strength, he was most likely based on an actual nineteenth century logger from the northern United
States or Canada. As a folk hero, he struck a chord with Americans on some level, perhaps because he
was incredibly strong but also because he was hard-working and capable, ingenious in solving
problems, and fun-loving.
Though there is evidence that Paul Bunyan tales were part of oral tradition in the nineteenth
century, Paul Bunyan stories did not appear in written form until the early twentieth century.
Journalist James McGillivray included descriptions of Bunyan in a series of essays entitled "The
Round River Drive," which appeared in a number of Midwestern newspapers between 1906 and 1910.
However, it was through an extensive advertising campaign that Paul Bunyan moved solidly into print.
Recognizing the appeal of Paul Bunyan as a figure for his company's advertising, William
Laughead, an advertising executive for the Red River Lumber Company, initiated a campaign that
consisted of a series of publications featuring Paul Bunyan. For several decades, the company
distributed these publications free of charge and made no attempt to obtain a copyright on them . In
fact, the company vigorously encouraged other writers to make use of Paul Bunyan because it felt
that the use of this character enhanced the name recognition of the Red River Lumber Company
inasmuch as the name of the folk hero and the name of the company had become interwoven
The Bunyan stories published by Red River and further circulated by others were tall tales of
gigantic proportions. In these tales, Bunyan is depicted as a man of superhuman proportions, who
is strong, hard-working, entrepreneurial, and innovative. In one story, for example, Paul is
credited with digging the Great Lakes in order to create a watering hole for his giant ox, Babe. In
another of these tales, Paul caused an entire winter of blue snow to fall by swearing a blue streak after
he injured himself by smashing his thumb with a large hammer.
Fascination with Paul Bunyan has continued to grow, and today he is a standard of American
folklore. The prevalence of Bunyan as a figure of folklore today is evidenced by references to him in
countless stories, cartoons, poems, and songs as well as the numerous community festivals and
logging competitions featuring Paul Bunyan that can be found throughout the sections of the country
where logging has a strong tradition.
1. This purpose of this passage is to
2. It is NOT stated in the passage that Paul Bunyan is known for his
3. The passage states that Paul Bunyan tales first appeared
6. Look at the word "interwoven" in paragraph 3.
This word could best be replaced by
7. The following sentence could be added to paragraph 4.
A third story in the series describes Paul's role in establishing the Mississippi River.
Where would it best fit into the paragraph?
Click on the square in the correct place in the paragraph.
8. Which sentence in paragraph 4 discusses a weather phenomenon that Paul Bunyan supposedly caused?