Petit Rocher

DESCRIPTION: Canadian French: The trapper, wandering in the forest, fears for his family's safety. He returns home, and arranges for his family's flight from marauding Indians. He remains and is mortally wounded. He prays for comfort in death
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1865 (Gagnon)
KEYWORDS: Quebec family death separation Indians(Am.) foreignlanguage
FOUND IN: Canada(Que,West) US(MW)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
BerryVin, p. 24, "P'tit rocher, de la haute montagne (Little Rock Atop the Mountain Crest" (1 text + translation, 1 tune)
Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 34-35, "Petit Rocher" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Grace Lee Nute, _The Voyageur_, Appleton, 1931 (reprinted 1987 Minnesota Historical Society), pp. 148-149, "Petit Rocher" (1 text plus English translation, 1 tune)

cf. "Haunted Wood" (plot)
NOTES [153 words]: This is said to be "the first Canadian song about a Canadian incident."
The song is supposedly based on the legend of the trapper Cadieux. In 1709 he went trapping along the Ottawa River. Returning to his camp and his family, he saw a band of Indians threatening the camp. He put his family in the canoe and stayed behind to slow
the attackers.
When his body was found, it lay in a grave he had dug with his own hands, and with his story written on birchbark with his own blood.
We must regretfully report that little if any verifiable evidence exists for this story. - RBW
BerryVin gives the Cadieux story, but also mentions that one Frank Louvier, an elderly and "well-known folk singer of the region" around Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, stated that local legend placed the events on which the song was based in that community, founded by the French in the 1730s. No evidence beyond the assertion, unfortunately. - PJS
Last updated in version 2.5
File: FMB034

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