Sunday, September 29, 2019

The English Language pt 2of2 -- 20 Phrases Mispronounced or Misspelled

As pointed out in last week's blog, the English language (or at least the American branch of the language) is often confusing even to those who were born here.  I can't imagine learning it as a second language.  Where other languages seem to have set rules, English has set rules that all seem to have exceptions and sometimes even those exceptions have exceptions.

Here is a list of 21 commonly mispronounced or misspelled phrases.

It didn't phase me, should be: It didn't faze me.

For all intensive purposes, should be: For all intents and purposes.

He has another thing coming, should be: He has another think coming.

Escape goat, should be: Scapegoat.

One in the same, should be: One and the same.

Given free reign, should be: Given free rein.

Low and behold, should be: Lo and behold.

Case and point, should be: Case in point.

Peak your interest, should be: Pique your interest.

Hunger pains, should be: Hunger pangs.

Suppose to, should be: Supposed to.

Should of, should be: Should have.

Nipped that problem in the butt, should be:  Nipped that problem in the bud.

Mute point, should be: Moot point.

Piece of mind, should be: Peace of mind.

Beck on call, should be: Beck and call.

On accident, should be: By accident.

Expresso, should be: Espresso.

and probably the two most commonly misused:

I could care less, should be: I couldn't care less.

Irregardless, should be: Regardless.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The English Language part 1of2

The English language (or at least the American branch of the language) is often confusing even to those who were born here.  I can't imagine learning it as a second language.  Where other languages seem to have set rules, English has set rules that are filled with exceptions and sometimes even those exceptions have exceptions.

When determining if a word is spelled with the i-e combination or if it's e-i, there's a rule for that. It's i before e—except after c' (exception to rule) 'or when sounded as a, as in weigh' (exception to the exception).

We'll begin with a box and the plural is boxes, but the plural of ox became oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice, yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that and three would be those, yet hat in the plural would never be hose. And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Some reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English rather than learning it as a second (or even third) language:

1)         The bandage was wound around the wound.
2)         The farm was used to produce produce.
3)         The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4)         We must polish the Polish furniture.
5)         He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6)         The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7)         Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8)         At the army base a bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9)         When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10)       I did not object to the object.
11)       The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12)       There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13)       They were too close to the door to close it.
14)       The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15)       A seamstress and a sewer fell down into the sewer line.
16)       To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17)       The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18)       After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
19)       Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
20)       I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21)       How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22)       I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

Let's face it – English is a crazy language.  There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger. Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.  English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.  And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it, an odd or an end?

If teachers taught, why don't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?  Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?  Have noses that run and feet that smell?  How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

If dad is pop, why wouldn't mom be mop?

Are you totally confused yet?  If not, then check out my blog for next week where I continue with the eccentricities of the English language.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

15 Things Americans Do That Are Odd In Foreign Countries

A while back, I came across a list of things American tourists are guilty of doing in foreign countries. Things that we obviously don't give a second thought. Some are merely odd and others are considered offensive.

Expecting American Food To Be Everywhere
When traveling in a foreign country, if you're looking for McDonalds or Starbucks, you won't be disappointed since these chains and many other familiar ones are readily available worldwide. But that doesn't mean you can order your favorite food item. These franchises succeed in foreign countries by accommodating local tastes and customs.
 Exposing Your Toes For All To See
In some Middle Eastern and Asian countries, feet are treated as the filthiest part of the body. Americans don't view toes this way, so our lack of foot concern comes off as strange and impolite. In many countries, you're expected to take off your shoes before entering a room and don't point your feet in anyone's direction. In other countries, showing the bottom of your feet is considered very rude.

Dressing Inappropriately
A surefire way to stand out as different when traveling in a foreign country is to dress like an American. Shorts, skirts, and short-sleeved shirts might seem like smart choices, especially if you're visiting a place that's hot all year or traveling in summer. Depending on where you go, your exposed skin could be offensive. Not only do these fashion errors make us stand out, they can mark us as tourist targets for scammers and criminals.

Wasting Food And Water
When Americans decided that bigger was better (as they say at McDonalds, do you want that super-sized?), we also began wasting resource at a dangerous rate. All-you-can-eat buffets, huge food portions, and needlessly leaving water running while brushing our teeth or washing our hands makes us one of the most wasteful countries in the world. Places like France have passed laws making food waste for supermarkets illegal, encouraging businesses to donate it to charity. When in a foreign country, conserve like a local.
Expecting Rush Service
Expecting quick service while in a foreign country is the quickest way to get a double glance from the locals. In the U.S., our tipping culture encourages fast service. In most countries, tradition requires little or no tip. As soon as you complain that you've been waiting too long, don't be surprised if you are ignored completely. [On one of my trips to London, we sat in the lobby of the hotel for three hours with our luggage because nobody could find a key for our room. The hotel manager apologized by saying, "I know things happen quickly in the States…" After another hour, I finally insisted that someone use a passkey and let us in the room so we could deposit our luggage. It was the next day before they could produce a key for us. The hotel had actual keys rather than the electronic key cards that the registration clerk swipes and assigns to a specific room when you check in.]

Wearing Fanny Packs
If you don't like the idea of wearing a money belt because you think it's too touristy, then just wait until you decide on a fanny pack in another country. They are far out of fashion's reach and visually mark you as an easy target.

Putting Ice In Everything
Ice is an automatic part of American life. We want it in every cold drink. We fill ice chests with it to go to the beach or camping. We even changed the design of freezers to produce more ice quicker. If you weren't born in the U.S., you probably don't understand our fascination with ice. If you're from the U.S. and are traveling in a foreign country, back off of the ice requests.
Giving Rude Hand Gestures
Americans tend to communicate with our hands, some more than others. Even automatic things like offering a hand shake when meeting someone or giving a thumbs up or an ok sign can be misinterpreted when done in a foreign country. And in China, pointing is very rude.

Using Your Left Hand
Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, and African countries all have one thing in common—they expect food to be eaten with the right hand only. Common practice for those of us who are right-handed. But for you left-handers, they consider the left hand unclean.

Not learning Local Phrases
In case those born in the U.S. don't realize it, English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. That's why it's particularly hypocritical when we travel in foreign countries that we expect the locals to know at least a few English phrases. Showing cultural respect can be as simple as memorizing a greeting and a couple of basic questions. Americans expect everyone coming to our country to speak English. On the other hand, when we travel to foreign countries, we expect them to accommodate us by speaking English.
Showing Bad Table Manners
Just because we use knives, forks, and spoons doesn't mean other countries do, too. It's ok to use utensils if available, but you should know what is and isn't considered rude at the dinner table. Bad manners—eating anything with your hands in Chile, using a fork to shovel food in your mouth in Korea, putting used chopsticks on your empty plate when you've finished eating in Japan.

Requesting Menu Changes
In the U.S., no one would give a second though if someone requested more salt or pepper in a restaurant, in fact, salt and pepper shakers are common as part of the table setting. In Europe, this might insult the chef since it changes the way he prepared the food. And don't ask for a 'doggy bag' for your leftovers. They might think you intend to feed their food to your dog rather than finishing your meal in the restaurant.

Smiling At Strangers
Maybe we're wanting to show off our expensive dental work or just want to be polite. Whatever the reason, Americans smile too much, especially at strangers when we make eye contact. In some foreign countries, that could get you a nasty look in return.

Talking Too Loudly
The U.S. is an expressive culture. Freedom in American means you can usually be as loud as you want, mostly wherever you want. But when U.S. citizens travel to foreign countries, we attract attention by raising the volume of our voices a tad higher than everyone else in the room. Make sure you aren't the annoying tourist who won't pipe down.

And finally, there's…
Writing Dates Backward
Unlike many places in the world, we don't use metric measurements, our spelling system makes no sense to anyone else (even in the U.K. where English began), and our date format is out of order. While most countries use the DD/MM/YYYY format, we've stepped outside the box since July 4, 1776. We write the numerical date as MM/DD/YYYY. When you travel, be aware that 07/04/2019 is April 7, 2019, and not the 4th of July.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

REKINDLING AN OLD FLAME A character interview chat with Skylar and Cameron

REKINDLING AN OLD FLAME by Samantha Gentry is an adult romance novella, my contribution to the Deerbourne Inn series from the Wild Rose Press. The stories cover all sub-genres of romance.  The Deerbourne Inn is a charming bed and breakfast in Willow Springs, Vermont, population approximately three thousand. Scheduled release Monday, September 9, 2019.

Let me introduce you to Skylar Rogers and Cameron Amory. Their story is one of reunion after many years, a relationship that started in college, a couple everyone assumed would always be together. A relationship that suddenly collapsed until fourteen years later with a chance meeting in a small Vermont town.

Good morning, Skylar and Cameron. I know you have very busy schedules. I appreciate you taking the time to be here today.

Sky:  It's our pleasure, Samantha. Thanks for inviting us.

Cam:  I'm always happy to talk with a fellow author.

Let's start there. Cameron—you're an internationally famous, award winning bestselling author. All your books have appeared in the top ten of the New York Times Best Seller list and two of them have been made into movies. That's a very impressive track record. Yet you have chosen to live in Willow Springs, Vermont. A town of a little over three thousand population. Why?

Cam:  Willow Springs is my home town. I lived here until I went away to college. Even though I had achieved far more success than I had envisioned when I embarked on a writing career, I continued to feel unsettled…always searching for something intangible that seemed just out of my reach. Moving back to Willow Springs provided me with a sense of community, a place where I felt I belonged. But I was still missing one very important element in my life. (clasped Skylar's hand in his) That special someone to share my life with, to make my life complete.

What about you, Skylar? Don't you have a long history with Cameron that dates back to your college days?

Sky:  That's where we met. Cam was two years ahead of me and one year away from graduation. We started dating and soon became an inseparable twosome. I had assumed it would always be that way, we would stay together and eventually be married. But shortly before he graduated, things took a totally unexpected turn…at least for me.

That sounds ominous. What happened?

Sky:  He told me of his plan to leave after graduation and spend a year traveling around the country while he worked on his first novel. He had published some short stories and one novella but expressed a need to write a novel that had been forming in his mind for a couple of months. I knew about his drive to become a successful writer, but I was unprepared for this decision. It caught me totally by surprise.

Was this a sudden decision on your part, Cameron, or was it something you had been considering for a while?

Cam:  (pensive look covers his face) To my discredit, it was a plan I had been working on for a while but had not shared with Sky.

Why not?

Cam:  (glances adoringly at Skylar) The answer to that one is in the book.

What about you, Skylar? How did you cope with his sudden departure?

Sky:  Well, I tried to take it in stride, (stares at the floor for a moment as if composing her thoughts), but it changed the entire direction of my life and career.

Changed it in what way?

Sky:  (sly grin) As Cam said, that's in the book.

Okay—let's move forward fourteen years. How does a successful interior decorator from Chicago run into a world famous author in a small town in Vermont?

Cam:  (gestures toward Skylar) Since you're the one who had wandered onto my home turf, why don't you take that one?

Sky:  Gladly. It's a simple answer. My car broke down and was towed to the nearest mechanic which was in Willow Springs. It was Friday morning. The appropriate parts for my foreign sports car weren't available in the small town. Getting authorization for them to do the warranty repairs rather than an authorized dealership and ordering the parts guaranteed that I was stranded there for at least the weekend, maybe even a couple of days longer than that. As to why I had traveled from my home in Chicago to rural Vermont, it was intended as a week long trip with a dual purpose. First was to collect some antiques for my work inventory and second was to do some landscape photography taking in the beautiful New England fall color. The choice of Vermont rather than New Hampshire or upstate New York…I guess you could chalk that one up to fate.

Cam:  Sky was as shocked as I was when we ran into each other in Crandall Barrett's Antiquities and Books shop. I was elated.

Sky:  I was wary and uncertain. I instantly felt Cam's aggressive desire to renew the past, to pick up where we left off. It had been fourteen years and I thought my emotional wounds had long ago healed. Seeing him again, as desirable as ever, I entertained thoughts of an incredible weekend for old time's sake. But caution prevailed. Dredging up the past, I knew I couldn't handle another rejection…(her voice trails off)

Cam:  She's right, I was pushing her. Perhaps too hard and too fast, but I couldn't allow this chance meeting, this quirk of fate, to slip away. I had to somehow convince her to stay.

To convince her to uproot her entire life and career to stay with someone who had previously left her? Well, Cameron, that sound like a very difficult task you set for yourself. How did you finally win her over again? What did you do to convince her to trust you again and make that drastic change in her life? What changes were you willing to make to your life and career?

Cam:  It's all in the book. (mischievous grin) That's all I'm going to say.

What about you, Skylar? How did this impasse get resolved?

Sky:  I'm with Cam. You'll have to read the book to find out about his totally surprising choice of action. What he was willing to do to make this happen.

Well, I guess there's nothing left to say other than to thank you for being here today.
When interior decorator Skylar Rogers' car breaks down in the small town of Willow Springs, she's unprepared for a reunion with the man who once stole her heart and ripped it to shreds. That doesn't stop the erotic desires he ignites. She'll only be in town a few days, though. What could it hurt to take a little tumble down memory lane?

World famous bestselling author Cameron Amory is shocked to discover his college lover in his hometown. He never stopped loving her and has always regretted leaving her behind. Now, he'll do whatever it takes to win back her trust and her love. Has too much time gone by, or can he rekindle an old flame?

Cameron and Skylar occupied a quiet corner table in the Golden Tree Bistro. They had placed their lunch order and were each sipping a glass of wine. She gestured toward his glass. "When did you start drinking wine? As I recall, you were strictly beer and occasionally scotch."

"Those were college days. I'm happy to say I've grown up since then." A slight grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. "I'm now officially an adult."

"Yes." She stared at her wine glass as she twisted the stem between her thumb and forefinger. "Internationally famous author, each book on the New York Times best seller list, even a couple of them made into movies." She looked up, catching a moment of eye contact with him. "Why did you choose to live in a small town in Vermont with a population of…"

"Three thousand, maybe a little more." He took a sip of his wine. "Since you've apparently followed my career, at least some of it, why didn't you ever get in touch with me?"

Skylar looked away, her gaze traveling around the restaurant in a desperate attempt to find something to change the direction their conversation had taken. It felt too personal, certainly more personal than she was prepared to deal with. Seeing him after so many years had definitely left her unnerved. It had brought up too many memories. And definitely too many emotions, ones she didn't know how to handle. Indulging the physical, making love with him again, was a very appealing possibility. But the emotional…

"You're writing under your real name rather than a pseudonym. It was hard not to be aware of your success, what with all the publicity each time you had a new release."

He covered her hand with his, the intimate gesture igniting an odd combination of emotions—desire mixed with a heavy dose of anxiety.

She managed to remove her hand without jerking it away, but the sense of physical loss instantly engulfed her, making her wish she hadn't done it. "It never occurred to me that you would want to hear from me. After all, you never tried to get in touch with me. I have the same email address as I did in college, or you could have contacted my parents. They would have told you where to find me. Besides, if you recall correctly, I'm not the one who walked away. I'm not the one who needed to go out into the world to find myself."

She tried but hadn't been able to avoid the hint of sarcasm that surrounded her words. That had been fourteen years ago, much too long a time to still be carrying any emotional baggage attached to it. After all, he had never made any promises for their future, never offered a commitment, and had even told her of his plans ahead of time rather than simply leaving without a word. In retrospect, it obviously had been one sided on her part. Her hopes for the future, not his.

He reached for her hand again. "As I said, I've grown up since then. I very much regret that foolish decision."

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

6 Important Lands that Never Existed

For the last two weeks, I've been talking about real countries that no longer exist. This week's blog is about 6 lands believed to be real at the time but since have proven to be no more than myths.

Ancient travelers (and by ancient I mean many centuries ago) told stories of mysterious places located in the unexplored reaches of the world—fabled cities, phantom islands and exotic civilizations.  Even though these lands were usually dismissed as myths and legends, a few of them found their way onto world maps and helped inspire some of history’s most important journeys of discovery.  From a fabled Christian empire in Asia to a supposed lost kingdom in Canada, find out more about six of the most influential lands that never were.

1) Thule (pictured above)
A subject of fascination for ancient explorers, romantic poets and Nazi occultists.  Thule was an elusive territory believed to be located in the frozen north Atlantic near Scandinavia. Its legend dates back to the 4th century B.C., when the Greek journeyman Pytheas claimed to have traveled to an icy island beyond Scotland where the sun rarely set and land, sea and air combined into a bewildering, jelly-like mass.

Many of Pytheas’ contemporaries doubted his claims, but that didn't stop distant Thule from lingering in the European imagination.  It eventually became synonymous with the northernmost place in the known world.  Explorers and researchers variously identified it as Norway, Iceland and the Shetland Islands, and it served a recurring theme in poetry and myth.  The island is perhaps most famous for its connection to the Thule Society, a post-World War I occult organization in Germany that considered Thule the ancestral home of the Aryan race. The Munich-based group counted many future Nazis among its members, including Rudolf Hess, who later served as Deputy Führer of Germany under Adolf Hitler.

2) The Kingdom of Prester John
For more than 500 years, Europeans believed a Christian king ruled over a vast empire somewhere in the wilds of either Africa, India or the Far East.  Talk of this mythical land first surfaced in 1165 after the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors received a letter—most likely a European forgery—from a monarch calling himself Prester John.  The mysterious king claimed to serve as supreme ruler of the three Indies and all its 72 kingdoms.  He described his realm as a utopia rich in gold, populated by exotic races of giants and horned men.  Perhaps most important of all, Prester John and his subjects were Christians—even the name Prester meant Priest.

Despite the fact that a Papal mission to find Prester John’s court disappeared without a trace, the myth of his kingdom took hold among Europeans.  Crusading Christians rejoiced in the idea that a devout ruler might come to their aid in the struggle against Islam during the Crusades, and when Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes conquered parts of Persia in the early 1200s, many mistakenly credited Prester John’s forces with the attack.  The kingdom later became a subject of fascination for travelers and explorers.  Marco Polo provided a questionable account of encountering its remnants in Northern China.  Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese mariners searched for it in Africa and India.  While explorers eventually discovered a Christian civilization in Ethiopia, it lacked the grandeur and the gold Europeans had come to associate with Prester John’s realm. By the 17th century, the legend had faded, and the famed empire was dropped from most maps.

3) Hy-Brasil
Long before Europeans ever stepped foot in the New World, explorers searched for the island of Hy-Brasil, an ethereal land said to exist off the west coast of Ireland.  The story of Hy-Brasil most likely comes from Celtic legend—its name means Isle of the Blest in Gaelic—but its precise origins are unclear.  Hy-Brasil first appeared on maps in the 14th century, usually in the form of a small, circular island with a narrow strait splitting it in two.  Many mariners accepted it as a real place until as recently as the 1800s, and it became popular as the basis for myths and folktales.  Some legends described the island as a lost paradise.  Others claimed that it was perpetually obscured by a dense curtain of mist and fog, only becoming visible to the naked eye every seven years.  [which sounds as if it might have been the genesis of the Lerner & Lowe musical BRIGADOON about a village in Scotland that appeared out of the mist every one hundred years]

Despite its somewhat whimsical reputation, Hy-Brasil was widely sought after by Britain-based explorers in the 15th century. The navigator John Cabot launched several expeditions in an attempt to find it.  It's suggested that he had hoped to locate it during his famous journey to the coast of Newfoundland in 1497.  Documents from Cabot’s time claim that previous explorers had already reached Hy-Brasil, leading some researchers to argue that these unnamed mariners may have inadvertently traveled all the way to the Americas prior to Christopher Columbus.
4) El Dorado
Beginning in the 16th century, European explorers and conquistadors were intrigued by tales of a mythical city of gold located in the unexplored reaches of South America.  The city had its origin in accounts of El Dorado (The Gilded One), a native king who powdered his body with gold dust and tossed jewels and gold into a sacred lake as part of a coronation rite.  Stories of the gilded king eventually led to rumors of a golden city of untold wealth and splendor.  Adventurers spent many years—and countless lives—in a futile search for its riches.

One of the most famous El Dorado expeditions came in 1617, when the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh traveled up the Orinoco River on a quest to find it in what is now Venezuela.  They didn't find any trace of the gilded city, and King James I later executed Raleigh after he disobeyed an order to avoid fighting with the Spanish.  El Dorado continued to drive exploration and colonial violence until the early 1800s, when scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland branded the city a myth after undertaking a research expedition to Latin America.

El Dorado wasn’t the only gilded city supposedly tucked away in the New World.  European explorers also hunted for the Seven Cities of Cibola, a mythical group of gold-rich settlements said to be located somewhere in what are now Mexico and the American Southwest.  The most famous search for the Seven Cities came in the 16th century, when the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado scoured the Great Plains of the U.S. in search of a city of riches called Quivira.
5) St. Brendan’s Island
St. Brendan’s Island was a mysterious manifestation of Paradise once thought to be hidden somewhere in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  The myth of the phantom island dates back to the Navigatio Brendani, or Voyage of Brendan, a 1,200-year-old Irish legend about the seafaring monk St. Brendan the Navigator.  As the story goes, Brendan led a crew of pious sailors on a 6th century voyage in search of the famed Promised Land of the Saints.  The journey on the open sea describes attacks by fireball-wielding giants and run-ins with talking birds.  According to the tale, Brendan and his men landed on a mist-covered island filled with delicious fruit and sparkling gems. The grateful crew are said to have spent 40 days exploring the island before returning to Ireland.

Although there is no historical proof of St. Brendan’s voyage, the legend became so popular during medieval times that St. Brendan’s Island found its way onto many maps of the Atlantic. Early cartographers placed it near Ireland, but in later years it migrated to the coasts of North Africa, the Canary Islands and finally the Azores. Sailors often claimed to have caught fleeting glimpses of the mystical isle during the Age of Discovery, and it’s likely that even Christopher Columbus believed in its existence.  Its legend eventually faded after multiple search expeditions failed to track it down. By the 18th century, the famed Promised Land of the Saints had been removed from most navigational charts.

6) The Kingdom of Saguenay
The story of the mirage-like Kingdom of Saguenay dates to the 1530s, when French explorer Jacques Cartier made his second journey to Canada in search of gold and a northwest passage to Asia.  While traveling along the St. Lawrence River at what is modern day Quebec, Cartier’s Iroquois guides began to whisper tales of Saguenay, a vast kingdom that lay to the north. According to a chief named Donnacona, the mysterious realm was rich in spices, furs and precious metals and populated by blond, bearded men with pale skin.  The stories eventually transitioned into the realm of the absurd when the natives claimed the region was also home to races of one-legged people and whole tribes possessing no anus.  Cartier became intrigued by the prospect of plundering the riches of Saguenay.  He brought Donnacona back to France, where the Iroquois chief continued to spread tales of a lost kingdom.

Legends about Saguenay haunted French explorers in North America for years, but treasure hunters never found any trace of the mythical land.  Most historians now dismiss it as a myth, but some argue the natives may have been referring to copper deposits in the Canadian northwest.  Others have suggested that the Indian tales could have been inspired by a centuries old Norse outpost left over from Viking voyages to North America.

Fortunately, today we have Google Earth to confirm or deny such rumors of mythical places.  :)