Exaggerated Tales

Elaine Woodford

Uncle Charlie Russell from Twillingate and a few fellows were bragging about sleep-walking one time. One fellow said that he woke up one morning and found himself on the davenport and didn't know how he got there. The other guy said he woke up one morning on the living room floor. Well, Uncle Charlie had a wonderful problem with sleep-walking, he could top that tale.

He dreamt one night that he was climbing up over his stage head-rails and stubbed his toe when he climbed up over his wharf. That was all he thought about it.

The next night he went to Herring Neck to visit his girlfriend. She asked him how he got on rowing back home the night before. He couldn't recall having visited Herring Neck the previous night.

Finally, he summed it up like this: "After I went to bed, I got up in my sleep, rowed to Herring Neck to see my girlfriend , rowed back again and woke myself up when I stubbed my toe." Byes, he was a wonderful fellow for sleep-walking.

The Merchants

Cecil Godwin

Cecil Godwin remembers his grandfather as a fiercely independent man; he would hit the table with his fist and say, "I never, never ate the dole in my life!" He raised a small family of three. He fished from May to November, then he always worked at something else, either in the woods on the West Coast or with the A&D Company. That was the way of life, there was no such thing as U.I. back then.

His grandfather always made choice fish. Being a trawler or a hand-liner he wouldn't hear talk of jigging a fish. His reasoning was simple; if you used a jigger and hooked a fish in the gut and the fish got away with the gut hanging out of it, then it would tow all the fish away from the fishing ground.

Cec remembers one day in particular when he was nine or ten years old. It was a blowy day (which meant they couldn't go out fishing) and his grandfather decided to take his fish to the merchant. Cec went along with him.

After the fish was graded and weighed they went to the office. The routine was, to be given a note that allowed him to purchase his groceries and supplies at the merchant's store; there was no such thing as getting paid by cheque or cash.

Just outside the office was a little porch, his grandfather stood there, took off his cap, fixed his hair and straightened his clothes. He wore a dark navy guernsey, bib pants and black knee rubbers. He took his cap in his hand and they walked into the office.

In the office was a huge desk with a very high chair behind it. In the chair sat a scrawny little man who was Mr. Earl. Cecil noticed his grandfather was nervously twisting his cap in his hands. He was saying, "Good day, Mr. Earl. Yes, Mr. Earl," and seemed as nervous as a cat. Mr. Earl casually wrote out the note and gave it to his grandfather.

The merchants in these days were considered next to God. They had so much power and control over the people's lives that the people were in awe of them. The whole episode made such an impression on Cec that he has never forgotten it.


  1. Do you think Charlie Russell went all the way to Herring Neck while sleep walking or is it an exaggerated tale?
  2. Do you know any stories about the Beothucks?
  3. Do you think Cec's grandfather really meant for Cec's father to survive on a sack of rolled oats for the winter?
  4. What do you think is meant by "I never ate the dole in my life"?
  5. Why would Cec's grandfather never use a jigger to catch fish?
  6. Write the dictionary meaning for the word "awe".

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