Maritime History of the Great Lakes
All's Well That ????? Ends Well: Schooner Days MCCCII (1302)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 29 Dec 1956
Full Text
All's Well That ????? Ends Well
Schooner Days MCCCII (1302)

(Copyright - not by W. Shakespeare)

by C. H. J. Snider

The Tail of a Pig - 2

WE knocked off for Christmas, leaving Charlie Tufford (later Capt. Charles Tufford, for this was eighty years ago) deputed to dispose of the stray pig the scow schooner Mary E. Ferguson had picked up. The ungrateful porker had bitten Capt. Osborne in the seat of his seagoing pants, and the captain had decreed his death. But the pig, entrenched in the well-like fortress formed in the schooner's square bows by her high load of lumber, disagreed.

By this time the wind was coming stronger and pushing them in against the Niagara current and in the bustle of changing nether garments, lowering sail, and making the little basin above the steamer landing the captain thought of a stratagem.

"You slip up to the butcher shop, Charlie," said he, "and sell them that pig on the hoof. You can have what you can get for him. Mind, don't take less than $1, and he's dirt cheap at that."

So Charles opened negotiations with the butcher, who also kept the general store.

It was agreed that the pig should be delivered on the dock as well as on the hoof, and the $1 would be paid if the animal proved as good as represented.

Down to the Ferguson game the avenger of the captain's blood, the storekeeper. "Fine beast," said he. "Bring him ashore."

They tried lassoing the pig again from the eminence of the deckled but he wasn't having any tis time. They laid a gangway of planks and tried coaxing and prodding with poles. Piggy was unresponsive. So greatly daring for $1, Charlie got down the steps recently so fatal to the seat of authority. The captain was wearing his oilskins now, with a wad of oakum for a poultice on the tender spot where the pig had bit him.

"Get the bight right over him, Charlie," he encouraged, bending from the safety of the fore gaff.

Hearing the voice of kindness once more the pig gave a responsive grunt and scrambled up the gangway as though it were cleated. Before anyone could say "Pig-pig-pig-pig-pig" again he was a hundred yards up the wharf and still going. A trail of squeals and oinks followed like backfires from a faulty motor.

"Well, young man," said the unsated slaughterer, "I'll tell ye what I'll do. I won't give no dollar for a pig I can't see, but you come up to the store and pick out what you'll take for my chance of having him when I catch him."

That sounded fair enough, but Charlie only got a cracked vase out of it. Still it was something to take home to mother for Christmas, and this was the last trip of the season. His captain applauded his artistic sense. The mate warned all and sundry he had nothing to do with it.

All the time the Ferguson was unloading old Niagara resounded with the view-halloo, tally-ho, yoicks -yoicks and yelps of pig hunters in relays. Occasionally but not often, a grunt or a squeal floated down on the breeze. More often it was a yell as the pig, cornered, charged his pursuers and sent them flying.

"We're well rid of that pest," said the captain standing up to herringbone entire new sitting-room quarters in his former uniform.

As he spoke a hot shot rang out.

"Got 'im" hailed the storekeeper from the depth of the wood.

So the Mary E. Ferguson sailed for home with her master happy in the knowledge that he would never go mad and grunt and squeal like a pig, and the mate happy that no one could say he did it, and Charlie Tufford happy with a present for his mother.



And the 1,302nd number of Schooner Days

Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
29 Dec 1956
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.25012 Longitude: -79.06627
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.65011 Longitude: -79.3829
Richard Palmer
Creative Commons licence
by [more details]
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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All's Well That ????? Ends Well: Schooner Days MCCCII (1302)