A long winter's trapping in the cold unforgiving lands of the north didn't give the hardy voyageur much time for taking his ease. But at one time of day you could be sure to see a far away look come into his eyes.
As he stared into the glowing embers of his fire late at night the here and now would mist over to be the then and there. He'd wish the then was now and the there was the bustling streets of Montréal.
He wasn't the only one, every hommes du nord shared his dream, and sometimes it was hard to bear.
That one night as they sat around the fire bewailing their lot the lure of the Montréal high life seemed almost too strong to endure.
No-one knew when he came, or from where, but he was there and appealing to them in that syrupy voice the trader would use when he wanted to off load his most useless supplies.
"A small price to pay", that's what he'd said. Just not to utter a sound on the journey, that was all. They, in their canoe, would be flown back to where their hearts yearned for most, and quicker than they could possibly imagine too. And what if they made a noise, why he'd claim their souls, now was that such a bad thing to risk?
These were brave strong men who faced fear with a smile on their face and, after all, keeping quiet is not that much of a challenge for anyone.
Next they were up in the skies flying over the frozen lands they knew so well. Now, if you've ever been told to keep quiet you'll know that is the very moment when you want to talk. If you add the magic of recognising somewhere you know from high above in the air you'll know how they ached to speak and share their wonder.
Bitten lips and tongues and twisted faces watched all those remembered sights from beyond Lake Superior all the way down the Ottawa River and back to Montréal, but not a single word was heard.
The smell of cooking on the smoke that stung their eyes, the lights and the noise showed them they had arrived. A thousand memories were now crystal clear objects they could reach out to touch. It was too, too much. As one, their mouths opened and...
Chasse-galerie is a French-Canadian folk tale told by trappers and lumbermen. They would sit around their winter fires telling the story to each other. They would vie to see who could be the best storyteller and come up with the best ending.
Now it's your turn ... See if you can finish the story