Birth of Paul Bunyan
Maine Tall Tales
Now I hear tell that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor, Maine. It took five giant storks to deliver Paul to his parents. His first bed was a lumber wagon pulled by a team of horses. His father had to drive the wagon up to the top of Maine and back whenever he wanted to rock the baby to sleep.
As a baby, Paul Bunyan could yell so loud he scared all the fish out of the rivers and streams. All the local frogs started wearing earmuffs so they wouldn’t go deaf when Paul screamed for his breakfast. His parents had to milk two dozen cows morning and night to keep his milk bottle full and his mother had to feed him ten huge bowls of oatmeal every two hours to keep his stomach from rumbling and knocking the house down.
Within a week of his birth, Paul Bunyan could fit into his father’s clothes. After three weeks, Paul rolled around so much during his nap that he destroyed four square miles of good forest land. His parents were at their wits’ end! They decided to build him a raft and floated it off the coast of Maine. When Paul turned over, it caused a 75 foot tidal wave in the Bay of Fundy. They had to send the British Navy over to Maine to wake him up. The sailors fired every canon they had in the fleet for seven hours straight before Paul Bunyan woke from his nap! When he stepped off the raft, Paul accidentally sank four war ships and he had to scramble around scooping sailors out of the water before they drowned.
After this incident, Paul’s parents decided the East was just too small for him, and so the family moved to Minnesota.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
Minnesota Tall Tales
Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so cold that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until the sun rose to find out what people were talking about the night before.
Paul Bunyan went out walking in the woods one day during that Winter of the Blue Snow. He was knee-deep in blue snow when he heard a funny sound between a bleat and a snort. Looking down, he saw a teeny-tiny baby blue ox hopping about in the snow and snorting with rage because he was too short to see over the drifts.
Paul Bunyan laughed when he saw the little animal upset and took the little blue creature home with him. He warmed the little ox up by the fire and the little animal fluffed up and dried out, but he remained as blue as the snow that had stained him in the first place. So Paul named him Babe the Blue Ox.
Well, any creature raised in Paul Bunyan’s camp tended to grow to massive sizes, and Babe was no exception. People that stared at him for five minutes could see him growing right before their eyes. He grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a bag of tobacco could fit between his eyes and it took a thousand crows a whole day to fly from one horn to the other. The laundryman used his horns to hang up all the camp laundry, which would dry very quickly because of all the wind blowing around at that height.
Whenever he got an itch, Babe the Blue Ox had to find a cliff to rub against, because whenever he tried to rub against a tree, it fell over and begged for mercy. When he was hungry, Babe would eat thirty bales of hay, wire and all. It took six men with swords to get all the wire out of Babe’s teeth after his morning snack. Right after that, he would eat a ton of grain for lunch and then come bother the cook – Sourdough Sam – begging for another snack.
Babe the Blue Ox was a great help around Paul Bunyan’s logging camp. He could pull anything that had two ends, so Paul often used him to straighten out the twisted logging roads. By the time Babe had pulled the twists and loops out of all the roads leading to the lumber camp, there was twenty miles of extra road left flopping about with nowhere to go. So Paul rolled them up and used them to lay a new road into new forest land.
Paul also used Babe the Blue Ox to pull the heavy tank wagon which was used to add salt to the newly-straightened lumber roads in the winter. One day, the tank started to leak, and leak until all the water that leaked out ran south and became the Mississippi River. After that, Babe stuck to hauling logs. Only he hated working in the summertime, so Paul had to paint the logging roads white after the snow melted so that Babe would keep working through the summer.
One summer, as Babe the Blue Ox was hauling a load of logs down the white-washed road and dreaming of the days when the winter would feel cold again and the logs would slide easier on the “ice”, he glanced over the top of the mountain and caught sight of a pretty yellow calf eating in a field. Well, he quickly twisted out of his harness and stepped over the mountain to introduce himself. It was love at first sight, and Paul had to leave his load and buy Bessie the Yellow Cow from the farmer before Babe would do any more hauling.
Bessie the Yellow Cow grew to the massive, yet dainty proportions that were suitable for the mate of Babe the Blue Ox. She had long yellow eyelashes that tickled the lumberjacks standing on the other end of camp each time she blinked. She produced all the dairy products for the lumber camp. Each day, Sourdough Sam made enough butter from her cream to grease the giant pancake griddle and sometimes there was enough left over to butter the toast!
The only issue between Bessie and Babe was the weather. Babe loved the ice and snow and Bessie loved warm summer days. One winter, Bessie grew so thin and pale that Paul Bunyan asked his clerk Johnny Inkslinger to make her a pair of green goggles so she would think it was summer. After that, Bessie grew happy and fat again, and produced so much butter that Paul Bunyan used the leftovers to grease the whitewashed lumber roads in summer. With the roads so slick all year round, hauling logs became much easier for Babe the Blue Ox, and so Babe eventually came to like summer almost as much as Bessie.