«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, there is enough: the impressive sizes (bear – the largest representatives of group predatory), huge force, fair ingenuity and even ability to rise on hinder legs. How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
Gergely Zsolnai, Shutterstock.com

Not without reason many people (especially northern) recognized a bear almost «as the brother on reason», and even above. Ayna called him god of mountains, остяки – the son of the sky, Russian hunters – the owner of a taiga, and someone at all the person who has acquired wool whom everything understands, and can even sometimes start talking. For example, in Kipling’s poem «World with a bear» («which goes as we») the Kashmir hunter Adam back (i.e. «Adam’s son» calls it).

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

  • How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
    Taral Jansen, commons.wikimedia.org
  • it is not known, commons.wikimedia.org

  • Morburre, commons.wikimedia.org

  • How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
    Andrey Legayev, commons.wikimedia.org
  • How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
    it is not known, commons.wikimedia.org
  • How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
    Johannes Hevelius, commons.wikimedia.org
  • How people turned into bears, and bears married in public?
    Sidney Hall, commons.wikimedia.org

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

According to it, once huge bears found on the seashore in ship fragments the little girl whom grew up and fell in love. Its singing especially was pleasant to bears.

The girl grew up and, in turn, also found at the beaten boat the exhausted young man. When it it left, the young man suggested the rescuer to departure in 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 it destiny. Animals listened to entreaties and stopped to drink. But the old leader remained to lie in melancholy ashore, did not harden yet.

And it is valid, outlines remind Ai-Daga the huge bear from afar inclined over water…

Many legends narrate and about bears werewolves. Thus in ancient times some aggressive Vikings seriously considered that can «awaken in itself an animal» – put on bear skins, led up itself to ecstatic intoxication and with a roar rushed on the enemy, without feeling neither fear, nor pain. Such soldiers called by berserka.

The root containing in the name "ber" ("brown" as called a bear) can be met and in other words: Bear ("bear" in English), Bjorn ("bear" in the Scandinavian languages), Bern (the capital of Switzerland), a den (i.e. «a den of a ber»).

D.R.R. Tolkien "Hobbit":
«–If want to know more, I can tell that his name is Bearn. It very strong also changes skins.

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

– Forces heavenly! Well, no, no, no! – Gendalf 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 to you to say 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. He becomes that a huge black bear, the enormous dark-haired person with big hands and a magnificent beard».

To respect of the northern people for a bear testify also a set of the taboos connected with hunting for this animal. Having Let’s say killed a bear, the hunter surely before it apologized and buried its frame. To the Buryat it was forbidden to kill for life more than 99 bears, an evenka – more than 60.

It was not authorized to speak about a bear badly and even to call the "real" name. For example, Russian word "bear" (i.e. «knowing where honey») is the euphemism applied as replacement coded (and therefore forgotten) a name. The same concerns also the hero of the Old English epos – the Beowulf, чьё the 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 that began to call a bear quite often or validly – "Mikhaylo Ivanovich Toptygin", or umenshitelno – «Mischa, the Bear».

As to 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.

To find among a star scattering the Big Dipper it is easy 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, rather than an animal more likely. Not without reason artists should represent a star she-bear that with a long neck (characteristic more for a polar bear), with a long tail which bears at all do not have.

Caesar Germanik (15 g BC – 19 g AD) "Phenomena":

Their "Arkta’s" Greeks call «, She-bears» – we call
Or "Carts" for their outlines are similar to a vehicle –
Rub on a shaft of a star and four in wheels flicker.
If shape to them you will give she-bears, you will see, how shine
Eyes of animals; 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 Arkadi girl Callisto – the daughter of 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 the Arcade – quite humanoid.

Despite all these metamorphoses, Likaon sheltered the daughter with the grandson in the palace. But once the she-bear Callisto casually came into Zeus reserved temple, than angered the present. The crowd pursued an animal, and who headed a pursuit not other, as … Arcades. Seeing that now the son will shed blood native mother, Zeus without thinking twice turned them into constellations. Callisto became the Big Dipper, Arcades – Bootes, and his hunting dogs turned into constellation of Hounds of Dogs. 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 the She-bear».

As to the Small She-bear, Greeks considered her as Callisto dog and in this case long "tail" is quite logical. But even in shape of constellations unfortunate heroes did not find rest. Zeus jealous spouse – Hera – forbade them to leave the sky and «to have a rest in the sea». Therefore you can observe She-bears at any time years.

Francesco Petrarka:

Already dawn румянила East,
And star light that is not lovely to Juno, (Juno – Hera’s Roman analog – Page. To.)
Still shone in a pale sky
Over a pole, it is fine and far…

Moreover – the tip of "tail" of the Small She-bear appeared "is strongly beaten" to a firmament. Certainly, I mean North Star – the only thing shone, never changing provisions while other stars rotate round 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 was strained by Odysseus and, to a fair wind
Having entrusted, floated. Sitting aft and a mighty hand
Wheel turning, he was awake; the dream on it did not go down
Eyes, and they were not reduced by it from Galaxies, with descending late
In the sea Voota (i.e. Bootes – Page. To.), from the She-bear, in people still chariots
Name carrying, and near Orion making eternally
The circle, itself never bathing in Ocean waters.
From it the goddess of goddesses enjoined to it vigilantly
Way соглашать the, it leaving at the left…

Continuation follows …