Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby

Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby

A famous Br’er Rabbit story

This is a story about Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox. Br’er Fox was sick and tired of Bre’r Rabbit tricking him. He decided to settle Br’er Rabbit for good.

Who was Br’er Rabbit?
Br’er Rabbit and the Briar Patch
More American literature
All our American history articles

Making a Tar Baby

Br’er Fox took some sticky black tar and some turpentine and he shaped it into a Tar Baby – a sticky black mess shaped like a baby. He even put clothes on his Tar Baby! Then Br’er Fox put the Tar Baby along the side of the road and he hid behind a bush to see what would happen.

West African tale of Anansi and the stories

Br’er Fox lying low

By and by Br’er Rabbit came hopping down the road. Br’er Fox lay low, hiding. When Br’er Rabbit saw the Tar Baby, he said “Good morning!” politely. But the Tar Baby didn’t say anything, and Br’er Fox, he lay low.

“Hey!” said Br’er Rabbit. “Don’t you answer when someone says Good Morning?” But the Tar Baby, he kept quiet, and Br’er Fox, he lay low.

Teaching the Tar Baby a lesson

“You’re stuck up, that’s what you are,” said Br’er Rabbit, “and I’m going to teach you a lesson. If you don’t answer me this minute I’m gonna whack you.” But the Tar Baby, he kept quiet, and Br’er Fox, he lay low.

So Br’er Rabbit punched the Tar Baby in the head. Blam! His fist stuck tight to the Tar Baby’s head and he could not get loose. Bre’r Rabbit hit the Tar Baby with the other hand, and then that hand got stuck too. Bre’r Rabbit kicked the Tar Baby with his feet, and then all of him was stuck to the Tar Baby.

End of the story

Now Br’er Fox came out from behind the bush. “Ha, ha!” he laughed. “I’ve caught you now! I’m going to barbecue you up on a fire and eat you!”

The Briar Patch (end of the story)

You might compare this story to the African story of Anansi Gives People Stories.

Bibliography and further reading about Br’er Rabbit stories:


Native American Literature
American History home