Compair Lapin and Piti Bonhomme Godron (The Tar Baby)

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Authors
Alcée Fortier 1894; Sand Warren Marmillion
Issue Date
1996
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Book, Whole
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Abstract
The version of Creole encountered here is its own mixture of French and Wolof. This 36-page large-format pamphlet may come from a specific place: Laura Plantation, which is described on 34-35. The booklet is currently available on Amazon. The story starts here with a drought, for which Mr. Fox counsels digging a well, while Dr. Monkey invites prayers for rain. King Lion sides with the fox. Lion orders all the animals to come together and help dig a well. Only Compair Lapin dares to disobey. Lapin claims to messenger Donkey that rabbits need no water. King Lion sends Bear and Tiger to arrest Lapin and bring him in. Tiger urges Lapin to come willingly, or he will be eaten. He lets himself be tied up and led toward the king. On the way, he and Dr. Monkey fall to accusing and threatening each other. Mr. Fox is identified as Lapin's counselor and friend. He gives Lapin clever advice, which Lapin follows. When accused, Lapin defends himself carefully with elaborate stories pointing the finger at others, beginning with the donkey. He also gives Lion a golden chain. He claims Mr. Fox as a witness to the lying account he gives of donkey's mission, and Mr. Fox testifies to that effect on Lapin's behalf. Fox goes on to accuse Monkey of being in cahoots with Donkey to supplant the king. Fox and Lapin win the case, and Monkey and Donkey have to flee. After an amnesty, Monkey wants to pay Lapin and Fox back for the harm they did him. The well has turned into something of a fountain of youth. Monkey wants to catch Lapin with Ti Bonhomme Godron, the "man made of tar," which he places on Lapin's path to the well. It takes some days before Lapin physically encounters the tarbaby, whom he has perceived in the dark as "something black." He is condemned at his trial and accepts the prospect of execution, pleading only that he not be thrown into the briar patch. The background of the story turns out to be a love affair between Lapin and the king's lovely daughter. She, for his sake, supports the briar patch execution. Black-and-white drawings on the internal pages and colored illustrations on the outside covers. The best of them might be that showing Lapin stuck on the tarbaby (25).
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Zoe Company
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