Oh, terrible ! she felt an owlet's head ! In an instant she
understood all. She was as quick to act as to understand. She
tore the deceitful little snake apart and rescued her daughter.
Her son, alas ! she never saw again.
Since that time owls have never taken strange eggs to hatch,
nor have they allowed them in their nests.
(< Now foh dem tarnil hoop-snake."
" We hab mos' nuff snake," said Big Angy, thoughtfully,
as she stopped a sneeze by pinching her upper lip till she
looked not unlike a crotalus herself. " Dey ain' de bes' o'
companie any times, dough dey be dem at t'ink so, but no ter
de tase o' me, e'en ef I kin git de craft, de sottlety fum um.
Me brer, he wuz turr way. *E play wid um, tork wid um, hab
um in de baid rattlesnake, coppeh-h aid, rasseh-bleu (blue-racer),
bracksnake, j'int-snake, glass-snake de w'ich hab two laig.
(All snake hab laig, to-be-sho, but de res' kip um tuck out o'
sight.) Den he ami wid de hoop-snake, too. Dey don' roll
on Yra, oh, but no ! 'E des han' an' glub wid um."
"I ain't de one dat 'sturb 'im in dat" said Granny, with
emphasis. " Ise seed one o' dem crittehs des wunst, an' so Gord
he'p me out ! I gwine ter let dat las' me twell de Jedgmint Day."
" Dar yo' is, fa'r stahtid on dat tale we all honin' foh ! Des
go ri' on now, Aunt Jinny."
11 Dat hoop-snake I seen, I seen a-rollin' ercrost de perarer,
an' de way / putt ercrost dat perarer wuz er sight ter mek er
race-hoss tiuhd (tired). I des far (fairly) split de win' ! I jump
in de do' w'en I git home, and I slam de do' shet, an' I ain't
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 247
open um fob lub nur money twell Ole Mistis, she sont some
un out ter look, an' dey fotch in de wuhd dat he done roll by,
an' he done clean gone, an' he ain't nowurs roun'."
" Mebbe," suggested Aunt Mymee, just to be provoking, for
she believed in Granny's tale as firmly as did Granny herself
" mebbe " and she gave her eyebrows and chin a comical
twist " hit wuz one o' dem light coleh (coloured) weeds dat got
er lil root dat break off easy, an' den de win' blow um, hitter
an' yan, 'crost de perarer."
" 'Twuzzent no weed ! " cried Granny, indignantly. " T'ink
dat one dat bed the 'speunce o' life dat I bin thu, an' dat so
mighty ole inter de bahgain, don't know er blowin' weed fum
er trundlin' snake ! Nex', yo' gwine ter say dey ain' no diffunce
'twixt er haid ob er lady ur gemplum an' er punkin wid er
Aunt Mymee's leer was the very spirit and essence of aggra-
" Dey ain't so mighty much diffunce, to-be-sho," continued
Granny, breathing hard and sweeping the audience with a
significant look that added point to the thrust " dey ain't so
mighty much ef all wuz lak some, but, bress de Lawd ! dat
ain't de case wid me. Wen I sees weed, I know um weed ;
w'en I sees snake, I know um snake. Dis hyeah de way it
wuz," she continued, with a change of tone : " Ole Mistis, she
done sont me 'crost der fiel' unter Ole Miss Poteetses fob er
settin' o' Polandeh aigs dem speckle-top-knot kine dat Miss
Poteet, she promsus Ole Mistis she kin hab des w'ene'er we
git er hen dat show dat she 'sturb in huh mine 'bout settin'.
" Well, den ! I went 'crost de fiel', an' I met up wid Miss
Poteet's Joe, an' ax 'im is Miss Poteet in de house, an' he say
she am ; an' I go 'long an' wait in de kitchen an' sen' in er
gal ter ax 'er kin I see her 'bout Ole Misteses arrint ; an' Miss
Poteet, she sen' wuhd dat I mus' come in de settin'-room, an*
I go in dar whah she a-settin' a-knittin' er sock fob Bobby, an'
248 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
I mek er curchy w'en she ax me howdy ; an 1 den, w'en I ax am
she well an' how am all de chillums, an' say we all tollible,
t'ank 'er, den I tell dem se'f same wuhds dat Ole Mistis say I
mus' say : dat, ef 'twuzzent ancunvenyuns, will she be dat kine
dat she sen' dat settin' o' speckle-top-knot hen-aigs dat she
done promiss us some time back, kase oweh ole domminickeh
des boun' ter set 'aig ur no aig, but ef 'tain't des ez 'venient ez
nuttin 'tall, why, she mussen' t'ink o' sennin' no aig 'tall. An'
den, Miss Poteet, she mos' cry, she do, an' she 'low she mighty
sorry, an' she wouldn' a-hed dat happen foh de worl' ; but de
troof an' de fack o' de matteh am dat she gun de las' settin' o'
dem aigs, des de day befo' yestiddy, unter dem folks dat lib up
in de Nish Bottom. Den, she sorter chuck up, she do, an'
smile an' say she 'membeh now dat she got er half er settin' o'
dem aigs lef, an' ef I kin come back a-Sattiddy dat wuz
a-Chuesdy, mine yo' she kin mek out er settin' foh me ef de
skunks an' de weasels don't git dey bid in de hen-house fust.
Den she gin me de fust ripe martis (tomato) dat I seen dat
yeah, an' I et um wid er lil salt, an' den I tuck out foh home,
an' I went thu de young o'cha'd, an' I sorter skyurtid roun' de
strip o' woods, an' I wuz a-takin' er shawt-cut 'crost de perary.
I wuz gwine 'long, gwine 'long, easy-lak, an' a-gropin' in my
pottit (pocket) foh my pipe. I knowed dat pipe wuz in dat
pottit, kase I emp de ashes out an' putt hit in dar, des de
las'-mos' t'ing 'fo' I staht out, but I kyarn' fine um right off,
so I grope an' I grope.
(No wonder it was necessary to " grope an' grope," for
Granny's pocket held almost as large and varied a collection of
useful articles as did that famous bag of " The Swiss Family
" I grope, an' I grope, an' I grope, an? I grope, kase I feel
lak gittin' er whuff ur two ter sottle dat martis, but tuck up
wid dat pottit ez I wuz, all on de suddint de Lawd on'y know
de w'y an' de whahfo' I look ahine me. I look oweh my
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 249
shouldeh, an', bress Peteh ! de bad luck was a-follerin' me, dat
quick ! I wuz des in de middle ob de perarer, an' de grass
wuz high an' all tankle up tergerrer in sorter bunches mos'
evvehwhurs, but des whah I wuz, wuz er sorter high roll o' dat
perarer, an' up dar wuz sorter dry an' bar', and' des ahine me
on de bar' place, des a-comin', wuz dat hoop-snake. I knowed
wut 'twuz de minnit I laid eyes on him. 1 Lawd o' mussy ! I
reck'n I wuz 'bout ez ole ez de olest libbin', but de way dis
niggeh lope out wuz er shame unter er race-hoss ! My ! how
I do run ! De knots in de grass ketch me. Nemmine, ain't
got no time ter tarry ! Lope on ! De stumps in de new fiel'
stump my toe. Nemmine, ain' got no time ter tarry ! Lope
on ! De bresh beyant de fiel' scratch at me. Nemmine, am'
got no time ter tarry ! Lope on ! Git out in de big road. De
ruts am deep an' rough. Nemmine, ain' got no time ter tarry !
Lope on! Meet er drove o' hogs. Man holler out, 'Don'
scatteh dem hogs ; turn out ! ' Nemmine, ain' got no time ter
tarry ! Lope on ! Man holler an' cuss, hit me in de back wid
er big clod. Nemmine, ain' got no time ter tarry ! Lope on !
Come ter de bars. Dey ain't let down. Jump de fence.
Nemmine, ain' got no time ter tarry ! Lope on ! Dawgs run
ter meet me. Stumble o'er pup. Mammy m; d t'ar my dress.
Nemmine, ain' got no time ter tarry ! Lope on ! Ole Mistis
a-stannin' in de do' o' de Big House, holler at me. Nemmine,
ain' got no time ter tarry ! Lope on ! Git in de cabin ! Bang
de do' ! Set down on de flo', an', w'en I kin git bref, des holler
an' squall lak er sinneh at er camp-meetin'. Mo'n dat, I ain't
open dat do' foh coaxin' nur cussin', twell Ole Mistis, she come
down an' tork ter me, an' den, w'en she get de eensight o' de
marter, she sen' out de boys an' de dawgs ter hunt de critteh,
an' den, w'en dey come back an' say hit gone foh shoh, den I
open dat do', an' Mistis, she lead me ter de house she tuck
1 The hoop-snake is poisonous, and very much dreaded. It is believed to
make itself into a circle or ring, and roll with great speed. C. G. L.
250 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
me by de ban' an' hole me, ur I won' go an' gimme er big sup o'
de currend wine dat she mek wid 'er own ban's. Arter dat wine
wuhk, den I tell ALL de tale, fum fust ter las' wut Itole widde
do' shet ain't got de 'ticlers an' she ain't laugh, I boun' yo' !
" My ! dat wuz er ja'nt (jaunt) !
" De nex' day I wuz dat squeaky in de j'ints dat I'd a-bin
baid-rid shoh, ef Aunt Mary ain' rub me good wid de grease
ob er brack dawg."
" De grease ob er rattlesnake bin betteh," said Aunt Mymee.
" Sholy, sholy, but den I hed de dawg-fat, an' I ain' bed no
snake-fat dat de diffunce."
" Ay-ee. De fat o' de brack dawg mighty good fob heap a'
" So 'tis, Miss Boogarry, so 'tis. Hit kyore de bres'-kimplaint
(consumption) ef yo' eat um, an' de misery in de back an' de
rheumatiz an' de stiff j'int, an' mek de ole ooman soople ez er
gal ef yo' rub um on. Dat er fack ; I done prube um. Tur-
kumtime (turpentine) ain' nowurs 'longside."
" De w'ite dawg de dawg fob me," announced Aunt Em'ly.
" Rattlesnake haht de bes' foh bres'-kimplaint," cried Aunt
Mymee, finishing the fugue almost with a scream. " Swaller
um libe an' hot, right outen de snake."
" De snake-breens is good ef yo' wanter git strenk in yo' haid
foh cunjerin', Ise hyurn tell," added Aunt Mary.
" So's de breens ob er rat, ez we done name afo'. I done seen
hit wuhk ! oh, I done seen hit wuhk ! "
The others 1 awestruck, not so much at her words as her
significant expression, made haste to turn the conversation back
to its original channel, Big Angy, for a wonder, taking the lead.
"Spik 'bout dem hoop-snake," said she, with a polite wave
of her hand towards Aunt Mymee. 4 ' Me young brer, he hab
sontmint (sentiment) at dem snake same ez A'n' Jinny hab, an'
he hab de bad time too. Chooh ! Lissin ! A'n' Jinny, he
hab de time o' werry dat mek 'im medit (immediately) er ole
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 251
man, an dat in de parf (part) dat go fum de fur-trader house ter
dat HI cabin wur he ooman bin. Helas ! he don 'hab no dawg-
fat ter mek 'im young arteh dat. D-QU vient il? Whah am
yo' gedder dat fat, A'n' Jinny ? "
" Hit de fat o' Jody's dawg," replied Granny, candidly. " He
wuz er vigrous dawg, yo' mine, an' he ain't ne'er hed no fren
'cep' Jody. Wen de mowehs wuz in de harves' fiel', des back
o' dat time I see de hoop-snake, dat ole dawg an' de name un
'im wuz Lion he crope up ahine one o' de mowehs an' bit dat
moweh in de calf o' de laig, an' dat moweh, he ain't so much
ez tek de time ter cuss, he des up an' mow de haid offen dat
dawg wid he sife (scythe). Dat's des wut he do, an' sarve ole
Lion right too ; but Jody, he wuz ez mad ez er nes' o' yaller-
jackits, but he kyarn' he'p hisse'f. Dat dawg daid, an' dey
ain't no gittin' he haid on ergin. So Jody, he hatter mek up
he mine ter dat, an' so he tuck er spade an' dug er sholleh
(shallow) grabe an' bury Lion me an' Mary a-lookin' on, an',
suhs, we des hed baig an' 'pled foh de fat o' dat dawg, an'
Jody, he 'low he des ez soon gin us de fat o' he daddy, pre-
zackry, wid dat arnser we boun' ter be sati'fy, but suhs, dat
dawg aid res' easy in he grabe"
Granny ceased her narration, and laughed long and silently.
The rest of the company smiled knowingly.
" G'long, Aunt Jinny."
" Aunt Mary an' me, we putt in de mos'io' de night arter dat
funil (funeral) a-tryin' out brack-dawg grease in dat lil kittle
we mos'ly biles greens in. Lor ! lor ! I wusht I'd a-seed yo'
brer dat time, I'd a-gin 'im dawg-grease, an' weckom."
" He sho need'n' um vaire bad," said Madame Bougerau,
shaking her head, u vaire bad. Dat time he see no one hoop-
snake, wid tail in mout,' rollin', rollin', wid spahks flyin.' 'E
see hunnet, mille-ye (hundreds, thousands) ! "
" He wuzzent drunk, wuz 'e ? " questioned Aunt Mymee,
252 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
a Ah ! but no. Hit happen dat wunst dat *e staht home
vaire straight. 'E 'ab been at de stow (store) an* *e git de grey
jug fill an' staht back vaire sobre. He tek HI tasse wid fren,
to-be-sho, but drunk lak pig not 'tall ! "
(Oh, Big Angy, how impossible to reproduce that dialect of
He set out to ride that small three miles between store and
cabin, on a little pony, and thought nothing of it. He started,
he went one mile, perhaps, and then getting in a hurry to
reach the supper he knew his wife would have ready, he left
the " big road " and took a short-cut (path) that led across the
Sauk Prairie. All went well for one mile, then the pony
jumped sidewise and threw the brother off, then he gave a
snort and away he ran. The dismounted rider was very, very
much surprised. He had not supposed the horse lived that
could throw him. He looked this side, he looked that side, he
scarce could believe his senses. Chut ! a little pony to play
him a trick like that ! Well ! he must make the best of it
and walk home. Never mind ! a mile is nothing of a distance
to walk, but to be thrown ! and by a little pony, at that !
Ptt 1 He takes a few steps, then suddenly he understands the
case. He runs like the pony, only, if there is a difference,
faster. He has found himself at a snake-dance, sure enough !
Millions of snakes hoop-snakes ! They roll this way, they roll
that way. The poor brother runs here, runs there, trying to
get away. They head him off, they try to roll on him. He
dodges, he darts about trying to get out of such company and
reach home. Indeed, he runs like the deer themselves, but the
snakes keep all that from counting for anything. They keep
this up till the sun goes down, they keep it up in the dark,
and oh ! the sparks that fly from their wicked eyes make light
enough to see the poor man they are tormenting. They keep
up this torment till the moon comes up, they keep it up, this
torment, till the moon goes down. They keep it up till day-
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 253
break. Then, when the poor man is nearly dead and they
think he will soon be theirs, a sudden thought comes to him
to say an Ave. He says it and a Pater Noster, he squats and
spits. Then he recalls these words of the seed of the woman.
He says them. At one and another of those good spells the
snakes get frightened. They roll away and he sees them no
more. He tries to say one more " Hail Mary," but the words
stick and he falls like a dead man. The people find him like
that in the middle of the day, when the children go home
from the berry-patch and say they have seen a dead man.
When the men and women go to him, they rouse him. His
children are with the others. To them he tells this tale, all
the rest hearing. Then he goes home.
" Did he leabe de jug ? " asked Aunt Mymee, with deep
" No, ma mie, 'e tek 'im home, but lil use, kase w'en try tek
de sup, dat jug git nuttin in hit."
" Dat wut I s'pishin," said Aunt Mymee, in almost too
"He ain' drink urn," cried Big Angy, angrily. " Fum de
time 'e fall fum de pony he got no chance. Kin 'e drink wid
dem snake arter 'im ? No ! de cawn-cob jam in de jug foh
cawk all de time."
" Dar yit, w'en 'e git hit home emp'y ? "
"Suttin. De snakes mus' a-cunjeh de eau-de-vie out m'dout
pull out de cob."
" Cose dey did," said Granny, soothingly. " I kinceit (fancied)
dat fum de staht. . My ! my ! my ! dat wuz er speunce ! "
"Troof dat!" assented Big Angy, subsiding into com-
" I gotter snake tale dat I hyeah 'way down in Tennessee,"
burst in Aunt Mary, very unexpectedly.
" Den ef yo' got de tail, dror um 'long twell we see de haid,"
chuckled Aunt Em'ly, proud of her joke.
254 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
"Hit tail an' haid too, an' er mighty quare (queer) weed
inter de bahgin."
Aunt Mymee was on the alert.
"Fetch on dat tale, honey, dis minnit ! I gotter go ter de
House putty soon."
" Dey wuz mo'n one snake, an' my mammy say, w'en she
tell hit, * Hyeah de tale o' De Snakes an' de Quare Weed,' an'
den she go 'long lak dis
" Wunst, in de ole times, dey wuz er man a-gwine 'long de
road, des at sundown. Hit wuz harves'-time an' he hab he
sife (scythe) inhehan'. 'Long become, a-whustlin' an'a-honin*
fob he suppeh, w'en he see de putties' lil snake dat evveh wuz
a-layin' dar in de road."
" Wut kine o' snake, Aunt Mary ? "
" Mebbe 'twuz er glass-snake, glass-snake mighty putty.
Shuh ! wut I a-sayin' ? Hit wuz longeh nur er glass-snake.
Hit wuz dis long, my mammy say," said Aunt Mary, measuring
about twenty inches on her arm.
" Mebbe 'twuz er strawberry-snake, dey mighty putty foh er
snake, wid dey red streaks an' speckles."
44 Yuh ! Wut yo' reckin er strawberry-snake a-doin' in de
road ? Dey hides in de strawberry-leabes, dey does."
" Green vipeh, mebbe."
(4 'Twuzzen' no green vipeh," declared Aunt Mary, beginning
to grow impatient. " 'Twuzzent no green vipeh wid hit jaws
puff out lak er gopheh's. Hit wuz er putty snake, wid er
w'ite belly an' er speckle back lak er trout, dat de kine o' snake
hit wuz. Dar now ! Lemme 'lone twell I get thu wid de
tale I gwine ter tell."
" Aw ri', Aunt Mary, des rack on twell yo' git ter de eend o'
yo' road. Now we git de queschin o' de faveh (favour appear-
ance) o' dat snake settle, / am' de one that gwine ter th'ow
nuttin in yo' way. Des rack on, rack on," said Granny, poeti-
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 255
" Dat's mannehs, sho," said Aunt Mary, still somewhat
ruffled. " Howsomedevveh, I ain' de one ter kimplain, dough
I mos' fegit whah I git ter, I bin haul up so shawt free ur fo'
times. Oh, yes ! De man, he wuz gwine 'long de road an' he
see dat snake an' he ain' keer ef dat snake putty er not. He
des tek dat sife an' he mek er lunge an' he cut dat snake in
two. Hit wuz des at sundown he cut dat snake in two, so, in
co'se, hit die right off."
11 In co'se. All de 'varsil worl' know dat no snake kin die
w'iles de sun up, nemmine ef yo' cut um in hunnert pieces."
" In co'se, but den ^twuz sundown an' de snake, hit die an' de
man, he mighty glad, kase he des hate snakes lak rank pizon.
He kill de snake an' he noduss hit daid an' den he go 'long.
Bimeby he look back an' he noduss nurr snake des lak de fust,
a-crawlin' fum out de weeds in de fence-corndeh. He sorter
tuhn back w'en he see dat, an' he say
" * Good nuff ! I gwine ter hab two snakes cl'ar offen de face
ob de yeath stiddier one. Dis wut I calls good luck.'
" Wid dat sayin', he mek at un, but de libe snake ack so
quare, he boun' ter stop an' see wut hit up ter. Hit wuz
a-kyarin' er big piece o' green weed in's mouf. Hit wuz er
branchin' piece o' weed, so I hyurn tell, dat de snake wuz
a-kyarin' in he mouf, wid er heap o' leabes onter hit. Dat
suttinly do look mighty, mighty quare, so de man, he wanter
see wut dat snake gwine ter do wid dat big branchin' weed, so
he step ri' dar in de road an' keep de eye on dat snake. Den
wut happun, ye reckin ? "
" Dellaws ! Aunt Mary, wut ? "
" De snake dat kyarin' de weed, hit ain' noduss de man 'tall,
hit des crawl, crawl, crawl, twell hit git whah de pieces o' de
turr snake am. Hit crawl right up 'longside de tail-piece an'
hit sorter gin um er nudge, den it crawl up ter de haid-piece
an' gin hit er nudge, an' dat sorter fetch dem two pieces a-jindin
(ioining). Den, beholes yo' ! hit sorter bresh dat weed crost de
256 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
pieces an' whoop ! dat snake des ez gay an' libely ez deday hit
git outen de aig. Dat done, de two un um slip ri' quick in de
weeds an' de man ain' see um no mo'. Wut he do see am de
weed dey lef ahine um. He pick dat up an' he look an' he
look. Hit ain' lak no weed dat he bin use ter see a-growin r
roun' in de pasters an' corndehs. Hit er green branchin' weed,
he say, an' hit smell sumpin lak tansy an' sumpin lak * ole man '
(Southern-wood Artemisia abrotanuin), but 'tain't tansy an r
'taint ole man."
" Snake-weed, I boun' yo'."
" Nuh. 'Tain' no snake-weed ne-er. 'Tain' de kine o' weed
dat button snake-weed am. Kase w'y, snake-weed, she grow up
slim, on de perarer, des 'bout so tall " measuring about two
feet from the floor with her hand " an' snake-weed, she grow
straight an' she ain't branch an' she got de buttons at de j'ints,
she got de putty lil bloom 'bout de purple coleh ob deiun-weed,
but dis hyeah turr weed wuz mos' 'ticlerly er bunch weed an r
er branchin' weed. Wut de name dat weed? Wen yo' ax
me, yo' got me dar, I own dat up pintedly. De man, he
kyarn't call um no name, nur no turr man kyarn' in de worl'.
De man dat seen all dat done, he tuck dat weed, he do, an' he
staht 'long todes home, kase now hit a-gittin' late. Ez he go
'long, he look an' he look at dat weed an' he tuhn um roun'
an' he smell um mebbe he tase um, I dunno, kase I ain' hyeah
tell an' he mirate how dat weed kin ack so mighty cu'i's.
Hit look so simple but hit ack cu'i's, sholy. Ez he go 'long, go
'long, in er sorter trottin' step, an' miratin' ez he go, all on de
suddint er toad hop out. De man, he wuz a-studyin', an' dat
toad, hit s'prise 'im an' mek 'im jump, an' oh, my Ian' ! he got
de sife-blade roun' he neck, so he kin hole de weed an' look,
an' he sorter stummle, an' dat sife-blade, hit de mos' cut de
neck un 'im cl'ar in two. Dat mought a-bin de eend o' 'im,
but de good luck hab hit dat ez he fell he putt up de han' wid
de weed in hit at de place whah de sife-blade cut thu."
AND OTHER SORCERERS. 257
Aunt Mary stopped as if the story were ended.
" Den wut ? " asked an auditor, impatiently.
41 Dat marter settle mighty quick. De man fall down, daid,
an' git right up, well. De weed done dat good wuhk an'
'twould a-bin so he couldn' mek out but. dat he dremp hit, ef
'twuzzen' foh de blood on he shuht-colleh. Yessir ! dis er true
tale ez Ise er libbin critteh, kase menny an' menny's de time
mammy, she go an' he'p de man hunt foh dat weed.' 1
" Kyarn' dey fine none ? "
" Nuh, nurr smidgin (not a bit).- He putt in all he spar' time
a huntin' dat weed, mm dat time fo'th' but he ain' ne'er foun'
none. He los' dat piece he hab, wut's wuss."
" Huccome dat ? "
" Los' um w'en he fell down daid. Den 'twuz dahk an' de
road mighty dusty. He hunt turr'ble but de dahk done come
on an' he don't fine um. In de mawnin' he go hunt 'gin an'
he mos' 'stractid, but dat don' he'p out, kase he ain't see hide
nur ha'r o' dat weed ter he dyin' day."
Big Angy was the first to announce her approval of Aunt
Mary's story, and, after the others had enthusiastically echoed
her compliments, she went on to say that it reminded her of
that old tale, which everybody knew, of the daughter of Old
Grandaddy Rattlesnake, who was changed into snake-weed
by her angry brother. Being importuned by Tow Head for
particulars, she stated, concisely, that once, in the very earliest
times, Old Grandfather Rattlesnake was going away some-
where, she really did not know where, and he left his son and
daughter in charge of the world. Now, the son was very mali-
cious and bad-tempered, and he charmed men and beasts and
made them come close to him, when he at once bit them and
infused enough poison into their veins to kill them.
" Hole on ! hole on ! " cried Aunt Mymee, " dat ain't de son,
dat Ole Grandaddy he own se'f yo' a-tellin' on."
258 OLD RABBIT, THE VOODOO,
" Yessir ! dat de way de snake-darnce come, darncin' roun' de
Ole Gran'daddy ter git strenk 'dout (without) pizon."
Big Angy inexorably proceeded with her version of the story.
The world would soon have been without anything in it but
rattlesnakes, had not the daughter of Gran'daddy been of a very
different nature. She was as kind as he was cruel, and imme-
diately healed all those whom he had poisoned. This went on
for a long time, the son biting, the daughter curing. At last
he discovered why his efforts to rid the world of those whom
he hated were unavailing. When he found that his sister was
foiling him, he fell into a great rage and said a mighty charm
which changed her into a plant, and so she remains to this day,
and people call her and her children " snake-weeds." Fortu-
nately, her healing properties still belong to her and her
descendants. If you are bitten by the most venomous of
reptiles, and at once drink a tea made of snake-weed and rain-
water, and at the same time bind on the wound a poultice of
snake-weed and milk, you will soon recover from the bite.
" Mighty quare how crittehs kin change eroun ! "
"Quare how dey git merried an' raise up quare chilluns,
too," said Granny. " Dar am dem snakes 'way down Souf,
whah I wuz wunst, wid wings. Dem snakes de chilluns ob sho
nuff snake an' snake docteh."
" Dar now ! dat news ter me," said Aunt Em'ly.
" Torkin' 'bout dat toad dat hop in de road an' mek de man
kill hisse'f, 'mine me o' dat ruckshin x Old Rattlesnake mek at
Miss Toad's pahty," said Aunt Mymee.
" Toad gin er pahty ? Shuh ! dat do beat all. Gin us dat
tale right now, Aunt Mymee."
" Ole Miss Toad, she bin a-layin' off ter gin er pahty e'er
sence cawn-plantin', but de mo' she projeck on hit de mo'