"Brer Rabbit and Sister Hornet." Told by Sparky Rucker. Patchwork Tales: Stories From the Rucker Performance Archives. With Rhonda Rucker. Audiocassette. Brer Rabbit steals from Sister Hornet and insists on thinking he has her lunch bag, until he sticks his hand in the hornet's nest for a sandwich and gets stung. The four knuckles on our fists remind us of these stings. This African American storyteller from Knoxville, Tennessee also tells "The Tricksters," "Long John," "Bootlegger's Blues," "Against the Law," "Airborne!!!" "Goin' Fishin'," "Tailypo," "Chain Gangs and Donuts," and "Here Rattler! Here." Maryville, TN. No date is given but ordering information is provided on the Rucker web site.

"Brer Rabbit and Sister Hornet." Told by Sparky Rucker. Tall Tales of the Blue Ridge Mountains: Stories From the Heart of Appalachia. Dir. Phillip Williams. Videocassette. Asheville, NC: Eastern National Park and Monument Association, 1992. c. 42 min. Music by Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. After tales by Ray Hicks and Donald Davis, Rucker tells this tale and "Tailypo" to children at Black Mountain Primary School.

"Against the Law–or–Br'er Wolf Still in Trouble." Told by James "Sparky" Rucker. In Holt, David and Bill Mooney, eds. More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World. Little Rock: August House, 2000.

Haviland, Virginia, ed. North American Legends. New York: Collins, 1979. Includes a version of "The Tar Baby" from West Virginia in the Black American section, a Jack tale from New England--"How Jack Went to Seek his Fortune," and 4 Southern Appalachian Tales: "Twist Mouth Family," "A Stepchild that Was Treated Mighty Bad" (Snow White), "Nippy and the Yankee Doodle," "Old Fire Dragaman" from Chase's Jack Tales.  The book emphasizes the blending of cultures and folklore traditions in America, and includes notes on the sources.

"The Tarbaby." Told by Cora Jackson (wife of blues singer/guitarist John Jackson), Rappahannock Co., VA. Recorded by Charles L. Perdue, Jr., and Nancy L. Martin-Perdue, 1968. American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress. Ed. Carl Lindahl. Vol. 2. Armonk NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2004, pp. 570-71. A short version of the tale with a surprising ending in which the rabbit gets stuck on the tar baby, and the fox catches and eats the rabbit. Charles Perdue suggested that the fox would have to cook the rabbit in tar and the storyteller said, "I imagine that's how he get him."

Omope Carter Daboiku is an African American storyteller from southern Ohio who tells tales of Brer Rabbit.

Jackie Torrence, NC storyteller, tells "Br'er Rabbit and Tar Baby" in The Importance of Pot Liquor, a book of folklore, Bible stories, and family stories. Little Rock: August House, 1994. See cover and details at August House.

See also:

The Rabbit, the Otter, and Duck Hunting or "Pigeon Pie"

Scheer, George F., ed. Cherokee Animal Tales. Illus. Robert Frankenberg. Holiday House, 1968. Rpt: 2nd ed. Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books, 1992. Rabbit tales include "The Rabbit and the Possum Seek a Wife," "How the Terrapin Beat the Rabbit," and "The Rabbit and the Tar Wolf." The latter is very similar to African American tar baby tales. Some animals try to punish Rabbit for stealing water in a drought by tricking him with a pine gum wolf. Like Brer Rabbit, he escapes from harsher punishments by using psychological trickery and getting himself thrown into the thicket where he can run off.

Warren, Vic. Animal Lore and Legend: Rabbit. Illus. Diana Magnuson. American Indian Legends Series. New York: Scholastic, 1996. 32 pp. "A collection of Cherokee and Taos legends follows the adventures of Rabbit and his outwitting of fellow creatures Possum, Duck, and Wolf, and the stories are complemented by interesting rabbit facts."

Many other animal tales and pourquoi tales in the Native American and African American sections of this index, and in other collections, such as Gayle Ross's How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Animal Stories. Illus. Murv Jacobs. The Parabola Storytime Series. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. Caedmon Audio cassette, 1996.

Compare with:

Brer Rabbit tales, some of the most famous African American trickster tales, have been retold and reprinted in many places. They are often labeled as being from the American South and/or African American traditions without reference to specific geographical origins, whether from Appalachian locations or elsewhere. Richard Chase, known primarily for his Anglo-American collections of Appalachian folktales, edited an edition of The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908). Illus. Arthur Burdett Frost (and others). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1955. The Tar Baby and other tales from the first 1881 edition, Chase's Editor's Note, and other introductions, illustrations, and analyses are reprinted online in American Studies at Univ. of VA web site.

Tar Baby Notes and a version of The Tar Baby for storytellers without dialect. The notes critique Harris and other retellings of the tale, with comments on pronunciation. By Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder at Folktales.net.

"The Fox, the Rabbit, and the Tarbaby."  Told by E. L. Smith, Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, and Calvin, Michigan, collected by Richard M. Dorson, Calvin, MI 1952. American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress. Ed. Carl Lindahl. Vol 2. Armonk NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2004. 568-70.

A 1904 illustration of Brer Rabbit and a little background on the tar baby, at http://search.eb.com/blackhistory/micro/582/32.html. Compare the Disney image of Brer Rabbit at http://www.funart.com/Studios/Disney/brer.htm.

Brer Rabbit statue in Eatonton, GA (birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris).

Hamilton, Virginia. Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl. Illus. James E. Ransome. Blue Sky, 2003.
Review by Ken and Sylvia Marantz. "Starred Books of Merit." The Five Owls web site.

"Bruh Lizard and Bruh Rabbit" (from the Georgia Sea Isles) and "Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby." In Virginia Hamilton. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. Illus. Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Knopf, 1985. Hamilton notes that there are about 300 Tar Baby tales in many countries. She observes that "long ago, in certain localities of Georgia, the tar baby was considered an actual, living, monstrous creature" that "haunted isolated places on the plantation," insulting people until they struck out and got trapped.

"Brer Rabbit and the Well" is told in an online video by NC storyteller Jackie Torrence at Zinger Tales. Bookhive.org.

Van Laan, Nancy. With a Whoop and a Holler: A Bushel of Lore from Way Down South. Illus. Scott Cook. New York: Atheneum, 1998. Tales from the "deep, deep South" include Brer Rabbit in "The Big Dinin'" (Brer Frog outsmarts Brer Rabbit) and "The Watermillion Patch" (Brer Rabbit scares away Brer Tiger from the melons he and Brer Coon raised by bragging about killing his enemies buried in holes filled with melons). Tales from the Mountains are "Ol' Gally Mander," "Jack Runs Off" (similar to "Jack and the Robbers"), and "Three Foots." Also includes rhymes, riddles, and superstitions. A map shows where the tales originate in different Southern regions, including the mountains. The amusing illustrations depict quirky human and animal characters in earth tones.

Tales retold by Priscilla Jaquith, in Bo Rabbit, Smart for True: Tall Tales from the Gullah. Illus. Ed Young. New York: Philomel, 1981.

"Brother Rabbit Breaks Up a Party." In Catherine Peck, ed. QPB Treasure of North American Folktales. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1998. pp. 205-9. Adapted from Nights with Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris.

Uncle Remus Project at Univ. of Virginia. contains background, editors' prefaces, illustrations, and reprints from the books of Joel Chandler Harris.


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