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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.