Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack figure in North American folklore and tradition. One of the most famous and popular North American folklore heroes, he is usually described as a giant as well as a lumberjack of unusual skill, and is often accompanied in stories by his animal companion, Babe the Blue Ox.

The character originated in folktales circulated among lumberjacks in the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada, first appearing in print in a story published by Northern Michigan journalist James MacGillivray in 1906. However, the stories found widespread popularity after they were reworked by William Laughead for a logging company’s advertising campaign beginning in 1914. The 1922 edition of Laughead’s tales inspired many others, and the character thereafter became widely known across the United States and Canada. As Bunyan’s popularity came only after the stories appeared in print, some commentators have thought of him as an inauthentic “fakelore” character.


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