PLACES: A true story from Grand Manan … with a moral, 1943


On Sept. 23rd 1943 while vacationing on Grand Manan, Isabel (Guptill Bosien) and Bud went harbour pollock fishing. The catch was about two dozen caught from the breakwater at Ingall’s Head. A dozen of these large ones were picked to be salted and then hung in the smokehouse to be smoked. Taken back to the shore and the smokehouse, they were beheaded and cleaned and also skinned. Then Jack Guptill the old smoke master himself who had supervised the cleaning and preparing of the fish invited the two fishermen to take a ride with him to the breakwater.

The trip was to take but a few minutes so he told the two fisherment to leave the prepared fish where they were on the log outdoors where they had been cleaned. The two heavy knives were dropped where the fish lay and the trip began.

Twenty minutes later on return from the ride to the breakwater, not a pollock was to be found. Even the heavy knives had disappeared. This was thought to be a prank of some of the neighbourhood boys. But upon questioning, it was disclosed that none had been near the shore or even knew about the fish. Then the truth finally dawned when the knives were found. One about five feet from the scene of the cleaning and the other about ten. The sea gulls, those scavengers of the seashore, had stolen every fish and because the knives were covered with fish, they were thought to be edible also. But upon discovery that they were thought quite solid and quite unfit to eat, they were dropped.

The tale spread over the Island like fire and soon the two great fishermen were kidded from one end of the Island to the other for the rest of their stay.

The results were no salt pollock and the moral of this story is never leave your catch in the open.

Original written by hand by Lois Guptill (MacKay) 1943


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