You all know. My good friends who live comfortably,
I shall sing you an account of our worst miseries.
We have to go back to the shanties and leave behind all that is dear to us
In order to go to the woods like wolves and spend long winters there.

We all know, my good friends, that in these shanties, work never ceases;
We must work All saints Day, also the other holidays;
It’s the same for New Year’s Day, our master demands it.
If God does not exercise pity on me, I fear for my poor soul.

We also must wash our clothes that we not be eaten by the fleas,
Consider, my good friends, for this is a strange life;
That we must wash our clothes on the Lord’s day of Sunday.
Oh! I have finished my song even though it is Sunday.

Now my song has been sung; pass me the bottle
That I may salute the whole group when I salute the young lady.

The interest of this song lies in the fact that it is of Canadian origin and that it describes living conditions in Canadian lumber camps of a past era. This version was sung by a former lumberman.

The song is known in Eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick. Some versions are longer than this one, as the singers add personal details to the song. There are a few other local ballads of the same kind, describing the hardship or the loneliness endured by the men in the lumber camps.

- Helen Creighton, La Fleur du Rosier, 1988, pp. 231 - 232.


Allan Kelly, Helen Creighton, Ronald Labelle
19th Century
CANADA Northern New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Northern New Brunswick, CANADA
CANADA Bas-Saint-Laurent - Gaspésie, Quebec, Bas-Saint-Laurent - Gaspésie, CANADA
© 1988, University of Cape Breton Press. All Rights Reserved.

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