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Myths and Legends of our Own Land, by Charles M. Skinner, [1896], at


Long were the shores of Detroit vexed by the Snake God of Belle Isle and his children, the witches, for the latter sold enchantments and were the terror of good people. Jacques Morand, the coureur de bois, was in love with Genevieve Parent, but she disliked him and wished only to serve the church. Courting having proved of no avail, he resolved on force when she had decided to enter a convent, and he went to one of the witches, who served as devil's agent, to sell his soul. The witch accepted the slight commodity and paid for it with a grant of power to change from a man's form to that of a were-wolf, or loup garou, that he might the easier bear away his victim. Incautiously, he followed her to Grosse Pointe, where an image of the Virgin had been set up, and as Genevieve dropped at the feet of the statue to implore aid, the wolf, as he leaped to her side, was suddenly turned to stone.

Harder was the fate of another maiden, Archange Simonet, for she was seized by a were-wolf at this place and hurried away while dancing at her own wedding. The bridegroom devoted his life to the search for her, and finally lost his reason, but he prosecuted the hunt so vengefully and shrewdly that he always found assistance. One of the neighbors cut off the wolf's tail with a silver bullet, the appendage being for many years preserved by the Indians. The lover finally came upon the creature and chased it to the shore, where its footprint is still seen in one of the bowlders, but it leaped into the water and disappeared. In his crazy fancy the lover declared that it had jumped down the throat of a catfish, and that is why the French Canadians have a prejudice against catfish as an article of diet.

The man-wolf dared as much for gain as for love. On the night that Jean Chiquot got the Indians drunk and bore off their beaver-skins, the wood witches, known as "the white women," fell upon him and tore a part of his treasure from him, while a were-wolf pounced so hard on his back that he lost more. He drove the creatures to a little distance, but was glad to be safe inside of the fort again, though the officers laughed at him and called him a coward. When they went back over the route with him they were astonished to find the grass scorched where the women had fled before him, and little springs in the turf showed where they had been swallowed up. Sulphur-water was bubbling from the spot where the wolf dived into the earth when the trader's rosary fell out of his jacket. Belle Fontaine, the spot was called, long afterward.



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