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Bunyan, Paul

Bunyan, Paul

Bunyan, Paul, legendary American lumberjack. He was the hero of a series of "tall tales" popular through the timber country from Michigan westward. Bunyan was known for his fantastic strength and gigantic size. He is said to have ruled his gargantuan lumber camp between the winter of the blue snow and the spring that came up from China. His prized possession was Babe the Blue Ox, the distance between whose horns measured 42 ax handles and a plug of tobacco. In southern lumber camps a similar legendary figure is known as Tony Beaver.

See collections of legends by L. Untermeyer (1945) and H. W. Felton (1947); study of the legend by D. G. Hoffman (1952, repr. 1966) and N. Wartik (1989).

Legendary giant lumberjack of the U.S. frontier. A symbol of strength and vitality, he is accompanied by a giant blue ox, Babe. He was credited with creating Puget Sound, digging the Grand Canyon, and building the Black Hills, and was known for his prodigious appetite, eating hotcakes off a griddle so large it was greased by men using sides of bacon as skates. Tales of his exploits probably originated in lumber camps, and were first published by James MacGillivray in “The Round River Drive” (1910), which soon led to a national myth.

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