Tales of Paul Bunyan

Paul and Babe

Paul Bunyan, the Pioneer Woodsman

Paul Bunyan was born in Maine. When three weeks old he rolled around so much in his sleep that he destroyed four square miles of standing timber. Then they built a floating cradle for him and anchored it off Eastport. When Paul rocked in his cradle it caused a seventy- five foot tide in the Bay of Fundy and several villages were washed away. He couldn't be wakened, however, until the Navy was called out and fired broadsides for seven hours. When Paul stepped out of his cradle he sank seven warships and the government seized his cradle and used the timber to build seven more. That saved Nova Scotia from becoming an island, but the tides in the Bay of Fundy haven't subsided yet.

Paul Bunyan is known by his mighty works. You can prove that Paul logged off North Dakota and grubbed the stumps, not only by the fact that there are no traces of pine forests in that State, but by the testimony of old- timers who saw it done.

If Paul Bunyan did not invent Geography he created a lot of it. The Great Lakes were first constructed to provide a water hole for Babe the Big Blue Ox. Just what year his work was done is not known but they were in use prior to the Year of the Two Winters.

The Winter Paul Bunyan logged off North Dakota he hauled water for his ice roads from the Great Lakes. One day when Paul had Babe hitched to one of the old water tanks and was making his early morning trip, the tank sprung a leak when they were half way across Minnesota. Paul saved himself from drowning by climbing Babe's tail but all efforts to patch up the tank were in vain so the old tank was abandoned and replaced by one of the new ones. This was the beginning of the Mississippi River and the truth of this is established by the fact that the old Mississippi is still flowing.

The Winter of the Deep Snow everything was buried. Paul had to dig down to find the tops of the tallest White Pines. He had the snow dug away around them and lowered his sawyers down to the base of the trees. When the tree was cut off he hauled it to the surface with a long parbuckle chain to which Babe, mounted on snowshoes, was hitched.

It was impossible to get enough stove pipe to reach to the top of the snow, so Paul had Big Ole make stovepipe by boring out logs with a long six- inch auger. The year of the Two Winters they had winter all summer and then in the fall it turned colder.

One day Sourdough Sam set the boiling coffeepot on the dinner table and it froze so quick that the ice was hot. That was right after Paul had built the Great Lakes and that winter they froze clear to the bottom. They never would have thawed out if Paul had not chopped out the ice and hauled it out on shore for the sun to melt. He finally got all the ice thawed, but he had to put in all new fish.

The next spring was the year the rain came up from China. It rained so hard and so long that the grass was all washed out by the roots and Paul had a terrible time feeding the cattle. Babe had to learn to eat pancakes. That was the time Paul used the straw hats for an emergency ration. When Paul's drive came down, folks in the settlements were astonished to see all the river men wearing huge straw hats. The reason for this was soon apparent. When the fodder ran out every man was politely requested to toss his hat into the ring. Hundreds of straw hats were used to make a lunch for Babe.

When Paul Bunyan took up efficiency engineering he went at the job with all his customary thoroughness. He did not fool around clocking the crew with a stop watch, counting motions and deducting the ones used for borrowing chews, going for drinks, dodging the boss and preparing for quitting time. He decided to cut out labor altogether.

"What's the use," said Paul, "of all this sawing, swamping, skidding, decking, grading and icing roads, loading, hauling and landing? The object of the game is to get the trees to the landing, ain't it? Well, why not do it and get it off your mind?" So he hitched Babe to a section of land and snaked in the whole 640 acres at one drag. At the landing the trees were cut off just like shearing a sheep and the denuded section hauled back to its original place. This simplified matters and made the work a lot easier. Six trips a day, six days a week just cleaned up a township, for section 37 was never hauled back to the woods on Saturday night but was left on the landing to wash away in the early spring when the drive went out. Documentary evidence of the truth of this is offered by the United States government surveys. Look at any map that shows the land subdivisions where Paul worked, and you will never find a township with more than thirty six sections.

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