Saskatchewan Gen Web Project - SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE by JOHN HAWKES Vol 1I 1924




THE FINNS. {con't}

pays no tax. To the ordinary smoker this home-made tobacco had a bad
smell, and it was this smell which offended me. Later on when owing to
the severe weather and the state of the trails the Finns had ceased to
draw wood to town I saw myself in danger of being over 20 miles from a
store and without tobacco, so I fell back on the home grown. In two or
three days all sense of the offensive smell was gone, and I found the to-
bacco a pure, cool, sweet smoke. It should be, for there was no doubt
about its perfect purity.

Lakki explained to me how he made the tobacco. They put the leaves together and allowed them to heat or ferment or something of that sort. Then it was pressed in some way. Lakki showed me his own way. He had a section of a log about eight inches through and sixteen long. Through this he bored holes with a two inch auger. In these holes he rammed the tobacco, and left it there for quite awhile. Then he split the log with his axe and out fell big rolls of dry tobacco. He had a bit of log hollowed out to resemble a saucer or basin. This was just the width of the bit of an axe. He would fill this saucer as it were with tobacco, and then chop it up with an axe head. He filled his cigar box from the main supply. What astonished me was that all sense of the offensive odor should disappear so soon and that I should be able to enjoy the tobacco without noticing any smell. This use of home grown tobacco is general throughout all the settlements.

In the one roomed dwelling the bed was in a far corner. It was so placed that when one was in bed the room was behind him and one couldn't see what was going on. Jacob and I slept in this bed; the children slept in their clothes in the box, but how the woman camped. I could not make out unless she stretched on the bare floor. I used to throw my clothes down by the side of the bed. One night I woke up; my head was hanging out over the side of the bed, so that I saw my clothes on the floor. At least I should have done so had they been there. But they were not. Like the famous cupboard, the floor was bare. When I woke in the morning my first thought was to push my head out and scan the floor. Lo, there were the clothes my double suit of overalls, for one could not wear an over- coat and work that auger. And it appeared to me I must be dreaming. The mystery of the lady's camping place was not yet solved.

I had no reading matter with me. One night just before going to bed, Jacob reached up among the rafters, and pulled down two or three copies of the Massey Harris Magazine-a fifty cent periodical which the firm gave free to their customers. Jacob climbed into bed. I sat and read on. The woman, always sulky and silent sat, and I doubt not glowered at me wrathfully. The matter was interesting; to have something decent to read was water in an intellectual desert. At last about eleven o'clock the woman-a tall, wiry, bony creature-who had been sitting there for three hours doing nothing, got up, and stalked out into the winter's night. She returned with an armful of hay and threw it into a corner. I took the hint and stretched myself out beside her unconscious spouse as soon as might be. The secret of the lady's couch and of the disappearing act with Bibliography follows:

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