Spelling Of Lake's Name Was All Wet

Lake Webster's Correct Indian Spelling i i

hide captionRight.

Lake Webster's Correct Indian Spelling

Right.

There's a three-mile long lake in central Massachusetts that has a Native American name that stretches for 45 letters.

Nowadays most people call it Webster Lake. But the cumbersome pronunciation of its traditional name was the subject of "The Lake Song," a 1954 novelty item by Ethel Merman and Ray Bolger.

Sadly, in 2003, two local signs erected in Webster, Mass., got the spelling of the name wrong. That's being corrected.

Richard Cazeault, president and director of the Webster Lake Association, tells Robert Siegel that the lake is surprisingly well known in other parts.

"I've had the opportunity to travel quite a bit around the world," Cazeault says. "It's unbelieveable how many people know about this lake. It's really good to be able to say the name correctly to the people I talk to."

And what does the lake's name mean? None of the lore is terribly reliable, but a long-ago editor of the local newspaper published the one that is most commonly used:

"You fish on your side, I'll fish on my side and nobody fishes in the middle."

(To hear Richard Cazeault, Ethel Merman and Ray Bolger pronounce the name of the lake, listen to the link at the top of the story.)

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