Mules and Men Part I, Chapter Three: Questions and Answers

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Three: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Describe the “quick tricks” of the three men courting the girl.

2. How fast is the horse owned by Henry’s father?

3. What does Charlie Jones mean when he says “let de dollars hush whilst the nickels speak”?

4. Why does Julius spit into the yard?

5. What skill does John have which nobody knew about?

6. Why does Massa kill John’s grandmother?

7. What is inside the bag that Massa throws into the river?

8. Why does Jack decide to bet his life against the Devil?

9. What did the Devil lose in the well?

10. What are the names of the Devil’s two horses?

Answers
1. The first man runs ten miles to collect some water from the spring. As he runs back, he notices that the bottom fell out of the bucket, but he runs back, catches the water before it hits the ground, and fixes the bucket before the water spills. The second man clears ten acres of woods, pulls up the roots of the trees, plants peas, and harvests them in time for dinner. The third man fires his rifle at a deer, then runs over and holds the deer in place so that the bullet may hit it.

2. According to Henry Byrd, his father’s horse was so fast that it was able to beat a telegram sent to his sister in St. Petersburg.

3. He sees that young Julius Henry wants to tell a story and makes a joke about his age.

4. Julius spits in order to emulate the men in Eatonville who spit tobacco juice.

5. John was a fortune-teller.

6. John was using Massa’s buggy to drive his grandma into town.

7. Massa throws a bag containing a soft-shell turtle and two bricks into the river because he believes them to be John.

8. Jack could outfight and outshoot anyone in the world, and he does not realize that his opponent is the Devil in disguise; he figures that there is no way a man could take his life, even if he did lose the game.

9. The Devil lost his wife’s ring in the well.

10. One horse is called Hallowed-be-thy-name, the other is called Thy-kingdom-come.