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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 1
"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 tree."
"Well now, Jupiter, do exactly as I tell you - do you hear?"
"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."
"All dat done, Massa Will; mighty easy ting for to put de bug fru de hole - look out for him dare below!"
During this colloquy no portion of Jupiter's person could be seen; but the beetle, which he had suffered to descend, was now visible at the end of the string, and glistened, like a globe of burnished gold, in the last rays of the setting sun, some of which still faintly illumined the eminence upon which we stood. The scarabŠus hung quite clear of any branches, and, if allowed to fall, would have fallen at our feet. Legrand immediately took the scythe, and cleared with it a circular space, three or four yards in diameter, just beneath the insect, and, having accomplished this, ordered Jupiter to let go the string and come down from the tree. Driving a peg, with great nicety, into the ground, at the precise spot where the beetle fell, my friend now produced from his pocket a tape measure. Fastening one end of this at that point of the trunk, of the tree which was nearest the peg, he unrolled it till it reached the peg, and thence farther unrolled it, in the direction already established by the two points of the tree and the peg, for the distance of fifty feet - Jupiter clearing away the brambles with the scythe. At the spot thus attained a second peg was driven, and about this, as a centre, a rude circle, about four feet in diameter, described. Taking now a spade himself, and giving one to Jupiter and one to me, Legrand begged us to set about digging as quickly as possible.