An “oral heritage” to be preserved and passed down.

Over the last few years, although it has been an interest of mine since childhood, I have developed a love for both writing and scriptwriting. The Strategic Planning exercise in which I have been involved over the last year has awakened me to the importance of transmitting oral traditions, directly associated with our village.

Thirty-five years ago, when I fell in love with North Hatley, I was fascinated to learn that Lake Massawippi had its own monster, which has fed the imagination of the citizens of North Hatley and its other municipalities for decades, and what a surprise it was to learn that a certain grandfather clock at Hovey Manor was haunted by the spirit of a prominent North Hatley personality. Every time I look at this mysterious clock, I stop and hope for a sign from this spirit entity. What can I say, as an author, I love stories and legends. What about you?

Even if the truth surrounding a legend or a tale seems to me to be of little importance, one thing remains, everything that is mythological succeeds in nourishing a collective imagination, which becomes a passport that allows us to travel through time. Stories and legends, those that are shared from generation to generation, have an inestimable value, because they gather and unite: words are the cement. We are talking here about oral heritage. As an investigator, I find it very interesting to look for the words that inhabit us collectively, in order to reflect on how best to make this cement take hold. One that is specific to our part of the country, to our values, to our identity. How have these words, these invented stories (or not) survived the passaging of time?

– Wippi… what are its origins? Is it a descendant of “Nessie”, the famous Loch Ness monster? There is a rumor to that effect.

– The clock at Hovey Manor… why is it haunted?

– The little brown church at the corner of Capelton and Main, what are the secrets of its more distant past? What is its history?

– We are on a territory that was once occupied by the Abenaki. Is there a legacy of stories and legends associated with these early inhabitants of North Hatley?

Today, I am asking for your help. As an author and municipal councillor, I believe it is relevant to explore how the legends of North Hatley can be kept alive. Do you have any legends or stories specific to our area? Do you have any anecdotes or unusual facts that would put us on the trail of legends? I would feel privileged to collect words, parts of our history and our imagination, in order to think of a way to share them, to keep the oral tradition alive.

In fact… it is known that our territory has a large herd of white-tailed deer and many ducks, which storm the mouth of the lake that does not freeze in winter. Has anyone seen this curious animal, which has the characteristics of both species? I can’t say for sure, but I think I have seen it… but then again, I’m a writer and writers have a lot of imagination. 

Just by chance, if anyone has seen this strange creature, do you know what its name is? Someone told me it might be a BuckDuck, but what do you think?

Help me learn more about the tales and legends of North Hatley.

Alexandre-Nicolas LeBlanc

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