“Bearskin”

Summary:  After the war, a soldier returns home and finds he has no job nor the support of his brothers.  He meets up with the devil in the forest.  The devil gives the soldier a green coat with pockets filled with gold and a bearskin.  He is not to bathe, shave, comb his hair or pray for seven years.  If he dies during the seven years, his soul will go to the devil.  If he survives, he will be free and wealthy.  He will now be called Bearskin.  During the first four years, people he met would run away from him in fear.  Then he met a man.  The man was upset because he had lost all his wealth, he was near starvation, he could not pay the inn keeper, and he was going to be put in prison.  Bearskin paid the man’s bill and gave him a purse full of gold.  The man was very grateful.  He had three daughters.  He offered Bearskin one of his daughters as a wife.  The two eldest daughters ran away in horror.  The youngest daughter accepted the proposal.  Bearskin gave her a half of a ring and he kept the other half.  At the end of the seven years, he met the devil again.  He cleaned up and went to the home of his future bride.  He was very handsome.  The two eldest daughters wanted to marry him, but he had come for his future bride, the youngest daughter.  When the two eldest daughters realized who he was, they committed suicide.  There was a knock at the door.  It was the devil.  The devil told Bearskin that he now had two souls instead of one.

Character Analysis:  The youngest daughter was very obedient.  She was grateful for what Bearskin did for her father.  She was humble and unassuming.  Even though Bearskin looked like an animal, she was willing to marry him because that was what her father wanted.  She was very poor and could not offer anything to Bearskin except her beauty.  She had pity for Bearskin because of his looks.  When Bearskin came back for her, he is wealthy and she also becomes wealthy.

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