Okay, well you’re going to think I’m retarded for this one more than likely but hear me out here.
I found out today that Paul Bunyan isn’t real and never was real. Stop laughing.
For 25 years now I’ve thought that Paul Bunyan was a real lumberjack, strolling through the woods with his hard working ox Babe. Together, they roamed the woods, peeling off the skin of squirrels for an appetizer before they chowed down on a bear while it was still alive. The woods needed clearing for the early settlers and Paul Bunyan was there to chop down the trees and Babe readily hauled them off with his strong legs and back. Babe was not blue, by the way, and Bunyan was certainly no giant. However, someone that helped out to that extent would certainly attract a fair amount of story telling for years to come. Exaggerations would be made and stories would be told via word of mouth and eventually Paul Bunyan was an incredibly huge giant of a man and Babe just the same. The stories would morph over time as they were told around a campfire into how Bunyan dug the Great Lakes to make a watering hole for Babe. After a great flood, Bunyan dug the Mississippi River to allow the water to drain and the dirt he dug was flung over his shoulder so far that it created the Appalachian Mountains. That’s the Paul Bunyan I’ve always believed existed. Not a giant, just a hero of the old American frontier who was the subject of campfire tales for years to come.
I was wrong.
Apparently Paul Bunyan was a character created by French Canadians in the late 19th century. This is backed up by how the stories started around the time the French Canadians were rebelling against an English queen, with his last name originating from “Bonyenne,” the colloquial French-Canadian expression of surprise that roughly translates to “My Goodness” or as Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief.”
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that America decided to do what America is known to do and tried to take credit for the Paul Bunyan story after the first written record of Paul Bunyan as a character was written by a guy from Michigan (I think). Those folklore stories I’ve always known were then made up and in the early 1900’s he was given the first graven image in the form of an advertisement for a logging company.
On another note, I had a poop of a day but was able to pump some iron and cook dinner tonight so I feel much better…Now it’s time for an ice cream sandwich and some cartoons.
Enjoy today’s haiku:
Our childhood stories
Are often sick, twisted tales
But we’re not lied to!