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How Mr. Lion Lost His Wool

Joel Chandler Harris

“Twuz des sech a day ez dis dat Mr Lion lost his wool,” remarked Uncle Remus to the little boy, “Mr. Man tuck a notion dat de time done come fer him fer ter have a hog-killin’ an’ he got ’im a big barrel, an’ fill it half full er water fum de big springs.

Den he piled up ’bout a cord er wood, an’ ez he piled, he put rocks ’twix’ de logs, an’ den he sot de wood after at bofe een’s an’ in de middle. ’Twan’t long ’fo’ dey had de hogs killt, an’ eve’ything ready fer ter scrape de ha’r off. Den he tuck de red-hot rocks what he put in de fire, an’ flung um in de barrel whar de water wuz, an’ ’twan’t long, mon, ’fo’ dat water wuz ready fer ter bile.

Den dey tuck de hogs, one at a time, an’ soused um in de water, an’ time dey tuck um out, he ha’r wuz ready fer ter drap out by de roots. Den dey’d scrape un wid sticks an’ chips, an’ dey aint leave a ha’r on um. “Well, bimeby, dey had all de hogs killt an’ cleaned, an’ hauled off, an’ when eve’ything wuz still ez a settin’ hen, ol’ Brer Rabbit stuck his head out fum behine a bush whar he been settin’ at.

He stuck his head out, he did, an’ look all ’roun’, an’ den he went whar de fier wuz an’ try fer ter warm hisse’f. He aint been dar long ’fo’ here come Brer Wolf an’ Brer Fox, an den he got busy. “He say, ‘Hello, frien’s! howdy an’ welcome! I ’m des fixin’ fer ter take a warm baff like Mr. Man gi’ his hogs; wont you j’ine me?’ Dey say dey aint in no hurry, but dey holp Brer Rabbit put de hot rocks in de barrel an’ dey watch de water bubble, an’ bimeby, when eve’ything wuz ready, who should walk up but ol’ Mr. Lion? “He had a mane fum his head plum ter de een’ er his tail, an’ in some places it wuz so long it drug on de groun’—dat what make all de creeturs ’fear’d un ’im.

He growl an’ ax um what dey doin’, an’ when Brer Rabbit tell ’im, he say dat’s what he long been needin’. ‘How does you git in?’ ‘Des back right in,’ sez ol’ Brer Rabbit, sezee, an’ wid dat, “Mr. Lion backed in, an’ de water wuz so hot, he try fer ter git out, an’ he slipped in plum ter his shoulder-blades. You kin b’lieve me er not, but dat creetur wuz scall’d so dat he holler’d an’ skeer’d eve’ybody fur miles aroun’. “An when he come out, all de wool drap’t out, ’cep’ de bunch you see on his neck, an’ de leetle bit you’ll fin’ on de een’ er his tail—an’ dat’d ’a’ come off ef de tail hadn’t ’a’ slipped thoo de bung-hole er de barrel.”

With that, Uncle Remus closed his eyes, but not so tightly that he couldn’t watch the little boy. For a moment the child said nothing, and then, “I must tell that tale to mother before I forget it!” So saying, he ran out of the cabin as fast as his feet could carry him, leaving Uncle Remus shaking with laughter.

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