The Great Deluge in Atlanta and in the Uncle Remus Tales

I’m relieved to report that the Wren’s Nest did not suffer any damage from the torrential downpours of last week.

Thank you to the wonderful foundations that allowed us to patch up our roof earlier this year.  Thanks also to Arborguard, for recently taking out the huge tree limb that hung over us worse than Jägermeister on New Year’s.

The recent flooding here reminds me of one of my favorite moments in the Uncle Remus tales — when Uncle Remus tells the little boy about the Great Deluge.  You know, the story where angry crawfish bore holes in the ground and flood the earth.

“Where was the ark, Uncle Remus?” the little boy inquired, presently.

Uncle Remus tells the story of the Great Deluge

“W’ich ark’s dat?” asked the old man, in the tone of well-feigned curiosity.

“Noah’s ark,” replied the child.

“Don’t you pester wid ole man Noah, honey. I boun’ he tuck keer er dat ark. Dat’s w’at he wuz dar fer, en dat’s w’at he done. Leas’ways, dat’s w’at dey tells me. But don’t you bodder longer dat ar, ceppin’ your mammy fetches it up. Dey mought er bin two deloojes, en den agin dey moughtent. Ef dey wuz enny ark in [my story], I ain’t heern tell un it, en w’en dey ain’t no arks ‘roun’, I ain’t got no time fer ter make en put em in dar.”

Instead of telling the Sunday School version of the story, Remus sticks with the story from his own tradition.

The choice that Harris made here — to let Remus tell his own story and introduce the little white boy to a vastly different perspective — is one reason why it’s so easy for me to get excited about our mission.  Harris lent the African-American tradition a legitimacy that was practically nonexistent in American literature at the time.

Thank you to the crawfish for not boring (too many) holes around the Wren’s Nest this past week.  Not everyone was so lucky.

atlanta floods, crawfish, great deluge, Joel Chandler Harris, noah's ark, Uncle Remus

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