|Then he wrote something on a paper and read it over, and says:||Then he wrote something on a piece of paper, looked it over, and said:|
|“There; you see it says ’for a consideration.’ That means I have bought it of you and paid you for it. Here’s a dollar for you. Now you sign it.”||“There. You see? It says, ‘for a consideration.’ That means I have bought your property from you and paid you for it. Here’s a dollar for you. Now you sign it.”|
|So I signed it, and left.||So I signed it and then left.|
|Miss Watson’s nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed everything. So I went to him that night and told him pap was here again, for I found his tracks in the snow. What I wanted to know was, what he was going to do, and was he going to stay? Jim got out his hair-ball and said something over it, and then he held it up and dropped it on the floor. It fell pretty solid, and only rolled about an inch. Jim tried it again, and then another time, and it acted just the same. Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear against it and listened. But it warn’t no use; he said it wouldn’t talk. He said sometimes it wouldn’t talk without money. I told him I had an old slick counterfeit quarter that warn’t no good because the brass showed through the silver a little, and it wouldn’t pass nohow, even if the brass didn’t show, because it was so slick it felt greasy, and so that would tell on it every time. (I reckoned I wouldn’t say nothing about the dollar I got from the judge.) I said it was pretty bad money, but maybe the hair-ball would take it, because maybe it wouldn’t know the difference. Jim smelt it and bit it and rubbed it, and said he would manage so the hair-ball would think it was good. He said he would split open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter in between and keep it there all night, and next morning you couldn’t see no brass, and it wouldn’t feel greasy no more, and so anybody in town would take it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, I knowed a potato would do that before, but I had forgot it.||Miss Watson’s n-----, Jim, had a hairball as big as your fist. It was taken out of the fourth stomach of an ox. He used it for doing magic because he said there was an all-knowing spirit inside of it. So I went to him that night and told him pap was back and that I’d seen his tracks in the snow. I wanted to know what pap was going to do and if he was going to stay. Jim got out his hairball, said something over it. Then he held it up and dropped it on the floor. It fell like a rock and rolled about an inch. Jim tried it again, and then a third time, but it did the same thing each time. Jim got down on his knees and put his ear against it and listened. But it wasn’t any use—he said it wouldn’t talk. He said sometimes it wouldn’t talk unless you gave it money. I told him I had an old smooth counterfeit quarter that was worthless because the brass showed through the silver a little. In fact, it wouldn’t have been good even if the brass didn’t show because it was so smooth it felt greasy. It would be spotted as a fake if anyone tried to use it. (I figured I wouldn’t say anything about the dollar the Judge had given to me.) I said it was a pretty bad substitute for money, but maybe the hairball would take it without realizing the difference. Jim smelt it and bit it and rubbed it, and said he’d make it so the hairball would think it was real. He said he would stick the quarter inside a raw Irish potato for the night. The next morning, you wouldn’t be able to see any of the brass and the greasiness be gone. He said this would fool anyone in town, let alone a hairball. I knew that I could have fixed it with a potato—I’d just forgotten.|
|Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got down and listened again. This time he said the hair-ball was all right. He said it would tell my whole fortune if I wanted it to. I says, go on. So the hair-ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me. He says:||Jim put the fake quarter under the hairball and got down and listened again. This time he said the hairball was okay and that it would tell me my whole fortune if I wanted. I told it to go on, so the hairball talked to Jim. Then Jim said:|
|“Yo’ ole father doan’ know yit what he’s a-gwyne to do. Sometimes he spec he’ll go ’way, en den agin he spec he’ll stay. De bes’ way is to res’ easy en let de ole man take his own way. Dey’s two angels hoverin’ roun’ ’bout him. One uv ’em is white en shiny, en t’other one is black. De white one gits him to go right a little while, den de black one sail in en bust it all up. A body can’t tell yit which one gwyne to fetch him at de las’. But you is all right. You gwyne to have considable trouble in yo’ life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well agin. Dey’s two gals flyin’ ’bout you in yo’ life. One uv ’em’s light en t’other one is dark. One is rich en t’other is po’. You’s gwyne to marry de po’ one fust en de rich one by en by. You wants to keep ’way fum de water as much as you kin, en don’t run no resk, ’kase it’s down in de bills dat you’s gwyne to git hung.”||“Your old pap doesn’t know yet what he’s going to do. Sometimes he thinks he’ll go away, but then changes his mind and thinks he’ll stay. The best thing for you to do is to relax and let the old man do what he wants. There are two angels hovering around him. One of them is white and shiny and the other is black. The white one gets him to do the right thing for awhile, but then the black one pops up and ruins it. Nobody can tell which one is going to win in the end. But you’ll be alright. You’re going to have considerable trouble in your life and considerable joy. Sometimes you’re going to get hurt and sometimes you’re going go get sick, but everytime you do, you’ll get well again. There are two women in your life: One of them is light, and the other is dark. One is rich, and the other is poor. You’re going to marry the poor one first and the rich one later on. You want to keep away from the water as much as you can and not take any chances in case it’s predestined that you’re going to get hanged.”|
|When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night there sat pap—his own self!||When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night, I found a man sitting there—it was pap!|
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