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Cajuns in Louisiana

Cajun Tales of the
Louisiana Bayous




The biggest Liar on the Bayou

In the old days Bayou Blue had little claim to fame. In fact, little of anything exciting happened in this quiet Cajun village.

The houses were built on each side of the bayou banks. This is where the high land is. Houses built off of the bayou bank would be flooded out every year when the Mississippi river overflowed her banks. The community consisted of a road on each side of the bayou with houses built near the road on the crests of the banks. It, like almost all Cajun villages, was many miles long, but only a few feet wide.

And like every where else in the world there was the village blacksmith, the strumpet (or two), the village idiot and only a few others who were not hum-drum everyday folks. Mostly it was a very unexciting placewhere the Cajuns held dances, had fairs and played music to "pass the time."

There was one extraordinary man who never failed to draw attention from people each time he went by. He was called Cerfin Pitre, (pronounced Peet.) This was before the name was Angliczed to sound like Pee-tree.

Cerfin (pronounced Sah-rah-fahn), was known as the biggest liar on Bayou Blue, in fact, on any bayou, even Bayou Lafourche which was known for some very big liars. (It still is.)

A   group   of   men

Well, a group of men were working on a house. Tee Joe Voclains' house needed a new roof. All the men of the neighborhood who could spare the time would come and help when there was a house to build or a fence to make or a well to dig. After all, they loved their neighbors very much. Now, not only did they not want it to rain on Tee Joe, but on such occasions there was free wine and corn-juice for the neighborly. And it so happened that some brought their gee-tars and violins (vieux lons) and they played a little music between jugs. Sometimes it would take two or three days to re-roof a house. After a few jugs it would often take two or three tries to get a shingle straight. After all, you have to do that right so that it don't rain on you neighbor.

The men were hard at repairing the roof on Tee Joe's house when Cerafin Pitre came galloping down the road on his old horse. This was even before the Model-T days and the narrow road was rough and dusty. It was a hot day and the roof-fixers had to go slow not to get sun-stroke. Sitting in the shade they "passed the bottle" and played a few tunes (chunes) on the geetars and violins. In fact, they were feeling good and the sight of Cerafin Pitre brought out their fun-loving nature. It was Noo Noo Hebert (pronounced A-Bear) who spoke at the approach of Cerafin.

"Eh bien, Cerafin, mon chere home, why you in so much a hurry? Tell us a lie!" Noo Noo Hebert said as he ran out to the road.

"I cain't stop, mon cher Noo Noo," Cerafin said, "I am in a hurry."

"May, Cerafin, you such a big liar that you can tell us one without stopping, ahn?" Noo Noo said.

Everybody laughed. Noo Noo was so funny. And Cerafin looked so mixed up and confused. It was funny, very funny, and all in good sport.

Cerafin slowed his old horse to a walk and said, "No, I cannot stop mon cher Noo noo! I am going for the priest. It is my sad duty to have to tell you that you wife Clotile is fall in the well and they cannot get her out. Cher Noo Noo, they gthink she is drown!" With these words he whipped the old horse to a gallop and headed for the priest's house.

Everybody threw down their guitars

Everybody threw down their guitars and violins and saddled up their horses and hitched up their buggies. It was fine to help tee Joe with his roof, but this was something more important. Poor Noo Noo needed them in his hour of grief. It was five miles back to Noo Noo's house. They brought the jugs to ease the pain of their sorrow.

The dusty road was rough and hot. The horses were sweating and near exhaustion when they got to Noo Noo's house. The very first thing they saw when they got there was Mrs. Noo Noo rocking on the gallery! She was a woman who ate plenty and didn't like to move around too much. Also, she was very big. She was one of the fattest women on Bayou Blue. As the frantic men reined up to the porch it occurred to them that Mrs. Noo Noo could not even fit through the opening on Noo Noo's well, much less fall in. But they were all relieved. Yet, Noo Noo was mad. He was one angry Cajun.

He said, "I gone show that Cerefin Pitre a lesson. He almos' give me a heart-attack. He lied to me. That is gone too far, yeh! Oh non, I ain't gone to let that pass like that. I gone whip that Cerafin Pitre for what he did to me today!"

Not too long after, while the men were watering their horses and cooling off, here comes Cerafin Pitre up the road. Noo Noo stopped him and said, "Cerafin, why you do what you did? You don' know that you cause us to lose time on Tee Joe's house and almos' to run our horse to death to come here and find Clotile was not fall in the well - in fact she never move from her rocker all day! Why you do that, ahn?"

Cerfin drew himself high in the saddle and looked right at Noo Noo. He said, "Noo Noo, you my fran. You ask me to tell you a big lie without even stopping my horse. The horse never stop, Noo Noo, an' you got what you ask for!!! With that Cerafin spurred his horse away, a just look on his face.

Everybody was laughing at Noo Noo, even Clotile. The totally disarmed No No admitted that Cerafin had given him exactly what he had asked for, and had remained true to his reputation of being the biggest liar in all the bayous of Louisiana.

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