Rus Articles Journal

How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?

“Bear! As much in this sound for heart of Russian merged...“ - from sympathy and affection (I hope, you in the childhood had a teddy bear?) to fear and respect. Occasions to respect this animal, it is enough: the impressive sizes (bear - the largest representatives of group predatory), the huge force, fair ingenuity and even ability to rise on hinder legs.

Not without reason many people (especially northern) recognized a bear nearly as “the brother on reason“, and even above. Ainu called him god of mountains, ostyak - the son of the sky, the Russian hunters - the owner of a taiga and which - who at all the person who acquired wool which everything understands, and can even sometimes exorcise. For example, in Kipling`s poem “World with a bear“ (“which goes, as we“) the Kashmir hunter calls it Adam - the back (i.e. “Adam`s son“).

Besides, in folklore it is possible to meet many stories about the girl who is kidnapped by a bear to make the wife. The plot about so-called is especially popular in France. Jean Medveda conceived in this unnatural communication. A combination of bear power to human reason allow the hero to overcome the devil and to receive as a result in wives the princess.

The softened echoes of a plot of kidnapping of the girl a bear can be seen also in our fairy tale about Masha, penyok and pie. And also in a legend about well-known Crimean the Bear - the mountain (or on - Tatar - to Ai - Dag).

According to it, once huge bears found on the seashore in ship fragments the little girl who was grown up and fallen in love. Especially bears liked her singing.

The girl grew up and, in turn, also found the exhausted young man at the beaten boat. When it it left, the young man suggested the rescuer to departure to the world of people. They already sailed away from the coast when bears bethought. Having seen that their favourite sails from the coast, they by order of the leader began to drink the sea. The sea sharply shoaled, and then the girl started singing, asking bears not to break her destiny. Animals listened to entreaties and stopped drinking. But the old leader remained to lie in melancholy ashore, yet did not harden.

And it is valid, outlines to Ai - Dag remind from a distance the huge bear inclined over water...

Many legends narrate also about bears - werewolves. At the same time in ancient times some aggressive Vikings seriously considered that they can “awaken in themselves an animal“ - put on bear skins, brought themselves to ecstatic intoxication and with a roar rushed on the enemy, without feeling either fear, or pain. Such soldiers were called by berserka.

The root “ber“ which is contained in the name (“brown“ as called a bear) can be met also in other words: Bear (“bear“ in English), Bjorn (“bear“ in the Scandinavian languages), Bern (the capital of Switzerland), a den (i.e. “Bor`s den“).

D. R. R. Tolkien “Hobbit“: “- If you want to know

more, I can tell that his name is Beorn. It very strong also changes skins.

- What? Furrier? Which does a rabbit “under a cat“ if from it the squirrel badly turns out? - Bilbo asked.

- Forces are heavenly! Well, no, no, no! - Gandalf told. - Try to grow wiser, mister Torbins, and for the sake of all miracles do not mention the word “furrier“ within one hundred miles from his house. And also I do not advise you to pronounce such words as “fur, a fur collar, a fur coat, a palatine, the coupling“ … and so forth! He is a Werewolf, it changes a skin. It becomes a huge black bear, the enormous dark-haired person with big hands and a magnificent beard“.


the respect of the northern people for a bear is demonstrated also by a set of the taboo connected with hunting for this animal. Having Let`s say killed a bear, the hunter surely apologized to it and buried its frame. To the Buryat it was forbidden to kill for life more than 99 bears, the Even - more than 60.

It was not allowed to speak about a bear badly and even to call by the “real“ name. For example, the Russian word “bear“ (i.e. “knowing where honey“) is the euphemism applied as replacement secret (and therefore forgotten) a name. The same concerns also the hero of the Old English epos - the Beowulf whose name in essence meant “bear“, but was literally translated as “a bee wolf“.

Though the Russian name of an animal had no relation to the bible name “Mikhail“, similarity of these words led to the fact that the bear began to be called quite often or validly - “Mikhaylo Ivanovich Toptygin“, or umenshitelno - “Mischa, Mishka“.

As for Ancient Greek myths about transformation of people into bears, they “are still printed“ in a night sky in the form of two constellations - Big and Small She-bears.

It is easy to find among a star scattering the Big Dipper any person - even not expert in astronomy can. However, the well-known combination from seven stars reminds a ladle with the handle or a cart with a shaft more likely, than an animal. Not without reason artists should represent a star she-bear with a long neck (characteristic more for a polar bear), with a long tail which bears do not have at all.

Caesar Germanik (15 BC - 19 AD) “Phenomena“: Greeks of their “Arkta“ call

, “Medveditsa“ - we call

Or “Carts“ because their outlines are similar to the vehicle -

Three on a shaft of a star and four in wheels flicker. If shape it you give to

she-bears, you will see how Eyes of animals shine with

; at one head over a shaggy back...


If to trust a legend, the Big Dipper got on the sky so.

Once upon a time there was in Arkady the girl Callisto is the daughter of the local tsar Likaon who liked to hunt with the goddess Artemis. Artemis was the convinced virgin. Therefore when learned that her girlfriend was tempted daddy by Zeus, outright grew furious and turned Callisto into a she-bear. Later time the she-bear gave birth to the son Arkad - quite humanoid.

Despite all these metamorphoses, Likaon sheltered the daughter with the grandson in the palace. But once the she-bear - Callisto incidentally came into the reserved temple of Zeus, than angered attendees. The crowd pursued an animal, and headed a pursuit not who other as … Arkad. Seeing that now the son will shed blood of the mother, Zeus without thinking twice turned them into constellations. Callisto became the Big Dipper, Arkad - Bootes, and his hunting dogs turned into constellation of the Canes Venatici. All of them are located in the star sky near, and the name of the main star of Bootes - Arktur - and is translated “the Guard of Medveditsa“.

As for Small Medveditsa, Greeks considered her as Callisto`s dog and in this case long “tail“ is quite logical. But even in shape of constellations unfortunate heroes did not find rest. The jealous spouse of Zeus - Hera - forbade them to leave the sky and “to have a rest in the sea“. Therefore you can observe She-bears at all seasons of the year.

Francesco Petrarca:

Already the dawn rumyanit the East,

A light of a star that it is not lovely to Juno,
(Juno - the Roman analog of Hera - S. K.)

Still shone in a pale sky

Over a pole, it is fine and far...
by

Moreover - the tip of “tail“ of Small Medveditsa was “strongly beaten“ to a firmament. Of course, I mean the Pole Star - the only thing shone, never changing provisions while other stars rotate around it. This fact long since pleased seamen who before emergence of a compass steadily relied on this firm northern reference point.

Homer “Odyssey“:

Joyfully the sail strained Odysseus and, Having entrusted to a fair wind

, floated. Sitting aft and a mighty hand

turning the Wheel, he was awake; the dream on it did not go down

Eyes, and they were not reduced by it from Galaxies, from

descending late In Voot`s sea (i.e. Bootes - S. K.) from Medveditsa, in people yet of the

chariot the Name bearing, and near Orion

making eternally the Circle, itself never bathing in Ocean waters.

C it the goddess of goddesses enjoined to it vigilantly

the Way to soglashat the, leaving it at the left...


To be continued …