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(174; perilous but generous mission). When the settlement hears of an im-
pending Iroquois attack, Cadieux and an Algonquin friend, 'un jeune
Algonquin dans le courage et la fidélité duquel il avait une parfaite confi-
ance' (174; a young Algonquin in whose courage and faithfulness he had
perfect confidence), divert the enemy while their families make their way
through the treacherous rapids, praying to Saint Anne and guided, ac-
cording to Cadieux's wife, by a ' Great Lady in white ' who hovered over the
canoes and showed them the way (175). The group makes it to the safety
of the fort at Lac des Deux Montagnes, near Montreal, and then sends a
party of three comrades back to rescue their saviours. The Algonquin
brave is found scalped, but there is no sign of Cadieux until he is located
in a shallow grave marked by a wooden cross, constructed by Cadieux
himself, who holds a piece of birch bark, on which he has recounted his
adventures, in verse no less.
This famous 'Complainte de Cadieux' is published in its entirety
(forty-four verses) with the tale (180-2), following a full-page exegesis
by the narrator. If, in fact, the 'Complainte' is a transcription of a tradi-
tional song, sung by many a voyageur over the years, as Taché claims,
it is a significant pre-Romantic treatment of the wilderness as an am-
bivalent phenomenon; that is, as welcoming as it is forbidding. The
song begins with the well-known phrase 'Petit rocher de la Haute-
Montagne' (Little Rock near the High Mountain), describing and de-
limiting the burial place ('petit rocher') set against the backdrop of the
vast wilderness ('haute montagne'). And it is the text of the 'Complainte'
that continues to mark the burial place: 'On prit la coutume d'entretenir
une copie de cette complainte, aussi écrite sur de l'écorce, attachée à un
arbre voisin de la tombe de Cadieux.' (183; One adopted the custom of
maintaining a copy of this song, also written on bark, attached to a tree
near Cadieux's tomb.) Thus, for Taché, it is both the place and the tale it
spawns that serve as memorials, a link that he underscores in his initial
address to the reader: 'Beaucoup de mes lecteurs, qui ont déjà entendu
parler de ces histoires, qui ont visité les lieux témoins des scènes que je
raconte, retrouveront dans ces récits des réminiscences qui, j'en suis
certain, ne seront pas pour eux sans charmes.' (16; Many of my readers,
who have already heard tell of these stories, who have visited the places
that witnessed the scenes I recount, will find in these tales reminis-
cences that, I am certain, will not be without charm for them.) Not with-
out charm, and not without cultural significance.
Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté's La mort de Cadieux , 1907 (figure
2.2), painted at another period of intense French-Canadian nationalism
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