James Edwin Campbell

Uncle Eph's Horse Trade

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[Aunt Susan sends Uncle Eph to town to sell the cow. Meeting Farmer Johnson with a dun mule, he makes a trade.]


UNCLE EPH.


"Come out hyuh, Thomas 'Rastus, an' see wut Daddy got --
Woa dar, you long yurd debbil, yo' legs too full ur trot!


Git out de way, you chillun, he mighty full ur fiah,
His mammy was ur Mo'gan, ur jackass wus his siah.


Stop dat you Gineral Jackson! (De Voodoo's in dis mule!)
Say, chillun, whar yo' mammy? (I spec' I been ur fool.")


Ob cose he summat spavin' an' stone blin' in one eye,
An' his ha'r all off in places -- dat come all right bimeby.


(Fo' de Lawd, dar Susan -- now how I gwine ter 'splain
Urbout dis debblish hoss trade -- hit gwine go 'ginst de grain.)


Des look ur hyuh, 'ol' 'oman, I'se traded off de cow;
You bet I med ur bawgin, an' dat youse boun' ter 'low.


De cow was mighty scrawny an' den she mos' wuz dry;
De price ur hay am raisin' -- dar's no green in my eye.


I met ol' Fa'mah Johnsing ur ridin' in ter town,
I 'sarbed dis mule's fine action an' axed de gempmun down.


I led him foruds, backuds -- his action mighty free,
His mouf I zaminated -- his age des tirty-tree.


An' den I mek ur offah -- de cow fur Johnsing's mule,
He cussed urroun' ur little -- I nebber wuz ur fool.


So Johnsing dribe de cow off, ur wa'kin' doan' you see,
While I come home ur ridin' ez big ez big kin be.


Des watch him trot, ol' 'oman, dat motion's Mo'gan true --
Fine blood gwine tell in muleses ez well ez hosses, too.


I needs him fur de plowin' w'en gyardenin' time come 'roun',
My back done got rheumatics an' I cyawn' spade de groun."


SUSAN.


"You call dem bones ur hoss trade? You allus wuz ur' fool!
Tuck my cow an' traded fur ur knock-kneed spavin' mule!


Dat blood do tell in muleses; hit tells in niggahs mo' --
De Browns wuz allus triflin', an' Efum, youse mo' so.


I wucked ha'd all lars' summah, w'en you wuz loafin' roun'
Spen'in' yo' lars' nickel in dem dram shops in de town,


Ur sweatin' and ur gruntin' in dat ol' washin' tub
Ter buy dat Jussey heffah an' keep you all in grub.


Des come ur little closah, you triflin' lim' ob Ham!
Oom, hoo! I smell de liquah. I knowed you hed er dram.


You long-legged tu'key trottin', black, good fur nothin' fool --
Ur tradin' off my heffah fur yo' match -- ur spavin' mule!


Ef I des hed hot watah, I'd scal' you bofe, I 'clar,
You ring bone, knoc-kneed, triflin', ol' saddle-culled pa'r!


Des clam back in dat saddle an' fo' dat sun go down,
You hunts up ol' man Johnsing ez sho's yo name am Brown,


An' gits dat Jussey heffah -- I doan' cyah how hits done;
You tu'ns her in dat back ya'd urfo' de risin' sun!"


And Ephraim and the dun mule of Morgan blood descent,
Went galloping down the red road for Farmer Johnson's bent.


At five o'clock next morning when the Shanghai rooster crowed,
The yellow Jersey heifer in Susan's back yard lowed.

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James Edwin Campbell