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The Windigo

Go easy wit' de paddle, an' steady wit' de
Geev rudder to de bes' man you got among
de crew,
Let ev'ry wan be quiet, don't let dem sing no
W'en you see de islan' risin' out of Grande
Lac Manitou
Above us on de sky dere, de summer cloud
may float
Aroun' us on de water de ripple never show,
But somet'ing down below us can rock de
stronges' boat,
W'en we 're comin' near de islan' of de
spirit Windigo!

De carcajou may breed dere, an' otter sweem
de poole
De moosh-rat mak' de mud house, an' beaver
buil' hees dam
An' beeges' Injun hunter on all de Tête de
Will never set hees trap dere from spring
to summer tam.

But he 'll bring de fines' presen' from upper
St. Maurice
De loup marin an' black-fox from off de
Hodson Bay
An' hide dem on de islan' an' smoke de pipe
of peace
So Windigo will help heem w'en he travel
far away.

We shaintee on dat islan' on de winter seexty-
If you look you see de clearin' aroun' de
Coo Coo Cache,
An' pleasan' place enough too among de spruce
an' pine
If foreman on de shaintee is n't Cyprien

Beeg feller, alway watchin' on hees leetle
weasel eye,
De gang dey can't do not'ing but he see dem
purty quick
Wit' hees 'Hi dere, w'at you doin' ?' ev'ry
tam he 's passin' by
An' de bad word he was usin' , wall! it offen
mak' me sick.

An' he carry silver w'issle wit' de chain aroun'
hees neck
For fear he mebbe los' it, an' ev'ry body say
He mus' buy it from de devil w'en he 's
passin' on Kebeck
But if it 's true dat story, I dunno how
moche he pay.

Dere 's plaintee on de shaintee can sing lak
Pet Clancy play de fiddle, an' Jimmie Char-
Was bring hees concertina from below St.
So we get some leetle pleasure till de long,
long winter go.

But if we start up singin' affer supper on de
'Par derriere chez ma tante,' or 'Mattawa
De boss he 'll come along den, an' put heem
out de lamp,
An' only stop hees swearin' w'en we all go
marche coucher.

We 've leetle boy dat winter from Po-po-lo-be-
Hees fader an' hees moder dey're bote
An' he 's comin' , Injun Johnnie, wit' some
man de lumber gang
Was fin' heem nearly starvin' above on Lac

De ole man an' de woman is tryin' pass de Soo
W'en water 's high on spring tam, an' of
course dey 're gettin' drown',
For even smartes' Injun should n't fool wit'
birch canoe,
W'ere de reever lak toboggan on de hill is
runnin' down.

So dey lef' de leetle feller all alone away up
Till lumber gang is ketchin' him an' bring
him on de Cache,
But better if he 's stayin' wit' de wolf an' wit'
de bear
Dan come an' tak' hees chances wit' Cyprien

I wonder how he stan' it, w'y he never run
For Cyprien lak neeger he is treat heem all
de sam'
An' if he 's wantin' Johnnie on de night or on
de day
God help heem if dat w'issle she was below
de secon'tam!

De boy he don 't say not'ing, no wan never see
heem cry
He 's got de Injun in heem, you can see it
on de face,
An' only for us feller an' de cook, he 'll surely
Long before de winter 's over, long before
we lef' de place,

But I see heem hidin' somet'ing wan morning
by de shore
So firse tam I was passin' I scrape away de
An' it 's rabbit skin he 's ketchin' on de swamp
de day before,
Leetle Injun Johnnie 's workin' on de spirit

December's come in stormy, an' de snow-dreef
fill de road
Can only see de chimley an' roof of our
An' stronges' team on stable fin' it plaintee
heavy load
Haulin' sleigh an' two t'ree pine log t'roo
de wood an' beeg savane.

An' I travel off wan day me, wit' Cyprien
Explorin' for new timber, w'en de win' be-
gin to blow,
So we hurry on de snow-shoe for de camp on
Coo Coo Cache
If de nor' eas' storm is comin', was de bes'
place we dunno-

An' we 're gettin' safe enough dere wit' de
storm close on our heel,
But w'en our belt we loosen for takin' off de
De foreman commence screamin' an' mon Dieu
it mak' us feel
Lak he got t'ree t'ousan' devil all fightin' on
hees t'roat.

Cyprien is los' hees w'issle, Cyprien is los' hees
Injun Johnnie he mus' fin' it, even if de win'
is high

He can never show hese'f on de Coo Coo
Cache again
Till he brin
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:19 min read

William Henry Drummond

William Henry Drummond April 13 1854 April 6 1907 was an Irish-born Canadian poet He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom in 1898 and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1899 more…

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