Tales Of A Young Malutto Slave Boy WL1102
When Arthur was little, long before they put him to tendin horses and such, it seemed like he could always find a way to get into trouble. Being very mischievous he got into anything and everything. Looked like he was always in some kind of predicament. So, they sent him anywhere they could in order to keep him outta peoples hair. He was supposed to be helpin mostly but the truth be told they just wanted him out of the way or someplace he couldn't cause too much trouble.
When he wasn’t working around the animals in the horse barn, most times they’d put him to carryin water for men working in the tobacco fields or over where they were shucken corn. Often times he even got sent to the cotton field which he hated real bad. He never let on that he hated it so bad for fear a bein sent there all the time. Schucks! He didn’t ever pick much no how and that would bring them older folks to fussin and goin on. Even ole Dale, his papa’s foreman and Arthur’s absolute favorite person in all the world, would scold him. “Don’t make no sense a tall,” he’d say.” Them sendin you down here pickin that little bit. Child, you’d starve your dusty butt to death ifin you was dependin on them weighin this little bit you picked for your food and such.Go on get your behind outta here.” They usually sent him away then cause most of em know if he was ta come up short the next time he jus might wet in the basket or put rocks in the bottom of it in order to make it heavier.
Now, understand Arthur’s mama didn’t care nuthin, not one bit about him bein a little bit spoiled, mischievous or at times downright bad. He got a whuppin from her most every day the good lord sent if he stayed around her long enough. See, he’d do somethin and one of the other youngons would run off and tell on him and shore nuff he’d get “scissors' ' for whatever he’d done. There was also times too when she just caught him in the act herself, or simply asked him. It never, ever entered his mind to lie to her. Yep! He was a mess though. Brought most every one a them whuppins on himself. Specially funnin and trickin folks. Then actually thinking he could get away with it. Yes, he earned most of em that was for sure.
On many a hot day Arthur was put to carryin water from a stream to men workin in the tobacco fields. Once in a while he had to take little brother Isam along in order to keep an eye on him. As you may remember he talked about this before. It was always so hot out there that every time he’d carry those heavy ole buckets to the field and return he would pour cool water over his own head and then rest a bit right there by the water under a big shady pear tree until those men hollor for more water. Well this one time it looked like a bunch a lambs and sheep had been millin round that tree. They had left droppings all over the place. Looked somewhat like overripe fruit from the pear tree that fell on the ground. Of course Young Isum spotted em and immediately asked Arthur what they was?
Well Arthur somehow mustered a straight face and informed him that it was tree fudge and he should collect as much of it as he could, so they could enjoy it later. As Arthur would tell later in life, “Darn fool ran around there near on half an hour collectiing all that poo. I finally had a tell em the truth less he decide to try an taste some early on before we got home. “Yep! Soon’s we got home he tole on me and I sure enough got a whuppin.
So, here they were a couple weeks later, an Isum, he’s been told to help Arthur bring water up to the house from the well. Isum, he was feelin right poorly that day. So, Arthur’s thinkin “Boy! I can get him real good”. So, bein as polite as he could, Arthur stopped Isum and told him “I can see you sickly so you take yourself up yonder there and set on that back porch in the shade. You rest a bit and I’ll take that water up to the house.” Well brother Isum he study Arthur a bit cause he wasn’t use ta his brother bein so nice to em an all. Arthur, well he was able to keep his face from grinnin. What they call that? His poker playin face. Yeah, an Isum went for it. Sure did, dern fool he turn them buckets over to Arthur.
Arthur hurried and took most a the water to the house. Then real quick he hurried back to the stream and the big ole pear tree. He‘d spotted a huge passel of rabbits there earlier. Sure enough they'd left loads of perfectly formed little droppings all around. Arthur gathered up a handful of em and headed back up to brother Isum. Yep! gave a coupla of em to him along with a cup drippin with cool fresh stream water and all with as straight a face as he could muster. Yep! That poker playin face once again. “Ole missus up at the big house say for you to take these, and you’ll feel better shortly.” Well, Isum went for it and before Arthur could stop him. Uh huh, yep! Isum swallowed several of em, dern fool.Yes he did. Now Arthur didn’t intend for it to go that far but nevertheless the went the rest a that day just laughin and snickerin.
Later thinking about them whuppins, any day he didn't get his behind blistered was a great day and most a this day was bout gone. He actually made it til most light a the day was disappearin out a the sky without no whuppin. Dadgum ifin round bout then he saw his luck run out. Bless pete! With Arthur lookin right at him brother Isum, darn his hide, was talkin ta their mama. Now, she’s starin dead at Arthur and he knows Isum done tole her about them rabbit droppins. End
Eudell Watts III