Most of us have heard the story of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Blue. Did you know they were created by Canadians sitting around campfires normally in logging areas? The stories cannot be attributed to one source, since the story was handed down over the years and obviously altered by those telling the story. According to legend, the Great Lakes were created by Paul for drinking holes for Babe. That he cleared the land in North and South Dakota so that farmers had fields to plant it. He trained Carpenter Ants to help haul the timber for the logging industry. and that Babe created the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota as it’s footsteps. Now none of it is true, but it’s fun to think of things that way.
How to celebrate – Visit some of the many Paul Bunyan sites in the northern mid-west. Visit the Great Lakes. Start you own legends by sitting around a campfire with your family.
Today has been declared a day to appreciate the forests of the world by the United Nations. Most of us just think of forests as trees but they are actually a great deal more. They store carbon helping our environment, they improve the climate around us often acting like a filter. They give us fuel for heat and shade to cool, they are a natural sound barrier, provide food, give a watershed to the soil, and provide a soothing mental health environment. We need to do what we can to save them.
How to celebrate – Visit a forest today. Plant a tree in your yard. Learn about the positive and negative sides of logging. List as many animals as you can that live in a forest.
Paul Bunyan was a man, he was a big man… oh wait, that’s Daniel Boone. But he was a big man, of course he wasn’t real but that’s not important. It is believed his character was created by French Canadians during the Papineau Rebellion in 1837. He obviously became more well known that the rebellion he was created for!
Paul’s companion in gianticness was Blue, an Ox. It is said that Paul scooped out the Great Lakes to make water bowls for Blue. Blue must have been very thirsty. Apparently Paul and Blue traveled between Canada and the US, and even though created by Canadians they have become more American since writers began issuing stories of his tales in the early 1900’s.
Paul is credited with creating logging, like that didn’t happen before 1837, clearing North and South Dakota for farming and trained “carpenter” ants to do logging for lumberjacks. Blue is credited for creating Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes by leaving his foot prints behind.
He also looks a little scary! I wonder if many children feared Paul as much as they honored him. But isn’t that what legends are all about? What one calls a hero, another calls a monster. So far as we know, Paul never hurt anybody, unless of course he stepped on someone he didn’t see.
Anyway, today is the day to celebrate the man, the myth, the legend of Paul Bunyan and Blue his Ox. Probably made bigger than life because they needed heroes bigger than life, sort of like we all do.
How to celebrate – Visit the Paul Bunyan Days along the US/Canada border. Read about Paul Bunyan and the legends associated with him. Find out why Paul Bunyan was created in the first place.