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Story No. 1080

Bear, Wolverene, and Wolf Story

Book Name:

Tales of Yukaghir, Lamut, and Russianized Natives of Eastern Siberia

Tradition: Siberia

Bear, Wolverene, and Wolf, being brothers, lived side by side. The youngest brother paid suit to the daughter of the middle one. "No," said the middle one, "How is it that you ask me for my daughter? We cannot join. You are born from the snow, and I am born from the earth."[1] Wolf grew angry and made complaint to Bear. Bear bore judgment and ordered, "If that is so, you must part." He said to Wolf, "Your temper is worst of all, you shall bring forth not more than two or three children." Wolf departed sorrowfully. Bear said to Wolverene, "You have a daughter, and refuse her to suitors, so you must not bring forth more than one, child." He blamed Wolverene, and said, "If you had given your daughter in marriage, our people would be more numerous, so you must meet your fate in the wooden thing."[2]

Wolverene also grew angry, and retorted, "And you must meet your fate underground."[3] Wolverene laid a curse upon Bear: "You must sleep throughout the winter, and your fate will come to you while you are insensible to it."

So the Bear's word caused young wolves to be born by two's and three's, and wolverenes singly. The Wolverene's word caused the Bear to sleep throughout the winter, so that hunters kill him in his sleep.


Told by Ulashkan, a Lamut man, on the Molonda River, in the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.

This tale was collected among the Lamut living on the upper course of the Omolon River and on its affluents in the Kolyma country, a few also among the Lamut of the Chaun desert met with in the Russian village of Nishne-Kolymsk. They were written down without the original texts.

[1] The polar wolf is of light gray color, sometimes almost dirty white. The wolverene is brown.

[2] Deadfall made of logs.

[3] In the bear-lair when sleeping in winter, and tracked by the hunters.


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