Monday, October 16, 2017

Philatelic Phantoms III: Folk Tales

I've covered past examples of Canada Post's celebration of all things creepy and Canadian, including the Haunted Canada Collection (2015, 2016) and their very cool Haunted Stamp House (1997).

This post takes an even further look back to a collection released on October 1, 1991, called FolktalesContes populaires. Although this series concerns Canadian folklore, I thought it might be still spooky enough to warrant a closer examination... and I wasn't disappointed! As with all such Canada Post collections, it's a cool slice of Canadiana.

Here's a detailed look at each stamp, which were designed by Stephanie Power with illustrations by Simon Ng (text excerpts, written by Louise Ellis, are courtesy of Canada Post):

Buried Treasure / Le trésor enfoui

It all started one day in 1827 when a stranger--a Scotsman by the name of McKay--arrived in a small fishing village...He announced that his grandfather had sailed with Captain Kidd and had helped him bury a chest of gold coins on the island across the bay. According to McKay, the captain came ashore with a few of his crew and a heavy metal chest. Kidd asked for someone to guard the treasure, and a young fellow volunteered. "Poor laddie," McKay said. "He was buried along with the chest so his ghost could guard it."...

The Flying Canoe / La chasse-galerie

Have you ever seen a canoe flying through a night sky? Legend has it that in the winter lumber camps or "shanties" of Quebec years ago, loggers could sail over miles of snow-covered terrain in a chasse-galerie or "witch canoe" simply by making a deal with the Devil. About 150 years ago, one shanty-man, a cook named Joseph, had the trip of a lifetime and lived to tell the tale...

Chinook / Le vent chaud

To most of you, a chinook is just a warm, dry wind that blows out of the Rockies, but to pioneers like Jack and Charlie Henderson, it was an extraordinary event. Back in 1890, a young eastern visitor or "greenhorn" named Tom found out from these old timers just what a chinook could do...

Orphan Boy Kaujjakjuk / L'Orphelin Kaujjakjuk 

There is a chilling Inuit legend from the eastern Arctic about an orphan boy who was so mistreated that he decided to seek revenge. A very long time ago during a seal hunt, a young boy named Kaujjakjuk found himself far from the others on an ice floe. His parents and older brother helplessly watched him float away and gave him up for dead. After many days, however, the boy was blown to the shore of a strange land where he was adopted by a family...

The booklet also includes some wonderful paintings to illustrate each story:

Buried Treasure / Le trésor enfoui (Simon Ng)

The Flying Canoe / La Chasse-galerie (Simon Ng)

Chinook / Le vent chaud (Simon Ng)

Orphan Boy Kaujjakjuk / L'Orphelin Kaujjakjuk (Simon Ng)

Finally, here's the First Day Cover that was included with the collection:

This is another great collection from Canada Post, and definitely worthwhile for those who are interested in Canadian folklore. You can still find these pretty cheap on ebay!


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