Canada 1867
....Third Book of Reading Lessons, McPhail, 1867, by


I WAS going along my line of traps when I met an Indian with a sledge hauled by two dogs. He was a Montagnais, so that I could not understand much of his language, but he spoke English a little, and we could easily make one another out. I said to him, "You have a heavy load on your sledge."--"A heavy load," he replied, in a mournful tone.

I saw he did not like to talk, so I asked him to come to my lodge and pass the night. We got there early and cooked some supper. The Indian had plenty of caribou meat with him, and gave me some, which he took from the sledge. After a smoke he began to talk, and said he came from Ste. Marguerite, which enters the Gulf a few miles above Seven Islands.* He had a nice little pack of furs with him, more than I had; and the caribou were numerous about seventy miles up the river; but there was a camp of Nasquapees there

*In Labrador

who were killing them off. After a while, just as it was growing dusk, he asked me if he might bring his sledge into my lodge, "For," said he, "I have a body there, and I am afraid the dogs will eat it if it is left outside."

He brought the body in and laid it in the coldest part of the lodge, where there was a little snow drifted through a crack.

"Oh !" said the Indian, "if the snow does not melt here, the body will take no hurt."

We sat and smoked together.

After a while I said, "Did you bring the body far ?"

"Six days up the Ste. Marguerite; perhaps eight days from here. I came across the country with some Nasquapees, who had come from the Trinity River, and were following the caribou. The Nasquapees got enough meat and went back. I came on to go down the Moisie to Seven Islands, and leave it there till the spring."

"How did he die ?" said I, at length.

The Indian looked at the fire and said nothing. I knew there was some very sorrowful tale to tell, or he would have spoken at once.

After a long pause, the Indian said, "He is my cousin; I am taking him to be buried at the Post. He asked me--I promised him. It is a long journey in winter, but he wished it and he will soon be there."

The Indian then began to tell me how it happened. "He and I," he said, pointing to the body--but he mentioned no name--"were hunting together; we came upon the track of a cat."

"By cat you mean lynx, of course," said one of the listeners.

"Yes, we always call them cats; many white folk call them lynx. It's an animal about the size of a big dog, only lower and stronger, with sharp-pointed ears, and a tuft at the end of each."

.. 2

Updated Regularly. Website Updated on June 20, 2013
Environmentally Friendly Website.
All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted