enliven the scene, as does the intermittent blue of the river that pene-
trates and illuminates the scene. Most of all, the diagonal position of the
body, criss-crossed by Cadieux's rifle, leads the eye towards the tree on
which his head rests, then up to the manuscript containing his poem,
which, elevated and flanked as it is by the bold blue patches of colour,
becomes a major feature, if not a final focal point, of the composition.
There is no cross, no shallow grave, only the lush foliage, which cradles
the dead body of the hero, the majestic tree that shelters him, and the
highlighted text that immortalizes him. Whereas the ending of Taché's
tale is rendered in a style that is purposely clumsy, to emphasize its
authenticity, Suzor-Coté's painting is striking in its artistry, a pagan glo-
rification of nature and artistic ritual, which elevates Cadieux into the
higher realm of art that memorializes him.
The prominence of the canoe in the previous tales recalls another famous
legend featured in the late nineteenth-century short story, that of La
chasse-galerie , transcribed from the oral tradition by Honoré Beaugrand
and illustrated by Henri Julien in 1892. 13
Set in the nineteenth century, not the French colonial period, and de-
void of any overt Amerindian presence, Beaugrand's tale is so different
from that of the Cadieux legend as to defy any claim of a direct link.
Nonetheless, at the same time, that very difference and lack of influence
may well suggest the significance of the canoe as a transcendent cultural
icon, not linked to a specific place, event, tale, text, or movement, but
directly to the French-Canadian people and inherited, after all, from the
Amerindian way of life. Indeed, if, as Ouellet, Beaulieu, and Tremblay
contend, traits like 'l'esprit de liberté, l'estime de soi, l'instabilité,
l'indiscipline, l'impulsivité' (65-6; the spirit of freedom, self-esteem, in-
stability, lack of discipline, impulsiveness) are inherited from the
Amerindian, then Beaugrand's characters provide a striking example of
the 'Indianization' of the French Canadian.
In a short preface, while acknowledging that his tale is 'basé sur une
croyance populaire qui remonte à l'époque des coureurs des bois'
(based on a popular belief that goes back to the time of the coureurs de
bois), Beaugrand claims that he has 'rencontré plus d'un vieux voya-
geur qui affirmait avoir vu voguer dans l'air des canots d'écorce' (19;
met more than one voyageur who affirms having seen birchbark canoes
flying in the air). Beaugrand thus collapses time or compresses various