The Last Bear: Second edition

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This is a poetic, lyrical, haunting and spiritual tale of the last bear in Scotland, 1000 years ago. It's a salutary tale of the damage that man can wreak on the world and it never fails to amaze me how man can treat his fellow creatures of the earth.

This is a tale of Bjorn, the headman of the area, and Brigid, the banished medicine woman, and last shamen of the bear. Once lovers, they are now torn apart by Bjorn's duties and his father's refusal to accept a non-Christian witch as his son's wife. Instead, Bjorn marries Margaret, an Orcadian, in a political move to bring the two areas together, in a time when the north-west of Scotland had norse communities.

Brigid is banished to the forest, but still has links with some of the community, and is called upon on occasions to heal. There are a lot of similarities between her and her sister bear, including the fact that they are both the last of their line, and at one point in the story there was such an intense feeling of connection between her and the bear that it brought tears to my eyes.

It is a shame that prejudices and a lack of understanding in history could cause people to banish so-called witches, otherwise known as healers, with their powers to mend, soothe and calm.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of the Highlands and Islands
Number of pages223
ISBN (Print)9781913659004
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2021


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