Page 12 - Old Tales of Sorcery Remembered
ISSUE : Issue 30
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/12/1
eery. I don't know if it was, but we had faith, just the same. And there was a lot of that sorcery indeed, but there weren't many of us in it--because people were so scared--everything that they'd see. And they'd do a lot of things. (To break a spell?) Yes. They say if you put a knife-- if there is a sorcerer after you--and if there is a fence, if there is a post--if you open your knife and put it on the top of the post, the knife half-open. (And that would stop the sorcerer from getting to you?) Yes. And they said that- they can? not pass over a bridge. And that's how peo? ple would manage to get away from them. When they'd come to a bridge, they were safe--because they said they weren't cross? ing a bridge. They can't pass over water. One of them, his wife--she was going to homes to help when they had babies. She came to help my grandmother. And then she stayed there for 15 days, until my grand? mother would be all right to take care of the kid. And then my great-grandfather was living with my grandfather. And they were saying that every afternoon she was going upstairs to take a nap. And while she was taking a nap, they were saying that she was with her mouth open--they were saying that is what they were doing, those sorcer? ers --they were opening their mouths and they were sleeping like as if they had been dead. And all of a sudden a fly--a big fly-- was coming, hmmmmm--and went right inside. My great-grandfather said he didn't know that when that lady came to take care of my grandmother. He said, "If I had known that it was that"--she was going upstairs, every afternoon, to take a nap--he said, "I would have gone upstairs and taken a handkerchief and covered her mouth so that the fly wouldn't have been able to get in, to see what would have happened." But he didn't know. You would have to see it to know it. But someone told the sorceress that story, that my great-grandfather said that. She said, "I don't believe that at all. But," she said, "if I was sure of that, that he said that, I'd put them in a sort, that Lubin"--that was my grandfa- ther--"would not sleep with Judith any more." You know, Judith was his wife. She would bother him so much, he wouldn't be able to sleep with my grandmother any more. But they were nice to her, she wouldn't be? lieve that he said that. He had said it, but she wouldn't believe. The Jerseys and The Canadian and the oth? ers --when they were dead there was no more of that. The generation was gone. I don't know where the Jerseys got it. But it wasn't only the Jersey people after that. That Canadian was French. And there was the man that I was telling--he was from Cheticamp. And the old Jersey people that were here weren't any worse than the French sorcerers. (And today?) We never hear of anyone being bothered. It was al? most going too far. The least little both? er that people had--they thought of the sorcerer right away. If one was sick or if one was bothered with something--some of them were so scared. Maybe they were mak? ing a sickness out of it. A Statement Halfway Through This note is not meant as an "explanation" of the stories about sorcery. It should serve, rather, as both an afterword to those stories and a forward to Herbert Le- Boutillier's short talk about his grandfa? ther, George LeBrun, a man who came from the Channel Island of Jersey. It is meant to point out prospects toward further work to be done both by Cape Breton's Magazine and by caring readers working on their own. Because, it is appalling how little is gen? erally known about peoples who have had a continuing impact on Cape Breton Island for approximately 200 years--how little is known about both the Acadians and the Jer? seymen. It is appalling how little informa? tion we have of them individually, and of the fisherman-fish buyer relationship that has done so much to shape (in particular) the Cheticamp and Arichat regions of Cape Breton. Who were the Jerseymen and who were the A- cadians, and how did they happen to meet on the shores of Cape Breton? Simply (be? cause we have not done sufficient work our? selves) : Jersey is one of the islands in the Eng? lish Channel. It is off the coast of France but it is English territory--so the Jerseymen were English. But before they were English, they were French--just as be? fore they emerged as Acadian, the people we know now as Acadians were mostly French. Those who became Jerseymen were once
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