The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 81

as mought be. Mought ventur out leetle way pon de
limb by myself, dat's true."

"By yourself!--what do you mean?"

"Why I mean de bug. 'Tis berry hebby bug. Spose I drop him down fuss,
and den de limb won't break wid just de weight ob one nigger."

"You infernal scoundrel!" cried Legrand, apparently much relieved, "what
do you mean by telling me such nonsense as that? As sure as you drop
that beetle I'll break your neck. Look here, Jupiter, do you hear me?"

"Yes, massa, needn't hollo at poor nigger dat style."

"Well! now listen!--if you will venture out on the limb as far as you
think safe, and not let go the beetle, I'll make you a present of a
silver dollar as soon as you get down."

"I'm gwine, Massa Will--deed I is," replied the negro very
promptly--"mos out to the eend now."

"Out to the end!" here fairly screamed Legrand, "do you say you are out
to the end of that limb?"

"Soon be to de eend, massa,--o-o-o-o-oh! Lor-gol-a-marcy! what is dis
here pon de tree?"

"Well!" cried Legrand, highly delighted, "what is it?"

"Why taint noffin but a skull--somebody bin lef him head up de tree, and
de crows done gobble ebery bit ob de meat off."

"A skull, you say!--very well!--how is it fastened to the limb?--what
holds it on?"

"Sure nuff, massa; mus look. Why dis berry curous sarcumstance, pon my
word--dare's a great big nail in de skull, what fastens ob it on to de

"Well now, Jupiter, do exactly as I tell you--do you hear?"

"Yes, massa."

"Pay attention, then!--find the left eye of the skull."

"Hum! hoo! dat's good! why dare aint no eye lef at all."

"Curse your stupidity! do you know your right hand from your left?"

"Yes, I nose dat--nose all bout dat--tis my lef hand what I chops de
wood wid."

"To be sure! you are left-handed; and your left eye is on the same
side as your left hand. Now, I suppose, you can find the left eye of the
skull, or the place where the left eye has been. Have you found it?"

Here was a long pause. At length the negro asked,

"Is de lef eye of de skull pon de same side as de lef hand of de skull,
too?--cause de skull aint got not a bit ob a hand at all--nebber mind!
I got de lef eye now--here de lef eye! what mus do wid it?"

"Let the beetle drop through it, as far as the string will reach--but
be careful and not let go your hold of the string."


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