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Paul Bunyan and the Log Jam

Wisconsin, Tall Tales


One spring day, the loggers on the Wisconsin River discovered a huge log jam, the biggest they’d ever seen. The logs were piled about two hundred feet high and the jam went upriver for a mile or more. Those loggers chopped and hauled at the jam, but it wouldn’t budge an inch. So they called for Paul Bunyan to give them a hand.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox sized up the log jam. Then Paul told the loggers to stand back. He put Babe in the river in front of the log jam and began shooting his rifle, peppering the Blue Ox with shot. Babe thought he was being bothered by a particularly nasty breed of fly, so he began swishing his tail back and forth.

Well, that stirred things up a bit in the river. It got so agitated that the water began to flow upstream, taking the logs with it. Bit by bit, the log jam broke apart. Finally, Paul pulled Babe out of the water, and the river and logs began to float downstream again the way they should.


You can read more Wisconsin folklore and ghost stories in Spooky Wisconsin by S.E. Schlosser.

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. 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.