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Snow Shoes and Canoes The Early Days of a Fur-Trader in the Hudson Bay Territory   By: (1814-1880)

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Snow Shoes and Canoes; The Early Days of a Fur Trader in the Hudson Bay Territory, by William H G Kingston.

The basic story line is that there is a fort in the Hudson Bay Territory that needs some stores and materials to be sent to it from another fort about 150 miles away. The journey could be done by canoe, but there are none available at this time. So a party of people are sent overland to fetch what is required.

There are encounters with bears and other dangerous animals; there are times when they are very hungry and very tired. They encounter both friendly and unfriendly Indians. They borrow canoes at one stage, and have wrecks in the mighty rapids.

There are strong overtones indicating that Kingston has read the authentic books by Ballantyne, who had worked in the Hudson Bay Company, and whose letters home had set off his literary career. But Kingston has a unique style of his own, and he was good at research, so he can be forgiven for using valuable authentic material to help him get his facts right, and make his story credible.

About 10.5 hours to read aloud.

SNOW SHOES AND CANOES, THE EARLY DAYS OF A FUR TRADER IN THE HUDSON BAY TERRITORY, BY WILLIAM H G KINGSTON.

CHAPTER ONE.

BLACK FORT THE PACK HORSE TRAIN SETS OUT SANDY MCTAVISH'S SAGACITY THE NIGHT WATCH THE TWO REDSKIN HORSE THIEVES A SNOWSTORM AN UNCOMFORTABLE BED AND A TERRIBLE NIGHT MY DELIGHT AT FINDING MY HORSE ALIVE WE OBTAIN SHELTER IN A WOOD DESPERATE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN A LYNX AND AN EAGLE FOR THE POSSESSION OF A HARE THE HARE BECOMES MY PRIZE THE UNTIMELY APPEARANCE OF A WOLF.

The short summer of the North West Territory of British America, the region in which the events I am about to describe took place, was rapidly drawing to a close.

I had been sent from Black Fort, of which my elder brother Alick had charge, with Sandy McTavish, an old follower of our father's, and two other men, to bring up ammunition and other stores as a winter supply from Fort Ross, about 150 miles off a distance, however, of which we did not think much.

The stores ought to have been brought up the greater part of the way by the Saskatchewan, but a canoe had been lost in ascending the rapids, and no other was at that time to be procured to replace her. It became necessary, therefore, at all costs to transport the required stores by land. We had eight pack horses, besides the four animals my companions and I rode.

We were all well armed, for though the Crees and other Indian tribes in the northern part of the territory were generally friendly, we might possibly encounter a party of Blackfeet on the war trail who, should they find us unprepared, would to a certainty attack us, and endeavour to steal our horses and goods. We were but few in number for such an undertaking, but no more men could be spared. Sandy, however, was a host in himself. He thoroughly knew all the Indian ways, and from his long experience was well able to counteract them.

Many an evening, while seated at our camp fire or at the stove in the fort, during winter, has he beguiled the time with accounts of his hairbreadth escapes and desperate encounters with the redskins. He had no enmity towards them, notwithstanding the attempts they had made on his life.

"They were but following the instincts of their savage natures," he used to observe; "and they were not ower weel pleased with the white men for hunting in the country which they call theirs, though it must be allowed they dinna make gude use of it."

Sandy was as humane as he was brave, and I am very sure he never took the life of an Indian if he could avoid doing so with due regard to his own safety. He had come out from Scotland when a mere boy with our father, who was at that time a clerk in the Hudson's Bay Company, but who had ultimately risen to be a chief factor, and was the leader in many of the adventurous expeditions which were made in those days... Continue reading book >>




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