“There are certain men it always does one good to meet. Uncle Willie is a channel of blessing. His sincerity and faith do one good. There is always a merry glint in his eye. Even with one eye out, and his crutches on, and his prospect of hunger, Uncle Willie was just the same.”
Dr. Grenfell left some money, donated by the Doctor’s friends, and made other provisions for the comfort of Uncle Willie Wolfrey during the winter. If all goes well he will be at his fishing again, when the ice clears away; and the snows of another winter will see him again on his trapping path setting traps for martens and foxes. And with his rifle and one good eye, who knows but he may knock over a silver fox or a bear or two?
Good luck to Uncle Willie Wolfrey and his spirit, which cannot be downed.
As Dr. Grenfell has often said, the Labradorman is a fountain of faith and hope and inspiration. If the fishing season is a failure he turns to his winter’s trapping with unwavering faith that it will yield him well. If his trapping fails his hope and faith are none the less when he sets out in the spring to hunt seals. Seals may be scarce and the reward poor, but never mind! The summer fishing is at hand, and this year it will certainly bring a good catch! “The Lard be wonderful good to us, whatever.”
A DOZEN FOX TRAPS
On that same voyage along the coast when Uncle Willie Wolfrey was found with a broken thigh, Dr. Grenfell, after he had operated upon Uncle Willie, in the course of his voyage, stopping at many harbors to give medical assistance to the needy ones, ran in one day to Kaipokok Bay, at Turnavik Islands.
As the vessel dropped her anchor he observed a man sitting on the rocks eagerly watching the ship. The jolly boat was launched, and as it approached the land the man arose and coming down to the water’s edge, shouted:
“Be that you, Doctor?”
“Yes, Uncle Tom, it is I?” the Doctor shouted back, for he had already recognized Uncle Tom, one of the fine old men of the coast.
When Grenfell stepped ashore and took Uncle Tom’s hand in a hearty grasp, the old man broke down and cried like a child. Uncle Tom was evidently in keen distress.
“Oh, Doctor, I’m so glad you comes. I were lookin’ for you, Doctor,” said the old man in a voice broken by emotion. “I were watchin’ and watchin’ out here on the rocks, not knowin’ whether you’d be comin’ this way, but hopin’, and prayin’ the Lard to send you. He sends you, Doctor. ‘Twere the Lard sends you when I’m needin’ you, sir, sorely needin’ you.”
Uncle Tom is seventy years of age. He was born and bred on The Labrador, but he has not spent all his life there. In his younger days he shipped as a sailor, and as a seaman saw many parts of the world. But long ago he returned to his home to settle down as a fisherman and a trapper.