RIVIERE DU LOUP, Que. – “No, no, no, they’re here for the museum!”
I guess we look like the type. The second we walked into the boat boutique, which advertised its miniature-boat museum from the highway, the women at the cash were so excited. They couldn’t wait to take our $12 and usher us into the back room. They even argued over who was going to give us the intro speech.
My French has improved a hundred-fold since we got here, but the museum lady really wanted to speak English to us. I guess we look like English museum-goers. Maybe it was my Monster Truck tank top that gave me away. Because Monster Truck aficionados are known for their love of quirky museums. But I digress.
There are 40 to 50 miniature boats by various artists displayed on two levels of the tiny museum. The Titanic and Empress are there (Trev says there are least four Titanics, in fact), and the Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria, but also the Popeye and the Lucy Maud Montgomery.
The upper level has a series of paintings with legends from the area taped up beside them. Here is a transcript of my favourite:
In the beginning, all of the elements of Nature were mixed up. Thunder, water, glaciers, wind and rocks all made a horrible noise together. God, who was too busy making humans, animals and plants, asked Lucifer to organize the St. Lawrence River. Satan agreed to dig the river and place the islands, but only on condition that he would rule the area after.
Satan began by creating the northern shore, then the Caps Trinity and Eternity. Proud of his work, he challenged God to do a better job. God blew Lucifer away with a gust of wind. Satan ran south, and every footstep on the river left an island. He remained on Ile Verte, and the people there worshipped him for having created such a beautiful place, so full of flora and fauna.
The Basques, whale hunters, arrived one night on the island and erected a large white cross. The island’s inhabitants ran to Satan, asking him to chase away these intruders, or to worship the God of the Basques. A large storm blew up, terrifying Satan with thunder and lightning.
Since then, on certain nights when the sea is calm, you can see the silhouettes of women, facing the cross and singing glory to God, the creator. On a rock nearby, Satan’s footprints are still visible.