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Of Lossoth Culture: The Gifts Of Beasts



Of animals
 
All animals were considered to be children of Siimes (Béma). The fate of the Lossoth tribe was tied to the fate of the animals they hunted. Beasts were not only considered as equals, but at times even superior to men. Especially the big predators were worshipped. They had strength, speed and senses no man could possess. A desire to gain certain animal’s characteristics was so strong that many tribes had adopted some beast as their forefather or guardian, considering themselves as children of this beast.
 
Because the animals were considered equals or superior to men, there were many rules related to hunting them. For instance you were not allowed to hunt a sleeping beast without waking it up first. Some tribes did not even allow the usage of traps. If the animal could best the hunter in the hunt, this was meant to be. If the animal however gave into the hunter, it allowed itself to be killed and granted it’s meat and fur as gifts to men. Men were expected to be grateful for the beast's gift. After an animal was slain, some sort of appeasing ritual was committed. For instance guarding marks could be drawn in the dead beast’s fur, or after it’s fur and meat were removed, it’s bones could be laid in certain place to assure the beast’s spirit’s safe passing.
 
Every successful hunt was a gift from Siimes (Béma) and his children. If you hunted against the rules, great misfortune was assumed to follow. Men who did not respect Siimes and the old traditions of the hunt were cast away from their communities.
 
 
Of  Bears
 
Bears were considered holy and it was highly prohibited to hunt them without the shaman’s permission. Hunting of a bear was a religious ritual that occurred once a year. The hunt was a task of courage, skill and strength, and accurate usage of spears and arrows. No young hunter was allowed such a task. The men who hunted down the bear, prayed before the hunt for the bear’s forgiveness and blessing. After the hunt a tribe-wide rite was held to appease the bear’s spirit. The bear’s skull was ceremoniously returned to the highest spot of the area where it had lived, facing North. This was to ensure that the spirit of the bear could return back to Siimes.
 
In the lands of Forochel lives The Tribe of Bear (L: Karhu heimo). It is a tribe of fifty-some adults, with a few handfuls of children. They believe their forefather was a bear who mated with a woman called Lumi. Äiti Lumi, the mother of the tribe, gave birth to children who carried the spirit of a bear and the skin of a man. Today the leader of the Tribe of The Bear is Kalle ’Jäätuuli’ (Icewind). He has earned his nickname, as it’s rumoured that whenever he visits the other tribes the winds grow colder. The Tribe of the bear consists mostly of skilled fishermen.
 
 
Of Wolves
 
Like bears wolves were considered holy. They were hunted only in a ritual of manhood and never without the shaman’s permission. Hunting of the wolf was a deed of one man, the one who was coming of age. The other hunters of the tribe joined the hunt only to keep the hunted wolf’s pack away with a ritual of threatening shouts and dance-like movements, which were meant to tell the other wolves why their brother was hunted. In the ceremony held after the hunt the fur and the fangs of the wolf were gifted to the young man who had slain the wolf. The wolf’s bones were taken to a holy site, meant for offerings to Siimes.
 
In the lands of Forochel lives The Tribe Of Wolf (L: Susi heimo). It is a small tribe of thirty-some adults with some children. They believe their forefather was a great wolf, Kaitu, who had learnt to take the form of a man. As a man he came down from his den and mated with a young woman, Ilta. Ilta gave birth to four sons and four daughters. The legend tells, Kaitu taught one of his children, Kuja, how to transform into a wolf. After the transformation Kuja lost his mind and killed his brother Kalla. Kaitu decided to not teach his other children the skill of transformation. It is believed however, that if one proves himself worthy of the wolf skin, Kaitu will appear and teach the art of transformation.
 
Today the chief of The Tribe of The Wolf is Lauri. The small, family-like tribe consists of skilled hunters. They trade furs to the other tribes of the area.