Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

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

Legendary desertion

In our time and even before, other media quickly replaced tales and legends, giving rise to a certain abandonment of oral traditions and to the importance of storytellers such as these: in Saint André there was: Stanislas Saint-Amand, his son George, his grandsons Albert and Onil, and great-grandson Georges Caron, Cyrille Morin, Johnny (Jean) Rossignol, Charley Dubé, Leon Rossignol and Willy Cyr. Also: “le bonhomme Devost” (Thomas), Clarisse Bernier, “le bonhomme Blanchon”, Ludger Ouellette, Pius Beaulieu, and René Thériault, which all originated from Drummond, only to name a few.

When we were young, tales and stories slowly became abandoned. They were still popular in logging camps because there was nothing else to do, but when it came to the public at large, they were starting to decline. (...) When we entered the workplace, we became too busy with other things and then forgot them without even thinking of writing them down. It's truly a misfortune. We lived with storytelling during our childhood, our adolescence, but when we started working, we became interested in other things.17

However, thanks to folklore and ethnology enthusiasts such as Catherine Jolicoeur, a few of these traditions, once and again shared by word of mouth, are now preserved on paper.