Monday, December 15, 2008

Bear and Pirate

Christmas is the time for shopping and in all probability it's toy shops that most fascinate me. I liked the juxtaposition of the teddy bear and the pirate ship. The display has remained the same throughout December and I still stop to have a look. Pirates are popular of course despite the hijacking of super tankers. We like our pirates picaresque. As long as the pirate chief is a jolly and lovable rogue we can forgive him (or her) quite a lot. The bear is also lovable in its teddy form. In reality though, a swipe from the paw of a real bear would lay us low. But bears can be trained to do tricks and are thus tameable. Their love for honey is well known. In legend, curiously, bears have earned the reputation of running off with the womenfolk. So many taboos exist in relation to women and the bear. They should not look at a bear's head, nor step in its tracks. Bears however were companionable with Artemis, the huntress of Greek mythology - and sometimes she would appear in the guise of a bear. Jungian psychoanalysts consider the bear as a symbol of the dangerous part of the unconscious. Maybe then, the curious liaison between bear and pirate is just another of Artemis' dangerous tricks.