Cook Shanty

G.M. Davis. "In Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty."
American Lumberman 18 July 1914: 44.

Artist Unknown

In Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty.

As weary pilgrims once possessed
Of longed for longing, go to rest,
So I, now having rid my way,
Fix here my buttoned staff, and stay.

So sighed a weary gentleman when he mopped his fervid brow as the sun was about to retire behind the ridge pole of Paul Bunyan's cook shanty. Supper was in progress within and the traveler approaching the open door announced that he was hungry and wanted supper, whereupon Paul came forward with a tape line and proceeded to take the traveler's waist measure, saying as he did so that he would measure him again when he was through, adding incidentally that the pork and beans would be fifty cents an inch.

The traveler found a place at the table and proceeded to lay in a supply of provisions. A few minutes later his gaze wandered out through the open door just as Big Louie and the oxen topped an adjacent hill on their way into camp from their day's work. At first the traveler saw what appeared to him to be the masts of an inebriated schooner. These proved a moment later to be the oxens' horns, which were followed by two bovine brows as massive as the hill itself. Next the two heads came into view, the oxen blowing smoke and fire from their nostrils as they always did at the end of a hot day.

The sight was too much for the wayfarer and he started, hat in hand, about a mile a minute down the tote road. Paul saw him going and naturally thought he was trying to get away without paying for his supper, so seizing his trusty tape line he started after him, but owing to the bad condition of the road it was not until the traveler stubbed his toe on a root and fell down that Paul was able to overtake him and take his measure again. After doing so, Paul took out his note book and did a little hurried figuring and found, greatly to his surprise, that instead of having anything coming from the traveler he owed him $7.35.

Paul was always an honest soul, so he shouted the result in the direction of the traveler, who was already under way toward the next county, and yelled to him to come back and get his money. "That's nothing." replied the traveler slantwise over his shoulder, "I'll have a month's pay coming by morning."

Flarity, the roadmonkey, who claims to have seen him last, says the traveler passed him the next morning at sunrise, a trifle pale but still going. Who the traveler was or where he came from is still an unsettled question.

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