Bear's Son Tale

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Bear's Son Tales are a group of tales found from Europe, Asia and North America, with over 200 known versions.[1] Similar characteristics include a monster to be defeated by a hero who is descended from a bear, or has attributes of a bear, usually after others fail in the attempt. In some stories the monster defeats the hero instead.

Frequently appearing characteristics include the hero pursuing the monster into an underground cavern, a captive maiden, treason by a close friend or ally of the hero, and magical weapons or talismans. Friedrich Panzer is the one who labeled stories with these elements with the name, "Bear's Son Tales."[citation needed]

The best known of these tales is Beowulf.[2] Others are the story of Bödvar Bjarki in material about Hrólf Kraki and an incident in the Grettis saga.


  1. ^ Fjalldal, Magnús (1998). The long arm of coincidence: the frustrated connection between Beowulf and Grettis saga. University of Toronto Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8020-4301-6. 
  2. ^ Stitt, J. Michael (1992). Beowulf and the bear's son: epic, saga, and fairytale in northern Germanic tradition. Garland Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8240-7440-1.