THIS HERE TALE'S another'n about Jack going' a-courtin'. And there's some more tales about Jack gettin' married; like that 'un about the doctor's girl, and there was that pretty girl down in Old Fire Dragaman's hole in the ground. 'Course Jack didn't marry all them girls at once. Hit might 'a been one way and hit night 'a been another. There's just different ways of tellin' it.
Well, this time it wasn't no King's girl. There was a farmer lived 'way back in the mountain had two awful pretty girls, and the boys were all crazy about 'em. This farmer, though, he was wealthy, and he didn't want the boys comin' around there, so he fixed up a way to get shet of 'em.
He put out a adver-tize-ment that any boy who wanted one of his girls would have to ketch 'em a wild rabbit and put it in a ring and make it stay there thirty minutes. That was his proposition: they would have to bring the rabbit and he'd make a ring ten foot across; then they'd put the rabbit in there and if it stayed thirty minutes, they could have one of the girls. But if the rabbit failed to stay that long, he'd kill the boy that had brought the rabbit.
Well, not many went to try, but some did, and the old man cut their heads off. Directly it got so the boys mostly quit gain' down here. That suited the old man fine. But then some boy would get so struck on one of the girls, he'd venture, and get his head cut off. Fin'ly it got so nobody'd go.
Well, Jack he got to studyin' about how he might get one of them girls. His mother told him he better not do that, but Jack said he'd just have to try. So he caught him a rabbit, and put him a little snack of dinner in a poke, and then he got fixed up and started out.
About twelve o'clock in the wilder-ness, Jack met up with an old gray-bearded man. This old man looked like he was about a hundred years old, and he was walkin' with ; walkin' stick.
Jack came along, the old man stopped, says, "Howdy do, Jack."
"Howdy do, daddy."
Jack looked at him, says, "I don't believe I know ye."
"No," says the old man. "I know you, though, and I know right where you've started. You're a-fi'cin' to get killed, now, ain't ye?"
"I might, now," says Jack.
"Are you familiar with what you got to do to get one of them girls?"
"Tol'able familiar," says Jack.
"Don't you think you'd just as well start on back home?"
"Oh, no," says Jack. "I'd never turn back. I'm a-goin' of down there now."
"Well, I might help ye," says the old man, "if ye got any faith. How's your faith, Jack?" Jack said his faith was pretty good, says, "I'd sure be much obliged was you to help me, daddy."
"Well, if you come down the road a piece with me, I'll test you out a little and we'll see whether you got faith or no."
Got down the road a ways, the old man says, "Now, Jack, you take this stick here and go up there in the woods a ways till you come to a very flush spring. Then you take my stick and stir in that spring till that done, I'll come up there with somethin' to help ye."
So Jack took that walkin' stick and went on to where there was a very bold spring comin' out the ground. Stuck that stick down in it and com-menced stirrin'.
Jack's faith was sort of weak when he started, but he 'lowed he'd have to keep on tryin'. He stirred right on, stirred right on, and pretty soon it looked like the water was turnip' just a little bit pink. So Jack's faith got stronger and stronger and the water got redder and redder.
Well, when that spring turned real red, there was that old man standin' there, says, "Well, Jack, you sure got faith. Now you get out your lunch and we'll eat a little and try some of that and see whether it tastes like wine or not."
So they did, and that water was just as good as any wine. Then the old man says to Jack, says, "I've done made ye a drill here, Jack. You can take that and stick it down in the middle of the ring that man'll make and your rabbit'll stay in there till it dies; it don't differ how wild he is." He gave Jack a drill shaved out of a stick. It was eight-square like a steel drill and about a foot long.
Jack thanked him and started on again.
Got down to that place where the girls were, Jack hollered the old man out and said he'd come to try for one of his girls.
The man told Jack to come around in the yard, and then he marked out a ring, says, "Now, you put your rabbit down in this ring and if it stays in there thirty minutes, you can take whichever girl you want. And if it don't stay in the ring thirty minutes, I'll kill you. You understand now, do ye?"
Jack said he did, made like he was gain' to turn his rabbit loose.
The man says to him, says, "I'll make ye another proposition; if you can make that rabbit stay in there thirty minutes, I'll just let you kill me and take all the money I got."
Jack went and stuck that drill down in the middle of the ring, and dumped the rabbit out the poke he had it in. The rabbit got up on its feet, saw that drill and took out around it hard as it could go, around and around and around. The old man watched Jack's rabbit a-goin' around in there, and his eyes just stuck out. Walked around the other side the ring, watched it some more. That rabbit ran right on, 'round and 'round the drill. The old man kept takin' out his watch; fin'ly he turned around and went on back in the house.
Told his old woman and the girls, says, "It's my opinion that rabbit is stayin' in there on account of that drill Jack stuck in the ring. One of you go on out there and see can't ye buy that thin' off of Jack."
So the oldest girl she went out, says to Jack, "What'll ye take for that drill, Jack?"
Jack says, "I don't know as I'd want to sell it right now."
"I'll give ye a thousand dollars for it."
"No," says Jack, "I'll not sell it."
So she went on back, told her daddy she couldn't make no trade. Then he sent his youngest girl out. She came up 'side of Jack, says, "Jack, I'd like awful well to buy that drill."
"Well," says Jack, "you can have it after thirty minutes is up."
"Aw, Jack," she says, "I want it now. I'll pay ye two thousand dollars for it."
"No," says Jack, "you wait till thirty minutes is out, and then we'll trade." So she saw she couldn't do no good, went on back in the house. Then the man said to his old lady, says, "You go."
She went out.
"Jack, I'd sure like to trade ye out of that drill. You can have one of the girls, right now; and I'll give ye three thousand dollars and ever'thing on the place."
"No," says Jack, "not till thirty minutes is out."
The old lady went on back, says, "I can't do a thing with him. He won't even talk about sellin'."
The old man looked at his watch, says, "Well, that thirty minutes is about up. I reckon I'll have to go on out and let Jack kill me." Started out, picked up a big bowl off the table, and took that to Jack, says,
"Jack, it looks like your rabbit's gain' to stay in there. You might as well kill me." Says, "'Fore you do, though, I wish you'd sing this bowl full of lies"
"All right," says Jack, "I'll try." s
Says, "Is it full?"
"No," says the old man, "only one drop."
"Oh, the youngest daughter she came out
Is it full yet?"
"Just two drops, Jack."
"Oh, the old ladyshe came out
"Stop, Jack! Hit's full and runnin' over. Just cut my head off."