Page 35 - 4 Stories from the New Book by Helen Creighton
ISSUE : Issue 65
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/1/1
me milk for the cat and the cat will give me back my long tail," but the cellar said, "I won't give you any potatoes unless you sweep me," so the mouse took a broom and swept the cellar. Then the cellar gave her potatoes. She gave the potatoes to the sow, the sow gave her a litde pig and she gave the little pig to the eagle and the eagle gave her a feather and she gave the feather to the blacksmith and the black? smith gave her a key and she unlocked the barn. The barn gave her some hay and she gave the hay to the cow. The cow gave her milk and she gave it to the cat. Then the cat gave her back her long tail. Helen Creighton: Mrs. Laura McNeil was not sure whether it was a feather or a quill that the blacksmith asked for. It was from her fa? ther that she learned this tale, so it was not only from the women that these tales were handed down. The Girl with Three Lovers AS TOLD BY NORMAN McGRATH, PORT WADE, N.S. Helen Creighton: In 1947 Norman McGrath and Horace Johnston were approaching their eighties, or perhaps had already reached them, and their commercial fishing days were over. Now they fished for fun. Mr. McGrath looked as though he would tell comical stories. Instead he was the one who remembered long folk tales. Mr. Johnston had a quick wit and confessed, "Sometimes I tell the truth and sometimes I don't," like the day two young men sailed past their wharf and called out, "Did you have a good catch this morning?" "Yes," said Horace al? though evetybody knew they hadn't been out. He turned to me and explained, "I might as well say yes; it don't cost no more."... Their shack was in a picturesque spot beside the sea, and they must have enjoyed the sound of waves at night lapping the shore. Al? though their habitation was small, it was spotless. They offered us a place to sit but the day was fine and we assured them we loved to sit outside. The men sat on a wooden bench and I on the wharf at their feet where I could write better.... When I arrived the next day, in typical fashion they didn't apol? ogize for not having shaved, but said with a straight face how busy they were all morning shaving. I had a chance then to look at their sleeping quarters. Mr. McGrath slept on a camp cot and Mr. Johnston in a bed with a thin mattress on boards. He glories in its hardness and says this is the best way to rest. Some men come in from fishing and sleep on the floor behind the kitchen stove. On my next visit the men were tired for they had actually been fishing but a neighbour woke them up and soon they came outside. The fog spun curious designs. The sky was clear one moment and clouded the next, and the water ranged firom blue to green. Rain came and we had to "step inside," but that did not stop the flow of story? telling. I sat on the one camp stool while the men sat on their bunks. When we left they caUed out an invitation to come again and I think they passed a few jokes between themselves which it might be just as well we couldn't hear. Mr. McGrath told me the tale of "The Girl with Three Lovers." The Girl with Three Lovers IT SEEMS AS THOUGH there were three brothers keeping company with one giri, and these all four being born in that neighbourhood, they liked one another very much and were much attached. As they grew up into manhood and womanhood they all three thought an aw? ful lot of this one girl. Consequendy they all escorted her home at different times, John, Joe, and Steve, but John being the youngest she loved him best and he kept com? pany as often as he could. The other two fellows got a little jealous, so these two brothers told the other fellow if he didn't keep a little more scarce they would be likely to ill use him. But he couldn't keep away, so one night they caught him and beat him terribly, and they told him that if he was ever saw ketched up with her again they would kill him, be? cause one of them had to have that girl. Being a young fellow he went away and he stayed seven years, and during those seven years he became a very rich man. During that time his mother had died, and she thought a lot of that son. The most she had to leave for him was three valuable rings with very costly settings. When the seven years was up he decided to return, and af? ter arriving at his home he learned that his brothers were still liv? ing and neither one was married to the girl. He learned from his Helen Creighton collecting a story from Norman McGrath aunt about these rings being left for him, and he told her who he was, but she was to keep the secret. So she gave him the rings his mother had left him if he ever returned. So he disguised himself in plain clothes although he was quite wealthy when he returned, and he went out a-gunning, and he put on one of those rings. He heard the story that one or the other of those brothers was to marry that girl, but they didn't know which. Neither did the two brothers know. But the one that could tell the best story was the one she was to have, and they TfCiliw Atd. > Computerized Wheel Balancing • Complete Road Service 539-5670 265 PRINCE ST. • SYDNEY gFQoodrich brunswick- ' Lii/iiT'n 110 Reeves St. SYDNEY, N. S. .. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS | 5 "Serving Cape Breton Over 35 Years" SPECIALIZING IN: • INDUSTRIAL • COMMERCIAL - INSTITUTIONAL - RESIDENTIAL WIRING CONTRACTORS ?? MAINTENANCE SERVICEI ?? ELECTRIC HEATING SYSTEMS • FREE ESTIMAT SI 562-1132 FAX 526-1699
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