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“I was a water boy for fifty fiel’ han’s dat worked in de sun all day
long, an’ I hadda carry many a bucket from de spring dat was one fiel’
ober from where most of dem was workin’. De spring run down between some
willow trees an’ it was powerful cool down dere in de shade. I use’ to
lie on de moss an’ let my bare belly git cool an’ put my face in de
outlet of de spring an’ let de water trickle over my haid. Jus’ about de
time I gits a little rest one of dem niggers would call: ’Water boy!
Bring dat bucket!’ Den I grab up de bucket an’ run back out in de hot
sun.

“One day, on my las’ trip, I was mighty tired an’ I flop down on dat
moss wid de sweat a-drippin’ from my body, an’ ’fo’ I knowed it I done
fell slap to sleep. When I woke up, it was almos’ dark, an’ I couldn’t
hear de slaves a-singing’ in de fiel’s, so I knowed dat dey had gone
home. I shake my haid, an’ look about me, an’ my eyes came to res’ on a
little black bear cub a-drinkin’ outen de spring. He so was a cute
little boogar an’ I made up my mind right den to try an’ kotch him. I
was jus’ a little nigger ’bout ten year old an’ didn’t have no sense,
but I sho’ wanted dat little bear. He ain’t seed me a-settin’ dere, so I
snuck up real cautious like, an’ afore he knowed it I had dat little
debil a-squealin’ in my han’s. I was jus’ about to start home wid him,
when I hears a rustlin’ in de bushes an’ afore I went ten feets, here
come a big, black bear a-lopin’ along right outen dem willow trees. I
drop dat little critter ’caze I knowed dat was his mammy an’ she was
ravin’ mad. When I let de little feller fall it must have hurt him
somp’n awful caze he howl mo’ dan eber, an’ went a limpin’ up to his
mammy. Well, suh, dat ole woman she got so mad she made fo’ me lak two
bolts of lightnin’, but dese here feets of mine begin a-doin’ dere
stuff. I knowed she was a-gainin’ on me so I lets out a whoop for help.
She chased me ’cross dat empty field an’ ’bout dat time I seen big Jim
a-comin’ through a row of cawn. ’Hurry Big Jim,’ I calls, ’a bear is
atter me!’ Big Jim was de biggest nigger on our place. He must have
weighed as much as half a bale of cotton. I was jus’ ’bout gittin’ to de
aidge of de cawn when dat bear ketched me. He give me a slap wid his paw
an’ I goes down wid my mouf a-scoopin’ up de dus’. My back felt like
somebody done put a hot iron on it. Dat bear was a mean one. I was
expectin’ her to chaw me up an’ I drawed my body up in a knot and
kivered my haid wid my hands an’ waited. But dat bear neber touch me
agin’. I kinda snuck my eye aroun’ an’ I saw big Jim havin’ it out wid
her. Jim, he had a long knife an’ dey was a-tumblin’ an’ a-rollin’ in de
dust, while I sot dere wid my eyes a-poppin’ outen my haid an’ my back
feelin’ like it was broke. Jim he wrap his legs roun’ dat bear an’ ’fore
you knowed it he had done stuck dat ole critter a dozen times wid dat
knife.

“About fifteen minutes later me an’ Jim was a-walkin’ back through de
cawn fiel’ an’ I guess we looked a sight, ’caze I was all tore up an’
Jim he looked like he done mess up wid a fambly of wildcats. He was
bleedin’ from haid to foot. When we walked into de big house to git some
treatments an’ medicine for our hurts, Mistis was a-standin’ dere, and
when she seed me an’ Jim, she almost faint. She say: ’Whut done happen
to my niggers?’

“Atter me an’ Jim got fixed up I was jus’ as happy, kaze I done seed de
bes’ fight dere eber was, an’ I had me a little orphan bear cub.”

http://archive.org/stream/slavenarrativesa36020gut/36020-0.txt 

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