DLTK's Fairy Tale Activities
Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan

It can be fun to make up your own "Tall Tales" about Paul Bunyan. But we also have some traditional tales that Carol sent in to us.

© Storytelling by Delia Barnett and illustrations by Anna Ha

When Paul Bunyan was born, he was so large that it took five giant storks working overtime just to deliver him to his mother and father.  Paul’s parents had to have fourteen cows to supply milk for their gigantic new baby.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Storks

Paul’s parents were a bit worried about what the townspeople would think of their huge son.  So they built a huge cradle and floated it in the ocean off the coast of Maine.  The waves rocked him to sleep each night.  One day Paul started to bounce up and down in his cradle.  His bouncing started a seventy-foot tidal wave that washed away towns and villages.  After that Paul’s parents moved into the woods of Maine where everyone would be safer.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Cradle

Paul spent his boyhood in the woods helping his father cut down trees.  Even as a boy he had the strength of a dozen men.  One day the man at the sawmill refused to buy the Bunyan’s logs because they were too large for his saws.  Paul chained them together and pulled them upstream back to camp.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Lumberjack

Once when plowing the fields, Paul came to the end and there wasn't any room to turn around.  Paul solved the problem by simply picking up the plow and the two oxen.  He turned them right around to start the other way.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Ox

When Paul was just a boy he was as fast as lightning.  He could blow out the candle at night and hop into bed before it was dark.  One time Paul’s quickness got him into trouble, he shot a bear and was so anxious to see if he’d hit it that he ran as fast as he could up to the bear--only to get there before the bullet did.  The result was that Paul got hit in the seat of his pants with his own buckshot.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Bear

Paul found Babe during the winter of the blue snow.  When bringing firewood to his cabin, Paul saw two ears sticking out of the snow.  Paul dug out the animal and noticed it was a baby ox.  Paul put the ox in his pocket and carried him back to the cabin.  Since the ox was a baby, Paul decided to call him Babe. Even after Babe thawed out, he kept his blue color.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Babe

Babe grew very fast.  One night Paul put him into a barn because it looked like it might rain.  The next morning the barn was gone and so was Babe.  Paul finally found Babe in a valley eating hay with the barn sitting on his back.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Babe and a barn

Babe was very useful in many ways.  For instance, Paul had a logging road that was very crooked and twisted.  Paul finally tied one end of the road to a large stump and hitched Babe to the other end with a logging chain. Babe dug his hoofs into the ground and tugged and strained until he had pulled the entire road out straight.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Lumberjack

When winter came, Babe had trouble finding enough to eat because the snow covered everything.  Babe began to lose weight and became sick with a severe fever.  Big Ole, the blacksmith, solved the problem by making Babe a huge pair of green sunglasses.  With the sunglasses on, Babe thought the snow was grass.  It wasn't long before Babe was strong and healthy again.

Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan: Lumberjack


Printable version of this story