Danny Kaye has a story about four kittens …

26 Apr
English: Portrait of Danny Kaye

Portrait of Danny Kaye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Danny Kaye has a story about four kittens named Un, Deux, Trois and Quatre who went sailing on a block of ice.  The story has a sad ending because Un, Deux, Trois and Quatre cinq!  (sorry, that’s my sense of humour showing).

There’s a happier ending to a true story about eight men who sailed down the Red River on a raft and arrived at Fort Garry on April 26, 1871.  They were land speculators from Ontario, and their arrival heralded a flood of people who rushed to grab up land being made available to the Indians, Métis, and new settlers.  Even so, the story had an unhappy ending for many of them: they were “conned” into giving up their holdings.

When the federal government took over the Northwest Territories from the Hudson’s Bay Company, the land was surveyed so that it could be divided among the original settlers.  First, treaties were made with the Indians to encourage them to live on reservations.  Generally speaking, each family of five received 640 acres.  Every Indian was given a present of $12, and an annuity of $5, plus an extra $15 to every head man.  They were given new suits of clothes every three years, and provided with farm implements, cattle and grain.

Similar arrangements were made with the Métis although they did not live on reservations.

The first treaty was made in 1871 in Manitoba, and then others covered New Ontario (now Saskatchewan) and southern Alberta.  Commissioner Laird made the treaties with the Blackfoot Indians and the Piegans in 1877.  They required very careful negotiating as the Indians were waging war south of the border.  Commissioner Laird was helped a great deal by Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot, who he said was “the shrewdest Indian he ever met”.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous speculators obtained a great deal of land from the Métis. Until the area was surveyed and the Métis were allocated their holdings, they were given a scrip proving their claim to ownership.  The land speculators often bought this scrip for $15, or even for a few bottles of whisky.

BONUS: if you don’t know who Danny Kaye is, or even if you just want to see him again, you can catch them at Danny


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12 responses to “Danny Kaye has a story about four kittens …

  1. The Howling Mad Cat

    April 27, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Danny Kaye was great! Ellie

    • tkmorin

      April 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

      I agree! I never tire of seeing his movies more than a few times … It’s his delivery more than his jokes … thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  2. Alice

    April 27, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Loved Danny Kaye–great tale. And I always love your Canada bites.

    • tkmorin

      April 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  3. icelandpenny

    April 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Is Danny Kaye the origin of the “un-deux-trois” joke? I heard it as a child in Montreal, where it was told as a true Montreal joke, being bilingual and all… I’ve always remembered it, perhaps because it is such a groaner. Thanks for the memory and for the rest of the history vignette. Thanks also for your ‘like’ on my latest post

    • tkmorin

      April 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      I think, though please do no quote me, that it was in Hans Christian Anderson … and I went through something similar when I wanted the city to open up a duck pond near home. Have a good one! 🙂

  4. L. Marie

    April 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Love that joke! You know, I’ll bet my niece and nephew wouldn’t have a clue who Danny Kaye is. I know who he is, but I’m sure they don’t.

    • tkmorin

      April 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Yeah, I’m hearing that more and more each year … “I don’t know who you are talking about!” 🙂

  5. seeker

    April 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

    You’ve got to be kitten me! Who was that unscrupulous cat who gave a sad ending of taking over the land?

    • tkmorin

      April 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Good one! Love it! Thanks, P! 🙂

  6. Animalcouriers

    April 26, 2013 at 8:11 am

    It’s a great joke.

    • tkmorin

      April 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Heehee. Thank you! 🙂


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