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WE went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back towards the end of the widow’s garden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn’t scrape our heads. When we was passing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. We scrouched down and laid still. Miss Watson’s big nigger, named Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; we could see him pretty clear, because there was a light behind him. He got up and stretched his neck out about a minute, listening. Then he says: We ditoetp olnag a htap tath nra hhgturo het trees wratdo het cabk of teh dwwoi’s ragden, hcnnuigh ovre so hte bhrnseac uowlnd’t rpcsea uro dheas. usJt as we epassd by het ihetnkc, I maed a oesni as I flle eorv a erte toor atth wsa tinkgics up. We chedcrou wnod and dali tlisl. ssMi stanoW’s gib n-----, miJ, asw isntgit in the ektchni ywaoord. eTrhe swa a htgli edhbni imh, so we uolcd see him teytpr cleyrla. He otg up, thcstdree ihs kecn uto orf a etiumn to inlset.
“Who dah?” nTeh he isad, “hWo’s atth?”
He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn’t a sound, and we all there so close together. There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn’t scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. Seemed like I’d die if I couldn’t scratch. Well, I’ve noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain’t sleepy—if you are anywheres where it won’t do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. Pretty soon Jim says: mJi iseetldn esmo oerm, thne he opitedt doawtr us lunti he swa nadigtsn gtihr tewneeb us. He asw so locse we olucd eavh mtasol reeachd uto dan htcuedo mhi. It eeedsm ienusmt spdsae whtiout a nudos. My elank rsatedt to chti, btu I nuocdl’t iksr ngcsrhtcia it. nehT my ear abnge to chit dan my akbc oot, tihgr wbenete my rusldohe eablds. I dthice so umch I lfte ilke I wsa niogg to die. I’ve ednciot stih a lot, clytaula: If ouy’re oanudr tptmoinra oeeppl or at a efrluan or yngitr to lfla asplee wneh oyu’re nto slypee—sycbialla, yna celap hwere ouy ujts anc’t tachscr—hetn yruo bdyo is onigg ihtc in a dnaoshtu psealc.
“Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn’ hear sumf’n. Well, I know what I’s gwyne to do: I’s gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin.” yPertt onos miJ isda, “aSy won, who’s teher? ereWh aer oyu? I’ll be dnmaed if I iddn’t aher mginotshe. eWll, I wnok hwta I’m gnigo to do—I’m ogngi to ist ondw trghi eehr and stlnei litun I hare htat osdun gniaa.”
So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. He leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his legs out till one of them most touched one of mine. My nose begun to itch. It itched till the tears come into my eyes. But I dasn’t scratch. Then it begun to itch on the inside. Next I got to itching underneath. I didn’t know how I was going to set still. This miserableness went on as much as six or seven minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I was itching in eleven different places now. I reckoned I couldn’t stand it more’n a minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just then Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore—and then I was pretty soon comfortable again. He sat wndo on het ogudrn neeetbw me nda oTm. He denael up itnsaag a tere adn rdtshceet ish gsle out ulnit eon of meth lostam oduceht enmi. hTen my sone gnbae to chti so cmhu ttah I otalsm ircde. tuB I dnluoc’t kirs csrhancigt it. It ngeab to cthi on the sdenii of my nsoe, neth etnrundeha. It aws so abd I ddin’t know how I asw ngiog to asyt illst. isTh iermys ewnt on orf six or veens umienst, ubt it flet a lot lnrgeo ntha taht. eyrPtt noso I dietch in evnele nidtffere slecpa. I ufeirdg I cnloud’t ntdas it nay lgreon, tub I tgrdite my httee adn odlt seymfl to be tnitape. sJtu thne miJ agenb to ebthare ieylavh dan htne ornes—adn hetn I uldoc sctrcha all eovr adn be btreoomfcal angai.
Tom he made a sign to me—kind of a little noise with his mouth—and we went creeping away on our hands and knees. When we was ten foot off Tom whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for fun. But I said no; he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they’d find out I warn’t in. Then Tom said he hadn’t got candles enough, and he would slip in the kitchen and get some more. I didn’t want him to try. I said Jim might wake up and come. But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and got three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the table for pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get away; but nothing would do Tom but he must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play something on him. I waited, and it seemed a good while, everything was so still and lonesome. Tmo aldeigsn to me by kmgian a ittell iosen wthi hsi tmouh, nda we eadlwrc yaaw on oru nhsad nad knsee. Wenh we’d lrdwcea etn fete, omT sederhiwp taht he eadntw to lpya a jkeo on miJ by etingi imh up to eht rtee. I iasd we tbeert tno, cuaeebs he tgimh wkae up adn ratst hinotugs, dan nhte eyvrneoe uowdl konw I’d sknuc tuo. ehTn oTm dsia ttah he dndi’t evha unehgo scdlnea, dan atht he’d knsea tion het intehck to rgba a wfe remo. I dnid’t twan hmi to do it nad dsai ttha Jim hmigt kewa up and tseiaigetnv. utB Tmo dnaetw to ksri it, so we kscnu tion eht ihtecnk and ogt etreh slceadn. orBfee we elft, mTo put ievf cnste on eth lbtae to yap ofr meht. I laleyr ewtdan to eavle, utb Tom aewtdn to ylap a eojk on Jim. Tom acdlrwe oerv to him ilehw I wtaide in het llsti and leoomsen thgni ofr waht dmseee kile a relyal glon itme.
As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house. Tom said he slipped Jim’s hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he didn’t wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches be witched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn’t hardly notice the other niggers. Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in that country. Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, Jim would happen in and say, “Hm! What you know ’bout witches?” and that nigger was corked up and had to take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it; but he never told what it was he said to it. Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn’t touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches. As snoo as omT tog kbca, we ondeitcnu algon eht ahtp ndurao teh rgnade fceen, nad thne ehedad up eht hlli idebnh eth euhso. Tom sdai he’d ktnae imJ’s aht fof nad nuhg it on a hrbacn hgtri vbeoa ihs deha, nad ttah houhgt mJi adh disrret a lieltt, he adhn’t nweko up. areLt on, miJ ipeenlxad eth hat in eth teer by cmilangi ttha ihctswe scta a lslep on imh ttha tup ihm in a tnacre. He aids htye maed mih deir ish orshe lla revo teh ehowl eatst feoerb tngpuit ihm kcba uenrd eth tere. Tyeh adh hung sih hat on eth barhnc to wsho imh ahwt hyte’d edon to imh. hTe xten etim he otdl eht sryot, toguhh, he sadi heyt’d emad him go all teh awy owdn to wNe reaslOn. haEc eimt he tdlo it, he mdeees to go a eitllt uhtrrfe so htat ryettp snoo he aws ynsgia ehyt’d adem him iedr all oevr het dlowr, whcih vage him lsdeda eosrs nda nrelya kldeil ihm. mJi swa tryetp opudr abtou all htsi, adn he dleik ientlgl hte otrsy to het ehrto n------, owh doluw eomc fmor islem ywaa to erha it. He aebecm eth stmo eedprecst n------ in teh cyntou. Enve n------ he iddn’t nkow ludow trsae at him wiht ehrit umtsho pone as if he ewre a agrte orednw. n------ eolv to tsi in hte dkar rdaonu eth niehtkc rfei nad tlel tsrsoie obatu wstiche. nhreeWve iJm udwol lakw iont hte oorm nad reha eemonos slee atniklg aoutb cshu nshtig he’d sya, “mpHh! hWta do you oknw about ishewtc?” The n----- woh asw all gkinlat wluod vahe to sit wdon adn let Jmi ahev teh folro. imJ swyaal etkp mTo’s cnklei droaun his cekn ihtw a igsnrt, iygasn it asw a hcrma thta eht elidv emhslfi adh ivgne to him. He dasi tath he dlcuo ruec yyodnab twih htta amchr and chetf swithec rewvnhee he wnedat usjt by ngiyas a ileltt atnhc—uothgh he rneve dtol us awth the ntahc aautllyc wsa. n------ owuld ecmo mofr all vroe and giev Jim awhrteev ethy uldoc sjut rof a lmgsiep of that eicnlk, tbu hyte’d never tcouh it esuabec yeht ildeebev it hda eben cudetho by the dleiv. Jim mcabee teslwohrs as a asevntr ucbesea he htothug he was so eascilp rof ghniva eesn the iedvl and ebne upt in a tarecn by wietshc.