Hello, House!

Folktales of type 66A
edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 2010


  1. The Hare and the Lion (Zanzibar).

  2. The Alligator and the Jackal (India).

  3. Heyo, House! (African-American).

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

The Hare and the Lion


[After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the hare, the lion asked some people], "Where is the hare's house?"

And they told him, "We do not know."

And the hare had said to his wife, "Let us remove from this house." And they removed.

And the lion went asking, and people told him, "That is his house on the top of the mountain."

And the lion went, and when he arrived, the hare was not there. And he said, "I will hide myself inside the house, till when the hare comes with his wife, I will eat them both."

And the hare came, he and his wife. He had heard nothing, till on the road he saw the lion's feet, and he said to his wife, "You go back, the lion has passed this way looking for me."

And she said, "I will not go back, I will follow you, my husband."

And he said, "You have friends to go to, go back."

And she went back. And the hare went on and followed the feet, and saw that they went into his house. And he said [to himself], "Oho, lion! you are inside."

And he went back cautiously, and went and stood at a distance, and said, "Salaam house! Salaam house! Salaam house!"

And he heard no reply. And the hare said, "How is this? Every day as I pass this place, if I say, 'Salaam,' the house answers me; but today perhaps there is someone inside it."

The lion was deceived, and replied, "Salaam."

And he said to him, "Oho, lion! you are inside, you want to eat me, your son. And where did you hear of a house's talking?"

And the lion said, "Wait for me, that's all."

And the hare ran off, and they chased one another till the lion was tired. And he said to the people, "The hare has beaten me; there, I do not want him any more." And he went back.

The Alligator and the Jackal


[After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the jackal], the alligator said to himself, "I will not allow that little wretch to make fun of me another time, and then run away out of reach; I will show him that I can be more cunning than he fancies."

And early the next morning he crawled as fast as he could to the jackal's den (which was a hole in the side of a hill) and crept into it, and hid himself, waiting for the jackal, who was out, to return home.

But when the jackal got near the place he looked about him and thought, "Dear me, the ground looks as if some heavy creature had been walking over it, and here are great clods of earth knocked down from each side of the door of my den, as if a very big animal had been trying to squeeze himself through it. I certainly will not go inside until I know that all is safe there."

So he called out, "Little house, pretty house, my sweet little house, why do you not give an answer when I call? If I come, and all is safe and right, you always call out to me. Is anything wrong that you do not speak?"

Then the alligator, who was inside, thought, "If that is the case I had better call out, that he may fancy all is right in his house." And in as gentle a voice as he could, he said, "Sweet little jackal."

At hearing these words the jackal felt quite frightened, and thought to himself, "So the dreadful old alligator is there. I must try to kill him if I can, for if I do not he will certainly catch and kill me some day."

He therefore answered, "Thank you, my dear little house. I like to hear your pretty voice. I am coming in in a minute, but first I must collect firewood to cook my dinner."

And he ran as fast as he could, and dragged all the dry branches and bits of stick he could find, close up to the mouth of the den.

Meantime the alligator inside kept as quiet as a mouse, but he could not help laughing a little to himself, as he thought, "So I have deceived this tiresome little jackal at last. In a few minutes he will run in here, and then won't I snap him up."

When the jackal had gathered together all the sticks he could find, and put them round the mouth of his den, he set them on fire and pushed them as far into it as possible. There was such a quantity of them that they soon blazed up into a great fire, and the smoke and flames filled the den and smothered the wicked old alligator, and burnt him to death, while the little jackal ran up and down: outside, dancing for joy and singing: "How do you like my house, my friend? Is it nice and warm? Ding, dong! ding, dong! The alligator is dying! ding, dong, ding, dong! He will trouble me no more. I have defeated my enemy! Ring a ting! ding a ting! ding, ding, dong!"

Heyo, House!

African American

One day whiles ole Miss Rabbit en de little Rabs is out pickin' sallid fer dinner, he [Brer Wolf] went in de house, he did, en wait fer Brer Rabbit ter come home. Brer Rabbit had his hours, en dis wuz one un um, en't wan't long 'fo' here he come. He got a mighty quick eye, mon, en he tuck notice dat ev'ything mighty still. When he got little nigher, he tuck notice dat de front door wuz on de crack, en dis make 'im feel funny, kaze he know dat when his ole 'oman en de chillun out, dey allers pulls de door shet en ketch de latch. So he went up a little nigher, en he step thin ez a battercake. He peep here, en he peep dar, yit he ain't see nothin'. He lissen in de chimbley cornder, en he lissen und' de winder, yit he ain't hear nothin'.

Den he sorter wipe his mustach en study. He 'low ter hisse'f, "De pot-rack know what gwine on up de chimbley, de rafters know who's in de loft, de bed-cord know who und' de bed. I ain't no pot-rack, I ain't no rafter, en I ain't no bed-cord, but, please gracious! I 'm gwine ter fin' who's in dat house, en I ain't gwine in dar nudder. Dey mo' ways ter fin' out who fell in de mill-pond widout fallin' in yo'se'f."

"Some folks," Uncle Remus went on, "would 'a' rushed in dar, en ef dey had, dey would n't 'a' rushed out no mo', kaze dey wouldn't 'a' been nothin' 't all lef un um but a little scrap er hide en a han'ful er ha'r."

Brer Rabbit got better sense dan dat. All he ax anybody is ter des gi' 'im han'-roomance, en dem what kin ketch 'im is mo' dan welly-come ter take 'im. Dat 'zackly de kinder man what Brer Rabbit is.

He went off a little ways fum de house en clum a 'simmon stump en got up dar en 'gun ter holler, "He'low, Heyo, house!"

De house ain't make no answer, en Brer Wolf, in dar behime de door, open his eyes wide. He ain't know what ter make er dat kinder doin's.

Brer Rabbit holler, "Heyo, house! Why n't you heyo?"

House ain't make no answer, en Brer Wolf in dar behime de door sorter move roun' like he gittin' restless in de min'.

Brer Rabbit out dar on de 'simmon stump holler mo' louder dan befo', "Heyo, house! Heyo!"

House stan' still, en Brer Wolf in dar behime de door 'gun ter feel col' chills streakin' up and down his back. In all his born days he ain't never hear no gwines on like dat. He peep thoo de crack er de door, but he can't see nothin'.

Brer Rabbit holler louder, "Heyo, house! Ain't you gwine ter heyo? Is you done los' what little manners you had?"

Brer Wolf move 'bout wuss'n befo'. He feel des like some un done hit 'im on de funny-bone.

Brer Rabbit holler hard ez he kin, but still he ain't git no answer, en den he 'low, "Sholy sump'n nudder is de matter wid dat house, kaze all de times befo' dis, it been holler'n back at me, 'Heyo, yo'se'f!'"

Den Brer Rabbit wait little bit, en bimeby he holler one mo' time, "Heyo, house!"

Ole Brer Wolf try ter talk like he speck a house 'ud talk, en he holler back, "Heyo, yo'se'f!"

Brer Rabbit wunk at hisse'f. He low, "Heyo, house! why n't you talk hoarse like you got a bad col'?"

Den Brer Wolf holler back, hoarse ez he kin, "Heyo, yo'se'f!"

Dis make Brer Rabbit laugh twel a little mo' en he 'd a drapt off'n dat ar 'simmon stump en hurt hisse'f.

He 'low, "Eh-eh, Brer Wolf! dat ain't nigh gwine ter do. You 'll hatter stan' out in de rain a mighty long time 'fo' you kin talk hoarse ez dat house!"

"I let you know," continued Uncle Remus, laying his hand gently on the little boy's shoulder, "I let you know, Brer Wolf come a-slinkin' out, en made a break fer home. Atter dat, Brer Rabbit live a long time wid'out any er de yuther creeturs a-pesterin un 'im!"

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

Revised March 21, 2010.