It was the year of the two winters and even in Mississippi the weather had been unseasonably cool. Up North the weather had been so cold that almost all the forest had been cut for firewood and so many people froze that they stacked them up as a windbreak around the towns. In the South the temperatures got way below 50 degrees and there was even talk of snow. People in Mississippi were absolutely miserable from the cold.
During this time, the famed giant lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, heard about the pristine ancient forest located in the Mississippi Delta. Trees here were gigantic and the thought of logging in that wild uncharted forest sounded just right for him to spread his fame to the south as the greatest lumberjack to ever live. He and his enormous blue ox named Babe headed south.
Paul Bunyan set up his camp near present day Greenwood on the Yazoo River and started cutting. Babe was kept busy pulling the enormous logs to the Yazoo river and later the Mississippi River for transport. It did not take long for them to clear a swath across the delta and the constant dragging of logs smoothed the land as flat as a pancake. Everything went well until they finally reached the base of the bluffs near the little town of Thornton, Mississippi.
Thunderhoof, the Guardian of the Forest, had heard about these strangers and after seeing their handiwork of clear cutting of the vast Delta Rain Forest was enraged. Thunderhoof is the last of the Irish Elk and has guarded the Mississippi Delta since the Ice Age. Wise, powerful, magical and extremely smart, he saw the destruction of his forest and charged headlong into the lumber operation to challenge these interlopers.
Sparks flew from his hoofs and the sound of thunder blasted as he flew like an arrow into the camp to fight. The very first thing he saw stopped him dead in his tracks. A giant Blue Ox with horns fourteen feet across! Babe, the giant Blue Ox stood in the center of the camp eating the treetops of the immense virgin cypress trees. Thunderhoof wasted no time and gave a bellow that was quickly answered by Babe and they charged at each other headlong. The spot where they crashed together is now called Blue Deer Lake. Both of them were stunned from the crash but quickly regained their feet and the fight was on!
They tore up 70 miles of forest between the bluffs and the Mississippi river, and the dirt that they moved formed a large part of the Mississippi levee. After three days of fighting, bloodied and exhausted the mighty Blue Ox finally admitted he was beaten and bowed his head in surrender and that great fight was over.
Thunderhoof was not in much better shape and soon saw the giant lumberjack headed his way with an axe the size of a redwood tree. The exhausted deer prepared to charge but suddenly Babe the Blue Ox rammed into the side of Paul Bunyan and stopped him cold. Babe made it clear that the fight was over and it was time to go back home to Minnesota. Paul Bunyan scratched his head, petted the big ox on the head, smiled and then bowed to Thunderhoof. The famous lumberjack packed his things, threw his enormous ax over his shoulder and headed for new territory in the Northwest that very day. It was the greatest fight that Thunderhoof had ever had and as usual, he, Paul Bunyan and Babe later became friends. Large portions of the delta were ruined and later became the vast cotton fields that makeup huge portions of the delta today.
No one really knows what happened to Paul Bunyan and Babe in later years, they just seemed to wander further into the Northwest territory and out of existence.
The people of the delta were so thankful to Thunderhoof that they built a huge statue in Greenwood to honor the battle. To this day, deep in the Mississippi delta, the mighty Thunderhoof still guards the remaining old forest.