Thomas Williams, Harmony Hall, Cock-pit country.
Hunter always hunting an' he meet up a spendid piece of land, rich land, and he t'ink to cultivate it an' he begin same day cut bush. Piece of land is Guinea-hen feeding-ground. Guinea-hen come out at night,--Guinea-hen don' walk in de day. "Massa is good, know dis is my feedin' ground an' begin to clean it so I can get my pullin' clear! Let me help myself." Make a little chopping himself too.
Ol' man coming in de morning. "Hi! t'ankful! I commence work yesterday, do somet'ing good an' massa help me!" Start to do a little himself 'side what he do first day. T'ird day come, he burn what he cut, an' Guinea-hen burn dere too. Ol' man come in morning say, "Hi! t'ankful! massa burn de balance!" Begun to clean up. Guinea-hen come de night, give t'anks an' clean up de balance of what de ol' man lef'.
Nex' day, ol' man t'ankful, begun to plant peas an' corn. Guinea-hen come in night, say, "Massa is good! I don' need to plant any", begin to eat dat which de ol' man plant. Ol' man come in de morning see de damage, say, "Hi! what insec' do dis?" Plant some more.
Go on so until de peas begin to ripe--about eight weeks. Ol' man say, "Goin' to gadder it in to-morrow." Guinea-hen hear what ol' men say, went to de sea an' call de fish wid his trombone an' tell de fish what he want: "I plant a bit of corn and peas, an' gettin' ripe an' ol' man coming to-morrow an' I wan' to go to-night gadder it in before he come to-morrow." Fish accept an' say, "Well, yes, I'll go, but, Friend Guinea-hen, I kyan' walk an' I kyan' fly, my wing is not strong enough. So, as you have foot an' wing, you give me one of dem, I'll go." Guinea-hen says, "Yes, I'll lend you my wing but I kyan' tak me legs off to give you. See de straight road? You can fly an' drop, an' I'll run on quick on my feet." So Fish fly an' drop, an' Guinea-hen run on till came to de groun'. "Here is my own field; gadder an' eat as much as you like."
When day commence to light, de time man is to come, Guinea-hen commence to eat an' look out. Fish say, "What you lookin' so fo', Friend Guinea-hen?" Guinea-hen see ol' man coming, say, "It's a butterfly I see jumpin' about. Lend me yo' wings, I go ketch it fe you." An' he sail away quietly out of groun'. Ol' man come, see damage an' begin to grumble an' pick what he can till he get whe' de Fish is, say, "Lawd I see him whe' he mak him
bed!" an' when he hawl up a big root an' see Fish a-flutt'ring an' a-trembling, he say, "O Fish! is it you do dis damage all dis time?" Fish says, "No, not I! Don' kill me an' I sing you some song." Ol' man like music, put him in a tub o' water to sing an dance.
Fish says, "Tak me to de neares' sea-side you has!" Ol' man tak up de tub, put it on his head goin' to de sea-side. Fish begin,
"She man yerry me bra, hay!
She man yerry me bra!
Guinea, guinea, quot amba tory."
Ol' man dance, Fish sing, until big wave coming an' Fish aim for it an' go long wid it. Ol' man stay dancing, don' know dat Fish is gone. Look in tub, Fish gone. Run home fe hook an' line an' t'row it into de sea to catch Fish. An' dat is why we always have to catch fish at sea.