I was minding my business when I met him. A stranger outside my den door, on my field, breathing my air. But I’m a polite fellow so I greeted him.
He said nothing.
I tried again, “Chale, can you hear me?” Greeting this stranger like a dear friend.
“Sir?” I asked the man, without a hint of malice escaping into my voice. Nor a whisker twitch to expose my increasing frustration.
Deathly silence. He wanted wahala.
I kicked up the sand. “You are standing on the path I myself lined with shells from the beach. If you must be so rude then leave my territory,” I said, proud of my firm yet diplomatic approach.
Audacity had been personified. The stranger remained as silent as the midnight hour when the crickets have gone to sleep and the roosters are yet to wake.
“Sir!” I tapped him on the shoulder and he gripped my hand. This strange man asked for palava and he would get it.
I swung my leg and landed a powerful kick in his belly, but he grabbed it. I slammed my remaining hand into the side of his face. I went to pull it back for another hit but it was stuck.
Then it struck me. This was no man. This creature hadn’t moved an inch, and worse, he was made of sticky tar.
Just as my mind brightened with realisation, I heard my true foe howling with laughter as he trotted down my path.
“I am finished!” he clutched his sides and rolled on the floor in front of me, adding insult to injury with his mockery. “I see you like my gift. Ha. Ha. Ha. I thought a doll would suit you, so I made you a tar baby to play with before you take your final breath."
“Akwaaba Brer Fox,” I said, polite as always whilst I thought through my options.
“What are your last requests?” He said, still laughing.
“Whatever you do, please don’t throw me into the briar patch behind my house. It would bruise my muscles and make me too weak to run away, it would make me soft and tender and what an awful way to die.”
“Soft and tender you say?”
“Please, chale no,” I begged.
He picked me up, holding the tar baby away from himself and flung me into the briar patch. I covered my eyes with my ears, bracing myself for impact.
What a shame for Brer Fox that I was born and raised in the briar patch. A real shame for my nemesis that simply rubbing my fur against the briars freed me from his tar trap.
He laughed unaware as he leapt after me, but quickly stopped cackling when he couldn’t spot me. Poor Brer Fox soon found that with every step he cut himself on thorns and scraped himself on thistles. He wasn’t nimble like me, you see.
“Adanko!” He yelled, knowing he’d been had by the quickest thinking Rabbit in town.
I laughed heartily as I bounced away.
And that, chale, is how Brer Rabbit outsmarted Brer Fox once again.