Showing posts with label Conception Bay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conception Bay. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Conception Bay South fairy story, circa 1944, by Donald W. Smith.

A while back, Karen Smith, the owner of SeaGlass B&B in New Perlican, sent me a fairy story from her father, Donald W. Smith, of Manuels. What follows is his version of a fairy encounter or abduction from 1944. It features some of the classic NL fairylore motifs, such as missing or compressed time, and the use of bread as a protective charm.

Donald William Smith was born February 11, 1932. He married Phoebe Warren on April 28, 1953 and they had 6 children and over 65 wonderful years together. Unfortunately, Mr Smith had been in declining health for the past few months, and passed peacefully away on Sunday December 9, 2018. Our thoughts go out to the family. 

Here is Mr. Smith's story:

Conception Bay South, 1944 

Don Smith 12 years old, John Nickelson (Nick) age 50ish, and his dog 

We left Cherry Lane, Manuels to go fishing for trout at Thomas Pond on a Wednesday afternoon. Mom let me go because Ethel (John’s friend) didn’t like Nick to go in the woods fishing by himself. After two hours of walking about five miles we reached our fishing spot. It was starting to get dark so we decided to lay down for a rest and planned to get up at 5am to fish all day. When I woke up I realized the sun had already set and we had slept all night and the entire next day. The dog was still laid next to us and we felt rested but surprised that we lost the entire day. And thought it was too late to head home so we fished for a short while and ate supper. We lay down again and next thing we know another day has passed and it is evening again. Each time we woke the scene was exactly the same as the first. The dog never barked or wandered away during the night or day. On Friday we woke at dusk again. Nick was worried about getting home as they had a snack bar to run on Saturday and Ethel would be poisoned with him if he didn’t get back. So before things got out of hand Nick insisted that we try to find our way out of the woods in the dark. After 3 hours or more we finally made it home. I was expecting Mom to be mad and she was. I explained as best I could what had happened and she remarked that I must have been taken by the fairies. That was the last time I was allowed to go fishing for a long time after that. Although I still saw Nick from time to time, he never once mentioned our ordeal to me or anyone else. I’m not sure I believe in fairies but I have no explanation of how we lost time for 3 days and nights with no recollection. My father, Walter Smith, often cautioned us youngsters to wear a piece of clothing inside out or carries a piece of bread in our pockets while walking in the woods for fear of being taken by the fairies.

Donald W. Smith
Atkins Road, Manuels, CBS NL

You can read a 2016 CBC article on Karen's "zombie fairy" photoshoot here, inspired by some of the fairy stories she heard growing up.  Photo of Donald and Phoebe Smith courtesy Karen Smith via facebook. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fishing Stage in Freshwater. Conception Bay, 1995

Fishing stages in Freshwater, Conception Bay. This photograph was taken in 1995 and is part of the slide collection of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Long Since Demolished House in Freshwater, Conception Bay (1995). #Folklorephoto

A House in Freshwater, Conception Bay that has since been demolished. Photograph taken in January 1995 and is part of the slide collection of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lassy Wall, Crackie Road, and the Unmarked Graves – Stories from Spaniard’s Bay

Workshop participants.
On Wednesday August 24, 2016 Dale and I drove out to Spaniard’s Bay for a short #NLHeritage roadtrip for a People Places and Traditions workshop. The local heritage society invited us out to do a workshop with the community and engage local people with their heritage.
Discussing what to put on the cards for people, places, and traditions.
The People, Places, and Traditions is the first step for communities who want to map out what heritage means to local people. It is a way to get people thinking about the resources in the area. All the people who make the best toutons, build boats, farm strawberries, tell great stories, or have knowledge particular to the area. It makes people think about the places where they swim, berry pick, trout, and about the old names for neighbourhoods and trails, community gathering places, and historic buildings. People remember traditions around bonfire night, Santa Claus parades, hauling wood, mummering, fairies, and local festivals and events.
Brandon and Dale discussing the location of a local sliding hill.
Several great stories came out of last night’s discussion of community heritage including the story of the Lassy Wall. The Lassy Wall below the Holy Redeemer Church was built in 1830 as a retaining wall to shore up the hill from the main road. The people who built the wall were paid in molasses so the wall became known as the Lassy Wall.
The Lassy Wall in Spaniard's Bay.  Photo by Cathy Kleinwort, 2005.  Courtesy of the Town of Spaniard's Bay.
Another story about a place name was about Anthony’s Road which is locally known as Crackie Road. There were two stories about where the name came from. Several of the older community members said the road was called Crackie Road because the people that lived there were “saucy as crackies” while a younger summer student with the heritage society who lived on the street was told it was just because there were a lot of crackies or small saucy dogs on the street.
Plotting the cards on the map.
One story which was not well known in the community was about the unmarked graves on a marshy island in Shearstown Pond. The story that was told was of a family who died of a contagious disease and the people of the community were so worried about catching the disease that they buried the family on the island rather than in the community’s cemetery.
People, places. and traditions.
There were a number of important local characters mentioned such E.H. Vokey who was a teacher, local historian, writer, and photographer. Another woman put down her grandfather who would always bake molasses raisin bread just for her (without the raisins) and would be sure to heat up rocks to send her to bed with at night!
Reviewing the story about the Spaniard's Bay Riot in 1932.
Did you grown up in Spaniard’s Bay? If you have memories of other people, places, and traditions in the area let us know in the comments!
Traditions practiced at the Loyal Orange Lodge.
~Terra Barrett

Monday, January 27, 2014

Calling all Conception Bay girls! Do you know a tradition about dolls and candy?

I got an interesting message today from textile artist Susan Furneaux, an instructor at the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art and Design. She has taught textile workshops for various professional craft and art organizations throughout Newfoundland Labrador, Canada and the United States. Today, she wanted to talk dolls.

Susan is looking for information on a tradition in Conception Bay Centre, and possibly other places, where girls went around with their dolls, all dressed up,  and knocked on doors, asking for candy. 

Susan believes it may have been attached to a saint's day. She writes,
"Someone from Avondale told me that they did it as girls, like the boys did with the wren. The woman who told me was still bitter because the boys got money (for the wren) but the girls just got sweets... Not sure what time of the year it was."
Does anyone have any idea what this is called, or have any memories about this tradition? 

If it rings a bell, leave a comment, or email Susan directly at