The Birth of the Paul Bunyan Tradition

Author: 
Wayne Chamberlain, Pequot Lakes, MN

Many of you know about Paul Bunyan’s fishing trip and his monumentous battle with notorious Nate. The biggest- meanest Northern in the five state area. When Paul started out on that trip he never realized the problems, benefits and changes he would create for the little town of Pequot.

Paul’s huge red and white bobber landed on top of the scaffolding that Pequot was building for their new water tower where it remains today. Old Nate, well he landed in Pequot’s town square with a thunderous crash. To celebrate the areas bean harvest, the people of Pequot lowered a huge pot of beans into the hole and baked them overnight. Bean Hole Day is still celebrated today by baking huge pots of beans in the hole left by Old Nate.

But this story is about what happened to Old Nate. When Nate landed in Pequot, everyone in town filled their freezers with all the fish they wanted. But there was still tons of fish left! So local residents put up over 2,500 gallons of Pickled Northern. But, to no avail, there was still a small mountain of fish left. Pequot’s residents had to do something. Fast! Within a day or two, the stench would drive every living thing away for a 300 mile radius around Pequot! Nate’s remains were quickly iced down until a solution could be found.

That night a local Minister who’s name was lost forever, had an idea. The next morning, he notified his small congregation to meet him in Pequot’s town square at noon. By 2 pm they were ready and the word quickly spread throughout the surrounding area. The group worked fast and furiously and by midnight nothing remained of Old Nate. Pequot’s potential odor problem was gone and the congregation made enough money to build a nice little new church.

That day a tradition was born that has since spread far and wide throughout the land. In case you haven’t guessed yet, you partake of this tradition every time you walk into a restaurant and order the Friday Night Fish Fry. As Paul Harvey would say “ Now you know the rest of the story!”