John Gould has always been one of my favorite authors. He wrote dozens of great books, along with a column that he wrote for 62 years in the Christian Science Monitor. Gould died in 2003.
I am very grateful to Down East Books for republishing some of Gould’s very best books, including The Jonesport Raffle and other tales of Maine Folklore, which I just finished reading.
The first story in this wonderful collection is about a man in Jonesport who raffled off his horse, which it turns out had been dead for quite a while.
You will swear that some of these tales are true. There are stories about lumbering, Maine weather, early Maine settlements, and even the evils of drink. I’ll bet that you didn’t know that early Mainers called their smallest coin a farthing, which according to Gould they pronounced “fart’in.”
I especially enjoyed the story of a huge cusk caught by Barnabas Griffin in Moosehead Lake. “Barney hauled in eight feet of fish,” wrote Gould, “before he came to the eye, and he got frightened and cut the line.” That same story told about a golfer who drove a golf ball 14 miles up the ice on Moosehead Lake. Before that story is finished, you’ll read about the guy who clubbed trout to death with a baseball bat. Hmmm. I never tried that!
Well, there are lots and lots more funny stories in this book, a real Maine treasure.