The werebear is a creature closely related to the werewolf. A werebear is like a werewolf, but bigger, stronger, and more formidable because it turns into a bear instead of a wolf. In many legends from northern Europe, the two creatures appear side-by-side in the same legends.
Werewolf and werebear legends share many other elements as well. Werebear legends often speak of the sorcerer's girdle or belt used to change into animal form. Those old anti-werewolf sermons that were so common in the middle ages usually speak of werebears right along with werewolves.
Werebears were often warriors or heroes in the legends. They were potentially much more dangerous than werewolves. If a wolf tried to attack you, you would at least have a chance of killing it or beating it away. In the werewolf legend of Jean Grenier, slender teenage shepherd girls managed to defend themselves from the werewolf by using their heavy shepherd's staffs with sharpened ends. On the other hand, if a bear seriously decided to attack you, you would have little chance without a gun.
Because the werebear was such a strong fighter, it was often a warrior and a hero for the people. Some of the Norse legends about these creatures are quite interesting and would make exciting tales if adapted to novel form. It's a pity that so few fantasy authors have found the werebear inspiring.
AHWW Werebear-Related Posts from DejaNews
A Listing of Werebear Books and Movies
An attempt to gather resources on the werebear in fiction
Dennis L. McKiernan: The Eye of the Hunter
Michael Reaves: The Shattered World
Fred Saberhagen: Dancing Bears
The Polar Bear King (1991)
The Two Little Bears (1961)
Werebear or Bear-Related Links:
AHWW Werebear Mini-FAQ (part of the Official AHWW FAQ)
The Bear Lover: A Legend From Taos
Return to the Werewolf and Shapeshifter Codex