Les Légendes de Trois-Pistoles (Learning the Legends of Trois-Pistoles)

View from the St. Lawrence River

View from the St. Lawrence River

Today`s -- my final -- société Québécois atelier was really fun. We joined with another class to perform des légendes de Trois-Pistoles. Some I understood more than others. Here are my interpretations of the seven legends:

  1. How Trois-Pistole got its name: A soldier bought a goblet for trois pistoles -- three coins, which at that time were called pistoles. Then, while rowing in the St. Lawrence River in the area he accidentally dropped the goblet in the river, causing him to exclaim: «Oh no! My trois pistoles!» Hence the area became know as Trois-Pistoles.
  2. The legend of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, a local church (this is the one my group acted out) A local churchgoer had trouble deciding where to built the fifth and newest church in the area. He thought that the Catholic ritual of nine days of prayer might help him decide. Lucky for him, on the ninth day of prayer, he saw that it had snowed on this one small hill -- which was special because it was August! So the church was built there and was called Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, Our Lady of Snow.
  3. The homeless man A homeless man (that part I`m sure of) begged to stay at someone`s house, and that kind person gave him a place to spend the night and a meal. Then something happened, and the homeless man kicked a mountain and now the mountain has some sort of dent or unusual marking on it. (I actually understood very little of this one.)
  4. How the cheval noir helped build the church The very large and very prominent church in town was built with the help of a mysterious dark horse. The horse appeared one day and the builders used it to help carry the heavy stone. The horse never got tired; it was like magic. But there was something on the horse`s mouth, like a muzzle perhaps, that no one was supposed to touch. But someone did, and because of that the horse ran away, never to be seen again. Now, inside the church, some stonework up high apparently remains unfinished.
  5. Diablo and the fighting townspeople There was animosity between the residents of two towns in the area. Diablo got involved, but was scared away by a baby-carrying resident. (I didn`t understand this one, either.)
  6. The story behind the local haunted house One night, some local men were drinking at the local bar. They got drunk, started fighting, and one man was accidentally killed. The murdered decided to cover up his crime by hiding the body, but the soul of the body began to haunt the murderer. (At this point, the "ghost" wearing a white bedsheet got a little too close to the mood-setting candles and we were all scared that she would catch on fire. I don`t remember how this one ended, but our ainimatrices did mention that the ghost had wanted the body to put in the graveyard in a proper burial.)
  7. Trois-Pistoles`Romeo and Juliet story A couple married and they move to New France. But the English and French groups there fight, and the woman`s husband is killed. She moved back to her father`s house (I`m assuming in Trois-Pistoles), but she wasn`t happy. She went to one of the local waterfalls and throws herself off the cliff and also dies. Now, it`s possible to see her sometimes in the mist below the falls.