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Last Updated on March 17, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 550

When de vimes sta'ted ter wither, Henry 'mence' ter complain er his rheumatiz; en when de leaves begin ter dry up, his ha'r 'mence' ter drap out. When de vimes fresh' up a bit, Henry 'd git peart ag'in, en when de vimes wither' ag'in, Henry 'd git old ag'in, en des kep' gittin' mo' en mo' fitten fer nuffin; he des pined away, en pined away, en fine'ly tuk ter his cabin.

In "The Goophered Grapevine," a slave has eaten bewitched berries that tie his life to the life of the vine. As the berries ripen and the plant is healthy, he is young and strong. When it gets old, he ages and is more tired. His owner takes advantage of this: he sells him when he's strong for a high price and buys him back as a weak man for a low price. The man did not know the berries were bewitched to kill any slave who ate them within a year of when they first tried them; only another potion kept him alive and tied his life to the vine. The actions of the slaveowner show his extreme disregard for not only the lives of his slaves but also for their humanity.

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Circumstances that afterwards came to my knowledge created in my mind a strong suspicion that Julius may have played a more than unconscious part in this transaction. Among other significant facts was his appearance, the Sunday following the purchase of the horse, in a new suit of store clothes, which I had seen displayed in the window of Mr. Solomon Cohen's store on my last visit to town, and had remarked on account of their striking originality of cut and pattern.

John becomes aware that every story or piece of advice Julius gives him is beneficial to Julius. In this case, John and Annie purchased a horse that wasn't a good bargain. It had trouble seeing, was very sick, and died soon after the purchase. This—even more than Julius's earlier stories about bewitched berries and wood—give John pause when it comes to the old man.

"I'm sure he ought to be," exclaimed my wife indignantly. "I think there is no worse sin and no more disgraceful thing than cruelty."

Annie remarks that cruelty is the worst of all sins after she and John witness a man abusing his horse. This line foreshadows the events of the story in "Mars Jeems's Nightmare," where a man who owns slaves becomes a slave himself. Before Mars Jeems becomes a slave, he is a harsh owner who abuses the slaves at his plantation. However, his treatment by his own overseer during his nightmare shows him the true cruelty that he's perpetrated through his actions. Much like the man who is cruel to his horse is a bad person, the story shows that a man who is cruel to a slave—or owns slaves at all—is a bad person. Julius tells this story at least in part as a reaction to John's decision to fire Julius's grandson, Tom, from the vineyard. At the end of the week, when John sees that Tom has been rehired by Annie, he decides to let him stay. Perhaps the story had more of an effect on him than he first thought.

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