Amber Bear Legend of Slupsk
The legend of the talisman of happines
There is no man who would not like to receive from destiny a talisman ensuring happiness. Cinderella received from fairies gold slippers which changed her life, the thief from Baghdad a magic carpet, and Sindbad the Sailor an old amphora with a genie trapped inside. These magical items gave their owners superhuman powers and were embraced by many years of tradition in many places across the world.
The inhabitians of Słupsk may also be enrolled on to the list of world stories about the human striving for happines. The figure of an amber bear brings them the happiness. The amber itself encloses the power of sun, wind, and water. Thousands of years ago, the elements, visiting the land of Pomerania, gave their power to the amber stones embedded in the Baltic. Their magical powers were activated once extracted from thesea and served the people of this land. The talisman, sculptured by a bear hunter, gave its owner the belief that the amber emits the power of a mighty wild animal, forcing the lively bears into submission. As long as the bear hunter carried the small figure with him, neither fear nor despondency could catch him. When he lost it, he had to part with his life. The lost talisman spent thousands of year lying in the ground, but its destiny was to support man in his striving for happiness; therefore, it had to be found. At first the talisman brought good fortune to a poor fellow, then delighted an old professor, and finally was to bring happiness to all the inhabitants of Slupsk. The small amber bear aroused a belief in people that they possessed inside themselves a great, dormant power, and that it depended only on themselves whether they would commit great acts. The years passed. The amulet of the bear hunter left the city, but it did not leave the memory of its people. The figures of the amber bear still transfer the magical power of amber to people who continuously strive for happiness.
What is the story of the amber bear?
The amber bear really existed! The history of the figure is rather incredible. It was found in 1887 in a peat bog near Slupsk. When the figure was examined it turned out to be the amulet of a bear hunter, originating from the Neolithic period. It was dated at between 1700 B.C. and 650 B.C. Since the researchers were not precise regarding the age of the find, we can assume this figure is over three thousand years old. The original did not stay long in Slupsk since special protection was sought for the oldest item ever discovered in the Pomerania. The museum in Szczecin guaranteed safety, and the amber bear was placed there - probably until 1945. However, the people of Slupsk found it difficult to cope with the loss of the amulet of happiness - in 1924 the guild of amber makers decided to make a copy. Arthur Fischer was the author of the faithfully reproduced new bear of happiness, and the figure became the pride of the amber collection presented in the City Museum in Nowa Brama. The figure delighted the eyes of the inhabitants of Slupsk until March 1945 - when it was stolen, along with all amber and gold jewellery. Thanks to an unknown stroke of fate, the copy encountered the original, after many years, in the Historic Museum in Stralsund. In the summer of 2002, the German press announced that the copy of the bear was presented to public, whereas the original amulet did not leave the museum's safe. It is a secret how the museum became the owner of these two figures. However one should be happy that both of them survived. The copy of the famous bear appeared again in the history of Slupsk. Thanks to the president, Maciej Kobylinski, the amber bear attracts tourists tothe town hall, where it is exhibited in a special show case. Once a year, the tiny figure is put on auction, and the funds raised are dedicated to charity. The figure is replaced by a new copy in the show case. The first beneficiaries of the bear were the single mothers of three severely sick children. Thanks to the generosity of entrepreneurs from Slupsk, who participated in the auction, the little figure brought lots of joy to the homes of the sick children. This winning bear was also given by the inhabitants of Slupsk to the president of the Republic of Poland - Aleksander Kwasniewski. The amber figure arouses sympathy, and therefore its association with Slupsk is enjoyable. Let it always bring well-being to our underprivileged city.
Tekst: Grupa Słowińskie na podstawie ulotek Ośrodka Informacji Turystycznej w Słupsku.