sled-dog

I’ve got another wintry story today from AmericanFolklore.net. It’s about a not very nice trapper from Canada.

The trapper who roamed the wilds of Labrador on a sleigh pulled by eight pure white Huskies. He was tall and dressed in layer upon layer of animal skins.

The trapper was a cruel man, and the people in the local towns did not like him, though they tolerated his company when he came to town because of the rich animal skins he brought with him. When he came to a town, the trapper would sell his skins and then drink away his money at the local tavern. He assaulted the local women, picked fights with the townsmen, and tried to sell alcohol to the natives. After a few days of such behavior, the constable would toss the trapper out of town. Then the trapper would resume his roaming and trapping until he came to another town.

No one knows exactly how the trapper met his fate, although it was rumored that he went a little too far in his pursuit of a local innkeeper’s fair wife and was shot to death by her disgruntled husband. Other folks say he lived to an old age and died out on the trail. But it swiftly became clear that death did not end his roaming.

Each winter, the trapper’s ghost roams the wilds of Labrador on a sleigh pulled by eight white Huskies. They say that his spirit was refused entry into heaven and remains forever in Labrador, atoning for the many sins he committed during his lifetime by helping lost travelers find their way home. Many a weary soul has looked up from their frantic circling to see a large sleigh pulled by white dogs coming toward them. If they follow it, they are led to safety.

Once a lost trapper found himself caught in a terrible blizzard, far from the nearest town. As he sought in vain to find a place to shelter from the storm, the phantom trapper appeared with his sleigh. Animal skins flapping in the raging wind and blinding snow, the phantom tenderly lifted the nearly-frozen man, placed him among the rugs on his sleigh, and drove the dying trapper to the nearest town. The phantom carried the man right into the inn, placed him gently on a chair by the door, summoned the innkeeper to care for the man, and then vanished right before the astonished innkeeper’s eyes.

I kind of like that the trapper changed his ways after his death.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.