6. Spells and Curses: Settler Perceptions of Micmac

Mary Jedore, a Micmac [from the Chief's family], always used the "ice bridge" to come over to St. Alban's to the store and to church. One day, the steamer came into the bay and broke the "bridge" while she was in St. Alban's. She was so mad, she cursed the "Barhaven", and before it reached open water, the ship went aground and the passengers had as hard a job to get home as Mary Jedore.

A Micmac fur trader took his furs to Garlands in Gaultois, but Wilson Garland found fault with the condition and colour of the pelts; so he was cursed that by next spring he would not be able to see a pelt. By the following spring Wilson Garland was blind.

A trapper from St. Alban's fell out with a Micmac woman and she grabbed his gun and spat down the barrel. He got his gun back and went hunting, but every time he lifted his gun to shoot, an image of the woman was in his sights. So he drew a picture of her on a piece of bark and pinned it to a tree. He made a silver bullet and fired at the drawing, after that he had no more trouble, but when he got back he found the Micmac woman was dead.

His [a lumberman, whose father is said to have been the object of the following story] father had a camp in the country, and one day a "Micmac" came into the camp and wanted tobacco and was refused. Before he was run out of the camp he cursed the white man and said he would never walk upright again without pain. The man's father got home but soon fell sick with pains in the stomach. All the following year he tried cure after cure and doctor after doctor, but he got no relief. The next summer a Micmac woman came to the door selling hand-woven baskets. She said she could raise the curse. She boiled some weeds she picked in the garden and told them to give it to the man at the turn of the tide that night, but she warned them that they would have to tie him down in his bed as the brew would drive him crazy first. They did as they were told, and after the crazy spell passed, their father was better and out at work next morning.

Nancy Tom [the "last really vicious witch" whose husband is said to have requested from the local priest an exorcism after her death]...was caught by the Mountie with caribou meat in her cabin. He took the meat away with him and she cursed him "You will never get home in your boat!" He made the punt and made it to the cutter, but before he was clear of Bay d'Espoir, the cutter caught fire and foundered, and they swam ashore.

A tale told at Hermitage relates of an old Micmac who was refused entrance to a house. Her foot had been on the thresh-hold when she was stopped. She cursed the house and said it would not be standing there tomorrow. That night it burned to the ground except the door step where her foot had been.{9}

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