Tall Tales and Legends

CEDAR shakes, described as "shingles that are the same thickness
at both ends," covered the log cabins of early Oregon. When Paul
Bunyan's loggers roofed an Oregon bunkhouse with shakes, fog was
so thick that they shingled forty feet into space before discovering they
had passed the last rafter.

Paul Bunyan performed notable feats in Oregon, eclipsing the prowess
of his famous predecessor Joe Paul, the Indian guide who lifted a
barrel of lead from the floor to the trading post counter. He created
Spencer's Butte, the Columbia River, and Crater Lake. Spencer's Butte,
near Eugene, represents one wagon load of dirt, upset when Paul was
making a road. The Columbia River was also something of an acci-
dent, being the deep, irregular furrow dug by Babe, the big blue ox,
when he peevishly broke away with a plow and rushed headlong from
the mountains to the sea. Into Crater Lake Paul dumped the last of the
blue snow, where it melted and produced the azure phenomenon that
greatly amazed early loggers.

Although Paul and Babe had ceased their exploits long before logging
became important in Oregon, tales of "bull teams" continue to circu-
late. A bull-whacker for a logging company near Knappa found that
sweet nothings, whispered in the oxen's ears, inspired them to prodigious
feats, and he would race from one animal to another with his confiden-
tial endearments. In contrast was the far-reaching vituperation of Little
Billy Ross, employed at Westport, whose voice could be heard for miles,
and his stage-driving counterpart in Eastern Oregon, Whispering
Thompson, whose ordinary conversational tones thundered across two

Joe Gervais, descendant of an Astor boatman, gravely explained a
Bunyanesque feat that he performed along the ocean. The Clatsops and
Nehalems, a little tired of their constant warfare with each other, asked
him to keep peace between them.

"I put the Clatsops at work on their side," he said, "and the Ne-
halems at work on the south, moving rocks and dirt. It was slow going