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´╗┐Title: Daddy Do-Funny's Wisdom Jingles
Author: Stuart, Ruth McEnery, -1917
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



  DADDY DO-FUNNY'S
  WISDOM JINGLES

  BY
  RUTH McENERY STUART

  ILLUSTRATED BY G. H. CLEMENTS

  [Illustration]

  NEW YORK
  THE CENTURY CO.
  1916



  Copyright, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, by
  The Century Co.

  _Published, October, 1913_



  To the Memory of those faithful brown
  slave-men of the plantations throughout the
  South, Daddy's contemporaries all, who during
  the war while their masters were away fighting
  in a cause opposed to their emancipation,
  brought their blankets and slept outside their
  mistresses' doors, thus keeping night-watch
  over otherwise unprotected women and children--a
  faithful guardianship of which the
  annals of those troublous times record no
  instance of betrayal.



FOREWORD


In presenting a loyal and venerable ex-slave as an artless exponent of
freedom, freedom of conduct as well as of speech, the author of this
trivial volume is perhaps not composing an individual so truly as
individualizing a composite, if the expression will pass.

The grizzled brown dispenser of homely admonitions is a figure not
unfamiliar to those who have "moved in plantation circles" in the cotton
and sugar country, and touched hands with the kindly dark survivors of
the old regime.

If the man, Daddy Do-funny, was unique as an individual, perhaps in the
very fact of an individuality unembarrassed by the limitations of
convention, of education and of precedent, he becomes in a sense typical
of his people and of his time.

Of course, a man is not called Do-funny for nothing, not even playfully
and in the free vernacular of rusticity at its freest.

One of a small community of superannuated pensioners upon the bounty of
their former owners, Daddy was easily first citizen of Evergreen annex
on Crepe Myrtle plantation, which is to say he was therein a personage
of place and of privilege, coming and going at will, doing as he
pleased, and as, with uplifted eye, he reverently boasted, "sponsible to
nobody but Almighty Gord for manners and behavior."

Even so late as this year of grace, a full half century after
"emancipation," there are still to be found on many of the larger
plantations in the far South a few such members of the order of the
Rocking-chair, whose records of "good and honorable service" reach back
through periods of bondage, even such kindergartners as septuagenarians
in the privileged class, having clear title to nearly a quarter of a
century of slave memories; not to mention the occasional centenarian
with even his semi-occasional uncle or father poking around, toothless
and white-plumed dignitaries, these, sometimes with leaders, being
blind, but ever important in pride of association and memory.

It is something even if one is bent double and may never again behold
the light of day, to be able to reach back into a dim and forgotten past
and to say, "I remember," especially when the memory recalls days of
brilliance and of importance.

But Daddy's place among the gentle Knights and Ladies of the
Rocking-chair was far and away above such as these whose thoughts, alert
though they were and loyal, travelled forever backward to the sweet but
worn fields of memory where every pleasure is a recognition and fashions
do not change--a restful retreat for dreamers whose days of activity are
done.

But Daddy's mind worked forward and upward and although he did not know
the alphabet excepting by rote, a common ante-bellum plantation
accomplishment, and while professing high contempt for what he called
"cold shelf-knowledge," his reputation for wisdom, wisdom as gleaned in
observation and experience and "ripened by insight," was supreme, while
his way of casually tossing it off in bits in playful epigram finally
gave the word its plural form so that the expression "Do-Funny Wisdoms"
came into familiar use.

As an example of his rambling talk, much of which seems at least
semivagarious on transcription, I recall one of his meandering
dissertations on the value of experience as superior to observation.

Several of the old people, his neighbors, had joined the listening
children who surrounded him under the fig-tree, and perhaps he
unconsciously deferred to them in his accent of their common possession
in length of days, although he gave no sign of heed to any audience,
when he said:

"Dey's mighty few facts de same behind an' befo', not to say inside an'
outside, and a man can go roun' an' roun' de blackberry bush an' not git
nowhar. 'Spe'unce is a thorny bramble, an' yer 'bleeged to go _th'ough_
it, to _draw blood_, an', I tell yer, _de blood is de life_!"

Although this tribute brought grunts of approval from the gray heads,
Daddy was soon off at a tangent in playful fancy, hitting off a foible
or "celebrating truth and justice" in one of the unconscious epigrams
which it is sought herein to preserve, even when having occasionally to
hammer them into shape, for, while Daddy was almost unerring in rhyme,
his rhythm, never at fault in delivery, was strictly a temperamental
matter, not adequately renderable in cold print.

But more than as philosopher, satirist or seer was the old man
distinguished as a social factor on the place. Wherever his chair was
set, there were the children gathered together, both black and white,
eager listeners to his quaint pictorial recitals, even seeming to
cherish the "Wisdoms" which fell from his tongue, as is not a common way
with children, who seem instinctively to spurn the obviously didactic.

But Daddy's moralizing, besides its saving grace of imagery, was
generally sequential and convincing; while his repartee, to use a word
which seems almost a misfit in this rural setting, had a way of hitting
the mark and striking fire, as when, in reply to the question from a
forth-putting youngster on one occasion, "Where do you keep all your
wisdoms, Daddy?" he snapped:

"In my ole toof holes, dat's whar! Wisdoms don't ripen good tel yo'
toofs is ready to drap out. Ev'rybody knows dat Gord A'mighty ain't
nuver is set but one live Wisdom-toof in a man's mouf--an' dat comes
late an' goes early."

And then he added with a mischievous smile:

"You-all smarty undergrowth, you ain't chawed life yit. You jes
'speramintin' wid yo' milk-toofs.

"Now's yo' havin' time, chillen, but _to have an' to lose, dat's life_!

"Study wisdom now an' minch on it good wid yo yo'ng baby toofs an' hol'
fas' to it, so's it'll meller down ripe, time de caverns opens for it.

"But look out! I knows a lot o' ole vacant wisdom caves for rent behin'
dis crepe myrtle hedge--so, I say, watch and pray! Pray for insight an'
outsight! An' even so, dey's some wisdoms so fine you can't see 'em tel
you nearin' Home an' livin' on de far side o' life!"

Daddy lived alone in a tiny vine-clad cabin and there were times when he
seemed frail and to need care, and the doctor said he was rheumatic.
This, however, he denied, declining companionship while he insisted that
the sharp pains which occasionally twisted his brow were only growing
pains which he was glad to endure as not having got his growth in his
first childhood, he was "'bleeged to wrastle wid it in de second," and,
"of course," he added, "it comes harder when a man's bones is set."

On days when his pains were bad, he would propel himself around in a
roller-chair, which he called his chariot; and although evidently
suffering, he was never heard to complain. Once, when he seemed almost
helpless, some one asked him how he had got into the chair, and was
quickly silenced by his ready answer, "Gord lifted me in!"

Now, to Daddy clothes were clothes. In dress as in manners, he knew no
obligation of precedent; and as to fashion, the word made him chuckle.

When his pains were unusually severe and it was difficult for him to get
into his own garments, he did not hesitate to clothe himself in one of
the flowing wrappers which his old wife, Judy, long since dead, had
worn.

And thus it happened that while on some days an aged man might have been
seen hobbling about, working among his plants, on others there appeared
to be an old woman propelling herself around in a rolling chair; and
seeing her, his neighbors, with perhaps a chuckle, would remark, "I see
Daddy Do-funny is laid up ag'in!"

Another peculiar habit of the old man was the way in which he took his
bath--a dangerous process, one would think, for a rheumatic, but
harmless, no doubt, to growing pains. Seeing the rain coming, he would
exclaim: "Gord sendeth de rain! He's offerin' me a bath--just or
unjust!" Then donning his "bath-slip," an old wool wrapper of Judy's and
getting into his roller-chair, he would wheel out and sit calmly in the
shower, often closing his eyes and lifting his face as he exclaimed:
"Bless Gord for de sweet drops! Bless Gord for de rain!" and when he had
had bath enough, he would either put up his umbrella or roll his chair
indoors as he felt inclined.

But perhaps we cannot get nearer the soul of the old man than by
recalling a conversation which occurred during an invasion of the
children, a conversation between him and his guests which is thrown into
a sort of rhyme for easy memorizing, passing from one speaker to another
without more than the natural pause for reply.

Obviously, the children began it:

  "Ol' Daddy Do-funny,
  How do you come on?"
  "Po'ly, thank Gord, honey,
  Po'ly dis morn.
    My ol' spine it's sort o' stiff,
    An' my arms dey 'fuze to lif'.
    An' de miz'ry 's in my breas',
    An' I got some heart-distress.
    An' de growin' pains dey lingers,
    In my knee-j'ints an' my fingers,
  But I'm well, praise Gord, dis mornin'."

  "Ol' Daddy Do-funny,
  What cuyus talk!
  How is you well, when you
  Can't even walk?"

    "Hush, you foolish chillen, hush!
    What's dat singin' in de brush?
    Ain't dat yonder blue de sky?
    Feel de cool breeze passin' by!
    Dis ol' painful back an' knee,
    Laws-a-mussy, _dey ain't me!
    I'm well, praise Gord, dis mornin'!_"

                          RUTH McENERY STUART.

  [Illustration]



  CONTENTS

                                                                    Page

  Daddy's Weather Prayer                                               3

  The Old Rooster                                                      4

  The Butterfly                                                        5

  The Wren                                                             6

  The Watermelon                                                       7

  The Gourd                                                            8

  Judge Owl                                                            9

  The Mosquito                                                        10

  Confession                                                          11

  The Game-Cock                                                       12

  The Epicure                                                         13

  The Mule                                                            14

  The Grubworm                                                        15

  Rain or Shine                                                       16

  Little Green Tree-Toad                                              17

  Sparrows                                                            18

  The Fly                                                             19

  The Little Chicken                                                  20

  The Scare-Crow                                                      21

  The Yellow Rose                                                     22

  The Ambitious Cow                                                   23

  Tried by Fire                                                       24

  Jack O' Lantern                                                     25

  The Flea                                                            26

  Will o' the Wisp                                                    27

  The Mole                                                            28

  The Runt                                                            29

  The Monkey                                                          30

  The Aristocrat                                                      31

  The Crawfish                                                        32

  The Angleworm                                                       33

  The Chimney-Swallow                                                 34

  Catching Doodle-Bugs                                                35

  The Porcupine                                                       36

  Ants                                                                37

  The Parrot                                                          38

  The Rattle-Snake                                                    39

  The Persimmon                                                       40

  In Harness                                                          41

  The Canary                                                          42

  Answering Back                                                      43

  Dat's De Way My Lady'll Do                                          44

  The Mammy Alligator                                                 46

  The New Rich                                                        47

  The Wibbly Wabbly Calf                                              48

  The Turkey-Gobbler                                                  50

  The Cauliflower                                                     51

  The Step-Mother                                                     52

  The Frog                                                            53

  The Rat                                                             54

  The Mocking-Bird                                                    55

  The Mushroom                                                        56

  The Measuring Worm                                                  57

  The Top-Knot Hen                                                    58

  Too Familiar                                                        59

  The 'Possum                                                         60

  The Owl                                                             61

  The Chameleon                                                       62

  The Caterpillar                                                     63

  Dr. Drake                                                           64

  The Peacock                                                         65

  The Alligator                                                       66

  The Terrapin                                                        67

  The Dandelion                                                       68

  The Cud                                                             69

  The Mirror                                                          70

  Goslings                                                            71

  The Pet                                                             72

  The Guinea-Hen                                                      73

  The Moon                                                            74

  The Hen-Roost Man                                                   75

  A Guilty Conscience                                                 76

  The Bat                                                             77

  Incubator Chickens                                                  78

  The Firefly                                                         79

  The Thistle                                                         80

  The Gray Squirrel                                                   81

  Look Out for Mister Bee                                             82

  The Rose                                                            83

  The Locomotive                                                      84

  The Goat                                                            85

  The Fig                                                             86

  The Frizzled Chicken                                                87

  The Endless Song                                                    88

  The Eel                                                             90

  The Rain-Crow                                                       91

  The Giraffe                                                         92

  The Black Sheep                                                     93

  The Prize-Winner                                                    94

  The Dog                                                             95



DADDY DO-FUNNY'S WISDOM JINGLES



DADDY'S WEATHER PRAYER


  One asks for sun, an' one for rain,
    An' sometimes bofe together;
  I prays for sunshine in my heart,
    An' den forgits de weather.

[Illustration]



THE OLD ROOSTER


  Ef de hoa'se ol' rooster wouldn't crow so loud
  He mought pass for yo'ng in de barn-yard crowd;
  But he strives so hard an' he steps so spry
  Dat de pullets all winks whilst he marches by.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE BUTTERFLY


  Sis' Butterfly aimed to work all right,
  But 'er wings dey was heavy, an' 'er head too light;
  So she riz in de air, 'ca'ze she see she was made
  Jes' to fly in de sun in de beauty parade.
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat, in dat--
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE WREN


  She's a citizen-bird, Sis little brown Wren,
  She nests in de spring an' de fall again;
  "Race suicide" talk nuver fazes her,
  'Ca'ze she's good for 'er ten little wrens a year.
        An' she ain't by 'erself, my ladies, in dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE WATERMELON


  Oh, Watermilion sho' is good to eat!
  But de darkie rates it twice-t mo' sweet,
  'Ca'ze it's ap' to b'long to de yether man,
  An' it's mighty hard to lif' by sleight o' han'.
        An' it ain't by itself, made sweet like dat--
        No, it ain't by itself like dat.

[Illustration]



THE GOURD


  De green gou'd on de sunny shed
  Was mighty proud of his pethy head,
  So he nuver pondered or studied or trained,
  An' now he's ol' an' rattle-brained.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



JUDGE OWL


  Jedge Owl 's so pompious on 'is limb,
  You'd s'pose dey was nobody roun' but him;
  He's afeard ef he was too polite
  You'd ax 'im whar he spent de night.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MOSQUITO


  Wid so much Christian blood in 'is veins,
  You'd think Br'er 'Skitty would take some pains
  To love 'is neighbor an' show good will,
  But he's p'izenin' an' back-bitin' still.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



CONFESSION


  Dat whale wha' gulped Br'er Jonah down
  Was bleeged to swim close-t to de groun'
  Ontel he riz up an' confessed
  He'd swallered mo' 'n he could digest.
        But you ain't by yo'self, Br'er Whale, in dat--
        No, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GAME-COCK


  Dey's some things square an' some things round,
  An' little game cocks ain't sol' by de pound;
  Dey's weighed by sand an' pluck an' grit
  An' de number o' dead dey leave in de pit.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in rank like dat--
        No, dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE EPICURE


  Ef you keep yo' eyes on Br'er Carrion Crow,
  You'll wonder huccome he kin carry on so!
  He flies in high circles an' chooses meat
  Dat no honest workin'-man would eat.
        An' he ain't no new high-flyer in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MULE


  Ef you quiz Br'er Mule, you'll find dat he
  Gits mixed on de subjec' of 'is fam'ly tree;
  He'll brag about 'is mammy with a noble neigh,
  An' deny 'is own daddy wid a ginuine bray.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GRUBWORM


  Br'er Grubworm wrops 'isself in twine
  An' swings in 'is shroud on a evergreen vine,
  Becaze it's mortal death dat brings
  His on'iest chance to git 'is wings.
        But you ain't by yo'self, Br'er Worm, in dat--
        Oh, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



RAIN OR SHINE?


  Ol' Mingo, on 'is knees, he say:
  "Lord, teach dis nigger how to pray,
  Else riconcile two kinds o' weather
  For craps an' rheumatiz together!"
        But you ain't by yo'self, ol' man, in dat--
        Oh, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



LITTLE GREEN TREE-TOAD


  Little green tree-toad on banana leaf,
  Plenty po' relations all aroun' 'im in de bog;
  But he'd ruther be blind an' dumb an' deef
  Dan to hold a conversation wid a "low-life" frog!
        But he ain't no lonesome toady in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



SPARROWS


  Dey say dem Sparrers come crost de seas
  To eat our surplus grubs an' fleas;
  But dey's whupped our birds off'n dis plantation,
  Tell we craves to constric' dey immigration.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat, in dat--
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FLY


  Wid dem suctious foots, seem lak Br'er Fly
  Mought draw down health ef he trod de sky;
  But he's so onpartic'lar whar he roams
  Dat he's got 'isself screened out o' quality homes.
        An' he ain't by 'isself outcas' like dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE LITTLE CHICKEN


  Little yaller fluff-ball, one day out,
  Steps mighty high while he picks all about;
  Never sees de egg-shell layin' in 'is track,
  Much less the little piece stickin' on 'is back.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE SCARE-CROW


  Br'er Scare-crow's built to suit 'is job
  Wid flappin' legs an' arms dat bob;
  He ain't got brains for discontent
  So he works widout no argument.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE YELLOW ROSE


  Dey's a sweet plantation, yaller-buff rose
  Dat in my ricollection grows;
  In my ol' dreams she seems to wait
  Whar she stood an' bloomed by de love-vine gate
        An' I ain't by myself in dreams like dat--
        No, I ain't by myself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE AMBITIOUS COW


  Sis' Twis'-horn Brindle is a bothersome cow,
  She's boun' to raise a ruction an' she don't keer how;
  She craves to be de bell-cow an' lead off wid a clang,
  So it's all a man kin do to make 'er gallup wid de gang.
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat, in dat--
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



TRIED BY FIRE


  De sugar-cane stands so proud an' smart,
  You'd nuver suspicion it sweet at de heart,
  But to prove its sweets it yields its will
  To be tried by fire an' ground in de mill.
        An' it ain't by itself in dat, in dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



JACK-O'LANTERN


  Sence he los' 'is brains to git 'is smile,
  Brer Jack-o-lantern grins lak a wilderin' chile
  Widout no secrets out or in;
  An' de lighter in de head de broader 'is grin
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FLEA


  Look out for Mr. Po'-trash Flea!
  Ef you let 'im come in, he'll make too free;
  He'll chase yo' dog till he makes 'im pant,
  An' he'll take yo' skin for a restaurant.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



WILL O' THE WISP


  Ef de Wul o' de Wust would cuss an' swear
  An' take some shape, an' rip an' tear,
  It wouldn't sen' col' chills down a nigger's spine
  Like de changeable expression of a mystery shine.
        An' it ain't by its ghostly self in dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MOLE


  De blind mole tunnels straight ahead,
  An' he gits whar he gwine wid a trustful tread,
  But he nuver is yit got nowhar else,
  An' he'll nuver view de skies whar glory melts.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE RUNT


  You'll sometimes trace de loudes' grunt
  In de horg-lot down to de littles' runt,
  Lak as ef he'd 'nounce whilst he gulps 'is swill,
  "A pompious horg is as big as 'is will."
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MONKEY


  De organ plays an' Br'er Monkey struts,
  An' he takes high pride in de capers he cuts,
  While folks draps picayunes into 'is han'
  For fallin' so short o' bein' a man.
        An' he ain't by 'isself, misled like dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE ARISTOCRAT


  Dat three-name chicken wid de feathery legs
  Wha' 'merged f'om de ten dollar settin' of eggs,
  Is a lonesome bird an' I s'picion he frets
  'Ca'ze he can't outgrow dem pantalettes.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CRAWFISH


  Br'er Crawfish th'ows a racklass bluff,
  An' he sho do look like fightin' stuff;
  But turn 'im loose on a battle-groun',
  An' he'll bow 'isself out, an' nuver turn roun'.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE ANGLEWORM


  "I could stand de hook," says de angleworm,
  "An' a lily-brook wouldn't make me squirm,
  But I can't help wrigglin' ag'in' my fate;
  It breaks me all up to be used for bait."
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CHIMNEY-SWALLOW


  Wid 'is nest in de flue whar de suctions blow,
  Storms due above an' fire below,
  No wonder Br'er Swaller sags an' sways
  Like a pusson ableeged to dodge bofe ways.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.



CATCHING DOODLE-BUGS


  Little picaninnies, fishin' in de doodle-bug holes.
  Wid a "spit for luck," an' straws for poles,
  Show pyore delight in de fisherman's aim
  All disp'opo'tioned to de game.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat, in dat--
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE PORCUPINE


  Sis' Porcupine, wid 'er bristles all set
  In a pompado' style, is waitin' yet,
  An' she can't understan', whilst she puckers 'er mug,
  De sca'city o' kisses an' de absent hug.
        But she ain't by 'er lonesome self in dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



ANTS


  Dem Ants is sho' got savin' ways
  An' even de Scripture 'lows 'em praise;
  But dey hoa'ds for deyselves f'om day to day
  An' dey stings any man wha' gits in de way.
        An' dey ain't no new co'poration in dat--
        No, dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE PARROT


  Sis' Tin-cage Polly wid de roamin' nose
  Dat roams f'om 'er eyes tel it p'ints to 'er toes,
  She keeps up a ratlin' talkin' pace
  To turn off attention f'om de shape of 'er face.
        An' you ain't by yo'self, Sis' Polly, in dat--
        No, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



THE RATTLE-SNAKE


  Br'er Rattle-snake rattles befo' he springs,
  But he warns too late to 'scape 'is stings;
  His high-class manners don't count for much
  'Ca'ze dey grafted on to a sarpent's touch.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE PERSIMMON


  Is you little gals, growin' into women,
  Ever tasted a snappy young persimmin?
  It takes a hard frost to make it sweet,
  An' it's ol' an' swiveled 'fo' it's fit to eat!
        But it ain't by itself, sharp chillen, in dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



IN HARNESS


  Dat flee-bitten mule an' my bay mare
  In de hay-wagon, sho is a mixtious pair;
  But dey's pulled so long th'ough wind an' weather
  Dat out in de field dey graze together.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat, in dat--
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CANARY


  De little yaller cage-bird preems 'is wings
  An' he mounts 'is pyerch an' sings an' sings;
  He feels 'is cage, but I s'pec' he 'low
  To take what comes an' sing _anyhow_!
        An' you ain't by yo'self, little bird, in dat--
        No, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



ANSWERING BACK


  Br'er Pole-cat's got a s'ciety smile
  An' he sho is dressed in scrumptious style,
  But he keeps 'is own hat off de quality rack
  By de scan'lous way he answers back.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



DAT'S DE WAY MY LADY'LL DO


  It ain't how many eyes you got,
    'Les' needles could see an' potatoes, too;
  An' "hookin' a' eye," as like as not,
    Would be classed as a sin dat no lady'd do.
      But it's keepin' yo' eyes turned to'des de right,
      An' to'des de wrong jes' shettin' 'em tight--
      Lookin' out for ways to be polite--
    Dat's de way my lady'd do!

  It ain't how many ears you got
    Dat makes you listen an' learn an' do;
  Else a hill o' corn in a garden plot
    Would be 'way ahead o' me an' you;
      But it's shettin' yo' ears to heartless speech,
      An' listenin' whilst de teachers teach,
      An' strivin' to practise mo' 'n to preach--
    Dat's de way my lady'll do!

  It ain't how many tongues you got,
    'Les' shoes would talk an' wagons, too;
  An' all de bells would gabble a lot,
    An' tattle an' brag de long day th'ough;
      But it's gyardin' yo' tongue f'om talk dat's wrong,
      An' passin' a helpful word along,
      An' maybe singin' a hopeful song--
    Dat's de way my lady'll do!

[Illustration]



THE MAMMY ALLIGATOR


  Said de mammy alligator, wid a motherly grin:
  "I nuver liked babies wid dey dimples tucked in,
  But our little pet, wid its horny hide,
  Like its mammy's an' its daddy's, is de fam'ly pride."
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat, in dat--
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE NEW RICH


  Sis' Mush A. Roon sprung up over night
  An' to name whar she sprung f'om ain't polite;
  But she spreads 'erself wuss'n me or you,
  An' wid on'y one foot to stan' on, too.
        An she ain't by er new-come self in dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE WIBBLY WABBLY CALF


  Cunnin' little donkey-baby--
      "Ye-haw! Ye-haw!" What a funny laugh!
  Soun' jes like a creaky, cranky
      Seesaw--seesaw!
  Wasn't nothin' funny roun' dat
      We saw--we saw!
  'Tel we glimpsed de stagger-gait dat
      He saw--he saw!
  Brindle strikin' swagger-gait when
      She saw--she saw--_her wibbly wabbly calf_!

[Illustration]

  Den we j'ined wid Mister Donkey,
      "He-haw! He-haw!" How we-all did laugh!
  But we laughed at some'h'n' mo' dan
      He saw--he saw!
  Donkey couldn't see de ears dat
      We saw--we saw!
  Rabbit lopin' down de road, we
      Three saw--three saw!
  Wagged his ears an' called him daddy!
      "Haw-haw! Haw-haw!" How dat--who dat laugh?
  An' de last to see de joke was _wibbly wabbly calf_!

[Illustration]



THE TURKEY-GOBBLER


  Ol' Gobbly struts aroun' de stable
  An' th'ows out hints o' de rich man's table,
  An' he h'ists his tail an' spreads it wide,
  To display his cuyus graveyard pride.
        But he ain't by 'isself in pride like dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CAULIFLOWER


  When de cabbage got ambitiom, in a uppish hour
  An' lost 'is head an' bu'st into flower
  Wid 'is brains outside, an addled, at dat--
  He sot 'isself up for a 'ristocrat.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE STEPMOTHER


  Sis' Dominick follers her brood o' ducks
  To de bayou's edge, an' she clucks an' clucks:
  'Dis stepmammy job, oh me, oh me!
  Ain't all dat it's quacked up to be!"
        But she ain't by 'erself in dat, in dat--
        But she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FROG


  Ol' Br'er Frog ain't much to sing,
  But he clairs a log in a single spring,
  An' jedgin' 'im by his bigoty ways,
  He's clean forgot 'is tadpole days!
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE RAT


  Br'er Rat in de corn-bin over-fed
  An' under-worked, an' now he's dead;
  He craved to live lak a bloated chief,
  An' now he ain't nothin' but a ol' dead thief.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MOCKING-BIRD


  Br'er mockin'-bird sings in de live-oak shade,
  A secon'-hand chant or a serenade;
  He'll take off a pa'tridge, a robin, or a jay,
  But he'd nuver make a name no other way.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MUSHROOM


  Dey's many a musharoon good to de tas'e
  An' rich for de table, dat goes to was'e
  'Ca'ze folks don't dast to gether it in
  For de way it favors its dung-hill kin.
        An' it ain't by itself condemned like dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat

[Illustration]



THE MEASURING WORM


  When Br'er Measurin'-worm strikes out so brave,
  Makin' tend he kin measure you for yo grave,
  Wid all 'is stride an' all 'is stren'th
  He can't measure mo'n 'is own little len'th.
        An' he ain't by 'isself made cheap like dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself like dat.

[Illustration]



THE TOP-KNOT HEN


  Hit's a proper pride in Sis' Top-knot's breast
  Dat makes 'er step to march 'er crest;
  Yit jalousy follers 'er 'roun' de shed
  On de count o' dat innercent tufted head.
        An' she ain't by 'erself pursued lak dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



TOO FAMILIAR


  De cantelope gits mighty bilious
  F'om runnin' wid punkins too familias,
  So it's banished out for its sociable sin
  Along wid its yaller kitchen kin.
        An' it ain't by itself in dat, in dat--
        An' it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE 'POSSUM


  Br'er 'Possum makes pertend he's dead
  Whilst shots goes whizzin' over 'is head.
  But time de hounds is out o' sight,
  He's up an' "hongry for a fight!"
        An' he ain't by 'isself in a bluff like dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE OWL


  When de big owl calls out "_Who--ooo--ooo--!!!!!_"
  In de dark o' de moon, like night-owls do,
  De chillen, a-beggin' to play out late,
  Come tumblin' back into Daddy's gate.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves in dat, in dat--
        No, dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CHAMELEON


  De camelia-lizard is a turn-coat man,
  An' he borries his colors where dey's "room to stan'";
  He mought keep solid as a county candidate,
  But you couldn't sca'cely find 'im on a map o' de State.
        But he ain't by 'isself lost out, like dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CATERPILLAR


  Whilst she eats de groun' f'om onder 'er feet,
  Sis' Caterpillar's weavin' 'er windin'-sheet;
  But 'er red eyes shine an' 'er grass-green-hair,
  An' 'er short life's bright, so she don't care.
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat, in dat--
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



DR. DRAKE


  Ol' Dr. Drake wid 'is college waddle
  An' Latin inscriptioms on 'is noddle,
  Would part wid 'is gait an' 'is shimmerin' back
  To perscribe a _crowin'-powder_ an' nuver say "Quack!"
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE PEACOCK


  Br'er Peacock 'lows he's a 'ristocrat,
  Wid mighty fine clo'es, an' vain at dat;
  He'll answer yo' glance wid col' surprise
  An' look you over wid a thousan' eyes!
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

  [Illustration]



  THE ALLIGATOR


  Br'er Alligator kin grin a mile,
  But dey ain't no inducemint in his smile;
  Whilst he ain't no race-horse, yit dey say
  A little alligator goes a mighty long way.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE TERRAPIN


  Br'er Tarrapin draws in 'is head so knowin',
  You can't tell whether he's comin' or goin',
  But _his_ mind ain't mixed--he's layin' low
  Tel he sees which way he's obleeged to go.
        An' he ain't no new politician in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE DANDELION


  De dandelion flower blooms out so young
  Wid a look in its face like a sassy tongue,
  Den it grows light-headed wid self-conceit
  Wid a flighty ol' age, for full defeat.
        An' it ain't by itself, pert chillen, in dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE CUD


  "Life's give an' take," Sis' Cow, she laugh.
  So I gives my milk an' dey takes my calf."
  An' when contentment's hard to fin',
  She chaws 'er cud to ease 'er min'.
        And you ain't by yo'self, Sis' Cow, in dat--
        No, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MIRROR


  Br'er Donkey, drinkin' at de brook,
  Surveys hisself wid offish look,
  An' 'low: "You Jackass makes too free!
  Huccome you dast to drink wid me!"
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        Oh, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



GOSLINGS


  De purty yaller goslin's say:
    "Oh, what--oh, what's de use!
  When Mama say, 'Come, walk dis way
    An' ac' jes like a goose!'
      Oh, what's de use--oh, what's de use?
        I's boun' to grow a noddle,
      Like every goosey, goosey, goose,
        An' waddle, waddle, waddle!

  "But Mama say: 'Don't talk dat way!
    Come, waddle like a mild goose,
  F'om side to side, wid proper pride--
    Not like a woodsy wild goose!
      Dey's plenty use--dey's plenty use!
        Come, git yo' education!
      See how to waddle an' tote yo' noddle
        Accordin' to yo' station!'"

[Illustration]



THE PET


  De little white chicken dat's petted too much
  Gits stunted in growth f'om de sp'ilin' touch.
  An' she'll nuver make a hen so brave an' good
  As ef she went a-pickin', an' worked wid de brood.
        An' she ain't by 'erself in dat, in dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GUINEA-HEN


  Sis' Guinea, in proud week-day clo'es
  Forgits how she was hatched outdo's;
  Wid 'er red boot chicks, she cuts a dash,
  An' calls 'er neighbors "_Po' trash! Po' trash!_"[1]
        But she ain't by 'erself in dat--
        But she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE MOON


  Dey say Sis' Moon daresn't shine at night
  Cep'n by Marse Sun's allowance o' light,
  An' whilst he's away whar de yether moons are
  She don't even dast to wink at a star.
        An' she ain't de onies' wife like dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE HEN-ROOST MAN


  De Hen-roost Man he'll preach about Paul,
  An' James an' John, an' Herod, an' all,
  But nuver a word about Peter, oh, no!
  He's afeard he'll hear dat rooster crow.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



A GUILTY CONSCIENCE


  Dat little yaller pup 's got so many lickin's
  For pesterin' all de ducks an' chickens,
  Dat whenever he hears any barn-yard strife,
  He looks over his shoulder an' runs for 's life.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        No, he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE BAT


  Br'er Bat flaps out in de gloomin' dark,
  An' even ef he's boun' for a harmless lark,
  He favors de devil an' he keeps sech hours
  Dat he seems in cahoot wid de evil powers.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



INCUBATOR CHICKENS


  Dem inkybator chickens dat's hatched by de clock,
  Wid a lamp for love, is lonesome stock;
  Dey feeds in droves, but dey envies de others
  Dat scratches for grubs wid any ol' mothers.
        An' dey ain't by deyselves, po' orphans, in dat--
        No, dey ain't by deyselves in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FIREFLY


  Br'er Lightnin'-bug is a gay yo'ng spark,
  But he nuver is yit put out de dark;
  He shines for 'isself in 'is zigzag flight,
  An' he's middlin' sho he's de sou'ce of light.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.



THE THISTLE


  De thistle-stalk sends up a noble bloom
  Wid de shape of a flower an' de thought of a plume,
  But its prickle-y ways turn friendship down;
  So it stands all alone, in its velvet gown.
        An' it ain't by its lonesome self in dat--
        No, it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GRAY SQUIRREL


  De gray squir'l lives a nachel life,
  Wid friends an' foes an' chillen an' wife;
  But whenever he gits his picture took,
  He snatches dat nut, to appear in de book.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



LOOK OUT FOR MISTER BEE


  Look out for Mister Bee in de punkin-flower!
    Plenty gallinippers in de grass!
  Mighty close tie 'twix' wings an' stings
    Better let de honey-bee pass!
                  Z--Z--Z, Z, Z!
        Better let de honey-bee pass!

  White-face bumblebee--white folks' ways--
    Never give a sassy answer back!
  But don't you trus' de black-face, no matter what he says!
    Give de nigger bumblebee de track!
                  Z--Z--Z, Z, Z!
        Give de nigger bumblebee de track![2]

[Illustration]



THE ROSE


  When Sis' Rose th'ows open her heart _too proud_,
  She blooms mighty brief in Beauty's crowd;
  'Ca'ze the rains beat in an' de bees make free
  'Tel de heart o' de rose is sad to see.
        An' you ain't by yo'self, Sis' Rose, in dat--
        No, you ain't by yo'self in dat.

[Illustration]



THE LOCOMOTIVE


  Dey say Sis' Ingine's fiercest scream
  Don't mean nothin' but lettin' off steam,
  But wid so much wrackage behin' 'er back,
  Seem like she say: "Git out o' my track!"
        An' she ain't by 'erself, old Mis, in dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GOAT


  No matter how much she strive to 'spire,
  Sis' Nannie Goat's measured 'g'inst some'h'n' higher;
  "First cousin to a sheep" an' "de po' man's cow,"
  Is hol'-down luck, come when, come how.
        An' she ain't by 'erself helt down like dat--
        No, she ain't by 'erself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FIG


  De fig dat's "sweet enough to eat"
  Is _sweet enough_, but _not too sweet_;
  But de honey-lip fig in de blazin' light
  Is a battle-ground whar de varmints fight.
        An' it ain't by itself in dat, in dat--
        An' it ain't by itself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE FRIZZLED CHICKEN


  Dat frizzledy chicken, he steps so spry,
  An' he totes 'is head so pompious high,
  Like as ef he tries, wharever he goes,
  To rise above dem rough-dried clo'es.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE ENDLESS SONG


  Oh, I used to sing a song,
  An' dey said it was too long,
  So I cut it off de en'
  To accommodate a frien'
                Nex' do', nex' do'--
  To accommodate a frien' nex' do'.

  But it made de matter wuss
  Dan it had been at de fus,
  'Ca'ze de en' was gone, an' den
  Co'se it didn't have no en'
                Any mo', any mo'--
  Oh, it didn't have no en' any mo'!

  So, to save my frien' from sinnin',
  I cut off de song's beginnin';
  Still he cusses right along
  Whilst I sings _about_ my song
                Jes so, jes so--
  Whilst I sings _about_ my song _jes so_.

  How to please 'im is my riddle,
  So I'll fall back on my fiddle;
  For I'd stan' myself on en'
  To accommodate a frien'
                Nex' do', nex' do'--
  To accommodate a frien' nex' do'.

[Illustration]



THE EEL


  Br'er Eel got a mighty jewbious name,
  But maybe he ain't so much to blame;
  He couldn't squirm out ef he nuver ventured in,
  An' he resks his all when he resks his skin.
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE RAIN-CROW


  Br'er Rain-crow sho kin prophesy,
  Caze he reads his wisdom f'om de page on high;
  His mind ain't clogged wid secon'-hand facts,
  But de moon an' de skies is his almanacs.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE GIRAFFE


  Br'er Gy-raffe don't make no pertense
  O' not seein' over 'is neighbor's fence,
  An' ef he'd listen close-t, I 'spec'
  He'd hear somebody say: "Rubber-neck!!!"
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        But he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE BLACK SHEEP


  De black sheep says, "Oh, what's de use
  To shun de mire an' de muddy sluice?
  For whether I walks for praise or blame,
  Dey'll call me 'black sheep,' jes de same!"
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE PRIZE-WINNER


  Dat Berkshire horg in de blue ribbon pen
  Come home wid de heavy-weight prize again;
  He looks mighty pompious in 'is stall,
  But he's on'y a fat horg, after all.
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat, in dat--
        An' he ain't by 'isself in dat.

[Illustration]



THE DOG


  I can't talk dog an' he can't talk man,
  Yit Rover an' me, we onderstan';
  I wag my tongue an' he wags 'is tail,
  An' Love explains whar grammars fail.
        An' we ain't by ourselves in dat, in dat--
        No, we ain't by ourselves in dat.


       *       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The guinea-fowl strays away from home and makes her nest in the
fields. The newly hatched guinea-chicks are beautiful, dainty things,
with coral-colored feet which look very fine. The guinea's cry, loud and
harsh, sounds like "Potterack!" or "Poor trash!"

[2] The white-faced bee does not sting.





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