“What’s Friday got to do with the mockin’ bird?” (Zora Neale Hurston)

“What’s de matter, Ah don’t hear no birds?” complained Eugene Oliver. “It don’t seem natural.”

Everybody looked up at one time like cows in a pasture.

“Oh you know how come we don’t hear no birds. It’s Friday and de mocking bird ain’t here,” said Big Sweet after a period of observation.

“What’s Friday got to do with the mockin’ bird?” Eugene challenged.

“Dat’s exactly what Ah want to know,” said Joe Wiley.,

“Well,” said Big Sweet. “Nobody never sees no mockin’ bird on Friday. They ain’t on earth dat day.”

“Well, if they ain’t on earth, where is they?”

“They’s all gone to hell on Friday with a grain of sand in they mouth to help out they friend.” She continued:

Once there was a man and he was very wicked. He useter rob and steal and he was always in a fight and killin’ up people. But he was awful good to birds and mockin’ birds was his favorite. This was a long time ago before de man first started to buildin’ de Rocky Mountains. Well, ‘ way after while somebody kilt him, and being he had done lived so bad, when he died he went straight to hell.

De birds all hated it mighty bad when they seen him in hell, so they tried to git him out. But the fire was too hot so they give up–all but de mockin’ birds. They come together and decided to tote sand until they squenched de fire in hell. So they set a day and they all agreed on it. Every Friday they,totes sand to hell. And that’s how come nobody don’t never see no mockin’ birds on Friday.


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