gillygalou bird

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Jul 5 20:33:22 UTC 2001

As I remember my folkore studies of long ago, Paul Bunyan was the
most frequently cited example of fakelore, a somewhat technical term
used by folklorists for items which are made up in popular culture or
literary (rather tha oral) tradidtions to "imitate" oral lore.

Net and other cultures make this distinction a less clear-cut one today (IMHO).


>Regarding the life and loves of Paul Bunyan:
>Looking over quickly the entries on Bunyan in The Funk & Wagnall's
>Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, Maria Leach,
>ed., 1949 (under PB); American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, Jan Harold
>Brunvand, ed., 1996; and the Penguin Dictionary of American Folklore,
>Alan Axelrod, ed., 2000 (in both under B, P), it seems that though
>Bunyan has roots in Canadian folklore, the widespread familiarity with
>his story, and the tales generally known about him, are the work of
>several known journalists and a publicist for a lumber company, all
>writing in the early decades of the 20th century, and of later writers,
>including of course the Disney studio.
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African
>Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
>Date: Thursday, July 5, 2001 1:48 pm
>Subject: Re: gillygalou bird
>>  In a message dated 7/5/01 11:10:19 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
>>  Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM writes:
>>  > My correspondent corrects my inference about the dialect in
>>  which she
>>  >  observed the phrase [gillygalou bird]:
>>  >
>>  >  >>>>>
>>  >  At 11:01 AM 7/3/01 -0400, you wrote:
>>  >  >This item apparently comes from Canadian French, but it was
>>  observed in
>>  >  >Canadian English. Does anyone recognize it or have an idea
>>  about it? A
>>  >  >correspondent asks:
>>  >
>>  >  Never Canadian English.  My g'g'g'father is the one who
>>  >  I believe moved from the Montreal area to the Detroit
>>  >  area.  That quarter of my pedigree is all French
>>  While I have read several collections of Paul Bunyan stories, I
>>  don't know
>>  anything significant about the ORIGIN of the Paul Bunyan legend.
>>  A book I
>>  read many years ago (it may have been entitled _Yankee Doodle's
>>  Cousins_)tells the story that Paul came from Francophone Canada,
>>  and was already
>>  accompanied by his blue ox, Bebe.  When they stepped over the US
>>  border, they
>>  magically became Anglophones (and Bebe was renamed Babe).
>>  I have never encountered any other versions of the Paul Bunyan
>>  legend that
>>  gave his origin as anything other than the USA.  Does anyone have
>>  additionaldata on this?
>>       - Jim Landau   (who also lays square eggs)
>>  PS.  "Gillygalou" sounds Irish to me.  Probably I'm thinking of
>>  such Celtic
>>  phoneticisms as "Gilgarry Mountain", "gallowglass",  "gillie",
>>  "Gilligan",and the British Admiral "Billy Blue" Cornwallis and his
>>  sidekick Captain
>>  Pellew.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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