The legend of Charlie le Capricieux
As the 19th Century turned into the 20th, many were the sightings of a certain sea creature in the Saint-Charles River which flows through Quebec City. Some said it was a snake, while others saw a whale, a tree or a badaboumon (a stuffed toy fish native to the area). They called it CHARLIE LE CAPRICIEUX, as it only appeared on days that were not too hot, nor too cold, nor too humid, nor too dry.
While Charlie attracted all sorts of hucksters, oddity seekers and historians, no one could prove it existed.
The local mayor organized a contest with a reward for anyone who could trap Charlie. The prize: $200, the hand of his daughter (whose beauty and grace were the stuff of legend) and a parcel of land suitable for the construction of a stadium for a professional La Crosse team.
Many tried their luck:
- monster hunters who were never seen again;
- one group produced a photograph that immortalized the creature on film even though it wasn’t even in the frame;
- and many others
Until one day a man named Alphonse Lafleur, while smoking his bacon in his house right by the river, saw the beast appear. Frightened at first, he noticed that CHARLIE LE CAPRICIEUX was attracted by the lovely wafting aroma of the bacon. Alphonse befriended the beast by feeding him, and they developed such a strong friendship that he decided to keep these meetings a secret.
It is said that it was in honour of CHARLIE LE CAPRICIEUX that Alphonse built his first plant at Saint-Roch, near the Saint-Charles River, and that he named his Old Fashioned Smoked Ham P’tit caprice.
The logo, commonly misconceived to be a flower, is actually a nod to the dragon-like plates on Charlie’s back…and to Alphonse Lafleur, quite obviously…