When I was a child my mother told me and my brothers stories of Paul Bunyon and his big blue ox Babe. Re was a giant, as was his ox, and they had many adventures. There is even a statue to him in Bangor, Maine.
In my childhood mind, he ranked right up there with Batman and Spiderman. Human, yes, but with extraordinary powers.
When I was researching my latest book, however, I discovered that Paul Bunyon represented a certain truth about the early American experience: the loggers or lumber men. In Maine, logging camps were set up in the woods and the massive trees were cut down with nothing more than human sweat and axes. Lumber was important for building, yes, but this was also the era of sailing ships and tall masts were a requirement.
In the spring the loggers would ‘drive’ the logs down one of the many rivers to Falmouth. The lumber drive would end in Falmouth with a celebration. (I’ll bet. Talk about dangerous work!)
If by chance you should visit Maine, you can see the art of log rolling on the road between Ellsworth and Acadia.