In one tale, Br'er Fox constructs a doll out of a lump of tar and dresses it with some clothes. When Br'er Rabbit comes along he addresses the tar "baby" amiably, but receives no response. Br'er Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as the Tar-Baby's lack of manners, punches it, and in doing so becomes stuck. The more Br'er Rabbit punches and kicks the tar "baby" out of rage, the worse he gets stuck. Now that Br'er Rabbit is stuck, Br'er Fox ponders how to dispose of him. The helpless but cunning Br'er Rabbit pleads, "but do please, Br'er Fox, don't fling me in dat brier-patch," prompting Fox to do exactly that. As rabbits are at home in thickets, the resourceful Br'er Rabbit escapes. Using the phrases "but do please, Br'er Fox, don't fling me in dat brier-patch" and "tar baby" to refer to the idea of "a problem that gets worse the more one struggles against it" became part of the wider culture of the United States in the mid-20th century. The story was originally published in Harper's Weekly by Robert Roosevelt; years later Joel Chandler Harris wrote of the Tar-Baby in his Uncle Remus stories. A similar tale from African folklore in West Africa has the trickster Anansi in the role of Br'er Rabbit.
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Famous quotes containing the word story:
“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.”
—Raymond Chandler (18881959)
“Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust,
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.
And from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up I trust.”
—Sir Walter Raleigh (15521618)
“The old world stands serenely behind the new, as one mountain yonder towers behind another, more dim and distant. Rome imposes her story still upon this late generation.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)