Why Old Jackal Danced the War-Dance

Intermediate
27 min read
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    A solid burst of rain; the hissing, thrashing deluge of the high veldt had driven the hoe-wielders from the tobacco “lands,” and the old Hottentot had retired thankfully to the barn to work on a lambskin kaross he was making for the mistress. There the children found him, though for the moment they were quiet as their father stepped in to ask Old Hendrik, in his strong American accent, if this rain was likely to flush the Vaal too deep for crossing at the drift below.

    “Well, baas,” answered he, “dis hyer rain won’t do it, p’r’aps, but I seen it pretty black up de river all dis mawnin’, an’ I reckon de drift’s a-gun’ to be too strong for goin’ a-visitin’.”

    “Then I guess I ain’t a-tryin’ it,” decided the baas, withdrawing to the house.

    The children took up the subject. “Is it goin’ to be just so big wide, Ou’ Ta’?” asked little Annie.

    “Well, Ainkye,” answered Old Hendrik, “p’r’aps it ain’t a-goin’ to be yust so wide’s it was when Ou’ Jackalse danced de war-dance, and Ou’ Mensefreiter hit hisse’f on a rock into no bigger’n a water-millon; but it’s a-goin’ to be too full fo’ your daddy to go yust sa’nterin’ troo it.”

    “Oh, Ou’ Ta’, you never told us about that Mensefreiter at all,” cried the little girl reproachfully.

    “Didn’t I now?” cried Old Hendrik. “Well, I’d ought to anyhow, ’cause it was mighty tough times for Ou’ Jackalse an’ Ou’ Wolf dem days. Besides, dis is de same drift right hyer below.

    “You see,” he went on, squaring himself on the sack of mealies which served him for a seat, “times was hard wid all sorts of folk dat year. De rinderpest come along, an’ it just clean out all de game an’ de buck, till Ou’ Jackalse an’ Ou’ Wolf dey may hunt all day an’ dey may hunt all week an’ Sunday, an’ den dey won’t get de shadda of a buck. Dey ha’ to keep on a-drinkin’ water to keep deir tummies from growin’ front an’ back togeder.”

    “An what did Missis Jackalse an’ little Ainkye Jackalse do for sometin’ to eat, then?” asked Annie anxiously.

    “Oh, dere was no Missis Jackalse den,” answered the old Hottentot cheerily. “Dis was long ’fore that Dis was when Ou’ Jackalse an’ Ou’ Wolf was young fellas, an’ don’t only go roun’ upsittin’ wid de nices’ young misses dey can hear of. An’ it stand ’em in han’ to be young fellas an’ to had no fam’lies; ’cause de young fellas can scratch all day if dey like an’ den dere ain’t nawtin’ to eat.

    “Well, you knows Ou’ Jackalse is mighty slim a-gettin’ scoff if dere’s anybody else has some, but it wahnt no use waitin’ to steal what oder folk ain’t polished off, ’cause dere ain’t nawtin’ for oder folk to begin on, let alone to leave for him to sneak it. He yust ha’ to hump hisse’f an’ rustle roun’ if he’s a-gun’ to get anytin’. An’ dis is where Ou’ Jackalse’s bein’ so smart come in handy. Ou’ Wolf he keeps a-gauntin’ an’ a-wobblin’ on ahter de buck he tink he might see over de nex’ rise, but Ou’ Jackalse he yust keep his eye skinned to size up what’s on de yonder side de ridge.

    “Well, by’n’by he sees a farm where dere’s a patch o’ to’acco wanted ’tendin’ to mighty bad, an’ de farmer he’s a-leanin’ on de gate an’ first a-lookin’ at de row an’ den a-lookin’ at de hoe, as if fo’ one ting he can’t make up his mind where he’s a-gun’ to begin, an’ as if for anoder ting he can’t yust settle if he’s goin’ to start at all dis mawnin’ nohow.

    “Ou’ Jackalse he look, an’ he sit down, an’ he ’gun to brush de grass behin’ him wid his tail, sort o’ slow an’ like he’s tinkin’ pretty deep. He can’t eat tobacco; he know dat, but de man what work in de to’acco he can eat sometin’, an’ sometin’ a long shot better’n to’acco—he eat scoff. So Ou’ Jackalse he make up his mind an’ down he go to de farmer.

    “‘Mawnin’, baas!’ ses he. ‘Darie to’acco ’gin to look as if some of it’s goin’ to run wild an’ some of it goin’ to choke ’fore long,’ ses he.

    “‘Oh! ’tain’t nawtin’ to shout about yet,’ ses de farmer. ‘A good man an’ a good hoe soon set dat a’right agen.’

    “‘Well, what you reckon you’s goin’ to give de good man fo’ usin’ de good hoe an’ doin’ it?’ ses Ou’ Jackalse straight out.

    “‘Oh, I give him his scoff, an’ a twist o’ to’acco,’ ses de farmer, lazy like.

    “‘Hu!’ ses Ou’ Jackalse. ‘Ain’t you feared you’ll send him to drink an’ to end up in de tronk wid all de money he’ll have fo’ spendin’?’ An’ Ou’ Jackalse he fair sniff a bit.

    “De man turn roun’. ‘You please yourse’f,’ ses he. ‘I tink scoff’s a lot in dese times, when de rinderpest is kill off not on’y all de meat but all de oxen too, so we cahnt fetch nawtin’ from nowhere.’

    “‘Well, good scoff?’ axes Ou’ Jackalse, like he want to make de best of it.

    “‘Dere ain’t on’y one sort o’ scoff at my place,’ ses de man. ‘Same sort o’ scoff I get myse’f.’

    “‘Well, you leave de hoe here an’ I see about it,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, an’ de man he yust drop dat hoe like it was hot, an’ offs home to sit in de cool an’ drink coffee.

    “So Ou’ Jackalse he’d made a start anyhow; he’d got a yob at least. But if you tink he’s goin’ to balance hisse’f on de end o’ dat hoe, well, you’s got hold o’ de wrong ox dis time. He yust come along to Ou’ Wolf. ‘At last,’ ses he. ‘At last I’s got a sight to get some scoff anyhow,’ an’ he fetch a big ole breaf like as if a sack o’ Kaffir corn flop off his back.

    “‘How’s dat?’ ses Ou’ Wolf, a-sittin’ down an’ proppin’ hisse’f up wid his front foots, an’ his tongue hangin’ out like a sheepskin.

    “‘Dere’s a farmer de yonder side de ridge, an’ he want some’dy to do a bit in his to’acco, an’ he’ll give us a share of his scoff same as hisse’f,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse; an’ he look at Ou’ Wolf as if he ought to drop two tickies in de bag next time he goes to church, like an ole dopper farmer when de rain save de crop.

    “But Ou’ Wolf he look at Ou’ Jackalse sort o’ s’picious. ‘Do a bit in de to’acco?’ ses he. ‘Dat’s work, ain’t it?’ ses he.

    “‘An’ mighty glad to get it,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, out big an’ loud, makin’ as if he was just wishin’ dere was a hoe dere dis minute, so he could lick right in.

    “‘But—work,’ ses Ou’ Wolf, an’ he droop his head an’ he shake it slow an’ swingin’.

    “‘Well,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, sort o’ like he’s ponderin’ it. ‘Darie baas he reckon de man on de hoe is a-gun’ to be workin’, but de man on de hoe he might reckon he don’t know so much about dat. He might reckon he’ll knock it off in his own time. He might s’pose it’s him ha’ to do it; an’ he might ’member dat de longer dat yob last de longer his scoff last. See? fathead!’ ses he.

    “‘Well, I wants de scoff,’ ses Ou’ Wolf; ‘dere ain’t no shadda ’bout dat. But, de work; I don’t know,’ ses he.

    “‘Now you look-a’-me,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, ’s if he was fair tired o’ fool argyin’. ‘You knows me. Is I likely to make de grass fly much a-workin’? or is I de sort o’ one to work at all if dere was any oder snift of a chance o’ scoff?’ ses he.

    “Ou’ Wolf tink he know Ou’ Jackalse pretty well by dis time. ‘No,’ ses he, kind o’ considerin’. ‘I don’t tink you’d work if dere was any oder chance,’ ses he.

    “‘Come along o’ me, den,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, an’ away dey pops.

    “Ou’ Jackalse he bring Ou’ Wolf along to de gate an’ he give him darie hoe. ‘Dis is you’ patch,’ ses he, ‘mine’s furder along on de yonder side de house. I’ll bring de scoff at dinner time, an’ in de meantime you yust get a sort o’ wiggle on you, like’s if you could work if you had to,’ an’ off he stalk till he get out o’ sight. Den he flop down an’ bake hisse’f in de sun.

    “Well, Ou’ Wolf he gets a sort o’ stroke on him like a bywoner dat tinks it’s a-pretty near time he shifted to some farm where dey don’t raise no crops nohow, and den about an hour before noon along comes Ou’ Jackalse agen, an’ he looks at what Ou’ Wolf’s done, an’ he slant his eye at what he ain’t done, an’ he tinks dere’s a fair ole little lot o’ dat yet.

    “‘Look-a’-me, Ou’ Wolf,’ ses he. ‘It’s a-comin’ along to dinner time soon, but you; you yust about ain’t if dat’s all you’s done yet. De baas he’ll tink what I done, an’ he’ll see what you ain’t done, an’ den, why, dere you is! You ought to be sorry fo’ you’se’f, when you looks at what you done.’

    “‘I yust is,’ ses Ou’ Wolf, an’ he ain’t a-considerin’ ’fore he ses it needer. ‘I yust is,’ an’ he sort o’ squint up at de sun to see how soon it’s a-gun’ to be noon, an’ he sort o’ guess at de row to see how soon it ain’t likely to be done.

    “‘Well, it ain’t my look out if de baas don’t gi’e you no scoff fo’ dat bit,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse. ‘I got you de work, but you cahnt look fo’ me to do it fo’ you too, as well’s my own. I cahnt only ’pologise fo’ you. You better get a bit wigglier wiggle on you if you wants some dinner, anyhow,’ ses he, an’ off he pops.

    “Well, Ou’ Wolf he tinks p’r’aps he had better hump hisse’f along a bit an’ make a kind of a shine anyhow. ‘I ain’t a-gun’ to let no sich a skellum ha’ to ’pologise fo’ me,’ ses he, an’ he yust lit into dat row like he wants to get de baas to let him opset wid his daughter.

    “Den it come along to noon, an’ de farmer he come out to see what about de hoein’. Ou’ Jackalse he pop up out o’ de long grass an’ meet him. ‘I was yust a-comin’ fo’ de scoff,’ ses he.

    “‘Scoff fo’ dat much?’ ses de farmer; ‘an’ two o’ you too!’ ses he.

    “‘Well,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, ‘we’s a bit gone in fo’ want o’ scoff, dese last days since de rinderpest, so p’r’aps we ain’t a-quite got into de stroke yet. But if we has a good dinner to-day, why den to-morro’—well, to-morro’,’ ses he, an’ he t’row out his ban’s like to-morro’ dey’ll yust scoff darie hoein’!

    “‘Well, we’ll see,’ ses de farmer. ‘You can come along now an’ get de scoff,’ an’ so dey goes.

    “Well, dis yere scoff turn out to be all bisceyt, Boer bisceyt, an’ de baas he give Ou’ Jackalse enough fo’ bofe o’ dem, an’ Ou’ Jackalse he start back.

    “Now on de way he see a bushy little bush, an’ he t’row one bisceyt in dere to hide it. An’ on de way he seen anoder little bush, an’ he t’row anoder bisceyt into dat bush too, an’ he do like a-dat till he ha’n’t on’y one bisceyt left. An’ den he up an’ show Ou’ Wolf dat leetle one bisceyt. ‘Dat’s all de man had,’ ses he. ‘One f’r hisse’f, one f’r his wife an’ childer, an’ one f’r us. But he’s a-gun’ to have mo’ to-morro’, he ses.’

    “‘I reckon he yust is,’ ses Ou’ Wolf, letting de hoe drop like he never had hold of it yet. ‘If he’s a-gun’ to get any more o’ dis yere lan’s hoed den he yust is. How’s I a-gun’ to hoe to’acco on half a bisceyt?’ ses he. ‘An’ dis is de sort o’ yob you was so sa’cy dat you’d got it to keep us f’m starvin’, is it?’ ses he. ‘A whole one half o’ one bisceyt!’ snorts he, ’s if he wants to see some’dy yust step on his shadda, dat’s all.

    “‘Well, half o’ one bisceyt—dat’s a deal better’n de whole o’ one day widout no scoff at all,’ sniffs Ou’ Jackalse, mighty insulted. ‘But den, never mind. I is a bit stronger’n you, anyhow; so you yust eat my half o’ dat bisceyt as well’s your own, an’ I’ll slip back an’ eat some o’ de corn I seen dropped by de barn. Dere’s two-t’ree grains dere yet if de birds ain’t pick ’em up ’fore dis,’ an’ off he flops, lookin’ yust as full o’ pious as a location predicant (Parson) when he’s got a good collection on a Sunday.

    “Ou’ Wolf he feel a mighty sneak to let Ou’ Jackalse lose his half de bisceyt like dat, but he don’t can he’p it nohow, an’ he’s yust so ’ongry dat while he bite off his own half o’ de bisceyt he mess de yonder half de same time, an’ den he might yust as well eat dat half too, ’cause he cahnt offer it to Ou’ Jackalse now when it’s all mussed. An’—well; de fus’ ting Ou’ Wolf know, gop! he scoff dat half too. But he feel dat mean dat he work dat hoe like steam to easy his mind a bit.

    “All dis time Ou’ Jackalse he’s a-pickin’ up dem bisceyt he hid in de bushes, an’ yust a-blowin’ hisse’f out, till he cahnt on’y wink an’ har’ly stir his tail where he lie an’ bake alongside a stone.

    “Well, it go on like dis for one day after anoder, till one day along comes Ou’ Mensefreiter, an’ he see Ou’ Wolf a-hoein’ in de to’acco, an’ he see Ou’ Jackalse a-snuggin’ an’ a-bakin’ atween a bush an’ a stone. ‘Wotto!’ ses Ou’ Mensefreiter. ‘Here’s two,’ an’ he fair seizes ’em, an’ he offs.”

    “But Ou’ Ta’,” interjected the little girl. “What was that Mensefreiter like?”

    “Oh, he was one o’ dese yere bo’-constructors yo’ daddy tells you about. An’ yet he don’t was yust a constructor needer. He was one o’ dese puff-adders what spring t’ree yards high an’ t’ree yards far at you, quicker’n you’ eye can flash to watch ’em; only he was de grandaddy of ’em all, an’ so he was bigger’n a bo’-constructor, an’ de same way he could strike forty yard high, an’ forty yard far, an’ forty times quicker’n de biggest puff-adder dat ever make you yump an’ run in de veldt. An’ he yust grab dese two and offs wid ’em to where he live—an’ dat’s de yonder side de drift down here.

    “Well, de Mensefreiter he took de two out an’ look ’em up an down, top an’ bottom, as soon as he gets to his kraal. He feel Ou’ Wolf’s bones an’ he shake his head. ‘You is pretty fine drawed,’ ses he. ‘It ’ud take two o’ you to make a shadda. You’ll want some fattin’ ’fore you’s good enough for a bile, let alone a roast.’

    “Den he feel Ou’ Jackalse, an’ he sort o’ smile all de way down his back. ‘Well, you bin have a high ole time, ain’t you, wid all dat fat on you? A week’s feedin on de berries here’ll give you yust a nice flavour,’ ses he.

    “So nex’ day he gi’en ’em baskets; a sort o’ baskets like a bottle, so’s you cahnt open it, an’ so’s you cahnt get your hand in. You yust drops de berries in, an’ den Ou’ Mensefreiter he unlock de lid an’ see how much you fetch home. An’ off dese two flops to pick berries.

    “‘Now look-a’-me,’ ses Ou’ Wolf to Ou’ Jackalse. ‘You better don’t eat too much now, else you’ll get scoffed ’fore you know it. You better to get t’in like me an’ den you’ll live longer. I’s yust a-gun’ to pick berries till de sweat run, den Ou’ Mensefreiter ain’t a-gun’ to was’e time eatin’ me, I’ll keep dat t’in.’

    “‘A’ right I’ll tink on,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, but he ain’t no more’n see de berries in de sun dan he wink to his nose end. ‘I’s fat,’ ses he to hisse’f. ‘I’s fat, an’ I’s a-goin’ to keep fat Ou’ Mensefreiter ain’t a-eat me yet, and he ha’n’t better hold his breat’ till he does, needer, else he’s likely to get black in de face ’fore he finis’.’

    “Next he tas’e one berry, an’ ahter dat he yust about put one berry in his basket and forty-one in his mout’, till the yuice run all down his chest, an’ he feel dat good he yust cahnt he’p it but he fair stan’ on his head wid fun like a wildebeeste.

    “Well, it come along to time to get back to de kraal, an’ yust when Ou’ Wolf was fair a-workin’ an’ a-snatchin’ at de berries to fill his basket, Ou’ Jackalse he sort o’ sa’nter past de basket behind him an’ swop his own for it, yust so slim an’ so quick dat Ou’ Wolf never dream on it. On’y when dey start fo’ de kraal, he say. ‘Dese yere berries is mighty light, considerin’ what a lot I picked an’ all,’ an’ he mop his fore’ead as if he’s glad dat yob’s done.

    “Dis went on de same every day; Ou’ Wolf bringin’ yust a han’ful home, an’ Ou’ Jackalse a fat basket, till one day Ou’ Mensefreiter he wink at Ou’ Jackalse. ‘You is a bit slim, ain’t you, bringin’ all your berries home an’ eatin’ none, so’s you won’t get no fatter, huh? But dis is where I comes in. I yust drops you inside dis hock,’ ses he, droppin’ him in an empty place like a pigsty, ‘an’ I fat you up wid seven days’ feed o’ pun’kin like a little pig. Den we’ll see if you don’t make de finest kind o’ dinner,’ ses he. ‘An’ you, Ou’ Wolf,’ ses he, ‘you’s de all right sort. Yust you keep on in de berries, eatin plenty like you bin a doin’, an’ den one o’ dese days you’ll be nice an’ fat too.’

    “Ou’ Wolf he take his basket at dat an’ off out to de bessie berries agen, an’ he won’er a bit; an’ Ou’ Jackalse he stop in de hock an’ he kind o’ begin to won’er too. Dere’s two or t’ree pun’kins, de finest kind o’ pampoene, in de hock wid him—dat’s his scoff fo’ de day, an’ if he don’t eat ’em all up ’fore night, den he’s yust agun’ to ketch it.

    “Well, Ou’ Jackalse he look at dem pampoene an’ he kind o’ feel he ain’t yust a-yearnin’ fo’ dinner nohow. He look over de top o’ de wall o’ de hock, but he know it ain’t no manner o’ use to try an’ run for it, ’cause Ou’ Mensefreiter ’ll snap him back ’fore he get into his stride har’ly. It ain’t yust sich a fat time, bein’ fat, ahter all, tinks he, an’ he sort o’ wish he had Ou’ Wolf dere wid him somehow. He look dis way an’ he look dat way, but dere ain’t nawtin’, on’y de little pat’ a-runnin’ down to de drift, and de drift a-risin’ an’ a-risin’ wid it keepin’ on a-rainin’ an’ a-rainin’ up de river. It look mighty like Ou’ Jackalse’s name’s goin’ to be ‘mud’ dis time, an’ his tail yust drop flop.

    “Den he feel a sort o’ quiet little twitch at his tail. He look roun’ sharp, an’ dere he see little Kleinkie Mousie. ‘What you bite me fo’?’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, kind o’ big, ’cause it kind o’ give him a start wid makin’ him tink it was Ou’ Mensefreiter had him.

    “‘You’s got all dese pampoene, ain’t you? An’ I want to talk to you about de seeds for my dinner,’ ses Kleinkie, his eyes a-shinin’ black an’ his paws yust ready to off ’fore you can swip you’ tail.

    “Ou’ Jackalse he know he can’t eat de seeds hisse’f, an’ besides he ain’t yust dead gone on dem pun’kins nohow. He tink he might’s well be a fine fella an’ get his name up wid Kleinkie. ‘A’right,’ ses he, ‘if you want a dinner, why, dere you is,’ ses he, an’ he sweep his hand up like di’monds is dust an’ he’s yust scatterin’ dust down de wind. Den he lean up agen de corner o’ de hock an’ watch Kleinkie fair gnawin’ dem seeds, like it quite do him good to watch it.

    “Well, dis went on till de sevent’ day, an’ to-morro’ mawnin’ Ou’ Jackalse is goin’ to be shove in de pot an’ roas’. He ’gin to look down his nose some, ’specially when he look at de pun’kin Ou’ Mensefreiter drop in fo’ him to eat dis day. It was yust one pun’kin, only one; but it was de biggest old pun’kin you ever did see. ‘If I did get myse’f wrop round de outside o’ dat pampoene I’d be sort o’ fat-lookin’ anyhow,’ ses he, an’ he smile kind o’ mournful.

    “Den up pops little Kleinkie. ‘What’s de matter?’ ses he. ‘You looks like a location Kaffir when he bin had a night on Kaffir beer an’ den ha’ to work next mawnin’,’ ses he.

    “‘Well,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse. ‘I never did work yet ’cept to get out o’ work. But if I don’t find some way o’ gettin’ out o’ dis ’fore night, widout Ou’ Mensefreiter seein’ me, den it’s mighty likely I’d be glad to ha’ de chance to go to work to-morro’ mawnin’.’

    “‘A bit rough dat,’ ses Kleinkie. ‘If dere was any way I could he’p now?’

    “Dat set Ou’ Jackalse to studyin’, an’ it ain’t a minute or two ’fore de twinkle ’gin to shine in his eye, and his tail begin to rise itse’f. ‘Look-a’-me now, Kleinkie,’ ses he; ‘dere is one way, if you an’ de rest o’ you’ people like to he’p a bit.’

    “‘How’s dat?’ axes Kleinkie.

    “‘Dis way,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse. ‘I cuts a hole in darie pampoene, an’ den you an’ de rest turn to an’ gnaw an’ scrape out de inside till dere ain’t on’y yust de shell left.’

    “‘An’ den?’ axes Kleinkie.

    “‘Oh, den you’ll see,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse. ‘You yust get darie pampoene scrape’ out first,’ ses he.

    “‘Well,’ ses Kleinkie. ‘You gin us dem seeds a’right, you did, so now we’ll see what about dis yob;’ an’ off he pop an’ fetch all de rest o’ de mouses, an’ it ain’t har’ly no time ’fore dey has dat pun’kin scrape as clean inside as de mealie pap pot in a bywoner’s fam’ly.

    “‘See me now,’ ses Ou’ Jackalse, an’ he lift darie pun’kin an’ he drop it qu-i-etly over de wall onto de groun’ outside, on dat side away from where Ou’ Mensefreiter’s lyin’ sunnin’ hisse’f. ‘See de drift down dere?’ ses he; ‘an see how high it is wid de flood? Well, once I get to de yonder side dat drift den Ou’ Mensefreiter cahnt folio’ me. Floods is dat much good anyhow. Now watch,’ ses he.

    “Wid dat he wriggle hisse’f out ahter de pun’kin, yust as flat as a new skun sheepskin, an’ ’fore you could look twice he wiggle hisse’f right into de inside o’ dat pun’kin, till you couldn’t see hide nor hair of him.

    “Den Kleinkie hear him begin to sing, ve-ery soft an’ low:—

    “Pampoenekie; Pampoenekie,
    Roll down de pat’ickie;
    Pampoenekie pat’ickie,
    Pampoene roll!
    “An’ darie pun’kin begun an’ ro-o-oll.

    “Den Kleinkie keep on a-watchin’, an’ darie pun’kin find de pat’ dat run down to de drift. Kleinkie watch yet, an’ darie pun’kin keep on a-rollin’ an’ a-swiftin’ till, bounce! it splosh an’ hit de water in de drift Kleinkie watch, an’ darie pun’kin went so fast it yust swish right across to de yonder side de drift, an’ Ou’ Jackalse he step out an’ snatch up a willow stick in one hand, an’ a big leaf in de oder, like a assegai an’ a shield, an’ swip! he begin to do a war-dance, yust a-leapin’ high an’ a-chantin.

    “Ou’ Mensefreiter he lift his head when de pun’kin ’gun to roll Ou’ Mensefreiter he kink his back when de pun’kin hit de drift. But Ou’ Mensefreiter, when he see Ou’ Jackalse doin’ darie war-dance—swip! he whip hisse’f t’rough de air, an’ de first place he light was down by de edge o’ de drift.

    “Dat drift was mighty wider’n he ever tried it afore, but he see Ou’ Jackalse a-springin’ an’ a-clinkin’ his heels togeder on de yonder side, an’ Ou’ Mensefreiter he hump hisse’f agen, an’—swip!—he strike for it to get dat Jackalse anyhow.

    “Forty yards was his everyday jump, an’ sixty yards at Nachtmaal. But dis day he bested dat mor’n double, an’ yet he don’t do enough. Dere was a big rock a-stickin’ out o’ de water, a long way short o’ bein’ across, an’ Ou’ Mensefreiter come into it wid his nose, whack! smack! sich a bash an’ a biff dat it yust drove his tail right on up into de inside of his head, an’ dere he was, all in a ball no bigger’n a water-millon, an’ he roll off into de water an’ down he go wid de stream; a-rubble an’ a-bubble, an’ a-over an’ a-pover, till he drownded. An dat’s what happen to darie Mensefreiter,” finished Old Hendrik.

    “An’ what did Ou’ Wolf do?” demanded the little girl.

    “Oh, Ou’ Jackalse he shout for Ou’ Wolf to come along. But Ou’ Wolf he look at de drift an’ he look at Ou’ Jackalse. ‘Ain’t you a-comin’?’ shouts Ou’ Jackalse.

    “‘What do I want to come for?’ ses Ou’ Wolf. ‘All de berries I pick now I’ll get a chance to eat ’em myse’f. An’ what do I want to come for? Eatin’ berries is better’n hoein’ to’acco for half a bisceyt a day. You go an’ hoe; I keep’s here wid de bessie berries. Besides—dere’s pun’kin.’”

    “And what did Old Jackalse have to do then?” demanded the youngest boy.

    “Well, I wouldn’ yust like to say what Ou’ Jackalse ha’ to do,” answered Old Hendrik. “But you can bet on what he didn’ do—he didn’ hoe.”

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