The Kermode And The Queen
-A Spirit Bear Legend by Harreson R. Waymen
THE KERMODE AND THE QUEEN
A long long time ago, when the earth had just began. One fine spring day, countless Ravens swirled and circled above a bear hide teepee. That day a special female child was born. The prophecies had foretold of a woman so powerful, she would grow to make women the rulers of all the tribes, and abolish the earlier ways with men.
Everyone knew that each raven carried a specific message about the future of her life. They could see by how many raven’s there were, and she would have a very busy life. But they were also busy getting the Salmon and Oilcan oils put away in their dens for winter. Fruits to be dried, Rabbits to smoke, and all the healing herbs refreshed for another year.
So it wasn’t until winter when they had the time to do the ritual Shamanic work, that the Ravens each came forward with their stories. As everyone suspected, something extraordinary happened that day. The Ravens talked about a great Queen who would lead them all to a better way of life, with peace between the tribes, and a deity that would live in their midst. A deity that everyone could talk to. Not just the shamans.
When the new queens sixteenth birthday came along, she had to be sufficiently crooned at, before leaving the lush pastures where her playmates the Black Bears and her were frolicking. She loved to romp and tussle and play games with the playful bears, and was slow to be serious at the council meetings. However, on this commemorative day, her birthday, she had a surprise in store for the tribesmen.
After all the tribes had been represented, with great speeches honoring their new leader, that went on and on. Then, one after the other of bowlfuls of gourmet food had been passed around several times. Then the new Queen thundered on her hoop drum to get the mens attention. She then gave a them a challenge. As all men are easily harnessed by challenges, she had everyone’s rapt attention when she said:
“As you know, I love The Black Bears. They are my heart and soul. I will never be without them. But something is missing for me. There is something even more sacred than The Black Bear Clan. Can you guess what it is?” The first person to answer this question, will become my husband and King. You have one year to find the answer to my question.
At first the men went crazy. One behind the other in an almost endless line, the men graciously and reverently stepped forward, and each man gave her the answer they thought she was seeking. Was it the Brown Bear one man asked? No, she replied. Was it the mighty Grizzly another asked? NO, she replied. Was it The Polar Bear or the Polar Bears Endangered Habitat yet another asked? No, she replied.
The men could quickly see that it wasn’t an obvious answer she was looking for. So they set out the next spring to find the answer, so they could marry The Queen. Traveling to all the four corners of the universe wasn’t easy. Eventually all the men returned by fall, and lined up to give The queen their answer. It was clear by the responses, that some had done some work and others were just guessing. Hoping to get lucky instead. After each submission, all you heard from her, was a soft and clear, “No”.
All through the days men kept coming forward with their answers. They had done everything they could think of in an attempt to get all their facts about Bears, and other Bear information straight. Did she want a Teddy Bear? No, she replied. Did she want a Valentine or Birthday Bear? No, she replied. Did she want a Picture of a Bear? No, she replied. Did she want a Pink Bear or a Wedding Bear or a Singing Bear? No, no, no, she replied.
Some of the other men who had traveled furthest came with interesting names for Bears. Did she want a Gund Teddy Bear, or Ty Bear or Chantilly Bear? Again she replied, no, no, and no. More men came forward an asked their questions, even though the lineup never seemed to diminish in size. Was it a Beanie Bear? Was it a Berenstein Bear? No, she replied. One man even asked if it was a Chicago Bear. Another man came up and asked if it was a Wedding Bear or Custom Bear, like a Customized Bear that she might be looking for? Again, no, and no and no, she replied.
The line up of possible suitors never waned. It stretched far on across the mountains. Each man stepped forward and gave the Queen what they hoped was the right answer. Was it a Boyd’s Bear or a Bearington Bear? Was it a Care Bear or a Charlie Bear? Or was it a Paddington Bear? No, no, no, no, and NO, said the Queen.
The queen was becoming a little despondent. None of the mens answers were even close to the one she was looking for. The lineups were long and tedious. Even though she was getting tired of these shenanigans, she pushed herself to continue. Did she want to see a Bear Game with Live Bears? No, she replied. Again and again. No, she replied. Then, just as she was beginning to rethink the whole idea of finding a mate that way, a young suitor who she had not seen before knelt respectfully before her.
“Your Highness” he said, head bowed to the floor, “The Queen of all Queens looks for the answer of what is missing in her heart of hearts, and I have found the answer, he firmly said. You could hear a pine needle drop, the audience was so quiet. Well, the Queen said. What is it? What’s your answer? Without hesitation the suitor calmly said, “it is the Great White Kermode Spirit Bear of the Great Bear Rainforests of The North.”
The Queen was dumbfounded. For the longest time she sat there without thinking one single thought whatsoever. Completely mesmerized. Then she suddenly came out of her reverie and realized that that was the answer she was looking for. For all this time. The answer was, The Spirit Bear, The Great White Kermode Bear. But how could he have known that she pondered. While the thought loomed closer of having to have a man in her life now. So she asked for more details and his name.
The crowd that had grown around them was becoming stifling as they pressed in so hard. You could, well, hardly breathe. As the Man stood up, it was clear he was taller than all the rest. By some measure. And broader too. The Queen found that she was becoming a little more welcoming in her tone.
The suitor shared his journey through deep forests until by trail and stream, he reached a big ocean. There he fashioned some felled logs with vines and headed toward an Island within his sight. An Island with a very famous reputation about a beautiful Princess, who was surrounded by the wild White Bears. Also known as Kermode Bears. She liked the Island so much that her father gave it to her, and called it Princess Island, where the White Bear Lives.
While the handsome young man spun his story, The Queen found herself quite liking the young man. While simultaneously and uncontrollably slipping into loving the young man also. Through their eye’s and hearts they met, and by the time he had finished his story, the two had fallen in love. Not long after, they married, and went on to share their lives together, and live happily through all their years.
Not long after their Queen and her King had died, and were gone. High in the alpine, two Kermodes appeared. Then in an instant, they were gone. Vanished! Many people who live in in the Great Bear Rainforest today, have never ever seen The Great White Kermode Spirit Bear. Except a very special, sacred few, like you.
Harreson R. Waymen