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Northeast Harbor, ME
“Blueberries: X1490 (Miscellaneous plant motifs), X1796 (Extraordinary speed), and X966 (Remarkable jumper). “Ice”: X1540 (Lies about water features) and X1622.4 (Remarkable freezing of body of water).
A pair of tall tales from Mount Desert Island.
John Brown was coming up [Somes] Sound on a schooner and tacking back and forth across the Sound; and the water is very deep up near the shore there and she’d run right close to the shore before she’d come about on the other tack. [Side conversation and laughter.] So he,’twas the Summer and there were a lot of blueberries on the mountain over there, Robinson’s mountain, so he took a pail and when she came into the shore he got out on the bowsprit and jumped ashore and he filled the pail and when she swung around, the boom came around there, he jumped onto the boom with a pail full of berries and away they went…
[More side conversation and laughter. Leads in to next story.]
…He tells about skating on the new ice. When salt water first freezes you’ve probably seen how leathery it is; it’ll sink right down under your weight and still hold. When I was a kid we used – I don’t know why I didn’t get drowned – we used to go down to the shore here, take a sled, sit on the sled like that and kick our heels through this ice and push ourselves around. On this soft ice we’d be going like this. [Demonstrates how they would kick the ice with their heels and push; also side conversation.] Well, anyway. He was skating on this soft ice and it was buckling under him so he couldn’t see Robinson’s mountain on one side or Brown’s mountain on the other.
Blueberries, Leathery Ice, Lindsey Smallidge, Northeast Harbor, Maine, tall-tales, Mount Desert Island, Somes Sound, Acadia Mountain, John Brown, Robinson Mountain, story
C. Richard K. Lunt, “Jones Tracy: Tall-Tale Teller from Mount Desert Island.” Northeast Folklore 10 (1968), 29-30 & 36-37.
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
Smallidge, Lindsey. 1963. “Blueberries and Leathery Ice.” NA2970, CD852.7. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.