Downhome Magazine

Spellin swiles

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In Northern Newfoundland, the term used for 'seal' is (or used to be) 'swile'. And, to carry an armful of wood from the woodshed to the kitchen stove, was to 'spell', as in "Go spell in some wood for me, will ya?"

In my teaching days, the female teacher in my school shard this incident:

One day in March, John was missing from school. When he returned the following day, she said, "John, you were not here yesterday. Where were you?"
"Out swilin', miss," he said.
She replied, "you were doing what?"
"Out swilin', miss."
She asked, "How do you spell that?"
He replied, "Miss, we don't spell it; we drags it!"

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