Deceased World War One flying ace Billy Bishop often communicates with Generals Claire and Jenny, guiding them in their quest for world domination. Part of his helpful contribution to The Cause is his interest in Canadian Literature. Picking funky excerpts from beyond the grave, Billy is instrumental in presenting his favourite snippets from the fabulous world of CanLit. He aims to inspire the youth of Canada through a deeper understanding of the truly macabre insights of Canadian authors. This is a noble duty. Although The Generals would have prefered that Billy's spirit provide a few Gatling guns, they are honoured to present this charmingly non-violent method of persuasion. Hope you enjoy the following:
Billy Bishop

Angeline's eyes blazed. "Perhaps it is too cold for you. But it is not too cold for me. I am a Cree!"

"My sister swims and dives like an otter," Awasin interjected. "But you are right, Jamie, it is too cold and too swift."

Angeline rounded sharply on her brother.

"Would you rather we all starve then? I tell you I can do it. I will do it!" She turned to Peetyuk who had been standing silent, undecided what to say. "Peetyuk. You believe I can do it. Tell them I can do it!"

Full of admiration for her spirit, yet convinced that the others were right, poor Peetyuk could do nothing but mumble inarticulately. For a moment Angeline stared at him coldly, then with a rapidity which left the boys helpless to stop her she flung off the sleeping robe and raced for the riverbank. Awasin gave an angry shout and started after her but he was too late. For a moment the girl stood slim and poised on the high cutbank, then she dived cleanly into the river.

"She's gone crazy!" Jamie yelled. "Grab the canoe, Pete!"

Leaving Awasin standing impotently on the bank, Jamie and Peetyuk flung themselves into the canoe and paddled frantically toward the middle of the pool. They gained on the sleek black head of the girl as she swam strongly for the backwave, but as Peetyuk leaned over to grab her she dived like a seal.

When she broke surface a few seconds later she was right under the lip of the falls. Before the boys could reach her she took a great gulp of air and again disappeared.

Awasin was desperate. He had waded out thigh-deep into the current and only Jamie's angry shout prevented him from plunging in.

"Dont be a fool, Awasin. You'll drown too. I'm going in for her ... Pete, steady the canoe ..."

Jamie had slipped off his moccasin rubbers and his jacket when Peetyuk yelled:

"She's up. Help me Jamie!"

Almost capsizing the canoe, Jamie jumped to the bow. Peetyuk had hold of the girl by one arm but was unable to haul her up. Jamie leaned over and slipped his hands under both her arms. Pulling together, the two boys eased her up and over the gunwale. As she tumbled into the canoe there was a heavy thump against the wooden ribs. Clutched tightly in the girl's right hand was the missing rifle.

Angeline was almost unconscious and they had to pry the rifle out of her hand, which was as cold as death. Minutes later they had carried her to the fire and covered her with sleeping robes, and Awasin was forcing hot tea between her blue lips. Uncontrollable paroxysms of shivering wracked her whole body. Nevertheless she managed to force a small smile. Her voice was no more than a whisper and the boys had to lean close to hear what she said.

"A Cree girl can do anything ... you see?"

Dumbly Jamie nodded. But Peetyuk, his eyes glistening with something deeper than admiration, leaned down and clumsily took the girl's hand in his.

"I see very good," he muttered huskily. "And I think we never forget what Cree girl, she can do."

- Farley Mowat, "The Curse of the Viking Grave"

"There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee."

--Robert Service, "The Cremation of Sam McGee"

Thanks Billy! Should you desire to read more, truck on down to your local library and fill your brain up with good old-fashioned, World Domination-inspiring material. Should you also like to chant portions of any Billy Bishop's: A Tasty Bit of Creepy Canadiana in battle, gosh we'd be impressed!



Comrade Hobo

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