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p. 110

33. THE TAR BABY (63)

Rabbit devoured some vegetables growing in a garden and the people were angry with him. They watched for him but did not see him. They considered how they could catch him. "We might do this," they thought. So they made a doll out of pine tar and set it up between the rows of peas.

While the doll was standing there Rabbit came and saw what he thought was a little black man. He said to it, "Get out of my way at once. If you do not I will kill you." The little black man stood still, not moving a particle. Rabbit wanted him to move. He went closer, but that little black man wouldn't move. "If you do not move I will know why," said Rabbit, but the doll stood motionless. Then Rabbit came closer. He came very close but it did not move. "I will hit you unless you move at once," he said, and when it did not move Rabbit hit it, but one of his hands got stuck. "Let go of me," he said to the little black man, "I have still another hand." When he hit it with the other hand that also stuck. "I have still my head," he said. He poked him with that and his head stuck. "I still have my feet," be said. So he kicked it with one foot and his foot stuck. "I have another foot," he said. He kicked it with his other foot and that also stuck. He could do nothing more. He was stuck to the doll.

Then Rabbit talked to the doll. "You are holding me, although I was only talking to you in jest. Let me go and hereafter we will be friends." So Rabbit spoke to it, but it was not a person. It did not talk to him and so Rabbit stayed there. Next day the man who had charge of the garden came, caught Rabbit and beat him to death.

This is how it is told.

Next: 34. The Tar Baby (Second Version)