Tag Archives: folk story

The Tale of a Teacher, a Duck, and the Mississippi River

The Tale of a Teacher, a Duck, and the Mississippi River


Hunter waiting in duck-blind—1896


Somewhere in Lanark County a well renowned school teacher that shall not be mentioned by name wasn’t having much luck duck hunting. Birds were scarce, his dog had been killed by a train, and he was breaking a new one in. In his search for game he had gotten much farther down the river than usual, and was in unfamiliar territory.

The teacher had become very discouraged and stopped on the river bank to rest his legs. He was idly watching a flock of domestic ducks go paddingly about when a man, whom he thought was  a farmer came along. The two exchanged greetings and in an answer to a newcomer’s inquiry as to what luck he had, the teacher admitted that times were tough that day and the family might not have Sunday dinner. He added laughingly that if the ducks on the river were wild ones, his quest would be over.

“Well” answered the stranger, why not shoot one anyways? He admitted he would be killing them for market the next week anyways, and you might as well shoot one of them for 50 cents. Not wanting to go home empty handed the “duckless” man paid over the money asked for and with his trusty double barrel gun he knocked a plump green headed drake. Of course his brand new dog would not take to water, so he had tor retrieve it for himself.

By the time he had accomplished the task his new acquaintance had disappeared, and another man was approaching who turned out to be the real owner of the birds, as he had come running when he heard the gunshot. Well, the first man turned out to be an imposter, likely many of the tramps infesting the county then.



The embarrassed teacher’s explanation fell on deaf ears, and he was forced to listen to a tirade of unkind and sarcastic remarks, as well as paying once more for his duck 75 cents. He got home that night madder than he had ever been before. He was mad at the hobo who had played such a trick on him, and he was mad at himself for falling for the hoax and finally he was mad at the farmer for not believing his explanation. His particular sore point was that any person should suggest that an experienced hunter like himself didn’t know a tame duck from a wild one.

After his students found out about his weekend adventures they were relieved that they had Sunday for him to cool off so they would not have to put up with his wrath on Monday.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


“Lanark is my Native Land” -Master Clarence Whiticar 1930

No Scruples For Wayward Children! T.B. Caswell