Read The Hockey Sweater and Other Stories Online

Authors: Roch Carrier

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The Hockey Sweater and Other Stories

The Hockey Sweater

and other stories

Novels by Roch Carrier, in translation by Sheila Fischman available from Anansi

La Guerre, Yes Sir!
(1970)

Floralie, Where Are You?
(1971)

Is It the Sun, Philibert?
(1972)

They Won't Demolish Me!
(1974)

The Garden of Delights
(1978)

Roch Carrier
was born in 1937 in Sainte-Justine-de-Dorchester, Quebec. He holds a doctorate from the University of Paris and has taught literature for many years. He is the author of seven novels, numerous short stories, and dramatic adaptations of his novels. At present he lives in Montreal where he is a full-time writer.

Sheila Fischman
was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Her excellent translations have been widely praised by the critics, and in 1975 she won the Canada Council's Translation Award for her work on
They Won't Demolish Me!
She has been Literary Editor of the Montreal
Star.

The Hockey Sweater

and other stories

ROCH CARRIER

Copyright © 1979 House of Anansi Press Limited

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be

reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,

electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,

or any information storage and retrieval system, without

permission in writing from the publisher.

First published in French in 1979 as

Les Enfants du bonhomme dans la lune

First published in English in 1979 by

House of Anansi Press Ltd.

This edition published in 2003 by

House of Anansi Press Inc.

110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801

Toronto, ON, M5V 2K4

Tel. 416-363-4343

Fax 416-363-1017

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07 06 05 04 03       6 7 8 9 10

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

Carrier, Roch, 1937-

[Enfants du bonhomme dans la lune. English]

The hockey sweater and other stories

(Anansi fiction series; AF 40)

Translation of: Les enfants du bonhomme dans la lune

ISBN 0-88784-078-7

I. Title. II. Title: Enfants du bonhomme dans la lune.

English. III. Series.

PS8505.A77E5413   1979        C843.'54        C79-094584-3

PQ3919.2.C25E513   1979

Hockey sweater courtesy of

Adelkind & Fischman, Elgin, Ontario

Cover design: David Montle

We acknowledge for their financial support of our publishing program
the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Government of Canada
through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP).

Printed and bound in Canada

Contents

The Nun Who Returned to Ireland

The Shoemaker

Idiot Death

The Machine for Detecting Everything That's American

The Day I Became an Apostate

The Month of the Dead

Son of a Smaller Hero

Pierrette's Bumps

When the Taxes Split the Roof

The Hockey Sweater

Foxes Need Fresh Water

A Great Hunter

What Language Do Bears Speak?

Industry in Our Village

Perhaps the Trees Do Travel

The Good People and The Bad People

Do Medals Float on the Ocean?

Grandfather's Fear

The Sorcerer

A Secret Lost in the Water

The Nun Who Returned to Ireland

A
FTER
my first day of school I ran back to the house, holding out my reader.

‘Mama, I learned how to read!' I announced.

‘This is an important day,' she replied; ‘I want your father to be here to see.'

We waited for him. I waited as I'd never waited before. And as soon as his step rang out on the floor of the gallery, my first reader was open on my knees and my finger was pointing to the first letter in a short sentence.

‘Your son learned to read today,' my mother declared through the screen door. She was as excited as I.

‘Well, well!' said my father. ‘Things happen fast nowadays. Pretty soon, son, you'll be able to do like me — read the newspaper upside down in your sleep!'

‘Listen to me!' I said.

And I read the sentence I'd learned in school that day, from Sister Brigitte. But instead of picking me up and lifting me in his arms, my father looked at my mother and my mother didn't come and kiss her little boy who'd learned to read so quickly.

‘What's going on here?' my father asked.

‘I'd say it sounds like English,' said my mother. ‘Show me your book.' (She read the sentence I'd learned to decipher.) ‘I'd say you're reading as if you were English. Start again.'

I reread the short sentence.

‘You're reading with an English accent!' my mother exclaimed.

‘I'm reading the way Sister Brigitte taught me.'

‘Don't tell me he's learning his own mother tongue in English,' my father protested.

I had noticed that Sister Brigitte didn't speak the way we did, but that was quite natural because we all knew that nuns don't do anything the way other people do: they didn't dress like everybody else, they didn't get married, they didn't have children and they always lived in hiding. But as far as knowing whether Sister Brigitte had an English accent, how could I? I'd never heard a single word of English.

Over the next few days I learned that she hadn't been born in our village; it seemed very strange that someone could live in the village without being born there, because everyone else in the village had been born in the village.

Our parents weren't very pleased that their children were learning to read their mother tongue with an English accent. In whispers, they started to say that Sister Brigitte was Irish - that she hadn't even been born in Canada. Monsieur Cassidy, the undertaker, was Irish too, but he'd been born in the village, while Sister Brigitte had come from Ireland.

‘Where's Ireland?' I asked my mother.

‘It's a very small, very green little country in the ocean, far, far away.'

As our reading lessons proceeded I took pains to pronounce the vowels as Sister Brigitte did, to emphasize the same syllables as she; I was so impatient to read the books my uncles brought back from their far-off colleges. Suddenly it was important for me to know.

‘Sister Brigitte, where's Ireland?'

She put down her book.

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