Author Earl B. Pilgrim, in his newest book, Curse of the Red Cross Ring, reveals that in the fall of
1929, the residents of LíAnse au Pigeon, Newfoundland, exhumed the remnants of a Viking body.
The human skeleton was found preserved in a bog, across which the residents were building a road to
their new church.
In ditching the road, a worker struck metal. Further digging revealed a skull with helmet, a shield, and
most intriguing of all, a brass sword.
The brass sword was kept for its valuable metal, but the artifacts and human remains were reverently
reinterred a few feet away from the roadside.
The residents of LíAnse au Pigeon were members of the fishing crew of Azariah Roberts, the authorís
LíAnse au Pigeon is only a few kilometres outside the eastern boundary of the Viking archaeological
site of LíAnse aux Meadows.
CURSE OF THE RED CROSS RING
This is the true story of the tragedies that befell the small towns of Beaumont and LíAnse au
Pigeon, Newfoundland, in 1928 and 1929. Central to the story is Azariah Roberts, our humblest of
heroes. Az is a man among men. He is a successful fishing captain, a father figure to the town of
LíAnse au Pigeon. He wears the ring of the Red Cross, the highest order in the Loyal Orange
Association, but throughout Beaumont and LíAnse au Pigeon he is known as simply Uncle Az.
Enter Sod Mugford, Beaumontís own Devil Incarnate. He masterminds the brutal murder of a
schoolteacher, and fearing capital retribution he flees to the peaceful shores of LíAnse au Pigeon.
When he reaches the protective fold of Azariah Robertsís arm, Sod resumes his life and job as a
fisherman in Uncle Azís crew. And waits. As word spreads through LíAnse au Pigeon of the
schoolteacherís murder, the fingers begin to point at Sod. And for the first time in his life Azariah
Roberts feels the small town, his child, slip away. Despite the rumours, he allows Sod to stay at
LíAnse au Pigeon. Sick with worry, yet unable to accuse Sod of something he cannot prove, Uncle
Az waits and watches silently amid murmurs of growing disquiet. But the worst is yet to come.
As the story unfolds, Azariah Roberts becomes increasingly aware of his bad luck, and he is
convinced that it stems from his Red Cross ring. In a freak accident that almost claims his life, Az loses
his ring, and instantly a great weight is lifted from his shoulders. But it seems the ring is not through
with him yet. Life, for awhile, couldnít be better for Azariah Roberts and the people of LíAnse au
Pigeon. The fishing season gives a good yield, and everyone is excited about the construction of a new
church. Feeling better than he had in a long time, Uncle Az ventures out one fateful day and makes a
Azís crew is constructing a road to the new church, and while digging a path through a marsh finds
something that may change the history of Newfoundland as we know it. There, lying in the marsh, are
the long-dead remains of a Viking, as is evidenced by the artifacts found with it: a helmet covering the
skull; a shield, approximately three feet in diameter, covering the body from its abdomen to its chest;
and a sword, fashioned from a curious metal.
Incredibly, the crew reinters the body a few feet from its current location so they can continue with
the important business of constructing a road to the church. The only souvenir they take is the sword,
whose metal could be used for various purposes. Many of the men in Azís crew would take the secret
of this discovery to their graves.
Meanwhile, a close personal friend of Az has made a discovery of his own. The Red Cross ring
which Azariah Roberts once held so dearly has been found. Whatís more, his friend arranges for the
ring, which has been damaged during its time away, to be spliced with metal from the Vikingís sword.
Keeping his find a secret, he plans to give Uncle Az a Christmas present he will never forget.
Now, if one were a superstitious sort, one would almost certainly question the wisdom of
combining a bad luck charm with a fragment of a Viking soul that has been awakened, screaming into
the sunlight, a thousand years after it has been put to rest.
And one would be right.
L'ANSE AU PIGEON
LíAnse au Pigeon (pop. 1935, 37). A summer fishing station located on the northeast side of
Quirpon Island, off the eastern tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. The coveís name is a relic of the
time when French migratory fishermen frequented this region of the French Shore during the 1700s
Following the ceding of French fishing rights in Newfoundland in 1904, and maybe earlier,
fishermen from Newfoundland communities, particularly Notre Dame Bay, began prosecuting the
shore fishery from LíAnse au Pigeon. The 1935 Census returns, the only one in which LíAnse au
Pigeon was listed, record Augustus Bridger, Thomas Hillier, George Oake and Azariah Roberts
Source: Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume Three. Harry Cuff
Publications Ltd., St. Johnís, Newfoundland 1991.