Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

Oral and Written Traditions: Reflections of a People's Soul

Legends of the Madawaska region

Madawaska County, even if it has fewer storytellers today, still has many legends, all tinted with local flavour. These stories raised many questions and were subject of many writings as years went by.

First off, is the Legend of Malobiannah, a young Maliseet girl who would have given up her life to save her people from the Iroquois warriors, leading them over the falls in Grand Falls and certain death.14

The devil, depicted in The Devil, Handsome Dancer, is said to have appeared in Grand Falls, around 1915, and danced around with a young woman. Throughout the evening, the people would have heard chains banging outside the dance Hall. Afterwards, the devil would have disappeared and a fire would have started in the Hall. The young woman having lost her beau, would later be found with burn marks on her back.15

A more upbeat legend is the one about Tante Blanche who would have nursed and helped countless people during the Saint John River Valley famine of 1797. She was supposedly the oldest resident of Violette Brook, located in Madawaska Maine and would have saved many lives.16