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What are some facts about Paul Bunyan?

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Quick Answer

Paul Bunyan is a fictional, giant lumberjack popularized by American folk legends. According to early tales, he stood seven feet tall, but in later embellishments he became significantly taller. He was accompanied on his adventures by a giant blue ox named Babe.

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Full Answer

The earliest references to Paul Bunyan were in logging camps in the late 19th century. Folktales about Bunyan first appeared in print on Aug. 4, 1904, in the Duluth Evening News. The tales were subsequently reprinted in publications such as the Oscoda Press, the Washington Post and the Wisconsin State Journal. The tales of Paul Bunyan achieved widespread popularity following an ad campaign for the Red River Lumber Company. The stories appeared in a series of pamphlets promoting the company and were then collected in a book called "The Marvelous Exploits of Paul Bunyan."

Among the exploits attributed to Bunyan were the creation of Lake Superior, Puget Sound, the Grand Canyon and the Black Hills. The griddle on which to fry his pancakes was supposedly so large that cooks skated on bacon slabs to grease it. The tales say that Bunyan would call his men to dinner by using a hollow tree as a megaphone. Another legend says that it was so cold one winter in Bunyan's camp that speech froze as soon as people spoke, and they had to wait until spring to hear what was said.

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