1,000 Tales Told

NH’s master storyteller reaches his goal

Where else, but from Fritz Wetherbee, would you learn that two Irish maids drowned in New Hampshire’s Chocorua Lake and were eaten by snapping turtles? Or that a Revolutionary War officer from Rollinsford punched out the future King of England? Or that Jean Harris, convicted of killing the Scarsdale Diet king, lived in a cabin in Monroe after her release from prison? I could go on. And so, thankfully, has Fritz been able to for all these years.

Somehow he has been able to find 1,000 stories worth telling about the state and telling  them — both in print and on WMUR’s “NH Chronicle” — in his own bow-tied Fritz way: Yankee-ish, with a hint of mischief.

With the recent publication of “Milestone” [Plaidswede Publishing, $19.95], Fritz has now gathered enough stories to fill eight books in eight years (he gives his friend and this magazine’s editor, Rick Broussard, credit for getting the project started).

With “Milestone," he reaches the 1,000-story mark. It’s an amazing feat, one that no doubt took much scouring of dusty books and yellowed town records, and listening to the old folks talk.

The latest collection of strange and wonderful tales is as fresh as the first, a charming read that can be done in easily digestible bites; few of the stories are more than a page or so.

Will Fritz aim for another 1,000? Are there another 1,000 to be had?  If there are, you know Fritz will find them and, as he always says, “I’ll tell you the story.”

He’s been doing it for a half century now, and in that time has shown his readers and watchers the love he has for his born-and-raised-here state ­— and made us love it too.  

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