"Po' fokes better be fixin' up for Chris'mus now w'ile rashuns is cheap. Dat's me.

You slap de law onter a nigger a time er two, an' larn 'im dat he's got fer to look after his own rashuns an' keep out'n udder fokes's chick'n-coops, an' sorter coax 'im inter de idee dat he's got ter feed 'is own chilluns, an' I be blessed ef you ain't got 'im on risin' groun'. An', mo'n dat, w'en he gits holt er de fack dat a nigger k'n have yaller fever same ez w'ite folks, you done got 'im on de mo'ners' bench, an' den ef you come down strong on de p'int dat he oughter stan' fas' by de fokes w'at hope him w'en he wuz in trouble de job's done.

I slipt inter bed one Chuseday night, an' I never slip out no mo' fer mighty nigh er mont'. "Nex' mornin' de meezles 'd done kivered me, an' den ef I didn't git dosted by de ole 'oman I'm a Chinee. She gimme back rashuns er sassafac tea. I des natchully hankered an' got hongry atter water, an ev'y time I sing out fer water I got b'ilin' hot sassafac tea.

W'en a ole nigger like me is gotter paddle de canoe an' do de fishin' at de same time, an' w'en you bleedzd ter ketch de fish an' dassent turn de paddle loose fer ter bait de hook, den I tell you, Brer John, you er right whar de mink had de goslin'. Mars John and Miss Sally, dey done bin gone down unto Putmon County fer ter see der kinfolks mighty nigh fo' days, an' you better bleeve I done bin had ter scratch 'roun' mighty lively fer ter make de rashuns run out even.

W'en I year Miss Sally gwine 'bout de house w'isslin' 'W'en I k'n read my titles cle'r an' w'en I see de martins swawmin' atter sundown an' w'en I year de peckerwoods confabbin' togedder dese moonshiny nights in my een er town en I knows de hot wedder's a breakin' up, an' I know it's 'bout time fer po' fokes fer ter be rastlin' 'roun' and huntin' up dere rashuns. Dat's me, up an down."

He doin' it jus' t' pester me. But dat don't worry me none; I done quit worryin'. I sho' had plenty chance to worry, though. Relief folks got me on dey black list. Dey give rashuns to young folks what's wukkin' an' don't give me nary a mouthful. Reason fer dat be 'cause dey wanted me t' go t' de porehouse. I wanted t' take my trunk 'long, an' dey wouldn't lemme.

But de oberseah made de yuther niggers he'p tie de noo nigger up, en den gun 'im fo'ty, wid a dozen er so th'owed in fer good measure, fer Ole Nick wuz nebber stingy wid dem kin' er rashuns. De nigger went on at a tarrable rate, des lack a wil' man, but co'se he wuz bleedzd ter take his med'cine, fer he wuz tied up en could n' he'p his-se'f.

He made de tasks bigger en de rashuns littler, en w'en de niggers had wukked all day, he 'd fin' sump'n fer 'em ter do roun' de ba'n er som'ers atter da'k, fer ter keep 'em busy a' hour er so befo' dey went ter sleep.

She hug me an' say, "Bress mah li'l ducky." Den she keep on callin' me dat, an' when I growed up, folks jes' put de "Mama" on. I reckon I a heap bettah off dem days as I is now. Allus had sumpin t' eat an' a place t' stay. No sech thing ez gittin' on a black list dem days. Mighty hard on a pusson ol' az me not t' git no rashuns an' not have no reg'lar job.