January 19, 2011
What ever became of myth? We human beings have been surrounded by mythology for millennia… from Zeus to Robin Hood to Paul Bunyan. Call it “pagan” theology, call it folklore, call it a tall tale. What you can’t call it is “still around.”
There was a time when fantastic stories were most all the entertainment one had be it a play or the village elder reminiscing around the campfire. Perhaps one could argue that the advent of radio, cinema and television began its downfall. I don’t really buy that. Instead it’s probably overexposure that’s numbed our imaginations. As cable and the internet expand like Tribbles unchecked, those voids need to be filled with any and all ideas.
Or maybe the National Enquirer has simply run too many outrageous stories.
Whatever the reason – be it mindless drivel masquerading as entertainment or the carpet-bombing of our collective imaginations via Madison Avenue chicanery – our innocence is lost. See if you buy into the following.
The French-Canadian fable of the chasse-galerie has a group of fur trappers and lumberjacks drunk and lonely and wishing to be back home. Problem was that home was hundreds of miles away. They do what any sensible intoxicated Canuck would do: they make a deal with Satan for a magical flying canoe.
Depending on which version you may come across the voyage down was a success but the trip back is where things get dicey. The deal was they couldn’t mention the Big Man Upstairs, take his name in vain at all nor touch a cross. Otherwise, their souls are forever doomed. According to legend, someone did one of the above or even shoved Ol’ Scratch himself out of the canoe. They crashed and were never seen again.
Others suggest it wasn’t just the wives they were pining for. Brewery Unibroue in Chambly, Canada would have us believe that beer was a mitigating factor in the journey. Maudite is Quebecquois for “damned” and Unibroue set out to replicate a beer worthy of launching a soul-selling quest for ale. Chestnut brown in color with an amazingly fluffy head, Maudite delivers with scents of dough, cherry and spice. Malty caramel, clove, orange and raisins round out the flavors of this velvety Belgian style ale.
Maybe I’m almost weird enough to believe in tipsy Acadians whizzing through the air in a canoe. It’s not Atlas holding up the world but it sure beats the Bat Boy.