Tales of the Congaree

By Edward C. L. Adams; Robert G. O'Meally | Go to book overview

A Freshet on the Congaree

Leck: Gentlemens!

Voice: Sorter slow. Wuh's de time, Ber Leck?

Leck: Time ain't so much.

Voice: Wey you come from?

Leck: Jes come out of de Congaree swamp.

Voice: How come time ain't so much, Ber Leck?

Leck: Jes come out de Congaree swamp and de ole river sho' is ragin'. I never is seen a wusser freshet. De logs spin 'round a hundred feet long and roarin' 'gainst de big trees like dey guh tear de heart out de earth wey de go,--varmints a settin' on limbs and ridin' on logs, and I seen er drove er cow swimmin'. Each one had a head a restin' on de tail of de other cow. Den de call come and de first cow sink and all de other cows sink. After while I see 'em whirlin' over and over. Sometime day feets in de air, sometime dey horns, and de river been mess up de cows' horns and foots and it th'owed 'em every which er way, and I see hog cut dey own throats tryin' to swim out of dis torment and de river, and it look like God Almighty must a wrop he arm 'round de flood and whirl it back in He anger. Every which er way I look I see 'struction. I see sturgeon tangle up in a wire fence and de birds quit singin' and went to hollerin', and I look down on de yaller water and I see wey buzzard cast his shadow. Everywhere I look I see buzzard. I been prayin' to God to help me and I been fightin' de angry waters and 'struction been rollin' at me and I been lookin' death in de face. And God save me dis time, and I reckon I'll stay 'way from de big swamp and try and don't do nothin' to defy Him.

Brother, when de Congaree gits riled, it mighty nigh look like Jesus hisself forgits de poor critters, it look like he stan' back and give de devil a chance to do he do. And if your heart ain't right, my brother, de big swamps will 'stroy it. Dey 'stroy your body and if dey ain't 'stroy it, look like dey' 'stroy your soul.

Voice: Did you hear Ber Leck? He ain't tell no lie. I see a

-9-

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Tales of the Congaree
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction Masks of Edward C. L. Adams xi
  • Notes lxv
  • Congaree Sketches 1
  • Contents 3
  • The Big Swamps of the Congaree 5
  • The Hopkins Nigger 6
  • Jonas 8
  • A Freshet on the Congaree 9
  • Hell Fire 11
  • The Rattlesnake 14
  • Sunning on the Golden Stairs 15
  • Judge Foolbird 16
  • Old Sister 17
  • Old Sister's Friends 20
  • Old Sister in Heaven 23
  • Old Sister in Hell 26
  • The Settin' Up 29
  • The Little Old Man on the Gray Mule 30
  • The Lake of the Dead 32
  • Aunt Dinah's Cat 34
  • Murder Vs. Liquor 35
  • Old Dictodemus 37
  • Fragment of a Negro Sermon 42
  • His Day is Done 45
  • Ole Man Rogan 48
  • Big Charleston 50
  • The Yellow Crane 53
  • White Folks is White Folks 56
  • Wild Goose Nest 58
  • Transmigration 60
  • Belton's Spirit 62
  • The Animal Court 63
  • Ole Man Tooga's Chile (a Tale of the Chain Gang) 65
  • Fine My Chile 68
  • The Falling Star 70
  • Jay-Birds 71
  • Jack-Ma-Lantern 72
  • Ole Man Rouse 74
  • If You Want to Find Jesus 76
  • The Ghosts of Elm Savannah 78
  • The Crow 79
  • Primus 80
  • Jumping-Gut 81
  • Cazenova 83
  • Spirit Dogs and Barking Snakes 84
  • Death Owl 85
  • De Law Got Simon 86
  • A Fool Nigger 88
  • The Two Ducks 89
  • The Mule and the Ox 90
  • That Quart Kept on Beckoning Me 91
  • Don't 'sturb a Houn' 93
  • Don't You Play Wid Married Wimmens 94
  • Tad's Advice to His Son 95
  • Old Sister's Advice to Her Daughter 97
  • Jesus Had Trouble All Over the World 99
  • Nigger to Nigger 103
  • Contents 105
  • Foreword 109
  • The Swamps 111
  • Nigger to Nigger 131
  • White Folks 179
  • Ghosts and Angels 219
  • Bur Rabbit 233
  • Preachers 257
  • Slavery Time 275
  • Funerals 287
  • Glossary 303
  • Appendixes 313
  • Act I 329
  • Act II 357
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