The Fisherman and the Bear
One fine day an old Maine man was fishing and fishing on his favorite lake and catching nary a thing. Finally, he gave up and walked back along the shore to his fishing shack. When he got close to the front door, he saw it was open. Being of a suspicious nature, he walked to the door quietly and looked inside. There was a big black bear. It was just pulling the cork out of his molasses jug with its teeth. The molasses spilled all over the floor and the bear rubbed his paw in it, smearing it all over.
Well, the old man was not the timid sort. He went to the back of the shack, put his head in the window and gave a loud yell. The bear jumped and ran out the door. It was running strangely. The old man saw that the bear was holding up the foot covered with molasses so it wouldn't get dirty.
The bear ran to the lake shore. Standing on its hind legs, it held up the paw full of molasses. Soon all the flies and bugs and mosquitoes were swarming all over the sticky sweet paw. Then the bear waded into the water with his sticky paw full of bugs. It held the paw out over the water. Suddenly, a big trout came jumping out of the water trying to get to the flies. The bear gave it a swat and it flew to the shore and flopped there. Then another fish jumped into the air after the flies, followed swiftly by another. Every time a fish jumped after his paw, the bear cuffed it ashore. Soon it had a large pile.
Finally, the bear decided he had enough fish and waded to shore. The bear had caught a mess of fish any fisherman would envy. The old man had caught nothing. He watched that bear eat half a dozen trout, his stomach rumbling. All he had for dinner was some bread and what was left of the molasses. Finally the bear paused in his eating, and looked over to the bushes where the old man was hidden. The bear stood up and laid the remaining fish in a row. Then it walked away up the shore. It kept looking back at the bushes where the old man stood.
The old man crept out of the bushes and down to the shore. Sure enough, the bear had left six large trout for him. He looked over at the bear. It was standing at the edge of the wood watching. "Thanks a lot," the old man called to the bear. The bear waved the now-clean paw at the old man and disappeared into the thicket. "Well," said the old man, "That's the first time a bear has ever paid me for my molasses."
The old man never hunted bears again.
A Maine Spooky Story
Now Colonel Buck was not what you'd call the most virtuous man in town. No sir! He had an eye for the ladies, did Colonel Buck, and he would chase them 'til he got what he wanted. Then he would drop them like a hot brick.
Well, Colonel Buck has a pretty maid working for him. It weren't long before he started noticing her and she, poor lass, started looking back. One thing led to another, don't you know, and one day Colonel Buck turned out his pretty maid, seeing as she was unmarried and in the family way.
Well now, that pretty lass had a deformed baby boy, and she had a hard time making ends meet with a growing son. She began putting pressure on ol' Colonel Buck to take responsibility for the boy. Well, Colonel Buck weren't having none of that. He began putting it about town that this lassie was really a witch. The rumor spread and spread. The townsfolk became a-feared of the lass and one day they grabbed the woman and brought her before Colonel Buck. He condemned her to death for sorcery, and had her burned at the stake. The woman shouted a curse at the Colonel as she burned, swearing that he would always bear the mark of this injustice.
Her poor young son was forced to watch his mother being burned as a witch. When one of his mother's legs fell from her burning body, he broke away from the crowd, ran forward to pick up the leg and fled. It was the only piece of his mother he had left to bury.
After Colonel Buck's death, a grand tombstone was erected in his honor. A few weeks later, a strange discoloration began to form on the stone. It was the picture of a woman's leg. The reminder of the woman and her curse embarrassed the people of Bucksport. They had the stone thrown out to sea. But the stone was washed ashore, the image of the leg still branded upon it. The town leaders had the stone smashed to bits and they put a new tombstone on Colonel Buck's grave. But the image of the leg reappeared on the new stone, and could not be removed. It remains there to this day; a reminder of a poor girl who was robbed of her innocence and later her life by Colonel Buck.
You can talk 'til you're blue in the face about the thickest of fogs in ye merry olde England, but I'm tellin' you now, sure as I'm standing here, that England's fogs don't hold nothing over them thick fogs which roll in over the Bay of Fundy here in Maine. These ain't your little pea soupers, you can betcher life. These fogs is so thick you can drive a nail into them and hang yer hat on it. It's the honest truth.
One of my neighbors works a fishing boat, but he can't do nothin' when a Maine fog comes rolling into the bay. He always saves up his chores for a foggy day. One day, the fog came rollin' in overnight, and my friend knew there wasn't to be no fishin' that day. So he decides his roof needs shingling. He got started at the shingling right after breakfast, and didn't come down 'til dinner.
"Maude, we got a mighty long house," he told his wife over supper. "Took me all day to shingle."
Well, Maude knew right enough that they lived in a small house. After all, she'd been cleanin' it for nigh on twenty years, so who would know better? She went outside to take a look. And I'll be jiggered if she didn't discover that my neighbor had shingled right past the edge of the roof and out onto the fog!
Birth of Paul Bunyan
Now I hear tell that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor, Maine. It took five giant storks to deliver Paul to his parents. His first bed was a lumber wagon pulled by a team of horses. His father had to drive the wagon up to the top of Maine and back whenever he wanted to rock the baby to sleep.
As a newborn, Paul Bunyan could hollar so loud he scared all the fish out of the rivers and streams. All the local frogs started wearing earmuffs so they wouldn't go deaf when Paul screamed for his breakfast. His parents had to milk two dozen cows morning and night to keep his milk bottle full and his mother had to feed him ten barrels of porrige every two hours to keep his stomach from rumbling and knocking the house down.
Within a week of his birth, Paul Bunyan could fit into his father's clothes. After three weeks, Paul rolled around so much during his nap that he destroyed four square miles of prime timberland. His parents were at their wits' end! They decided to build him a raft and floated it off the coast of Maine. When Paul turned over, it caused a 75 foot tidal wave in the Bay of Fundy. They had to send the British Navy over to Maine to wake him up. The sailors fired every canon they had in the fleet for seven hours straight before Paul Bunyan woke from his nap! When he stepped off the raft, Paul accidentally sank four war ships and he had to scramble around sccooping sailors out of the water before they drowned.
After this incident, Paul's parents decided the East was just too plumb small for him, and so the family moved to Minnesota.
Maine Tall Tales retold by S. E. Schlosser