Friday, January 8, 2010

Islands of Casco Bay: Haskell Island - "From Rats to Cats"

Today we offer some history on Haskell Island. If you're a rat or a cat lover you may not want to proceed.

There once was an old lobsterman who resided on Haskell Island. He lived there alone with the exception of a plague of rats. One day the mainlanders noticed there was no smoke coming from the old lobsterman's chimney and they sent over an expedition to check on him. To their horror, they found him dead and half eaten by rats.

Two younger lobstermen, the Mills brothers, devised a plan to get rid of the rats. They brought a dozen of the meanest, toughest and largest cats from the mainland to the island. The cats emerged triumphant over the rats but as the young and foolish lobstermen did not confine their selected rate eaters to one sex, soon, the island became overrun with feral cats.

The Mills brothers grew to love their cats and cared for them as they could, however, soon, it became impossible for visitors to land on the island without being attacked by the vicious pack. The Owner of the island demanded the young lobstermen remove their cats but they would not comply. One morning they awoke and ventured to check on their cats to sadly find the whole of Haskell covered with dead cats.

An investigation lead to the discovery that under cover of darkness a brave soul had invaded the island and spread poison for the cats to eat. The heartbroken Mills brothers never returned to Haskell Island again.

CHART metalwork's exhibit the "Islands of Casco Bay" is on display through the end of January at Hilltop Coffee Shop, 90 Congress St., Portland, ME. "From Rats to Cats" features a medium bronze pendant on sterling silver choker of Haskell Island and a silver charm bracelet featuring Hope, Cliff and Jewell Islands. The jewelry can be purchased separately or as a collection with frame and story...

...or, you can always customize your own special piece.

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