Some Canadian Folklore
Posted 24 February 2005 - 07:52 PM
Anyway, here are a few legends and folktales from Canada. And yes, there are similarities to legends elsewhere (see Loup-Garou), simply because of who settled here. French, English, Irish, Scottish at the begining. And I would suspect that some of the tales of our First Nations people would have similarities with their American counterparts, in particular along the present day boarder and trade routes.
Anyway, here we go...from various places on the net. If you see one that is similar to your region, share yours!
The Legend of the Loup-Garou
(from http://members.shaw....gie/legends.htm Direct copy paste because tonight I'm lazy)
This story happened to a person named Joachim Crête, an old miller; Poor old Crête. No one really liked him very much. For one thing he snubbed the villagers -- except when they brought him grain to mill. And one other thing is that he broke the rules of the Church. He hadn't been to mass or confession in years, and on Sundays almost always kept his mill turning.
On this particular day, a stranger from the mountains named Hubert Sauvageau knocked on Crête's door looking for work. The man was rough and dirty in appearance and speech, and looked too young to do a good day's work. However, Sauvageau promised to work hard for very little money. Best of all, he loved to play checkers as much as Crête. The old man was delighted with his new assistant. The neighbours, however, were shocked by Sauvageau`s foul language and irreligious ways and came to dislike him even more than they did Crête. Soon everyone in the area began to spread terrifying rumours about a loup-garou. No one had actually seen the beast but there were evidence everywhere - a sheep with its throat torn out, and a child that had been mangled to death. Crête and Sauvageau were the only ones who didn't live in constant fear of the loup-garou. In fact they laughed at their neighbours for being so superstitious. Though most of the villagers were afraid even to open their door at night, young Sauvageau would often go out late after his drunken boss had fallen asleep, slumped over the checker board.
On Christmas Eve, everyone ventured outside to go to midnight mass - everyone, that is, except Crête and Sauvageau. Not only were the two men celebrating wildly, they were keeping the mill turning. After the church bells rang at midnight, however, their celebration was interrupted.
Crête put down his glass and listened. "Did you hear that?" he asked. "I don`t hear a thing," said Sauvageau. That's what I mean - the mill just stopped dead!" Swearing as they went, they descended into the millroom with a lantern. They tried to get the mill turning again but it wouldn't budge. "The devil with it" Crête cursed. "Let's get out of here."
At that very moment, the lantern went out and left them in a silent darkness. As they groped their way up the stairs, Sauvageau fell. Crête ignored him, however, and weaved his way back to the kitchen.
Just then, he heard a groaning sound behind him. When he turned around, he almost died of fright. Standing there was a huge black dog with long fangs, staring savagely at him.
"Help! Hubert!" he called out. There wasn't a sound except for the animal's panting. "Hubert!"
Just as the beast was about to pounce, the church bell rang again and Crête fell to his knees. "My God," he cried. "Please save me from the loup-garou!"
Fortunately, there was a sickle within easy reach. He struck the loup-garou with it and fainted.
When Crête awoke the next day, Sauvageau was splashing water on his face. Before he could ask what had happened, he noticed a gash on the young man`s ear. In a flash, he realized that Sauvageau was the loup-garou.
"It was you!`" he cried and fainted once again. The old miller apparently never regained his senses after that and died some years later
(more coming in other posts on this thread)
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Posted 24 February 2005 - 07:53 PM
Have you ever seen a canoe flying through a night sky? Legend has it that in the winter lumber camps or "shanties" of Québec years ago, loggers could sail over miles of snow-covered terrain in a "chasse-galerie" or "witch canoe" simply by making a deal with the Devil. About 150 years ago, one shanty-man, a cook named Joseph, had the trip of a lifetime and lived to tell the tale.
"I was only 19 at the time. It was New Year's Eve deep in the forest above the Gatineau River and the snow was already as high as the roof of the shanty. Inside a group of us were sitting around a blazing fire, drinking from a keg of very strong rum that the foreman had given us to help us forget our homesickness. By 11 o'clock, my head began to spin, so I lay down to take a nap before the midnight festivities."
"Suddenly I was being shaken awake by a second boss, Baptiste Durand. 'Joseph! It's after midnight and our camarades have gone to the other camps. I'm going home to Lavaltrie to see my sweetheart. Want to come and see Lise?"
'Are you crazy?' I said. 'We're 200 miles from home. It would take two months to go there.'
'We'll be back in time for breakfast, you fool!' said Baptiste. 'We're going by canoe!'
"I realized then that he wanted me to go with him by chasse-galerie and risk losing my soul to the Devil. 'Not on your life!' I said, though I paid little heed to either God or the Devil then, and I did long to see Lise.
Baptiste sneered. "What an old woman, There's no danger - if we don't say the name of God or touch the crosses on the steeples. Or touch another drink. Come on, mon vieux, there are already seven of us and we need an even number to make up the crew."
Before I had time to think twice, I was seated at the bow, paddle in hand. Standing at the stern, Baptiste made us repeat an oath to the Devil and then then the magic words, 'Acabris! Acabras! Acabram! Carry us over the mountains!' At once we felt the canoe rising up in the air, over the camp, the forest, the mountains, and finally the river, which appeared like a band of ice glistening in the light to the full moon. We sang loudly and paddled like demons, our moustaches stiff with ice. We flew over the twinkling lights of farmhouses and villages, and over the thousands of lights of Montréal and soon were over the village of Lavaltrie. Hovering over Batisette Augé's brightly lit house, we could hear the faint sounds of fiddling and laughing. We landed nearby. Before Baptiste knocked on the door, he warned us to drink nothing and be ready to leave quietly at four o'clock.
"Everyone welcomed us with open arms. As for me, I thought of nothing but dancing with my Lise -- which I did for two blissful hours. I even forgot that I had risked the salvation of my soul to be there. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I had seen Baptiste take a few drinks. Sure enough, at the stroke of four, I almost had to drag him out of there."
"We were all furious -- and nervous -- about our steersman being drunk. But soon, were were at his mercy, zigzagging through the air, coming within inches of church steeples. One minute, Baptiste was standing up and waving his paddle wildly over his head. The next, he was slumped down and had to be roused into action. What chaos! Somehow, though, we managed to stay roughly on course. Then, only a few miles from our camp, Baptiste sent the canoe lurching to the left. It hit the top of a tall pine tree and we all spilled out. The last thing I remember was dropping endlessly from branch to branch."
"The next morning I awoke in my bunk. Fortunately, no one was badly hurt. We had been rescued by some of our camarades, who told the others that we had slept off our rum in a snowdrift. We never told them otherwise. In fact, I didn't tell anyone abut traveling with the Devil until years later. If you take my advice, you'll wait till spring to see your sweetheart and travel by river raft."
For Joseph and thousands of other French-Canadians, the witch canoe was no fairy tale. French-Canadian legends may be full of unbelievable things like loup-garous (or werewolves) and feu-follets (wicked spirits that lead humans astray). Yet to the raconteur, they are as real as the Gatineau River. Like the witch canoe, they tell us what happens when you put your soul in the hands of the Devil. And the Devil is no laughing matter. No wonder then that legends like the chasse-galerie were popular in winter lumber camps of the 19th century. For one thing, the men were far from home for months at a time, with little diversion during the long, boring nights. Surrounded by snowdrifts and the cries of hungry wolves, they relished a warm fire and a good story. These stories not only entertained, they also taught important moral lessons. After all, the men were as far from church as from home. As true as French-Canadian legends are supposed to be, many are local versions of stories that originated in Europe. The legend of the chasse-galerie can be traced to a French tale about Seigneur Gallery of Poitou, who was condemned to fly through the skies for eternity because he would hunt on Sunday rather than attend mass. The story was no doubt adopted by the voyageurs and coureursde bois. The tradition was passed on by the shantymen in Québec, who, longing for their sweetheart, were tempted to fly home courtesy of the Devil!!!
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Posted 24 February 2005 - 07:55 PM
Ogopogo: Although this name for the lake monster was first coined in, 1912, a creature in Okanagan Lake has existed in local Indian legend for centuries. It was by them called N'ha-a-itk or Naitaka), Sacred Creature of the Water. Later they called it Lake Demon. Under the name Ogopogo the creature of legend is now the popular tourist mascot of Kelowna.
Reports of sightings of the Ogopogo still crop up, from time to time, as do reports of a number of other monsters inhabiting the waters of British Columbia's lakes and coasts. Another particularly well-known one is the Cadborosaurus, also known as Caddy, named for Cadboro Bay (one of the places it was sighted) outside Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia.
Jack-a-lope: A horned rabbit-antelope cross commonly seen as a trophy throughout B.C. A similar cross-bred critter is the "horny owl", now extinct, seen as a trophy in the Yahk Hotel.
Side Hill Gouger: Exploits vary from region to region. In parts of the interior it is reputed to be the creature that makes clearly defined tracks in the sides of hills.
Freeport: 24 kilometers (15 miles) east of Burns Lake is a grave with a picket fence around it, all that remains of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway townsite of Freeport. The grave is that of 'Denver Ed' Kelly, a railway worker who was shot by Jerry Mulvinhill for cheating during a card game. The story goes that when the townsite emptied and was put up for sale, Kelly's sister bought it, then burnt the town to the ground, leaving only his grave in silent tribute.
Premonition: Carpenter, a Toronto lawyer, was one of the Overlanders who came into B.C. from Winnipeg and points east in 1862, in search of Cariboo gold. On Tuesday, September 30th, the group he was with arrived at the Grand Canyon rapids on the Fraser River, eighty kilometers (fifty miles) east of Prince George. While assessing the rapids Carpenter wrote in his diary, "Arrived this day at the canyon at 10 a.m. and drowned running the canoe down: God keep my poor wife".
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Posted 24 February 2005 - 08:17 PM
Tales and the like from the Yukon
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Laberge
I cremated Sam McGee.
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