ONE night, while the little boy was watching Uncle Remus
twisting and waxing some shoe-thread, he made what appeared to
him to be a very curious discovery. He discovered that the palms
of the old mans hands were as white as his own, and the fact was
such a source of wonder that he at last made it the subject of
remark. The response of Uncle Remus led to the earnest recital of
a piece of unwritten history that must prove interesting to
Tooby sho de pam er my hans wite, honey, he quietly remarked,
en, wen it come ter dat, dey wuz a time wen all de wite folks
uz blackblacker dan me, kaze I done bin yer so long dat I bin
sorter bleach out.
The little boy laughed. He thought Uncle Remus was making him
the victim of one of his jokes; but the youngster was never more
mistaken. The old man was serious. Nevertheless, he failed to
rebuke the ill-timed mirth of the child, appearing to be altogether
engrossed in his work. Mter a while, he resumed:
Yasser. Fokes dunner wat bin yit, let lone wat gwinter be.
Niggers is niggers now, but de time wuz wen we uz all niggers
When was that, Uncle Remus?
Way back yander. In dem times we uz all an us black; we uz all
niggers tergedder, en cordin ter all de counts wat I years fokes uz
gittin long bout ez well in dem days ez dey is now. But atter wile
de news come dat dere wuz a pon er water somers in de
naberhood, wich ef deyd git inter deyd be wash off nice en wite,
en den one un urn, he fine de place en make er splange inter de
pon, en come out wite ez a town gal. En den, bless grashus! wen
de fokes seed it, dey make a break fer de pon, en dem wat wuz de
soopless, dey got in fus en dey come out wite; en dem wat wuz de
nex soopless, dey got in nex, en dey come out merlatters; en dey
wuz sech a crowd un um dat dey mighty nigh use de water up,
wich wen dem yuthers come long, de morest dey could do wuz ter
paddle about wid der foots en dabble in it wid der hans. Dem wuz
de niggers, en down ter dis day dey aint no wite bout a nigger
ceppin de pams er der hans en de soles er der foot.
The little boy seemed to be very much interested in this new
account of the origin of races, and he made some further inquiries,
which elicited from Uncle Remus the following additional
De Injun en de Chinee got ter be counted long er de merlatter. I
aint seed no Chinee dat I knows un, but dey tells me dey er sorter
twix a brown en a brindle. Dey er all merlatters.
But mamma says the Chinese have straight hair, the little boy
Cose, honey, the old man unhesitatingly responded, dem
wat git ter de pon time nuff fer ter git der head in de water, de
water hit onkink der har. Hit bleedzd ter be dat away.