Well, there’s really no denying it: If it wasn’t already, then the world has certainly become a more, shall we say, interesting place over the past week. This of course is due in large part to the unexpected turn of political events south of the border, and the fallout from it – you know what I’m talking about. It’s sent shockwaves around the globe, and if insular little Prince Edward Island (also experiencing its own political turmoil) is even feeling it, then you know it must be a doozy. We’ve entered into trying and troubling times, and I think the very thing from which most of us could benefit at this point is simply a plain old feel-good story. Am I right? Or am I right? Well, in my capacity as an Island historian, it is my bounden duty to share the following tale with you, a tale that will no doubt put a smile on your face and help to restore a bit of your faith in humanity.
At least here’s hoping, anyway.
It was the evening of February 24, 1952. The legendary car ferry M.V. Abegweit (see Film Friday: The ‘Abby’ ), the Island’s all-important, ice-breaking link to the mainland, was on its final run of the day. Halfway between its port of departure, Cape Tormentine, and its destination, Borden-Carleton, smack in the middle of the Northumberland Strait, the crew couldn’t help but take note of a strange sight: A deer, a doe, swimming yet barely afloat, valiantly attempting to navigate its way through ice-choked waters.
Reacting swiftly to the abnormality, the crew sent word to the captain of the vessel, who immediately ordered the engines stopped and a rescue attempt made. A group effort managed to pluck the hapless deer from the icy water and the doe, by that point entirely exhausted from its ordeal, was taken to an empty cabin. The steam heat was cranked up, and under the watchful eye of crew she slowly began to regain energy. The M.V. Abegweit continued on its course, and after docking for the night in Borden, the now very fortunate animal was transported to a barn nearby for further rest and recuperation.
As The Guardian saw the affair when it ran the front-page story the following day, the doe had either accidentally found her way onto an ice floe and become stranded, or had actively been attempting to cross the Strait in pursuit of kith and kin and greener pastures. It couldn’t help but postulate in closing that maybe, just maybe, “word of the high living indugled in by its kind in Canada’s garden province [had] reached New Brunswick”. Ever the wit, that rag.
Anyway, whatever it was that had led the somewhat amphibious animal into such dire circumstances, she would go on to make a full recovery. Following deliberations by the Provincial Department of Industry and Natural Resources, she was cleared for passage and shortly after embarked on a return journey to the mainland, once more in the care of the captain and crew of the M.V. Abegweit. What became of her from there is anyone’s guess, but I like to think that she went on to lead a much less adventurous life in greener (and safer) pastures elsewhere, ending her days happily-ever-after.
Short and sweet but hey, you’re smiling now, aren’t you? Ha, I knew it. See you on Friday!
PEI History Guy