Page 32 - Local Sea Serpents: 3 Reports / A Letter from Big Bras d'Or, 1830
ISSUE : Issue 32
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1982/8/1
and he promptly paddled over and placed the dreadnaught at the service of the in? trepid adventurers. Then the representa? tives of commerce and the press, with a look of calm determination which has up? held the prestige of the British navy for a thousand years--or somewhere about that time--took their places at the oars, and the landlord with his shirt collar open and his sleeves rolled up sat up sternly in the stem on a trawl keg with a lap full of dynamite and a bar of soap, making deadly bombs. Then came a shower of pro? tests. "Isn't it awfully dangerous? You aren't really going to risk your lives," etc., etc., etc. But the faces of the men on the dread- naught betrayed no sign of fear. The land? lord had seen service off Grand Manan, Mount Desert Porto Rico and Scatterie. He was familiar with the monsters of the deep and to him they were only old playmates and companions of his boyhood. The knight of the grip had faced dangers, both physic? al and spiritual, and his cheek was hard? ened like the arms of Longfellow's brawny Smith. The man of the press reflected that in journalism the taking of a life or the destruction of character count for less than the moths in a candle, and so he looked to hill and sky and glen as things he might not see again. Eager eyes watched the craft shoot through the narrows and away out on the bay. Quick? ly the craft dwindled to the size of a bit of driftwood. Then the ripple appeared up the bay and the torpedo boat was headed for the disturbance under which lay the man-eating monster of the deep. It was a time of deep, unwhispering suspense on shore. Now the collision seemed imminent. The figure of the landlord standing proud? ly on the trawl keg, the bent forms of the oarsmen, and the long, dark line of the sea serpent, with a billow of foam about his bow could be distinctly seen by the crowd on the shore. Suddenly the oars struck, the figure on the trawl keg leaned forward and his arm moved swiftly through the air. A moment later a huge volume of water shot up two hundred feet in the air and everything was hidden from view. As the water calmed down the torpedo boat was seen drifting away seaward, no sea monster darkened the surface. "What has happened? Are they dead? What can be the matter?" came in eager exclamations. Still the boat drifted away, the twilight settled upon the sea, and serpent and pursuers were blotted from the view. The moon came out over the western hills, silence fell on bay and harbor and mountain side. No sound came to tell the fate of the combat on the A few hours later three hungry and emaci? ated persons stole silently into the din? ing room, and as the farm produce melted away the landlady remarked that the sea serpent had a lucky escape. Our thanks to Helen Maclsaac, Sydney, whose research turned up the three accounts of sea serpents reprinted here. The illustrations first accompanied an 1868 article in Ballou's Magazine, about 'n 1855 sighting near Green Harbour, N.S. That article was reprinted in the Suminer, 1977, issue of Journal of Education. A creature of similar description was seen on three different occaisions in 1976, along the southwestern Nova Scotia coast. If you know of other Cape Breton sightings, recent or long ago, please write and let us know. A Letter from Big Bras d'Or, 1830 Big Bras d'Or Lakes, October 7, 1830 My Dear Sir, I wrote you two or three letters since I came here but never had the pleasure of receiving an answer to either of them whether they arrived or not is more than I can say. I write you again acquainting you that my? self and the rest of my family is in per? fect good health, hoping this will find you in the same manner--as well as the rest of your family--Thank God I am well pleased for coming to this country as I find myself quite easy, having occupied land called my own free from all burdens whatsoever. I go out and in at my pleasure, no soul living forces me to do a turn a- gainst my will, no laws, no factors here, no rents nor any toilsome work but what I do for myself. I fell my wood in winter during the snow time which is very deep here in the winter season, but still not quite so cold as represented. No doubt the winter is severe with hard frosts, seas and lakes here frozen two or three feet thick in this ice, and we can haul upon the ice through all the Lakes upon the coast and at times very dangerous, but at the same time I can work in the wood fell? ing trees without my coat on, the weather is almost always dry and clear with hard frost. The snow sets in Janry. and off in May, you will not see a sight of the ground during that time but while with snow very deep not a drop of rain during winter, but this snow gives way with the heat of the sun. It would take me time to let you know fully the nature of this country--what you (32)
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