Tag Archives: Folktale

Paul Bunyan: A Northern Minnesota Legend

“Paul Bunyan is alive and well in the Brainerd Lakes Area and evidence of Paul’s existence ia all around. Spend a day touring around the area and visiting various spots where Paul has made his mark” –Brainerd Lakes Area Guide 2011

Although Paul Bunyan may or may not have been the real life giant portrayed in our Minnesotan legends, Paul and his pet Babe the blue ox will always be a part of us in Northern Minnesota. I mean for goodness sakes, has it’s own yellow pages called “Babe’s Pages.” But how did this “tall tale” begin? I will do my best to tell Paul Bunyan’s tall tale using references from’s full story.

In the beginning, Paul Bunyan was delivered to his parents by five giant storks working over time. By the time he was one weeks old he had to start wearing his father’s clothes because he was so big. As a baby his parents had to use a lumber wagon pulled by oxen for a carriage. When he outgrew this, they had to put him on a giant raft so the water could rock him to sleep. Legend has it his rocking while asleep created waves so big it sank many ships.

As a child, Paul played with an axe and crosscut saw like other children played with toys. On his first birthday his father gave him a pet blue ox named Babe. Babe grew to be seven axehandles and a plug of tobacco wide between the eyes. As a snack Babe would eat thirty bales of hay. Paul and Babe were so large, the tracks they made galivanting around eventually filled with water and became Minnesota’s famous 10,000 lakes.

Most people know Paul Bunyan is most well known for his logging. One of my favorite logging stories is the following: 
“One time Paul’s men started the logs down a new river which they had never seen before. They began to notice that they were seeing familiar places over and over again and then finally realized that they were on the Round River which went round and round and had no end. Paul knew that this was a bad thing so he shoveled out the center of the river and made it into a big lake which is now known as Round Lake.” –

There are many many more stories about Paul Bunyan. To read more you can visit or pick from any number of books from children’s stories to full chapter books!

**What is your favorite Paul Bunyan tall tale? Post a comment below or shoot me an email at**

Until next time, Elizabeth

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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in History, Local Tidbits


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