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From The Past
The Lost Canterbury Tale
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in the basement of the English Building at Oxford University, hidden
many years, an unpublished manuscript from Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES
discovered. There are two
thought as to why this tale was not included.
first school holds, Chaucer, like all writers had squandered the
advance and waited until the last minute to write the book. In the process of hurrying to get the
manuscript to the publisher, by the due date, he simply failed to
other school holds this Tale is titled with a man's name.
While all the other Tales were titled as the
teller's occupation; such as "THE MILLER'S TALE", "THE KNIGHT'S
TALE", or "THE NUN'S TALE".
This Tale simply does not fit the format and was left out.
for the first time, for your reading enjoyment is that lost
Tale. Translated into modern English. A Tale of
a man named Nigel who traps beaver
in the Rocky Mountains.
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reaching me twenty-first birthday, I came into an inheritance of
pounds and six pence. In the newest
issue of HUNTER-TRADER-TRAPPER was an advertisement to trap beaver with
Carson and Jim Bridger in the Rocky Mountains.
Write them care of the Hawken Rifle Shop,
in Saint Louis, Missouri-Ewe, Ess, Aye.
left England headed for the Colonies aboard the H.M.S. BEAGLE. I had many stimulating conversations
Mister Charles Darwin. This was
he published his book, ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.>
came ashore at a place called Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
There I met the Wright Brothers, Orville and
Wilbur. They were kind enough to fly me
to Saint Louis, Missouri in their aeroplane.
As we flew into the city, we flew through the Arch. I got
directions to the Hawken Rifle Shop
and there I met Kit Carson and Jim Bridger.
rode Mustangs, but told me we ought to have Broncos for the winter in
Rockies. We rode the Mustangs hard to
Detroit, Michigan to Henry Ford's ranch.
We picked out Broncos for each of us.
I picked a black Bronco and named him Midnight. We rode our
Broncos hard to the Rockies.
was given a map of where my trapline was and also four Helfrich 750
and two Newhouse number 4 traps. Also,
I was given two four ounce jars of Lenon's Beaver lure. Jim
Bridger told me if I can not catch any
beaver with Lenon's lure, it meant only one thing-there were no beaver
around. I got the six traps out and got
back to base camp later in the afternoon.
next morning there was a foot of snow on the ground and I thought, "My,
but winter sure does come quick to the shinin' mountains."
Me Bronco got through the snow with
ease-just like Jim Bridger told me it would.
caught between four and six beaver everyday.
In fact, Jim Bridger and Kit Carson began to call me "Plenty of
Beaver". Which I liked better than
what they first called me. Because I
had not proven meself they called me "Pork Eater".
Referring to the fact I was fed salt pork
and not any Buffalo, or Antelope meat.
I had to prove I could hold me own.
were three Indian women whose job it was to skin, flesh, and dry the
furs. I was bringing in so many beavers
each day, the women called me "Slave Driver". They were
beginning to demand more pay. Kit Carson told me the
women's extra pay was
going to come out of my take of the profits.
day in late January, I had just gotten back from checking me traps and
Bridger asked if I would be interested in trapping some coyote.
I told him I would have a go at it. We rode our Broncos
hard to Iowa to a ranch
owned by a woman everyone called MsCat.
She with the pink boots. MsCat
had over a million acres of ranch land in Iowa and was having problems
coyotes killing her sheep.
was given a four ounce jar of Lenon's Coyote lure and five Helfrich 550
Eliminators. I headed out to set for
coyote. We began to catch coyotes
immediately. The Indian women were not
too pleased with having to skin the coyotes.
They said it made their hands hurt, so I was assigned to help them
out. I would come back from the ‘line
with four or five coyotes each day.
Then I had to skin and flesh the coyotes I caught. The
women would stretch the pelts.
Spring came, we loaded up all the pelts and rode our Broncos hard to
Saint Louie. We sold our furs to Maas, Steffen Fur
House. I paid Jim Bridger and Kit
Carson the rest of what I owned them and met the Wright Brothers.
As we flew out of Saint Louie, flying
through the arch.
we got to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, The HMS BEAGLE was no where to be
found. I was stranded! I mean, I enjoyed
me stay in America, but I
wished to go home. A terrible feeling
of homesickness overcame me; I felt blue.
happened to meet Paul Dobbins, who lived in North Carolina.
I told Paul about me predicament and he
offered to let me have his ticket on the LUSITANIA. Paul
told me he had to appear at a Senate Committee investigating unfair
trade practices in the trapping industry.
It seems Paul Dobbins had cornered the fox urine market and the
committee was interested in his activities.
also told me the reason all the fox books written during the last fur
seemed to be a repeat of all the others was because he wrote the book.
He sent the manuscript to various supply
dealers with instructions to come up with a catchy title.
He also advised them to take several
pictures of a dirt hole set. Plus, if
they should happen to catch a fox, take several pictures of the fox.
from the north, some from the south and also east and west of the fox.
Even take some of the pictures from near
ground level. This would give several
pictures they could put in the book to make it look like they had
Dobbins also told me he was not interested in trappers catching fox, he
them to buy all the fox urine they could afford. This is
the reason all the books recommended
the use of fox urine to hide human odor.
"It is all marketing.
Create a need and fill it."
Was how Paul Dobbins explained it to me.
told me he was moving toward selling fox urine to organic gardeners to
rabbits out of their gardens. They were
willing to pay over seventeen dollars for eight ounces of the stuff.
mentioned it would have no effect on rabbits.
After all, they are in the same area foxes are. Paul
Dobbins said, "If the rubes, er,
er, organic gardeners think it works, who is he to deny them the stuff?"
asked if he was worried about appearing before the Committee.
Paul Dobbins said, "If I can't pull the
wool over a politician's eyes, then I have no business trapping
Dobbins let me use his Pinto to get to New York City. I
rode the Pinto hard and stabled it at the
place Paul Dobbins told me to. He was
going to take the train from Dee Cee, after he took care of the
to New York City to retrieve his Pinto.
I got to the gang plank with but fifteen minutes before departure.
couple of evenings later, in me Stateroom, I counted the money I was
with. It was ninety-eight pounds and six
pence. As you may remember, I started
out with eighty-eight pounds and six pence.
I was going home with a profit of ten quid! Not to
mention the places I had seen. The people I had met, and
the adventures I
may remember a German U Boat, with but one torpedo hit the LUSITANIA
sunk like a rock. Here Nigel stopped
talking. The silence was unbearable and
the Nun asked, What happened next?
answered, "Why, I drowned.
was much knee slapping and hearty belly laughs. Reaching
Canterbury, everyone agreed Nigel's
tale was the best one."