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By ROBERT FROST
The lumberjacks of our logging-camps have created, by the grace of primitive imagination, a mythical heroPaul. Sometimes he is called Paul Bunyon, sometimes by other names; but he is always Paul.
The Paul legend is authentic American folk-lore still in the making. Just when and where the stories originated no one knows. We know only that in Maine, in Canada, in Michigan, and in Oregon tales of Paul's valor are told around bunk-house stoves on winter nights, and that with the telling the legend grows.
The Paul of lumberjack fancy is a hero of unlimited strength, unequaled daring, and a facility for accomplishing the seemingly impossible by clever and highly original methods. Nothing is too difficult for Paul. Say that anything is impossible, and the lumberjack replies, "Paul could do it-easy."
In the following pages Robert Frost tells the story of how Paul found a wife and lost her.
To drive Paul out of any lumber-camp
He was all duty to her in a minute;
Who asked the question. He just disappeared,
Although it was n't usually long
Before they heard of him in some new camp
She would have had to be a heroine;
Instead of which she was some half-breed squaw. But if the story Murphy told was true,
She was n't any one to be ashamed of.
You know, Paul could do wonders. Every one's
But when Paul put his finger in the grease,
Every one had to have a look at it,
And tell Paul what he ought to do about it.
The hollow looked too sound and clean and empty
It might have been the skin a snake had cast
The hundred years the tree must have been growing.
Paul dragged the shallows for it with his fingers,
Her wet hair heavy on her like a helmet,
Who, leaning on a log, looked back at Paul.
And that made Paul in turn look back
To see if it was any one behind him
That she was looking at instead of him.
(Murphy had been there watching all the time,
(But from a shed where neither of them could see him.)
There was a moment of suspense in birth,
When the girl seemed too water-logged to live,
And laughed. Then she climbed slowly to her feet