Solitaire

Cards are a good way to pass the time...



     This one is quite an old story, but it's a very good one stemming from the native stories which were so numerous, I am glad I got to hear a few of them before they disappeared altogether. As the story goes, there was a certain lighthouse built on Lake Nipigon in Ontario, Canada at Ombabika. Each year a man was to spend a number of months there to man the light. This took the type of person who didn't mind solitude, and passed time between lighting, by cleaning the windows and general upkeep. He could stay warm by the fire and read books, play cards, etc. 

     This particular year, it was too rough on the Lake and he was forced to stay into the winter. Daily temperatures were -40 degrees C, and travel out was next to impossible with no dogs or sled. If you are from this area of Ontario, you know what I am talking about. Frostbiting cold, white outs, 10 foot high snow drifts in the open areas, and winds so hard it's a fight to walk 20 feet. Each day passed slowly and nights were very long, he filled his time waiting for a break in the weather by playing solitaire. 

      One particular night he was playing, when he heard a knock on the door, he rushed to answer, and found a man who has said he had traveled long and far and was in need of food, drink and heat. He gave some of his ration and tea to the man as they stayed warm by the fire. The man was very pleasant and was of good company, and well dressed under his wool coat. They ended up playing some poker late into the morning hours. It was quite a game for the keeper as he kept winning more money, even to the point that it was becoming shameful to take so much from him. 

     He began to tell him he didn't want to play anymore. A few games later the visitor said it was time to stop, and he had to get going as he was late for his intended visit. The keeper gave him an extra sweater and bid him safe journey after asking him to stay. The invitation was to come back if he needed to as the weather was frightful as he showed him out. The man waved goodbye. About 5 minutes later as the wind howled wildly, the keeper could hear what sounded like his name was being called. He arose with his coal oil lamp in hand, checked the door, nothing but blackness and snow flying past. He heard nothing but wind... He was about to close the door when he looked to the footprints in the snow which were still plainly visible, which were described as "Covered in ash - one human footprint, one hoof." 

     Eventually the keeper got back home and told his family of the visitor he called "Maji Manidoow" or otherwise the Devil.


Dee McCullay - Dark History

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