The best known version is by Honoré Beaugrand. It is the story of some lonely Gatineau voyageurs in a remote timber camp centuries ago who make a pact with the Devil to make a run of the "Chasse-Galerie" in a magical Flying Canoe so they can visit their sweethearts and families hundreds of kilometers away during a holiday. They are warned, however, not to blaspheme during the voyage, or touch crosses atop church steeples and they must be back before six o'clock the next morning. If they fail in their mission, they shall lose their souls in the quest.
The loggers promise to keep their heads clear, take their places in the Flying Canoe which then rises off the ground, and they start to paddle. Far below they see the frozen Gatineau River, many villages, shiny church steeples and then the lights of Montreal. The Flying Canoe eventually lands down near a house where New Year's Eve festivities are in full swing. They are embraced with open arms and soon are dancing and celebrating as merrily as everyone else.
Soon it is late and the men must leave if they are to get back to camp in time for work. As they swoon through the moonless night, their navigator steers the Flying Canoe on a dangerously unsteady course. While passing over Montreal they just miss running into a church steeple and soon after their craft ends up stuck in a deep snowdrift.