Bear's Son

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Created On 11 August 2002
Last Updated On 11 August 2002
Copyright © 2002 Simon E. Phipp

There was once a young man who had gained a dagger from the Bear's Halls in the underworld. Whenever he wanted to wander in the woods, he would go to the edge of the forest, strike the dagger into the earth, say a few words and turn into a bear. Then he would commune with the forest and when he was tired of being a bear he would return to the dagger and change back into a man. Now, this youth was very handsome and was well-loved by the young girls in the camp. His brother was jealous of him and decided to be rid of him. He followed his brother into the forest and stole the dagger when his brother had become a bear and wandered off. He threw the dagger into a fast flowing river and then ran back to the camp. The youth returned after a while but could not find his dagger, so he remained a bear until the end of his days.

Once, the bear-youth spied a beautiful young maiden bathing on the banks of a river near his forest. He remembered his time as a man and desired her greatly so he rushed to where she bathed and took her into the forest with him. He made her his wife and she became pregnant. When their son was born, the wife said that he must return to the camp so that their son could be brought up as a man not as a bear. The bear agreed and carried his son on his back, leaving him at the first hut, which was his sister's. His sister found the child and reared him as her own. He grew up to be very big and very strong. When he played with the other children, he would break their arms and legs without knowing it. He could carry three horses, one under each arm and one on his back, and run as fast as a horse. He soon became a man and his parents tried to find him a wife, but all the girls were afraid of his strength and thought he would break them in two. At last, they found a girl who was so strong she could carry two mill stones in each hand. They brought her to their son and they wrestled for a whole day with neither being able to defeat the other. At last, they stopped and married for they knew they could not find another as strong. Their children are the bear clan who are big and strong and who can sometimes change form and become bears.