Master of Fine Arts This novel is a chronicle of the early days of Paul Bunyan, an important figure in American folk culture. While Paul Bunyan is a central figure in the tale, the story itself is told through the eyes of Clay Filinger, a young man from the backwoods of Kentucky who leaves his home on a journey of American exploration. Clay reaches Boston, where he hires on to work for John Patrick, a wealthy merchant headed to Maine in search of pirate treasure. John is travelling with his nephew, Randolph Bunyan. Along with them are two more hired men: Stokes, a foul riverman, and Silas Jefferson, a smooth-talking man with criminal intentions. As they travel up the coast, they encounter a shipwreck with one survivor, a pregnant Irish girl named Muirenn. Muirenn reveals to Clay that she is, in fact several hundred years old, having been trapped as a girl by the King of the Fair Folk. It is this supernatural king who is the father of her child. Clay, not wanting anything to do with these events, flees as soon as possible. He is turned back, however, by threats from a pooka, a mysterious creature. Shortly thereafter, Clay confronts a mysterious and powerful being called Liath Luacra. During the conflict, Muirenn gives birth to a boy named Paul, who is adopted by Randolph Bunyan. She then dies. The men finally find themselves in The Aroostook Valley of Maine. John Patrick continues looking for his treasure, and Clay does what he can to protect Paul. After some months, Silas Jefferson rides into town with a band of armed men, looking for Patrick's treasure. Clay fights him, and Jefferson is killed, but promptly possessed by Liath Luacra. The pooka is forced to become a huge blue ox while Clay and the others flee. Finding themselves on the other side of a river, Clay and his companions eventually are forced into a final confrontation with Constance Jefferson, who came with her brother, and finally with Liath Luacra. With luck and supernatural help, Constance is defeated and Liath Luacra is forced to flee.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Croker, Michael Ryan, "The Life and Origins of Paul Bunyan: Part One" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 1937.
Paul Bunyan, Maine, Aroostook War