An Aboriginal Presence
Wealth of Stories - The Bear Mother
There are many variations of the Bear Mother story. One such story tells of a young woman who is berry picking in the forest with friends, when she accidentally steps into a pile of bear dung. Reacting in disgust, she makes a rude comment about bears. The bears overhear and resent this insulting remark. The woman keeps stopping to repair the broken strap of her berry-picking basket and is separated from her friends. Two young men, actually a bear prince and his companion, offer to escort the woman out of the forest. Instead, they take her to their family's home where she is made welcome. In time, she marries the bear prince and gives birth to two cubs. Her human family, however, have never stopped searching for her. Each of her four brothers tries in turn to save her. The youngest brother finally succeeds in killing her husband. The woman and her two sons, now transformed into their human form, return to the village. The two boys grow up to become successful hunters.