Archive for April, 2011

The Woman Married a Bear

Here is a fun little story from the book Animal Leadership: Leadership Lessons Learned from Wildlife for Leading Yourself and Others, by Rad Watkins.

There is an American Indian story about a woman who gets lost and meets a handsome man just before it gets dark. He takes her back to his home and introduces her to his family. The woman is happy amongst his people and marries the man. One night she wakes up and looks around her home to discover that all her new relatives are really bears. Eventually the woman’s brothers, who have been looking for her for years, get close to the den of bears where the woman has lived. Her husband tells her that he will go out in his bear form and meet the brothers. This surely means that her brothers, who are excellent hunters, will kill the husband and the woman asks him to consider this. The husband knows this and asks his wife to teach her brothers how to remove his coat and keep him in a sacred way with its head facing east. This sacrifice is the beginning of a respectful relationship between these people and the bear. The bear was rarely hunted for meat, was known as the first medicine man, and ended up with a clan (or family group) named after it.