Cheval Marin

Sea Monster of the coastal waters of Canada and West Africa.

Etymology: French, "sea horse." PP'hysical description: Horselike head. Clawed forearms. Fishlike, scaly tail. Behavior: Neighs like a horse. Distribution: Ile Brion and Rivière-St.-Jean, Québec, Canada; West Africa. PP'ossible explanations: (1) Explorer Jacques Cartier saw two Walruses ( Odobenus rosmarus) on the Ile Brion in 1534 and fish-shaped, horselike animals in a river that may have been the modern Rivière-St.-Jean off the St. Lawrence. The French naturalist Louis Nicolas conflated the two stories and mixed in Native American legends of the Horse's

100 cheval marin

Head to describe a composite animal.

(2) Early reports from French Africa may have confused the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis).

(3) A Sea Monster resembling Heuvelmans's Merhorse.

Sources: Marc Lescarbot, History ofNew France [1609], trans. Henry Percival Biggar (Toronto, Canada: Champlain Society, 1907-1914), vol. 7, p. 73; Gabriel Sagard, Le grand voyage du pays des Hurons [1632], ed. Marcel Trudel (Montreal, Canada: Hurtubise HMH, 1976); Girolamo Merolla, A Voyage to Congo [1682], in Awnsham Churchill, ed., A Collection of Voyages and Travels (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1704), vol. 1, pp. 651-756; Henry Percival Biggar, The Voyages of Jacques Cartier (Ottawa: F. A. Acland, 1924); Michel Meurger and Claude Gagnon, Lake Monster Traditions: A Cross-Cultural Analysis (London: Fortean Tomes, 1988), pp. 211-216.

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