La chasse-galerie (the flying canoe)
Note: Old legends exist in many countries. Honoré Beaugrand wrote down the Québec version of this popular legend.
“And I was led outside of the shanty, where I saw the six men who were awaiting us, paddle in hand. The large canoe was lying on a snow bank, and before I had time to think twice about it, I was seated in the bow, awaiting the signal to go. I must say that my mind was somewhat confused, but Baptiste Durand, who was a hard customer, –for, it was said, he had not been to confession for seven years, –gave me no time for reflection. He was standing in the stem, and exclaimed in a ringing voice:
‘Repeat after me.’
And we repeated together:
‘Satan, king of the infernal regions, we promise to sell you our souls, if within the following six hours we pronounce le nom du bon Dieu, your master and ours, or if we touch a cross on the voyage. On that condition you will transport us through the air, wherever we may want to go, and bring us back sound and safe to the shanty.’
We went faster than the wind, and during the first fifteen minutes we sailed over the forest, without perceiving anything else than the dark heads of the great pines. It was a beautiful night, and a full moon lighted up the sky like the midday sun. It was terribly cold though, and our mustaches were fairly frozen, while our bodies were all in a perspiration.”
Source of excerpt for French original: Honoré Beaugrand, La chasse-galerie : légendes canadiennes, Laval, Éd. Grand duc, 2007.
English translation of excerpt from The Century Magazine, Vol. XLIV, No. 4, August 1892 at http://www.ragandbone.ca/PDFs/chasse_galerie_1892.pdf
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