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On the road to Jostedalen drawn by a Fjord horse
Norwegian fjord horse on the road to Jostedalen and its glacier

On a stroll in the wild mountains in the western part of Norway, a huge, grey-haired bear of a man spoke up.

The Grouse in the Jostedal in Western Norway

A legend, in short: Rjupa was a girl who survived the Black Plague (its first wave hit Norway in 1349). She was the only survivor in her valley, and had to live alone for a long time until someone from another village found her and married her. Rjupa and her husband became the ancestors of many people along the western coast, we are told.

Rjupa means 'The Grouse', and was a personal name in old times. 'Rype' in Norwegian may also mean '(pretty) girl', like the American slang word "chick".


Key Teachings of the Grey-haired Bear

One of the descendants of the Jostedal Grouse was "a bear of a man". His life lore includes:

"What is good is to search for proper evidence where you can find some, and remain uncommitted to goofy tales meanwhile.

"Good tales are for those alive; they serve the living. If they are good, stories go deep and may represent levels of attainment to aspire to - in this case somewhere along the long Jotunheim mountain range in western Norway.

"We should seek to digest strong meat slowly and add vegetables and dressing as fit, and supplement it with some fruit. Hence, it may be all right to leave the strong meat tales alone for as long as it takes - to digest them and renew one's appetite. Bold stories can be strong meat.

"Good stories can be rewarding, reminding of higher values, or normalcy."

Keys to unravel possibly symbolic parts of tales

'Solid' comes from the Latin sollus, whole. It is good to be mentally solid in the meaing "firm, and not hollowed out, with no great gaps or breaks, og good quality, substantial, sound, reliable, dependable, upstanding, whole (linked to healthy, etc.)."

If some content appears to leak out through "thinking with one's behind", it is termed a psychological projection. The phenomenon is related to being under pressure - authoritan upbringing and a harsh superego (marred conscience) are examples of phenomena that make for such "tails" below the waist, so to speak. Prejudice is not far from it.

The bear's or siren's tail can now be taken as folk-wise images of such subconsciously projected material of one's psyche. Accordingly, it behoves man to be just and avoid projecting prejudice. The more pressured you get, the more need to be solid in the senses above, probably. It helps to be many solid ones too, and to remain aloof from intriguing, meddling fools, as the case may be. So relax at intervals as you can and don't get tense, wearing a conformism mask.

Further, a bear can be taken to mean (signify) this and that as fits . . .

In tales that follow, the beaver darlings may be the habituated libido system in the organism for most part.

The broom or thunder-broom is the gun. Native Americans called the rifle a 'thunder-stick'.

Dim and dark, foggy mentions may work well along with contemplation on possible meanings, if you have the time and is good at having hunches. [Link]


Bear Harangues

Things are not always as bad as people would have them - sometimes they are even worse

A local farmer near Jotunheimen had a vivid dream where a bird-like figure approached at said: "There lies the peasant Okur asleep, one of our line. He must carry good messages from me to many others all over the globe, but only if he wakes up."

The winged being started to shake him. As the simple farmer Okur woke up from it, he still saw the big bird with a mighty feather gown. The bird spoke comfortingly:

"The bear in the forest was one of your ancestors and one of the naturally inclined cave-dwellers. Hence, sleeping late may not be all bad, and could suit some. Now it is time to bring out his plan. You can caress the good old lore that helps survival in the long run.

Things are not always as bad as others say. Your ancestor bear of a man lived very well as a farmer and shepherd in the forests and fields under Jotunheimen. He liked it there. Some do.

He had a lovely meadow deep in Jostedalen. One day, as he put on a bearskin for a cloak against the cold winds, he said something that reminded listeners of a huge bear standing on his hindlegs, clearing his throat, and perhaps you know what people can make out of that. Now the farmer was instructed to visit a certain cave near the mountain Glattertind, and this is what he said when he came back from his climb:


The great bear roars and the guts of cattle withers. The bear does not have to be so great to scare cattle either. What is more, snorting will often be quite enough to scare cattle.

Deep meditation may be good for living. Human bears were meant to be free. Beware of a vehement bear.

Some are led astray by false ancestry, claiming to descend from birds and beasts of prey, and painting them on their shields and further.

Men and women trample on the heads of the poor animals as on the dust and typically deny justice to the oppressed underlings. In the end it dwarfs man too.

You have seen the great oppression of animals going on and not done much about it.

Docile animals do not have many means to use strategic cunning against adversaries.

Who gave the birds of prey their claws, and who gave the animals of prey their sets of teeth and intestines, so they could not feed on grass, they too?

Well clothed men and women like to say to servants or waiters: "Bring us some more drinks in bottles!" and think it is okay only if they do not swear. Be not like them. [Cf. 4]

Good animals can have no regard for many artificial ways of living that bring them ruin. God's walrus might subscribe to it as he lands on your beach and thereby proclaims: "There is wailing and gnashing of teeth among humans too."

Do horses run toward rocky crags like humans?

Very cramped urban life is something to grieve over, and not hail foolishly. There is such poverty too among men now.

A beaver valley is likely to fall if people find gold there.

Statistics show that not all who lift up the broom, fall by the broom (gun, thunder-stick).

Flies and mosquitoes once raised a conspiracy against cattle and horses, deer and mouses. Can you get out and teach them to refrain?

If walking about in cities in broad daylight, the wildcats may be spared no longer.

People who live mainly to compete for money, are are source of big problems - count on it.

A giant has a need of giant hind legs.

The mighty hunting bear: did he not bring beavers up from the Sahara?

Gold on the roof of beaver huts make me wish to shake the foolish beavers to lead them into better ways.

Should jesters hide themselves in big caves rather than entertaining topdogs?

Misses, often preying on men, may manage to eat the best fruit of men's toils and troubles and slowly wear them out.

Getting used a lot may not be for one's own good.

Days may be coming when brand new berry bushes and fruit trees will grow in the gardens. Explain how many fine hybrids of plants and trees can yield better fruits and berries and crops, eventually. The idea of sweet rowanberries instead of sour ones is here to tempt you.

Though full of courage, few animals can stand up and fight with long-range success against men with thunder-brooms (rifles, guns).

[The above was queezed out of the Book of Amos at first.]


Two More Tales

Great Bear Gets Affronted

Many beavers were headed by the shaggy-coated old musk-ox Batt. Things soon took a nasty turn -

In the old days and many generations before King Sagle appeared, beavers had a loafing musk-ox to guide them in very difficult, tricky things. The last of these thick-set, wild and shaggy-coated ones was named Batt. He was their good oracle, or judge, calm and steady for most time, right in their midst. He saw it first:

"Where there are lots of beavers there is stench."

Now this Batt grew old and all the old beavers gathered together and came to him in the heart of Sweden.

They said to him, "You are old, and your young do not walk in our ways as we love it; now appoint a great ox to lead us."

This annoyed and displeased Batt. He said: "First I will travel far north and seek counsel with the Great Bear before the long night falls there. I will ask what to do."

He reached a rocky shore a little distance from North Cape in time and got his answer, loud and clear:

"Listen to all that the beavers are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected - that is what they often have done - and it was I, not you, that took them from the Sahara into Scandinavia. Only slowly did they turn away from mad deforestation, so one may count with much ignorance. Or maybe they are just not many enough to cut down all the trees of Sweden yet. So I can lie down and enjoy my days in some snow-hole in the Spitzbergen mountains and have sweet dreams still.

Silly ones creep and crawl for greater beings; it is often like that. Anyway, you should warn them solemnly: What they are up to looks like seeming big and good by proxy. So go and tell them what a huge ox will do to their kin as soon as he comes into power. Say:

"This is what the great musk who will reign over you will do: He will become a puberty monster. His love is not for you, it is on another scale. There is a risk he can take your young and make them serve a lot, wholly without shame, wholly without cause, and what next? That is the question!

The musk ox may next take ardent beavers to be his loyal staff and commanders, while others have to till his frozen ground in vain and reap as good as nothing from it. Their teeth may break and he may make your daughters his chefs or harem concubines.

This is a worst case scenario: One huge, hard-headed ox will take a thousand virgins and fall heavily to the ground from it. So take heart while the most cunning and most ostentatious animals thrive and go for the best fields and tracts to enjoy.

This is about tyranny of the weak, day and night they will have to go about in manure made by others in the deep forest. When they have had enough of the bargain, you can sing: "Cry out for relief from the musk-ox, and Great Bear will not answer you in that day." That is how it has happened.

The musk-ox now travelled back to Skone and gave the assembled beavers the message that Great Bear had had enough, but they would not understand it.

"No!" they cried. "We want our own great ox a lot."

They gave vent to their helplessness in ways that hurt and harmed their future the world over. They said, "A huge and massive ox can go out before us and fight our battles and win."

When Batt heard all their folly, he felt ashamed and bruised at heart. He even travelled the long, ardous route to North Cape one more time, only to get the soft-spoken message repeated when Great Bear came swimming ashore and stood in front of him:

"We will give them a night-mare. The bear does not milk the cows."

And so they did.

Sheepy Mountain Fever

Flower A man up in the Sheepy Mountains somewhere had a great desire to go to the valleys of Portugal with his dancing-bear, and full of joy he said,

"If only I arrive, God willing, I will not fail."

"Since you have so good a will," said his comrade, "you will arrive safe at the end of your journey if you heed the Gothamic counsel from the Great Bear:

"One should train solvency and mirthfulness by speaking like this:

"Maybe it is not because I am perfectly good and worthy in any major way that others detain me, but because I am rather unworthy deep down, since I do not stop desiring what I need or lack - be it love or sweet afflictions or . . ."

The dancing-bear went on,

"If your desire for somewhere far away still lingers and grows stronger, beware of great flattery and falsehood. However, many vain thoughts may be alleviated in sound peace and delight.

Expect enemies that busily endeavour to lessen your worth, merit and assets the day they can. Some operate in cliques. They may try persuasions, flatteries, or violence to get their wills imposed and perhaps force you to return to nasty habits beneath them. Such people may abandon you later unless you are experienced and observant.

If you meet with any who seem to be your friends and thereby try to make a leash for you in much to much kindness, the real reasons behind the overt show might hinder your progress - maybe also by entertaining you. Smell a big rat in hiding to turn a deaf ear. If swearing persons offer you gifts and attractions, heed them not - at least good bears try not to.

Then, finally - if there is sound peace and calm in and around you - there should be no deep need to go to a cracked Hierusalem. Now, good night," said the jolly bear.

Bear tales, stories of bears, Literature  

Seg: BÝ, Olav. Segner. 3. utg. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1977.

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