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[355] and ‘Miss Sally’; he has his own little patch of ground around his cabin; and he is devotedly attached to Miss Sally's ‘little boy.’ In spite of their difference in years, the child and the old man have one point in common: they both look out upon the world with eager, wide-eyed interest. Uncle Remus expresses their common point of view in a conversation with Brer Ab. Brer Ab had been telling Uncle Remus of some of the miraculous things seen by a coloured woman in a trance:
‘She say she meet er angel in de road, and he pinted straight ter de mornina star, and tell her fer ter prepara. Hit look mighty cu'us, Brer Remus.’ ‘Cum down ter dat, Brer Ab,’ said Uncle Remus, wiping his spectacles carefully, and readjusting them—‘cum down ter dat, an' dey ain't nuffina dat ain't cu'us.’1

Acting on this Aristotelian maxim, Uncle Remus explains to the little boy the mysteries of animal life, especially as they embody themselves in the character of the rabbit and the fox. The humour is entirely unconscious. It is not that of the Uebermensch, for the humour of the Uebermensch springs from the consciousness of intellectual power, and is, moreover, direct, cynical, self-assertive, masterful. The humour of Uncle Remus represents the world of the Underman; it has no reasoned philosophy but springs from the universal desire to correlate the unknown with the known and to explain the most mysterious things by reference to the most obvious. If the rabbit lost his long tail on a certain historic occasion, then all the rabbits since born will have short tails. In fact, Uncle Remus's philosophy is perfectly consistent in one thing: all physical characteristics, whether native or acquired, find their explanation not in past conditions but in past events. The slow influence of environment yields place to a prompt and obliging heredity.

After all, however, the language of Uncle Remus is more interesting than his philosophy. In the picturesqueness of his phrases, in the unexpectedness of his comparisons, in the variety of his figures of speech, in the perfect harmony between the thing said and the way of saying it, the reader finds not only a keen aesthetic delight but even an intellectual satisfaction.

1 Uncle Remus: his Songs and his Sayings, p. 212.

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