Brother, how do you do? Good morning. Wonderful day."

Tar baby is totally silent, no response, no reaction, no friendliness, no outgoing energy, no good feeling, no good wishes.

Now you see, Brer Bear and Brer Fox knew what they were doing.

Hiding there in the bushes, they knew, considering Brer Rabbits outgoing nature, that this non-response would really, really start to irritate him sooner or later.

So, Brer Rabbit keeps talking, asking question, starts getting angrier and angrier and angrier.

He finally wallops the tar baby right smack in the face with his fist. Whomp! His arm goes all through, can't get out, stuck in the tar baby. Whomp! One more time with his left arm. Right up in the belly. Stuck up to the elbow.

Struggles some more. Gets more and more wrapped up in the baby of tar.

There he is, stuck on a log at the side of the road, and then,

Brer Bear and Brer Fox leap out of the bushes.


"Ha-ha-ha-ha!" Hoisted the rabbit on his own petard. had him stuck up in the tar baby there,

so he could not get out.

So then, of course, they were starting to cook the fire. They were getting ready to have rabbit lunch.

Well, as I said, the characteristic of Brer Rabbit is that he always gets out of the situation, any situation, where he was about to be entrapped by Brer Bear and Brer Fox, by his enemies.

So, he calculated how he was going to get out of this situation. He decided that he would not react to the possibility of being cooked.

He was praising the Brer Bear and Brer Fox about this cooking thing.


He said, "Thats okay. I guess my times come. You've caught me. I was stupid, so, I guess my times come.

I'm glad I'm going this way, though. I'm glad this is the way it's going to turn out. It's right."

Brer Bear mind didn't work too much, but the Brer Fox, he was getting curious. "What do you mean it's all right?"

They're getting ready to have rabbit lunch. They didn't want no undisturbed rabbit going to be cooked. This was the terminal event! They was finally getting the rabbit. But the rabbit is nonchalant.

Particularly the Brer Fox, he was always calculating, you see, and this was what the rabbit depended on.


"What do you mean, Brer Rabbit? What do you mean you're glad about this and your time has come and so forth?"

The rabbit says, "Well, since you asked Brer Fox, I was just thinking, you know, that this is right, this cooking thing.

But, I'm just glad you didn't decide to do me in by throwing me into the briar patch. I wouldn't have liked that!

Thats the worst way to go.

I'm glad if my time's come, you're going to do it right.

If you had suggested throwing me into the briar patch-that would be a disgrace, a horror! I can't even contemplate that."


The fox said, "What do you mean? What don't you like about it?"

"I don't like being thrown into the briar patch. That would be the worst thing that could ever happen to a rabbit such as me."


Of course, Brer Bear is standing here behind. He doesn't think about much, but he's getting some sort of opinion here. Things are slowing down.

"I just want to pick up my club and whomp his head clean off!"


But the Brer Fox, he's deep into the "consideration", like the rabbit was with the tar baby.

The Brer Rabbit just turned the tide, turned the scales on the clever fox and the stupid bear.

He gave them a tar baby in another form- the one thing he would not have happen is to throw him into the briar patch!

The fox got stuck on this consideration. And, I guess you may know, the rest is history.


Brer Fox, he pulled that Brother Rabbit right out of the tar baby configuration of stuckness. Whomp! Right out with his bare hands.

I guess he may have passed him to the bear to do the biggest throwing, to get him deep into the briar patch.


You have to understand, if you're not getting the message of story– the briar patch was the Brer Rabbit's place.

That wasn't where he didn't want to go. That was where he always wanted to be!


So the fox or the bear, whichever one, flung him as far and hard as he could fling him, into the briar patch.

And zippity-doo-dah all over again! That rabbit was gone! That was a free rabbit forever, then.

Who knows if Brother Bear or Brother Fox ever saw that rabbit again! But, they never got him, ever.

They're probably out there to this very day.

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