After the first book appeared in 1880, Joel Chandler Harris was deluged with letters from readers all over the country asking for more stories of Brer Rabbit and his friends--so for the remaining years of his life he collected and wrote them. Richard Chase, noted folklorist and author of Jack Tales and Grandfather Tales, compiled and edited the volume after Harris's death, and his occasional footnotes and word definitions contribute to our understanding of the dialect. Chase's belief in the importance of folktales and Harris's work is summed up in his foreword: These tales grew up in the soil of our nation. They came from the soul of a people. They endure.
These stories are as American as the stars and stripes, even though they have some of their origins in Africa. Saturday Review