Chapter 11

Gabrielle Roy

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Gabrielle Roy - Preface
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 1
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 2
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 3
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 4
Gabrielle Roy - Préface
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 1
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 2
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 3
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 4
Gabrielle Roy - Préface
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 1
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 2
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 3
Gabrielle Roy - Ch 4
Preface — Do you feel a little breeze on the porch? It’s me… Gabrielle Roy.
I am back and I see myself here in my hammock at the age of 8. I have whooping cough and I spend all summer here.
In the clouds I see castles and horses and western explorers. That big cloud is Louis Riel, the father of Manitoba.
He was the one who put French and English on an equal footing in the Manitoba constitution.
In 1916, my first year of school, the Manitoba government passed a law banning the teaching of French. Louis Riel would have been really disappointed!
Chapter 1 — My father, Léon Roy, he welcomes the people from all over the world!
He is an agent of the Canadian government, helping immigrants from everywhere, to come and settle in the West.
Today I hear my father’s tired voice from the kitchen as he returns from his long journey out West.
I am surprised to see him arrive without his horse
He was telling my mother how he had to convince a whole community to evacuate their homes and farms to save themselves from a prairie fire.
But him, being the last to leave, my father hid in a well to save his life. And the horse never wanted to leave without him and he died in the fire.
Chapter 2 — I have my first job as a teacher in Marchand, Manitoba.
In this small school I am surrounded by Métis children. The day I arrive, my students and I go to see the lain-out body of a classmate who has died of tuberculosis.
We cover her with wild roses to honor her. I learn more from the courage and resilience of these children than they do from me.
The Dead Child is an account of this incident in the collection Enchanted Summer.
Many of my short stories and novels were inspired by my years of teaching in Manitoba.
The short story The Red Village is set in Cardinal, in the west of our province.
The novel Children of My Heart was inspired by my seven years of teaching immigrant children at the École Provencher in Saint-Boniface.
My last months as a teacher, before leaving for Europe, were spent in a remote area of northern Manitoba.
Thirteen years later, my memories of this stay gave birth to my second novel, Where Nests the Waterhen.
Chapter 3 — As a journalist, I have reported from the West with people from all over the world.
In The Fragile Lights of Earth, you will find my writings about Hutterites along the Assiniboine River in Manitoba, Doukobhors, Mennonites, Sudetenlanders in Saskatchewan and Ukrainians in Alberta.
Many of these newcomers were escaping from conditions of religious or political persecution in their native countries.
No need to look halfway around the world to find examples of persecution.
The Métis of Manitoba and Saskatchewan will tell you. There is persecution in every country and in every era of humanity, even today.
Chapter 4 — In my life journey, I believe I have honored the values of Louis Riel.
In grade 12, I won the highest awards given by the Association de l’éducation française for French and by the Department of Education for English in Manitoba.
In my twenties, I was an actor in the French troupe of Le Cercle Molière and the English company of Winnipeg Little Theatre. I studied theater in England and France.
During my 7 years as a teacher, I welcomed little immigrants from everywhere.
And as a journalist, I met people from all over the world and told their stories, their dreams and their challenges.
My books, many of which touched on the realities of other cultures, have been translated into 20 languages and have traveled around the planet.
Perhaps Louis would be proud that in my own way, I have advanced his vision.
Sa file tchu enne pchitte brize sul perron? Si mwé… Gabrielle Roy.
Shu r’vnu pi j’m’vwè isitte, dan mon amak kan j’ava 8 z’anni. Jâ la kokleush pi shu lâ toutte l’iti.
Dan li nuwaj, j’vwè di shâtô, pi di sh’fô, pi di ixploratur di l’Wess. Ste gro nuwaj-lâ, si Louis Riel, l’pérre dju Manitoba.
Si lwi ki lâ mi l’fransa pi l’angla, mwèchyé mwèchyé dan la charte dju Manitoba.
An 1916, ma premyerre anni d’ikol, l’gouvarnman lâ pâssi enne lwè divous ke l’fransa l’ita pu montri. Louis Riel l’ara iti bein dizapweinti.
Mon pérre, Léon Roy, y r’swè dju mond di toutte la terre.
Kom ein ajan dju gouvarnman canadjyein y’éde di z’imigran di toupartou dan l’mond, pour v’nir s’einstalli su li terre di l’Wess.
Ojordjwi, j’antan d’la kwizinne, la vwè fachigi d’mon pérre, ke r’vyein back di son lon wéyaj dan l’Wess. Shu suprize k’y’arrive, pi k’yâ pâ son sh’fal, connè-tu l’nom d’son sh’fal? Non, moé non plu.
Mon pérre y pans ke sh’pu pâ l’antand di mon amak, pi y konte a ma mérre, koman y lâ konveinku toutte enne belle komunôti ke grandjissa, a lessi leu mizon pi leu ferme pour si sôvi d’ein feu di préri.
Mon pérre l’ita l’darnyé a parchir pi y s’y kashi dan ein pwi pour sôvi sa vi.
L’sh’fal lâ jama voulu parchir san lwi, pi li morre dan l’feu. Jâ konti st’istwerre Le puits di Dunrea dan mon live Rue Deschambault.
Ma premyerre job kom mitresse, sta a Marchand ô Manitoba. Dan ste pchitte ikol-lâ, sta yeink di z’anfan Méchisse.
La journi ke sh’t’arrivi, mwé pi li z’ikolyi lâ iti vèyi ô korre pour enne ôt ikolyerre ky l’ita morte d’la tchuberkuloze.
An ségne di respa, sa lâ mi di roze sâvaj partou su elle.
J’appri pluss di si z’anfan-lâ, su dju kouraj pi su l’andjurans, k’izôt sa lâ appri di mwé.
L’anfan k’ita morte si kousé ke jâ ikri dan mon live Cet été qui chantait. Bein di mi artchik pi di mi live, lâ iti ikri a kouze di mi z’anni ke sh’ta mitresse ô Manitoba.
L’artchik Le village rouge, sa vyein di Cardinal, dan l’wess dju Manitoba.
Li z’idi pou mon live Ces enfants de ma vie, sa vyein di mi sette z’anni avek di pchi z’imigran a l’École Provencher a Saint-Boniface.
Avan ke j’parre pour l’Uroppe, mi darnyé mwâ kom mitresse, l’ita dan enne plasse bein lwein dan l’norre dju Manitoba.
Tréze z’anni apra, mi souv’nir di stan-lâ m’a édi a ikrir mon deuziemme live La petite poule d’eau.
Jâ fette di r’portaj dan l’Wess kom journalisse, avek di parsonne k’ita v’nu di partou dan l’mond.
Dan Fragiles Lumières de la Terre, sa vâ trouvi kousé ke j’lâ ikri su li z’Hutterite dju lon d’la rivyerre Assiniboine ô Manitoba, su li Doukobhors, li Mennonites, li Sudètes an Saskatchewan pi li z’Ukrainiens an Alberta.
Y nâ bein di si nouvô arrivan ki si sôve di danjé relijyeu oubindon pâlichik dju péyi divou ki sonta ni.
Lâ pâ bezwein d’r’gordi a l’ôt boutte dju mond pour werre di ixanp di danjé. Li Méchisse dju Manitoba pi d’la Saskatchewan peu n’an djirre lon latsu.
Mêm ojordjwi, y lâ d’la parsikusyon dan toutte li pèyi pi dan toutte li piriode di z’umein.
Dan toutte li z’itap di ma vi, j’pans awerre ânâri li valeur di Louis Riel.
Dan ma douziemme anni, jâ gagni li pri li pluss hô, danni par l’Assosiasyon d’l’Idjukâsyon pour li fransa pi par li Dipartman di l’Idjukâsyon pour l’angla ô Manitoba.
Kan j’ava apeupra 20 z’anni, j’ita enne aktriss dan la troup fransêze l’Cercle Molière pi dan la troupe anglèze dju Winnipeg Little Theatre.
Jâ ichudjyé dan téyât an Angleterre pi an France. Kom mitresse, j’a r’su di pchi z’imigran di toupartou dan l’mond.
Kom journalisse, jâ rankontri dju mond di toupartou pi jâ konti leu z’istwerre, leu rêve pi kousé ki l’ita djure a ferre.
Mi live, ke montra kousé ke d’ôt kultchur viva, lâ iti tradjwi dan 20 lang pi lâ iti anwèyi partou dan l’mond.
Tedbein ke Louis Riel, y s’ra fyerre ke j’aye fette avansi sa visyon, a ma manyerre.