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about this story
Coaching is set into the text below. The links are to comments about the language.
The Tar Baby
Brother Fox and Brother Bear kept trying to catch Brother Rabbit. But the closest they ever came to it was the time they were down by the tar-pit.
They made a baby out of tar. They scooped up a bunch of tar, and rolled it up, and made it into the body, then they made a head, and put that on top, and they put a hat on it, and a coat, and set it up in the road.
(show all this with your hands, as you talk.)
After awhile, Brotha Rabbit comes along, and he sees the Tar Baby set up there, and he says,
(Big hello, big wave & nod]
Tarbaby didn't say nothing, just sat there, like this.
[this is hard to describe. You have to become the tarbaby. Pull your head into your shoulders, put your fists on your knees, become round, make your eyes glassy & staring, and push your face forward with a big fixed smile. (No teeth.] Then wait. If you get it right, there will be a laugh. But you have to wait for it. It's really worth it.]
Rabbit said, "Maybe you didn't hear me. I just told you, 'Howdy!'"
Tar baby didn't say nothing, just sat there, like this.
[As above. Wait for it.Bug your eyes out, if you have to. Whatever it takes. It's worth it.]
Rabbit said, "I'm going to give you one more chance. And if you don't say "howdy" back to me, I'm going to hit you with this fist."
"Here it comes. --'Howdy'-- One.....two..... three!"
[throw punch. Mime being stuck.]
And he got stuck in the tar. Tried to pull out
couldn't do it. "Leggo of my fist."-- Tarbaby didn't say nothing, just sat there-- like this.
[aren't you glad you waited?]
"Leggo of my fist! -- If you don't let go of my fist, I'm gonna....."
"I'm gonna hit you with my other fist!
[flourish other fist. Get laugh.]
"One.... Two....... Three! Pow!"
[throw punch, as before, get stuck. Now you have both hands out in front of you.]
"Leggo of my other fist. Leggo of my other fist! If you don't leggo of my other fist I'm gonna........"
"I'm gonna kick you with my feet!"
[flourish feet; get laugh]
-- Tarbaby didn't say nothing, just sat there-- like this.
"One.... two....three! Bam!"
[kick with both feet. It's hard keeping both feet out in front of you, so you might want to squinch in after this-- you're getting stuck further in the tar, I guess- but keep your head pulled back,
"You leggo of my feet! Leggo of my feet! If you don't leggo of my feet, I'm gonna....
"...butt you with my head!"
"One.... two... three! Pow!"
[Do the headbutt, then come up into narration]
And Brother Rabbit went rolling around on the ground, all mixed up in the tar. And just about then, Brother Fox and Brother Bear came out. Said
[Looking down, rubbing hands, laughing, licking chops-- think happy dog, sly fox.]
"Well, " they says, "we gotcha now, Brother Rabbit, we really gotcha good."
"Yeah! You got me!--"
--[looking up, pitiful, loud]--
"--You really got me good. Whatcha gonna do with me?
[Look down, be the Fox again.]
"Well... let's see... "
[wide eyes. finger up, think of a cartoon "idea" lightbulb over your head]
"I know! let's roast him over a a slow fire, and eat him!"
"Yeah-yeah-yeah." says the bear. "GOOD idea! Let's roast'm and eat'm"
--[looking up, pitiful, loud]--
--"Roast me! Eat me! Do whatever you want-- but Pleeaaaaaaaaase DON"T throw me in that pricker patch!"
[Fox turns to Bear, Knit your brows]
"Hmmm! He wants us to roast him. That wouldn't be no fun....
"...I know! We'll drownd him!"
[as Bear, turn to Fox.]
"Yeah-yeah-yeah! That's what we'll do! We'll drownd him!"
[As Rabbit. Looking up, pitiful and loud]
"Yes Yes! Hang me! Hang me from the highest tree! But please please please.... DOOOON"T throw me in the pricker patch!:
[Fox, as before.}
"Hm, he wants us to hang him. That wouldn't be no fun..... I know! Let's throw him in the pricker patch!"
"Yeah Yeah Yeah! That's what we'll do! We'll throw him in the pricker patch!"
"No No NO NO NO!" says the Rabbit, but they took him by the arms and legs and went
[Be the fox or the bear, swinging the rabbit by the arms or legs. Follow with your eyes as you swing]
"One..... Two...... Three!" and Brother Rabbit went flying up into the air
[show the arc with with your hand and eyes]
and down into the middle of the pricker patch. And then they heard him go
[scream, scream, scream, laugh]
Fooooooled you again! I fooooooooooooled you again. I was born in the pricker patch, I grew up in the pricker patch! I LOOOOOOVE the pricker patch! Thanks for the nice ride home. " And off he went, like the king of the county.
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder: World Tales & Celtic
PO Box 522 Montpelier VT 05601
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