This Week's Fairy Tale Friday selection is How Paul Bunyan Built the Columbia Gorge as told by Otis T. & Cloice R. Howd. You'll need to use your imagination this week as there are no illustrations. Enjoy!
How Paul Bunyan Built the Columbia Gorge
By: Otis T. & Cloice R. Howd
Bunyan frequently went hunting or fishing, and on such occasions anything might happen. When Mount Rainier was a hole in the ground, e're Midad made his stake, The land to the west of the Rockies was all a mighty lake. And there of a summer's evening Paul Bunyan came to fish, For a mess of steelhead salmon was ever his favorite dish. With a rod that was only eight leagues long and keen and strong and light, And a wondrous fly he'd made himself he lured the fish to bite. This day he'd landed some small ones, less than a league in length, But at last he hooked a beauty that tested the big boy's strength. It was fight from the time he hooked it, Oh, boy, but this was bliss! Who would fool with a pyramid when he could live like this? The light line sang through the ferruls and the water foamed like beer, The big fish raged to seawards but ever he drew it near; It was back and forth till the sunset and the stars came out anon. The fish was giving inch by inch but ever the fight went on. 'Twas a fight that once in a lifetime comes to a fisher man, And having thrilled to its power he's wed to the fishing clan. Morning found Paul Bunyan ready to grasp the prize, But the fish in growing larger had, too, grown wondrous wise. And dashing towards the nimrod it tried to foul the line Around some broken branches of a waterlogged old pine. It was nip and tuck for a moment but Bunyan was forced to see The strong line part like a raveling and the fish go tearing free. With one quick burst of anger he sat down limp as a rag, And when he wended homeward his feet would scarcely drag. But rest brought resolution and an overpowering wish: He'd camp there by that lakeside till he caught that cussed fish. For weeks he fished those waters in sunshine and in shade, A thousand different spots he tried, a hundred lures he made. But often as the sunset his dream fish would arise And sport its lazy beauty before his longing eyes, And ever it seemed to laugh at him and ever he madder grew, He cussed and fought it in his sleep till he knew not what to do. But finally said Paul Bunyan, "There's one way left to try, I'll have that fish by sunset or know the reason why; "I'll drain this cussed puddle right through the old Cascades, And grill this fish for supper on the hottest plate in Hades." The old Blue Ox he harnessed, he didn't give a dern, As around old Mount Baker he took a double turn; He almost pulled the Mountain loose but he pulled the Range in two, And all those inland waters like mad came tumbling through. And right where the torrent widened he stood with his mighty spear And said "I'll get sir mister fish when he comes out through here." Well, Paul had his fish for supper and there's no more inland lake, And the Columbia River rages through right where he made the break. Now some say this is a fable, but I know that it is true, For I have it straight from a logger, just as it's told to you.
Fairy Tale Friday is my weekly post celebrating those tales of long ago that not only entertain but also teach important life lessons. Looking back at my upbringing, many common sense values were first introduced to me through fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes. One of my fondest early childhood memories is my older sister and I sitting in my father’s lap while he read stories from the “Childcraft” story collection. I hope you will enjoy spending a few moments each week experiencing the wisdom of these timeless writings.
If you have any tales or fables you would like to see appear on Fairy Tale Friday, leave a note in the comment section below.
Thanks and God bless.