Small Frye episodes - Small Frye and his Dirty Tricks

Leonard Lea Frazer

Mike fools a prospector, near kills a hotel owner and does his girl friend dirt. Yes, Small Frye does it again! But,
why does he do these things?

The Prospector


I have written about an old timer that I used to guide around the country and in the mountains and on every trip that I took him on, he could expect to have some prank pulled on him. Still, he welcomed me and always got me to take him some place in the hills prospecting.
This time I had agreed to take him to the headwaters of the McLennan near Tete Jaune to show him a large deposit of a good grade of Mica. I had been up to the mine several times myself and knew where all the main leads were and so knew the area very well.
The mica in this part of the country had been mined many years previous by a bunch of Chinese that had come up the Canoe River on foot, having heard of a huge deposit from a man named Nigger Smith, a negro that had worked on the building of the C.N.R. and had found it in his travels in the hills.
This group of Chinese had made their way up the Canoe River and to the McLennan to the headwaters and found the big lead. Then, they started to mine a bunch of it and when they had a good load they backpacked the mica down to the Canoe River and made a scow out of logs, loaded the mica on it and took off down river to Revelstoke. They must have hauled a ton or more and got down the mighty Canoe safely, but, on their very last trip the scow was wrecked and they all drowned. This was on bad rapids that were later called China Rapids, not far from the present day “Canoe Landing,” near the Mica Dam.
Anyway, the trip I took the old timer on was many years later and we made our way straight up the mountain behind Canoe River Station on the C.N.R. Taking two days to get to the main lead, we made camp well above timberline right at the very headwaters of the McLennan where it was only a trickle coming out of the rocks from the main lead of mica.
The night we got there, I shot a small caribou for camp meat and my partner did some prospecting. Now, as we had no trail to follow we came up to a certain altitude the best we could, taking the easiest route. The country was quite steep, so it was a rugged climb anyway we came.
As I watched him putting samples in his pack, and I thought how foolish he was to pack that rock twenty miles through rugged steep country loaded with shin-tangle, devil’s club, and wind-fall timber. My wicked mind said, “Why not really load him down!”
So, when he was not looking, I hid several large heavy plain rocks way down in his pack. He still put more in, so he must have had at least a hundred pounds or more and all he could stagger with through that steep country. When we started out the next morning, he had trouble keeping on his feet and by the time we got to the railway station at Canoe River, he was all played out. Then, he offered to pay my way on the local passenger train. I knew he would open his pack and show off his samples to the conductor on the train and he would see the useless rocks I had put in, so, as I wanted to be a long ways from him when he did find them, I told him I would walk home as it was only ten miles and I loved walking. I was afraid he might skin me alive when he found the rocks, so I walked home.
Now, as he kept right on going to Kamloops on the train, I did not see him when he found the rocks but I heard he really blew his gasket when he unloaded his pack in the lobby of the Leland Hotel and all his friends saw those useless rocks and really gave him a bad time. He wrote me a terrible letter and I did not get to take him in the hills for several years after that.

The Hotel Guy
I have often wondered how I got along as far as I have in life, considering all the dirty pranks I have played on my very best friends and I’m surprised that someone hadn't just thrown me in a deep hole in the river, with a stone around my neck?
I'll try to describe just what I mean and let you be the judge of one or two incidents in my life that I later thought were rather on the rugged side.

My brother Jules and I were around ten years old, and had the chance to go on a prospecting trip in the winter. We had been making a bit of money trapping weasel, fox and coyotes on a trap line on our way to school. But, on the planned trip we would not only be getting a chance to get out of going to school, we would also be earning good wages helping out on the excursion. Our job would be to pack grub, make and tend camp, and cook. We also would have a great chance to explore the high alpine country where we would be prospecting for a mining man. This was right up our alley so we were enthused by the idea.
Our trip started right from our home at Albreda, and all of us had brand new factory-made snowshoes, new pack boards and sleeping bags (or what is generally known as Mummy Bags). These were sleeping bags made to fit the body and take up very little room. You could climb into it and completely pull the cover over your head, then pull a draw-string to close it nearly airtight. The mining engineer was a big fat man, and one of us would always have to help him get into his bag at night. And, it was some job.
Anyway, we had to climb a mountain above timberline, where we had a campsite picked out, plenty of good wood, and a stream nearby to get water for cooking. However, our main camp was situated on a small flat place, just large enough to make a good camp. It was a steep climb down to the stream from the edge of our camp to get water. We had to dig a big deep hole in the snow and make steps out of the snow to get down to the water, and the steps were steep. There was just enough room for one man to get down and back up with a bucket of water.
Now, we had already played a few nasty tricks on this poor big fat man. Once we pretended to help him get up a steep hill with his pack on his back, by giving our hands to hold onto and then just as he would make it to the top, we would pretend that we could not hold him, and down the hill we would all go, end over end in the deep snow. Of course he would always get the rough end of it, and we would enjoy going end over end.  He would pile up in a heap and sometimes it was quite a chore to dig him out of the snow, all tangled up in his snowshoes and pack.
Another time I got above him on the steep hillside and just as he was getting directly below me, I pretended to fall down and I started a snow slide that completely covered him up. I slid right over the top of him buried in the snow. It took us near an hour to dig him out. (And, he was mad!)
But, the best trick I played on him was this. As I said, it was some chore to get him tucked into his sleeping bag at night, and we had made him a lovely bed, well covered with nice dry boughs for a mattress. It was located on the bottom side of the camp, and he had only about three feet of space from the edge of his bed to the steep bank down to the creek. (I am sure we had this all figured out ahead of time when we made the camp).
We had fed him for the night and he had put in a hard days work climbing around the country. The guy was ready to go to bed early and we were prepared to give him a good thrill. We tucked him in, and it was all we could do to get him into the bag. But, we finally made it, and as soon as he was sound asleep, we got up and I made the pretense of making more fire and I sort of stumbled and fell down toward him and hit him in his bed. As I got to my feet, I gave him a push and down the hill he rolled. Being as fat as he was, he made a nice round bundle and he really rolled fast, and me right behind him. We both piled up in the deep hole we had made to get water, but as he hit the hole, he fell, feet first, and me on top of him. He really hit the snow with a bang, and was stuck as tight as a drum in the soft snow. Of course I did not make it any better as in my mad scrambling to get out, I pushed him farther down in the snow. He yelled like he was being killed, but it was hard to hear him with his head in the bag.
We had one hell of a time to get him out of that tight hole, and it took us all to pull him out after we had dug the snow from around him. He was sure mad and really told me off. I tried to explain to him that it was not my fault, as I had slipped and hit him on falling, and had not meant it at all. But, he wanted to kill me right then and there and I did not blame him at all.
We made him a cup of tea and got him back into his bed. But, I had to change places with him, putting him on the upper side of the fire where he could not roll downhill again. We did all we could to make him enjoy the rest of his trip with us and when he went back, he had forgiven us and invited us to come to Jasper and stay at his hotel, all expenses paid. We had got back in his good graces again. (And of course, we had enjoyed the entire trip and had a wonderful time, plus a chance to spend two days in a swank hotel.)

The Girl Friend
As I look back on my life as a youngster, I for the life of me cannot quite figure out why in the name of heaven, someone did not at least drop me in a deep hole in some fast running creek or better still, my Mom could have just tossed me outside when I was first born. (I mentioned it to her when she was bawling me out for something wrong I had done and she near cried.) It was then that I thought she did not have much foresight.
I know now that I should have mended my ways when I was still a pup and at times wish I had, but I sure would have missed out on a lot of fun and good times.
I can very vividly remember one time when I was fourteen years old, just in the prime of life. I did not miss out on anything that came my way (and some that did not come my way).
I had tormented Louie Knutson and my older brother into letting me go back into the hills with them and we would be out camping for two weeks or longer.
I had a very nice girl friend and when I told her I was going on a trip she got to pouting and tried her best to be allowed to go along with us. But, I told her of all the dangers involved in such a trip, of all the bears and wild animals, of all the cold fast rivers we would have to cross, the devil’s club that would rip and tear our clothes and hands to shreds.
Oh, I talked till I was blue in the face, but she still persisted. I at last told her I would think about, if she would only forget about the trip for the day, so we could get on with other things more important. I sure did not want to lose any time while I was waiting to go on my trip and at that age I could sure think of lots of nice things for her and me to do instead of arguing. Still, I wanted to stay in good with her, so I had to use “smart thinking,” which I did.
Now, I would not miss that trip for anything, so I had to use strategy in order to still stay in good with Leala. I had it all figured out. I'd make her just a little mad at me, for the time being, just mad enough so she would not want to go with us.
I was really very attentive to her the last night before leaving and the next morning I had my horse saddled and my pack made up as we were getting ready for the trip. She was there, again, wanting to go.
Now, it was up to me to change her mind and I knew I would have to use some force. So, very gently I put my arms around her and as it happened I had just taken a huge chew of Old MacDonald’s chewing tobacco and had just got it nice and juicy. I told her she could not go and she started to cry. I at once felt sorry for her, but knew that now was the time to settle it, so I looked at my horse and saw that everything was ready for me to leave. Charlie and Louie had already gone. I quickly gave her a big kiss and as I kissed her, I rolled my huge cud of chewing tobacco right down into her mouth and, as she was gagging, I jumped on my horse and took off. I can tell you when I came back I sure had to do a lot of talking in order to get in her good graces again. But, I had been gone two weeks. She had gotten a bit lonesome and this made it easier for me. I often thought about that later on and figured it was a rather nasty thing to do, but I had gotten rid of her for the trip at least.

From October 6, August 28, and August 4, 1976 - Robson Valley Courier