Paul Bunyan is a “larger than life” hero of American tall tales. A tall tale is a story that has been retold over the years and exaggerated. The Paul Bunyan character is said to have originated in folktales circulated among French Canadian lumberjacks in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Paul Bunyan is usually described as a giant lumberjack of unusual skill. He is often accompanied by his animal companion, “Babe” the Blue Ox. According to folklore, Paul Bunyan and his ox accomplished many feats:
*He established the American logging industry.
*He trained carpenter ants to help loggers.
*He scooped out the Great Lakes to water Babe, his ox.
*He cleared the entire states of North and South Dakota for farming.
*Paul and Babe’s large footprints created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes when they wandered around blindly in a snowstorm.
The legend of Paul Bunyan also spread to the Western United States:
*Paul Bunyan dug the Grand Canyon when he dragged his axe behind him.
*He created Mount Hood by piling rocks on top of his campfire to put it out.
Wear a plaid shirt today in honor of Paul Bunyan. Bake a birthday cake to commemorate the date of Paul Bunyan’s birth. Read the story of Paul Bunyan. The story can be found at any library or check it out on www.paulbunyantrail.com.
SEE ALSO: Paul Bunyan History
Try creating your own tall tale! Remember, a tall tale is a greatly exaggerated story that is told as if it were true. Click here to download a Tall Tales PowerPoint presentation.