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square miles) some hailstones were as large as croquet balls,and beat with such force that shingles were smashed. The loss was complete; no farmer within the orbit of that storm harvested a bushel of grain, and the ground looked, after the storm passed, as if it had been plowed and rolled.

In the year 1895 another catastrophe, which oldtimers still call "the great prairie fire" struck the area north of Boissevain. Once again it struck just as the harvest was in the stacks and ready for the threshers. On one of the Wright farms ten stacks of No. 1 wheat were to be threshed the next Monday, and this was Saturday. The story was told, for the truth of which I am not able to vouch, that a young lad newly from England, while strolling across the prairie some fifty miles northwest of the Royal District, dropped a lighted match in some grass that the intense summer heat had made dryas tinder, and when someone, who saw the blaze that instantly sprang up, shouted to him, "Why under heaven did you do that?" he is reported to have innocently replied, "I thought I'd like to see a wee bit of fiah." How true this story may be I do not know, but I do know that a section of that part of the country some fifty miles wide by a hundred miles long saw that year's wonderful crop go up in smoke. Mother, who had been ailing for some months, collapsed from the shock and heart-break, and never rallied. On December 20th of that year she slipped quietly away in her sleep.

Prior to 1895 a succession of crop failures hit the region around the Boissevain area, lean years caused by droughts, frosts, fall rains, early snows, hail and then the fire. All the Turtle Mountain area had sometimes amazingly good crops, but with prices so low we today can scarcely believe our own memories. Wheat sold at elevators at whatever price the competing buyers offered, some­ times as low as twenty-five cents a bushel for oats, or forty-five cents for No.1 wheat, and barley even lower than oats. Eggs were often eight or ten cents a dozen, and rhubarb one cent a pound, and. you took your payout in trade at merchants' prices.

But through the worst times and the good times the pioneers never lost heart. They were mostly Eastern Canadian folk, until immigrants began to come from over "the big pond" as they used to call the Atlantic. On the whole a God-fearing, Sabbath-reverencing, hospitable and neighboring clan. I have already noted that on the Sabbath all farming stopped, even if the "threshing-gang" was quartered in the house. Until a doctor came to the area it was the house-mother who had to act as doctor, nurse and mid-wife, and many a baby was born in those rugged days without anyone near but the good man himself, yet these brave women, those often gently-reared women, faced all these trials with courage and faith, not only in 'God but in the men they had followed or accompanied into the unknown.

It wasn't all stress and strain. We had a good life, a full life, and even if some of us have grown soft in the easier life of today,

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