February 10, 2022

#08-186: How Brer Rabbit Escaped

"Born and bred in a briar patch, Brer Fox! I was born and bred in a briar patch!"

Note: When Brer Fox put Brer Rabbit in the predicament of being stuck to a doll made of tar, it took all of Rabbit's cleverness to get loose again. This is perhaps the most famous of the "Uncle Remus" stories by the American writer Joel Chandler Harris.

Get Ready: Do you know the meaning of "reverse psychology"? It's the idea of suggesting to someone the opposite of what you really want them to do, so--being stubborn--they'll do exactly what you want! Can you think of examples?

Last lesson we read the story of the Tar Baby: How Brer Fox--sick of Brer Rabbit's shenanigans--had fashioned a little man out of tar. Frustrated when the creature wouldn't answer him, Brer Rabbit struck him first with one hand, then the other, then both feet, and at last his head--and was stuck fast.

When Brer Rabbit was thoroughly stuck, Brer Fox came out to taunt him.

At last Brer Fox said, "Well, I got you this time, Brer Rabbit! I guess you've come to the end of the line. Now you see what happens when you stick your nose where it doesn't belong. You just wait here. I'm going to light a pile of sticks and barbecue you."

Then Brer Rabbit became mighty humble.

"Oh, Brer Fox," he said, "I don't care what you do with me--roast me if you must--as long as you don't throw me into the briar patch!"

Brer Fox said, "I guess making a fire is too much trouble. I think I'll just hang you by the neck instead."

"Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox," said Brer Rabbit, "but for pity's sake don't throw me into the briar patch. "

"Oh," said Brer Fox, "I don't have any rope! I guess I'll just have to drown you."

"Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox," Brer Rabbit said, "but please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"Hmmm... there's no water near here," Brer Fox "so now I'll have to skin you."

"Skin me, Brer Fox," Brer Rabbit said, "snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots, cut off my legs, but please, Brer Fox, don't throw me into that briar patch!"

Of course, Brer Fox wanted to hurt Brer Rabbit as bad as he could, so he caught him by the hind legs and threw him right into the middle of the briar patch! There was a flutter in the bushes as Brer Fox watched to see what would happen, and then he heard someone calling to him from way up on a faraway hill!

There was Brer Rabbit sitting cross-legged on an oak log and combing the tar out of his fur with a stick. Brer Fox realized he'd been tricked!

Brer Rabbit couldn't help but sass Brer Fox one more time: "Born and bred in a briar patch, Brer Fox! I was born and bred in a briar patch!" And with that he skipped quickly away!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar-Baby

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. briar patch
  2. cross-legged
  3. flutter
  4. frustrated
  5. hind
  6. Hmmm
  7. humble
  8. mighty
  9. shenanigans
  10. taunt

  1. with one leg over the other, like a person meditating
  2. mischief; pranks
  3. not proud
  4. a thinking sound
  5. mock; make fun of
  6. very
  7. rear; at the back
  8. disappointed; dissatisfied
  9. an area thick with bushes that have thorns
  10. a noisy motion

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 10, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. a; 3. j; 4. h; 5. g; 6. d; 7. c; 8. f; 9. b; 10. e