Tell-It Tuesday: Paul Bunyan and Bodies of Water

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Tell-It Tuesday

Paul Bunyan and Bodies of Water

Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox, Babe, are credited by many stories with the creation of several large bodies of water in the United States. Here are a few of them.

Rivers Created by Paul Bunyan

The Mississippi River

Paul and Babe, the big blue ox, were walking down a steep road one day, hauling a giant tank of water behind them. The tank, from all the bumping and jostling on the road, sprang a leak. The water began to trickle out of the giant tank, flowing southward. This “leak” became the mighty Mississippi River.

mississippi river

The Missouri River

Some legends about Paul Bunyan say that when Babe died, Paul cried so long and so hard that his gigantic tears formed the Missouri River.


Lakes Created by Paul Bunyan

The Finger Lakes

Many versions of how Paul Bunyan formed the Finger Lakes exist. One of them says that giant Paul Bunyan, while walking one day, tripped and fell forward. He reached out with his hand to stop his fall, leaving a giant handprint on the land. When the handprint filled with water from the rain, it formed the Finger Lakes.

finger lakes

The Great Lakes

Paul Bunyan needed a very large watering hole for Babe, his big blue ox. He searched but couldn’t find one big enough. So he carved out the Great Lakes as watering holes for Babe.

great lakes

The 10,000 Lakes

Paul and Babe walked through Minnesota one harsh winter, leaving giant footprints in the land.


These footprints filled with water and became known as the “Ten Thousand Lakes”.

Waves Created by Paul Bunyan

The Bay of Fundy

Paul was a giant baby when he was born. Legend has it that half a dozen storks were needed to carry him to his parents in Maine. As they flew, carrying the giant cradle with Paul in it, the cradle began to rock back and forth. The motion of the giant cradle and baby swaying back and forth created a powerful wind that created large tidal waves in the Bay of Fundy. The waves are still strong there today.


I hope you enjoyed hearing about Paul Bunyan and his water creations.

If you want to read more about Paul Bunyan, here are some websites to try:

Have a great day!


Nature Mamaw

Illustration is my original. Photographs are courtesy of



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