Paul Bunyan

Babe the Blue Ox

Minnesota Tall Tales

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before.

Paul Bunyan went out walking in the woods one day during that Winter of the Blue Snow. He was knee-deep in blue snow when he heard a funny sound between a bleat and a snort. Looking down, he saw a teeny-tiny baby blue ox jest a hopping about in the snow and snorting with rage on account of he was too short to see over the drifts.

Paul Bunyan laughed when he saw the spunky little critter and took the little blue mite home with him. He warmed the little ox up by the fire and the little fellow fluffed up and dried out, but he remained as blue as the snow that had stained him in the first place. So Paul named him Babe the Blue Ox.

Well, any creature raised in Paul Bunyan's camp tended to grow to massive proportions, and Babe was no exception. Folks that stared at him for five minutes could see him growing right before their eyes. He grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a plug of tobacco could fit between his eyes and it took a murder of crows a whole day to fly from one horn to the other. The laundryman used his horns to hang up all the camp laundry, which would dry lickety-split because of all the wind blowing around at that height.

Whenever he got an itch, Babe the Blue Ox had to find a cliff to rub against, 'cause whenever he tried to rub against a tree it fell over and begged for mercy. To whet his appetite, Babe would chew up thirty bales of hay, wire and all. It took six men with picaroons to get all the wire out of Babe's teeth after his morning snack. Right after that he'd eat a ton of grain for lunch and then come pestering around the cook - Sourdough Sam - begging for another snack.

Babe the Blue Ox was a great help around Paul Bunyan's logging camp. He could pull anything that had two ends, so Paul often used him to straighten out the pesky, twisted logging roads. By the time Babe had pulled the twists and kinks out of all the roads leading to the lumber camp, there was twenty miles of extra road left flopping about with nowhere to go. So Paul rolled them up and used them to lay a new road into new timberland.

Paul also used Babe the Blue Ox to pull the heavy tank wagon which was used to coat the newly-straightened lumber roads with ice in the winter, until one day the tank sprang a leak that trickled south and became the Mississippi River. After that, Babe stuck to hauling logs. Only he hated working in the summertime, so Paul had to paint the logging roads white after the spring thaw so that Babe would keep working through the summer.

One summer, as Babe the Blue Ox was hauling a load of logs down the white-washed road and dreaming of the days when the winter would feel cold again and the logs would slide easier on the "ice", he glanced over the top of the mountain and caught a glimpse of a pretty yeller calf grazing in a field. Well, he twisted out of his harness lickety-split and stepped over the mountain to introduce himself. It was love at first sight, and Paul had to abandon his load and buy Bessie the Yeller Cow from the farmer before Babe would do any more hauling.

Bessie the Yeller Cow grew to the massive, yet dainty proportions that were suitable for the mate of Babe the Blue Ox. She had long yellow eyelashes that tickled the lumberjacks standing on the other end of camp each time she blinked. She produced all the dairy products for the lumber camp. Each day, Sourdough Sam made enough butter from her cream to grease the giant pancake griddle and sometimes there was enough left over to butter the toast!

The only bone of contention between Bessie and Babe was the weather. Babe loved the ice and snow and Bessie loved warm summer days. One winter, Bessie grew so thin and pale that Paul Bunyan asked his clerk Johnny Inkslinger to make her a pair of green goggles so she would think it was summer. After that, Bessie grew happy and fat again, and produced so much butter that Paul Bunyan used the leftovers to grease the whitewashed lumber roads in summer. With the roads so slick all year round, hauling logs became much easier for Babe the Blue Ox, and so Babe eventually came to like summer almost as much as Bessie.


Comments's so interesting..!!!!

love it..hope u post more.....

so cute....

aw haha thanks for answering my question and bessie haha perfect cow name

I loved the story it was funny

i haven't read these tales since 1955.
this is becoming a lost
part of our past lives

it is cool

well well well the stories are nice !! :)) and i would like to know more interesting stories in this site ty!!

it was great


Why did he name it babe

loved it so funny i was just learning alout him


i luvd it

I LOVE tall tales ;D

it was very cute of babe's side of the story

I love that story and that is amazing

That was quite interesting. I'm learning about it right now so I know the story already.

That was quite interesting. I'm learning about it right now so I know the story already.

Great story

that story was so amazing

hey i know why they call them babe because you know the tall tal paul bunyn and johnny appleseed they all have you know halrious names so yeah thats why i thnk i got that right cause it said on the internet and this guy told me.

this was so inspiring i cried.

I wanted to be Babe the blue ox for Halloween, since my husband is going to be Paul. Do you think anyone will know Babe was a guy?

This tall tale is as tall as Paul Bunyan!

love at first sight!!!

wow! vary nice.

i love the story.!!!!!1

I think this was a great story. I like babe the blue ox.


sooooo... not like the origanel.

i love this

i loved it!!!!

go babe go babe go babe

hi good story.

It was amazing so cool

I think it's cool and intresting


so cool!!!! i hope u post more


its sooo insightful and cute

i have allways loved this story. i remember as a child watching a movie with babe the blue ox. i love it!!!

this is funny

My class loves this story.


I loved it so much

this is a cool story I like it I'm working on one myself

it is one of the funnyst and weidst story ever!!!!!!

my favorite charecter is babe the blue ox its a good story i can imagen how big babe is hes huge and bessei

I luv your story. :) I liked reading it. :) It's fun to ready and good for kids. My favorit characters are Babe and the Blue ox. I bet Babe is huge

it was funny

its ok

It was awesome


Awesome, I loved it!


Great story, perfect for the project i am working on....

I. Love this story




it was good and cool !!!!!!!!!!!

i love it

this story is soo cool am taking it at school but in different way :P

cool beans


ok i guess

alright story.
where's the paul bunyan story about his axe?
and how he carved washington??

i love it!!!!!!!!!

love the story

i say its a good story...wut about bessie...all we know is that babe saw her...wut was her life like b4 she met pual and babe

I liked babe the blue ox he was soo big Omg I cnt believe how big he was

This story is great I've wanted to find a blue ox all my life so I could prove Paul Bunyan was real I saw one travling by a gigantic glowing figure !


cute story
i loved it
and i love the cute bit of romance between Babe and Bessie
that was relly cute

this was so cool

Good story

love it♥

the story was nice and stuff. :3

this is a cool story

nice story

I love the blue oxxxxxx!!!~!

A tall tale is not a tall tale without a tall figure!!!!!



wow this is awesome i love it lol wow why is it name babe

loved it

awesome story



Loved it!! so cute & very funny!! LOL ;D

i love the little babe the ox..... sounds so cute

I love it.

it was a cool story i love these kind of storys

i love this story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was a very good story

i love this story sooooooo much



i love it.

was GREAT!

i like this

so romantic


i love the story i want a baby blue ox

the story was awesome... I loved it!

it was awesome!

Hohoho I love this story it was just they way it really happened.

Isn't Babe a pig?
You know, in the movie "Babe"?

Famous characters Ghost Stories Folktales


Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more

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