It was the holidays, and everyone in the forest was excited. Everyone, that is, but Br'er Rabbit. He was embarrassed. Br'er Fox had outfoxed him one too many times and had made him look like a fool!
Br'er Rabbit was moping at home when Miss Meadows called to let him know she and the gals were having a party. "Everyone's coming and we sure hope you'll come too," she said.
Br'er Rabbit loved Miss Meadows, and he longed to impress her, so he said, "I'll ask Br'er Fox to ride me there. You know he was my father's riding horse."
This was a big surprise to Miss Meadows. "He was?" she asked.
"Send Br'er Fox to fetch me for your party, and I'll prove it to you," he said.
The next evening, Miss Meadows begged Br'er Fox fetch Br'er Rabbit for the party. "I'm counting on you," she said. "Don't let me down, Br'er Fox."
Br'er Fox loved Miss Meadows, too, and he didn't want to let her down, so he trotted down the road, shaking snow from his tail, for snow had begun to fall. He showed up at Br'er Rabbit's house, and he knocked.
When no one answered, Br'er Fox knocked again and harder, but Br'er Rabbit did not answer. He was about to give up, when he heard a weak voice calling, "Is that you, Br'er Fox? Please, call the doctor, I'm sick. Hurry!"
"I promised Miss Meadows I'd make sure to get you to the party," Br'er Fox said. "You have to come."
"Ohhh," Br'er Rabbit groaned, "I'm too sick to walk that far."
"Fool!" Br'er Fox called. "If you're too weak to walk, I'll carry you."
"Noooo," Br'er Rabbit limped to the door. He stood there and shook his head.
"Just ride on my back," Br'er Fox insisted. "Miss Meadows will be hurt if you're not there!"
"I can't ride on your back without a saddle," Br'er Rabbit whined.
"I'll get you a saddle," Br'er Fox said.
"But I need reins," Br'er Rabbit said, "or I'll fall off!"
Br'er Fox thought about Miss Meadows, and his heart fluttered. "Fine, I'll get a bridle," he said.
"You'll have to wear blinders, too," Br'er Rabbit said, "or you'll get nervous, and if you're nervous, you'll shiver, and if you shiver, I'm sure to fall off!"
Br'er Fox was losing his temper. "Okay, a saddle and a bridle and blinders!" he cried.
Br'er Rabbit grinned and said, "If you get those things, I'll go with you."
"There's just one thing," Br'er Fox said. "You have to get off a block away from Miss Meadows' house. If you do, I'll ride you there."
"No problem!" Br'er Rabbit said, and Br'er Fox ran off to fetch a saddle, a bridle and blinders from the farmer's barn.
When Br'er Fox was gone, Br'er Rabbit went to work. He combed his hair. He cleaned his paws and twirled his whiskers.
Br'er Fox returned, wearing a saddle, bridle and blinders. Br'er Rabbit jumped on his back. And off they went, down the snowy road.
While they were riding, Br'er Rabbit lifted up one foot. "Pardon me," he said, "but my foot itches." In truth, he was putting on a spur.
Br'er Rabbit lifted up another foot. "Oh," he said, "How itchy I am!" And he put on a second spur.
When they were just a few houses from Miss Meadows' house, Br'er Fox stopped. "Off you jump," he said, but Br'er Rabbit just grinned slyly and stuck his spurs into Br'er Fox's sides.
"Ow!" Br'er Fox howled. He leaped up in pain. "Ow, ow!" he cried, but Br'er Rabbit stuck those spurs in again, much harder this time, and Br'er Fox shrieked and galloped off. He couldn't help himself -- anything to stop the pain!
Br'er Fox galloped right past Miss Meadows' house, and as they passed, Br'er Rabbit waved to Miss Meadows. "Hello, Miss Meadows! Here we are!" he called.
Br'er Fox was still yelping with pain when Br'er Rabbit leaped off and tied his reins to a post. He sauntered into Miss Meadows' house. He smiled at all the gals. He stopped to admire the Christmas tree. He sipped a cup of cider. He smoked a cigar. And he gave the biggest smile to Miss Meadows.
Outside, Br'er Fox just stood, gritting his teeth, holding himself, seething over his wounded sides and his wounded pride. He lay down the snow. While he was lying there, Br'er Buzzard flew overhead. When he saw Br'er Fox stretched out on the ground, he muttered, "Ah, Br'er Fox is dead."
Br'er Fox leaped up and cried, "I'm not dead! I'm waiting for Br'er Rabbit -- who is in that house. I'm going to get back at him if it takes me 12 Christmases!"
Br'er Fox wanted to go gather his family to help him punish Br'er Rabbit for this insult. So he struck a bargain with Br'er Buzzard to watch the house and wait for Br'er Rabbit.
However, Br'er Rabbit saw Br'er Buzzard standing there, and he had his suspicions. So he said goodnight to Miss Meadows and slipped out the back.
When he was outside he called, "Br'er Fox, Br'er Fox ... I know you're mad at me, but I sure wish Br'er Buzzard was here, because there's the fattest squirrel inside this house. If he were around, he could go inside Miss Meadows' house and drive out that squirrel and eat him!"
Br'er Buzzard forgot all about his promise to Br'er Fox. He dashed through the front door of Miss Meadows' house, and when he was inside, Br'er Rabbit raced home.
Back home, Br'er Rabbit felt happy again. Now that he had embarrassed Br'er Fox, he could enjoy the holidays!
"Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder," the third CD in the audiobook series, is now available. For more information, please visit www.mythsandtales.com.