Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 16 > Page 34 - Father Maillard at a Micmac Feast, 1758

Page 34 - Father Maillard at a Micmac Feast, 1758

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1 (979 reads)
 

At the end of this fine regale, they drink as much of the oil as they can, and wipe their hands on their hair. Then come in the wives of the master and persons in? vited, who carry off their husbands* plates, and retire together to a separate place, where they dispatch the remains. After grace being said by the oldest of the company, who also never fails of pronouncing it before the meal, the master of the treat appears as if buried in a profound contem? plation, without speaking a word, for a full quarter of an hour; after which, waking as it were out of a deep sleep, he orders in the Calumets, or Indian pipes, with tobacco. First he fills his own, lights it, and, af? ter sucking in two or three whiffs, he pre? sents it to the most considerable man in the company: after which, every one fills his pipe and smokeso The calumets lighted, and the tobacco burn? ing with a clear fire, are scarce half smoked out, before the man of note before mentioned (for the greatest honors being paid him*( gets up, places himself in the midst of the cabin, and pronounces a speech of thanksgiving. He praises the master of the feast, who has so well regaled him and all the company. He compares him to a tree, whose large and strong roots afford nou=' rishment to a number of small shrubs; or to a salutary medicinal herb, found accidently by such as frequent the lakes in their ca? noes. Some I have heard, who, in their win? ter-feasts, compared him to the turpentine- tree, that never fails of yielding its sap and gummy distillation in all seasons; other to those temperate and mild days, which are sometimes seen in the midst of the severest winter. They employ a thousand similies of this sort, which I omit. After this intro? duction, they proceed to make honorable mention of the lineage from which the mas? ter of the feast descended. "How great (will the oldest of them say) art thou, through thy great, great, great, grandfather, whose memory is still recent, by tradition, amongst us, for the plenti? ful huntings he used to makel There was something of the miraculous about him, when he assisted at the beating of the woods for elks, or other beasts of the fur. His dexterity at catching this game was not superior to our's; but there was some unaccountable secret he particularly pos? sessed in his manner of seizing those creatures, by springing upon them, laying hold of their heads, and transfixing them at the same time with his hunting-spear, though thrice as strong and as nimble a- gain as he was, and much more capable with their legs only, than he with our rackets, to make their way over mountains of snow: he would nevertheless follow them, dart them, without ever missing his aim, tire them out with his chase, bring them down, and mortally wound them. Then he would re? gale us with their blood, skin them, and deliver up the carcass to us to cut to pieceso "But if thy great, great, great grandfather made such a figure in the chase, what has not thy great, great grandfather done with respect to the beavers, those animals al? most men? whose industry he surpassed by his frequent watchings round their cabins, by the repeated alarms he would give them several times in one evening, and oblige them thereby to return home, so that he might be sure of the number of those ani? mals he had seen dispersed during the day, having a particular foresight of the spot CIAD NILE The Annual Gaelic Mod Held First Full Week in August Home of Gaelic College Summer School 2,3 & 5 Week Courses in Scottish Highland Dancing Bagpipe Music Gaelic Language The Gaelic College, st. Anns, n. s. Cape Breton's Magazine/34 P.O.Box 9, Baddeck, N.S.
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