Blade

Origin of Paul Bunyan Stories

Editor. "Origin of Paul Bunyan Stories."
American Lumberman 7 June 1924: 38.

On the Trail

Origin of Paul Bunyan Stories

I am writing a series of stories about Paul Bunyan, the mythical hero of the woodsmen, for a periodical. The first story will appear in an early issue. The publisher of the magazine plans to publish the stories in a book and I am asked to gather materials for an introduction that will explain the stories and tell all that is known of their origin.

I have been a working logger for fifteen years in the Northwest and I know the stories as well as I know hook-tenders, but I do not know any more how, where, when and why they originated than I do about the beginnings of hook-tenders, who are as marvelous as Paul Bunyan in their own modest way.

Can you give me any information about the origin of the Paul Bunyan stories? Perhaps you could name some veteran lumberman in Maine who might help me out.-Inquiry No. 1,299.

[The foregoing inquiry comes from the Pacific Northwest. Until recent years the Paul Bunyan stories have not been taken seriously either within or outside of the lumber industry. Of late, however, these stories have risen to the dignity of folk tales in the minds of some students of American literature. So far as the observation of the American Lumberman goes, the Paul Bunyan stories appear to be a product of the imagination of keen-minded woodsmen who, owing to their isolation, were obliged to draw upon their own resources for entertainment.

Several collections of Paul Bunyan stories have already been published, and while certain of these stories have a wide currency yet in the telling of them great latitude is allowed the raconteur who is at liberty to add to and embellish his story in any way he sees fit. Readers of the American Lumberman are invited to contribute any information they may have regarding the origin of the Paul Bunyan stories. The name of the inquirer will be supplied to interested readers upon request.-The Editor.]

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