Creature Compendium

Creature Compendium: La Chasse-galerie

I am playing a little fast and loose with the definition of ‘creature’ today, but I thought La Chassee-galerie unusual enough to warrant inclusion in the compendium.

La Chasse-Galerie

Legende de la Chasee galerie by charlesvinh

 

The story of La Chasse (the hunt) is another French Canadian legend. La chasse-galerie is also known as the bewitched canoe or the flying canoe. The stories involve voyageurs (18th & 19th century fur traders) who make a deal with the devil in order to secure quick transportation through the Canadian wilderness. To ride the flying canoe is a bit of a game. When the voyageurs are in the canoe they must pit their wills against the devil, and battle to control the boat. No one must pray or call out to God while in the canoe, despite the craziness of the ride, and if they do not return home before sundown, their souls will be forfeit.

The most famous story is about a man named Baptiste who takes a new year’s eve ride on the flying canoe to visit his sweetheart, but he gets spectacularly drunk and they have trouble returning home. In some stories, the friends that join him on the canoe manage to escape, while Baptiste does not. In others stories, all the men violate the rules of the game and are doomed to roam the skies forever. The roots of this story are related to the ‘wild hunt‘.

Folktales

Region of Origin: North America, Canada, Quebec

P.S. If there are any creatures/folktales you would like me to cover, or would be willing to guest post about please do let me know! I’m still figuring out how these should be indexed. Perhaps by country/region.

11 Comments

  1. Now if I get a helicopter, can I go up there and hang out with the guys doomed to roam the skies? Even if the magical law says I can’t break them loose, I could at least bring them some fastfood.

    I’ve never heard of this one, TS. It’s super-neat. Glad you’re doing this series.

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